• Weekend Topic

    By Ezra Following up on the post below, what's your progressivism? And none of this vague, Stronger at Home, Respected in the World BS. Give me four or five policies that should define the Democratic Party's agenda and the theme that ties them together. The only constraint? They have to be focused on shifting power from the corporation to the individual, the employer to the employee. It's a new progressivism, but using progressivism's old, and far too neglected, definition. Alright then, thinking caps on.
  • The New Progressivism?

    By Ezra Folks here know the deep reservoir of affection I have for The Washington Monthly . I love that magazine -- its writers, its editors, its tone, its editorial line, its willingness to do big-think...and so, when I say this, I say this with love. But their package on The New Progressivism is truly, sadly underwhelming. [T]here’s another, more populist strain of that tradition, one that has sought to use government to empower individuals to protect themselves (think Ralph Nader’s 1960s consumer movement). We’ve been wondering if it might be possible to update that sort of thinking. And so we asked the five writers whose work follows to come up with ways to strengthen the hand of the average American in the 21st-century marketplace. Sounds promising enough. Particularly since they set it up as the enlightened response to Bush's Ownership Society. God knows a competing vision, preferably one lacking the Republican's green tint but retaining the power of the theme, is needed. But...
  • In Which I Prove Myself a Libertarian on Dairy Issues

    By Ezra Over at Kevin Drum's place, a bunch of snotty blue-staters are sniffing about the unquestionable superiority of French cuisine. They make me sick. All the more because they're right. To add my pinch of grievance to the broth, as a liberal, even I don't understand why we can't import or use raw milk cheeses aged less than 60 days (a time period that exempts certain hard cheeses, like parmesan, from scrutiny). Not only are these cheeses significantly more delicious than the pasteurized, bastard versions we eat here, but the likelihood that raw milk will hurt you is almost infinitesimally small. Other countries, like France, where raw milk rules the roost, are not falling to outbreaks of listeria and salmonella, and, in fact, the most serious recent outbreak of the dreaded listeria came from American hot dogs. Meanwhile, in keeping us safe from this threat that doesn't really threaten, we get meek, mild, comparatively tasteless cheeses. It's really a, ahem, raw deal. Mandate that...
  • Unintelligible Design

    This post by CW is about the best thing I've ever read on Intelligent Design. Not on its theorists, founders or believers, but on the world they think was designed so intelligently. Sorry folks, but this world, at time, is not only something less than intelligent, it's hardly intelligible. The fact that some of its superapes can write screeds this funny is a wonder, sure, but it hardly balances out the reality of hemorrhoids.
  • Today's Capstone of Meaningless Posts

    Because I have to atone for the health car wonkery below. You are Snoopy! Which Peanuts Character are You? brought to you by Quizilla
  • Quality, Not Longevity

    Kevin gets a lot right here . Both Tyler and Matt are correct that massive new expenditures on health care wouldn't raise life expectancy much (although, for the uninsured, of whom 18,000 or so die each year due to lack of appropriate health care, access to services would make a life expectancy difference), but they're barking up the wrong tree. Once you reach a baseline of medical spending, technology utilization, and trauma centers, you've basically done your part to keep folks alive. From there, prevention is really the name of the game, increased spending won't do much at all. It's easy, particularly in this country, to think of health care as a primarily trauma-based enterprise. That, after all, is where much of the money goes. But of all the various facets in American health services, trauma care is probably the least fucked up. You could argue back and forth on the economic merits of what we do for the very old and ill, but we are delivering those services to almost everyone...
  • What the hell is wrong with O’Reilly?

    Shakes here, with something semi-frivolous… Via MediaMatters , O’Reilly has decided to offer San Francisco to Al Qaeda, since San Franciscans passed a ballot measure urging public high schools and colleges to prohibit on-campus military recruiting: From the November 8 broadcast of Fox News' The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly : O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."
  • Tim Kaine's Semi-Pyrrhic Victory

    Posted Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math Before we lionize Mark Warner for dragging Tim Kaine over the finish line, bringing an out-and-out liberal Democrat within thirty thousand votes of the Lieutenant governor's seat, destablizing the Republican coalition in Washington, rallying the stock market, turning water into wine, rescuing Katie Holmes from the clutches of scientology, and all manner of other minor miracles, I'd like to throw a bit of cold water on Kaine's win. I promise a more exhaustive analysis later this weekend. For now, suffice it to say Warner's 2001 victory represented a significant realignment of the state of Virginia. He won slim majorities in a few rural counties in Southwest Virginia, cut the usual GOP margin of victory in others, and piled up modest wins in the usual Democratic enclaves like Fairfax, Arlington, Richmond, and Alexandria. This year, Kaine won by piling up horse-whipping majorities in places like Fairfax, held on to some of Southwest VA with...
  • Things I Don't Want to See

    This , apparently, is the plan for the final episode of 7th Heaven: Creatively, the show also will go out in style, creator Brenda Hampton said. "I think this is the best season we've ever had, and we're planning a very exciting and heartwarming conclusion to the series," she said. "On the show, we talk about choosing your feelings, and we chose to feel happy and blessed to have been on the air for so long." Blech. In much sadder news, Arrested Development, which filmed some early scenes at a family member's house, is getting cancelled. Watching that show was like hanging out with a super cool old relative afflicted by a terminal illness -- you knew they weren't long for this world, but it sure was great having them around.
  • How They Getcha

    Continuing with the day's trivialities, this point from Julian Sanchez is both frivolous and insightful. Joy! We think about what we're missing out on in a bounded context, a pool of relevant options: You may be more upset that the cute woman who works in Accounting won't give you the time of day than you are that Halle Berry doesn't seem particularly interested either—even though the latter might constitute the bigger "loss" if you're looking at an unrestricted option set. So you lament the talk you have to miss because work or another event take precedence, but not the one you have to miss because it's in California—unless, perhaps, the one in California is an exceptionally appealing. So, say, you might not expend any thought over the fact that a band you really like is only playing on the other coast this tour, whereas you do if it's a concert festival with a lineup that includes a lot of your favorite bands. This is a bit of a digression from Julian's point, but hey,, it's...