A SIMPLE PLAN. Pondering the common good versus individual rights while in line for a burrito just now, a thought occurred to me: Why do you need to opt-in to be an organ donor? I'm not going to take such a stridently collectivist line as to suggest that we harvest organs against people's wills, but surely we could change the default rule so that objectors can opt-out of organ donation. I see lots of saved lives and no real downside.
IF A, THEN A. Good to see my colleague Harold Meyersoncontinuing the GOP-has-no-ideas argument. As he notes, their case for retaining Congress isn't an agenda, but a tautology -- if the Democrats win Congress, then the Democrats win Congress. It's an unsettling thought, to be sure, though when pollsters ask, "Overall, which party, the Democrats or the Republicans, do you trust to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years?,� Democrats come out on top by a 14 percent margin.
A COUNTERINSURGENCY TACTIC BY ANY ANOTHER NAME. I think there's more heat than light to my disagreement with Fast Leon, since we're in pretty close agreement about reasonable policy responses to the situation in Sudan. On the semantic issue, I -- and the U.N. -- want to say that a given mass killing is either a genocide or else a war-fighting tactic. Mark, the State Department, Samantha Power, etc., want to say that both kinds of mass killing deserve the label "genocide." As far as that goes, that's fine -- we often have words that denote more than one kind of thing. The word "rock" applies to both diamonds and to random stones you might find anywhere.
The moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived. You can download your copy of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer today. The book is available as a free e-book (read chapter 4 for the reasoning). You will soon be able to order paperback copies at Conservativenannystate.org.
CONTRA MATT. My friend over the cubicle wall does a disservice to the debate over Darfur by calling into question some basic facts about the genocide. First, he falls into a trap that paralyzed international responses to genocide following the holocaust. Namely, that �genocide� primarily means the German slaughter of the Jews of Europe.
WHERE MY HO'S AT? While we've been busy with blogosphere inside baseball, Laura Rozenpoints out that the MSM has been mighty quick to swallow the White House line that Porter Goss's rapid and unexpected departure has absolutely nothing to do with the burgeoning investigation into Hookergate.
THE END OF THE MEME. We've been hearing for the past two years, mainly from Republicans, that the Democratic Party has no ideas. It's time to put that meme to rest, because the American people clearly disagree. According to today's New York Times/CBS News poll, which also found President Bush with a 31 percent approval rating:
By better than two to one, Democrats were seen as having more new ideas than Republicans.
The Times had an article this morning that reports on Sweden's success in sustaining healthy rates of economic growth, while also ensuring a high degree of economic security for its workforce. The article is mostly fair, but is misleading on a few points.
For example, the article reports that Sweden overhauled its Social Security system in the mid-nineties and added private accounts. This is true, but it would have been helpful to add that the defined benefit portion of Sweden's system is still approximately one-third larger (relative to wages) than the current U.S. system.
EARLY RETURNS. Russia, China, Cuba, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia are among the inaugural members of the new Human Rights Council. In a perfect world, none of these countries would be entrusted with a seat on the council. But the world is not perfect, so it was inevitable that some countries with less than stellar human rights records would become members. The true test of the council, however, will not be its membership, but the actions it takes once constituted.
THE ULTIMATE. I was relieved to see that, amidst the current rehashing of Richard Cohen's greatest hits, Digby had the presence of mind to mention what is, without a doubt, the most insanely Cohen-esque Cohen column of them all. I mean, I don't think its preeminence is seriously disputable. It inspires in me something genuinely close to awe. Reading it now is heartening in a way, for it reminds one of the distance that has been covered, and the progress made, over the last six years. There was a time when wankery truly ruled in a way it just doesn't today.