CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? For a dreamy-eyed globalist, Tom Friedman often seems seduced by a weirdly dark and apocalyptic view of the international scene. After witnessing the great diversity on display at his daughter's high school graduation, he chooses to celebrate this bit of cosmopolitanism with the observation that "Our greatest asset is our ability to still cream off not only the first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world but the low-skilled-high-aspiring ones as well, and that is the main reason that I am not yet ready to cede the 21st century to China. Our Chinese will still beat their Chinese."
WHAT ARE SPERM FOR? One of the chapters of my book is called �Everything I know, I learned from the Gay Movement,� specifically the turn to a moral argument for gay marriage, a development I applaud and emulate in my own work for women. So I have watched the developments around the Federal Marriage Amendment, up for a vote in the U.S. Senate today, with my usual reaction to the current direction of American politics: fear and loathing.
THE INVISIBILITY'S THE THING. This is a rather bizarre point by Michael Kinsley:
If a superior level of care is available, the care being guaranteed to everybody is inferior. In other words, you are rationing -- denying people useful, if not vital, health care to save money. Worse, you are letting people buy their way out of the rationing if they can afford it -- the way affluent young men were allowed to buy their way out of the Civil War draft.
At the moment we don't guarantee anyone any level of health care, so this moral dilemma can be saved for another day.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE HEALTH CARE. Interesting Wall Street Journalarticle today explaining that some HSA plans actually cost more than high-deductible plans without the tax shelter. That's because HSAs, for all their faults, actually do have some regulations, do generally cover preventive care, and do limit out-of-pocket expenses. All this has certain insurers worrying that HSAs will attract folks who actually want to use the health care system, at least compared to even more skeletal plans.
POWER TRIPS. The new Center for Public Integrity (CPI) study on privately funded congressional travel got big write-ups in the The Washington Post and The New York Times, which both predictably obscured the notable Republican tilt of the information uncovered.
JIM LEACH IS MAKING SENSE. Turns out the moderate Iowa Republican has a bunch of stuff to say that, as Heather Hurlburt observes, "many Democrats, and nearly all Republicans, are either afraid to say or not thinking hard enough about." The thing about Leach, though, is that I've heard him say a number of smart things over the past several years, but have never really seen him do anything about them.
MARRIAGE VERSUS DEATH BY TERROR. The airwaves and newsstands are full of Newsweek magazine�s retraction of its 1986 prediction that a mature single woman�s chances of getting married were the same as her being killed by a terrorist. Relax, girls, Newsweek is �Rethinking the Marriage Crunch,� and that worst of all fates, single female life, can mostly be avoided. Even if you had the temerity to acquire a college degree.
SHOCKING. I've got to give a hand to John Derbyshire's editors at the New English Review, who published the piece Matt cites. The gap in quality between this piece and the writings of someone with the same name and professional history at National Review's The Corner could serve as a case study on the dangers of turning to blogging when you should really just be writing articles, and of the difference between carefully constructed thoughts and tossed off asides. Derbyshire actually deserves to be quoted at some length here, and not just because of his disagreement with Ramesh Ponnuru.
MORE CRAZY ZINSMEISTER ANTICS.Gregspots a falsehood in the bio of new Bush domestic policy chief and all-around eccentric Karl Zinsmeister. The New York Sunpicks up the story and the White House responds.