• Globalization Express

    Emptywheel calls in with a hell of a post on the people who act as globalization's foot soldiers. A must-read.
  • Condi and Karen

    During today's press conference , Bush said something striking about Karen Hughes' new position: I applaud Secretary Rice's decision to include Karen in the process. I thought that was very wise of her to call upon Karen's talents. This could be nothing more than his usual M.O of pretending total ignorance over everything that happens in government (I still love watching him talk about the privatization plan he doesn't have right before he defend the plan he's put forth), certainly wouldn't be the first time he acted like newborn babe stunned by the strange workings of Washington. But assume he's being honest, that Rice actually did generate the idea to bring Hughes into the fold. Pretty fucking smart. I'd take that as evidence that Rice is making determined moves to consolidate her power in the administration. Bring Hughes in, treat her well, and suddenly you have the only force able to counterbalance Karl lined up on behalf of Condi's proposals. It'd make intra-administration...
  • Announcement

    Finals suck. That is all.
  • Tax Reform -- Now With 50% Less Yawning

    I'm going to second Matt on this one -- the Center for American Progress's brand-spankin-new tax proposal is really very good, even to an untrained eye like my own. Those of you wanting the full rundown can find it here (warning: 32 page PDF), but most will probably opt for the two page executive summary . Democrats would be smart to find themselves a few days lull during the Social Security fight and switch gears to blitzing for tax reform. Our tax reform. Because CAP has released a proposal that is, in fact, very good politics. Most Americans would love to see the SS portion of their payroll taxes eliminated, with Social Security now being funded through a guaranteed 2.25% allocation of GDP and a removal of the payroll cap on the employer side. Very smart politics, and very relevant to the current battles. And by changing the subject from Social Security and to tax reform, Republicans can no longer accuse us of lacking a plan, but the subject switch will help bog down the...
  • Wolfowitz

    Bush is nominating Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Wolfowitz. Sorry, just have to say that a few times to make it feel real. Wolfowitz. A guy who knows nothing about economics. Wolfowitz. A guy who's detested by Europeans as a main architect of our foreign policy. Wolfowitz. A guy who licks his comb. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They want John Bolton to become Ambassador to the UN. He's philosophically opposed to the very idea of it. They want down-home communications guru Karen Hughes to become central in remaking our image in the Arab world. She knows nothing about Islam. As a friend of Steve Clemons' said , "Maybe Bill Kristol should be nominated as successor to Kofi Annan, or Richard Perle. And James Woolsey should get UNICEF." Steve tries, in his post, to explain that this isn't just another outrage in a long and distinguished line of them, it's the marker of something very different, very radical. "A period of major, dramatic, discontinuity". That sounds about right. This...
  • Bits and Pieces

    • Before 9/11, all the Neocons could talk about was the coming confrontation with China and the need to stick steadfastly by our blood-buddy Taiwan. And, if 9/11 hadn't happened, yesterday might've been the first step towards that confrontation. With China passing a (largely redundant) law that authorizes attack if Taiwan seeks independence, a strong America acting in concert with the Neocon philosophy would have made this a showdown, hoping to send the red dragon slinking back to its cave. Not so. With our forces tied up in Iraq, perceptions of America's military might at their nadir, our economy entirely dependent on the whims of Asian bankers, our spending only sustainable through the kindness of Chinese bond-buyers, and our dollar convulsing every time an Asian leader opens his mouth, we've got less influence than a congressional Democrat. So China was testing us to some degree, proving to themselves that we'd recognize reality and let them move further towards regional hegemony...
  • Rock 'em Sock 'em Reid

    True to form -- and God I love saying that in this context -- Reid spent the day leading the Democrats in the fight to defeat "the Nuclear Option". The entire caucus assembled to hear him give the Democratic response (watch it here ), and they followed him to deliver a letter to Bill Frist. It was a powerful show of unity, and a warning that Democrats are unafraid to make a media circus of the issue. If I were Frist, I'd be a bit concerned right now. As Luntz should have already alerted him, nothing called "the nuclear option" is going to sound like a good idea to Americans. The image that Republicans will detonate the Senate if Bush doesn't get every last one of his judges approved is a nasty one, which they'll find out as soon as they began talking about it on the shows and seeing their poll numbers plummet. More to the point, I'd like to see Reid take a page out of Bob Dole's 1992 playbook and realize he's representing a majority. As many remember, Dole welcomed Clinton's election...
  • Pandagonette

    Amanda from Mousewords is assuming my old spot at Pandagon. She's a great choice for the site -- anyone who followed her excellent guest-blogging stint last week knows what a good job she's going to do. So, while I doubt I have too many readers who don't trawl Pandagon as well, those remaining outside the overlap should head on over .
  • Joe Don't Know

    I'm not the first to heap scorn on Marshall Wittman's latest pro-Joe post (see Matt and Atrios taking their shots as well), but I think I win the award for most puzzled by its assumptions. Shoving aside Wittman's weird desire to act as apologist for Joe, even at the expense of his own credibility (unlike Brad, I don't believe Wittman was played for a fool. I believe he thought he could play everyone else for fools), what possesses a perfectly astute centrist to say things like: What the Moose would like to know was when was the last time a lefty won the White House - Kennedy, LBJ, Carter, Clinton? None of them truly stirred the hearts of the lefty faithful. Perhaps JFK did, but he won running to the right of Nixon on foreign policy. In recent political memory, only hawks have won the Presidency whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The recent rage on the left is to heap scorn on Joe Lieberman. The Moose is honored to stand with Joe against the dogmatic idealogues of the...
  • Grieving the Pope

    Easterbrook's article on the hypocrisy of mourning Pope John Paul II's death reeks of the arrogance and too clever by half arguments usually seen among college freshmen just discovering atheism and the attendant joys of Biblical contradiction. Mourning is a rejection of Christian theology? Snort. When we mourn, we don't mourn for the dead. Unless they were young or cut down in a tragic, painful fashion, we almost always mourn for us. We who'll lack their presence, live with their memories, carry our guilt, leave unsaid words that needed to be spoken. Whether in heaven or oblivion, they're beyond the reach of earthly cares -- we mourn because we're not, and death is often hardest on the survivors. So c'mon Gregg -- none of this bull about grief being an inherent repudiation of Catholic doctrine. Missing someone terribly and believing in heaven are not mutually exclusive positions.