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  • Bad Rudy, No Cookie

    Via Paul Waldman , look what Saint Rudy's been up to : on Feb. 9 in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Giuliani had initially been booked by the South Carolina Hospital Association through the Washington Speakers Bureau to speak for his usual $100,000 fee. But then a massive tsunami devastated South Asia and "we just didn't feel that a big old party was the right thing," said Patti Smoake, the hospital association's spokeswoman. Instead, the South Carolinians held a fund-raiser called "From South Carolina to South Asia." Mr. Giuliani agreed to speak at the new event. He even wrote a $20,000 check to the Red Cross, the event's beneficiary, according to figures cited by a South Carolina hospital official and obtained by The Observer. He batted away the inevitable political speculation that accompanied his visit to the crucial Republican primary state, telling a local reporter he was visiting "because I enjoy coming to South Carolina and because this is a worthy cause." Mr. Giuliani didn't mention it at...
  • To Jesse and Amanda

    Heh. Indeed.
  • Burn!

    Chait to Goldberg : Jonah then uses his misunderstanding of welfare to perform a victory dance in my ideological end zone. "It's not that liberals have maturely adapted to new data, it's that they've been proven wrong so often — either empirically or at the polls — that they've had to change," he writes. Ah. So it's just a matter of time before liberals accept that the income tax, child labor laws, environmental regulations, the minimum wage, federal food inspectors, and so on will cripple American business. And that's why Ronald Reagan's prediction that if Medicare was enacted, "you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was like in America when men were free" is conventional wisdom today. Stick a fork in him, he's done. Update: The more of this debate I read, the more puzzled I get. Here's Jonah: I would add that many liberals would have the same reaction, depending on the economic policy in question. Surely, at some point...
  • Killing Us Softly With His Song

    One of the really funny tricks on Social Security privatization is how sweetly it destroys Medicare. Medicare, of course, is on red-alert territory financially. Come 2006, premiums will have jumped 34% in two years, a hell of an increase. And the future doesn't look a whole lot better. I'm sorry, I should rephrase: the future is apocalyptic, Medicare is in terrible shape and, with premiums supposed to cover 25% of the program's costs, any jump in spending will drag your grandmother's monthly payments up with it. The only alternative is cutting what the government spends on Medicare services, which means cutting what doctors make and encouraging them to turn away the elderly. Okay, so what does this have to do with privatization? Well, for 2/3rds of the elderly, Social Security is their main source of income. For about 20%, it's their only source of income. So how, exactly, do you think most seniors are paying their Medicare premiums? Currently, there's a pretty direct transfer from...
  • Roxanne

    She's not just funny , but a whiz with the html, too. That's one work-intensive April Fools joke she's got...
  • More on Sudan

    You know what? I'm wrong, or at least three days too late. My post below on Sudan is pretty frustrated, but it stopped being accurate about three days ago. On March 29th, the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII (which allows them to use force), passed a pretty powerful resolution implementing much of what I mentioned below. A committee has been formed to identify the ringleaders and, in 30 days, freeze all their assets, end all their travel, and generally twist the screws on them. Of course, in 30 days, the folks who know themselves to be the bad guys can liquidate their foreign holdings and thus escape financial harm, but that's not really the point. This resolution, coming three days before the new one authorizing the use of the ICC, means the Security Council has finally gotten serious on Darfur. The next step is serious sanctions, and then it's a troop deployment. "People who know things", like the ICG, seem to think that the measures just undertaken will work, at least...
  • No Time for Celebration

    Praise thus lavished (see the post below), I need to protect my independent, contrarian credentials. So Brad's right that Democracy Arsenal's posts on Sudan seem a smidge unrelated to the issue. While I'm glad we've agreed upon a framework for trying the country's genocidally-inclined, the Janjaweed, the state-sponsored militia doing the genocidal thing, hasn't whipped out the machetes because they figured the the current controversy over how best to prosecute war criminals would let them slip under the radar. They're hacking away because they don't believe any powerful countries -- read the US, Britain or France -- are going to deploy troops and drag them in front of some higher authority. So celebrating our acceptance of the ICC, coming as it is in exactly the context Washington said they'd accept the Court, really doesn't merit much celebration. If we were serious about, well, anything aside from naked self-interest, we would have done something substantive to stop the bloodshed...
  • Where to Wonk

    So I know what you're thinking. All the bloggers are recommending these Democracy Arsenal folks, but you're just one wo/man -- they're five highly educated foreign policy professionals! How can you head over to their site blind? Where would you even begin? Calm down -- wonks are our friends, they should never scare you. But I realize you need a place to start, a test drive to decide if you'll buy, or at least copy-and-paste, the RSS feed. And I'm going to help by offering two superb places to begin: Lorelei Kelly's Stepford Wonks: Stepford Wonks are a vital feature of this echo chamber. Thirty years ago, conservatives decided that, because the left had academia, they needed to create an alternative universe for themselves. (Anybody who has worked in a university knows that academics are not remotely equipped for policy relevance, but anyway) Spun up conservatives proceeded to bankroll legions of organizations, think tanks, fellowships, institutions and the like, to carry forth the...
  • Fafblog!

    Link ! So a buncha pointy-headed sciencey types are all upset because we're "using up resources" and "destroying the world." Well, boo hoo hoo! Do you hear that sound, sciencey-types? It is the world's largest violin playing just for the exhaustion of our natural resources. The violin is made entirely of mulched rainforest and played by enormous smoke-belching engines of steel and concrete, standing a thousand feet tall in glorious tribute to the undying achievement that has been man's rape of the natural world! Tomorrow it will be scrapped and replaced with a newer, bigger violin with built-in wireless and dolphin-exploding capabilities
  • Shooting the Devil in the Back

    Jesse Lee thinks the sole force able to take out DeLay is Rove, and he can only do that by converting the GOP caucus. True, but I don't think he's got the power. The house leadership is surprisingly disconnected from the White House -- there's been no patron relationship there. Unlike Frist, Hastert and DeLay built this goddamn majority, and I'd be stunned if they let the transient occupants of the White House tell them how to run it. So I think Rove's meddling might prove counterproductive. But what about internal fears from the conference? That's trickier. If DeLay is dragging down the poll numbers and become a problem for the Republicans, would he allow Hastert and Blunt to put him out of his misery? My answer, again, is nope. You have to remember that DeLay was never a Gingrichite, he's never been a movement guy concerned with creating an enduring GOP majority in order to change the world. DeLay's ruthlessness, and thus his success, actually comes from his alternative motivation...

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