So, instead of a long essay on one story, today I'm going to declare a Cull Day. I'm going to go through all the stories I've bookmarked for later reference and delete the bookmarks older than a week. Today's December 17, so every bookmarked story with a byline of December 10 or earlier gets dropped in here with a short note on why it got my attention.
Boehner Offers GOP Strategy to Take Back House
Well, Boehner's memorandum is notable for deliberately avoiding any admission that Republicans abandonded the 1994 Contract with America or became corrupt in power. It's even more notable for not saying much of anything about what Republicans themselves can or should do- aside, that is, from remaining true to their core principles. Boehner deliberately shies away from the notion that Republicans- heaven forbid- were repudiated by the electorate on their merits.
More importantly, slightly more than half the article is taken up with attacking the Democrats. The Democrats, Boehner says, bring nothing new to power- they're the same corrupt group from before 1994. They lie, they bait-and-switch, they're incompetent, they're fiscally irresponsible, etc. etc. etc. Although Boehner does say, "Republicans have to offer ideas of our own," he provides none himself. Instead his strategy, as presented in the memorandum, is to attack the Democrats to the exclusion of all else.
In short: look for the 110th Congress to work out about the same as the 109th, with only the deck chairs rearranged.
Tasty Chewable Birth Control Pill Now On Market
But are they shaped like Dino or Bamm-Bamm?
Seriously, I just bookmarked this because it's nice to see a competitive market at work. Granted, competition in medicine is virtually nil for prescription items, but flavored birth control is definitely a case of the market driving change, even to a limited degree.
Of course, the question remains: will people be able to get it at all? My opponent in the 2006 elections, Texas State Representative John Otto, voted in 2005 for a bill that would allow pharmacists to refuse service to women seeking birth control. Similar laws have passed in other states, mostly concentrated in the old Confederacy, the Republican Party's new homeland. (And isn't that a sad irony?) There are so many ways a medical free market is hobbled, we don't need more- especially not obstacles based on the concept that life begins when the man takes the woman's bra off.
Iraqi President Calls Baker Report an Insult
... well, he doesn't have to worry, since Bush has rejected the Baker Group's call for troop withdrawals and Iraqi accountability, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has rejected any talks with Syria or Iran, effectively destroying the three main points of the Iraq Study Group report.
On the other hand, although President Talibani specifically opposes bringing former Ba'ath Party members back from exile to restore the old Iraqi bureaucracy, Prime Minister al-Maliki is rumored to be doing that very thing as part of his reconciliation efforts.
But the key quote:
"If you read this report, one would think that it is written for a young, small colony that they are imposing these conditions on," Talabani said. "We are a sovereign country."
No, Mr. Talibani, you're a puppet government propped up almost solely by United States military power. When that power is removed- a week, a year, a decade, a century from now- it will collapse like a house of cards under the weight of would-be dictators like al-Sadr and would-be dictatorships like al-Qaida, with Turkey, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia all jumping into the fray to support their preferred tyrant.
You, of course, don't dare acknowledge this, but we American citizens need to... in fact, the 2006 elections suggest that we have, and that now we must push those we elected to meet our demand and bring our boys home.