PASSING THE BUCK ON DARFUR. During this morning's press conference, the president had this to say about the United Nations and Darfur:
The problem is, is that the United Nations hasn't acted. And so, I can understand why those who are concerned about Darfur are frustrated. I am.
I'd like to see more robust United Nations action. What you'll hear is, "Well, the government of Sudan must invite the United Nations in for us to act." Well, there are other alternatives, like passing a resolution saying, "We're coming in with a U.N. force in order to save lives." �So you asked of levels of frustration. There's a particular level of frustration.
A PIECE THAT NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN.Many, including this blog, have criticized Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol for their recent proposal to continue and expand the American military presence in Iraq. Someraised the question of whether there are actually troops available to fulfill that mission.
BOSTON BLOGGING. I'm spending the fall in Boston as a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, but will still be popping over to Tapped to blog every so often. I have to say, after nine years in a Washington whose days of Democratic rule are but a distant memory (even during the late Clinton years, the town's central narratives were set by Republican attack, rather than Democratic initiatives), the most striking thing about being again in Cambridge (other than the 20 degree drop in temperature) is no longer feeling myself to be outside the political mainstream of the local community.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Just as his former deputy confessed to being Robert Novak's source in the outing of Valerie Plame, Sir Colin the (Self-) Righteous came riding into the Senate on a white-paper horse (PDF), stating his moral indignation and opposition to the Bush administration's attempt to legislate the terms of its torture of so-called "enemy combatants."
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: W AND THE TB-GB'S.James Crabtreetells the tale of the "curry house coup" that has brought down Tony Blair, laying out how the "Bush's poodle" factor influenced events and why Lebanon may have been the tipping point.
TURNING UP THE HEAT. To follow up on Ezra�s points, let me add that President George W. Bush came out with both barrels blazin', demanding that Congress pass his two bills -- one sanctioning the sort of tribunals the administration wants to use for adjudicating the cases of the "enemy combatants." One can't help but wonder why he's pushing so hard and so indignantly against the likes of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE. This is by far the pissiest press conference Bush has given. He's furious. I assume his feet are manacled behind the microphone. Otherwise, he'd be stalking across the stage, tearing apart the podium, and occasionally leaping into the crowd to rip out David Gregory's heart. The content is no finer than the normal Bush fare -- he's currently blaming the U.N. for not stopping the genocide in Darfur -- but the attitude is entirely different.
IN WHICH I MAKE VARIOUS POINTS ABOUT HEALTH CARE. NO, REALLY. I've a feeling lots of folks� eyes glaze over when I start posts with "there's a new study out of...," but hang on a second, this one's a good one. The Commonwealth Fund reports that a full nine out of every 10 Americans who seek private insurance never buy. Of those who do apply for a plan, 20 percent are turned down or charged much more for a preexisting condition. And of those who settle for a cheaper, high-deductible plan, 40 percent eventually realize that some of their medical costs aren't covered by insurance.
KRAUTHAMMER ADDENDUM. I think Ezra's comments on Krauthammer's column are apt, but surely his most dubious claims come right after the passage Ezra cites. It's straightforward, after all, that Iran's strategic position in the region would at least be strengthened by becoming a nuclear power, notwithstanding Krauthammer's stronger claims about that.