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  • Today in Untrue News: GOP’s Going to Crash the Summit!

    The Hill has a small strategy scoop on the GOP tactic in the health-care debate: House Minority Leader John Boehner is planning to "crash" the bipartisan health-care summit on Thursday. A House GOP leadership aide told the newspaper that, during a closed-door Republican meeting earlier today, Boehner appealed to his colleagues by saying, “We shouldn’t let the White House have a six-hour taxpayer-funded infomercial on Obamacare. We need to show up. We need to crash the party.”  Personally, I’d love to see a hilarious C-Span-gone-Wedding-Crashers...
  • Will Republicans Ever Appeal to Millennials?

    Yesterday, I wrote in this space about the GOP's "Ron Paul Problem," by which I meant the risk for potential presidential candidates like Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty of squandering whatever swing appeal they might have in 2012 by pandering to the fringe in 2010. What I didn't mention is that Republicans also have a Ron Paul Opportunity. It's still not much of an opportunity for Paul himself, who is unlikely to run for the Republican nomination in 2012, let alone win. But if the GOP wants to build a lasting majority in the future, they could definitely stand to take a few cues from the good doctor. This has a lot to do with the party's biggest long-term problem: young people do not like Republicans. In a new poll on the politics of the so-called Millennial Generation, Pew Research reports that the GOP's current resurgence—experts like Charlie Cook expect Republicans to win back the House in November—is fueled almost exclusively by members of the...
  • Palin Wins Duel with Fox's Family Guy

    Now that the melee has died down over Sarah Palin's rebuke of Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who approved a joke aimed at Palin's son who has Down syndrome, NEWSWEEK media critic Joshua Alston sorts out who was in the right. His answer: Palin. Not only was the joke in poor taste, but even if you weren't offended, it simply wasn't funny. Here's Josh:While both Palin and MacFarlane seem to benefit from the controversy...
  • The Great Glenn Beck Smackdown that Wasn't

    It's not often that Media Matters, which follows the conservative media like a hawk, blogging up every untruth or journalistic misstep, is thrilled with something a conservative has written. That happy moment came for them this past Sunday, when the National Review's Bill Bennett came out swinging against Glenn Beck, who spoke at CPAC last Saturday, where he kicked off with "Hello, my name is the Republican Party, and I have a problem!" That problem, according to Beck? "I'm addicted to spending and big government." Beck carried on with the alcoholic metaphor: "It is still morning in America," said Beck. "It just happens to be kind of a head-pounding, hungover, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in America." Beck added that he had yet to hear Republicans "admit that they have a problem." ...
  • Reading the Tea Leaves on the Senate Jobs-Bill Vote

    Harry Reid's rather anemic jobs package passed an important hurdle tonight, with 62 senators voting to averting a potential filibuster and let the bill proceed to a floor vote. Five Republicans voted with Democrats: Scott Brown (Massachusetts), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Susan Collins (Maine), Kit Bond (Missouri) and George Voinovich (Ohio). Six other Republicans skipped the vote, while Democrat Ben Nelson voted against the bill and New Jersey's Frank Lautenberg was absent. The final tally was 62–30.How much can we read into this vote? Reid, for one, would like to see it as a sign. "I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate," he told reporters. But it may just be a sign of how divided the Senate remains. Reid's bill should have received broad bipartisan support. At $15 billion, it was a restrained measure by Senate standards, and focused on small-business tax breaks—the kind that many Republicans believe can stimulate the economy. It also...
  • Zazi Guilty Plea a Boon for Obama Officials

    Today’s guilty plea by Najuibullah Zazi to terrorism charges in federal court provides fresh ammunition for Obama administration officials to argue that traditional law enforcement methods can be just as effective, if not more, in questioning terror suspects than subjecting them to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” By pleading guilty to plotting what he called a “martyrdom operation” and agreeing to cooperate about his Al Qaeda contacts in Pakistan, Zazi becomes the fourth major terror suspect to cut deals or at least begin plea negotiations with the FBI in recent months. Those suspects have already produced a bonanza of intelligence about the inner workings of Al Qaeda and its affiliates that is being actively used by security services around the world, according to current and former U.S. counter-terrorism officials and numerous press reports. Read the rest of the story on NEWSWEEK's Declassified blog...
  • The Quote of the Day

