June 26, 2008
Call It The Xx Markup
As if it weren't bad enough that women still end up getting stuck with more of the housework, now it turns out they're also getting stuck with higher health insurance bills. That's the news out of California, where the state's Blue Shield insurance plan recently announced new rates for people purchasing coverage individually, rather than through an employer or other large group. Blue Shield unveiled the new rates in a recent letter that contained a chart. And if you examined the chart closely--as David Lazarus did for his Sunday Los Angeles Times column--a gender differential comes into view.
Alan Dershowitz: Ultra-liberal?
It's a big day for legal news in Washington. The Supreme Court is handing down its final opinions of the term, and has apparently struck down DC's gun ban by a 5-4 vote. The speculation was correct that Justice Scalia was writing the opinion. Elsewhere, I'm here on Capitol Hill at a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee hearing investigating the administration's interrogation policies, where John Yoo and David Addington are testifying (Addington in response to a subpoena). Yoo's opening statement is here (pdf); Marty Lederman has some preliminary reactions.
Larry Johnson Is The New David Brock
At certain points in the past few months, I often thought that a piece on Larry Johnson--the former CIA agent-turned-blogger who became a hero to the Daily Kos crowd before turning into a hero of Rush Limbaugh's--would be a good thing to do. But, frankly, I didn't have the stomach to read through Johnson's body of work to do it myself. Thankfully, Dave Weigel is made of stronger stuff than I, and he's done a good Johnson profile for The American Prospect.
June 25, 2008
Roughly a decade ago, when Ed Rendell was the mayor of Philadelphia, he made a controversial decision to appear with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan at a rally. Farrakhan was in town in the aftermath of an assault by a gang of whites on an African American woman and her son and nephew in a notoriously gritty and racist part of the city. Many politicians, especially Jewish ones, would have kept far away from the incendiary Farrakhan. Portions of Rendell's liberal base were outraged. Protesters marched outside his home.
Intern or Die
Beware the intern you just sent on a coffee run. And not just because she may use the yellow sweetener instead of the pink. No, beware the intern because as easy as it is to punk her around now, this pleasure, like smoking or drinking, is likely to come back to bite you later, when she rises to a position of power. Which is quite likely, as one of the fundamental truths about post-millennial working life is this: Ex-interns run the show. And like many banal workforce realities, this one’s pernicious. The field of journalism offers a prime example of the power of the internship.
Four out of Nine Ain't Bad
Though this court term hasn't been disastrous (so far), these are not particularly happy days for the Supreme Court’s left-leaning justices. On most of the big issues--abortion, school segregation, capital punishment, voting rights--Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens are routinely outvoted by the Court’s conservative majority. When they do win, their victories are condemned as “judicial activism” by right-wing critics.
Idov: Scenes from the Libertarian Party's tragicomic demise.
Among the four teams that advanced to this week's semifinal round of the Euro 2008 soccer tournament, three aren't particularly portentous. No one is surprised to see pre-tournament favorite Germany still alive. Nor is it particularly shocking that talent-rich Spain has survived, although most expected the team to uphold the time-honored Spanish tradition of flaming out in the quarterfinals.
There are certain streaks that have become etched in American lore: Joe DiMaggio's 56 straight games with a hit, UCLA's 88-game unbeaten run in men's basketball. Slightly less famous, but still impressive, is this feat: Between April 12 and May 24 of last year, John McCain missed 46 consecutive votes in the U.S. Senate. In fact, McCain missed more than half of all Senate votes last year, enough to disqualify him from the infamous National Journal rankings that purported to find Barack Obama the most liberal senator. Now, we understand that McCain had elsewhere to be.
Show Bush Some Birthday Lovin'
RNC Chairman Mike Duncan has just drawn to my attention to the fact that our fearless president has a birthday coming up. (Bush turns 62 on July 6, for those keeping track.) Unsurprisingly, the good chariman feels that the most appropriate way for all of us to celebrate this joyous event is to donate $62 (or however much we can spare--$100? $1,000? $2,000?) to the great GOP electoral cause and then add our names to the "virtual birthday eCard" that the RNC has so thoughtfully put together for the POTUS: Thank you for your service and dedication to our country.