IT AIN'T ABOUT HARRIS. I'm pretty sympathetic to the point Jon Chait raises in his terrific piece on Katherine Harris: Now that the GOP spin on Harris is replete with admissions that she's a few crayons short of a full box, shouldn't that force them to reconsider the legitimacy of her decisions during the 2000 recount? In other words, if Harris is nuts, then why trust that in 2000 she was sane. Maybe Bush did lose.
The problem is Jon seems to counteract his own thesis in the article. As he writes, Harris was ignorant of election law and completely incapable of making these decisions. So the GOP sent in a ringer:
REALITY TV AND UNION-BUSTING. For years now, I've been telling anyone who'll listen that reality television isn't just bad aesthetics -- it's union-busting. Initially, the idea was simply to come up with programming that didn't involve unionized writers because it actually didn't involve writers, thereby allowing the networks to better-immunize themselves against the threat of a strike. More recently, it's reached absurd heights where you have "reality" shows that actually do employ writers, just not unionized ones covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
WHERE THE PATIENTS HAVE TAKEN OVER. Now, it is important to remember here that Sean Hannity has already proved himself incapable of experiencing combat with an opponent any more vigorous than Alan Colmes. So we should probably be grateful that Sean has found a cause for which he�s willing to lay down his life.
FRODO'S FATE. Last week, philosophy doctoral student and ethical werewolf Neil Sinhababuargued against the conception of personhood and moral status advocated by Ramesh Ponnuru in his book The Party of Death.
GLOBAL WARMING: THE GOOD NEWS. I wrote earlier this week about the clever name change that persuaded lots of people to open farms on the Great American Desert Plains. The greatest climate-nomenclature scam of all time, however, was run by Erik the Red, who named the ice-bound island he discovered "Greenland." At the time, the world climate was warmer than it is today, and Greenland, though very cold, did actually support some marginal agricultural production and dairy farming. Consequently, he got a bunch of Vikings to move out there and build a settlement. A few hundred years later, it got colder and all the Norse settlers wound up dead.
CLEAN, GREEN, AND POPULAR. Let's just take a moment to enjoy this description of Big Business� reaction to this major piece of legislation in the glorious Golden State:
Business interests, especially oil companies, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the Republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos.
POLITICS AS POLITICS. Have I ever mentioned that I hate baby boomers? Sometimes I think this is irrational on my part. Then along comes Andrew Rosenthal's infuriating contribution to today's New York Times editorial page. In essence, he went to hear Crosby, Stills, and Nash play, started thinking about the old Crosby, Stills, and Nash shows he's seen, waxes nostalgic about the sixties, and demands to know why the kids these days aren't as awesome in terms of mounting an anti-war movement as the kids were back in his day.
I LOVE IT WHEN YOU POLL ME. There are some interesting results in the new AP/Ipsos poll (PDF). Only a bit over 40 percent of Americans worry about "becoming a victim of terrorism," and the vast majority say they do so only "occasionally" (hell, living in D.C., I'd fit into that category too). That's compared to 56 percent who simply don't fret over the prospect. And only 25 percent think D.C. and New York are more dangerous vacation destinations than before 9-11, while 14 percent think they're safer.
THE TWO AMERICAS.Charles Barkley, all-time great undersized power forward and potential politician, takes on America's inequality problem: "America is divided by economics. It's the rich against the poor. And the gap is widening. We've got to find a way to uplift poor people. It shouldn't be the haves vs. the have-nots."
A MESSAGE FROM DR. JOHN. I got a minute with New Orleans legend Dr. John after he performed at the star-studded concert, "New Orleans: Rebuilding the Soul of America," headlined by Wynton Marsalis Tuesday night at the New Orleans Arena. Asked what he wanted liberals in Washington to know about the state of things in New Orleans, he replied, "We been tryin' to get any help here, and there ain't been none comin'... the wetlands has been disappearin' for 50 years, and that's the only thing that protects this state and Mississippi and all down in the Gulf.