The group blog of The New Republic

August 22, 2007

Summer is the cinematic silly season, a time of gonadal teenagers and intergalactic robots masquerading as pickup trucks. As such, it can be a rough period for those looking for more serious fare. Anyone unwilling to wait at home until the fall-winter parade of Oscar hopefuls could do far worse than taking a look at Talk to Me, the biopic about iconic Washington, DC disc jockey Petey Greene.

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The State Children's Health Insurance Program looks like it will be a big, if not the big, domestic policy debate when Congress returns from its August recess. So we'll have more to say about it soon. For the moment, though, I wanted to point out one key fact.

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The NYT's Caucus blog reports on a new conservative group called Freedom's Watch that's opposed to an Iraq withdrawal.

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My latest TRB column is about how Bill Kristol (and, to some extent, neoconservatism in general) has abandoned its idealism and its intellectual content, and has sunk to hoary, illiberal pro-war arguments. Matthew Yglesias chides:

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The latest issue of Mother Jones has a rather disturbing cover story about the Judge Rotenberg Center, a school in Massachusetts for troubled kids--autistic, bipolar, schizophrenic, you name it--that uses electric shocks, food deprivation, and other "aversive therapy" to punish its students, some as young as nine.

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It's still entirely possible that the 2008 presidential election could be decided as early as June of next year, if California voters decide to change the way their state allocates its electoral votes. Surprisingly enough, early polls still look decent for the ballot measure, which would divide up electoral votes based on how congressional districts vote.

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Notorious Republican consultant Roger Stone has been accused of leaving a bizarre and threatening message on the answering machine of Bernard Spitzer, Gov. Eliot Spitzer's father. Stone hasn't admitted to leaving the message, but he has announced he's resigning from his job with New York State Senate Republicans.

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Mark Krikorian has elaborated on his foriegn-policy vision that I highlighted the other day. He makes the following, ah, interesting prediction:

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August 21, 2007

When President Bush declares his "support" for the "initial intent" of SCHIP, one wonders what exactly he imagines that to be. Originally, he proposed to fund the program at such low levels that it would actually have resulted in more uninsured children.

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Via the Economist, Abdullah Gul of the ruling AK Party looks to finally be elected president of Turkey a week from today, overcoming concerns about his headscarf-sporting wife. (Three cheers for majoritarianism.) But all is not lost for Turkey's opposition in the headscarf wars: "In a sop to the secularists she is expected to tie it in a more fashionable style." Thank God secularism is good for something!

--Josh Patashnik

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