Archive

  • GREETINGS FROM KATRINALAND....

    GREETINGS FROM KATRINALAND. Here, in New Orleans, on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, there is nothing but Katrina to talk about today. There's plenty to talk about, and much of it distressing. There is still no electricity in the lower Ninth Ward, the site that generated the most horrific television images of the storm -- dead bodies riding the currents, people trapped on rooftops. With no public services, FEMA will not provide trailers to the people who once lived here. Without trailers, they can't rebuild. I've heard people speak with scorn of the city's call for residents to return home; return to what, they ask. According to Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (D), the Small Business Administration's emergency loan program is showing the lowest acceptance rate of any previous emergency to whose victims it offered loans. The rate of acceptance for Katrina-related loans, Moran told a local talk-show host here, is 38 percent. In the Clinton administration, he said, the rate was...
  • IRONY AT WORK.

    IRONY AT WORK. Sometimes the headline says it all. That the entire civilized population of the United States isn't rolling down the street, laughing uncontrollably, is a measure of what this cabal of constitutional vandals has wrought over the past seven years. I thought sending Karen Hughes out as the Face of America in the Muslim World was going to be the peak of this administration's hilarious gift for inappropriate public irony. Not even close, as it turns out. Did this rubber-stamp Torquemada tell the Iraqis that the Geneva Conventions are "quaint"? (Something on which he and their most recent dictator could find a little common ground.) Did he school them in these find distinctions ? Just send him into the National Archives with a big old bottle of Liquid Paper and be done with it. --Charles P. Pierce
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: IS OUR PRESIDENT LEARNING?

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: IS OUR PRESIDENT LEARNING? Just how bogus, desperate, and perversely counterproductive is the Bush team's new p.r. push to present George W. as an intellectually minded bookworm? Steve Benen answers . --The Editors
  • FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S...

    FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S TRUE. Newcomer blog IvyGate.com unmasks the real secretive cabal that controls the media. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • PHARMA CARES. ...

    PHARMA CARES. You may have had your daily Law & Order time interrupted recently by ads congratulating legislators who voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug bill, and blasting those who didn't. The ads were paid for by the Chamber of Commerce -- only they weren't. It turns out the pharmaceutical industry -- the main beneficiary of Medicare�s expansion -- have actually been footing the bill, while the CofC attaches its name to the closing credits. And this isn't the first time Pharma has funded ads supporting their agenda but lacking their byline: Back in May 2002, the United Seniors Association stepped forward with a $10-million blitz praising the new Medicare bill. Officials from USA first denied that Pharma picked up the cost, and then admitted the campaign was paid for through an "educational grant" from the industry. Now, the only question is why Pharma is so ecstatic over a Medicare plan that supposedly offers severe discounts on their medications. One of their spokesmen...
  • WHEN IS A SUPERPOWER NOT A SUPERPOWER?

    WHEN IS A SUPERPOWER NOT A SUPERPOWER? Mark Steyn offers up a classic example of the right's oddly metaphorical view of national strength: This country has acquired the habit either of losing wars or of ending them inconclusively. A similar result in the Middle East would lead not just the Chinese, Russians, and Iranians but also the Norwegians, Singaporeans, and Australians to conclude that the nation's hyperpower status was some freak accident � like Jerry Lewis stumbling into a boardroom meeting and being mistaken for the new chairman. They would make their dispositions according, there being no reason why anyone should take Washington seriously ever again. Not to get too thick in the weeds of origins and so forth, but I think it should be pretty clear that the United States' hyperpower status is based on the fact that we're objectively very powerful . We have -- by far -- the world's largest GDP and we spend a relatively large share of it on our military. Hence, we have all these...
  • NOW THERE'S AN...

    NOW THERE'S AN '08 PRIMARY ISSUE. It's a rare thing when a national issue manifests itself in its most extreme form in presidential primary states, but that appears to be exactly what's happened with America's growing student debt problem, according to a new report (PDF) by The Project on Student Debt . Students who attended colleges in Iowa and New Hampshire graduated in 2005 with the highest debt burdens in America, an average of $22,727 and $22,793 respectively. That made New Hampshire's recent college grads the most indebted in America, with those from Iowa following a close second. How can this be, given that both states lack clusters of pricey, brand-name private institutions? The answer is somewhat counter-intuitive: Student debt is not a function of tuition costs, but of the economic background of the students combined with the costs of living in an area and the amount of aid provided by states and their university systems. Thus, lower-income students who attend low-tuition...
  • MCCAINIACS.

    MCCAINIACS. On behalf of the rest of American journalism, I'd like to apologize for this . The profession lost its mind in 2000, with very unfortunate consequences. There was the War on Gore , which I witnessed first-hand when the vice president got heckled and booed by some of the people watching him on TV in the press room at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. (Oh, yes, you did, kids, just the way you did in Hanover later on.) I remember telling a veteran reporter who was as agog as I was that this was the kind of behavior that literally would get you ejected from any press box in any American stadium. Then there was the ongoing novelization of that trust-fund cowboy, George W. Bush . The only galloping hallucination remaining from that year seems to be John McCain , Centrist Hero, and its giggling acolytes apparently have it primed for another lap around the country. Oh, and I'd like to apologize for the John Mark Karr Donkey Show, too. --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE NEW IMPERIALISM.

    THE NEW IMPERIALISM. Via Robert Farley , William Stuntz explains in The Weekly Standard why we must continue occupying Iraq: On the other hand, if American forces were to leave Iraq now, the likely result would be an escalating civil war that would radicalize Iraq's Shiites, leaving Sadr and his ilk in control of either the whole country or its Shiite-majority region--along with most of its oil. That would give Ahmadinejad's Iran a chain of likeminded governments stretching from Afghanistan's western border to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. A jihadist Shiite superpower with nuclear capability at the head of such an alliance is a truly terrible outcome, comparable in world-historical terms to Hitlerite rule over Europe. It is well worth fighting to prevent this--indeed, it is worth fighting harder than America has fought to date. First off, note that the rationale for the war has switched once again. Rather than worrying that Osama bin Laden will take over Iraq if we leave, we're supposed to...
  • Rewritten History on AIDS

    The NYT applies a large does of whitewash in its discussion of President Clinton�s current efforts to promote the treatment of AIDS in developing country. While the article notes in passing that Clinton �conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines,� this lone sentence hardly does justice to Clinton�s work on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry during his tenure in the White House. Clinton was the person who allowed the pharmaceutical industry to use the power of the U.S. trade office to get the TRIPS provisions into the 1995 Uruguay Round agreement of the W.T.O. These provisions will limit the access to generic drugs for billions of people in the developing world, in some cases raising the price of AIDS drugs by several thousand percent. Even in his last years in office, Clinton harassed the South African government over its efforts to issue compulsory...

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