February 19, 2007

It's Not An Act

Yesterday, John McCain told a group of South Carolina voters, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned." I'm curious if anyone out there still believes--as Jon Chait and Jacob Weisberg have argued in the past--that McCain is just mouthing these lines to curry favor with the Republican base, but doesn't really believe any of this and wouldn't act on it if elected to the White House. That seems unlikely.

February 18, 2007

In Today's Web Magazine

Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs want to finance universal health care with vouchers; Jonathan Chait says that foreign policy is truly foreign to Rudy Giuliani; Benjamin Wittes doubts that John Roberts and Samuel Alito will be really be able to transform the Supreme Court; and Steven Hahn looks at the scholarship of Drew Gilpin Faust to see whether she'll be a good president for Harvard. --Adam B. Kushner

February 16, 2007

Quds Force Reconsidered

What, exactly, is the Quds Force--the paramilitary wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)--doing in Iraq? The Bush administration maintains that the group is trying to destabilize the country, supplying explosives that are being used to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.

Lieberman: Crisis Coming

Joe Lieberman is currently on the Senate floor warning that congressional attempts to meddle with the war could lead to "a constitutional crisis" that requires Supreme Court intervention. --Michael Crowley

February 15, 2007

Will You Be My Valentine?

I'm sorry I did not get to this earlier, and there's way too much to riff on in just this single post, but please, please do yourself a favor and read National Review's Valentine's Day Symposium. Midge Decter swooning for Rudy! Andrew Breitbart sharing his "unrequited" love for lesbian Tammy Bruce! Mona Charen shows off by hearting some nineteenth-century Republican pol named Thomas Brackett Reed! But by far the best is Kathryn Jean-Lopez's tribute to B-1 Bob Dornan, who ranks next to Jim Traficant as the most amusing member in the history of the House of Representatives.

Selective Discrimination

Here is a little-noticed item (hat tip to reader J.R.): Earlier this month, a United Nations consultative committee on NGOs rejected the credentials of the Coalition of Gays and Lesbians of Quebec, as well as a similar group from Sweden. Over 2,000 groups have been bestowed such accreditation by the U.N, which allows them to attend conferences and offer their opinions on various matters. The rejection of the Canadian group was by a vote of 8-6. Voting against were, unsurprisingly, Russia, Burundi, Guinea, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar and Sudan.

February 14, 2007

Topless Taxes, Really

A proposed bill in the Texas legislature known as the "Topless Tax" would tax patrons a $5 cover charge to enter strip clubs. The cover charge would then go directly into sexual-assault prevention and counseling services. This makes a certain amount of sense to me. Just as sin taxes on cigarettes end up funding everything from health care programs to education spending, taxing strip-club patrons to support worthy state mandates like assault prevention has a certain symmetry to it. Taxing the sex trade is as natural as taxing casinos and booze.

Unified Theories

In the Washington Post today, Glenn Kessler provides yet more evidence that Iran's leaders proposed talks with the United States back in May of 2003. (See here as well.) In recent weeks, Condoleezza Rice has denied that she ever even saw the Iran memo, which arrived at the State Department via Swiss channels. Is that true? A few days ago, Kessler reported that, indeed, Powell "did not forward the memo to the White House" after receiving it. But why would he have done that? It's all a bit mysterious.

February 13, 2007

The Politics Of Spite

A few days ago, Matt Yglesias wrote the following about global warming: One doubts that any of these various rightwingers were actually humming along and then got bribed by energy companies to come up with the outlandish conservative arguments you here on this score. Rather, the money's just sort of out there ready to flow to individuals who make outlandish arguments and to publications and institutions that associate themselves with such people and such arguments. Under the circumstances, the human mind proves remarkably supple and creative.

Nuclear Diplomacy

The Washington Post has a decent summary of the deal struck between the United States and North Korea: In a landmark international accord, North Korea promised Tuesday to close down and seal its lone nuclear reactor within 60 days in return for 50,000 tons of fuel oil as a first step in abandoning all nuclear weapons and research programs.North Korea also reaffirmed a commitment to disable the reactor in an undefined next phase of denuclearization and to discuss with the United States and other nations its plutonium fuel reserves and other nuclear programs that "would be abandoned" as part of