• Was This Townhall Thing a Mistake?

    Mind if I go on a rant for a second? Wel,l it doesn't really matter if you do or don't because anyone answering no can't enter the site. What? Typepad doesn't have a screening system? Well fuck this, I'm not doing the blog then. Why should I? I'm leader of the free world, in case you didn't notice. Only...I'm not like the leaders you remember. I'm not a great mind like Clinton or Wilson. Not a spectacular speaker like Reagan. Not an old hand like my father. In fact, sometimes I fear I'm just a little man in a big flight suit, and all the padding on the planet can't protect me from an impromptu query. That, for those wondering, is why I'm canceling the centerpiece of my trip in Germany, because they won't allow my staff to screen the questions before I take them. When I billed it as an "American-style" townhall, it seems I didn't really explain what American style is. American style, in some ways , is a lot like Cuban style. Or North Korean style. It shares some threads with Russian...
  • Evil AARP

    Awesome .
  • Percentile Equality

    Brad's point that: The way things are going, in the future people are going to be choosing to spend X percent of their income on health care. X will get larger and larger over time, by choice. So let's say X is 40 percent. From one standpoint, it really doesn't make a difference whether you pay 40 percent of your income for private health care, or 40 percent of your income in taxes that then go to government-administered health care. That's a very specific standpoint Brad's using. Because paying for government-provided health care leaves you in an enormous pool that guarantees you access to these procedures, no matter their cost and no matter your income. Private insurance, however, is different. If you want comprehensive health care, you have to buy into (or have your employer buy into) pretty expensive plans. For many, that much income simply cannot be spared and, thus, they simply won't have access to many of those treatments. To even try and get close to the top plans, poorer...
  • We Shall Overcome

    Wow : One thing is for sure: the discrimination represented in that lunch monitor’s tap on my praying nephew’s shoulder will not stand. Like Rosa Parks, religious conservatives refuse to shuffle to the back of the bus. The story there, for interested readers, is that the nephew prayed before lunch, a hall monitor told him not to, the kid's dad called to complain, the hall monitor apologized the next day. Yes. Just like Rosa Parks. This country's dominant religion will not submit to continued discrimination from Bull Connor-like hall monitors. He took a whole day to apologize! And nor, we should warn, will the evangelical Christian who is our president, the members of the Supreme Court who are devout Christians, the Senators, or the congresscritters. Freedom now! Freedom forever! We shall overcome! Shit, the hall monitors got a firehose attack dogs detention slips! Shield the children!
  • Populist in Substance AND Speech

    Responding to Meyerson's article (which excellently lays down the Democrat's problem with the working class, but hides when solution time comes 'round), Brad Plumer writes : Personally, I'm against "economic populism" as a political strategy. I prefer something along the lines of Eliot Spitzer's outlook on things : use regulation to correct market failures and get the capitalist system working more efficiently. That's a cumbersome message, but speechwriters can have at it. Also, I'd prefer a set of policies that reduced "economic risk" while promoting more of the sort of risk-taking that makes capitalism so marvelously vibrant. For instance, universal health care would help cushion your family against a job loss, but it would also encourage you to move jobs, relocate, seek a bold new career for which you might be more suited, without being chained down by the fear that comes with switching jobs and possibly losing your coverage. The end result, in theory, is a more dynamic economic...
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Call me a softie (unless you're Peter Beinart), but I found this post of Berube's weirdly poignant: First the laptop goes, then the coffeemaker...I wouldn’t bother blogging about such a thing if not for the fact that the coffeemaker in question-- one of those nice steel carafe things that keeps your coffee warm without having it sit and stew on a hot plate-- succumbed, like the laptop, to a Mysterious Malfunction while insisting that it was actually in working order. (The laptop is still in denial about the loss of its USB ports; the coffeemaker continues to tell time and to insist that it will make the next pot of coffee at 6:38 AM even though it no longer heats water and brews coffee.) Now I might simply be anthropomorphizing (that's an 18-letter word, y'all) some gadgets, but I found that touching. Like an aging, crippled dog that weakly barks at perceived intruders, or an old man who keeps coming into the office despite long ago being relieved of his work. The laptop and the...
  • No Stir-Fry For You!

    Bob's characterization of stir-fry as a cooking method for kids who can't cook is, I must admit, terribly offensive. Reading it, I began to feel nauseous and had to leave the room for fear of fainting. Having calmed down and regained my grip on consciousness, I feel obligated to defend stir-frying. Stir-fry is a damn tough cooking form to master, though one with few entry barriers for beginners. That, in fact, is part of its great appeal. Most people can use it to make something taste fine, but the well-trained can emerge with transcendent creation. Now, I'm something of a badass with a wok, so I might be biased. But Bob should really be more careful about slandering stir-fry's good name, lest he incur the wrath of WOK MAN . Update : Added the end of the post. Sorry bout that.
  • Just Wondering

    Not to offend or anything, but does anyone else find the fact that one of Powerline's contributors calls himself "rocket man" more than a little, well, gay? By the way, if one of those fools really does decide to debate PZ Myers on evolution, it's going to be a rending. I'm not even sure I could watch. No, wait, yes I could : • As Ogged has noted , they don't say the sensible, intelligent thing ("Of course we accept the best scientific explanation of our origins!"), but instead babble about "orthodoxies." The whole bunch over there must be wanking creationists. And yes, that certainly does discredit them—it means that they are not interested in the honest, critical evaluation of the evidence, but instead leap to conclusions based on ideology. • They complain that my short comment did not present the evidence for evolution. Silly people. I've got articles all over this weblog discussing the evidence for evolution. Check out the Panda's Thumb or many of the sites in the science and...
  • More UN

    Pace my earlier post on the UN, it's really worth checking out Peter Daou's new UN Dispatch , a blog devoted to shining light on what the UN does and providing some needed balance on the subject. I'm still awaiting assurances that the antichrist will not, in fact, emerge from the UN chambers, but other than that omission the blog is worth a bookmark.
  • Supreme Court Watch

    Shakespeare's Sister has an excellent pair of posts running down the records potential candidates for the Supreme Court. You should read them ( 1 , 2 ). I'd love to hear Jeralyn's take on these folks as well. While on the subject, you should read Mark Schmitt's post on the "Constitution-in-exile" crowd, and what their goals are. This graf particularly jumped out at me: I hope that when the next Supreme Court nomination finally occurs, the debate will not focus almost exclusively on the Court's position on social issues such as Roe, Griswold, gay marriage and sodomy, affirmative action, etc. The economic role of the federal government is now deeply in question, and the Constitution in Exile judges, just like the Social Security privatizers, want to roll back the clock a lot futher than 1973 or 1961. I can guarantee you that the Republicans don't hold out the same desire. Fighting over dead fetuses and homos kissing is much easier for them than battles over Social Security and...