September 24th, 2010


this, that

"But they're the party of small government, right? Well, the pledge lacks specifics on spending cuts. Defense is off the table. Medicare and Social Security remain untouched. Those are the big-ticket items. Budget-cutters who avoid those areas simply aren't serious. The GOP does call for a spending freeze on most government programs (not affecting the elderly or veterans or the military), saving an estimated $100 billion. That's great. The deficit this year will top $1.3 trillion."


"The overall thrust of the Pledge is a call for smaller and more limited government, but within limits. Republicans have embraced many of the easy proposals - easy in the sense that they are broadly popular within their coalition. They include extending all of President George W. Bush's tax cuts and overturning Obama's health-care law. But a paragraph halfway through the Pledge sums up the limits of the Republicans' willingness to wade into controversial territory."


Colbert testifies, Afghanis, and geoengineering

* Flawless victory: Stephen Colbert testifies before Congress on immigrant labor.
* Gallery: pictures of daily life for Afghani civilians.
* The Texas board of education works to enshrine religious discrimination in textbooks.
* BAGnewsNotes on the media coverage of Lady Gaga's protest.
* Interesting Q&A on current affairs with columnist Matt Bai.
* The Explainer on why Colorado is the skinniest state.
* Identifying the part of the brain that knows when the brain is wrong.
* A serious look at geoengineering.
* A brief profile of Israeli writer David Grossman. May pick up that new book.