    “It’s disappointing that Democrats in Washington either aren't listening, or are completely ignoring what Americans across the country have been saying. Our constituents don't want yet another partisan, back-room bill that slashes Medicare for our seniors, raises a half-trillion dollars in new taxes, fines them if they don't buy the right insurance and further expands the role of government in their personal decisions." -- U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement regarding the President’s decision to move forward with a health care bill.
  • Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 10: The Ron Paul Problem

    Update: for my follow-up post on "The Ron Paul Opportunity," click here. The conservatives who flocked to CPAC last weekend might not have seen eye to eye on everything, but one thing they did seem to agree on was that the conference's famous "straw poll" didn't really mean all that much─especially after organizers revealed that the winner, with 31 percent of the vote, was none other than 2008 presidential candidate and long time libertarian congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Townhall.com's Meredith Jessup warned against"read[ing] too much into these results," given that "this is definitely not an indication where the GOP primary elections are headed and certainly not a reflection of mainstream conservatives." Mike Huckabee,who tied for sixth with 4 percent of the vote, dismissed the outcome as well."CPAC has has become increasingly libertarian and less Republican over the last years," he told a reporter, "[which is]...
  • Obama Presents a Health-Care Plan, but Abortion Issue Remains Unsettled

    Obama’s health-care-reform plan is a huge step forward for the Democrats, the momentum they need to push the legislation out the door. But the legislation is not 100 percent in the clear yet: yet again, abortion promises to become a linchpin issue in the future negotiations. In his plan, Obama went with the abortion language that the Senate had adopted, which is less restrictive than the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. It came out of a last-minute compromise between Sens. Ben Nelson, an opponent of abortion rights, Patty Murray, and Barbara Boxer (both abortion-rights supporters). Opponents of abortion rights didn't like the language (neither did abortion-rights supporters for that matter) and Nelson later admitted he planned to filibuster the language, essentially force Senate to pick up the more restrictive Stupak language that the house was using. In other words, if the abortion opponents had their way, this language would never get anywhere close to seeing the light of days. Stupak...
  • If Bayh Says Congress is Broken, He Should Fix It

    Now that he’s on his way out the door, Evan Bayh is taking a public stand on bipartisan reform. As a senator defined more by unmet expectations than real accomplishments, his New York Times op-ed piece is a welcome bit of advocacy. He advances sound ideas – bipartisan lunches, more disclosure on campaign finances, filibuster reform -- but they would have more weight if he had been fighting for them all along instead of serving them up as justification for leaving the Senate. The son of a senator, Bayh remembers the camaraderie his father enjoyed with members of the opposing party, and proposes monthly luncheons as a way for Democrats and Republicans to restore some of that comity. Of course, back in the elder Bayh’s day, senators hadn’t yet discovered the three-day week, and spent more time in Washington where their families got to know each other.  That social dynamic is lost to modern life; still, show-and-tell luncheons can’t hurt. On campaign finance reform, Bayh’s voting record...
  • This Week in Conservative Media: Conservatives Will Challenge Health-Care Bill on Costs

    President Obama announced today that he is making a full push for health-care and insurance reform, with a plan that attempts to merge Senate and House legislation and rejects Republican calls to scrap previous efforts and start over. The plan puts a special emphasis on federal authority on health-insurance rate increases, something that has riled the conservative blogosphere for several reasons. ...
  • Cord-Blood Banks Called 'Wrong'─But Who's Right?

