• Doing Bad in Conflicting Ways

    Matt is probably correct , I should be a bit more cautious about gleefully predicting a split between Big Business and the Christian Right on Bush's pick for the Court. But Matt too should be careful: just because both groups want bad things, doesn't mean they want bad things in the same way. And while Bush can most likely find someone inconsistent enough to promise bad things in multiple ways, there are times when ill intentions use conflicting means. The Christian Right's strategy has long been State's Rights warfare: they know the majority of the country is oriented against their agenda, so they try to enact it in ways that sidestep federal judgment. They change a few state curriculums, ban gay marriage on state ballots, ban civil unions on other state ballots, implement piecemeal abortion restrictions where they can, etc, etc. They want the Supreme Court to overturn the precedents that make doing this so tricky (In Utah, Delaware, and Minnesota, for instance, partial-birth...
  • New Get a Job

    This week's profilee was Democracy Arsenal's Heather Hurlburt. Take a look .
  • 32 Flavors of Conservatism

    As we all shake and shiver over whatever Dark Spirit Dobsen has summoned and Bush is going to nominate to the Court, it's worth remembering that, though the Christian Right is the loudest member of the GOP's coalition choir, they're not the only one. Hell, they may not even be the most important one. That plaudit probably goes to Big Business. And what business wants, the Church may not. The religious movement is emphatic on States Rights, they desperately want the authority to outlaw all manner of liberal hedonism in the legislatures they own. Business, however, is just the opposite: they want uniformity in the federal code. They want a Court that won't allow significant changes in the current law. As John Engler, CEO of the National Association of Marketers Manufacturers (an uber-powerful business loby), said, ""what [we] want is a judicial climate that's predictable and certain". The Christian Right wants one ready and eager to massively rewrite laws and precedents. The two are...
  • The War on Terror (Michael Ledeen Mental Remix)

    Via Matt, Michael Ledeen is talking crazy: As of 9/11, the terror masters were five: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Today they are three, which is certainly good work on our part. But it isn’t nearly good enough. We cannot possibly have decent security in Iraq unless we end the murderous tyrannies in Tehran and Damascus, and convince or compel the Saudi royal family to shut down the global network of terrorist brainwashing centers they spend billions of dollars to operate. All this should convince us that it is a mistake to microanalyze the London operation. It is just another event in the terror war, one of many, with many more to come. Its real significance should be seen as a further wake-up call to us and our allies. Our enemies know they are at war, and they are attacking us everywhere they can, in every way they can. Do we really know we are at war, and that we cannot win it within the parameters we have set for ourselves? This sort of lunacy fascinates me...
  • Looking For Love in All The Wrong Places thinks they've found the group who'll revive Social Security privatization: Social Security reform garners major support from young Americans, who know that the system is tilted against them. Personal accounts are supported by 2/3rds of young Americans and almost universally by Young Republicans. Since the over 55 crowd will not be affected by any reforms, the face of reform should be young Americans. YRs have an opportunity to fill that void alongside groups such as Students for Saving Social Security . Gee-willickers, Social Security is really in trouble! I didn't know 2/3rds of young folks believed in anything ! But it seems I was wrong. Not only do they believe private accounts are a good idea, but they believe Bush is a lying scumbag who can't be trusted. Here are more results from the 18-29 demographic in the exact same poll : • 26% approve of Bush's handling on Social Security, 51% disapprove; • 39% mostly trust what Bush says about Social Security, 54% think he's...
  • Call On Me, Mr. Kotter

    Horatio writes : I’d like my pals on the take the Michael Moore test. If Mr. Moore had revealed the identity of a covert operative, whether she was on active assignment or not, whether he gave the name explicitly or just laid out for a reporter the means to find out, whether he even intended to reveal her identity or not, would you advocate that Moore merely be incarcerated for life, or would you go so far as to call for the death penalty as the traditional punishment for treason? Oh, oh! I know! I know!
  • Working for Health Care

    While we're talking health care, this is a great point by Nathan Newman. Springboarding of Toyota's decision to build a new plant in Canada so as to take advantage of their lower health care costs (Canada's care saves employers $4-$5 an hour on each employee), Nathan writes: Ironically, tightening trade rules increasingly disfavor direct government subsidies to industry-- the US and the EU are fighting before the WTO, arguing that US federal and state subsidies of Boeing and EU financing of Airbus are both illegal under trade agreements. The WTO just declared US subsidies to the cotton industry illegal under trade agreements. Which means that providing national health care (like a strong education system) may emerge as one of the few legitimate subsidies governments can provide to encourage industry to locate in their countries. And the United States is increasingly finding itself in a terrible economic disadvantage internationally because it refuses to create a national health...
  • Too Many Treatments

    Business Week's got an interesting article doubting the benefits of coronary heart surgery. Apparently, bypass operations and angioplasty, save in the most severe of cases, do shockingly little in the way of risk reduction. Patients who undergo the operations are no less likely to have or die from a heart attack than those who don't. There may be some benefits in symptom reduction, but even that's questionable. The reason seems to be a reevaluation of how heart attacks work. While the old conception held that ever-increasing plaque buildup eventually narrowed arteries to the point that no blood got through, it now looks like the plaque actually breaks off into clots, and the clots block arteries causing attacks. That's why so many heart attacks strike unexpectedly and why there's so little evidence linking narrowed arteries to heart attacks. Seen that way, widening the arteries won't do much: it's lifestyle changes and certain medications that reduce plaque and tamp down on bad...
  • Anniversary

    Today's two-and-a-half years with Kate. Wow. I'll be back tomorrow.
  • I Want Silver Surfer's Truck

    Via Defamer , it seems that Fantastic Four isn't only a bad movie, it's a bad toy line : there has never been a more ridiculously stupid and insulting toy than the Fantastic 4 Human Torch™ ATV (with Light-Up Headlights!). And this is why: The Human Torch has no need for an "All-Terrain Vehicle"--because the last time I checked, the Human Torch can fucking FLY. Has anyone told the Human Torch that it might not be safe to sit on top of a gas tank when one is on FIRE? Nice message to send the kids, assholes! [...] What does the freaking Human Torch need with headlights anyway? HE'S ON FIRE! File under Movies I Will Not See. No way I'm replacing the glorious afterglow of Batman Begins with Fantastic Four. And so long as I'm talking culture, how great of a song is Warren G's "Regulate"? Fucking great was the answer you were looking for. It just popped up on iTunes party list after years of aural absence. Brilliant stuff.