Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NO CHARGE, NO EXIT. Adressing an important gap in the public discussion following the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision, Jonathan Hafetz reminds us that Hamdan 's guarantee of a full trial isn't of much use to the hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners currently being held indefinitely without charge. --The Editors
  • IF JOHN BOLTON...

    IF JOHN BOLTON ISN'T CONFIRMED, THE TERRORISTS WILL WIN. And Senator George Voinovich means that literally: Ambassador Bolton's appointment expires this fall when the Senate officially recesses. Should the president choose to renominate him, I cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists -- and to other nations deciding whether to engage in this effort -- than to drag out a possible renomination process or even replace the person our president has entrusted to lead our nation at the United Nations at a time when we are working on these historic objectives. Because if anything discourages al-Qaeda, it's robust congressional support for our diplomatic representative to the UN. What a wanker. --Ezra Klein
  • A LITTLE BOMBING...

    A LITTLE BOMBING WILL BE GOOD FOR YOU. Also funny, but more in a sad way, is The Washington Post 's stated rationale for opposing the idea of the United States talking to Syria in order to broker an Israel-Hezbollah cease-fire: "The result will be to restore Damascus's influence in Lebanon and destroy the new independent, democratic government in Beirut -- which has far more to fear from such a deal than from Israel's cratering of its airport runways and bridges." Intriguingly, this isn't the view of the actual new independent, democratic government in Beirut -- which wants a cease-fire and doesn't enjoy being bombed. All too many Americans seem incapable of grasping what is, perhaps, the fundamental truth of air power: Nobody likes being bombed, and nobody ever has or ever will believe that the bombing is being done for their own good. --Matthew Yglesias
  • OUTSOURCING HUMOR. I've...

    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. --Matthew Yglesias
  • POWER VACCUUM 101....

    POWER VACCUUM 101. One thing you can say about Newt Gingrich : the guy doesn't pull his punches. On Sunday, Newt announced, on " Meet the Press ," the commencement of World War III in the Middle East and explained how to use that characterization of the current wars there as an election strategy. Come Monday, he carried his game plan to two distinct, if overlapping, constituencies: right-wing politicos and self-identified "born-again" Christians. To the rabidly liberal-hating, Ann Coulter -loving readers of Human Events Online , Gingrich laid out his whole clash-of-civilizations WWIII scenario -- targeting, one presumes, the Capitol Hill crowd. In a longish discourse with numerous bulleted points, the disgraced former House Speaker connected North Korea's bomb, a number of alleged terrorist plots targeting North American sites, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , the Mumbai bombings and the "Iran-Syrian-Hezbollah-Hamas terrorist alliance." Offering numbered talking points on the...
  • Shame and Pain: The "Medicare and Social Security" Line Again

    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. I assume that some of the editorial and op-ed writers actually do look at the projections occasionally. This makes you wonder why they are so insistent on ignoring the projections when they discuss these issues. --Dean Baker
  • WHY DOES NELSON...

    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? Here is an issue where the public policy benefit is clear and the public policy cost is non-existent to anyone who doesn't hold rather peculiar, even mystical, views of the eternal soul of a blastocyst (as opposed to, say, a viable fetus). Public opinion polls clearly support the Democrats� position. Numerous...
  • IT'S PERSONAL. ...

    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. Or when Snow's boss, that tough-talkin', crumb-spittin', neck-rubbin' international buckaroo, uses the first veto of his presidential career and then hides behind children while maundering incoherently about a "moral line" as though he'd recognize one if he fell over it. Is there any doubt that, if this guy got...
  • LOSING JOE-MENTUM. Jon...

    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." --Matthew Yglesias
  • EMBASSY CLOSURES: WHAT...

    EMBASSY CLOSURES: WHAT DOES IT TAKE? Curious to see what kind of political upheaval it normally takes to close a U.S. embassy, I googled around and found the following recent examples: In late February 2003 , "certain families of American diplomats started to leave" Damascus, Syria, and by March 21 , "American and British embassies in Syria...closed their doors until further signals following the beginning of the American and British war against Iraq." Direct protests and threats of violence led the embassy in Indonesia to close in October 2000, according to The New York Times . "The United States Embassy said in a statement today that its consular and visa services, which were hastily closed last week, would not reopen as scheduled on Monday because of a continuing threat of attack, though it declined to give specifics." A "serious terrorist threat" shuttered the embassy in Kenya temporarily in June 2003. In late December 2002, a crisis in Venezuela led to a situation where "violence...

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