• comment on a post Democrats in the Can't Lose Zone over 6 years ago
    You may be right that POLITICALLY the dems can't lose (and I hope you are right, but I'm not convinced), but this war is sufficiently egregious and real people are dying and the voters gave congress a mandate and the world is being made more dangerous, so I think a political win only (option 1) is worse than hollow. We (and the Dems) should not give up on ending this war and removing the troops from Iraq, just because it might be a political victory.
    This is not a question of whether highway funding will be reduced this year or not.
  • I wrote a comment criticizing Dowd's column already, and I agree it was absurd and petty and unsubstantive and wrong, however...
    I don't think you know anything about how she or her dad tips. I don't think her dad needs criticizing for getting a cheap haircut, it's she that needs to be criticized for making an invalid comparison (between a cop 40 years ago and a constantly televised candidate for president today). Further, she may not be one's favorite columnist, but being a reporter is a real job. She was a beat reporter and sports reporter and a washington reporter for years before she got a job as a columnist (which even if you don't agree with their positions, is still a lot of work, meeting two deadlines a week).
    I think there is plenty to criticize in the column on itself without resorting to insulting her dad and reporters and unrelated, uniformed tipping habits.
  • comment on a post Open Thread over 6 years ago
    I am often entertained, and occasionally educated, by marueen dowd and her perpetually too-cute-by-way-more-than-half ny times column, but today she (OK, not for the first time) went way overboard.
    She attacks john Edwards' haircut as an example of metrosexuality as if it's the most outlandish thing of all time. All of the things she compares it to (poppy asking for a "splash" of coffee, Kerry windsurfing, Clinton's ties?...) are similarly irrelevant and were blown out of proportion by a media that continually proves it cares more about haircuts and neckties than health care and equality. At the end of her piece she mentions hilary and mccain spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on appearance consultants, as if that's the same as spending too much on a haircut. She also praised her police dad for getting .50 haircuts decades ago as if that compares, and criticized Edwards daughter for having a website that recommended a salon that offers $100+ haircuts. I get $18 haircuts (I'm not ever on TV) but my impression was that a 100 dollar haircut was not at all out of the ordinary (for young professional women in NYC?) and I'd be interested in knowing what ms dowd spends on hers. She also backhandedly praises Mitten for being cheap, Mr. I-look-like-a-newscaster-and-I-flip-flop -on-every-issue-because-I-know-appearanc e-is-what-matters-to-the-talking-heads.
    I'm not even really an Edwards supporter, but I just thought today's column was absurd in its empty pettiness and apparent bias against Edwards.
  • Perhaps I was unclear, but I don't think what I said was stupid: the largest beneficiaries of universal health care are those 45 million americans with no health care and the 50-90 million more who are under covered. You don't fall into that class, so it might be easier for you to take a slow incremental approach.

    I certainly wasn't saying you are "lucky" to have been shot at etc. I respect your service and I think veterans deserve all the medical benefits they get and far more. I think its a disgrace that Veterans ever fail to get the best possible care and benefits. One of the issues that  infuriates me most about this administration and the republicans in general, is all their talk about supporting the troops and then cutting veterans benefits...

    I also don't know nearly enough about the details to make a strong argument, but your complaints about the VA sound pretty much like complaints with many if not most insurance plans. I have almost no choice in doctors, I have to take the generic drugs prescribed if I want them paid for, there are too few nurses everywhere in the country, I have to get preapproval to get emergency service, and I actually think I have a very good health plan.

    I'm all for any plan that covers more people Edwards, Obama, even Clinton's two term "plan" would be better than the status quo. However, single-payer to my mind is the obvious most efficient, most effective means to achieve that. I think the only argument against single payer is that you would put lots of insurance workers out of business and lose money for a lot of insurance company stockholders, and those aren't sufficient reasons.

    Lastly, it's totally false to try to blame single payer for the failure of the Clinton health care plan. It was anything but single payer. It's huge flaw was the incomprehensible complexity necessitated by trying to include insurance companies. It gets accused (I think falsely) of failing because it was over ambitious, in trying to cover everyone at once, but that is a flaw with any universal plan, not specifically single payer, which it was not.

    I think people like leaders, if someone (more credible than Kucinich) proposed and argued for single payer, it would be ultimately easier to pass/implement than a complex universal coverage system that maintains private insurers and includes complicated mandates and subsidies. But I'll support whatever option there is cover more people.

