Frist, Do No Harm!

A mostly political Weblog.
May 31 2005 6:02 AM

Frist, Do No Harm!

Plus--McCain saves The Palm; CNN saves Thunder.

Highly useful situationer from the well-informed William Bradley on how Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to avoid Chiracification from his proposed "complex and highly contested" ballot initiatives. ... P.S.: Contrast Bradley's calls for compromise deals on Schwarzenegger's proposals with Warren Beatty's stubborn Democratic conventionalism. Beatty gives Schwarzenegger credit for nothing, particularly annoying in the case of the Governor's anti-gerrymandering initiative (which would put the drawing of district lines in the hands of a panel of retired judges). "What is the need for an initiative on reapportionment when there is basic agreement in the legislature" [to shift to a nonpartisan system after the next census], Beatty argues. But gerrymandering wouldn't have even been an issue in the happily-safe-seated Dem-controlled legislature if Schwarzenegger hadn't brought it up and threatened his initiative. There would have been agreement, yes--agreement to preserve the status quo. ... Does Beatty like gerrymandering? If not, why not give Schwarzenegger some reformist props? ... What would Gary Hart do! ... 12:10 A.M.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Sullivan in full-Jekyll mode: 

It's a Bush administration meme. If you screw up, you get promoted, as long as you're a team player. If you really screw up, you get a Medal of Freedom.

That's easy to say if you ignore the most obvious counterexample. 1:34 A.M.

"Not Now"--Venn: If you drew a Venn diagram of the market niche targeted by the NYT's new TimeSelect service, it would require three circles.

1) Dems Desperately Seeking Cocooning Content

2) So rich they can pay $49.95 a year for it.

3) So poor they can't afford to subscribe to the NYT's paper edition (which includes TimeSelect).

I suggest that the area of overlap between these three circles is not huge. ... [You've said this before--ed This is clearer. ... But maybe  Circle 3 is really "'online people' who wouldn't even think of subscribing to a paper edition"--ed. Those people seem too young to be rich enough for Circle 2. Same result ... Are you going to subscribe?-ed Yes. ... I thought you always generalize wildly from your own personal experience--ed I have special needs! I want the archives.] ... Update: John Tabin would add a fourth circle, 'Too impatient (or unsavvy) to find the op-ed pieces elsewhere on the Web for free.' He argues the NYT won't change its op-ed syndication policies. I'm not so sure. ... 12:32 P.M. link

kf'sForward Lean: Can the  press' credibility withstand another damaging episode? Probably. But we'll find out, because there is at least one more damaging episode scheduled for imminent processing--Alan Feuer's potentially scandalous account of MSM reporting from Baghdad. ... Maybe Feuer will answer what seems to me the great mystery of the press in Iraq: Why American reporters, almost to a man, had a more pessimistic view of the war than seems to have been warranted. I don't think you can simply say they were blindered by anti-war or anti-Bush ideology: these are conscientious, smart, experienced people of varying political stripes and they virtually all seemed to predict a greater disaster than transpired.  That goes for the private, unprinted predictions of those few I encountered in person. ... P.S.: I'm not saying the war is already great success. Even our own top commanders admit we might lose it and the blowback from Abu Ghraib, etc. will last generations. But it seems a much, much, greater success, so far, than you'd have thought possible reading the dispatches from Baghdad in major papers. ... 10:31 P.M. link

Sunday, May 29, 2005

There has been a lot of overhyped talk about how the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, is an allegory for President Bush and the Iraq War. I've just seen the film, and can declare with some certainty that the idea that Episode III is a Bush/Iraq allegory is silly. Isn't it obvious the movie is really an allegory for the filibuster fight? The Sith are judicial activists who would use the Force to satisfy their passions. The Jedi are the believers in judicial restraint (hence their concern with rules and democracy, their quasi-Buddhist self-denial, etc.). The story initially promises a climactic showdown between these two factions, but the violent battle turns out to merely set up the later, definitive conflict in Episodes IV, V and VI. It kicks the can down the road! ...  12:06 A.M. link

Friday, May 27, 2005

An editor leaves early for Memorial Day weekend and everything goes all to hell! Pro-charter and pro-No-Child-Left-Behind education stories in the New York Times on the same day. Eduwonk is stunned. ... Alternative explantion: Friday before a holiday is the classic time to bury good news! ... 5:10 P.M. link

