• HSA's for the Poor

    Sam Rosenfeld has a fantastic, highly-comprehensive post on Republican efforts to gut Medicaid and turn it into a capped, "consumer-driven" program at exactly the moment when its expansion and full-funding are most needed. Read it . But remember too that liberals shouldn't be reflexively against certain forms of consumer-driven health care, particularly health reimbursement accounts (or donut hole accounts), where employers/government place X dollars in an account at the beginning of each year, folks spend that money on basic care, once it's exhausted they have a deductible to cover, and then catastrophic kicks in. What Sam's going against is South Carolina's bastardized version, where the amount placed in the account is based on a Risk Assessment, which means each individual is theoretically given a first-dollar infusion in proportion to their health risks. Unfortunately, we have no effective way to calculate risks and, in any case, the amount of bureaucracy, lawsuits, and general...
  • Comparable Worth is Not Equal Pay for Equal Work

    Everyone who thinks John Roberts was inveighing against Equal Pay for Equal Work in those Reagan memos needs to read Sebastian Holsclaw's post on the subject. I very much hope that some Democratic senators ask him about Equal Pay because, as of now, we have no idea how he feels about it. All we know from the memos is that he, like most of us, thinks comparable worth theory is a bad idea.
  • 1787 With Fewer White People

    Harold Meyerson has a very good op-ed on Iraq in today's Washington Post: It looks increasingly as if President Bush may have been off by 74 years in his assessment of Iraq. By deposing the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, Bush assumed he would bring Iraq to its 1787 moment -- the crafting of a democratic constitution, the birth of a unified republic. Instead, he seems to have brought Iraq to the brink of its own 1861 -- the moment of national dissolution. It's true. I was thinking about this the other day: we like to imagine Iraq's current Constitutional Convention as an analogue, at least of sorts, to the one attended by our own Founding Fathers. But that's a bit off the mark. It's more as if our Found Fathers had to also deal with powerful, represented contingents of newly freed black slaves and politically empowered Native Americans. Could they do it? It's one thing to create a democratic republic of basically similar white people, but quite another to deal with ethnic groups who...
  • The Keystone Kops Go To New York

    Could someone please explain to me why the Democratic primary for mayor of New York is turning into such a slapstick, amateur affair? Not that I have anything major against Bloomberg, but Christ, Democrats need to be muscling into these feeder positions, particularly the ones where the electorate is overwhelmingly on our side. Governor of CA/NY, mayor of NY...we can't keep ceding all this to the other side.
  • Things Are Not All As They Seem

    Hoo boy. Not to make light of it, but Scotland Yard has some 'splaining to do.
  • Target: You

    Great point on the upcoming, Target-sponsored issue of the New Yorker : In high school, I read a book called Subliminal Seduction, an early "expose" of the psychological techniques used by advertisers to market to unwary consumers. The most thrilling passages described sinister exercises in which the word "sex" would be almost imperceptably airbrushed onto the ice cubes in a photograph of a glass of whiskey. This effort was somehow meant to push the viewer one step closer to alcoholism. How exactly this process was intended to work (particularly in view of the fact that the glass, encoded ice cubes an all, was usually photographed in the hands of a woman with mammoth breasts and spectacular cleavage) was always unclear to me. But the idea that ad agencies were skillfully imbedding secret messages in product photography had immense appeal to my inner 14-year-old conspiracy theorist; it also explained why I was always so darned horny. The all-Target New Yorker is the product of more...
  • Slick Oil

    Jamie Court has a good point here : What's remarkable is that neither leading Democrats nor Republicans are discussing the oil company profiteering behind the jump at the pump? Maybe that's because both parties are feeding at the same well of campaign contributions and the federal energy bill that gushed from it failed to deal with the cause of the sky high prices. July financial statements show oil companies making new world record profits on top of last year’s banner world record profits. Exxon Mobil’s second quarter earnings jumped 35 percent over last year, Royal Dutch Shell rose 34%, ConocoPhillips shots up 51%. Poll after poll has shown that Americans are desperately worried over our oil situation. John Kerry's single best-received line was his acceptance speech swipe against the House of Saud -- the numbers spiked up. Maybe that's why, in fear of attracting supporters, he stopped using it. But there's no reason the Democratic Party shouldn't be hitting hard on this subject,...
  • PLAN

    Disagreements with the guy aside, David Sirota's (and Matt Singer's) Progreessive Legislative Action Committee sounds like a really exciting project, just the sort of thing we need. For years now, the Christian Right and the anti-tax zealots have focused on the state and local elections no one else was interested by, and it's been key to their consolidation of power. I'm very glad to see Democrats building counter-institutions to fight at the micro level, and I'm happier yet to see Sirota and Co. leading it: state governments don't declare war, and so once there, it really is a straight question of populism and culture, and this group is as authentically populist as the Christian Right is culturally regressive. Should make for some interesting fights. Anyway, go read Sirota's statement, it's good stuff.
  • Iraq

    In conversation yesterday, Sam Rosenfeld made a really good point. The American Prospect's full-court press against unrepentant liberal hawks doesn't need to have a political component to it: there'll be endless hours of electoral strategizing as the midterms draw closer. For now, we should be eschewing that and having the sort of serious conversation about the war and our response to it that elections don't allow. But what worries me is that, instead of that discussion, we're going to have our old one over again. As Sam points out and Atrios approvingly links to, the hawks were wrong . And yes, pace both of them, the hawks should know they were wrong, and say so publicly. And, in concert with the Prospect's new cover story , many pundits were irresponsible and they should shoulder much of the blame. And, as Ari Berman says, our think-tankin' class has proven themselves desperate to attain neocon "seriousness" and crowded around this chance to support a war like fat kids salivating...
  • Battle of the Red-Headed Blog Queens

    Ouch. Gotta hate it when you try and "gotcha" someone, complete with an admonition to cease being such a lazy reporter, and instead get exposed as a careless reporter and made a fool of. Point, Arianna . Update : On the other hand, this , from Justin Franks at HuffPost, is just dumb: Although I would never make a medical diagnosis without examining a patient, I feel confident in my observation that George W. Bush is a new kind of bi-polar: the poles being indifference and destructive violence. So though he'd never diagnose a patient without in-person examination, he feels comfortable diagnosing this patient with a wholly new mental illness, without examination. And the rest of the post, amazingly, is worse, particularly considering Newsweek just released an article refuting it in full. HuffPost is a surprisingly good site with some great contributors, but sometimes it could really use an editor. Update 2: Okay then, so Newsweek is lying? Are these folks lying too? There's a near...