WHERE'S BILL? As Ezra has noted, ABC has decided to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the September 11 atrocities by broadcasting a documentary that has tripped over itself a bit here in the reality-based community. Here�s an interview with the auteur, and here�s one of the minor factual errors that mar his upcoming opus.
YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA. ABC will apparently air a hatchet job on the Clinton administration's terrorism record in the form of a special program that is supposedly based on the 9/11 Commission Report but is in fact composed of rightwing hagiography and bizarre smears. Early reports have them laying Osama bin Laden's actions at the doorstep of Bill Clinton, and those worries aren't easing as the network steadfastly refuses to provide Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger, or any of the other major Clinton-era figures an advance copy to review for accuracy. The stonewalling prompted a concerned Albright to write this letter:
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE COST OF HIGH COSTS. Harvard scholar David Cutler has made waves arguing that high health-care costs in the U.S. have actually been advantageous and provided real bang for the buck in terms of health outcomes. As Maggie Maharputs it today, "If only it were true." Alas, it ain't.
ACCOUNTABILITY '06. Democrat Bill Nelsonwon the Florida Republican Senate primary yesterday. Okay, technically, recount queen Katherine Harris won it. But her victory practically ensures Nelson�s re-election this November.
FEAR FACTOR. With the American people now soured on the war in Iraq, President George W. Bush today turned his attention to the subject of military tribunals for terrorism suspects, demanding that Congress legislate just what rights are to be granted to evil-doers like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, believed to be the mastermind of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, in those tribunals.
BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE AIRPORTS. The Department of Homeland Security may claim that the nation's airlines are still taking additional security precautions because of the "elevated threat" of terrorist attack. Yet I just accidentally took both a reasonably sharp set of scissors and a five-inch tube of hand-cream through airport security here at Boston's Logan Airport, without incident.
THE CAMPAIGN MONEY FALLACY. I'm inclined to agree with Duncan that the campaign money fallacy should be taken out back and shot. There is not, in fact, a finite amount of funds each progressive donor gives to a candidate, and there's no real reason to believe that their donations to Lamont will, in some sort of zero-sum fashion, detract from their donations to Webb.
WAL-MART SPEAKS, YOU LISTEN. Over the past couple of weeks, I've talked about Wal-Mart's near-monopsony powers, and why the perfectly rational and understandable decisions of the company may not, in fact, be in the wider interests of the country. Today, in The Wall Street Journal, there's a concrete example of they use the powers:
FROM KATRINA TO 9-11. It seems I've returned from New Orleans just in time to be called, in the tradition of Nazi sympathizers, an appeaser to the evil forces in the world. This campaign on the part of the Bush administration -- to tar critics of the Iraq War with a brush worthy of the abdicating Duke of Windsor -- builds each day as the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches in this midterm election year.
Lurching from memories of one catastrophe to the next, I asked myself, now, what do these two events have in common? Why, it's the contractors, silly.
FINALLY. It looks like someone tipped off The Washington Post to the existence of a major primary in Rhode Island, as they sent Ruth Marcus to cover hyperconservative Stephen Laffey's attempt to dethrone Lincoln Chafee. Most polls show him within spitting distance of succeeding -- a far more significant act than anything Ned Lamont pulled off, as a Laffey victory will almost certainly flip the seat to the Democrats. But the Laffey campaign isn't fueled by blogs, and Markos Moulitsas has nothing to do with it, so Chafee's looming defeat has attracted nearly no media attention.