OUTSOURCING HUMOR. I've been trying for days now to write something funny about the right wing's new take on the "Freedom Babes" of yore, but I don't seem to have the requisite skills. Fortunately, Tim Cavanaugh and Dave Weigel have the goods at Hit and Run.
I believe that the Washington Post has a copyright on combining the words "Medicare" and "Social Security" in a single sentence. Anyone who writes on these issues on their editorial pages always seems to do it.
Again folks, the numbers are real clear. Medicare is a big problem because U.S. health care costs are projected to explode, which means that Medicare costs will explode. The moral is fix the health care system. Social Security is not a problem. The story on aging is not very different in the future than in the past. We are living longer, that has always been true.
WHY DOES NELSON GET A FREE PASS? It's been often noted, in the ever-expanding coverage of the liberal bloggers' animosity towards Joe Lieberman (the most recent and best comments come from Hendrick Hertzberg in this week's New Yorker), that many Democratic senators, like Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have equally conservative voting records but don't incur the same wrath because they are from red states or because they are more loyal to the Democratic Party in other ways. Fair enough. But yesterday's Senate stem-cell vote has me wondering: Why, exactly, is Ben Nelson being given a free pass on his morally reprehensible vote against federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research?
IT'S PERSONAL. It just so happens that I have a couple of really ugly-ass dogs in this fight over embryonic stem-cell research. Not many political issues are personal with me, but this one deeply is. I have watched slow death from neurological disease once too often in my life to be anything but furious when Sam Brownback, a United States senator to the everlasting embarrassment of that body, pulls out a child's drawing of an embryo with a smiley-face in order to argue his position. Or when Tony Snow, that towering public fake, starts getting glib about "murder," as though there isn't enough blood lapping at the ankles of everyone in this White House to float a barge.
LOSING JOE-MENTUM.Jon Chait, no Joe Lieberman fan but still a leading proponent of anti-anti-Liebermanism, seems to be edging closer to the Nedhead position since "[t]he view that Lieberman is unique is starting to seem more persuasive to me."
MESSAGING THE CONFLICT.ViaLaura Rozen, MSNBC has this about the evacuation, which confirms the American commitment to keeping the embassy open and an American presence in Lebanon. I should note that this is probably also a gesture of support for the Lebanese government, and not just the Israelis.
U.S. Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, who is coordinating the evacuation, estimated that more than 6,000 Americans will have been evacuated by the weekend, most of them on ferries and Navy ships.
Despite the increased efforts, some expressed frustration.
A LITTLE GROVELING NEVER HURT. A little birdie who attended last weekend�s big DSCC fundraising event in Nantucket tells me that donors were very impressed by candidates Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO) and Jon Tester (MT), but that Virginia nominee Jim Webb fell flat. Somebody close to Webb told me that, to put it rather bluntly, Webb just isn�t good at the ass-kissing that (some) Democratic donors expect.
WHY IT'S TAKING SO LONG. A reliable source tells me that the reason the United States has been so slow in evacuating its citizens from Lebanon is that the public diplomacy (i.e., P.R.) issues raised by evacuating under Israeli assault are so complicated. Individuals within the State Department, I am told, have been reluctant to create an impression that the Israeli assault on Lebanon is as bad as it is or that civilian U.S. citizens are being threatened by U.S. ally Israel. If a conflict this severe had broken out in, say, Indonesia, the American embassy would have been shut down the next day and its personnel and families rapidly brought to safety. That's how things normally work.