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. Given the number of endless (and endlessly futile) "what do we stand for?" conference meetings and bull sessions that Democrats have masochistically forced themselves to endure since the 2004 election, one read Boehner's cheerful game plan and wanted to shout "No! Stop! You have no idea what you're getting into!" I had assumed that once Boehner actually took the helm in the House he'd soon forget about his silly mission-statement...

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. That's what confuses me about Rob Anderson 's article . If blue states, with their liberal policies, are actually seeing lower rates of social ills than red states, that says something important about the set of policy prescriptions best equipped to actualize so-called "family values." As our piece elegantly explained, the highest proportion of teenage births for a blue state was in Delaware,...

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. On March 21, the schedule shows, Hillary quietly slipped off to Texas for an unpublicized swing through that state, where the junior senator from the ultimate blue state raked in as much as $4,200-per-person in some of the most red-hued...

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 : Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address -- that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon -- might...

"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. Perhaps that's the case, but I don't actually recall a lot of the qualified, thoughtful conservative journalists Anderson cites as obviously better choices for the "Red America" gig rising up in anger at The Washington Post 's hiring decision and deeming it to be an obvious effort to discredit conservative opinion. To the extent we heard anything from fellow conservatives upon the news of Domenech's hiring, it was encouragement and support. And however crude Domenech's writing and commentary has been in the past, the fact was that he was an up-in-comer in mainstream conservative circles -- having,...

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. I tend to think that the not-so-media savvy regime in Khartoum thought they could temper the Times� editorial content by throwing a million dollars their way. But the Times had the last laugh: the very day the advertorial appeared, the Times ran an editorial denouncing Khartoum for spreading the genocide into Chad. Anytime the government of Sudan wants to pay the Times a million dollars, I am all for it. The State Department has no business investigating the Times. This is the very same State Department, I remind you, which granted a former foreign...

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: � One fairly sure indicator of the existence of illegal aliens on a worksite is Social Security tax payments for large numbers of workers that do not match any known taxpayers. The only problem is the immigration authorities have no access to the Social Security Administration's records; they're not given the names of offending companies or of suspicious workers. � The number of federal workers charged with finding illegals on the job has plummeted, from 240 in 1999 to 90 in 2003. � Only one percent of the funds devoted to immigration enforcement is directed to workplace operations. Last...

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. In any case, I've never really been convinced by the arguments against a national ID card, and maybe one of those, with a functional central registry, could actually make a program like this workable. I'd sure love to see the business community try and argue against it... --Ezra Klein

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. Moreover documenting a learning disability and appealing for the dispensation required time, money, effort, and official compliance, all resources available in greater quantities to families resting comfortably at the top of the income bracket. Of course, just because the allocation is skewed doesn't mean that many students don't actually need the...

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. Well, sure, that's true, but that's an argument for living wages, policies to promote full employment, and the expansion of basic rights to organize. Immigrants who can participate in and strengthen the labor movement in this country will help all workers, native or otherwise. Under the current regime, corporations can use immigration and "guest worker" policies to import a captive labor force, underpay them, and then drive down wages, which accounts for a good deal of the effect Krugman worries about. And that's sort of the point. If you're concerned about wages, it would seem, given the reality of illegal immigration, that the answer is to render illegal workers legal, so they no longer have to hide from attention and can agitate for better wages and working...

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." So Bush put Bolten in charge without discussing with him any future ideas Bolten might have for White House changes that might put this disastrous presidency -- not to mention the rest of the nation -- back on the right track? Such ideas should have been among the most important criteria influencing Bush's decision to promote him in the first place. Our CEO President in action. --Greg Sargent

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? It's a weird argument, as if geographical proximity were somehow an illegitimate consideration when crafting immigration policy. But is it? I was born in California, so I'm a native. Were I born a few miles south, I'd have been Mexican. Because of that nearness, the Mexican economy is far more intertwined with the American economy than are the much bigger players in Europe or Asia. Canada is our largest trading partner while Mexico is our second largest, and were anything to happen to the fiscal health of either nation, the effect on the American economy would be swift and devastating. That's why, when Mexico looked near collapse in the mid-90's, Bill Clinton...

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