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.
FEAR NOT THESE DANGERS I PREDICT AND CREATE. I was impressed, reading the latest Charles Krauthammercolumn, to see that he'd included a relatively accurate assessment of what an attack on Iran would cause: Namely, a death spiral for America's economy, worldwide instability, a vast and rapid increase in retaliatory terrorism, and lots of killing. I was less impressed, and depressingly unsurprised, to watch Krauthammer pull off the predictable pivot to supporting war. His argument appears to be that a nuclear Iran will exercise total hegemony over the Middle East.
ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. I think the finest entry in TAP's debate over the fate of the middle class comes, sadly, from Paul Krugman in The New York Times. As he argues, the very fact that there is a debate is, in itself, the answer. In the period after World War II, the living standards of Americans improved unambiguously. Not so since. Over the last three decades, the rich have rapidly gained ground, while the middle class saw their climb slow.
CAPITOL DOMES AND HOWDY DOODYGATE.Eve Fairbankspoints us to Radar's "worst hair in Congress" rankings. Readers with good memories will recall that two of the three exponents of trend number four, "Childlike hair," played key rolls in the "Howdy Doody-looking nimrod" incident of 2005.