The Times had an interesting piece discussing the impact of more than $1.2 trillion in adjustable rate mortgages resetting in the next two years. The article points out that many homeowners may find their rates increasing by as much as 2 full percentage points when their lock-in period ends on an adjustable rate mortgage.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE RULES OF THE GAME. Earlier today, Laura Rozentalked to Mark Perry, co-founder of the Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, which has administered dialogues between Hezbollah and former American and British officials for the past several years. Perry assesses the current crisis, and doesn't pull punches:
We�ve been hearing the theory that the timing of Hezbollah�s Tuesday kidnapping of the two Israeli Defense Force soldiers was planned well in advance and with coordination from Tehran or Damascus. Can you speak to that?
SPECTER'S SHAM INDEPENDENCE, EXAMPLE #2,494. For those who haven't yet read much about the Arlen Specter-Bush administration "compromise" on the NSA domestic surveillance program, this from Marty Lederman is highly worth reading. Orin Kerrelaborates further on the troubling balance-of-power implications in the bill, while Jane Harmanconcurs that the thing's no good.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: AN END TO HEDGING The challenge against Joe Lieberman, arguesTerence Samuel, will transform the Iraq war as a political issue for Democrats. The "competence" critique of the administration's war will no longer suffice, and a number of the '08 presidential contenders are going to have to hop off the fence in one direction or the other.
DEMOCRACY PROMOTION. Seems to me that Andy McCarthy is asking the right questions. Though democracy promotion makes for great and stirring rhetoric, it's really worth having a serious conversation about when and in which forms it conflicts with America's interests and the war on terror. It's testament to this administration's fundamental inability to shed the Cold War mindset that they seem to have avoided any actual thinking over the interplay between a transformative project to change the Middle East's regimes and the immediate imperative to calm anti-American sentiment and assure domestic safety and regional stability.
THE RIGHT WING IS VERY BRAVE. Campus Progress, the student journalism arm of the Center for American Progress (Full disclosure: I've done some writing for them), wanted to send a reporter to cover the right-wing Young America Foundation's conference. Not so fast, said YAF's smug, emoticon-using media representative, Jason Mattera. After LOL'ing over the request, Mattera explained that he'd no sooner credential CP than The Nation, contrary thought assumedly provoking allergic reactions at conservative conferences (and liability insurance being expensive, what with the lack of tort reform and all).
NEGOTIATING A WAY OUT. I noticed that some commenters replying to Matt's item this morning were skeptical about the possibility of a negotiated disarmament of the Hezbollah terrorists. I'd like to point them to this story from The Jerusalem Post on the situation:
QUALITY OF LIFE. Folks should tell Tester that, once you look past this pesky crime emergency and the apparent uptick in ghoulish attacks against even residents of the fancier neighborhoods in town, DC's a swell place to live. Great summers, too!
TESTER TEST. A year ago, I had a chance to sit down in Great Falls, Montana, with Senate candidate Jon Tester, who is in DC now for fundraising events and meet-n-greets. The one thing he said last July that still sticks in my memory was this reflection on the life he and his wife have been living in Montana for 48 years: �We�ve got a great quality of life where we live. Washington will not be a step up; it�ll be a step down as far as quality of life goes.� All politicians tell you how much more they like their home district than Washington, but somehow you just knew he was serious as a heart attack when he said it.