• Hating on the Lab

    So it turns out that the Bush administration has been putting pen to paper on government climate reports, letting a former oil industry lobbyist with a degree in economics and no scientific training fuzz up warnings on global warming by changing the language, excising passages, and tweaking the emphasis. So "uncertainties" became "significant and fundamental uncertainties", something difficult to calculate becomes "extremely difficult", and the element of chance was generally blown into a metaphysical meditation on the essential unknowability of things and the fallacies of trusting what you read. Brilliant. One thing that's worth remembering is that the war on science isn't a Bush administration innovation. Not at all, in fact. Gingrich's 1994 revolution had its own set of ideas for recasting the role of science in regulatory law, and they, if possible, were even more sophisticated about it than the Bush administration. Rather than going for simple Stalinistic tactics like changing...
  • Being Bipartisan

    Over at TPM Cafe, Josh and friends are marvelling over the country's polarization, which has far exceeded its actual ideological polarization and mostly crowded out the center. Josh says we're headed for a realignment, at least once Bush leaves. Well, maybe. Remember, Bush was supposed to be the realignment. All that talk about Texas bipartisanship, about Bush crying at his Democratic Lt. Governor's funeral. about being a uniter, not a divider? Remember that primary challenge coming from a Senator whose main reputation was for transcending party and forging close working relationships across the aisle? There's no doubt that Americans want a reduction in partisanship, they have for quite awhile. Problem was, when they vote for that, it often makes no difference. And, indeed, if Bush leaves and Hillary wins, I have trouble imagining that we'll see a chastened Republican party trying to heal the country's divisions and work constructively with the new president. And Americans, like they...
  • Technology Wins

    There's an ominous clicking inside my Powerbook. It's in the vicinity of the trackpad, and when it begins, my computer's usefulness ends. For the last few days I've been wrestling with it, using it most of the day then letting it rest after it decided to lock up. But this morning, I assume some time between 2 and 6am,the forces of evil launched a massive attack, forcing my computer to surrender and surprising me with, when I awoke, a laptop that no longer starts. That means, mainly, that if you've sent me e-mail in the last few days and I haven't replied, you should resend because I can't access anything on my hard drive. By the way, you know what's really terrific about my tech problems? That they're happening during finals week. Fan-fucking-tastic.
  • Questions

    So this calendar you speak of...what're the royalties? And who says wonks can't do cheesecake?
  • Time for Another Flight Suit Photo-Op?

    This graphic from the latest Washington Post poll is the hardest evidence yet that Bush is in decline. Forgetting Iraq, which has traditionally had a capricious relationship with the polls, look at terrorism. So far as I know, Bush has never, ever, not in a single survey, faced public disapproval on terrorism. That wasn't a reflection of the job he was doing but of the image he projects. After all, Americans can't see what's happening in the War on Terror, but they can see the War President swaggering across their televisions and looking, for all the world, like a man who can't be bothered to make sense on domestic policy, so focused is he on ripping Osama bin-Laden's throat out. If his ratings are nosediving on terrorism, we're seeing a direct rejection of the Bush persona. Nothing has happened recently to publicly signal a change in fortunes in our fight against al-Qaeda, so this means that, in the eyes of America, Bush himself is becoming smaller, less threatening, less impressive...
  • I Have Always Relied on the Kindness of Strangers

    The WTO. I want to learn about it. Yes, boring, I know. But anything that half my lefty activist friends think is a tool of American interests to dominate Nicaragua and the other half think is an unjust institution yoking the American worker has to be fairly interesting. So if anyone's got suggestions of books that'll dig into the organization a bit, explain what it is and why people hate it, and end with a soberer assessment, I'd be much obliged. Update : Speaking of the WTO, looks like China's tired of being lectured on unfair trading practices. They better be careful or Robert Kaplan might write another article on how we could (probably) kick their ass.
  • Raich

    Tim Lee wonders why I've been silent on the Raich decision. The answer, unfortunately, is less malicious than it is mundane: I've nothing to say. I think marijuana should be decriminalized but California clearly can't contravene federal law. Insofar as the decision rests on the principle of federalism, I agree with it. Insofar as we're talking about really, really sick folks who won't be able to get a harmless, pleasant medicine, I find it deeply saddening. So bottom line, the ruling was correct, its the anti-drug hysteria that has poisoned Congress towards common sense medical marijuana legislation that's in the wrong.
  • More CAFTA Fun

    Speaking of the administration's total duplicity surrounding CAFTA, here's President Bush lying through his teeth during a speech to Organization of American States: For the young democracies of Central America, CAFTA would bring new investment, and that means good jobs and higher labor standards for their workers. Yes, that's what CAFTA's about, guaranteeing higher labor standards to the workers of Central America. There is simply no way to take this Administration seriously anymore. It's all just lies and expediency. Social Security privatization as a response to higher black mortality rates, CAFTA as a boon for international labor standards, the nuclear option as a restoration of traditional Senate doesn't even count as communication anymore, it's just crap cloaked in a thin veneer of words.
  • Today's McClellan Moment

    In response to a question asking if the president would condemn Hugo Chavez by name, Scott said : I think the focus of his remarks will be on democracy in our hemisphere, and strengthening democracy in our hemisphere. ... And one way that we can help support younger democracies in our own hemisphere is to continue to advance trade. And the President will talk about the importance of CAFTA in his remarks. CAFTA has great strategic significance in our own hemisphere. It's not only about leveling the playing field and making sure that our farmers and producers at home can compete on an equal footing, it's also, in a much broader sense, about supporting these younger democracies and helping them fulfill the promise of democracy; we need to make sure that democracy delivers more than promises. Yes, one thing democracy can deliver is, apparently, a free trade agreement that lets corporations strike down democratically-enacted laws if they prove to be unfair barriers to commerce, and further...
  • Ugh

    This is one of the worst stories I've ever heard. Texas should be fully, wholly, totally, ashamed.