TAPPED

LE SIGH. ...

LE SIGH. As Brad DeLong notes, Richard Cohen's admission that he didn't realize that Bush had lied until sometime last week is a bit absurd. If you don't think Bush is a liar, you simply haven't been paying attention. And if you haven't been paying attention, maybe you shouldn't be a Washington Post political columnist.

--Ezra Klein

THE VISION THING....

THE VISION THING. Too many people too soon forgot about John Boehner's laugh-out-loud hilarious campaign manifesto released back during his House leadership race, in which the Ohio rep. included epigraphs from Winston Churchill and Walt Disney and implored his fellow Republicans to reclaim their souls through a renewed commitment to spewing vacuous platitudes. For a liberal, one of the funniest things in the memo (PDF) was Boehner's enthusiastic call for a big caucus-wide powwow to figure out what Republicans stand for and what their core principles are.

IN DEFENSE OF...

IN DEFENSE OF BLUE STATE ELITISM. I'm going to go a step further than my genteel colleague Sam and defend The Prospect's Red State Dossier on substantive grounds as well. Coming mere moments after an election that largely turned on a defense of "traditional marriage" and contempt for blue state values, it actually was the role of magazines like The Prospect, which don't need to worry about political expediency, to mount an assault on the rightwing's explicit claim of moral superiority. That such a dry recounting of data can be termed elitist, or anything save honest, is precisely the point.

HILLARY RAISES BIG...

HILLARY RAISES BIG BUCKS IN TEXAS BUSH COUNTRY. Senator Clinton did a great deal of fundraising around the country in March, and her private fundraising schedule -- which was passed along by a source -- shows that she raked in big bucks in that most impenetrable of red-state strongholds: Texas.

The schedule lists a dozen events in four states, in the space of just two months, March and April. This is very significant, because all the activity shows just how determined Hillary's advisers are to stockpile an enormous campaign warchest at a time when she is facing only token opposition for reelection in 2006 -- something which of course will only fuel speculation that her fundraising right now is also about scaring off potential Dem challengers in 2008.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT! It's rarely a surprise to hear that the Bush administration lies, but it's occasionally impressive to read a textured account of how brazen and conscious their deceptions are. And no one is better at offering such retellings than The National Journal's Murray Waas:

"RED AMERICA": BLUE...

"RED AMERICA": BLUE AMERICA'S FAULT? Rob Anderson's effort to cast liberal elites as the real bad guys in the Ben Domenech scandal does indeed seem more than a bit strained. Anderson speculates that Jim Brady hired Domenech precisely because he was a crude, unqualified caricature of conservative punditry that Brady, fogged by blue state elitism, perceived to be conservatism's true face.

PRIORITIES? Via the excellent...

PRIORITIES?

Via the excellent Coalition for Darfur blog, I see that the State Department is probing into a New York Times advertorial (PDF) paid for by the government of Sudan to see if it violated US sanctions. This is ludicrous. As far as I�m concerned, no newspaper has done more to raise public awareness about that God forsaken part of the world than the Times, and that money will likely help subsidize Nick Kristof�s travel budget.

THE DEMAND SIDE....

THE DEMAND SIDE. As the immigration debate lurches forward, lots of folks have asked why there's so little focus on the demand side. Wouldn't it be easier to dry up the jobs than patrol the desert? My read is that you couldn't totally staunch the flow by patrolling employers, but you could sure put a dent in it, and today's comprehensive Los Angeles Times article tells you some of the reasons why:

FREE AT LAST....

FREE AT LAST. Reporter Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped in Baghdad on Jan. 7, was freed, apparently unharmed, by her captors today. The A.P. has the details. Her parents and friends are, needless to say, elated. "I don't know whether to cry or skip down my street," Jackie Spinner told ABC's Good Morning America, according to the A.P. And Carroll is going to have one heck of a story to write.

--Garance Franke-Ruta

IMMIGRATION JUJITSU. ...

IMMIGRATION JUJITSU. The estimable Mark Kleiman and the smelly Lizardbreath have both come up with a fairly elegant solution to illegal immigration: offer green cards to undocumented immigrants who turn their employers in. Long-term, you'd probably just see employers insisting on enough false identification to protect their plausible deniability, but the better documentation employers demand, the fewer illegal immigrants who'll be able to afford it, and so the fewer businesses will hire. So maybe it is a good idea.

DOWN WITH TIME-LIMITS!...

DOWN WITH TIME-LIMITS! I find Mark Franek's argument in favor of abolishing the SAT's time limits fairly compelling. As he notes, more than 40,000 of the test's two million takers are getting dispensations for extra time due to learning disabilities, some real, some imagined. Back in high school, I knew a fair number of testers who exaggerated actual disabilities or invented fake ones in order to get a leg up on the all-important SAT. But it was obvious, even there, that the students from richer families were getting these extensions in greater numbers, if only because they found out about the feature through expensive test prep services.

HERE�S A QUESTION:...

HERE�S A QUESTION: Do the border guards in Gamboru, Nigeria, get to collect the $2 million bounty on Charles Taylor?

--Mark Leon Goldberg

PROBLEMS AND SYMPTOMS....

PROBLEMS AND SYMPTOMS. Brad Plumer makes the point on immigration driving down wages (by 7.4 percent) for high school dropouts that I've been ineloquently groping towards for the last few days, and does so pithily. Damn him.

BOLTEN'S FUTURE PLANS?...

BOLTEN'S FUTURE PLANS? BUSH DOESN'T KNOW. According to today's New York Times, here's part of what President Bush had to say yesterday about the promotion of Josh Bolten to chief of staff:

Asked in an interview with CNN Espa�ol whether more changes were coming, Mr. Bush replied: "Josh has just begun to take a look at the White House structure. And I haven't had a chance to talk to him about the future yet."

FAIR'S FAIR. ...

FAIR'S FAIR. It seems that the new GOP attack against the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill is a throw back to grade school: no cuttsies. That's what Jon Kyl is saying in his complaint that his grandparents waited in line a long time in order to make it here, and why should Latin Americans get special dispensation to speed through?

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