Archive

  • Humanitarian Interventions

    Last night I went to a lecture by Samantha Power, she of A Problem From Hell fame. If you ever get a chance, see her speak -- she's amazing. And for that matter, buy her book (or buy it for me -- yes, I lack all shame), she's an incredible mind and was somehow able to make an hour on Sudan and genocide an uplifting, informative, and inspiring experience. Anyway, I have some projects on Sudan in the works (some of them pre-lecture!) so stay tuned for that. Right now, I want to talk about humanitarian interventions for a sec. CW here is that the American people don't much like the idea of committing troops in order to save lives. That, ostensibly, is why Bush had to go through the WMD rigamarole in order to invade Iraq, and why Clinton couldn't deploy to Rwanda. So I did a little bit of research tonight, and I feel safe in calling bullshit. So far as I can tell, Clinton felt himself unable to intervene in Rwanda, mostly because of the Mogadishu fiasco. But even for Clinton, a draft-...
  • More on Health of Nations

    Some other good blogospheric folks have taken a shine to the series and added on to it. Over at Electoral-Math, Nick has entries on the medical malpractice systems of Germany , France , and England . Meanwhile, Greg at the Talent Show has gone all Kevin Drum on us and reworked some data into a user-friendly graph . Thanks, guys.
  • Nice Try, But...

    Sigh. Silly Santorum -- you can't fight the weather . And trying isn't going to close the 14-point gap between you and Casey...
  • Bolting on Bolton

    Maybe I'm overestimating the power of Powell, but I have to think his decision to actively lobby against Bolton effectively kills the nomination. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is notable for its motley collection of Republican moderates -- guess the rest of the caucus wanted to cut taxes or something? -- and they're exactly the folks who listen to the words of Colin, he's one of their own. So now that he's having chit-chats with Chafee and Hagel, and Chafee and Hagel have been wobbling ever since Voinovich forced Lugar to blink, it seems like this little push from someone with so much popular authority should be more than enough to convince one or both of 'em that Bolton shouldn't exit the committee alive. And if Bolton can't get out of committee, and Social Security privatization can't pass, it's really looking like lame duckhood for this president. That reminds me: Is anyone else thinking Bush term two looks a lot like Clinton term one? Tough fights on nominations,...
  • Yawn

    Via DC Media Girl , Hindrocket's having an aneurysm over this . Not the bankruptcy bill that targets -- and fires on -- the poor, not the leave-the-money-on-the-nightstand ethos that produced the energy bill, but this . A T-shirt. That's what made him wonder "HOW SICK CAN THE LEFT GET?" A T-shirt on CafePress.com. If I had the energy to sign up for CafePress, I could create one saying, for instance, "Hindrocket Loves Big Trunk -- Pass the FMA Now!" and it'd still just be a kid playing with a website, not an official expression of the left's depravity. These right-wingers, it's all vapors and delicate constitutions with them. Call 'em a name and they cry. Meanwhile, I know exactly how sick the right can get. That's why I don't read Little Green Footballs. Because depravity isn't a kid with a naughty T-shirt design, it's a community with a thirst for blood. Update : Seems like as good a time as any to link to revive this post ...
  • Point, Counterpoint

    Krauthammer writes : Have that independence and supremacy been abused? Grossly. What other advanced democracy would radically legalize abortion by judicial decree rather than by democratic will expressed through legislatures or referendums? What sane democracy allows four unelected robed eminences in Massachusetts to revolutionize the very definition of marriage, the most ancient institution in society? Matt responds : Obviously, no nation other than the United States would allow robed eminences in Massachusetts to make decisions about the legality of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in marriage, but provincial Supreme Courts in such far-off lands as Canada have likewise been ruling on such matters. And if you want to know what other advanced democracy would have judicial decrees legalizing abortion you, again, don't need to look further than Canada. All of which would merely demonstrate ignorance on Krauthammer's part were he not, well, Canadian. Heh.
  • Health of Nations: Germany

    It's been a long day, I desperately need some coffee, and it's really hot in my room. So you wouldn't believe how excited I am to dive into yet another country's health care structure. Let's just say I love you all very, very much. For those who've missed the previous three days of health wonkery, check out France , England and Canada . Today is Germany which, fun fact, Clinton Care was based off of. Da Basics: Germany was the first nation to enact mandatory health insurance, doing so way back in 1883. The system is funded through employer contributions, with half the money coming from your paycheck and half coming from your employer. Participating Germans -- about 90% of the country -- are enrolled in "sickness funds", some of which are organized by geographical region, some of which are organized by trade, and some of which are organized by company. The funds are a mix between private and public entities and are all nonprofit. They can't discriminate, and can't charge customers at...
  • There Are Honest Libertarians -- Right?

    On assignment from political theory class, I've been reading David Boaz's Libertarianism: A Primer . Boaz is the Executive VP of CATO and the sort of guy who finds an idea and crams the world into it. Since I've had to follow him along in his quest to make every historical occurrence, mistake and misstep an argument for free markets and weak states, I figure the least I can do is is highlight some of the stranger parts. So here are my favorite two from the first chapter, which is about why Libertarianism is just about the sweetest thing ever: First, we are not as prosperous as we could be. If our economy were growing at the rate it grew from 1943 to 1973, our GDP would be 40 percent larger than it is. In case you're curious, 1943-1977 encompasses the end of FDR's presidency, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. So if our economy were growing at the rate it did during liberalism's renaissance, this country would be better off. I'm...
  • Blah

    So apologies for the lack of content today. One of those days where I just haven't had much to say. That's the problem with keeping a 5-8 pieces a day posting schedule, when the inspiration runs dry you feel guilty. In any case, I'm working on the Germany Health of Nations right now, so that should be up soon. In the meantime, if any of you have found some particularly provocative articles around, leave them in comments for me.
  • Taibbi Stabs

    Via a kind reader, Matt Taibbi's review of the Tom Friedman's new book is, without doubt, the funniest and sharpest-knifed book review I've ever read. Good times.

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