• Thanks You, Thank You, The Montana GOP Will Be Here All Week

    By Ezra Think they do slapstick too?
  • No Truce with the Insurance Lobby!

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf Unlike many of the people who talk with Ezra about setting up a better health care system, I know very little about how you get enough corporate interests behind the proposal. I suppose that when Mark Schmitt talks about "building political groundwork" for getting them behind it, part of what he means is stuff like what Maryland did to Wal-Mart in saddling them with some of the state's health care costs, and thus making them more likely to support some kind of national health care in the long term. I'd like to know more about what things we could do to bring more of these interests to our side. As far as I can tell, though, the one interest with whom there can be no truce is the health insurance lobby. The horrendous negative-sum game of spending money to push the costs of health care into someone else's lap will have to be eliminated if we're going to get total costs down, and that's basically what these guys do for a living. Any attempt to control this...
  • Thoughts on the Illinois Rape Case

    Shakes here… Via LeMew , the recently discussed rape case in Illinois, during which the presiding judge threatened to jail the victim for refusing to watch a video of the incident, has ended in an acquittal . The verdict appalled victims' rights advocates, who said the defense sought to affirm every rape myth. "We're down to those same stereotypes--she was drinking, she was asking for it," said Linda Healy, executive director of Mutual Ground, a suburban counseling program for sexual assault victims. The video admitted into evidence showed two men, one of whom was the defendant in the case, having sex with the then-16 year old woman, then spitting on her and writing vulgar words on her naked body with a marker. The defense contended that the woman’s having put her hand on the accused’s head, kissing him, and smiling was indicative of consent—even though she was drunk, only semi-conscious, and remembers nothing of the incident.
  • How Scared Are We?

    Mark's post responding to my case for universal health care raises some good objections that, I think, deserve consideration. He argues that this era's economic insecurity and benefit deterioration has left the middle classes cowering in the corner, flinching from friend and foe alike lest they lose the little they already have. Democrats may be trying to help, but they'll get snapped at all the same. Remember, Mark cautions, that Kerry had a rather incremental plan, and Bush effectively attacked it as a big government takeover. But did he? This is a point Garance made on Dick Gephardt's plan, that it was widely-panned and went down with its candidate. But like with Gephardt, I fear folks have a correlation/causation problem. Both Kerry and Gephardt gained substantial political benefit from their plan despite losing their respective races. Here's ABC News: Among likely voters, Kerry leads Bush by 50 percent to 38 percent in trust to handle health care, up from an even split in early...
  • The Viral Video Spreads ...

    By Pepper of the Daily Pepper ... to your TV. Viral video clip shows are now becoming the new reality-TV fad thanks to VH1's Web Junk 2.0 and Bravo's Outrageous and Contagious Viral Videos . I love it because I can't get enough of angry Winnebago salesmen (which you can see after the jump) or that enormous Trading Spouses lady ranting about being a god-warrior . Sure, it is a hipster version of America's Funniest Home Videos , but anything's better than seeing a guy get hit in the nuts over and over again. The Viral Video benefits everyone, the viewers and the networks, who are helping themselves to free programming and publicity. Look at the tremendous success of the "Lazy Sunday" / Cupcakes / "Chronicles of Narnia" video, which made people think that Saturday Night Live is funny again. So why are some networks biting the hand of this new revenue machine?
  • Mea Culpa/Link of the Day

    Apologies for the shitty blogging of the last week. Got back from Amsterdam, moved houses, wrote next month's cover and a secondary piece on European energy policies, and now I'm sick. Happily, my pieces are done (well, 200 words from done on the European one), my move is finished, and I expect to get better at some point in the future, so I'll be back in full force come Monday. Thank God for my weekenders, yo. On another note, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, writing in The New York Review of Books , have about the most comprehensive review of the state of America's health care system I've read. If you're at all interested in the topic, or think you someday could be, read it. The most important part, of course, is that it name checks me, thus quasi-fulfilling my dream of writing for The New York Review of Books. While we're on health care, I have two posts over Tapped today that hit the issue pretty hard, and I think both are good. The first is on how deep, and wide-reaching, the...
  • An Ever More Inconvenient Truth

    All those doomsday effects of global warming that Bush thinks need further study? Yeah, they're accelerating : The Antarctic ice sheet is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year in a trend that scientists link to global warming, according to a new paper that provides the first evidence that the sheet's total mass is shrinking significantly. The new findings, which are being published today in the journal Science, suggest that global sea level could rise substantially over the next several centuries. It is one of a slew of scientific papers in recent weeks that have sought to gauge the impact of climate change on the world's oceans and lakes. Just last month two researchers reported that Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, and a separate paper in Science today predicts that by the end of this century lakes and streams on one-fourth of the African continent could be drying up because of higher temperatures. In other news, Alaska's...
  • Band of the Day

    Well, artist anyway. But man is Imogen Heap 's Speak For Yourself a catchy album. I liked Frou Frou (her collaboration with Guy Sigsworth), but her solo stuff is far stronger. Breathy, dreamy lyrics overlaid on trip-hop beats. Really great stuff.
  • HSA Cartoons

    The first two panels of this are brilliant.
  • TNR

    Laura's got about the fairest, most interesting analysis of TNR I've ever read; would that Marty pasted her post on his shoulder as a "Good Angel's" guiding vision! Reading her made me yearn for a TNR I occasionally see glimpses of, but rarely find sustained throughout a whole issue. And to answer the next question, I don't know how Frank Foer ascending to the top slot will affect that. I do know that it'll reduce his involvement in producing the content, which'll be a shame. His pieces routinely shine through the magazine's occasionally self-parodic counter-intuitivism with a quirky intelligence and merry humor that political rags across the spectrum lack. Whatever the mag's evolution, though, the blogosphere specifically and the left generally is a bit too quick to stereotype the whole thing as a product of Peretz's zionistic eccentricities. The young writers at the place are some of the most talented on the planet, and its to the left's benefit that such a stable exists. My friend...