Health Insurance Premiums Up Again
September 11, 2007

There's good news and bad news in the Kaiser Family Foundation's 2007 survey of employer-provided health benefits. On the plus side, the rate of growth of premiums dropped to 6.1 percent, the fourth straight year it's fallen. On the other hand, that's still well above the 3.7 percent rate at which wages grew during the year.

Earnest Goes to Washington
September 10, 2007

Chuck Grassley's suspicion of institutional power.

How Not To Junketeer
August 29, 2007

And the winner of the worst husband of the year award goes to Iranian Energy Ministry employee Bahmatullah Muradi, who evidently brought along his wife on a ministry junket to . . . beautiful Baghdad! From the NYT: Vehicles carrying the 15 Iranians and Iraqis were stopped and searched by coalition forces at a checkpoint beside the Tigris River near their hotel Tuesday night. The American military said the delegation was allowed to proceed to the Iraqi state-owned Sheraton Ishtar hotel nearby.

The Damage Is Done, So I Guess I'll Be Leavin'
August 28, 2007

The Post today has the one of the smartest political analyses of the Gonzo departure I've seen, at least this morning. Rather than celebrating the AG's resignation as a sign that he -- or the administration, depending on whether you buy the line that the White House shop was actually bummed he stepped down -- has finally accepted reality, we should be baffled that he decided to resign after he had done almost all the political damage he could possibly do, a phenomenon that was prefigured by the fatally late departures of Rumsfeld and Harriet Miers.

Bourne, Again
August 28, 2007

Over at Kausfiles, Mickey continues his slow lurch toward Coulterland, decrying The Bourne Ultimatum as "anti-American." After noting (rightly enough) that the film is "anti-waterboarding," he continues: Just because you oppose waterboarding and believe the U.S. has a lot to apologize for doesn't make you anti-American. The problem is the film is unredeemed by any sense that America or the American government ever stands for or does anything that is right.

Bourne Again, Again
August 28, 2007

Mickey replies to my criticism of his description of The Bourne Ultimatum as "anti-American": Yes, there is a Joan Allen character who says "This isn't us," and helps foil the the CIA's scheme. But she's a cardboard plot mechanism. The film's heart and energy go into depicting the evil U.S. bigwigs. There is no sense of who is "us." I don't really agree. To my mind, Allen is every bit as vivid as, say, David Strathairn in the film.

The President And Gonzales
August 28, 2007

Deep in his sorrow, George Bush has called Alberto Gonzales "a talented and honest man." Now, how would the president actually recognize those threats? Am I not mistaken, on the other hand, that when--given other alternatives (perhaps Harriet Miers)--many Democrats yearned for Gonzales as a moderate Hispanic who'd be quite good for the Supreme Court?

Bloody Spectacle Of The Day
August 24, 2007

The steps outside the U.S. Supreme Court can be a pretty strange place--especially when the Court is hearing an abortion case. But it looks like we've got nothing on Pakistan. From today's NYT story about the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision to allow former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return from exile and run for office: Mr. Sharif's supporters hugged each other and poured out of the white marble building onto the main avenue, where they slaughtered four goats in celebration. As blood spilled on the asphalt, Mr.

On The "unitary Executive"
August 13, 2007

Not long ago, a wild-eyed man came up to me in a large city, pushing a piece of paper into my hand and saying, in an alarmingly loud voice, "DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE IDEA OF THE UNITARY EXECUTIVE COMES FROM?" I couldn't help but laugh, because I do know (more or less), and the answer isn't quite what he said (which was Hitler, or it might have been Stalin). The idea of the unitary executive is much in the news; it is likely to come in any new Supreme Court confirmation struggle; and the next president will have to come to terms with it.

Today's Silly Republican News
August 07, 2007

There's some terrific news about Republican silliness today. First, regarding the recent radio interview in which Mitt Romney was grilled over his Mormonism and views on abortion, Mark Hemingway in (surprisingly) National Review Online has a piece on the nuttiness of one of the obscure figures Romney and the host bonded over: W.