• A Puritan Country With a Perverted Populace

    Between Dr. Hager's forced sodomization of his narcoleptic wife, John Bolton's penchant for swinging , Jack Ryan's repeated attempts to force his wife into group sex, Rush Limbaugh's multiple divorces, and all the rest of it, don't you think it's time to admit that many Americans, both the decorous right wingers and the bohemian lefties, grapple with extreme perversion and sexual impropriety? Some, like Rush, don't bug me, at least aside from their hypocrisy. Some, like Hager, should be locked away forevermore. But I do wish that, in simple pursuit of honesty, our country would come to terms with the idea that figures public and private, right and left, have sexual lives and that such an admission, in and of itself, is not abnormal. What Hager did, I guarantee, will not spill 1/1000th of the news ink Clinton's petty dalliances attracted. Now, Clinton was the president, his coverage will necessarily be greater. But I further promise that the outrage amongst the right won't touch the...
  • Hillary's Problem

    This isn't the first time Hillary and Newt have joined forces to push small-bore health improvements, but as both gear up for 2008 runs, it's worth taking it seriously. It's perhaps emblematic of where the parties are that these foes have ended up following such different strategies en route to 08. Newt just wrote a book that reads like a transcript of a conservative wet dream, it's all HSA's and privatization and sacking government. Hillary, on the other hand, is assiduously courting the center, proving herself everything but a wild-eyed liberal. So when the two join up, realize the subtext: Hillary is showing that she's repudiated the health care "radicalism" she's shown in the past while Newt is just gobbling up some headlines. That's one thing that scare me about Hillary's candidacy. While her moves are smart and her tactical abilities considerable, she's more hemmed in on policy than I'm comfortable with. She, for instance, will never be able to push the sort of government-based...
  • Rewriting the Campaign Memoirs

    Kos makes some interesting points on Kerry that I think, in the end, are a bit off: People who worked for Dean, Edwards and Clark all passionately loved their man. The campaigns stuck together. Why? Because the campaigns were based in the candidates' home states. Hence, staffers had to move to work on those campaigns. They had to make a sacrifice to uproot and travel to a strange city on behalf of their guy. That commitment was real. And since those staffers knew no one else in these cities, they worked together, played together, and stuck together through thick and thin. It was shared sacrifice, and it translated to genuine affection and commitment to their candidate and their cause. Kerry's campaign was based in DC. The staffers didn't have to make a commitment to their candidate beyond taking a different bus or metro stop. They didn't hang out after work, since they already had their established social circles in town. There was no sense of shared sacrifice and commitment to their...
  • That Old Chestnut

    Now that Maher and Stewart are flourishing and Dennis Miller's show has been canceled , can we once and for all bury the idea that liberals don't have a sense of humor? You might look at Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Hannity and conclude that liberals lack the hormones for righteous anger, but I think we're decisively winning on the 'funny' metric.
  • Protecting Women

    Ayelish McGarvey has written the single most devastating profile of a public hypocrite that I've ever read. Some of you may remember David Hager, the FDA appointee who recommends belief in Christ as the best medicine for female ailments and has taken an almost entirely faith-based approach to public medicine, which led the Bush administration to appoint him to the FDA's committee on reproductive health drugs. He's a "noted" women's health expert and is famous, at least in his telling, for his enormous success at counseling from his own experience. That must've helped him decide kill the effort to make "Plan B" an over-the-counter medication. On his committee, 23 voted in favor of making it OTC, and four voted against. The FDA, in a wholly unprecedented ruling, denied the committee's will and stalled the drug. Service such as this has made Hager an almost certain bet for a second term, at least until today. Ayelish spoke to Hager's ex-wife at great length and the story that emerges of...
  • Miller Time!

    I know I'm a day late on it, but Matt Miller's column is worth a 48-hour comment-cycle, so off we go. I should start by saying that I like Miller. His book, The 2% Solution , is one of my favorites, if for no other reason than it presents policy ideas in an engaging, readable format, which is the political publishing equivalent of a solar eclipse. But Matt's got a special "New Democrat" pathology which should be talked about a bit more, as he's not the only one carrying the bug. His book castigates Democrats for using the 1994 health care debacle as an excuse to give up on big ideas. It then spends a few hundred pages laying out a set of ideas that, while good, are not big, they're just stretched out. To Miller, that's what a big idea is. It stretches across the ideological binary till both the left and the right are warmed by its fuzzy embrace, and then it becomes legislation. And it's right there, in that bit of bipartisan Schoolhouse Rock, that Miller's mistake comes clear. He...
  • Site Stuff

    Fixed the banner problems (where it wasn't showing up on archive pages). Also, made it smaller. Also, made the content area wider. Well, actually, Daniel Munz did that, but the point is it got done. Everybody like? Anything else I need to do before I close the door on the redesign?
  • Our Government in a Nutshell

    John Cole's got more on United's liquidation of its pensions. The story, amazingly, gets worse. While the Bankruptcy Bill was steamrolling through Congress, Dick Durbin offered an amendment that would've "protect[ed] employees and retirees from the common corporate practice of discharging liability for retirement plans, retained earnings and matching funds when businesses file Chapter 11." This is really, if you think about it, quite amazing. The Bankruptcy Bill made it harder for individuals to declare and survive bankruptcy. Durbin offered an amendment that would've forced corporations, when they were declaring bankruptcy, to fulfill their stated financial obligations to their employees. These financial obligations are retirement plans, matching funds, and so forth. They are, in other words, the exact same long-term assets that are supposed to keep hard-working Americans out of bankruptcy court! If you want to know who our government is working for, you need look no further than...
  • French Roast

    I have to back soon-to-be colleague Matt up: when he took Kate and I to the French Roast for bistro fare at 3 in the morning, I found nothing rancid about it. Matt's horrified reaction, however, to my mixing of avocado and burger, would've made you think I was ordering poison. Nevertheless, no one, least of all myself, exhibited any gastrointestinal discomfort from the food nor the combinations we made of it.
  • Nicely Turned

    Give it up for Marshall Whittman, this paragraph is really very clever: The Moose can hardly contain his glee over tomorrow night's exchange of vows between Tom DeLay and the conservative movement. After cohabitating for years, the relationship between their sleazy leader and the movement becomes official. The Moose understands that the happy couple is registered at "Sweatshops R Us" in the Northern Marianas. After the ceremony, they will be off on their honeymoon tour of Indian gaming facilities along with a junket to St. Andrew's in Scotland for a round of golf. All expenses paid for by the Abramoff Express Card (Don't leave the House without it!).