  • We don't need to get into name calling or anything, but it's easy to be against single payer when you already have it yourself.
    The VA, from what little I know, is a very effective and efficient example of single payer.
    Why wouldn't you want to share with the rest of us the benefits you already get?
  • I second the motion for Charlie Brown. Especially with today's news that his once and future opponent, John "Dolittle" Doolittle, hasa been forced to resign his seat on the House Appropriations committee following the FBI searching his home on suspicion of fraud and corruption.
    Charlie Brown may need our help even sooner than 2008 if there were to be a special election.
  • This was the point I was going to make. Yesterday was not a normal newsday, and the fact that Zahn beat both points to an aberration rather than a trend.
    Let's hope there's a trend brewing, but let's not base an assumption of one on one day with abnormal coverage and viewership.
  • on a comment on Not There Yet over 7 years ago
    People like leaders. "testing the waters" is not only a poor way to get things done, it's bad political tactics. Especially if something is obviously popular. These are the fights the Dems should be initiating. Make the Reps pay for taking an unpopular, undemocratic position while they're in the minority.
    If they want to filibuster, make them really filibuster, lets see Lindsey Graham and Arlen Specter reading cookbooks for days on end. If Bush threatens a veto, make him veto. There are parlimentary rules, but at least let the American people know who's trying and who's obstructing.
  • on a comment on Not There Yet over 7 years ago

    They may not be the crucial battles, but they are popular and therefore should be easy. Win some popular battles to get support and momentum. These should be the baby steps leading up to real fights.

  • on a comment on Paying for America over 7 years ago
    After posting yesterday, I went and did a little reading, and the obvious thing I was missing is that the largest "private charity" category by far are religious institutions. Something close to 40% of all donations to private charities are to churches. Further, evangelicals are the most generous group when you look at donations to "private charitys" but something close to 80% of those donations are to their churches.
    Now churches do many good things, but they don't replace government. They don't build roads, they don't arrest criminals, they don't enforce contracts or defend the country or fund research or protect our food/water supply etc. Even the things they might be credited with, feeding the poor or providing aid to the elderly, they don't do anywhere near as efficiently or broadly as government.
    It's fine if republicans want to give to their churches, but that doesn't replace the necessary functions of government, and thus doesn't excuse their owed taxes or even excuse the whining about it.
  • on a comment on Paying for America over 7 years ago

    I'd be interested to see data on that. I really have no idea, but I'm surprised to hear that Republicans are more generous when giving to charity. Is that as a percentage of income/wealth (if Republicans are generally more wealthy, then they might be expected to give more in dollars, but less as a percentage? likewise with Americans?) or in dollars?

    I'd also disagree with the statement that: "right-wingers are more than happy to pay taxes"
    Even when it's for a war they support, I've heard many wingers complain about taxes. And really it's hard to complain about paying taxes and then try and qualify it by saying you only don't like some of what it's spent on. I don't want my taxes spent on an illegal war, or the largest military in the world, or faith-based initiatives, or Dick Cheney's salary, or the "war on drugs" or putting people to death or coroporate welfare, but I do want taxes (and more than just mine) spent on roads and science and national parks and clean water and universities and foriegn aid and social security and a fair judicial system and any number of other things that government does and provides. I don't get to choose, so I pay my taxes and I work to elect people who, and pass legislation which, will shift the priorities towards mine.

  • on a comment on Paying for America over 7 years ago

    Actually, I think the problem is they don't spend enough checking up on the complexity. Every additional IRS auditor more than pays for himself in recovered funds. Mostly the IRS works on trust, and as such we get screwed out of billions of dollars in unpaid taxes owed, particularly by the very wealthy and the big corporations who can afford to mask their criminality and further afford the paperwork/slap on the wrist, if they do happen to get caught.

  • comment on a post Open Thread over 7 years ago

    There was recent talk about how Huckabee's staying out of the Arkansas senate race makes Pryor all but invinceable. Is there no chance of a primary challenge? Shouldn't he pay some price for voting to prolong the war?

    Similarly, anyone heard about a challenge to Max Baucus?

    I am definitely in the camp of targetting republicans first and maintaining a Dem majority, but a primary challenge will help keep dubious Dems honest and if they can't beat a challenger they probably weren't that strong to begin with.

  • on a comment on Passover Open Thread over 7 years ago

    Alas, we lost unknowing tribester macaca this year.

  • Giving money to the DNC would be one place to start.

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