    When I wrote this piece on umbilical-cord stem-cell banks back in December 2008, I was six months pregnant. I hoped that by analyzing the banks’ promises as a journalist, I’d be better able to decide what to do about them as an expectant mom. By then I’d already been bombarded with propaganda for private cord blood banks. There were ads in every pregnancy magazine, on every parenting Web site, on the side of my Facebook page: “Cutting edge stem cell technology!” “May potentially save a life!” But after several days of reporting at Cord Blood Registry’s hypermodern headquarters in Tucson, I wasn’t convinced that the science behind the banks was anywhere near solid enough to justify the multi-thousand-dollar cost of private stem-cell storage. Most of the outside researchers I spoke with were skeptical that children would benefit later in life from their parents’ saving their umbilical stem cells at birth. On the other hand, the scientists used very cautious language─they weren’t cond...
  • By the Numbers: The New Dealmakers

    Last week, in India's third-biggest proposed merger ever, mobile-phone company Bharti entered into talks to acquire Kuwait-based Zain telecom's African operations for $10.7 billion. The sale highlights the rising importance of emerging-market deals in global M&A activity: 29.5PERCENTAGE of global M&A activity generated by U.S. deals in the first six weeks of 2010. 43PERCENTAGE of global M&A activity generated by emerging-market deals in the first six weeks of 2010. 41PERCENTAGE decrease in U.S. M&A activity from the previous year. 163PERCENTAGE increase in emerging-market M&A activity from the previous year. Source: Thomson Reuters
  • With DADT Repeal, Lieberman Pursues Progressive Redemption

    Sen. Joe Lieberman is a man who likes to parade his conscience. It’s why he made such a splash last summer as he made demands that gutted large provisions of the Democrats health-care-reform bill. It’s also the same reason that the Connecticut senator is now leading the charge on repealing the military’s policy limiting gays from serving in the armed forces.His reason for doing it is the same reason as everyone else’s: restricting homosexuals from service undercuts the entire military, both morally and physically. “When you artificially limit the pool of people who can enlist then you are diminishing military effectiveness,” he said in a statement posted to his Senate Web site. But for Lieberman, the stakes are higher. By getting out in front of an angry, bipartisan, pack that realizes it’s time for repeal, the crafty senator further fortifies his credentials as a true unbeholden independent. Of course he can’t claim to be a moderate─fighting to axe DADT and opposing a public option...
  • What the President's Health Care Plan Means: Full Steam Ahead

    The health-care-reform plan unveiled by the White House this morning sends one clear message to Republicans: this is happening with or without you. The administration has structured its plan as a series of fixes to the Senate health-care bill. On a conference call with reporters this morning, White House officials emphasized to reporters that “the president believes people deserve an up-or-down vote” on health-care reform, so they’ve structured their plan with the “flexibility” to achieve passage should Republicans take the “extraordinary step” of filibustering. When asked, officials said that meeting the procedural requirements to pass their fixes through the budget-reconciliation process, which circumvents the filibuster and only requires 51 votes, “was certainly a factor” in their thinking. Translation: if Republicans don’t play ball, Democrats will go ahead regardless.The plan is far from a sure bet. It still requires approval of the Senate bill by the House, and we’re yet to...
  • The President's Health Care Plan: A Cheat Sheet

    Ahead of Thursday’s bipartisan White House health-care summit, the White House has unveiled the president’s blueprint for the way forward. As expected, there are no sweeping changes (and by that I mean, there’s no public option, even while some Senate liberals are attempting its revival.) The president basically offers a bunch of tweaks to the version that passed the Senate on Christmas Eve. Here are the big-ticket items:1. The “Cornhusker Kickback,” Ben Nelson's special deal to help Nebraska pay for Medicaid extensions, is eliminated. Instead, the administration is offering additional payments to all states to help cover Medicaid payment increases that result from the bill.2. The president’s plan will set up a new Health Insurance Rate Authority charged with helping states review unfair premium hikes by private insurers. The government will have the power to ban or roll back such rate hikes.3. The Medicare “donut hole” will be closed. In 2020, all Medicare recipients will pay...
  • Worthwhile Midwestern Initiative: Evan Bayh's 'New York Times' Op-Ed on Procedural Reform

