• I Know, I Know

    I have approximately a million e-mails sitting in my inbox, so to all of you who sent me something and haven't gotten a reply, rest assured I'm trudging through the backlog. Finals/moving/life had the impudence to intrude till now.
  • A Vast, America-Transcending Conspiracy?

    I want Jeff Session to elaborate on this : “I think it is shocking that Democrats would treat [Soros] as a mainstream force of Democratic politics,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). “He has an agenda that transcends American interests.” Is Sessions picking back up on Hastert's implication that Soros is a drug dealer? Is he calling the world's most generous and committed financier of democracy projects in post-Soviet states a Communist? Is he calling him a Nazi, a one-worlder, a fascist, a founding member of the Bilderberg Group , an Annunaki lizard from the fourth-dimension? What does "transcends American interests" even mean? I'm giving Sessions' office a call to find out. When they give me an answer, I'll let you know.
  • Bleeding-Heart Bush

    Some days, you look at our government run by plutocrats, our media populated by faux-centrist hacks, and our agencies led by college-era cronies of campaign contributors and liberalism really does look dead. And then, some days you hear the President's animatronic press secretary justifying union-busting on grounds of affirmative action and you realize, no, it's not dead, it just went to a Republican kegger and ended up really, really, cracked out: MR. McCLELLAN: The Davis-Bacon. Well, what -- Q Which is a wage cut. MR. McCLELLAN: We suspended that act for the reasons that we stated previously. This will open up access to more business -- small businesses, including women-owned and minority-owned businesses. It cuts through the red tape and helps us move forward quickly to address the needs of the people in the region and to provide substantial savings. We're talking about savings here in terms of spending. That's an important part of that, too. Q But how does lowering people's wages...
  • Silly Rabbit, Growth is for Kids!

    To extend on this bit of Germany vs. India idiocy; rapid economic growth is quite a bit easier in very poor countries than in highly developed nations. Think of it in terms of human growth: a baby grows faster than you do, as does a tot, a child, and a teen. But they don't keep growing faster than you . At a point, easy growth gets tapped out and continued enlargement becomes markedly harder. In nations like India and China, where hundreds of millions live in abject poverty and the technologies that improve productivity have barely penetrated, there are a lot of easy gains to be made -- the poor work for cheap and improving their output is trivial. But once India or China or Singapore or Ireland hit Germany's standard of living, growth will slow to more earthbound rates. That's not to say Germany couldn't grow quicker, but it is to say that comparing it to India or China is like raging at your five year old for having more momentum on the height-chart than you.
  • Now How'd That Happen?

    This is pretty funny. From Operation Offset, the Republican attempt to solve Katrina by cutting government waste: The recently passed FY06 Highway Bill, also known as TEA-LU, contained more than 6,000 earmarks, worth nearly $25 billion. Some of the most egregious examples include $200 million for the “bridge to nowhere,” a bridge in Alaska that would serve an island with 50 residents, $75 million for metro extension in Washington, D.C., $15 million to purchase three ferries and establish a ferry system from Rockaway Peninsula to Manhattan, New York, and $2.5 million for the Blue Ridge Music Center. For comparison, the 1998 transportation bill was considered a major budget buster at the time with 1,850 earmarks and a veto threat from President Clinton. In just seven years, Congress has added over 4,000 earmarks to the bill. Savings: $25 billion over ten years. And since the 1998 transportation bill, we've had a Republican take control of the executive branch, increased Republican...
  • Redefining Waste

    Matt notes that an absurdly large proportion of the Republican Conference's waste-cutting ideas involve slicing big chunks out of Medicaid because, apparently, health care for the needy is waste. Yeah, yeah, par for the course. Unfortunately, the Republican majority clearly hasn't checked with Health and Human Services to figure out how they're providing the displaced with medical care. Hint: It's Medicaid: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has acted to assure that the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Programs will flex to accommodate the emergency health care needs of beneficiaries and medical providers in the Hurricane Katrina devastated states. Many of the programs’ normal operating procedures will be relaxed to speed provision of health care services to the elderly, children and persons with disabilities who depend upon them. Because of hurricane damage to local health care facilities, many beneficiaries have been evacuated to neighboring...
  • Hurricane Burger King -- Have It Your Way, Louisiana!

    Over at HuffPo , Josh writes: With Rita barreling towards Galveston and the likely potential for Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma to materialize out of the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center is preparing to resort to Greek letters in case of a fifth storm. It would be the first Hurricane Alpha, and at this pace, Alpha may be followed by Hurricanes Beta, Gamma, and so on. But doesn't that seem like a waste when you think of all the money that could be made opening up the process to corporate sponsorships? That's right: let's bring the market to the final frontier and start selling weather. If nature hands us a few meteorological lemons, I say let's make some corporate lemonade! It'd be great exposure; just attach your company name, new product, or catchy slogan to a budding storm for a week-long blitz of name recognition. Boeing needs to promote a brand new plane? Just think how many people will hear about Tropical Storm Boeing 797 as it picks up windspeed, threatens the eastern...
  • Ich bin ein Washingtonian

    As of this morning, I've moved to DC -- goodbye to constant sunshine and crisp, dry air. Weather woes aside, all seems well, though I had forgotten about the downright creepy number of sandwich shops around here -- has nobody heard of Mexican food? Chinese takeout? Anyway, now to find a place...If the distributed intelligence of these internets knew of an open room in the Dupont/U Street area, I'd be grateful.
  • The Grand Old Plutocrats

    There are times when nothing I could write would do a passage justice. This is one of them: The White House is aware of the growing political problem and has moved on several fronts to pacify Republicans -- with decidedly uneven results. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, in a speech yesterday, said the White House will be forced to put several plans on the "back burner," including changes to the estate tax and permanently extending first-term tax cuts. "It's taken over the national agenda, and I think it will for a while," he said. This prompted protests from one of the White House's closest allies, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), who said waiting on taxes was unacceptable. That's really all you need to know about the modern Republican party, isn't it?
  • When Pro-Choice Republicans Go Bad

    Not to reopen the old NARAL debate or anything, but after endorsing Lincoln Chafee to prove they'd stand by Republicans who support choice, watching him gladly shout "aye!" for John Roberts must be a real kick in the pants. I've said it before, but the basic reason not to endorse Republicans is that, right now, given party discipline and the agenda set by the Republican leadership, there is no such thing as a pro-choice Republican. What they believe is almost as meaningless as what they say. The Republican party is best viewed not as a collection of individuals but as a coherent, unified organism that quiets offending sections and moves in the direction that important constituencies demand. Republican moderates, chimerical creatures that they are, talk a good game and vote right when it doesn't count, but when the chips are down, the only way to distinguish them from Santorum is a Bush/Putin-style soul gaze. Chafee's behavior here should be example #1: In the area that most matters on...