• And Liberality For All

    Matt has the best comment I've seen on the hilarious-yet-deranged conservacomic series that us liberals have spent the last two days chortling over: I think this sort of thing actually tells us something important about contemporary politics. It's rather odd to see persecution fantasies coming from the right at a moment when Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Executive Branch, the judiciary, most statehouses, and most state legislatures. And yet a right-wing persecution complex is evident to even a casual consumer of right-wing media. To hear the conservative blogs, magazines, and radio shows tell it, despite total conservative domination of the political system a coalition of liberal reporters, academics, and Hollywood stars manage to be the real governing force in America. Matt goes on to write that, crazy as this all seems, it's not that crazy. Very little on the Republican agenda has been passed, and even less of the conservative wish list items have...
  • Score One for the Well-Off

    Whether you're comfortable with America's gaping income inequality or not, I think we can all agree that this really shouldn't be happening: People whose net worth is over $70,000, the median in the United States, are 30 percent less likely than poorer people to feel pain at the end of their lives, a difference that persists even when controlling for age and severity of illness, a new study shows. The findings, which appear in the August issue of The Journal of Palliative Medicine, used information on more than 2,600 adults over 70 who died from 1993 to 1998. The researchers interviewed proxies, usually surviving spouses, to gather information about pain, depression, delirium and difficulties in breathing or eating at life's end. Wealth was a strong predictor of how many different types of discomfort an older adult suffered, with those whose net worth was over $70,000 having a 9 percent lower risk of experiencing multiple symptoms. There's much in life that I think is perfectly...
  • What It's About

    This bit from is fairly illustrative of what the election in Ohio-02 will turn on: Hackett is a far left Democrat using his experience in the military to beat up the President and the war. According to Hackett, Bush saying "Bring 'em on!" was "the most incredibly stupid comment I've ever heard a president of the United States make." If you live in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District, remember to go vote today. Be sure to vote for Jean Schmidt. So what will today's election be about? Paul Hackett. Republicans know Schmidt is, in her better moments, an empty suit. There's no appeal to voting for her, no reason to line up with her. But against Hackett? Against a Democrat? Now we're talking. Democrats, of course, feel the same way, except that the candidate they're voting for is the one they're genuinely moved by. In this race, Schmidt barely even exists. It's Democratic war hero Paul Hackett or not Democratic war hero Paul Hackett.

    Joe Biden's op-ed on the dangers posed by chemical attack is worth a read, not just for its terrorism implications, but what it says about the Bush administration's priorities: The Chlorine Institute has estimated that an assault on a chlorine tanker could create a toxic cloud extending up to 15 miles. If this poisonous fog drifted over Capitol Hill, where deadly chemicals are transported just four blocks from the U.S. Capitol, thousands of people could be killed and Congress and the Supreme Court could be shut down for an extended period. In fact, the Naval Research Laboratory has estimated that up to 100,000 people could be killed or injured in less than a half-hour by such an attack. Hospitals would be inundated with patients seeking treatment for burns to the eyes, skin and lungs. Thousands of panicked residents would need to be evacuated. To address this threat and protect the millions of people who live in, work in and visit our nation's capital, the D.C. Council recently passed...
  • Precedent

    This is what I call a great find: Richard Holbrooke, who Republicans delayed for 14 months as Bill Clinton's nominee to the U.N., refused to bypass the Senate with a recess appointment, saying that it would introduce him to the world body with no credibility or authority. Wow.
  • Mushy Moderates and Timid Traditionalists

    Interesting article in the Washington Post: Under President Bill Clinton, multiple clashes with Congress, the judiciary and independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr chipped away at attorney-client and executive privileges on sensitive documents and conversations. But since coming to power, Bush has doggedly reclaimed turf that eroded under Clinton, asserting the power of his office to shield everything from energy policy deliberations to the papers of past presidents. ... In a showdown with the Senate opposition over something like the Roberts papers, Klain recalled, a politically and legally weakened Clinton White House often would find a compromise to end the dispute. "I have no doubt that if that had been us, we would have turned over the papers," Klain said. "I'm not saying that's a good thing; I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But whenever we walked up to the brink, we blinked. And these guys don't, and they're prepared to pay the price for it." What's interesting, though, isn't...
  • Hilarifying

    Heh , but I can't bring myself to utter an "indeed".
  • Our Nuclear Inheritance

    File under "That's Freaky": It was a dispute over whether the cortex ever makes any new cells that got Dr. Frisen looking for a new way of figuring out how old human cells really are. Existing techniques depend on tagging DNA with chemicals but are far from perfect. Wondering if some natural tag might already be in place, Dr. Frisen recalled that the nuclear weapons tested above ground until 1963 had injected a pulse of radioactive carbon 14 into the atmosphere. Breathed in by plants worldwide and eaten by animals and people, the carbon 14 gets incorporated into the DNA of cells each time the cell divides and the DNA is duplicated. So a variety of nuclear tests 40-some years ago blasted enough radioactive carbon into the atmosphere that we all carry bits of it in our DNA. It's really a wonder that humanity hasn't destroyed itself yet.
  • Check Those Goalposts!

    Am I the only one unimpressed by the Dove ads? I mean, I'm all for curvy women getting their media due, but this doesn't quite seem the vehicle. Dove is not saying Big is Beautfiul, Real is Beautiful, or anything similar. They're not putting everyday bodies on billboards for their soap or commercials for their lotion. These are husky girls on billboards promoting a product for husky girls. It's firming cream, the sort of thing most thin people don't need. What's fascinating is that Dove's got all this good press for doing the only thing, in a rational world, that makes sense: putting heavy people on ad for a product aimed at heavy people. That's not to say we have a rational advertising industry or that there's no imaginable world in which Kate Moss would be posing in front on this product she'd never need, but it's fairly pathetic that they get all this good press for something so small. More to the point, Dove is doing exactly what's always done: creating an impossible standard. The...
  • Regulating the Regulator's Regulating

    From an article on Barry Goldwater's nephew's gubernatorial campaign: "Goldwater, the recently retired director of special events at the state Department of Administration, has never before held elective office and has been (to put it charitably) a low-profile presence on the political stage." How excellent is that? Department of Administration. It's like bureaucracy squared! And a relative of Barry Goldwater worked at it! It gives me chills. Brings me back, too. UC Santa Cruz's student government had an arm called the Student Committee on Committees. What all that time spent discussing themselves amounted to, I don't know, but the idea of it certainly amused me.