    I was pretty hard on Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) the other day, so I think it's only fair that I recognize his sensible op-ed in the Sunday New York Times. Bayh argues that bipartisanship has declined (duh). But unlike those who just bemoan the trend, or fools like Lincoln Chafee who argue, against all evidence since the Civil War, that a third party will emerge, Bayh actually proposes some credible measures to get the Senate working again. ...
  • Glenn Beck and the Fox Puppets Want to Repeal the 20th Century

    Glenn Beck has now supplanted Rush Limbaugh as the most influential broadcaster in America. He's the one the tea-party movement looks to. Beck wowed the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) crowd Feb 20 with his attack on progressivism, which he said must be "eradicated." "Progressivism is the cancer in America and it's eating our Constitution," Beck told the crowd.Now that Beck has given his marching orders, expect to hear all the Fox Puppets echoing him. The goal is to discredit "progressivism" as they did "liberalism."Beck fancies himself a historian; his patter is full of historical references that seem to have convinced his audience that he knows what he's talking about. Historians like Beck know that when they offer provocative ideas, they bear responsibility for what those ideas actually mean.So let's look at what would happen if the "cancer" had been cut out when it first appeared, as Beck...
  • Family Guy's Palin Lampoon: Not Funny

    'Family Guy' creator Seth MacFarlane is the latest TV personality to take aim at Sarah Palin. Why the jokes—and his brand of topical humor—fall short.
  • Justice Report Provides Gruesome New Details About CIA Program

    The long-awaited Justice Department report on the lawyers who wrote the so-called torture memos provides gruesome new details about the CIA’s harsh interrogations of high-level Qaeda suspects, highlighting issues that could ultimately complicate the Obama administration’s efforts to try the detainees in federal court or even before military commissions. ...
  • New NEWSWEEK Poll Confirms: Health Care Divisive, Confusing

    Newsweek sent our pollsters out into the field this week and came back with a whole bunch of interesting results. I'll be blogging on it throughout the week, particularly trying to sort out how Obama could best use these findings to best prep for success at the bipartisan health care summit this Thursday (we're pretty sure he's a Newsweek reader, after all). But for now, here's the main take away:As Democrats struggle to salvage health-care-reform legislation, a new NEWSWEEK Poll shows that while a majority of Americans say they oppose Obama's plan, a majority actually support the key features of the legislation. The findings support the notion that Democrats have not done a good job of selling the package and that opponents have been successful in framing the debate. The more people know about the legislation, the more likely they are to support major components of it.When asked about Obama's plan (without being given any details about what the...
  • Greece Is Far From The EU's Only Joker

    First there was Enron; then, subprime. Now it turns out that some governments have been just as adept at using financial alchemy to hide debts. Take Greece, a country with a $350 billion national debt that is now under investigation by the European Commission (EC) for underreporting its deficit by as much as 9 percent of GDP in 2009. It used derivatives devised by Goldman Sachs to give itself an off-the-book loan, sold future EU subsidies and lottery earnings to investment banks for upfront cash, and raised money by mortgaging its highways and airports....
  • Quote of the Day: Tim Pawlenty

    "She said enough. She said no more. I think we should take a page out of her book. We should take a 9 iron and smash the window out of big government in this country." --Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, on what the right can learn from Elin Nordegren, wife of cheating golfer Tiger Woods. (At a news conference around the same time, Woods denied that that Nordegren had attacked him with a golf club, or anything else.)
  • Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 9: Will Obama Lose the 'New Blue' States in 2012?

