• Today

    With a final and moving back down for break on my plate, I've got a pretty busy day ahead of me. So the inimitable Shakespeare's Sister will be helping out today and I'll be popping in and out as time allows. Update: Argh. Set my alarm for 6:30 so I could study more, and must have turned it off when it beeped. Now it's 8:30 and my final's in 30 minutes. I'm a tad screwed.
  • All For Tom and Tom For All

    You know, maybe that Brooks column is part of a larger strategy -- crucify Abramson and Reed with such vigor and glee that no one notices you're ignoring DeLay. I say that because McCain, eyes on 2008 and ethics in the gutter, has promised to lead a vigorous investigation of Abramoff and Reed that does not, in any way, touch Tom DeLay. That he'll leave to the ethics committee, newly neutered and restocked by, yes, Tom DeLay. Lawmakers, even those involved in scandals that he's investigating, apparently fall outside the ex-maverick's purview, and so he won't touch them. That's the Republican way, after all. Remember how Ken Starr's expansion of the Whitewater probe to cover Clinton's trysts spurred them into outrage and fierce opposition? "A travesty", they didn't call it. "A textbook case of overreach", no one said. "The only one who deserves impeachment is the partisan prosecutor", I heard them refuse to demand. And now McCain, a guy so wedded to good government and bipartisan ethics...
  • It May Not Work, But It Sure is Fun

    You know, with all the data showing that abstinence education doesn't work, I've always found the government's insistence on using it mildly offensive. But you know what's way, way, way more offensive? That the government has found that torture -- I'm sorry, "harsh methods" -- don't work and yet they're using them anyway. But hey! Look over there! Terry Schiavo!
  • More on Women in Writing

    Over at The Washington Monthly, Amy Sullivan kicked off the women in writing argument with a truly terrific essay , and Kathy Pollitt followed up with an equally persuasive response . You should read both (Sullivan's is longer, but more than worth it). One thing though -- Pollitt wonders why nobody has given Barbara Ehrenreich, who did a great job filling in for Tom Friedman on the NY Times op-ed page, a permanent slot. According to Kinsley, the LA Times tries and was rebuffed. I don't know if the New York Times made the same offer -- I'd think not, because the only slot to open was for a conservative -- but it's worth noting that at least one of the big three made the effort.
  • Tom Gone Crazy!

    Via Digby , I see Tom DeLay is proving my argument from yesterday, namely, that the further Terry gets from the headlines, the more ludicrous become Tom's attempts to keep her under the cameras. Her exit, after all, means the reentrance of his scandals. So on the 18th , Tom argued that she was as "alive as your or I", that she was not "being kept alive", and promised that, on Palm Sunday weekend, she would not be forsaken. Pretty good, huh? Well on the 19th , he accused the Supreme Court, who didn't want to hear the case, of perpetrating a "moral and legal tragedy" and told them they owe it "to the dignity of human life" to explain their decision. Pretty nutty, huh? On the third day of Terry-saving, the 20th , DeLay stumbled in from the bar to explain that "Terry Schiavo is not brain-dead; she talks and she laughs, and she expresses happiness and discomfort" and that "it won't take a miracle to help Terry Schiavo". So in three days, he went from concerned, to outraged, all the way to...
  • You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto

    The New York Times has a surprisingly good article on the war of words in the Social Security debate. Is it privatization? Personal accounts? Private accounts? Or the Republican term du jour, "voluntary personal retirement accounts"? I'd have liked a bit more history of the term privatization, and I'd have really liked for this article to have hit two months ago, but it's pretty good nonetheless. And, any piece that starts with an anecdote like this gets my love: Mr. Bush complained last week that " 'privatization' is a trick word," intended to "scare people." Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, interrupted a news conference to correct a reporter who asked about "personal" accounts. "It's 'privatization,' " Mr. Reid said, adding that "personal accounts" was "the Republican term." I just love seeing Reid prove he knows how to play this game. And it's kinda funny to watch the press corps get batted around, their own fetish for politician-dictated objectivity being used...
  • Masters of Sleaze

    The cognitive dissonance has finally overwhelmed poor Brooks. Schiavo, DeLay, Medicare, Bolton -- a lesser man would have buckled long ago. The surprise, however, is that the cognitive won ! When a prominent conservative writes a column this blistering, CW is shifting. Abramoff and Reed might want to cash in the chits and go work for the CPA -- I hear the heathens need some preachin'. And DeLay? He's readying to make Newt's tumble look like an honorable discharge... Update : I agree with Brad Plumer , and many of you in the comments, that Brooks is consciously sparing the Republican party and trying to quarantine this behavior to a few dirty lobbyists he can tut-tut at, right before returning to have tea with the rest of the right. Frankly, that's fine. Look -- you could set your watch by Brooks's hackitude. Whenever the world around becomes too chaotic to bear, I reach for his columns, luxuriating in the knowledge that no matter what else is occurring, it is somehow related to a...
  • Living Wills

    Can I use Greg's ? And, so long as we're being a bit morbid, PZ Myers has written an uncommonly beautiful post on an uncommonly beautiful fluid...
  • Forward-Looking

    I'm not really sure what Garance Franke-Ruta is getting at in this post . She moves from saying that the task for Democrats is "finding the big story that explains our world and politics today in a way that sounds real and fresh" -- a true, if less than novel, assertion -- to arguing that conservative ideas aren't wrong just because they were thought up by conservatives. Well no, they're not. Indeed, conservative ideas are often quite right, which is why Democrats have adopted so many of them in recent times. Welfare reform was not identified with our side of the aisle, no matter how many times Moynihan is invoked. Deficit reduction was not thought to be a particularly Democratic thing to do, at least not until Bill Clinton did it. And James Galbraith not withstanding, we're not going back on it. We also pushed NAFTA through, passed a crime bill, and began adopting sensible, targeted tax cuts as a cornerstone of our economic policies. In fact, Democrats have been surprisingly willing...
  • One Dollar UN Girls

    This is fucking tragic . Would that our government called special sessions and our president returned from vacations to address the rape that's driving 14 year old girls in the Congo to become prostitutes. Did you know that if a Congolese woman (or, more accurately, girl) is raped, she loses her honor and is barred from marriage? Did you know that a UN employee was found with hundreds of tapes showing him torturing and sexually abusing young girls? Did you know that Congolese children are often either conscripted into militias, hooked on drugs and turned into killers, or raped and left with no options save continual prostitution? Did you know that we could help fix that by committing some cash that would create opportunities for them? Did you know that we don't? But did you know our entire government has mobilized to consider the case of a brain dead woman who has been hooked up to machines for 15 years at a cost of $80,000 annually? Yeah, I bet you knew that.