Archive

  • End of the Investigation

    Looks like we should consign that little part of us awaiting answers on the intelligence failures that led us into Iraq to that same purgatory where we still expect a verdict in the Plame case. It didn't have to be that way. Liberals weren't happy when Kansas Senator Pat Roberts condemned the intelligence verdict on the Bush administration to "Phase II", which would only emerge after the election, but still, we understood. Were we Republicans, tasked with defending a President who'd obviously massaged inadequate intelligence into the shape he wanted, we'd want the report to come out post-election as well. But even I didn't think they'd just stonewall the thing. Even I didn't think they'd just bog down the investigation and let it fizzle out of its own accord. But that's exactly what Roberts has done. No administration officials have been interviewed, obstacles set up by the OSP (a bunch of neocons who seem responsible for much of the mess) have not been bypassed, and Roberts has...
  • We're Outta There (According to the Fulfillment of Certain Benchmarks)

    Matt's got an excellent post on troop withdrawal in Iraq. Read it.
  • Another Annoying Panel

    Over at Sean-Paul's place, I'm undersigned on a letter protesting The National Press Club's strange lineup for their upcoming "Blogger? Journalist?" event. Slated to discuss the issue are Wonkette, Congress Daily's John Stanton, and Jeff Gannon. Yeah, that Jeff Gannon. It's such a laughably silly slate that you can't be mad, just amused. Nevertheless, in an event that bills itself as having bloggers and journalists attending to discuss what they are, you'd think they could add in a representative blogger or two. Ana Marie-Cox is not, so far as I can tell, a blogger anymore. I mean, maybe she is, but whenever I click over to Wonkette, which I rarely do, it seems someone else is writing the site. BoiFromTroy, or, right now, Greg Beato, or "Joe Klein" -- but not Cox. One of the defining traits of bloggers is that they, well, blog, and Cox doesn't seem to do that. I don't blame her, all these panels eat up the workday, but it's time for her to turn in the blog decoder ring and become a...
  • Infinite Horizon

    Apropos of nothing save my annoyance, I did a little research on the "infinite-horizon" modeling today. "Infinite horizon" projections are where we get numbers like Social Security's supposed $11 trillion deficit. It's a way of forecasting costs off into the great beyond. It's also a load of crap. President Bush's tax cuts, if judged via an infinite horizon projection, would cost us $20 trillion, and his Medicare plan would be coming to your house to eat your children. But the infinite horizon is BS. While trawling around the internets to figure out exactly how it works, I found a good Fact-Check.org article explaining that, well, it doesn't. Because it's so inaccurate, it was never included until the 2003 Trustees Report, which apparently was when the Bush administration decided to add fangs and a pitchfork to the Social Security numbers. A technical panel advising them on the inclusion on the number said it's misleading as a dollar estimate and should instead be expressed as a...
  • Gonna Party Like It's 1994!

    Grassley's admission that privatization probably won't happen -- indeed, that no bill is likely to move forward -- drives that stake nice and deep into the privateers' heart. This is like Moynihan's reluctance to push Clinton's health care bill and his public disparagement of its chances, the combination of which did much to kill the plan. Go Grassley! Update : The reason this is such a big deal, which I forgot to mention, is that Grassley, as chair of the Finance Committee, is charged with writing the bill and bringing it to the floor. He's the guy . And the guy thinks there'll be no bill.
  • Bad Matt, Bad Dean

    Matt's explosion of opprobrium towards my earlier post on Dean deserves a response. Suffice to say there are two schools of thought on Dean's ascension to the chairmanship: mine, which is that Dean is a highly effective media representative and his primary role should be spokesperson, and Matt's, which is that Dean is an enormously ineffective media rep and should keep his goddamn head down so he doesn't paint the left as liberal. Matt's quite pleased that Dean's proving invisible and apparently focusing on the technocratic responsibilities of the job because he believes that if Dean jumps onto the scene Rove will "wet his pants", assumedly from glee rather than fear. Maybe so. But likely not. To start, Dean is very good in front of the cameras. Aside from the Scream, which has colored a lot of perceptions, Dean was an enormously capable speaker and debater. More to the point, he was brilliantly clear at delivering his message. That was, if you remember, the center of the pro-Dean...
  • Pro-Bucks

    Unlike Brad Plumer, I'm going to evince no shame in declaring myself objectively pro-Starbucks -- I love the place. And you know what? I don't even drink coffee. Yep -- shout it from the mountain, this decaffeinated blogger thinks independents are overrated and everyone should enjoy a local emanation of the Seattle-based giant. Starbucks offers all workers, whether full or part-time, paid vacation and sick leave, stock options, a 401(k) plan, and health benefits. The health plan is available with a mere 20-hours a week -- most places demand 40 -- and the company pays 75% of the costs, more than the federal government pays in its plans. Domestic partners are included in the coverage, and in fact were allowed in a year before unmarried heterosexual partners were brought into the fold. The plan also includes dental, vision, and mental care. My friends who work there love the job and consider themselves overpaid. My friends who work at independent shops generally dislike their work and...
  • Dean Don't Speak

    Speaking of Dean -- and freaks who read the blog from the bottom-up will know I am -- anyone else a bit surprised at the Chairman's decision to treat the press like he's a groundhog and they're his shadow? The rationale for making him chair rested pretty heavily on his facility in front of the cameras, but the reality of his chairmanship has been a continuing race away from the glare. So while I'm glad he's doing the grassroots thing and encouraged by his focus on local press, which is basically the only kind he's talking to, I fear this is less strategy than phobia. Folks who rode the Dean train the whole way through its slow-motion explosion have told me how the guv'nor's mistrust and paranoia of the national press rapidly expanded as the campaign fell. Dean, for his part, never liked the press, but at least he tolerated them. I'm a bit concerned that his past experiences have -- rightly! -- soured him on media reliability and fairness, so he's decided to circumvent them. But that...
  • Testify!

    Brad Plumer's post comparing religiously-motivated candidates with candidates attempting to appear religiously-motivated is all sorts of good, read it. But it touches on a personal crusade of mine, that "religious" is nothing more than a heuristic for moral. For Dean to strut on stage and begin talking about the Sadducees is a bit insane -- does he really think red-state voters are just waiting for him to reference an obscure Jewish sect that sought to restore the dominance of the High Priest? Worse, Dean's doesn't need religion, Kerry does. That's because we're not actually talking about religion here, we're talking about conviction. I'm not sure when we conflated the two, probably somewhere around the moment we cross-tabbed George Bush's poll numbers on conviction and religious faith. In any case, it's straight silly to believe that there's some horde of voters checking off each mention of Jesus on some Church-provided scorecard. It's just not happening. What is happening is that...
  • The End of DeLay

    And the Bugman's Shakespearian fall continues. Now it's the Wall Street Journal unsheathing the knives. The Wall Street Journal!

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