• God, Guns, and Gandhi

    My new practice of regularly reading NRO’ s Corner is paying off in spades. Today, Andrew Stuttaford manages to stop bitching about Cameron Diaz long enough to make this bold assertion : And as, for those ‘spiritual’ values that Diaz purports to find in picturesque hellholes such as Bhutan, I suspect that, given the chance, most of those bowers, scrapers and chanters would be pleased to junk their shamans, temples and priests in favour of running water, electricity and decent education. And they would be right to. Huh, okay. Let’s try that quote again, this time replacing a few words: And as, for those ‘traditional’ values that Diaz purports to find in picturesque hellholes such as Brownsville, TX [which has a 45.5% child poverty rate], I suspect that, given the chance, most of those bowers, chanters and singers would be pleased to junk their bibles, churches and priests in favour of health care, job security and decent education. And they would be right to. So, setting aside your...
  • Stuff to Read

    I think Brad Plumer gets Ann Coulter just right . Also, he owes Chris Chamberlain an apology. - E to the Z.
  • The Incredible, Bendable Frist

    Matt, celebrating an apparent breakdown in GOP message discipline, notes in passing that: Bill Frist has taken this up as his pet cause in a clear effort to become the candidate of the James Dobson crowd. A lot of Democrats, I think, are rooting for Frist to get the 2008 presidential nomination. He’s a lightweight, wishy-washy moderate, they say - the Republican John Kerry. But statements like this from Matt make me think that Frist could just be the Dems’ worst nightmare. Before the name “Terri Schiavo” hit the airwaves, did anyone think of Bill Frist as “the candidate of the James Dobson crowd”? I sure didn’t. But after a mere four weeks of X-Treme Political Makeover, no less a hardened intellect than Matt Yglesias is regarding him as a crazed bible-thumper on the order of Santorum or Coburn. That kind of transformation takes a special talent. The thing about Frist isn’t that he’s actually moderate but can act like an extremist, or that he’s actually an extremist but can act...
  • Does mine eyes decieve me?

    Daniel Gross at Slate is incredulous that Americans are actually paying down their credit card debt in response to increasing interest rates. Could it be? Consumers actually responding to changes in incentives as if they make their financial decisions with some semblance of rationality? I must say you can also color me surprised, if pleasantly so. Like witnessing a pack of lemmings preternaturally change directions at the ragged edge of disaster . -- Battlepanda
  • Showing Deficits Some Love

    The latest Democracy Corps poll found: Requiring Congress to forego a pay raise in any year the government runs a deficit or raids the Social Security trust fund, and requiring that any future benefit cuts to Social Security should apply to congressional pensions as well. Matt doesn't like the idea because civil servant salaries are tied to congressional salaries, and this'd hurt them too. But if we can reformulate how salaries are calculated so this'd only hurt congresscritters, Matt says we should give the people the "wacky populism" that they want. I disagree. It's all well and good to nail Bush for his huge and irresponsible deficits now, but Democrats really shouldn't be in the business of making moderate deficit spending impossible, or at least really, really unlikely. Fact is, we're the social program folks, and once this weird administration with its big-budget conservatism heads back to Crawford, and once our fiscal house is put in a bit better order, there are going to be...
  • Cheap as well as nasty

    By now we've all heard about Rick Santorum's bill seeking to prevent the National Weather Service from actually sharing weather forecasts with Americans. You see, that "socialized weather" business has got to stop. It's taking the bread right out of the mouths of private web-based forecast providers who work so hard to make a profit by repackaging that information the NWS just want to give away for free. One such firm is Accuweather, which just so happens to be based in Pennsylvania, just like the good senator. Fancy that. [T]hroughout 2003 and 2004, both Joel and Barry Myers have donated nearly $2,750 to Santorum's 2006 re-election efforts. Public records also showed that since 1999, the Senator received nearly $5,000 in contributions from AccuWeather executives, raising questions of whether the company attempted to court favor with the Senator through campaign contributions. Count it up...$2,750+$5,000=$7,750. For a blatant gimme bill introduced in congress? That's what I call value...
  • There is no excuse

    This Foreign Policy article by Tina Rosenberg explodes a lot of conventional wisdom about AIDS, and is well worth reading in its entireity. However, what really surprised me was the fact that patients in poor countries are much, much, better about keeping up with their drug regiments for AIDS than us Americans, where only about 70% take the drugs on time as opposed to well above 90% in places like Camaroon, Uganda and Malawi. Shamefully, I had always unthinkingly bought into the racist trophe that Africans somehow less likely to follow the regiment correctly. At least I didn't go as far as Andrew Natsios, who runs the U.S. agency for International Development by the way, by speculating that African simply lack the western concept of time necessary to take retroviral drugs on schedule. So why are we so bad at taking our medicine compared to Africans? Rosenberg speculates that there is more community support in Africa, and since AIDS have been so devastating, the consequences of not...
  • JoBo on NoKo: Uh-Oh!

    Via Laura Rozen, we learn that The WSJ reports that the US believes North Korea could be preparing a nuclear test. It has asked China to pressure North Korea to prevent it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but doesn't the guy in charge of preventing this kind of thing have a name that rhymes with "Tron Molten"? Why, yes he does . Whoops! Also: How long before someone on The Corner and/or Michelle Malkin implies that Bolton could have prevented the nuclear test if he hadn't been so busy answering the SFRC Democrats' stupid questions? I'm betting two days, m'self. - Daniel A. Munz
  • Pope Benedict the Faithless

    Thanks to Ezra for inviting me back, and thanks to co-guest-blogger Amanda Angelica for being awesome. I want to offer my apologies for being a little late on the posting thing, although I guess that's only true in East Coast Time. It took a little longer than usual to get all the bread products out of our house. (Happy Passover!) In honor of this vaguely holy day, here's the latest news on the Ratzinger front: Spain's parliament is set to pass a bill legalizing a form of gay marriage and gay adoption. Guess whose finely sewn, textured, and lacy Bavarian underthings are in a bunch . Oy! Benny 16 is definitely not off to a good start. Since his election, I've been trying to put a finger on why, past Nazi sympathies aside, Benedict so irks moderate and liberal catholics. Sure, he's an extreme conservative, but so was JPII - in response to the EU's flirtation with legalizing gay marriage, he denounced the idea as part of "an ideology of evil." The two just aren't that substantively...
  • Pinch Hitters

    Daniel Munz, from Politics and War , and Angelica, from Battle Panda , will be filling in this weekend. Dan, as you know, rocks, and Angelica, as you may not know, also rocks. You lucky people you!