Polipundit thinks that, shockingly, Sen. Kerry may not actually have signed Form 180. But isn't Kerry communications director David Wade's credibility squarely on the line on that question? (Wade told the Globe's Joan Venocchi that Kerry signed the form on Friday, May 20.) ... P.S.: Just one more thing, Senator. ... I should have mentioned that we don't just want the military records. We want the war diaries too. Don't forget them! ...   4:22 P.M. link

Frist, Do No Harm! LAT ed-page editor Andres Martinez should resign immediately for his bungling failure to use the obvious pun  in an editorial calling on Senate Majority Leader Frist to quit the Senate. ... P.S.: Why does the Times say should Frist leave? Well, he failed to block a stem cell bill that the LAT ed board didn't want him to block! (They would prefer that he succeed like, say, Tom DeLay?) ... Or maybe the problem is that Frist tried to "ram through the 'nuclear option'" against filibusters. ... But wait, the Times says Frist was "right to try to get rid of the filibuster." ... Or maybe the hard-to-find LAT ed page, in a desperate quest for attention, is stunting in a way that ironically parodies the worst sort of hyperactive, overblown Beltway CW! ("The Bolton nomination was postponed! Frist is a loser!") ...  If Johnny Apple and Andrew Sullivan had a love child, he might find this editorial highly persuasive. ... P.P.S.: See Patterico's highlighting of a mighty-convenient new explanation  of the Flibuster Deal that portrays Frist and Bush as in control all along. ... 3:30 P.M.  link

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Banking on Balkanization: While everyone's been blasting bloggers for contributing to the "cocooning" phenomenon--i.e., readers gravitating toward those sites that tell them what they want to hear--the New York Times seems to have developed a Web strategy that counts on cocooning, according to Jon Friedman. Who else but reinforcement-craving Democrats would pay $49.95 a year to read Paul Krugman? ... The Times, of course, is supposed to be the un-Balkanized, common-ground information outlet, so its shift toward a caterpillar strategy should be the cause of much more respectable hand-wringing than, say, the emergence of ideologically targeted sites like Lucianne.com and RealClearPolitics ... Also, Lucianne and RCP actually do a much better job of forcing their readers to confront what they don't want to see than the Times does. ..  P.S.: I claim the NYT shift's toward unashamed base-pleasing West Side liberalism began with Pinch Sulzberger's ascension in the 90s. It's one of the big ways he's run the paper aground. ... As usual, those lower down in the hierarchy pay the price  for the CEO's screw-ups! ... (I can say that because I'm holding my moose!) ... 6:27 P.M. link

Steve Sailer has boiled down the explanation for why some states become red and others become blue to three simple words. ("God" is not one of them.) ... His equation sure works for San Francisco. ... 6:01 P.M. link

Klein Brings the Thunder! In its continuing effort to "stop hurting America," honor the desire of comedian Jon Stewart for substantive civic dialogue, and generally restore the news-reporting values of Edward R. Murrow, CNN visionary Jonathan Klein's ace Storytellin' Team spent several minutes yesterday afternoon covering the rescue of a treed cat.  [It was a pregnant treed cat--ed. Never mind then. Carry on. Its name was "Thunder." It almost fell.--ed. Stop! I was so, so wrong to mock this story! It's got everything! Maybe I caught it on TIVO.] ... Thanks to reader A.M. ... 3:11 A.M. link

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Old Faithful: ... A.: If Bush's Social Security plan dies this year, what domestic issue can he possibly talk about next year, in the runup to the mid-term elections, that might prove highly popular and wash the sour, poll-deflating taste of the Schiavo and Social Security fights out of the voters' mouths? ... Q.: Gee, when are the Republicans going to push for that welfare reform reauthorization bill? ... 8:41 P.M. link

First, he needs a stamp: He's signed the form. His staff is going over the postage tables  and will determine the correct amount "very, very shortly." ...  Why is getting John Kerry to release his military records like pulling teeth? It's inexplicable. ... Unless, of course, it's explicable. ... P.S.: An 'overzealous aide' almost sent the form in! ... 7:12 P.M. link

Sen. McCain Saves The Palm: From today's NYT report on the bipartisan filibuster-saving compromise signed by 14 senators, including John McCain:

Mr. McCain said he expected that interest groups on both the left and right would be angry at the compromise.

