Archive

  • 08 Fantasies

    EJ Dionne's column today strikes me as pretty silly. A McCain/Jeb ticket, though probably attractive to a few folks out there, isn't really worth 800 words gaming it out. Not in a world where, you know, there are real things that are actually happening. And conceptual critique aside, Jeb Bush doesn't lift McCain's overriding weakness: the primary. If McCain can get the nomination, the election will be run on his terms, he'll not need a Bush to pull it out. If he pulls out the primary, expect Hagel or Lindsey Graham to be joining him on that stage, not Jeb. I guess Dionne might be imagining a scenario where Jeb is announced as his Veep pick before the caucuses, but such an obvious attempt by the Bush family to stack this election in advance would look too dynastic, too hungry. It'd create a deep and quick backlash. Remember the criticism after Gore's endorsement? Imagine it times a thousand. Plus, if Jeb does decide to join the ticket, Democrats always have one more card they can play...
  • But What Have You Done For Me Lately?

    Kevin's post on the economic appeal of Democrats makes some points that should get wider play. Responding to the current argument that the South votes against their economic self-interest when pulling the lever for Republicans, Kevin asks what, exactly, we're giving them that makes voting right such a flagrant contradiction to their self-interest. Good point. As he notes, Democrats don't promise much of anything in the immediate term. Drug reimportation from Canada, maybe, A generalized economic view that's more centered on helping the poor, certainly. But the poor vote for us! It's at $23,000 a year that whites start voting Republican. Those folks don't think they're poor, they think they're middle class. And they further think that the Democratic vantage point on helping the poor is probably code for more money to indigent blacks. At least Republicans have tax cuts. Part of the problem is that there's not much left for Democrats to promise. Better unemployment insurance, sure, but...
  • Too Good Not to Quote

    The Medium Lobster does global warming: Yesterday the New York Times revealed that a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute and current chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality had made substantial edits to a series of reports on climate change in order to play down links between greenhouse gases and global warming. The usual leftist quarters are fired up again, calling for America to join a veritable science jihad, worshiping at the altar of fact when we've yet to hear what fiction has to say about the situation. One can't be too careful when deliberating over the shifting and byzantine web of confusion and doubt that is so-called "climate" "change." Whom should we believe: the unruly mob of every reputable climatologist on the planet, or the selfless sages at Exxon-Mobil? Uncertainty abounds, even among higher beings like the Medium Lobster. We must examine all sides of the issue, take input from all corners: from the side of science, and...
  • Make Some Noise

    Mukhtaran Bibi is under arrest . You remember her, in a world of Jackos and Rumsfelds and celebrity relationships and deified presidents, Bibi is an actual hero, a Mandela-esque story of courage and forgiveness. She's a Pakistani women whose brother committed a crime and, under the barbaric codes sometimes enforced in rural Pakistan, was condemned to public, forced gang rape to atone for him. When the four men had finished raping her, she was forced to walk home, nearly nude, while hundreds of onlookers laughed and jeered. She was supposed to die. If all had gone as planned, she would've grabbed a knife and slit her throat, or maybe her wrists. She would've accepted that she had been sacrificed for a male, that it was more than a fair trade, and that no one could move on until the last spark of life had vanished behind her eyes. And she would've hurried up and and finished the affair. All did not go as planned. The knives stayed in the drawer. Her nude body found clothes. She...
  • You Like Us, You Really Like Us!

    Interesting numbers in this Survey USA poll of ever Senator in the country. Of the top 10 most popular, a full eight are Democrats. Of the 10 least popular, eight are Republicans. If you restrict it to only Senators up for reelection next year, seven of the 10 most popular are Democrats (I'm counting Jeffords as a Democrat here) and, again, seven of the 10 least popular are Republicans. Odd synchronicities, really. That's a party without many heroes. More to the point, the most popular members of the Republican caucus are the non-Republicans: Collins, Snowe and McCain. Democrats, conversely, have full-fledged partisans up there: Obama, Conrad, Leahy, Dorgan, Inouye, Rockefeller, and Reed. If you compare the party leaders, Reid is 46th in popularity, with a 57% approval rating, while Frist is all the way down at #74, with an anemic 51% approval rating. Rick Santorum and Ohio's Mark DeWine are the nation's least-liked incumbents up for reelection while Frank Lautenberg and John Cornyn...
  • Posts You Should Really Read

    Need a reason to reject the parental consent law that'll be on the California ballot this Fall? Here you go. Via Neil.
  • Eat The Old

    You know what? I want to work forever. I do. No, I mean it. I want to be 93, with big coke-bottle glasses and an out of style suit (because, come age 93, I don't expect to give a fuck), striding into my office. Okay -- at 93, I probably won't stride much, but I'll do the best I can. And I want to greet my many young colleagues, make old Jewish guy jokes as I wind my way to my desk, sit down at my holographic laptop (which will now be a hopeless relic compared to the Cornea Computers others will use), and blog for a bit. Then I'll work the phones for awhile, trying to figure out what my next column will be. Then I'll blog a bit more. Work phones. Have lunch with somebody interesting. Go out with my wife to dinner. Etc. Yes, I want to work forever because what I want to do sounds like it'll be fun forever. Maybe it won't be, of course, but David Broder is nearing 130 and he's still at it, so there seems to be a chance. Now. I would really not like to work forever if I was a tailor. I...
  • Free Work, Emphasis on the Work

    The New York Times clocks in this morning with a superb article on the Heritage Foundation's attitude towards its Summer interns. Rather than the wageless servitude ambitious, affluent kids generally go through, Heritage offers a $2,500 stipend, palatial living quarters (at least by intern standards), intellectually rigorous work, and a lunch series where interns trudge through the conservative philosophical canon. Sweet deal. And not just for the interns. These kids, due to the living quarters, will network with each other. These kids, due to the work, will actually have the opportunity to prove themselves. They'll be further indoctrinated into conservative ideas and exit the Summer with a tidy little sum. The Heritage internship program, in short, is a perfect inversion of a normal program: for Heritage, it's about serving the interns, not the other way around. It's certainly tilling no new ground to exclaim over the conservative movement's attention to its young and their devotion...
  • It's Just Bad Form

    Why don't phishers proof read their e-mails? If you're trying to defraud me out of my Paypal cash or hijack my Citibank log-in or transfer money from my Washington Mutual account, the least you could do is run spellcheck. Jesus. Kids today.
  • Clinton Care in 1,000 Words or Less

    Jon Cohn's post on Clinton's health care plan is essential. I can't think of any lesson so misremembered, warped, opportunistically used, and wrongly interpreted as the one Democrats have drawn from that battle. In it, the special interests whom the plan was designed to win over (big business and the insurance industry) sat out and the Democratic constituencies (labor, liberals) who needed to play ball walked off the field. But this isn't, as many Democrats seem to think, an inevitable outcome of health care reform, it's a lesson on what happens if you assume good intentions where none exist. Business wasn't ready to help, the insurance industry didn't want to help, labor was pissed off about other things, and liberals wanted single-payer. Worse, Whitewater hit, [House Ways and Means Chairman] Dan Rostenowski was defeated, and Senate leader George Mitchell retired, throwing Democratic politics into disarray. Clinton's strategy of preemptively vetoing anything that didn't provide...

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