• "Hard Work"

    A bit too hard, it seems. When President Bush kept repeating how tough his job was during the primaries, maybe we should have relieved him of it. Instead, he's decided to blow it off for a bit: President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of — nearly five weeks away from the office, loaded with vacation time. The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening for a stretch of clearing brush, visiting with family and friends, and tending to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years. The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford — nearly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White...
  • Bleed 'Em

    Good comment by Hunter , and one that Democrats should take pretty seriously: A 70% Republican district was turned into an edge-of-your-seat race -- I'd have liked to win the thing outright too, but realistically, these results are fantastic. Make them battle for every seat, in every state. Use our grassroots to bleed the Republican money machine. Every once in awhile, I jump back on my kick about the Republican's sustained and multifront effort to cut off most sources of Democratic cash. As summary, they've: They've tried to revise McCain-Feingold to kill 527's, thereby cutting off our soft money and our issue groups; Tried to institute "paycheck protection" for unions, which'd force them to get permission from each and every union member to use any part of their dues for political organizing. Ever heard of this done against corporations? Attempted tort reform, which'd bleed the lawyers. Used the "K" Street Project to systematically exclude Democrats from lobbying firms and freeze...
  • Adrian!

    It should be no shocker to hear Paul Hackett fell a bit short in his congressional bid last night. No, what should make you short of breath and leave the children open-mouthed in awe is that he only lost by 4%. 4%! In a district that generally goes Republican by 65%-75%, we lost by 4%! For the GOP, that's a chill wind blowing. At this point, it's unclear whether Paul Hackett is a bellwether, an isolated superstar, or both. It may be that Coingate and the Republican Majority's arrogance have given Ohioans a nasty case of voter remorse or Paul Hackett himself was such an attractive option that they almost overcame their natural biases. In any case, he'll be a helluva force for 2006. Remember in Rocky, where Rocky didn't beat Apollo Creed, but went 15 rounds when no one ever has? Remember what a victory that was? This was a total victory. And don't mistake it for anything less. Paul Hackett is Rocky.
  • And Liberality For All

    Matt has the best comment I've seen on the hilarious-yet-deranged conservacomic series that us liberals have spent the last two days chortling over: I think this sort of thing actually tells us something important about contemporary politics. It's rather odd to see persecution fantasies coming from the right at a moment when Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the judiciary, most statehouses, and most state legislatures. And yet a right-wing persecution complex is evident to even a casual consumer of right-wing media. To hear the conservative blogs, magazines, and radio shows tell it, despite total conservative domination of the political system a coalition of liberal reporters, academics, and Hollywood stars manage to be the real governing force in America. Matt goes on to write that, crazy as this all seems, it's not that crazy. Very little on the Republican agenda has been passed, and even less of the conservative wish list items have...
  • Score One for the Well-Off

    Whether you're comfortable with America's gaping income inequality or not, I think we can all agree that this really shouldn't be happening: People whose net worth is over $70,000, the median in the United States, are 30 percent less likely than poorer people to feel pain at the end of their lives, a difference that persists even when controlling for age and severity of illness, a new study shows. The findings, which appear in the August issue of The Journal of Palliative Medicine, used information on more than 2,600 adults over 70 who died from 1993 to 1998. The researchers interviewed proxies, usually surviving spouses, to gather information about pain, depression, delirium and difficulties in breathing or eating at life's end. Wealth was a strong predictor of how many different types of discomfort an older adult suffered, with those whose net worth was over $70,000 having a 9 percent lower risk of experiencing multiple symptoms. There's much in life that I think is perfectly...
  • What It's About

    This bit from is fairly illustrative of what the election in Ohio-02 will turn on: Hackett is a far left Democrat using his experience in the military to beat up the President and the war. According to Hackett, Bush saying "Bring 'em on!" was "the most incredibly stupid comment I've ever heard a president of the United States make." If you live in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, remember to go vote today. Be sure to vote for Jean Schmidt. So what will today's election be about? Paul Hackett. Republicans know Schmidt is, in her better moments, an empty suit. There's no appeal to voting for her, no reason to line up with her. But against Hackett? Against a Democrat? Now we're talking. Democrats, of course, feel the same way, except that the candidate they're voting for is the one they're genuinely moved by. In this race, Schmidt barely even exists. It's Democratic war hero Paul Hackett or not Democratic war hero Paul Hackett.

    Joe Biden's op-ed on the dangers posed by chemical attack is worth a read, not just for its terrorism implications, but what it says about the Bush administration's priorities: The Chlorine Institute has estimated that an assault on a chlorine tanker could create a toxic cloud extending up to 15 miles. If this poisonous fog drifted over Capitol Hill, where deadly chemicals are transported just four blocks from the U.S. Capitol, thousands of people could be killed and Congress and the Supreme Court could be shut down for an extended period. In fact, the Naval Research Laboratory has estimated that up to 100,000 people could be killed or injured in less than a half-hour by such an attack. Hospitals would be inundated with patients seeking treatment for burns to the eyes, skin and lungs. Thousands of panicked residents would need to be evacuated. To address this threat and protect the millions of people who live in, work in and visit our nation's capital, the D.C. Council recently passed...
  • Precedent

    This is what I call a great find: Richard Holbrooke, who Republicans delayed for 14 months as Bill Clinton's nominee to the U.N., refused to bypass the Senate with a recess appointment, saying that it would introduce him to the world body with no credibility or authority. Wow.
  • Mushy Moderates and Timid Traditionalists

    Interesting article in the Washington Post: Under President Bill Clinton, multiple clashes with Congress, the judiciary and independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr chipped away at attorney-client and executive privileges on sensitive documents and conversations. But since coming to power, Bush has doggedly reclaimed turf that eroded under Clinton, asserting the power of his office to shield everything from energy policy deliberations to the papers of past presidents. ... In a showdown with the Senate opposition over something like the Roberts papers, Klain recalled, a politically and legally weakened Clinton White House often would find a compromise to end the dispute. "I have no doubt that if that had been us, we would have turned over the papers," Klain said. "I'm not saying that's a good thing; I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But whenever we walked up to the brink, we blinked. And these guys don't, and they're prepared to pay the price for it." What's interesting, though, isn't...
  • Hilarifying

    Heh , but I can't bring myself to utter an "indeed".