Archive

  • THE SWEET SMELL OF FEDERALISM.

    THE SWEET SMELL OF FEDERALISM. It seems that the "Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would make it a federal crime to help an under-age girl escape parental notification laws by crossing state lines to obtain an abortion." This is the sort of thing we can look forward to if Roe and Casey are overturned or chipped away. The abortion issue won't be "returned to the states" under any circumstances. It simply isn't the sort of issue that people are going to be inclined to take a "live and let live" attitude toward -- we're not talking about speed limits or zoning rules or what you have. Rather, people are disagreeing about a very abstract question of universal morality, and, naturally enough, people on both sides are going to try and get as close to universal rules as they possibly can. And, frankly, rightly so -- it'd be bizarre to decide that a fetus is a legal person in Oklahoma but not in Oregon. --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FIGHTING RIGHT. Further thoughts from Adele on mainline Protestant fissures, religious politics, and the need for asymmetrical battling. --The Editors
  • MORE ON BILL'S VISIT.

    MORE ON BILL'S VISIT. I�m gonna try to last-word Ezra from yesterday (no small task, that) on the Joe Lieberman indy-abandonment theory I am propounding�and I have data. The results of a new Rasmussen poll ( courtesy of Kos ) show Lieberman trailing Ned Lamont by 10 points (51 percent to 41 percent) in the primary and, more stunning than that, Joe is now deadlocked with Ned in a potential three-way general election (Lamont and Lieberman, 40 percent; Republican Schlesinger , 13 percent). The Quinnipiac poll only last week had Lieberman with a majority of 51 percent to Lamont�s 27 percent in a three-way general election contest. Even if one factors in margins of error in both polls, that�s quite a turnaround. This race is so volatile now I wouldn�t be surprised with Lieberman winning or losing the primary. If he wins, the three-way scenario is moot. But if he loses, it looks like the floor of support for his independent candidacy has fallen out from under him. Even if Clinton didn�t put...
  • MORE SHOES.

    MORE SHOES. The dog that hasn't really barked yet in Iraq is the Turkey-Kurdistan conflict. One of the most-warned-against "things go bad" scenarios before the war was that Iraqi Kurdistan might become a base for anti-Turkish operation in Turkish Kurdistan, prompting Turkey to intervene militarily in Iraq. So far, lots and lots of things have gone bad in Iraq, but this particular scenario has been pretty quiet. Until now , that is, when Newsweek reports that Kurdish separatists operating out of Iraq have killed 15 Turkish soldiers in cross-border raids over the past week and pressure is building in Ankara for retaliation, especially in light of America's strong support for Israel's incursion into Lebanon. UPDATE: See more on this from Olivier Knox yesterday. --Matthew Yglesias
  • STEELE EXPOSED.

    STEELE EXPOSED. My immediate thought upon reading Dana Milbank �s column in the Post yesterday about the mystery Republican senate candidate was that it smelled like Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele . Turns out, it was . I teach in Maryland, and the thing you have to understand is that Steele is in a bad spot. Sure, Maryland is a very blue state, and 2006 is looking more and more like a bad Republican cycle. But Steele also has four liabilities that his boss, Gov. Bob Ehrlich , does not: 1. Ehrlich is running for re-election, not his first election, and Steele has never won on his own; 2. Ehrlich has a longstanding geographic base of support from his congressional days representing Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Harford County, whereas Steele does not; 3. Ehrlich is running for state office, not national office, and that insulates Ehrlich from many of the tough issues that Steele can only duck for so long, notably Iraq; and 4. Steele just doesn�t have the natural...
  • THE SECOND, AS FARCE.

    THE SECOND, AS FARCE. Israel announced plans to re-occupy a strip of southern Lebanon. This is ill-advised. Israel ceased occupying a strip of southern Lebanon just a few years ago and with good reason. What's more, re-occupation will alter the whole political context in adverse ways. Syria now has its rationale for involvement in Lebanon back, and the level of pressure that previously existed on Hezbollah to disarm will melt away now that Israeli occupation has returned. But, having decided to go all-out in response to Hezbollah's raid, what choice did Israel have? The international community doesn't seem to want to send a force in. The Lebanese government can't do what the Israelis are asking it to. The IDF can't "crush" Hezbollah. And having committed to going in and cleaning this up, the Israelis don't want to admit it was all a mistake and "look weak" by going home. No doubt Hezbollah expected "the usual, limited response" to their July 12 raid because a limited response is what...
  • Is the Housing Bubble Bursting?

    The latest numbers certainly show a slowing. Existing home sales are down by 10 percent from their peaks last year. Prices have stabilized on a year over year basis (down slightly after adjusting for inflation), and inventories are building. It is worth noting in the latest report that the inventory of unsold condos stood at 8 months of sales in the June report. Also, it is important remember that the existing homes data refers to sales closed in June. Since it typically takes 6-8 weeks to close a contract, the June sales are most showing information about contracts signed in April and May. --Dean Baker
  • The WTO is Not Free Trade

    It would be nice if reporters were forced to read what they write before it appears in the paper. What do they mean when they say "free trade?" What makes increasing patent and copyright protection (an essential part of recent U.S. trade agreements) free trade? These are government granted monopolies. Isn't that obvious? Yes, they serve a purpose in providing incentives for innovation and creative work, but ALL forms of protection serve a purpose, that doesn't mean that they are not protectionism. Also, it really is infuriating that reporters cannot recognize the protectionism that sustains relatively high salaries for professionals and reporters. If we had free trade for doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. we would have standardized licensing requirements so that smart students anywhere in the world would have the same opportunity to train and get a job in these professions in the United States as a kid born in New York. Any economics reporter who thinks we have this situation now...
  • THE MYSTERY CANDIDATE....

    THE MYSTERY CANDIDATE. The blogosphere has been consumed today with the unnamed GOP senatorial candidate who lit into George W. Bush at a reporter's breakfast. The whole situation was a bit weird -- the cloaked complainer was frustrated at the GOP's weakness and Bush's unpopularity, so it's not clear why he didn't rip off the mask and try to carve out some public independence. In any case, ABC News confirms that the man behind the mask is Maryland's Michael Steele. I wonder how the rest of the GOP feels about him publicly blasting the party to reporters -- feeding the Bush-is-unpopular and GOP-is-doomed narratives -- while hiding behind assured anonymity. --Ezra Klein
  • A TALE OF...

    A TALE OF TWO PLANS. The blogosphere has endless amounts of commentary on Hillary Clinton and the DLC's American Dream Initiative, a laudable-if-modest set of policy proposals to help the middle class, subsidize the poor, and offer this undefined thing called opportunity. None of the plans are particularly inspirational, and the health care section is packed with the usual pabulum about electronic medicine, small business buying pools, and giving kids insurance. All the easy stuff, in other words. And, according to Google News , these shocking proposals garnered over 220 news articles. Elsewhere, on Capitol Hill, Pete Stark and Jan Schakowsky presented the AmeriCare Health Act, a fully realized piece of legislation that would create a universal insurance program using a slightly revamped Medicare template. The plan would have a deductible of $350 ($500 for a family), a 20 percent copay, and an out-of-pocket limit of $2,500 for individuals and $4,000 for families. The benefits are full...

Pages