      Absurdly premature presidential-election coverage comes in all shapes and sizes, but perhaps my favorite kind of story is the one that relies on current statistical rumblings to divine the contours of a race that hasn't even started yet. The latest classic of the genre is Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin's new piece on Politico, "Dems' Blues: States Reverting to Red." Citing polling data that shows Democrats at risk of losing ground in North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Indiana, Smith and Martin claim that "the rapid reversal in Democratic fortunes in the very places where [Barack] Obama's success brought so much attention suggests that predictions of a lasting realignment were premature." In fact, they write, it's possible that "the president's 2008 win was the result of a unique set of circumstances that will be"—gasp!—"difficult for him to replicate again" in 2012.  This is at once a) extremely obvious and...
  • Whisperings of the GOP’s Candidate in 2012

    The Conservative Political Action Conference wraps up tomorrow in D.C., and by the time everyone heads home a straw poll will have announced the most popular politicians who spoke here.  “This is an exciting time for conservatives” Rep. Darrell Issa told the crowd today. Conservatives here are energized and hopeful, and many are confident that the 2012 GOP candidate will have stood at podium some time this week. Sarah Palin is on the list, but once again this year didn’t speak at CPAC, which may have hurt her among the conservative establishment gathered here. Mitt Romney seems to making something of a comeback in conservative circles, with talk of a resurgence here at CPAC this week, the same venue where in 2008 he pulled himself out of the race. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, is also on the straw poll but expectations are low that he’ll clinch it. The real contest will be between Palin and Romney but if enough people write in Marco Rubio, he could easily carry it after his...
  • Environmental Group Hits Back at Climate Skeptics

    Earlier this week, recognizing that climate science has lost considerable perceptive momentum, New York Times columnist Thomas Freidman called for a time-out. Stop everything, he told the science community, step back, and collect your thoughts. Then, top climate scientists should come together to write a single and concise paper entitled “Here’s What We Know.” At the same time, he suggests, “they should add a summary of all the errors and wild exaggerations made by the climate skeptics—and where they get their funding.”Not a bad idea in order to stop the bleeding. Climate researchers have been wounded with several scandals of late, but they’ve also been the victim of hefty and unabashed hyperbole from their critics, who have argued disingenuously that the recent errors that don’t actually change the fundamental research have in fact been a “game changer.”So who to take on the task of explaining climate science (or reexplaining, depending on what circles you run in)? As the world’s...
  • Newsweek Rumblr: Tiger Woods Apology Edition

    Rumblr is a forum for NEWSWEEK staffers to debate the big issues of the day, using the blog platform Tumblr. Early today, Mark Coatney, Andrew Cohen, Raina Kelley, and I gathered to discuss our reactions to the Tiger Woods apology. Excerpts are below. (Click here to follow the whole conversation, complete with links, tweets, and some great photos.) Kate Dailey:  The Big QuestionsWas Tiger sincere?Can people really change?Can a marriage survive the infidelity and dishonesty that the Woods marriage did?Is it fair to ask the media to back off his family, or is that a privileged celebs earn by not being cheating jerks?Is “I ask you to find room in your heart to believe in me again” the cheesiest closing line ever?Mark Coatney:  Personally, I think that only heartfelt line in that whole thing was when Tiger apologized to his sponsors.And “I ask you to find room in your heart to believe in me again” was indeed cheesy, but, come on, is this a surprise?KD:  I couldn’t tell if it was Tiger...
  • The Art of the Tea Party: Grandma's Not Shovel Ready

    Every movement has its images, and the tea party movement is no exception.  While conservative speakers are making their case in the main ballroom, an exhibition hall downstairs is packed with various groups selling their wares and ideas, no one better than the tea partiers (though the NRA’s faux rifle range comes close).Yes, there are one or two fellows walking around in full tea party regalia, but the tea partiers are getting savvier, and are packaging themselves professionally. One popular stand belongs to the makers of the documentary movie Tea Party: The Documentary Film directed by young filmmaker Pritchett Cotten who could barely keep up with attendees wanting to shell out $15 for a copy.  “There’s no distribution, it’s just grassroots for now” says Cotten, but the movie is selling well online—good for him and his executive producer, who maxed out all his credit cards to make the film.The movie is about five Tea Party activists, including a young African-American man and a...
  • Pawlenty: Do It Like Elin (Not Tiger)

