Archive

  • Getting Tough on Immigrants Seeking Health Care

    To paraphrase my friend Brad DeLong, "why oh why do newspapers have to use meaningless numbers when it is so easy to provide information." Today's example is a Washington Post article about a new rule that requires people to show proof of citizenship before they can be covered by Medicaid. The article includes much useful information and comments from both proponents and opponents of the rule. Then it tells us that the Congressional Budget Office estimates that this rule will save Medicaid $735 million over the next decade. Great, everyone realize how much money that is? Okay, we know the Washington Post has an educated readership, but virtually none of their readers has any idea how important $735 million over the next decade is to the budget or their pocketbooks. Let's suppose the reporters had taken a moment to look at projected spending for this period. CBO projects total spending over the next decade at $33.3 trillion, or approximately $111,000 per person. The potential savings...
  • AGAINST OBJECTIVITY. I...

    AGAINST OBJECTIVITY. I guess I appreciate what the Supreme Leader is getting at in his column when he says that "any civil society needs institutions in every realm of life -- in business, the law, the arts, what have you -- that take as their presumptive raison d�etre not ideology but its opposite, impartiality." On the other hand, does it really follow from that that we need The New York Times ? After all, England, France, and -- as far as I know -- pretty much all European countries seem to get on just fine without a broadsheet that aspires to American-style neutrality. Obviously, if the Times were to just vanish tomorrow, that would be bad, but if it were to transform itself into a feisty Guardian -style paper and prompt the creation of a counterpart rightwing national broadsheet, I think that would be good. After all, ideology need not be the enemy of quality. No liberal is going to approve of The Economist 's politics, but it's still a way better magazine than Time or Newseek ...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE. The Supreme Court handed down a number of important decisions this week. Tracie Powell assesses the ambiguous implications of the Court's Texas redistricting decision for interpreting and enforcing the Voting Rights Act, while Deborah Pearlstein explains why the extraordinary Hamdan decision will affect far more than the U.S.'s policy for trying Guantanamo detainees. --The Editors
  • VIEWER'S GUIDE: JUNE...

    VIEWER'S GUIDE: JUNE 29 -- INFINITY. I link to this only to point out that The Food Channel is likely to be the only place in the cable universe where this gentleman is not discussed for the foreseeable future. You can almost hear Sean Hannity 's blood boiling, O'Reilly 's in full loofah, and Rush probably isn't going to need his little helpers for a while. On a brighter note, Ward Churchill is probably off the hook. --Charles P. Pierce
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: KELLER MUST STAY. Prospect supreme leader Mike Tomasky boldly flip-flops on the "fire Bill Keller ?" question, in light of the current right-wing jihad against The New York Times sparked by the bank-records story. Liberals understand the need for institutions in society that at least strive to be impartial and non-ideological. The modern right believes no such thing, and that's why the Times , and its beleaguered editor, need defending. --The Editors
  • $1 BEEELION DOLLARS....

    $1 BEEELION DOLLARS. I don't find myself agreeing with Republican representative Dan Lungren very often, but this strikes me as a great idea. He's sponsored legislation offering a $1 billion prize to the first American automaker able to create, market, and sell 60,000 cars that get 100 mpg. He explains, "[c]ompetition for a prestigious prize is far more likely to get results than government programs aimed at anticipating and funding 'winners.' Although occasionally effective, federal subsidies are paid before an industry proves it can achieve what it set out to do, and all too often such subsidies are given to the politically influential, not the meritorious. But prize money is paid out only when the goal is achieved." Quite right. I'd quibble with leaving this to American automakers -- if the intent is to popularize the car rather than subsidize politically influential corporations, other companies should get to play. Maybe the prize can be limited to the first company that develops...
  • SIEGELISM. Matt...

    SIEGELISM . Matt says he agrees. But it's easy to agree that all these young kids and their insouciant fashion statements make you mad. Matt's 25 now, and I'm sure in three years, I'll agree, too -- there appears to be a schedule for these sorts of opinions. For that reason, the question isn't whether he agrees with Siegel's banal crankiness, but his proposed remedy. "When I see someone wearing a baseball cap in a movie theater," Siegel writes , "I want them to bring back the guillotine." Siegelism in action -- take a mundane point (I don't like bloggers or baseball caps) and go for the wild overreach (they're fascists or we should execute cap wearers). When agreeing with Siegel, the question isn't the underlying opinion, but the overlay of nuttiness. --Ezra Klein
  • STICKING UP FOR...

    STICKING UP FOR LEE SIEGEL. A lot of bloggers I respect are slagging on anti-blogofascist Lee Siegel 's tirade against baseball caps , but let me say that flaws in Siegel's other writing notwithstanding, I totally agree with him about this. --Matthew Yglesias
  • FOOL'S GOLD. ...

    FOOL'S GOLD. Folks may remember the newly declassified discoveries of WMDs being touted by Rick Santorum , Curt Weldon , and others. The haul amounts to about 500 munitions which include sarin and mustard gas components and they are very, very scary. At least if you're a common household insect. That, at least, is the opinion of folks who actually know what they're talking about. Salon 's Michael Scherer went by the congressional hearings meant to ascertain the potency of these armaments. The testimony, if it weren�t disproving the lies that led us into war, would've been funny. David Kay , the nation's top weapons inspector, explained that: As far back as September 2004, the CIA had disclosed the discovery of the old chemical munitions from Iraq's war with Iran. The CIA also explained that these weapons were not the ones the Bush administration had used to justify the invasion of Iraq. What's more, Kay said, the decades-old sarin nerve gas was probably no more dangerous than...
  • WHEN IN DOUBT:...

    WHEN IN DOUBT: FIND AN EXILE. Ah, excellent. Farid Ghadry , part of the Syrian exile group Reform Party of Syria, says that the recent operation where Israeli jets buzzed Bashar Asad 's house "is very encouraging to the Syrian opposition." Let me go on record as sharing Justin Logan 's skepticism . Appearing to be working in collaboration with the Israeli Defense Forces has not, historically, been a great method of gaining popular support in Arab countries. The good news is that a couple of weeks ago Ghadry "met with Vice President Cheney on June 17 at the American Enterprise Institute�s annual retreat" in Colorado, so it's not like there's any precedent for this sort of thing going awry. I mean, Cheney + exiles + AEI = victory, right? Right. --Matthew Yglesias

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