Archive

  • Maybe They'll Conduct a Public Exorcism!

    Aren't conservatives supposed to be for, you know, limited government and congressional restraint and states' rights and stuff? Yeah? So tell me how they can possibly justify following up their subpoenas to Major League Baseball with yet more subpoenas stopping doctors from pulling Terry Schiavo's feeding tube and forcing her and her husband to testify before a committee. As Kevin says : It's not just that this is an obvious abuse of congressional power, since subpoenas are designed to compel testimony and Terri Schiavo is obviously not going to testify about anything. What's really nauseating is the almost slavering Republican eagerness to treat Schiavo as a common media spectacle. What are they going to do? Wheel her into a committee room under the klieg lights so the whole country can gape in wonderment at a comatose woman? Why not just set up a circus freak show on Capitol Hill and be done with it? It's weird because I remember their guiding philosophy even as they seem to have...
  • Kaddish for Kennan

    Centenarian George F. Kennan has died. Historically astute readers will know his as the author of the "containment" doctrine, which essentially guided our foreign policy through the Cold War. What most won't know, what I didn't know, is that Kennan felt his strategy significantly overapplied. As he conceived of it, containment was meant to protect a few spots of great national interest, not become a global policy to plug socialism wherever it uncorked. If we'd followed him, then, there would have been no Vietnam, no Bay of Pigs, fewer national embarrassments. It's all quite interesting. So read the LA Times' excellent obituary , it's a history lesson unto itself.
  • Our Cheating Government

    The special exemptions and rules given to Wal-Mart should really be a national shame. That a case concerning illegal child labor has ended with the transgressor getting a 15-day advance warning before any future inspection of its stores and a 10-day abatement period to rectify any abuses found during the prescheduled inspections is just flabbergasting. Imagine that -- not only does Wal-Mart have half a month to clean up a store before a visit, but in the event that they don't do a thorough job, they get a second chance to sweep violations under the rug. What happened to personal responsibility? To basic logic? I'm glad that House Democrats are holding Chao's feet to the fire on this, but we should really be throwing her into the furnace. This is a disgrace, it's the kind of deal that's reached in the third world when popular opinion forces a puppet government to "investigate" the guy pulling the strings. This administration isn't just in bed with corporations, it's sweaty and panting...
  • The Wizard of Luntz

    Luntz is such sleaze. His op-ed in the LA Times isn't even the sort of thing you can rebut, you can only point out the slime oozing off every word. The contention that his true aim in life, linguistic humanitarian that he is, is to clear policy debates of obfuscation and inject language that fairly and clearly expresses the policy conflict is enough to make a weaker man retch. But I'm no weaker man. In fact, I'm a highly evolved homo-sapien deeply enmeshed in modern communication technologies that allow me to absorb disparate sources of information and render judgments that inform and amuse thousands of others. And, highly sophisticated creature that I am, Luntz's op-ed pleases me. Because it means he's on the run. Luntz wrote this in response to the wide play his leaked "New America Lexicon" got. You guys might remember it -- Kos had it, everybody linked, everybody laughed and pored over it...but it got to Luntz. It got to him because he's being dragged out from behind the curtain...
  • Big Media Me Reminder

    I'll be on MSNBC's Connected: Coast-to-Coast during the 5 eastern/2 pacific program. They think my segment will hit about 15 minutes in, but you never know. Update : So that didn't go as planned. You'd think live coverage of a Senate hearing is the sort of thing you'd know about before I was in the studio, but such is cable news. On the bright side, I think today conclusively proved Jose Canseco's assertion that steroid use hurts the youth. If not for it, I'd have been on the teevee.
  • 1994=2004

    With DeLay sinking ever deeper in his ocean of ethical violation, DCCC chief Rahm Emanuel has decided to capitalize: Democratic House leaders are casting about for squeaky-clean congressional candidates — even if they’re long shots — to challenge prominent GOP incumbents who have been tainted by news reports of their allegedly unseemly connection to lobbyists. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) strategy, still in development, aims to make ethical charges the touchstone of those campaigns and would use several high-profile local races to create a national image of corruption in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives. Several Democratic lawmakers and aides said that Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) will be the first target of this new strategy. Explicitly borrowing from the anti-corruption planks in Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America,” and hoping to replicate the 1994 watershed victory that followed, the new plan suggests that Democratic leaders believe they need to...
  • Auditing the Tax Plan

    I'm not sure Brad Plumer's comments on CAP's tax reform plan are fair. While he's right that raising revenues to 17.2% of GDP isn't enough to close the deficit, this plan isn't really a tax proposal ready for implementation, it's a tax proposal ready for prime time. The aim of it, quite overtly I think, is to offer Democrats something that is responsible (though not perfect), that is attractive, that gives most Americans tax cuts, that broadens the tax base, that solves Social Security, that's pretty progressive, and that lays out a vision of what tax reform should look like. This way, Democrats can spend their time on the Sunday shows debating whose proposal offers larger tax cuts, more help to the middle class, and more incentives for the poor (as in the restoration of the EITC for single-parents who get married), rather than whether tax reform is a good idea or not. We need to be responsible in what we put forth, but considering our ability to pass the plan is roughly commensurate...
  • Color Me Puzzled

    Kevin takes another dive into the why-women-don't-blog waters and surfaces with some theory-backing mermaids from the op-ed pages. He also catches this from Dahlia Lithwick : And so a clutch of women are left on the pink margins of the page, to wring our hands and, well, discuss among ourselves. The subtext will thus remain that anyone choosing to speak out on this is somehow hysterical or overemotional; that this is not a "serious" problem since serious people (i.e., men) aren't addressing it. All of which practically guarantees that nothing will be done about defining, measuring, or redressing the issue in the long term. Claims that no man wants to step on the landmine of political correctness, gender stereotyping, and identity politics should not justify bowing out of the conversation. Maureen Dowd, Deborah Tannen, and Anne Applebaum are smart, serious people. They have taken the time to initiate a conversation. They deserve serious responses from men and women alike. It's striking...
  • Big Media Me

    Tomorrow, I'll be on MSNBC's Connected: Coast to Coast , doing a round-the-blogs segment. It'll be the 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific show, towards the middle of the hour, so those who'd like to see me live should tune in. Oh yeah, did I mention it's live? If I call MSNBC CNN, Monica Crowley Michael Crowley , or otherwise make some horribly embarassing gaffe that blackballs me from media forevermore, it'll all be caught on tape. So tune in for me and the possibility of wacky hijinks! How can you lose?
  • Freedom From Fear

    If you read nothing else today, make it Mark Schmitt's piece on merging the security theme Democrats are finding in Social Security with opportunity. I've been beating this drum for awhile (and others have been pounding on it long before me), but it couldn't be more important. The Democrats are currently trapped in a war of outdated critiques. Will we move towards an archaic populism that pretends we can stop outsourcing, or will we embrace a Republican-lite philosophy of corporate cronyism? We've apparently settled on a weird state between the two, and so we spend a few months after every election yelling at each other over the incoherence of our position. There is, as Joe Klein would term it, an information age (or post-industrial) populism ready to be assumed by the first party to grab it. Better yet, it fits perfectly with the current priorities and crusades of the Democratic party. Simply put, the government exists to reduce risk to the worker so they have more freedom to take...

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