Archive

  • Showing Deficits Some Love

    The latest Democracy Corps poll found: Requiring Congress to forego a pay raise in any year the government runs a deficit or raids the Social Security trust fund, and requiring that any future benefit cuts to Social Security should apply to congressional pensions as well. Matt doesn't like the idea because civil servant salaries are tied to congressional salaries, and this'd hurt them too. But if we can reformulate how salaries are calculated so this'd only hurt congresscritters, Matt says we should give the people the "wacky populism" that they want. I disagree. It's all well and good to nail Bush for his huge and irresponsible deficits now, but Democrats really shouldn't be in the business of making moderate deficit spending impossible, or at least really, really unlikely. Fact is, we're the social program folks, and once this weird administration with its big-budget conservatism heads back to Crawford, and once our fiscal house is put in a bit better order, there are going to be...
  • Cheap as well as nasty

    By now we've all heard about Rick Santorum's bill seeking to prevent the National Weather Service from actually sharing weather forecasts with Americans. You see, that "socialized weather" business has got to stop. It's taking the bread right out of the mouths of private web-based forecast providers who work so hard to make a profit by repackaging that information the NWS just want to give away for free. One such firm is Accuweather, which just so happens to be based in Pennsylvania, just like the good senator. Fancy that. [T]hroughout 2003 and 2004, both Joel and Barry Myers have donated nearly $2,750 to Santorum's 2006 re-election efforts. Public records also showed that since 1999, the Senator received nearly $5,000 in contributions from AccuWeather executives, raising questions of whether the company attempted to court favor with the Senator through campaign contributions. Count it up...$2,750+$5,000=$7,750. For a blatant gimme bill introduced in congress? That's what I call value...
  • There is no excuse

    This Foreign Policy article by Tina Rosenberg explodes a lot of conventional wisdom about AIDS, and is well worth reading in its entireity. However, what really surprised me was the fact that patients in poor countries are much, much, better about keeping up with their drug regiments for AIDS than us Americans, where only about 70% take the drugs on time as opposed to well above 90% in places like Camaroon, Uganda and Malawi. Shamefully, I had always unthinkingly bought into the racist trophe that Africans somehow less likely to follow the regiment correctly. At least I didn't go as far as Andrew Natsios, who runs the U.S. agency for International Development by the way, by speculating that African simply lack the western concept of time necessary to take retroviral drugs on schedule. So why are we so bad at taking our medicine compared to Africans? Rosenberg speculates that there is more community support in Africa, and since AIDS have been so devastating, the consequences of not...
  • JoBo on NoKo: Uh-Oh!

    Via Laura Rozen, we learn that The WSJ reports that the US believes North Korea could be preparing a nuclear test. It has asked China to pressure North Korea to prevent it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but doesn't the guy in charge of preventing this kind of thing have a name that rhymes with "Tron Molten"? Why, yes he does . Whoops! Also: How long before someone on The Corner and/or Michelle Malkin implies that Bolton could have prevented the nuclear test if he hadn't been so busy answering the SFRC Democrats' stupid questions? I'm betting two days, m'self. - Daniel A. Munz
  • Pope Benedict the Faithless

    Thanks to Ezra for inviting me back, and thanks to co-guest-blogger Amanda Angelica for being awesome. I want to offer my apologies for being a little late on the posting thing, although I guess that's only true in East Coast Time. It took a little longer than usual to get all the bread products out of our house. (Happy Passover!) In honor of this vaguely holy day, here's the latest news on the Ratzinger front: Spain's parliament is set to pass a bill legalizing a form of gay marriage and gay adoption. Guess whose finely sewn, textured, and lacy Bavarian underthings are in a bunch . Oy! Benny 16 is definitely not off to a good start. Since his election, I've been trying to put a finger on why, past Nazi sympathies aside, Benedict so irks moderate and liberal catholics. Sure, he's an extreme conservative, but so was JPII - in response to the EU's flirtation with legalizing gay marriage, he denounced the idea as part of "an ideology of evil." The two just aren't that substantively...
  • Pinch Hitters

    Daniel Munz, from Politics and War , and Angelica, from Battle Panda , will be filling in this weekend. Dan, as you know, rocks, and Angelica, as you may not know, also rocks. You lucky people you!
  • Elephants never forget.

    [Hi all. 'Tis Angelica, otherwise known as Battlepanda. ] Watergate and Monica. Yeah, they're the same. Don't take my word for it, listen to retiring congressmen Henry Hyde, who lead the <strike>witchhunt</strike> impeachment efforts against Clinton. The veteran republican is also admitting for the first time that the impeachment of Clinton may have been in part political revenge against the democrats for the impeachment proceedings against GOP President Richard Nixon 25 years earlier. "Was this pay back?" asked Andy Shaw. "I can't say it wasn't. But I also thought that the Republican Party should stand for something, and if we walked away from this, no matter how difficult, we could be accused of shirking our duty," said Hyde Lets see, we've got obstruction of justice, abuses of power, and contempt of Congress on the one hand, and White House hanky-panky on the other. I guess they're just about each as bad as the other. If you're a republican. Oh, and the original version...
  • Health of Nations: Japan

    It's Friday, I've got to run to the airport in an hour, and the shower beckons (actually, demands). But before all that -- Japan! Also, in response to popular demand, I've grouped the series into a separate " Health of Nations " category. Collect all five! Da Basics: Japan's health insurance is another one of these employer-based systems, and has been since 1922. Universal insurance was achieved in 1961, through the National Health Insurance Act. Employers with 700+ employees are required to operate insurance plans for workers and their dependents. The plans are called "society-managed insurance". About 1800 of these employer-run plans exist, with 85% of them being single company programs and the balance being jointly administered by two or more companies. The boards of these plans are 50% company reps and 50% worker reps, much like in Germany. Dependents are required to enroll in the plans and the whole thing is funded through payroll taxes. These employer-based, "society-managed...
  • Humanitarian Interventions

    Last night I went to a lecture by Samantha Power, she of A Problem From Hell fame. If you ever get a chance, see her speak -- she's amazing. And for that matter, buy her book (or buy it for me -- yes, I lack all shame), she's an incredible mind and was somehow able to make an hour on Sudan and genocide an uplifting, informative, and inspiring experience. Anyway, I have some projects on Sudan in the works (some of them pre-lecture!) so stay tuned for that. Right now, I want to talk about humanitarian interventions for a sec. CW here is that the American people don't much like the idea of committing troops in order to save lives. That, ostensibly, is why Bush had to go through the WMD rigamarole in order to invade Iraq, and why Clinton couldn't deploy to Rwanda. So I did a little bit of research tonight, and I feel safe in calling bullshit. So far as I can tell, Clinton felt himself unable to intervene in Rwanda, mostly because of the Mogadishu fiasco. But even for Clinton, a draft-...
  • More on Health of Nations

    Some other good blogospheric folks have taken a shine to the series and added on to it. Over at Electoral-Math, Nick has entries on the medical malpractice systems of Germany , France , and England . Meanwhile, Greg at the Talent Show has gone all Kevin Drum on us and reworked some data into a user-friendly graph . Thanks, guys.

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