by Stanley I. Kutler Somewhat diminished, John McLaughlin endures on a hidden corner of PBS's Saturday evening programming. He hosts a resident repertory company consisting of Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, Clarence Page from the Chicago Tribune, and Tony Blankley of The Washington Times. But it is unmistakably McLaughlin's turf. He insures home field advantage for himself with the patented fair and balanced approach--thus Pat Buchanan.
by David Greenberg With Rudolph Giuliani all but officially in the presidential race, I'd like to issue a preemptive plea to journalists: Can we please not describe him as a "moderate"? To show this reputed moderation, journalists point to their two pet issues: abortion and gay rights. This weekend, the Times ran another article on Giuliani's stand on abortion. Like most such stories, it focused on his rhetoric. But rhetoric is a poorer predictor of future behavior do than is previous public behavior.
Bruce Bawer is one of our country's foremost cultural critics. Well, he is really not "ours" anymore, as he moved to Scandinavia in 1998. Part of the reason for his relocation was to get away from what he saw as a creeping Christian fundamentalism in the United States, which he rightly loathed as a gay man. His emigration was presaged in his 1997 book, Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity.
The Economist was a hawkish booster of the Iraq war. But when it comes to Iran, the magazine is now urging George W. Bush to "resist a Wagnerian exit from the White House." --Michael Crowley
Hard to top a lede like this one: President Bush has proposed a significant jump in funding for an anti-drug advertising campaign that government-funded research shows is at best useless and at worst has increased drug use among some teens. Here's an earlier Slate piece by Ryan Grim on the federal government's ad campaign against marijuana use, which began in 1998 and has cost over $1.4 billion so far.
Say what you will about Bill Richardson's White House chances, but at least his presidential campaign is making New Mexico safer for roosters. From the AP: Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat running for president, has come out strongly in favor of a ban on cockfighting.
Yikes. Dana Milbank reports that a few congressional Democrats are still "rusty" when it comes to investigations--apparently, Henry Waxman was outmatched by Paul Bremer of all people during Iraq hearings on Tuesday. (The hearings have still been extremely valuable.) This doesn't seem to be a universal phenomenon though. Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee--especially John Kerry--tore the White House a new one yesterday during hearings on climate change. Chris Mooney's report is worth reading.
There's a theory that John Warner is just the beginning: That tons of not-yet-defected Republicans are thoroughly fed up with Bush and are giving him -- by filibustering the anti-surge vote in the Senate -- a last push on the swing before they just walk away. I doubted that (party loyalty is party loyalty, especially if you're in the minority), but I might have changed my mind at the presser I just went to on the border agents who shot a drug-runner in the ass and got put in the slammer, where one was beaten up by fellow inmates.
by Sanford Levinson Would you gladly drive a car with slick tires and failing brakes simply because you haven't driven over a cliff yet? Or, as much to the point, would you give your children such a car? One suspects that the answer to the latter question is no, even if one might be tempted to take certain risks with regard to one's own life. Consider also the issuance by the U.S. government this past week of potential responses to a threatened repetition of the disastrous flu pandemic of 1918 (which killed almost as many U.S. soldiers as died in World War I itself).
In Slate, Fred Kaplan argues that the FY2008 military budget submitted by President Bush yesterday comes out to $739 billion, once all the accounting gimmicks are factored in. Adjusted for inflation, "that's about one-third higher than the previous record for military spending, set in 1952, when more than 30,000 American soldiers were dying in the Korean War and the Pentagon was embarking on its massive Cold War rearmament drive." If I'm not mistaken, though, the Defense Department will likely end up asking for even more money than Kaplan figures.