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had some advice for conservatives this morning at CPAC. Right now, he told the crowd, Tiger Woods is about to hold his own press conference. Conservatives, however, should take a page out of Elin’s book in dealing with the administration. “Take a nine iron and smash the window of big government in this country!” The crowd, which is less energetic today, loved it. But earlier jokes of Pawlenty, who has been touted as a possible conservative pick for 2012, fell flat. He made the same jokes about the D.C. snowstorm as previous speakers have (“Any day that  Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi can’t get to work is a good day for freedom, liberty, and people’s wallets”) and also told the crowd, which has heard at least 15 different references to Obama’s schoolroom teleprompter moment, that they wouldn’t believe it—Obama needed a teleprompter! “That’s not a joke…that’s a real story,” Pawlenty told the crowd, looking out of touch but getting a polite applause. A main...
  • Krugman Explains Health-Care Reform in Two Sentences

    I thought I had done a pretty good job when I pared health-care reform down to about 400 words. Turns out, Paul Krugman over at The New York Times has done me one better and explained it in two sentences. His column today, which looks at the case for health-care reform made by premium hikes in California, has one of the best and most concise explanations that I have seen. By way of background, Krugman starts from a point that Democrats, Republicans, and the White House all tend to agree on: we should bar insurers from discriminating against those with preexisting conditions. ...
  • I Am Not Sgt. Sperm Donor: Why Facebook Should Open the Social Graph

    At this point, Facebook owns your social life. The site, which just overtook Yahoo to become the second most visited Web destination in the U.S., has had six years to record all the photo tags, friend requests, and pokes made by its 400 million users. The result is a well-developed social graph—a tangled ball of twine that describes how we connect to one another and what we care about....
  • Quote of the Day: Marco Rubio

    "Leaders at the highest levels of our government are undertaking a deliberate and systematic effort to redefine our government, our economy and our country. Now, people, as I said, all across America figured this out over a year ago, and they didn't wait for their senator or for their congressman to do something about it. They did it themselves. They have taken matters into their own hands, from tea parties to the election in Massachusetts. From tea parties to the election in Massachusetts, we are witnessing the single greatest political pushback in American history." --Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, delivering the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington, D.C.
  • How Google and Facebook Violate Your Privacy

    Google recently introduced a new service that adds social-networking features to its popular Gmail system. The service is called Buzz, and within hours of its release, people were howling about privacy issues—because, in its original form, Buzz showed everyone the list of people you e-mail most frequently. Even people who weren't cheating on their spouses or secretly applying for new jobs found this a little unnerving. Google backtracked and changed the software, and apologized for the misstep, claiming that, gosh, it just never occurred to us that people might get upset. "The public reaction was something we did not anticipate. But we've reacted very quickly to people's unhappiness," says Bradley Horowitz, vice president for product management at Google. It's hard to imagine Google could have been so clueless. Google's coder kiddies may be many things, but stupid isn't one of them.
  • The Other Tax Revolt

    While TV screens have been filled with images of a small plane that flew into an IRS building in Austin, computer screens of antitax crusaders have also been especially active today. Many representatives of groups like Fair Tax or the National Taxpayers Union Foundation are here at the CPAC conference in D.C., which also marks Day One of an Online Tax Revolt, an interactive march on Washington where any tax-reform crusader can pick an avatar and start marching.Joseph Stack, the pilot of the plane, apparently left a long Web screed attacking the IRS before torching his house and then flying into the IRS offices: “Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.” The tax-reform groups here at the conference who spoke with NEWSWEEK say that violence is not the answer, but that something does need to be done. Ken Hoagland, author of The Fair Tax Solution and campaign chairman of the online tax revolt says of Stack “we have to say...
  • Video: New Dating Site for D.C. Lobbyists

    Ever hear the joke about a dog being one’s only true friend in Washington? True story, especially in a town where conflicts of interest are as rampant as mid-February snowstorms. After all, what lawmaker hasn’t been accused of being “in bed" with some evil industry? Enter the creative folks over at Greenpeace, who are giving a literal spin to the notion of right-wing lawmakers shtupping energy lobbyists. Hilarious parody or too real for comfort? You decide.
  • Despite Migration Talks, Little Thaw in U.S.-Cuba Relations

