• Emanuel's Objections

    Blogging over at The Washington Monthly, Ezekiel Emanuel has penned one of the most woefully unconvincing critiques of single payer health care I have ever read. In two posts, ( one , two ), he raises these objections: • "Americans are simply never going to endorse a Canadian style single payer system." • "There are also large differences beteween the USA and Canada — like 10 times the population. Another is that they are much more egalitarian than Americans are." • "Finally Canadians believe in good government, Americans are suspicious of government. The Canadian system is not one single payer, but one for each province run by provincal governments. Do you trust individual states to be able to run a health care system for their citizens? Seen what happened to Medicaid when we tried that in the USA — do you want to repeat that?" • Big programs only come out of Depression, catastrophe, or presidential assassination.
  • Draft Prado

    It's quite sad that a movement to recommend a Supreme Court judge who was first appointed by Reagan and then appointed by George W. Bush strikes me as quixotic and naive. Ed Prado, the focus of the draft effort , is a Hispanic judge from Texas who's currenty serving on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush installed him there, and the Senate voted for his confirmation, 97-0. He seems to have attracted substantial support from both sides of the aisle and, demographically speaking, fills the slots Rove certainly wants filled (which is to say, he's Hispanic). Nevertheless, it's almost impossible to imagine Bush nominating him. Prado is a Hispanic judge from Texas, but one who'll sail through confirmation and create no tough problems for the Democrats. Alberto Gonzales, on the other hand, is similarly Hispanic but, thanks to a tolerance for torture, will attract Democratic opposition and theoretically drive a wedge between Democrats and Hispanics. Indeed, the central conceit of the...
  • Priorities

    Say what you will about Dean's recent comments (and, as you all know, I have ), but wow is Jesse ever right about this .
  • Ding-Dong, The Plan is Dead

    Looks like Social Security is safe : President Bush has all but conceded his plan for private accounts for Social Security is dead, admitting privatization won't save the federal retirement system. "You can solve the solvency issue without personal accounts," Bush said in an interview with the Radio-Television News Directors Association. According to the article, Bush is still going to push on solvency measures (funny, I remember predicting the same thing four months ago...), trying to squeeze a public relations victory out of an ideological loss. Democrats shouldn't let him. Back in 1994, Bill Clinton did a very stupid thing and dramatically swore to veto any health care bill that didn't ensure universal coverage. Thus, after all the bills providing universal coverage were buried in a deep, dark place in Newt Gingrich's secret underground lair, Clinton was unable to support any of the many minor, incremental bills that Republicans had cosponsored and that would've allowed him to...
  • Hating on the Lab

    So it turns out that the Bush administration has been putting pen to paper on government climate reports, letting a former oil industry lobbyist with a degree in economics and no scientific training fuzz up warnings on global warming by changing the language, excising passages, and tweaking the emphasis. So "uncertainties" became "significant and fundamental uncertainties", something difficult to calculate becomes "extremely difficult", and the element of chance was generally blown into a metaphysical meditation on the essential unknowability of things and the fallacies of trusting what you read. Brilliant. One thing that's worth remembering is that the war on science isn't a Bush administration innovation. Not at all, in fact. Gingrich's 1994 revolution had its own set of ideas for recasting the role of science in regulatory law, and they, if possible, were even more sophisticated about it than the Bush administration. Rather than going for simple Stalinistic tactics like changing...
  • Being Bipartisan

    Over at TPM Cafe, Josh and friends are marvelling over the country's polarization, which has far exceeded its actual ideological polarization and mostly crowded out the center. Josh says we're headed for a realignment, at least once Bush leaves. Well, maybe. Remember, Bush was supposed to be the realignment. All that talk about Texas bipartisanship, about Bush crying at his Democratic Lt. Governor's funeral. about being a uniter, not a divider? Remember that primary challenge coming from a Senator whose main reputation was for transcending party and forging close working relationships across the aisle? There's no doubt that Americans want a reduction in partisanship, they have for quite awhile. Problem was, when they vote for that, it often makes no difference. And, indeed, if Bush leaves and Hillary wins, I have trouble imagining that we'll see a chastened Republican party trying to heal the country's divisions and work constructively with the new president. And Americans, like they...
  • Technology Wins

    There's an ominous clicking inside my Powerbook. It's in the vicinity of the trackpad, and when it begins, my computer's usefulness ends. For the last few days I've been wrestling with it, using it most of the day then letting it rest after it decided to lock up. But this morning, I assume some time between 2 and 6am,the forces of evil launched a massive attack, forcing my computer to surrender and surprising me with, when I awoke, a laptop that no longer starts. That means, mainly, that if you've sent me e-mail in the last few days and I haven't replied, you should resend because I can't access anything on my hard drive. By the way, you know what's really terrific about my tech problems? That they're happening during finals week. Fan-fucking-tastic.
  • Questions

    So this calendar you speak of...what're the royalties? And who says wonks can't do cheesecake?
  • Time for Another Flight Suit Photo-Op?

    This graphic from the latest Washington Post poll is the hardest evidence yet that Bush is in decline. Forgetting Iraq, which has traditionally had a capricious relationship with the polls, look at terrorism. So far as I know, Bush has never, ever, not in a single survey, faced public disapproval on terrorism. That wasn't a reflection of the job he was doing but of the image he projects. After all, Americans can't see what's happening in the War on Terror, but they can see the War President swaggering across their televisions and looking, for all the world, like a man who can't be bothered to make sense on domestic policy, so focused is he on ripping Osama bin-Laden's throat out. If his ratings are nosediving on terrorism, we're seeing a direct rejection of the Bush persona. Nothing has happened recently to publicly signal a change in fortunes in our fight against al-Qaeda, so this means that, in the eyes of America, Bush himself is becoming smaller, less threatening, less impressive...
  • I Have Always Relied on the Kindness of Strangers

    The WTO. I want to learn about it. Yes, boring, I know. But anything that half my lefty activist friends think is a tool of American interests to dominate Nicaragua and the other half think is an unjust institution yoking the American worker has to be fairly interesting. So if anyone's got suggestions of books that'll dig into the organization a bit, explain what it is and why people hate it, and end with a soberer assessment, I'd be much obliged. Update : Speaking of the WTO, looks like China's tired of being lectured on unfair trading practices. They better be careful or Robert Kaplan might write another article on how we could (probably) kick their ass.