Archive

  • 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...
  • MORE ON VIRGINIA.

    MORE ON VIRGINIA. Adding to our earlier discussion on whether Virginia is following in Delaware�s and Maryland�s historical footsteps, reader David Weigel writes in to point out: Gov. Tim Kaine isn't a native to Virginia or the South. He was born in St. Paul, MN, and grew in the Kansas City area (the Missouri side) before he went to Harvard for law school. I think this adds some evidence to your concept. In 4-10 years, I think Virginia's politics will look more like Pennsylvania's, with the DC burbs playing the part of Philly and its suburbs. At the very least Democrats are going to start picking up the northern VA congressional seats now held by Tom Davis and Frank Wolf. Indeed, that seems to be where the long-term trend is going. Furthermore, just double the number of years and, with all the Northern retirees flocking to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the rest of the Research Triangle Park area, North Carolina may be in exactly the place Virginia finds itself now. The more...
  • ALWAYS LOW SALARIES,...

    ALWAYS LOW SALARIES, ALWAYS. Jonah Goldberg accuses me of ducking his criticisms -- which would be true, only I, uh, didn't see his criticisms. Amazingly, I don't actually read the Corner on Saturdays, and was only responding to those, like Glenn Reynolds , who answered me during the week. But since I now do see that Jonah answered, it gives me time to be confused. In what must be the most revealing few sentences he's ever written, Jonah promised, "I'll make Ezra a deal. I will forthrightly deal with the progressive case against Wal-Mart, if he explains in simple and straightforward language which issues he considers to be less important than Wal-Mart." Read that again. Jonah will bring an ounce of intellectual honesty to the table if I accept his demands. He's holding good faith debate hostage, and in doing so, admitting that his Los Angeles Times column was nothing but a smear job, one in which he didn't deal with the opposing arguments forthrightly. I applaud the honesty, but can't...
  • DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH.

    DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH. If I may add a footnote to Charles � post below, I am particularly sensitive to the pervasive �conventional wisdoms� about Democrats and the South. One of the most annoying of these analyses -- so common that I wonder if it�s one of those cut-and-paste paragraphs journalist pre-write and insert into their stories about the South -- closed the very piece Charles links to: �The last three Democrats to win the presidency--Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson--came from the southern states of Arkansas, Georgia and Texas, respectively.� That statement is true, of course: All three came of age and made their political chops in Southern states. But Clinton is different from Carter and Johnson in a fundamental way: He won his ticket to the White House outside the South. Here come the numbers, folks: Carter�s margin over Gerald Ford in 1976 was 9.5 points higher in the South than his margin over Ford in the non-South (which Ford carried narrowly). Just...

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