• 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.
  • Moynihan

    Looking over excerpts from some new Hillary-bashing book, Matt posts up a purported conversation between Mrs. Clinton and Sen. Moynihan where Hillary forgets to credit Moynihan on a bill and so the aged senator, acting like the dignified legislative leader he was, bowed out of the meeting under false pretenses and hid in an adjoining room until Hillary left the building. Matt rightly notes how bad this makes Moynihan look, but the truth is really worse. If you had to pick the Senator who did the most to kill Clinton's bill, it wasn't Dole, it was Moynihan. During the Health Care fight, Moynihan played Lieberman on Social Security, but to a much greater degree. He called Clinton's numbers "fantasy numbers", he told the press that the Senate had no majority for reform, he opined that there "was no health care crisis". When, directly in the middle of the health care fight Whitewater began to pick up steam, Moynihan was the first Democrat to urge the appointment of special prosecutor, so...
  • Free Trade, Slave Labor

    The Washington Post has a profoundly wrongheaded op-ed on CAFTA today. It's written by Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Paul L.E. Grieco and attempts to argue that we should support the agreement because free trade, over the last century or so, has been hugely good for America. Sigh. Folks aren't opposing CAFTA because they question the merits of free trade. Actually, never mind, that's not quite right . But nevertheless, the critical mass of opposition is only emerging because free traders are joining with protectionists to oppose the bill. And why are we doing this? It's not because we've seen the light on tariffs or some such thing, but because the bill is a brutal attempt to destroy labor standards in Central America. Indeed, the past century that the op-ed so lauds has seen an ever-advancing regime of worker's rights here in America. In some ways it's made us less competitive, but it's also boosted our producticity, made our populace healthier and happier, freed up innovation, empowered...
  • King of the Playground

    The new Washington Post poll bears so much bad news for Bush that you'd think he was the Republican Congress (thanks folks, I'll be here all week). 58% of those interviewed said Bush was focusing on partisan squabbles and issues that weren't important to them. Much of that comes from Bush's obsessive focus on radical judicial nominees, an issue the average American follows with the same urgency he brings to tracking developments in cheese-grating technology. More to the electoral point, 68% of independents said they disagreed with the president's priorities, meaning Bush needs to either really rework his public image or keep his head down during the midterm elections. After all, presidents with a 52% disapproval rating should be neither seen nor heard, at least if they want their party to win any seats. Bottom line here is that the judicial fight made Bush look small. Folks didn't understand why it got so much attention, why it aroused so much passion, and how it could possibly be...
  • 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.