• What Does Wal-Mart Want?

    You know you're a nerd when your breaks from studying are to write about health policy.  But then, I do know I'm a nerd, so no problems on that front.  This study break is brought to you by Jon Cohn, who wrote an excellent column on Wal-Mart's attitude towards health care (which is, essentially, that the country should have less of it).  They elect folks who cut Medicaid even as their own workers are forced to apply for the system.  They stack Congress with pols opposed to universal health care even while they undermine the employer-based system.  Odd.  As Matt notes, this kinda puts the lie to the current round of claims that bu

  • Too Complicated?

    One thing I really don't like about the health care debate is the "complexity test".  After Clinton's health care plan failed, in part due to its monstrous incomprehensibility, folks began quickly dismissing anything that hints at being hard to explain.  Unfortunately, health care is a tough issue and the policy solutions may end up taking a few sentences.  Because of that, we on the left should be trying to make these things seem simple to understand, not bolstering the idea that a solution has to fit on a flash card.  So, for instance, if you're ever asked about CAP's health plan, don't say it's too complicated to ever be understood.  Say instead that:

  • TGIF. So I Can Study.

    There are just some quarters determined to kick your ass.  Some quarters when you get a midterm back, see that your score is too low, read the comments that say "you know the material but write unclearly", realize it's the other way around, and finally get a fraction of your missing points back because your TA doesn't speak English, couldn't understand the more polysyllabic terms, but doesn't want to admit full culpability and so still screws your grade over.  And in quarters like this, it's almost a foregone conclusion that the term paper you've spent so much time crafting was due on last Monday, not this Friday, and you somehow took that down wrong, in addition to missing said Monday so you had no idea.  So too, during quarters like this, should one simply assume that your hard drive

  • It's Not You, It's Us

    EJ Dionne's column on the Kerry critics, the many Democrats who happily bash Kerry now that the election is over, rings a bit too true.  So, as part of my plea bargain, let me say that Dionne is exactly right on this:

    The three debates were the only moments in the campaign in which Kerry's fate was entirely in his own hands, and he used them well. Kerry trounced Bush the first time and, I'd argue, beat him in the other two encounters.

  • Warner 08?

    Looks like VA governor Mark Warner will be running for president.  Think Evan Bayh, but from the South and touting a background in the tech industry.  Should be interesting.  Any Virginians reading have impressions of the guy?  In any casde, it's not certain whether he's running for president or senate, but speculation focuses on the former.  Guess we'll know for sure once he invites me to dinner.

  • How Much Does Trade Matter?

    Good post by Matt on why the trade issue is overblown.  As a psychological point, though, trade's political resonance comes from its logic.  Even the bottom of the pyramid can understand why those at the top want to flip their jobs to India and have them done for 1/50th as much.  Thus, while conventional layoffs may be more widespread, they can be rationalized away as the type of thing that happens to bad workers, not a top employee like me.  Outsourcing, however, seems like a smart idea, and no matter how good any of us are, we're not as good as the ten or twenty Indians who could be hired for our wage.  That lends it an air unpredictability -- it's not about your performance, it's about the economic decis

  • Just a Thought

    As a fellow attendee of the Edwards dinner, I'd argue that revoking the posting privileges of folks who criticize him on your site is probably not the best way to look as if you exited the meal with integrity intact.  Even if Stirling had other reasons for banning BOP News poster RJ Eskow and deleting all his old pieces doing it directly after RJ posted something critical of John Edwards is about as bad as optics get. 

    When Stirling tipped Garance off about the dinner, she wrote:

    Gaining the loyalty of not that hard to do if you just talk to them

  • The Wonk Takes Over

    Sometimes a post, or a point, or an observation sticks in my head and I just can't get it out. That's what Lance Mannion did a few days ago with his piece separating writers from wonks. Despite a kind and conciliatory comment he made in my first reply, I've not been able to shake the larger point, that there is, in fact, a substantive stylistic difference between the group of bloggers I self-associate into and those who'd be counted as writers. This'll be a little more meditative than my usual fare, so if you're looking for more on the deficit, scroll on.

  • Right Between the Eyes

    Nice counterpunch by Jonathan Alter over at The Huffington Post.  The situation, till now, was that Alter wrote a satirical column on Watergate, imagining how it'd run if it happened today.  In it, he explained that the forces demanding disclosure knew they were in trouble when Ailes banned the word "Watergate" from his channel, instead terming the controversy "assault on the presidency".  Alter, of course, has Fox perfectly pegged.  Ailes knows it, so he began spreading rumors that Alter's just a disgruntled wannabe who asked for a job at Fox and was turned down.  That, of course, never happened.  Alter turned down the job when Ailes made it clear he'd be a token liberal, not a res

  • Think India

    Jim Hoagland picks up my favorite undermade argument and turns in a convincing column that India, not China, will be the next great economic power.  Their government is more flexible, their industries more advanced, their people better educated, their economy more stable, and their path forward more obvious.  China can't rely on manufacturing forever, and it's really unclear whether or not they can make the jump to an advanced economy, particularly considering their massively undereducated rural population and the command/control nature of their government.  Yes, I know they're more capitalist than communist, but that's too often taken to mean they're not communist, which just isn't true.  Anyway, read the