CONDI VISITS THE "NEW MIDDLE EAST." The State Department announced last week that Secretary Rice would be visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, with the aim of engaging what she characterized as "moderate" Arabs. And here she is, in the region for the first time after the pointless war in Lebanon, which saw U.S. standing in the region plunge to new depths.
CT SEN: LIEBERMAN TO KEEP SENIORITY?The Hillreports today that Sen. Joe Lieberman, who left the Democratic Party in August to run for the Senate under a banner of his own making, may be able to keep his seniority in the caucus after all.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, the longtime Democratic senator from Connecticut running for re-election as an independent, says the party leadership has assured him he would keep his seniority if he returns to Congress.
Local Democrats are responding with irritation, political opponents voice disbelief, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) denies making a decision.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE DREAM-KILLER.Mattexplains why war with Iran is a far more serious possibility than many seem to think, and why understanding this is "especially important for liberals hoping to think creatively about the future of American foreign policy: a war with Iran would, in essence, render all of our grand schemes moot."
HILLARY'S TREASURE. Looks like Big Business is betting on a Big Future for Hillary Clinton. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she's now the #1 recipient of cash from over 27 different industries. Telecommunications, accounting, health care, Hollywood, restaurants, publishing, tourism, architects...the list goes on, and offers little in the way of coherence or committee assignment connections.
UNCIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS.Andrew Bacevich has a nice discussion of the dysfunctional state of civil-military relations during Donald Rumsfeld's term at Secretary of Defense. State of Denial has served to turn over a nasty log in Washington.
SPOTLIGHT ON DENNY. The Washington Timeseditorial is bad enough, but the real sign that things are beginning to fall apart for the House leadership is this new John Boehnerinterview in which the majority leader makes it very, very explicit that this is all on Hastert. "I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of.
GOTV FOR YOU AND ME. With the GOP engaged in an implosion so total that one imagines it must be purposeful (did Bill Frist really call for rapprochement with the Taliban? I mean, he's actually right, but yikes), there are few refuges left for electoral pessimists like myself. But of those remaining, the GOP's vaunted GOTV advantage looms largest.
HUMANITARIAN. I think Yglesias goes too easy on Eric Posner'sWashington Post op-ed attack on humanitarian intervention. Posner invokes Somalia, Kosovo, and Iraq as evidence that "experience shows that humanitarian war is an oxymoron." This can fairly be argued of Iraq 2003, but I'm unaware of any compelling evidence that the intervention in Somalia in 1992-3 failed to increase living standards for Somalis, at least for as long as the United Nations forces stayed.
One of the favorite examples of economists who argue that the consumer price index (CPI) is missing quality improvments in new goods and services, and therefore understating the increase in living standards, is the great new drugs that have been developed in the last quarter century. That is why it is interesting to read an article in the Washington Post reporting on a study showing that the new generation of antipsychotics (price tag $10 billion a year) is not better than the old drugs that they replaced.
It sounds like the CPI has been overstating the increase in living standards.