The GOP Is Going to Be Badly Outsmarted on the Next Budget Showdown

The so-called sequester is designed to be highly unattractive to both sides of the aisle. But it is structured in a way that makes it significantly more unattractive to the Republicans. The problem is the cuts to the Defense Department. The Republicans who serve on the Armed Services committees aredesperate to avoid those cuts and they are willing to cut a deal favorable to the president to avoid them. The progressives don't like the across the board cuts to the discretionary budget, which will take a bite out of nearly everything, but they prefer them to making a deal that makes significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.

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Why Do Blue Dogs Lie So Much?

I'd be more tolerant of Blue Dogs (especially those in blood red districts) if they didn't lie in order to justify voting with the Republicans. The health care bills are both scored by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and they both reduce the budget deficit (Senate version: $132 billion, House version: $138 billion over ten years). Not only that, but contrary to the rantings of John McCain, this is no mere accounting trick. CBO estimated that the Senate bill will save $1.3 trillion in its second decade.

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National Review Bedwetters Wet Bed Over Terror Trial

The main reason that supporters of Bush's anti-terror policies are wetting their pajamas is pretty clear from a look at National Review Online:

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New Legislation Might Guarantee a Public Option

Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery have a damn good roundup in the Washington Post of the state of play for health care reform on the eve of the big vote in the Senate Finance Committee. If you don't feel like you have a good grasp of the various issues and shifting winds, I recommend giving it a careful read. There's not much to complain about in their report.

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Exactly How Corrupt is Your Congress?

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Why Is the Washington Post Growing More Hawkish on Afghanistan?

I think reasonable people can disagree about our policy and strategy in Afghanistan. My thoughts on the matter are hardly consistent. I disagree with myself. But I have to note that the Washington Post is taking a particularly hawkish line in both its reporting and its editorial stance. Someone leaked Gen. McChrystal's report to Bob Woodward, which the Post front-paged yesterday. They have followed up today with pieces by Karen DeYoung, Greg Jaffe, and an editorial from Fred Hiatt and the board.

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My Experience with Acorn

When I started working for ACORN in 2004, I was one of only four white people employed in their North Philadelphia office. The office was in a very run-down tenement on North Broad Street, abutted by an abandoned lot on one side and a black baptist church on the other. The furniture could only described as ratty and unsuitable for anyone's home. Most of the day-to-day work going on was in counseling. The main area of counseling was for people who had been suckered into predatory mortgages that they quickly discovered they couldn't afford. Every day desperate people filed into the office begging for help in avoiding foreclosure.

Scalia and Thomas Are Nuts

Let's say that you are put on trial for a murder that you didn't commit. And then let's say that you are convicted of that murder. And let's say that you appeal your conviction but the conviction is upheld because the judge, lawyers, and jury in your case all acted appropriately. The facts and testimony made it look like you were guilty, but you weren't. It wasn't the fault of the justice system that you were convicted, but the fault of a cruel twist of fate.

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Why We Need to Investigate Torture

In thinking about Attorney General Eric Holder's deliberations on how and to what extent to investigate Bush-era torture policies, I think it pays to look back at what I consider the closest historical parallel: the Japanese internment camps. Both cases involved overreactions to unprovoked attacks on our homeland. In 1988, Congress determined that the decision to inter Japanese-Americans was based on "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership" and authorized $1.6 million in reparations. Ronald Reagan signed the bill. I don't think we want to wait forty-three years to recognize our post-9/11 errors.

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Will Weak-Kneed Blue Dogs Continue to Stand in the Way of Progress?

The Hill has an article about how the Blue Dogs are really upset about having to vote on a health care bill so soon after having to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. For example, we get to read complaints like this:

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