"Think of all the money they are going to lose," he said, ducking into a car to head to the premiere of a film about his life, referring to the fund-raising operations that had sprung up around the judicial battle. [Emph. added]

Hmmm. As long as we're being appropriately cynical and looking for the underlying selfish motives of various parties in the "nuclear" debate, it's worth asking if Senator McCain and his band of self-glorifying depolarizers are really just brave statesmen who, unlike their critics, "managed to put principle above self-protection," in a Washington Post editorial's adoring words.

Why, after all, are so many people in Washington attached to the Senate's "right to unlimited debate"? Is it because the filibuster--which effectively requires a supermajority to pass anything through the Senate-- guarantees "freedom of speech, freedom of debate and freedom to dissent in the United States Senate." (Sen. Byrd's modest version.) Or is it because the filibuster, and the exaggerated power it gives to both minorities and individuals, is the basis for much of the Senate's--indeed Washington's--corrupt cash economy? Without the filibuster, after all, senators in the minority party wouldn't be nearly as big a deal. They couldn't block legislation--so lobbyists wouldn't need to bribe them with campaign contributions. And honest, self-protective corporations wouldn't have to pay so many of these lobbyists to bribe them with campaign contributions.

Even most majority party senators would see some of their power drain away if the Senate became more like the House, organized efficiently along party lines so the majority could exercise its non-filibusterable power. Individual majority senators would be less like princes to be wined, dined and fawned over and more like party backbenchers. Corporations and interest groups wouldn't need to spend a lot of money bribing them either. And why would Boeing and GM want to pay for an army of ex-Senate aides to sweet-talk all 55 Republicans when one aide with the ear of Bill Frist would get the job done? ...

The filibuster's infrastructural role has powerful multiplier effect: It means not only that obscure minority Senators attract millions in campaign contributions. while the aides of obscure minority Senators aides find pleasant $250,000 jobs as influencers with vital "access." It means that those Senators can afford to hire well-paid fundraisers to funnel those contributions, while interest groups need direct mail experts to raise the money to make their own "access" producing contributions, and all these people need restaurants like The Palm  to feed them and brokers to swap their houses and mechanics to service their Acuras and Audis. Thanks to the Senate's precious right of unlimited debate, a wave of prosperity sweeps over the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area! Funded by the rest of the country.

The filibuster is to Washington what the computer chip is to Palo Alto--the technological basis of prosperity. Is it an accident, a Marxist might say, that the Washington Post approves of McCain's handiwork? Without it, many of the talented lawyers who read the Post it might have had to find more productive, less remunerative work. And the paper wouldn't have all those real estate ads.

Not to worry. As another local hero, Sen. Graham, declared yesterday: "The Senate is back in business."

P.S.: I'm not saying McCain or Byrd, or other defenders of proud Senate tradition are consciously promoting the economic self interest of the D.C. establishment that is now lavishing praise on them. But one of the lessons of evolutionary psychology is that our thoughts and actions somehow, without our consciously thinking it, just happen to somehow coincide with our own self interest. Marx suggested the same thing for larger groups (with "objective" interest replacing "subconscious" interest). The two mechanisms--Darwinian and Marxist-- may not be all that different2:28 P.M.  link

The Center Scolds!  It's not clear, Dan Balz points out, whether the somewhat vague deal  struck by 14 moderate senators actually resolves the judicial filibuster issue even for this session of Congress. Democrats will be still able to filibuster future nominees, including any Supreme Court candidate, under what they decide are "extraordinary circumstances." Republicans get to revive the anti-filibuster "nuclear option" if they believe Democrats are finding "extraordinary circumstances" where there aren't any. ... So what did the 14 moderates actually accomplish with their deal? "They kicked the can down the road," according to Ross K. Baker of Rutgers--by an eerie coincidence the very cliche kf chose for yesterday's filibuster-related recommendation!  ... True, the posture of a future controversial Bush nomination will differ from the kicked-can scenario envisioned below. Instead of fighting the "nuclear" fight all over again from square one, Dems and GOPs will first wage a new rhetorical war over what is "extraordinary" and what is "bad faith." The need to justify this loaded rhetoric presumably makes a filibuster battle at least somewhat less likely. But the mere postponement--until, presumably, a Supreme Court seat opens up--favors the Democrats, for the reasons outlined earlier. Bush will need to nominate someone who will either avoid or win such a somewhat-less-likely filibuster battle when the stakes are high enough for the bulk of the voters to be paying attention. This effectively narrows Bush's choices, as Balz notes--unless there is some hidden codicil forbidding Dems from declaring out-of-the-mainstream ideology an "extraordinary circumstance." ...