    Tomorrow, representatives from the U.S. and Cuba will sit down in Havana for migration talks. The discussion, said the State Department in a press release yesterday, "will focus on how best to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration between Cuba and the United States." As Cuba's foreign minister noted earlier this year, Havana wants Washington's help in cracking down on human traffickers who transport islanders, often in high-speed boats, to American shores on a daily basis. Given the headache those smuggling rings present to the Coast Guard, the U.S. has an interest in curtailing the influx as well....
  • This Week in Conservative Media: 'Air America Has Shut Down and Gitmo Is Still Open'

    At past CPAC conferences they called it Blogger Row, the long table set up for bloggers covering the event. This year the blogger room, set up with dozens of tables for (the mostly) conservative bloggers covering the Conservative Political Action Committee is bigger than the room for regular media, and is more crowded. Red State’s Erick Erickson took a break from Blogger Row (some also call it Bloggers Lounge) winning praise from FrumForum for helping all the other bloggers get online earlier today when not setting up interviews or giving his own speech (where he pointed out Air America's demise and Gitmo's survival). The mood is pretty celebratory here, such as when Liz Cheney gleefully told the crowd, “What a fabulous time to be a conservative!” And what a good time to be a conservative blogger. Many guests this afternoon have been crediting the power of the Internet and blogging as the source of successes from the Tea Party movement to the rise of new politicos like...
  • Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Won't Work

    My new (sort of) colleague Ezra Klein wrote a great post yesterday explaining why the Republicans' big idea for health care reform—allowing insurers to sell their plans across state lines—is, in his words, "a terrible, no good, very bad health-care idea." Here's Klein:...
  • Does Soda Cause Pancreatic Cancer? What the Latest Study Really Says.

    Early last week headlines hyped intriguing new research linking consumption of sugar-sweetened soda with increased risk of pancreatic cancer (see coverage here and here, for example). At first glance, this sounds huge—the very notion that drinking only two glasses of soda each week could increase your pancreatic-cancer risk by 87 percent is shocking. The seriousness of pancreatic cancer (which has a five-year survival rate of less than 5 percent) and limited medical knowledge of what causes the disease made the research seem even more relevant.But there’s a problem: the research, published in the February issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is very preliminary and has some serious limitations. Not to mention that much of the news coverage failed to clearly explain the 87 percent figure: since pancreatic cancer is so rare (about 12 cases per 100,000 people each year), an 87 percent increased risk does not amount to a very high absolute risk. In other words, the...
  • Rubio Hits the Mainstream With CPAC Opener

    Perhaps it was the early-slated speech, the first campaign-style political speech of the conference, but Rubio’s half-hour talk produced at least five standing ovations. Some ovation-worthy comments, according to the ballroom crowd? Lowering taxes got a good one. Even better? Putting terrorists on trial in a military tribunal in Guantánamo, “not in a civilian courtroom in Manhattan.” Rubio said the recent snowstorm also was a boost to American society, slowing down government intervention in all manners of state and throwing up an obstacle to Obama in that the snow meant “the president couldn’t find a teleprompter to announce any new taxes.” (So far there have been at least four teleprompter jokes from various speakers, and this reporter is betting we will reach 15 by the end of the day).Rubio talked to the crowd about his mother and father—a Wal-Mart clerk and a bartender, respectively—and how he could hear his 70-year-old grandfather’s keys in the door each night he came from his...
  • 'Kneber' Attack Shows Extensive Vulnerability of Corporate Computer Networks

    Some 75,000 computers at 2,500 corporations around the world have been compromised by a botnet attack that has been in progress for more than a year, according to a Virginia-based security firm. NetWitness, which published the data on its Web site and whose findings were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, said that it first detected the scheme in late January, after its security software discovered a 75-gigabyte cache of stolen data....