Remember remember the fifth of November.
* Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Michele Bachmann has her party primed and ready to go; how are you celebrating?
* Ezra Klein, with an assist from the CBO, tackles the Republican health care "plan."
The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It's already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It's already made its compromises with reality. It's already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans. The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.* Will New Hampshire become the first state to break the streak on marriage equality? Allow me to repeat myself: I'm pessimistic but hopeful; minority civil rights shouldn't be subject to popular vote.
This is a major embarrassment for the Republicans. It's one thing to keep your cards close to your chest. Republicans are in the minority, after all, and their plan stands no chance of passage. It's another to lay them out on the table and show everyone that you have no hand, and aren't even totally sure how to play the game. The Democratic plan isn't perfect, but in comparison, it's looking astonishingly good.
* But I think what makes [Inglourious Basterds] Tarantino’s best film, actually, is not just that he’s finally found an argument to put his obsessive film-nerd intertextuality in service of, but because it’s a good argument: by making his movie a deconstruction of the WWII-movie genre,**** he makes it about the ways that cinematic project retroactively placed coherent meaning (“the good war”) on a thing which was actually unthinkable and nonsensically violent and destructive. And because they did it by transforming history into myth, by reveling in fantasies of the past as meaningful and coherant, he can avoid getting bogged down in the nitty gritty of actual causes and causation, making a virtue of his total inability to bother with any of that stuff. Tarantino’s movie, in other words, has much more in common with Slaughterhouse Five than the movies it was actually responding to, but while Vonnegut insisted on the horrible subjective experience of violence’s senselessness, I think Tarantino’s movie is (on some level) about how an objective truth can be imposed on our subjectivities, how we come to believe that the war was, in fact, a good one.
* How polluted is China?
* Will anti-intellectual habits and authoritarian administrative practices kill Wikipedia?