P.S.: The deal seems so favorable to the Dems, one wonders whether it was struck under the implicit threat that Democrats would block any "nuclear" vote by just voting for cloture (the "Blackberry Option"). ...

Update: Geoffrey Stone's analysis is more nuanced, but he still gives the Dems an advantage. ...

P.P.S.: One question is whether the Dems can yell "extraordinary" and filibuster if Bush in the future names to the Supreme Court one of the three people (Owen, Brown, Pryor) the Dem "moderates" have just agreed not to filibuster for lower federal courts. My reading of the deal is that they can, especially if they are able to latch onto something one of the three writes between now and then. But Republicans would find it easier to yell "bad faith" for these three than for other nominees. If the Democrats have just given Janice Rogers Brown a free pass to the Supreme Court, maybe the deal isn't as favorable to them as I think it is. ...

More: Steve Smith thinks the Dems could use Bush's failure to "consult" with Democratic senators under the final clause of the agreement as the basis for an "extraordinary circumstance" claim. ... 2:29 A.M. link

Monday, May 23, 2005

Kick the Can Down the Road: David Brooks says the Senate's moderates can't reach a deal on the filibuster question because they're unprincipled wimps. But surely the reason is that this deal is intrinsically difficult to reach--it depends on the definition of the "extraordinary circumstances" the Dems would reserve the right to filibuster in. It's hard to see how you come to an agreement on that issue without privately naming names (e.g. "We promise not to filibuster Janice Rogers Brown" or "If it's Janice Rogers Brown, you can filibuster"). ... The Blackberry Option: Meanwhile, the estimable Walter Shapiro has joined those rooting for a deal. But I still don't understand why a deal--a deal that would at least limit the Dems ability to filibuster an undesirable nominee for the rest of the Congress (while confirming five of seven appellate nominees)--is preferable to confirming all seven appellate nominees and postponing the filibuster fight until a Supreme Court appointment is at stake. The Democrats can accomplish the latter result by simply voting for cloture for each current Bush nominee--avoiding a "nuclear" vote on the filibuster by the simple expedient of not filibustering. ...

There's a reason, after all, why Sen. Frist has chosen to have the filibuster fight now, when the voting public's not paying attention. The reason is that he has a greater chance of winning now. That's the same reason the Dems should want to have this whole debate later, when higher stakes will give it higher visibility. If the "nuclear option" is on the line when President Bush nominates a Supreme Court justice, that in itself will circumscribe his choice. He won't want to name someone too controversial, lest the public side with the pro-filibuster Dems.  

And I still don't see why this kick-the-can-down-the-road strategy isn't obviously the course Dems will pursue (assuming there's no "moderate" deal and they don't have the votes to just beat Frist). That means, unless I'm horribly wrong, you will not see Frist win a "nuclear" vote on Tuesday. ... Remember, you heard it here second. (The Note was first.) ...

Update: Never mind. Fourteen senators have announced a deal. At least they weren't self-congratulatory and overblown about it! (Sen. Byrd: "We have kept the Republic.") 1:20 P.M. link

Dan Neil was nowhere near Sheffield! From Schadenfreude Central. ... [Thanks to alert reader P.D.] 12:53 A.M. link

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Buzz off: Two good critiques of the ubiquitous, left-pleasing menace, George Lakoff--by Marc Cooper  and Noam Scheiber. Oddly, neither attacks Lakoff at what would seem to be his central weak point, namely his conflation of politics and parenting--identifying "conservative" values with "the strict father" and "liberal" values with the "nurturant parent."

Is a country really like a family? Isn't that an idea with a ... checkered history? A family is a relationship between inherently unequal, not-completely-free people--parents and children. A country, at least in one American conception, is the relationship of equal, autonomous people. Using the family as the template for politics stacks the deck against social equality (the value I'd suggest as the liberal touchstone). For one thing, it lends itself all too easily to the condescending liberal notion of compassion, an anti-populist idea if there ever was one.  It's also horribly misleading as a guide to practical policies--no wonder that when Scheiber asks Lakoff about President Clinton's welfare reform, Lakoff responds "Why did he have to do that? ... I still don't understand it fully." In Lakoff's mind, Clinton wasn't changing the welfare system, he was beating his family's children!  Aren't there values that aren't family values?

