THE BEAST ONLY GROWS HUNGRIER. Maybe I'm just dense, but did we really need a serious academic paper to explain that when conservatives cut taxes, government doesn't necessarily shrink? After all, a quick glance at George W. Bush's tenure reveals a nice pattern of massive tax cuts tilted towards the rich followed by huge entitlement expansions meant to win back favor amongst the middle class -- he's a don't-tax but still-spend conservative. And that's not even getting into Iraq, which has been funded almost entirely through so-called "emergency" appropriations, the main virtue of which is that they're not factored into budget estimates.
WHAT A MESS. A front-pager (at least online) at The New York Times details the predictable decline of medical services in the Gaza Strip under the economically sanctioned Hamas-led Palestinian government, and outlines the increasingly dire predictions of the World Health Organization for the long-term health of the Palestinian medical infrastructure. Meanwhile, gun-battles between rival armed factions fighting for the control of the (unpaid since March) Palestinian security forces have left three dead:
THE IMMIGRANT ROCK.The Washington Post has a notably good history of the immigration debate today. From Germans who saw no reason for linguistic assimilation to Jewish communities that served as hotbeds for socialism to Italians who lagged in educational attainment, the various arguments being trotted out to prove that, no, Mexicans are different, were all paraded about in the past to prove that group X, finally, was too intrinsically deviant to accept into American society.
THE HAYDEN CHOICE.Bush's choice to run the CIA, General Michael Hayden, is provoking some Republican opposition from members of both congressional Intelligence committees who don't want to see a military officer put in charge of the agency. If there's anything that can provoke GOP congresspeople to buck the administration, it's probably squabbling over turf, so something may really come of this initial poor reception.
IS THE CLOCK TICKING FOR KARL ROVE? Today's Washington Post piece on Karl Rovereminds us just how implausible Karl Rove's Plamegate story has always been. It appears Patrick Fitzgerald is very skeptical of Rove's claim that he forgot his conversation with Time reporter Matthew Cooper about Valerie Plame because Rove was up to his neck in the White House's political efforts to deal with critics of pre-war intelligence failures:
HATING ON HILLARY. I'd take Matt's critique of Hillary Clinton a little further than he did. Liberal distaste for Clinton is not a mere reaction to her ceaseless triangulation and ideological timidity, but a frustration at her blithe unwillingness to make the most of her position on the public stage. She is that rarest of Democratic breeds: a superstar, a human starting gun. When she speaks, the media listens. When she holds a press conference, reporters attend. So progressives view Clinton as a walking opportunity cost; she occupies one of the few superstar spots a party can furnish, but has refused to use that power in service of party or liberalism. The anger isn't merely over what she has done, but what she hasn't done.
THE SUBSTANCE FACTOR. Prog blog king Markos Moulitsas had a Washington Post Style section article raising some doubts about Hillary Clinton's presidential aspirations over the weekend. Ed Kilgore's penned a response that I think is effective on some scores. I feel like Markos' efforts at critique were somewhat hobbled by the way the activist blogger community has nominally committed itself to an ideology of non-ideological pragmatism.
THE W. CENTER FOR POLICY EXPERTISE.Elisabeth Bumillerreports that George W. Bush wants to start a think tank along with his presidential library after he leaves office. I'll let commenters supply the appropriate jokes here as I finish my coffee.
HANDS DOWN. Can I just say that my best moment as editor of The American Prospect came -- no-brainer here, dude -- when I parred the 16th at Rock Creek last summer. It�s a fierce Par 4 -- just a slight dogleg left, but a ribbon-thin fairway with dense spinach on both sides and a postage-stamp green that I nailed in regulation with a beautiful seven iron from the short cut. I�m a novice linksman, so any par is a small miracle. But to par the Rock Creek 16th -- well, just let me say it was a great moment for liberal journalism.
The New York Times had an interesting piece on the poor state of the dental care provided by the British public health care system in its Sunday paper. The article reports that people face long waits for even emergency dental care, and that many now turn to private dentists or go to foreign countries for treatment.