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  • CAITLIN REVISITED. A...

    CAITLIN REVISITED. A helpful comment by Mark Schmitt on my post below suggests that the verb �to Caitlin ,� meaning �to provide a hot nightly dinner to the male head of the household,� should actually be �to Paloma ,� since it is Caitlin�s Hispanic employee who actually does the work around the house, while Caitlin scribbles about how women should quit their jobs to do the work around the house. I offer instead a friendly amendment to the definition, to include �to provide, or hire Hispanic employees to provide , a hot nightly dinner. I wouldn�t want to coin a phrase that discriminates against the wealthy elite, or what our Republican friends call �class warfare.� Okay, Mark? --Linda Hirshman
  • CAN'T WE ALL...

    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." Beat their Chinese at what ? Economic competition, I suppose. But the international economy isn't like a sports tournament. If Brazil wins the World Cup, Italy looses. If the Czech Republic plays better than the United States, we won't make it out of the first round. If the Rockets draft Yao Ming , he can't play for the Shanghai Sharks anymore. Economics isn't...
  • WHAT ARE SPERM...

    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. But I have had the strangest feeling all week that Bush �s Federal Marriage Amendment is going to, pardon the expression, backfire, not just because it�s so transparently strategic and insincere , but because it�s so hilariously stupid. Bob Cesca had a wonderful post on Huffington Post yesterday reminding us that a lot of the prohibition against nonreproductive sex, and therefore homosexual sex, stems from truly imaginative understandings of each sperm as having a little man in it waiting to be born. (Women were just the garden, naturally.) My personal...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: STUPIDITY08.COM. Matt Yglesias observes how Washington pundits are gushing over a very silly idea for a third party presidential ticket. --The Editors
  • THE INVISIBILITY'S THE...

    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. This is like watching a kid step in front of a car and breathing a big sigh of relief because you never took an oath to save kids from oncoming automobiles. We're not saving the moral dilemma for another day, we're just ignoring it today. As it is, we have almost no guaranteed floor, and all rationing is done by income, and done without limit. If we did guarantee a certain level of care, at least there would be a minimum...
  • THE CIRCLE OF...

    THE CIRCLE OF LIFE HEALTH CARE. Interesting Wall Street Journal article 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. But fear not, as the Journal notes, "insurers say that if evidence emerges that consumers with HSAs use less health care than consumers with other plans, the prices on HSA plans are likely to become more attractive relative to other plans." Reminds me of a comment I heard Paul Krugman make earlier today: "We�ve developed a system where companies and insurers devote a lot of energy to identifying who really needs insurance in order not to give it to them." Now that's market-driven health care. --Ezra...
  • POWER TRIPS. The...

    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. As it happens, I wrote a piece arguing against a blanket ban on private congressional travel a few months ago, back when it looked like folks in Congress were actually scared enough to pass major new ethics reforms (silly me). It's not that there isn't plenty of legalized bribery going on with these trips or that corporate interests don't dominate the field; there is, and they do. It's just that, amidst the golf junkets and Ripon bashes, there actually really are a good deal of worthwhile educational trips funded by private groups that also happen. I wrote about one trip to Ethiopia funded by the International Center for Research on Women , to show Hill staffers (those involved in authorizing and appropriating funds for USAID)...
  • JIM LEACH IS...

    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. --Matthew Yglesias
  • MARRIAGE VERSUS DEATH...

    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. In a real effort at analysis, Newsweek solicited an essay from Stephanie Coontz , the nostalgia debunking family scholar, which alerts us that women are marrying down, staying at work, and making egalitarian bargains. But Newsweek �s marriage articles always carry a sting, don�t they? The scary thing about the new article is that the women Newsweek chose to profile gave up their careers and separate identities after they won the prize. One unexpected bride quit her job to tend the kids and moved from New York to Vermont; the article highlights a second one, formerly a...
  • SHOCKING. I've got...

    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 . He actually has something interesting to say about the right to life movement (or RTL, as he calls it), and its cult-like qualities: I wonder again: Who, actually, is the Party of Death? Here I see a woman who, having missed her period and found herself pregnant, has an abortion, comes home, downs a stiff drink, and gets on with her life. With her life. Here I meet a man whose loved wife has gone,...

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