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  • WHO COULD HAVE...

    WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED? What's that you say? A covert CIA operation backfired and accomplished roughly the reverse of what was hoped for? Stuff like that never happens. Except, you know, it happens all the time . For some reason, though, nobody ever seems to catch on to the idea that the odds of success in these kinds of efforts are just very, very, very low. --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: A MAN IN FULL. Garance Franke-Ruta notes that Al Gore �s new movie has turned his criticized qualities into critical ones. --The Editors
  • LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. ...

    LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. On the eve of YearlyKos, Markos himself has penned possibly the first full account of his personal political philosophy. He is, he says, a "Libertarian Democrat." It's a style he's stealing from the Western Democrats like Brian Schweitzer , Jon Tester , Jim Webb , and Paul Hackett and hoping to popularize as a "progressivism for a new century" in an upcoming book. According to Kos, libertarians believe only two forces can impinge on personal liberty -- individuals, and government. "The Libertarian Democrat understands that there is a third danger to personal liberty -- the corporation." So too, it seems, can personal liberty be checked by lack of access to health care, or exploitation in the workplace. So the Libertarian Democrat believes government should step in to prevent such limitations of freedom. Sometimes. Kos also says that the Libertarian Dems' "first proposed solution to a problem facing our nation shouldn't be more regulation, more government...
  • COURTING THE BLOGS...

    COURTING THE BLOGS -- PARTY AT THE STRATOSPHERE. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will be the main attraction at the first ever Daily Kos convention, Yearly Kos , that will be held in Las Vegas this weekend, and he's got plans to welcome the bloggers with open arms. Warner is one of several possible '08 presidential candidates speaking at the convention; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack will also make appearances. So will some Democratic leaders: Former '04 presidential contender Gen. Wesley Clark , DNC chairman Howard Dean , House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi , Sen. Barbara Boxer , and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. This line-up reflects the connections of the Kos community, more than any preferences they may currently have for '08 -- Kossaks routinely favor Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in straw polls, rather than the governors who will be attending the conference. Still, with Warner's PAC having hired MyDD.com founder Jerome Armstrong , a...
  • PRE-K BLUES. While...

    PRE-K BLUES. While universal pre-k enthusiasts mourn yesterday's defeat of Rob Reiner 's awesome California initiative, Gene Sperling reminds us that, at the federal level, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans have "allow[ed] Head Start to have lower enrollment in 2005 than it did in 2002, and give[n] Head Start its first outright funding cut in 19 years." Gotta pay for the estate tax repeal somehow. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos...

    CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos makes an important point about the Bilbray-Busby race outcome and what it all means : The "culture of corruption" is a nice secondary theme to weave into our broader narrative, but it can't be the message on which we pin our 2006 hopes. "We're better managers" won't inspire our troops to head to battle. I'd have to agree. People don't really care all that much about corruption. Congressional corruption, like corporate corruption, is the ultimate "people somewhere else doing something complicated to other people somewhere else" issue. It is intangible and not something voters can see and feel in their daily lives, like immigration or gas prices. Tangible issues will always beat intangible ones. That most voters already think that congresspeople, of both parties, are kind of crooked means that the corruption and lobbying scandals also lack the essential ingredient of newness. My '06 prediction: Corruption will be an issue that moves voters most in those races...
  • THE HARD TO...

    THE HARD TO SPLIT DIFFERENCE. Jacob Sullum notes an abortion prohibitionist going off-message in Louisiana . "I had a strong belief that we could finally protect the innocent life of an unborn child," said state Senator Ben Nevers . "This is about the U.S. Constitution granting every person the right to life." It's politically inconvenient for all concerned, but the implication here that the pro-life goal should be a nationwide, judicially enforced blanket abortion ban seems correct to me. I'm not a fan of judicial review as an institution. But, obviously, it's an institution we have in the United States. Under the circumstances, if a fetus is legally a person, then I think permitting abortion is pretty clearly unconstitutional and not something that can be "left up to the states." We wouldn't let California pass a law saying murder is illegal unless the victim is Mexican. Mexicans are people (someone should tell Lou Dobbs ) so they're due the equal protection of the laws. If fetuses...
  • SCORE ONE FOR...

    SCORE ONE FOR THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM. A couple months ago, Rasmussen Reports deployed some polls that found a xenophobic, enforcement-oriented third-party candidate would net 30-some percent of the vote, a mere single percent below the Democrats' haul. At the time, I dismissed the results as an irrelevant artifact. Now, Mike Crowley notes that precisely such a candidate ran in the CA-50 election. His haul? A pathetic 3.7 percent. So much for that. --Ezra Klein
  • THE NATURE OF...

    THE NATURE OF SPERM. Linda Hirshman 's discussion of the history of religious thinking about sperm reminded me that there have been some fascinating studies coming out lately about the biology of human reproduction. And since the only people who know less about their bodies than women are men, the male readers of this site may be interested to learn that whether they know it or not, they, too, have biological clocks that tick. Male fertility decreases markedly with age. While women have been subjected to an endless stream of anxiety-provoking magazine articles and books about their diminishing reproductive capacity over time, men are much less commonly warned that if they want to have healthy children when they marry, they, too, ought to marry and have children at younger ages. Unlike women, men never completely lose their fertility. But once they hit age 40, it becomes much, much harder for them to impregnate a woman. Says one of the new studies : New research indicates that the...
  • THE TARNISHED GOLDEN...

    THE TARNISHED GOLDEN STATE. You've already heard that Brian Bilbray defeated Francine Busby to keep Duke Cunningham 's seat in the Republican column. I'm with Byron York in finding fewer portents here than others have, but Mike Crowley makes a strong case for a deep, impenetrable gloom. Silver lining? This may lower expectations for Democrats in November. Elsewhere in the Golden State, Phil Angelides beat former eBay executive Steve Westly for the Democratic Party's gubernatorial nomination. I've written on the virtues of Angelides before , but few to none of them were on display during this primary, which was so vicious and low that Markos blamed it for depressing Democratic turnout in the Busby race. I don't know if I buy that, but I don't know a Democrat in California whose enthusiasm and optimism for the upcoming fight against Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't dampened beneath all the vigorously slung mud. As proof, Angelides is that rare non-incumbent who's entering the general with...

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