Scheiber does get at a second, equally fatal flaw in Lakoff's argument that Democrats should "not move to the right" (an argument that's the source of much of his appeal at party fundraisers). If crucial swing voters are "biconceptuals" who hold both the "strict father" and "nurturant parent" views of families, why isn't the way to appeal to them by adopting a correspondingly mixed approach (e.g. Clintonian centrism)? Sure, if you're a Lakoff liberal you would want to appeal to the "nurturing" half of these biconceptuals--otherwise you'll never win an honest mandate. But what if you just want to win elections? ...  Never mind the possibility that you are a genuine, committed centrist, something Lakoff's dualism seems designed to exclude. ...

P.S.: Surprisingly, Lakoff tells Scheiber the Democrats "lost" the Schiavo debate, becoming the party of "callousness and death." Scheiber calls this assessment "devastatingly accurate" and I'd like to agree. But if Lakoff's right about Schiavo (and the polls certainly suggest he's wrong) surely it's because of the way the Democratic drift toward compassionate euthanasia (under cover of a "right to die") dovetails ominously with Lakoff's paternalistic familial version of liberalism--'We nurture you, and then when the time comes we kill you.' Don't worry, baby. It's all about quality of life! ... 11:31 P.M. link

A friend emails:

Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2005 12:48 PM

After getting very little sleep, I got woken up at 9 this morning by "Friends of John Kerry."  The called talked for a couple minutes about how John was going around the country promoting a bill that gives health care to poor kids.  Then they hit me up for $100!!  What the f**k is wrong with these people!?

10: 24 P.M. link

Das Feilerprinzip! "The velocity of German politics has suddenly increased a great deal." 9:12 P.M. link

Hey, I used to do this at my college paper.  ... Update.: Polipundit has the CNN angle. Is Elizabeth Landau the Greg Packer of student demonstrator/reporters?. ... 4:17 P.M.  link

Friday, May 20, 2005

Did Bill tell Belinda something? ... WaPo's story gets much of the soapy Canadian drama  but not the part that most interests Americans. ... Update: David Frum thinks Clinton would never give such bad advice. "Belinda's decision was not only harmful to her country, but catrastrophic to her own career." 1:23 A.M.

Isn't the most significant sentence in David Corn's report--on the International Committee of the Red Cross' claims of Gitmo Koran abuse--this one (quoting Reuters)?

"The U.S. government took corrective measures and those allegations have not resurfaced," [ICRC spokesman] Schorno said.

12:58 A.M.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

No Nuke Now II:  The WSJ's Taranto argues that it isn't in the Dems interest to postpone a "nuclear option" fight until an actual Supreme Court appointment comes up (something the Dems could do by just voting for cloture on the current crop of appellate nominees):

Kaus makes an important assumption that strikes us as highly dubious: namely, that the Dems would be better off defending the filibuster during a Supreme Court nomination fight, "when everyone's paying attention." Whatever the merits of a particular nominee, who but a partisan (i.e., someone now paying attention) would think it fair to deny him a vote? Indeed, if there's one advantage for Democrats in abolishing the filibuster now, it is that it would relieve the pressure on them from far-left interest groups to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee.

Public opinion might go against the Dems if they blocked a Supreme Court nominee. But it might go in their favor. It will depend on the nominee, no? That's the case for kicking the can down the road: With the filibuster in place, Bush will be encouraged to nominate somebody reasonable, because he will want to either beat the filibuster or--and this is probably a precondition for beating the filibuster--win the high-profile PR battle over whether filibustering Dems are being unfair obstructionists. If he tries to win confirmation of a Robert Bork or Richard Epstein, he's likely to lose that PR battle. His choices will at least be circumscribed. ...

Taranto then offers two powerful reasons in favor of a strategic Dem retreat on cloture if it looks as if Frist has a chance of winning a "nuclear" vote:

If the Democrats gain Senate seats next year--or even before the election, through the death or retirement of a Republican from a state with a Democratic governor--the filibuster may suddenly lose its "nuclear" vulnerability.

Further, some Democrats have been acting against their own political interests by obstructing Bush nominees (cf Tom Daschle). Freeing them to vote for cloture could help their re-election chances, which would be in the long-term interests of the Democrats.

