Archive

  • MORE CASH, PLEASE.

    MORE CASH, PLEASE. What, the security fence along the Mexican border may actually cost many times what was projected ? The hell you say! The Bush administration's proposal to secure the nation's borders with a high-tech "virtual fence" is likely to cost far more than the $2 billion that industry analysts initially estimated, possibly up to $30 billion, a government watchdog agency warned yesterday. Wow. One would almost think that the fence is a giant boondoggle designed to mollify anti-immigration conservatives (including Lou Dobbs and Mickey Kaus ) while pouring money into the pockets of big defense contractors. Hat tip to Jason , who has a couple others examples from the extraordinarily rare species, "defense project run amok." --Robert Farley
  • JOE'S GAME. I...

    JOE'S GAME. I had missed this yesterday, but Greg offers a really sharp take on Joe Lieberman 's real prospects for switching parties (they're dim), as compared with the leverage he gains by playing up the threat via a willing press. Check it out (and note the Tom Friedman -style "memo to x" framing for a little bonus Times -bashing). --Sam Rosenfeld
  • REYES THE ROOF....

    REYES THE ROOF. Now that the Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed Alcee Hastings to chair the Intelligence Committee and the Blue Dogs have united behind Jane Harman , attention is focusing on Silvestre Reyes as a compromise candidate. Reyes is an interesting guy and, it would seem, a sound choice. A moderate Democrat from El Paso, Texas, Reyes was a Vietnam vet and made his name as a border patrol officer. His district is nearly 80% Hispanic and he pulled down a commensurate share of the vote in 2006. He's chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, opposed the Iraq War from the start, tough on border security, and a member of, in addition to the Intelligence Committee, the Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs committees. In sum, he's precisely the sort of Democrat you'd want, on paper, chairing the Intelligence Committee. Of course, none of this predicts what sort of spokesperson he'll be. But a quick survey of his videos page shows him saying the right things in the right way...
  • MCCAIN TRUE COLORS WATCH.

    MCCAIN TRUE COLORS WATCH. In anticipation of a good two years (let's hope not six or ten) of John McCain sucking up to the bigoted base of his party, I'm hereby inaugurating "McCain True Colors Watch" (naming credit goes to Ezra ) -- an occasional update on craven McCain's latest disappointment. First installment: The Hill reported yesterday that McCain provided crucial support to segregationist Sen. Trent Lott in his barely successful bid to return to the Republican leadership (he beat out Sen. Lamar Alexander by one vote Minority Whip.) The Hill characterized McCain as a "strong Lott booster." Who says McCain will have trouble with the base? Maybe Lott will return the favor and get McCain an endorsement from the Council of Conservative Citizens . --Ben Adler
  • OPEN OFFICE SPACE.

    OPEN OFFICE SPACE. So, Spencer , could we say that the War on Terror has a been a boon for low level managers at Al Qaeda? More seriously, I wonder where Al Qaeda has made its most serious human capital investments. Every kind of organization, from corporate to military, relies on an expert class that holds the knowledge, training, and connections needed to make the group function. This class is often not the elite leadership; the State Department, for example, relies much more on career professionals than on the political appointees who often occupy the top spots. Similarly, the US Army would have a difficult time doing anything without its expert, professional non-commissioned officer corps. I really haven't the faintest idea how human expertise is distributed in Al Qaeda, but it seems more likely that not that it isn't concentrated in the celebrity leadership that CIA has until recently been tracking. As the disintegration and dispersal of the core Al Qaeda group has been one...
  • MORE MORAN.

    MORE MORAN. Alec writes in to note some follow-up commentary from arch- Murtha booster Jim Moran , quoted in subscription-only Congress Daily : Murtha-backer Jim Moran (D-VA), on freshmen who voted for Hoyer: "It remains to be seen if their wished-for committee assignments are fulfilled." The dude just doesn't quit. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • #&*$ THE REDNECKS,...

    #&*$ THE REDNECKS, THEY DON'T VOTE FOR US ANYWAY. Or so the GOP seems to think . Here's Hotline : �White rednecks� who �didn�t show up to vote for us� partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference�s ability to serve its members. Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam�s remarks. But Putnam�s chief of staff insists that the remarks were taken out of context. Imagine if Nancy Pelosi uttered the same remark, then compare that imaginary firestorm with the one likely to result from Putnam's comments. It's all well and good to argue that Democrats carry seeds of elite condescension towards low-income whites. What's foolish is to think the GOP's powerbrokers aren't precisely as disconnected, though with a heapin' helpin' of opportunism and exploitation thrown...
  • FROM STENOGRAPHY TO...

    FROM STENOGRAPHY TO TELEPATHY. I'm sorry, but this Michael Crowley thing that got cited earlier simply won't do. It's a perfect example of why Spencer The Apostate won't be attending the annual Stephen Glass Birthday Soiree at Chez Peretz this year. We have mind-reading. We have body-language interpretation. I guess we can count ourselves lucky that Crowley misplaced his Magic 8-Ball. If I turned in a piece of copy that repeatedly used the phases "one imagines," "definitely seemed," or "promise to be" as promicuously as Crowley does here, my editor would chain me to a radiator for a week, especially if my final paragraph, the one containing the actual news, pretty much made the rest of the post look like 10 pounds of nothing in an eight-pound bag. Good Lord, Nancy Pelosi was elected unanimously by her caucus even though most of them knew at the time they were going to vote against her choice for Majority Leader. How can she recover? Well, she can start by not caring how the various...
  • CURSES! Well,...

    CURSES! Well, this is certainly alarming, isn't it ? Personally, I'd have just settled for rolling back some of the tax cuts. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • BUT DO THEY...

    BUT DO THEY HAVE REFRESHING BOTTLES OF COCA-COLA? On saving the polar bears with floating platforms, Bill comments : This just illustrates the problem of ignorant political pundits offering opinions about scientific issues. They think the solutions are so simple. The loss of polar ice has nothing to do with polar bears drowning. The bears are not stupid. They simply won't venture off land into the ocean. Polar ice is necessary to prevent starvation. Polar bears live mainly by killing and eating seals. A polar bear can't just swim around in the ocean like a killer whale trying to catch a seal. They catch seals by patiently wait ing for hours or days next to an air hole in the ice and grabbing a seal when it comes up for air. The sheet ice confines the seals to limited locations and air holes that they have to frequent in order to keep the hole from freezing over. Without sheet ice, polar bears will starve. Floating platforms have nothing to do with the real problem. The more you know...

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