CALIFORNIANS MAY VOTE ON IRAQ PULLOUT. A measure just passed the California State Assembly which, if passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, would put a measure on the next ballot asking Californians if they support immediate withdrawal from Iraq. It's symbolic, but my home state does contain one in eight Americans, so our opinion should carry quite a bit of weight. More interesting to me will be what Schwarzenegger decides to do. On the one hand, vetoing the bill will hurt his popularity and undermine a potential Senate campaign.
GENETIC TESTING MAKES UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE ALL THE MORE NECESSARY. We've known for a while that genetic testing for disease susceptibility will become much more powerful and common relatively soon. The problem is that insurance doesn't work if we can predict the likely costs of insuring a particular person. No problem you say, we'll just forbid the use of genetic information in insurance decisions as Congress is about to do. Not so fast! Even if insurance companies obey the law (which they will have extremely strong incentives not to do), it creates a new problem -- asymmetrical information.
FOR $300,000 YOU TOO CAN BE PRIME MINISTER OF IRAQ. Over at TPMMuckraker Spencer Ackerman has the goods on the $300,000 lobbying contractIyad Allawi gave to a prominent DC firm in return for its help in building support for installing him, once again, as prime minister of Iraq (because it went so well the first time). Which raises the question: how bad shape is a country in before it's leadership can be bought for a fourth of the price of a Bugatti Veyron? On the other hand, Allawi may be making a savvy investment.
MORE UNHINGED CONSERVATIVES. It's easy to forget that there's a large contingent of conservatives who think we're at war with an entire religion. Really. Over at the National Review, Mark Krikorian makes the following prediction (via Josh Patashnik at The Plank):
AT LEAST HE'S HONEST. This essay, published by Family Security Matters (an arm of the influential Center for Security Policy) really has a to be read in its entirety to be believed, but a few quotes should give you a feel for it:
By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government ....