• Weekend Guest Stars

    Battle Panda and Daniel Munz will be helping me out this weekend. Better recognize.
  • Holy Skirmishes

    Kevin writes : Matt Yglesias wonders if liberals spend too much of their energy fighting meaningless fights against religious symbolism...I think he's right, and I say that from the perspective of someone who's such a stone atheist that I'm pretty sure it's not philosophically possible to be more atheist than me. Still, there are fights and there are fights, and some are more worth fighting than others. Evolution? Worth fighting over, even if it costs us. Prayer in public classrooms? I'm agin it, but let's face facts: we won 98% of this battle long ago. The last 2% probably isn't worth too much bloodshed. Creche scenes in front of city hall? Lighten up. That's right, and I hear it a lot. The problem is that liberals, broadly defined, aren't the folks fighting these battles. Democratic legislators aren't scouring the nation's public lawns for nativity scenes. In fact, most of us just don't care. It's a small set of liberally- affiliated organizations waging these battles. The ACLU,...
  • Liberal Academia

    How can it be that I was just accepted as a writer at one of the most staunchly, proudly, progressive magazines in the country, and yet my natural opinions routinely place me on the rightmost edge of my classes? It's really quite strange.
  • Your Daily Must-Read

    August on Voinovich. In George's defense, the amount of pressure that was brought to bear must've been simply unbelievable, and his assurance that the vote would historically leave the committee without a recommendation is going to make it possible to kill on the Senate floor. On the other hand, I really don't understand what Bush is saying to these guys that's scaring them so much. Voinovich won 77% of the vote in his last race; you'd need a stick of dynamite to eject him from his Senate seat. So what are the threats that force all these folks to stand down? And how powerful must they be to have ensured that no one, no one , decided the White House had simply gone too far and it was time to teach them a lesson? Very weird.
  • Point for Lula

    America decides to meddle in Brazil's HIV-prevention program. America demands Brazil sign oath condemning prostitutes. Brazil to America : "Go screw yourselves (safely)." In early May, Brazil declared its defiance of American diktats abroad. The country's national AIDS commissioner, HIV doctor Pedro Chequer, turned down $40 million in US assistance for its fight against AIDS rather than sign a statement condemning prostitution. "For us it was an ethical issue," Chequer told The Nation. "We have to reach every segment of society, with no discrimination. Besides, no country is supposed to decide what another country must do." At a time when the Bush Administration has elected itself not only the world's cop but its pope, too, Brazil's audacity carries the shock of the new. Over the past two years, organizations around the world have been asked to sign similar statements and to halt their advocacy for sex workers' rights, the result of restrictive language slipped into AIDS and human-...
  • Two Is The Loneliest Number

    The dwindling, pathetic ranks of Republican moderates are quite sad, but when put this way, they're also quite funny: The elections in November put seven new Republicans, nearly all conservatives, in the Senate, increasing the party's majority to 55. As moderate Senate Republicans look out around the country, they are comforted by the ranks of moderate governors like Arnold Schwarzenegger in California, George E. Pataki in New York and Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. But here in the Capitol, their numbers are so few, said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, that they quit having their weekly lunches about a year ago. "Susan and I were there alone for so much of the time," Mr. Specter he said, referring to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, "we worked through all of our conversation and decided to disband." Man, there was a time -- I remember! -- when everybody wanted to eat lunch with Arlen and Sue. It was like, the table. Now? It's all these new kids, like Coburn and...
  • Advertiser Love

    If you've got a minute, take a look at BAG News , one of my advertisers. It's a blog that interprets the graphics that make up our news, rather than the text that most bloggers deal with. It's an interesting niche, and I recommend it both in terms of supporting my advertisers and as a refreshing read. So off you go.
  • A Puritan Country With a Perverted Populace

    Between Dr. Hager's forced sodomization of his narcoleptic wife, John Bolton's penchant for swinging , Jack Ryan's repeated attempts to force his wife into group sex, Rush Limbaugh's multiple divorces, and all the rest of it, don't you think it's time to admit that many Americans, both the decorous right wingers and the bohemian lefties, grapple with extreme perversion and sexual impropriety? Some, like Rush, don't bug me, at least aside from their hypocrisy. Some, like Hager, should be locked away forevermore. But I do wish that, in simple pursuit of honesty, our country would come to terms with the idea that figures public and private, right and left, have sexual lives and that such an admission, in and of itself, is not abnormal. What Hager did, I guarantee, will not spill 1/1000th of the news ink Clinton's petty dalliances attracted. Now, Clinton was the president, his coverage will necessarily be greater. But I further promise that the outrage amongst the right won't touch the...
  • Hillary's Problem

    This isn't the first time Hillary and Newt have joined forces to push small-bore health improvements, but as both gear up for 2008 runs, it's worth taking it seriously. It's perhaps emblematic of where the parties are that these foes have ended up following such different strategies en route to 08. Newt just wrote a book that reads like a transcript of a conservative wet dream, it's all HSA's and privatization and sacking government. Hillary, on the other hand, is assiduously courting the center, proving herself everything but a wild-eyed liberal. So when the two join up, realize the subtext: Hillary is showing that she's repudiated the health care "radicalism" she's shown in the past while Newt is just gobbling up some headlines. That's one thing that scare me about Hillary's candidacy. While her moves are smart and her tactical abilities considerable, she's more hemmed in on policy than I'm comfortable with. She, for instance, will never be able to push the sort of government-based...
  • Rewriting the Campaign Memoirs

    Kos makes some interesting points on Kerry that I think, in the end, are a bit off: People who worked for Dean, Edwards and Clark all passionately loved their man. The campaigns stuck together. Why? Because the campaigns were based in the candidates' home states. Hence, staffers had to move to work on those campaigns. They had to make a sacrifice to uproot and travel to a strange city on behalf of their guy. That commitment was real. And since those staffers knew no one else in these cities, they worked together, played together, and stuck together through thick and thin. It was shared sacrifice, and it translated to genuine affection and commitment to their candidate and their cause. Kerry's campaign was based in DC. The staffers didn't have to make a commitment to their candidate beyond taking a different bus or metro stop. They didn't hang out after work, since they already had their established social circles in town. There was no sense of shared sacrifice and commitment to their...