Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shorter Michael Tomasky: Kumbaya.

Of course, my empty little snark is only possible because Tomasky was so substantive.

So, read it. I intend on digging out my Rousseau and Locke, but it may have to wait until I move again. No clue where those books are.

Via Atrios.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The U.S. that did not go through the looking glass

Somewhere in another dimension, in a universe that is parallel to our own:

After the attacks of 9/11, Americans and the American media made a concerted effort to understand our recent history in foreign relations.

Specifically, we examined our actions in Afghanistan. How we fought a proxy war there in the late 1970s and 1980s, then left the country, and watched it collapse afterwards.

America committed to bring Al Qaida to justice for the 9/11 attacks, and removing the Taliban was a necessary step to do this.

In order to prevent a situation where Al Qaida could establish itself in a failed state, America also committed to building up the country of Afghanistan. This was done as a priority for U.S. foreign relations, involving the State department, the military, everything including the kitchen sink. American cities and towns were encouraged to adopt cities and towns and provinces in Afghanistan. American schoolchildren learned as much about these sister cities as they did about their own cities.

(As events would have it, our efforts in Afghanistan put us in a position to respond quickly and effectively when the Pakistan earthquake hit in October 2005.)

(And futher in the future, the building of Afghanistan was documented, studied, and used as a model for future "failed state development and prevention" efforts.)

America, through diplomacy, grants, and arm-twisting, enticed Pakistan to join in the hunt for Al Qaida and Bin Laden.

Bin Laden may or may not be at large in April 2006 in this parallel world. But the hunt is or was conducted with the approval of the United Nations and international law. And the hunt is or was conducted with respect to human rights and due process.

And the building efforts in Afghanistan showed the people of the Near East or Middle East that America could act to the mutual benefit of itself and other nations and people.

Next installment of "The U.S. that did not go through the looking glass": Iraq!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Bush legacy

A harmful policy.
More than 50 million Medicaid recipients will soon have to produce birth certificates, passports or other documents to prove that they are United States citizens, and everyone who applies for coverage after June 30 will have to show similar documents under a new federal law.


Hospitals and nursing homes are expressing concern. "The new requirement will result in fewer people being eligible for Medicaid or enrolling in the program, and that means more uninsured people," said Lynne P. Fagnani, senior vice president of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. "They still need care, but are more likely to wait until their condition becomes more severe and more costly to treat."

Incompetently administered.
The new requirement will come as a surprise to most Medicaid recipients. The law said federal officials should inform them "as soon as practicable" after Feb. 8. But the education campaign, to be conducted in concert with states, has yet to begin.

The Bush legacy.