• Ordinary Rendition

    Next time Bush declares his confidence in our rejection of rendition, I wouldn't, uh, believe him. Sweden's released a report detailing an America rendition done on their territory, which, had it been done by Swedish police, would've been illegal. Indeed, the American use of police powers on Swedish ground is illegal, and the report noted that prosecution of the Americans involved is a possibility. I want to say this once and I want to say it clearly: Our. Country. Tortures. We don't have a few loose cannons wielding bull whips and tasers, we have a government whose official policy is the encouragement of extraordinary rendition, which is to say shipping our captured off to other countries for torture. Public protestations that we extract promises of humane treatment are simply insulting. If they were true, why do we need to send prisoners to other countries? We torture. It is our fault. And our government means for it to happen.
  • On Dynasties

    Matt Harwood's deeply concerned about the possibility of a dynastic presidency in the country. If Hillary wins, and then takes reelection, we'll have been under continuous rule by two families for 24 years. If Jeb then grabs the presidency, well, you get the idea. I've been hearing this a lot and I like it in theory, but I'm unconvinced on its application. What, exactly, are the problems with dynasty? So far as I know them, they're not merely the optics of keeping it in the family. It's more that dynasties consolidate power, pass leadership onto sons, daughters, and relatives who don't deserve it, and encourage misrule through squeezing out non-related competitors. And while a perfectly good case can be made that Bush 43 wasn't ready for power, I don't think that relates to either Hillary (or for that matter, two-term governor Jeb). Hillary, after all, is the Senator from one of the most populous and powerful states in the union, and so popular that the opposing party can't even...
  • Of Goldwater and the Beltway

    Can someone explain to me what David Sirota is doing ? Oliver Willis caught him making a poor analogy on this NARAL thing -- David compared it to Club for Growth, Oliver pointed out that Club for Growth doesn't endorse Democrats -- and Sirota just spluttered out a long string of historical misreads and beltway hatred, all of it liberally doused in populist condescension. So two quick things here, and then it's time to begin my Friday night: 1) The post-Goldwater Republican party did not pull off some sort of magic trick. Some folks seem to believe they just built so many institutions that, one morning, the country woke up conservative. Wrong. Lyndon Johnson slammed the 1964 Civil Rights Act through Congress and, immediately after, Goldwater, despite his historic drubbing, won four deep-South states that hadn't gone Republican since 1876. When Johnson signed the bill, he told his advisors he'd just lost the South for the Democratic party. He was right. Southern Democrats were...
  • Bobblicious

    How much of a nerd does it make me if I really, really want one of these FDR bobbleheads ? The JFK one is sweet too. The Bush 43 doesn't look anything like Dubya, though. Via the Munz .
  • NARAL Deviousness?

    Here's a (stupid) thought: what if the whole NARAL endorsing Chafee move is an attempt to motivate the state's (small) conservative base to fund a challenger ? For Chafee to get NARAL's first 2006 endorsement and speak at their convention might be a bit much for Rhode Island's hardcore Republicans to bear. The Club for Growth, now headed by Specter's primary challenger Pat Toomey, is publicly considering funding someone, and this would be the perfect outrage to rationalize their entrance. And weakening Chafee in the primary would soften him up for the general, an especially important task considering that Langevin and Kennedy both begged out and their Democratic replacements are weaker. Anyway, probably not true, but if their really was a genius this devious within NARAL's walls, I'd be quite impressed. Update : First, more serious post on the subject here. Shorter me: NARAL's being stupid. By the way, Matt Singer thinks that judgment is wrong , wrong , wrong . Thought you should know.
  • Hellllllooooo Nurse!

    The New York Times has a cute op-ed arguing that America should replace the unknown Surgeon General with a National Nurse whose pronouncements would focus on prevention and healthy living. Sounds good, though we can still keep the surgeon general around for kicks and non-preventive giggles. In any case, this country really has to start paying more attention to nurses. Not only are we losing them at an alarming rate but any efforts to fix our health care system and lower costs are going to need nurses and their cousins, nurse practitioners, to act as the new system's backbone. America's doctors simply make too much money. Sorry guys, you do. But I don't blame you for wanting the big bucks, the hell we put you through in order to net that MD is just absurd. Why, exactly, do pediatricians need to know advanced physics? Or wait, riddle me this: multi-variable calculus? We've essentially weeded out anyone who doesn't like science from attending med school, as the pre-med requirements are...
  • Optics, Boys, Optics

    David Sirota gets a bit overheated in interpreting it, but this photo of Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich celebrating pro-Wal-Mart legislation while shadowed by the company's CEO is pretty creepy.
  • Don't Speak...It Just Makes It Worse

    Matt's a little surprised that the right has given so little thought to the long-term consequences of the filibuster fight, namely, the destabilization of the filibuster and the massive expansions of government that its elimination will eventually engender. He points to David Boaz , who is taking the long-view (and is, by the way, a markedly dishonest dude in other contexts) and realizes the dangers. I'm a bit surprised that Matt's surprised. What's made C-Span so gripping this week has been the fantastic! amazing! unexpected! rhetorical contortions of senators advocating the rule change. They know how wrong they are. They know what they're doing is ahistorical. Bill Frist's stammerfest when confronted with his own filibustering of a judicial nominee was a perfect example: this is a power grab, and everyone involved knows it. It's nonsensical on the merits and obviously dangerous as precedent, but, since the battle has been joined, they need to do it. Thinking long about it is, at...
  • America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee

    Ladies and Gentlemen, your United States of America: Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him. The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days. Your land of the free: Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle...
  • With Friends Like These

    In something of an odd move, NARAL has given Lincoln Chafee their early endorsement , and their first of the 2006 campaign. Stupid stupid stupid. They've been missing the forest throughout the race, driving Langevin, who could've unseated Chafee (and was stomping him in the polls), out of the running, and now offering Lincoln their preemptive stamp of approval. Assumedly, this is to prove their independence from the party. But you know what? NARAL isn't actually independent from the party because choice, in reality, isn't actually independent from the Democrats. That's why Langevin couldn't have done much harm. A Democratic majority is going to protect the right to choose even if one or two of its members are uncomfortable with the concept. A Republican majority is going to work feverishly to abrogate it even if one or two of its members, like Lincoln, support choice. I see where NARAL's coming from on this, but by cutting pro-life Democrats off at the knees they're keeping some...