1. Great discussion on Real Time last night, ranging from McCain's "hero and role model", Joe the Plumber, to creepy Evangelical Jew-love, to this week's Exit Strategy, Russia:
Maher himself was on fire too, with a great election-retrospective New Rules segment:
"By the grace of Allah, Comrade Obama and his Nubian army will usher in a new era of socialism and gay marriage. So vote early and vote often, and if you're not registered, just ask one of the nice people at ACORN for a form."
2. From Open Left:
(1) Social Security is not in crisis, and may not even ever have a shortfall. The projections used to show a shortfall are based on worst-case, GWB-style economic "growth", not on anything seen in our historical record over a similar multi-decade period. Furthermore, even with such miserable, precedented economic performance, we could fill most of the shortfall simply by raising the SS/Medicare taxes on those whose taxes are currently capped.
(2) Medicare costs are skyrocketing because our entire medical system is far more costly than that of other countries. From my diary from last April, "Medicare Myths--Don't Blame The Boomers":
Treating medicine as a commodity in our economy has caused it to become far more costly than in any other country, but with poorer overall health outcomes than all other advanced industrial nations. Thus the solution to exploding Medicare costs is not to abandon or try to replace Medicare, but to universalize it--the exact opposite direction of change from that suggested by the generational warfare meme.
Good points. Especially the latter. How many times have I said it now? The US health care system is a complete disgrace, and what is even more of a disgrace is the way that Americans cannot have an honest debate about health care reform.
3. I can't help but be entertained by Stephen Harper's revolving door of Foreign Affairs Ministers. The posting has been treated with utter unseriousness by the last few governments, and the latest selection, Lawrence Cannon, who seems not to even want the job (great start), will be the eighth in eight years.
This is part of the reason why Canada's influence in the world has diminished. Sure, we've taken on a greater military role in Afghanistan, but in many ways, Canada used to be the world's elder statesman, a grownup in a club of adolescents. That seems like a long time ago.
4. Watch as Lawrence Eagleburger falls all over himself apologizing for criticizing Sarah Palin's qualifications for office:
Wow. Josh Marshall has it about right; this is more than a little evocative of coerced public apologies in Communist countries. From the party running against "socialism".