• Form 180

    Oh happy day, particularly if you're one of the many right wingers who've spent the last few months screeching for Kerry to release his full Navy records. Finally, on this glorious Tuesday morning, they arrived. And just as you suspected, the forms are packed with dirt. They offer definitive, final proof that the SwiftVets were a bunch of liars. The records, which the Navy Personnel Command provided to the Globe, are mostly a duplication of what Kerry released during his 2004 campaign for president, including numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry's Vietnam service. The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry's military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat...
  • Any Questions?

    Speaking of take-no-prisoner addresses, Pope Nosferatu Benedict spent the morning offering one of his own: Pope Benedict, in his first clear pronouncement on gay marriages since his election, on Monday condemned same-sex unions as fake and expressions of "anarchic freedom" that threatened the future of the family. The Pope, who was elected in April, also condemned divorce, artificial birth control, trial marriages and free-style unions, saying all of these practices were dangerous for the family. "Today's various forms of dissolution of marriage, free unions, trial marriages as well as the pseudo-matrimonies between people of the same sex are instead expressions of anarchic freedom which falsely tries to pass itself off as the true liberation of man," he said. Huh. Well he certainly covered his bases with that one. Pope Benedict: He's may be no Nazi, but he's one hell of a reactionary.
  • Hillary Gone Wild

    Hillary busted out of the gate this morning with one of those take-no-prisoners addresses that does our shriveled little partisan hearts such good: Mrs. Clinton, who is running for a second term in 2006 and is widely described as a possible Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2008, said that her party is hamstrung because Republicans dissemble and smear without shame and the news media has lost its investigatory zeal for exposing misdeeds. Left unchallenged, especially if Democrats fail to pick up seats in next year's Congressional elections, she said, Republican leaders could ram through extremist conservative judges, wreck Social Security and make unacceptable concessions to China, Saudi Arabia and other nations that are needed to finance the United States budget deficit. Read the whole thing , particularly the part where she ticks off the scandals that the press should be pursuing, but isn't.
  • Against Universal Vouchers

    The latest Washington Monthly offers up an article by Ezekiel Emanuel and Victor Fuchs arguing that universal health care vouchers are the silver bullet for our health care crisis and demanding that progressives should throw their weight behind them. Ugh. Universal health vouchers are one of those third way ideas that've been kicking around for quite some time and pop up whenever anybody wants to broker a grand compromise. In this incarnation, every American gets a voucher that pays for their health coverage with a private insurer. Insurers face heavier regulation on what they can/can't exclude, but are also reimbursed commensurately with the risk of the patients they take on (which means no cherry picking). Vouchers cover basic care, you can buy supplemental insurance atop that if you want more doctor choice, hospital choice, procedures, etc. The whole thing is paid for by a VAT, administered by government commission, and looked after by regional alliances.
  • When Class Has Assigned Seating

    Bob Herbert's column today on class mobility is excellent. Also worth reading is Jesse's thoughtful critique of it. He writes It's not an issue of whether or not the file clerk can become the CEO in thirty years, but rather the fact that the file clerk is getting paid comparitively less and less while the CEO sucks up all the benefits of the company's success. The goal isn't to assure that every middle manager becomes a millionaire, but rather that if you are a middle manager over a five-year period, you're actually earning more at the end of that period respective to your work and commitment than you were at the beginning. That's true to an extent, but if this country really is losing its class mobility -- and that looks to be the case -- then we've got some serious problems with how we run our economy and structure our society. As it is, the bottom line assumption of American economic policy is that our economy, more or less, runs off of hard work and individual initiative. That's...
  • Talking Point in Action

    Frank Luntz , in his leaked playbook for the GOP: Without the context of 9-11, you will be blamed for the deficit. The deficit is a touchy subject for both Republicans and Democrats - your supporters are inherently turned off to the idea of fiscal irresponsibility, and Democrats see nothing but hypocrisy. The trick then is to contextualize the deficit inside of 9-11 and the war in Iraq, which Republicans sometimes do, but not early enough in the answer. Ken Mehlman , on last Sunday's Meet the Press: MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Mehlman, it's gone from $218 billion surplus when George Bush took office to a $427 billion deficit. How can you call that Republican conservative economic policy? MR. MEHLMAN: Well, what I would say, Tim, is what we've suffered, unfortunately, was an attack on this country. We've suffered a war, and one thing we know: Whenever our nation's faced war, whether it was in the 1980s when we were winning the Cold War or in the 1940s during World War II, the responsible...
  • This Word Blog...

    Apparently, Duncan was on C-SPAN the other night and got nailed with the "where are all the women bloggers" question. Lance Mannion undertakes the now-rote deconstruction here (although what exactly is this dichotomy between "wonks" and "writers"? Which is James Wolcott, for instance? Digby?). What seems to pop up in his post, though, is that the definition of blogger varies in context. To the political world, a blog is an unabashedly, overtly, conventionally political opinion site. Think Yglesias or Kos or Drum or Willis. And so when C-SPAN wonders about women bloggers, the question isn't so much about women with websites as it is about women who write like, well, political savants. And when the swift and harsh rejoinders from female bloggers hit, they're not pointing to women who spend all day poring over the Washington Post, they're aiming at a larger variety of blogs with broader topic choice that zig-zags along that fuzzy line separating the personal from the political.
  • Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Democrats

    No no the post-Dean Democratic party, the real question isn't why Donny Fowler threw a punch at Bob Brigham, it's whether or not Bob Brigham threw a punch back.
  • The Real Watergate Mystery

    With retellings of Watergate ricocheting around the blogs , I can't, as a 21-year old, help feeling that the most stunning thing about it wasn't Nixon's willingness to break the law, wasn't Felt's bravery in coming forward, but the fact that anyone considered the Brookings Institution worth firebombing. As things stand, I can't think of a more anodyne, staid group than the Brookings folk, but 30 years ago they posed enough of a threat that a sitting president wanted to detonate their building? Forget what happened to Felt, what happened to Brookings?
  • Kicking Special Interest Butts -- and Cuddling Afterwards

    It seems that when Arnold isn't kicking the butts of special interests, he's having long, intimate conversations with them on an ultra-secret phone line. You have to donate a pretty solid sum of money to get on, but that's a small price to pay when you get insider campaign information and the opportunity to suggest initivatives for the governor in return: When wealthy contributors write checks to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, they often get a few canapes and a drink — and a secret telephone number that grants them access to his closest advisors and even the governor himself. Twice a month, donors can become insiders' insiders — invited to participate in conference calls featuring information about Schwarzenegger campaign strategy that his political enemies would love to have. In turn, donors who dial in can give the governor advice. The LA Times got quite a leak on this, their story does everything but offer you a number to call. As it turns out, the Schwarzenegger campaign -- and it...