Economic Policy Institute:
The frivolous case for tort law change. Past time to turn all eyes on the middlemen, the insurance industry.
Washington Post Analysis:
GOP Tilting Balance Of Power to the Right. It does seem like the Republicans want to build a permanent Presidential tyranny.
Private Flights To Resume at National Under Strict Limits. The three branches of government had best wear sneakers to work ... there’s going to be a lot of evacuations.
London Review of Books:
Tax Breaks for Rich Murderers. “The mystery is this: how did the repeal of a tax that applies only to the richest 2 per cent of American families become a cause so popular and so powerful that it steamrollered all the opposition placed in its way? The estate tax was the most progressive part of the American tax system, because it rested on the principle that the wealthy few, if they were not willing to bequeath their money to charity, should not be permitted to pass it all directly to their heirs. [snip] Because it was a tax that so obviously took from the relatively few to relieve the burden on the very many, there seemed no possibility that a sufficiently large or durable coalition of interests could ever be formed to get rid of it.” This sounds like an excellent book, and this review is not to be missed.
NY Times Editorial:
The President’s Stem Cell Theology. Abortion and right-to-life issues are some of the hardest ground to tread in America today. The NY Times barely glances over a prime point here that needs to be hammered into thick skulls and deaf ears: women’s bodies regularly ‘abort’ fertilized eggs. The older the woman, the more frequently it happens. Four for every one successful implantation in younger women, ten or more in older women. That any fertilized egg is imbued with potential for life is true, that each one is unique is true; but that potential for survival of any unique fertilized egg is 20% or less. Natural processes devalue individual embryos, not Man.
I haven’t seen a church yet that advises women to have a funeral after every late menstrual period ... yet given the current rhetoric over frozen embryos, this should be required to match their stated moral belief system. To do otherwise is rather rank hypocrisy.
Calculate those ‘natural’ abortion figures out over the population of America, it makes the current man-made abortion figures microscopic, even including birth control methods as ‘abortifacients’. God and Nature are your most prolific ‘abortion doctors’, not man.
Taking that a step further, who is more ‘murderous’, the doctor who prescribes RU-486 to terminate a single unwanted pregnancy, or the belief system that specifically pushes procreation and outlaws contraception resulting in at least four fertilized egg ‘abortions’ for each successful pregnancy?
One soul death, or four soul deaths? Who is most guilty of intentionally playing God with unborn life?
This is not an attempt on my part to post a comprehensive analysis of abortion or right-to-life. Note I haven’t mentioned women’s rights, even. I’m just wishing that religion would, once again, readjust their ‘literal’ interpretations, as they have repeatedly in the past, and be somewhat consistent. Utopian thinking on my part, of course. Religion adjusted to scientific fact when egg and sperm were discovered (they sharply shortened their time to ‘ensoulment’ and adjusted their ‘literal’ interpretations of the Bible); they will have to eventually adjust to this reality, too: Human conception is not ‘immaculate.’ Death is an integral and inseparable part of the creation of life.
Tangential: Ever hear of “snowflake babies”? You can ‘adopt’ a frozen embryo.
Later: So here’s the compromise. Use the natural ratio, 80/20, to divide up the existing and future frozen embryo stocks before they degrade and lose viability. 20% go for adoption. The other 80%, the ones that nature would naturally abort, become “angels on earth”, hope for those with diseases that stem cell research can remediate. They get to have real meaning for their small existence in our world, something ‘natural’ abortions will never have.
National Center for Children in Poverty:
Whose Security? What Social Security Means to Children and Families. Document is in PDF on the right side of the interface.
Seen this yet? FBI memo reports Guantanamo guards flushing Koran.
NY Times Books:
A Nation Is Born, and You Are There. Interesting time in history to market a book celebrating insurgents overthrowing an occupation power.
SF New Mexican:
Senator Domenici asks EPA to reconsider arsenic standards. “New Mexico has high levels of naturally occurring arsenic in its volcanic soils, which filter into the water supply. But New Mexicans do not exhibit a higher rate of cancer due to our higher levels of arsenic.” Interesting. I’d like to see the studies to back up that contention.
The Panama News:
We’re not the only ones unhappy about Social Security reforms ... note that this situation is virtually nonexistent in our media. Surely we should know more about other countries and their SS problems and/or successes, before making precipitate judgments/changes?
Breakthrough pact unlikely to end battle. At the first filibuster, the Republicans will go nuclear. There is little ‘moderation’ in majority.
Spin Buster, Of Agendas, Fetishes and Crusades.
NY Times Op-Ed:
Kristof, Death by a thousand blogs. Given Rather, Lott ... sounds like a horrible way to go. But the foci usually make it worse than it need be.
New York Review of Books:
The Secret Way to War. “The fact that, in Blix’s words, ‘the UN and the world had succeeded in disarming Iraq without knowing it’—that the UN process had been successful—meant, in effect, that the inspectors would be discredited and the United States would go to war.”
US generals say Iraq outlook ‘bleak’. CSM rounds up many news sources for this assessment; not just leftwards leaners.
The economy booms, the trees vanish. The Amazon rainforest is disappearing, ever faster.
North Korea plays a waiting game on nuclear talks. Multi-party talks aren’t going anywhere till everyone gets on the same page.
Cold war chess. I find I must mention this time and again; John Von Neumann put the chess/war strategy comparison to bed decades ago. Chess gives you complete knowledge that isn’t reflected in reality; theoretically, you can play to a win or a draw every time (knowing strategy, seeing the whole ‘battlefield’, seeing every move of the ‘enemy’). In poker, the cards are hidden. There is the variability of the deal. The need to bluff. The concept of min/max. Read Strategy in Poker, Business and War, a concise overview of Von Neumann’s theories.
Bottom line is, if others wish to strategize via chess, we can use the uniquely American game of poker to surmount their best strategies.
As Vote Nears, DeLay Attacks Bill Expanding Stem Cell Research. “‘Once people understand the issue,’ said the majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, ‘more than 70 percent are against embryonic stem cell research.’” Now there’s a new method for quoting stats: “Once they understand.” But the GOP has a conflict; actual poll numbers say 57% of their own party are OK with embryonic stem cell research.
I disagree strongly. Don’t militarize space. Spare me the semantic wrangling. This was an interesting comment, given the b.s. we’ve been fed about missile defense: “The Air Force’s drive into space has been accelerated by the Pentagon’s failure to build a missile defense on earth. After spending 22 years and nearly $100 billion, Pentagon officials say they cannot reliably detect and destroy a threat today.”
CJR Daily Spin Buster:
I’ve been purposely trying to avoid linking the NY Times Op-Eds; the profusion of myna birds in the weblog universe made any additional editorializing of little value. I don’t believe I’ll miss the main Editorials either, as my thinking (and probably most lefty webloggers) usually predates their editorials by a goodly margin. Still, I think most of us find it interesting to watch the weather-vane of opinion swing back and forth in the winds of political methane ...
Rove Guided Career of Judicial Nominee in Filibuster Fight. The media’s waking up a bit. I pointed this out through links the other day, only because of the vacuum of information in the news about these ‘nominees.’