P.S.:Headline of the Day--"Frist's Hardball May Backfire." (This would also qualify as the most blatantly loaded anti-Frist "analysis" of the day. AP's Donna Cassata argues, "Any outcome other than [Frist] getting his way entirely could lead to the perception of an ineffectual leader." Really? If Frist gets 5 of the 7 appellate judges and a non-weaselable Democratic promise not to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee down the road? I don't like that deal--I favor keeping the filibuster for judges (and only for judges)--but it would seem a good day's work for Frist. ... [Frist's hardball may backfire, but didn't you recently refer to Sen. Reid's "headline-grabbing red meat"?-ed There's an imploding quiver of soggy counterarguments over at Musil.] ...

P.P.S.: My speculation that Republicans might perversely vote against cloture in order to block a Democratic retreat and enable an anti-filibuster showdown may have overestimated the eagerness of GOP senators to trigger the "nuclear" option. They are less eager than terrified, I'm told. That means a strategic Dem retreat should work. ...  4:22 P.M.

Mandatory Jon Klein Item: "Crime Week." Flop! Aaron Brown bristles! CNN NewsNight achieves "lowest-rated telecast ever!" Even pathetically credulous Fishbowl DC losing faith  in "visionary" Klein! ... [He just needs to hire some new stars--ed. Would you want to go work for him after the way he treated Tucker Carlson? The Army National Guard may have an easier time recruiting.] 12:06 A.M.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Columbia J-School Dean (and New Yorker contributor) Nicholas Lemann suggests

 ... that Newsweek borrow a page from the New Yorker and institute a rigorous fact-checking system -- even if it means that an editor, and not just the reporter, knows the identity of a confidential source.

"This sort of thing doesn't happen much these days at the New Yorker, and that is largely because the fact checking is so careful. What you want in this situation is that when a reporter comes in and says, 'I got this from an anonymous source,' you say, 'OK, I want to talk to your source, or I want a fact-checker to talk to your source.' "

Does Lemann think that a fact-checker or editor at the New Yorker talks to all of Seymour Hersh's anonymous sources? I'm skeptical. ...  P.S.:  In my experience, when journalists start to boast about their publication's multiple layers of rigorous fact-checking, it's a karmic indicator that a  major screw-up by that publication is on the way. ... 11:14 P.M. link

No Nuke Now: Doesn't The Note's anonymous Blackberrier nail down why there will be no climactic vote upholding the "nuclear option" anytime soon:

"Deal not likely. But you may see d's break and vote for cloture and then we don't need deal and don't need nuclear option."

In other words, if they don't have the sure votes to beat back the proposed Frist/Cheney ruling that you can't filibuster a judicial nominee, Democrats will just decide not to filibuster each particular judicial nominee as that nominee comes up. That means those nominees will be confirmed, one-by-one, but Democrats will avoid setting an anti-filibuster precedent that would affect how Supreme Court nominees are considered later on. ... The key here is that the vote on cloture precedes the vote on the parliamentary "nuclear" rules change. ...... Eventually, I guess, Republicans could still cunningly try to force a vote on the parliamentary maneuver by having a handful of GOPs perversely vote against cloture, countering the Dem defectors, so that the cloture vote falls into the crucial more-than-50/less-than-60 range. Then more Democrats could perversely try to frustrate Republicans by voting for cloture, to be countered by more perverse Republicans, and so on and so on until the parties' more or less completely switch positions, do-si-do style. Fun, fun, fun! But no climactic roll-call vote, unless the Dems miscalculate. ... When a Supreme Court appointment comes up, of course, Dems might have to filibuster--but then Frist would have to set his precedent when everyone's paying attention, as opposed to now, when everybody isn't because it looks like an obscure insider rules change about mid-level appellate judges. ... If Dems do have the sure votes to defeat the nuclear option, of course, then either Frist will prevent it from coming to a vote, or he'll hold the vote and lose. But if there is any uncertainty, I suspect, Dems will not want to roll the dice (even if Frist does). ... 2:58 P.M. link

I, too, don't quite understand why the Bush administration arrested Luis Posada Carriles when it could have just let him melt away and leave the country. It seems like a gutsy move (given sentiments among Miami Cubans) based on principle (a suspected terrorist is a suspected terrorist) that will buy the President and his party a load of trouble. Maybe that's what it is! ... 2:25 A.M.

"Andrew can be excitable. A while back he apologized to me for some of his criticisms during the election, and more recently he has apologized to his readers for his waffling and defeatism on the war last spring. Perhaps he'll apologize for this at some point in the future. But, I confess, I find the question of what Andrew thinks less pressing than I used to."

1:58 A.M.

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Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk

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