The Spectacle Blog

Drug Bill Not As Costly

By on 7.14.06 | 3:52PM

The CMS this week reported that the cost of the Medicare Drug benefit is

now projected to be $34 billion lower over 5 years (2006-2010) than in the President's Budget, and $110 billion lower than in the Mid-Session Review one year ago. The average Part D premium is almost 40 percent lower than had been projected a year ago as a result of strong competition.
Now, before everyone pummels me for supporting Part D, understand that I'm not. Rather, I'm pointing out that government programs that rely on the market to operate work better than those that do not, as the Medicare Drug benefit.

I suppose the success that Part D is having is why the Drug Bill Debacle is no longer one of the headlining blogs over at TPM Cafe.

Making Cents of Wilson-Plame

By on 7.14.06 | 3:51PM

Byron York today reports on the economic incentives possibly motivating the Wilson-Plame gang, particularly now that Valerie's book deal has gone kaput.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's in the tank coverage of the Wilson-Plame press conference this morning makes much of the possibility that discovery in any court case could embarrass Administration figures -- without citing a word about the possibility that discovery could be hugely embarrassing to the Wilsons themselves.

Re: Happy Bastille Day

By on 7.14.06 | 3:28PM

Wlady: Hauteur is ok in someone who can back it up. Like The Babe said, it ain't bragging if you can do it. Other than make cheese and wines (and you need to rethink your defense of French wine which, for the second time in as many tries, was soundly thrashed by American wines judged by Brits and French in a blind tasting) just what do they do that makes them worth putting up with their unsupportable arrogance? Hmmm?

Our Point Exactly!

By on 7.14.06 | 12:45PM

There has been much talk on AmSpecBlog about the communications efforts, or rather lack thereof by the Bush administration, in putting the "war on terror" in perspective for the American people. But Victor Davis Hanson in today's Chicago Tribune wins the gold medal.

Re: Happy Bastille Day

By on 7.14.06 | 12:37PM

Sorry, Jed, but however obnoxious or worse it seems, France remains the most wonderful spot in Western Europe. Whereas we are told ad nauseam that we should worry about what the rest of the world thinks about us, the French couldn't care less what others think of them. Au contraire, for them it's always been axiomatic that the world should worry about winning their approval. It's no accident that hauteur is a French word. Of course, that comes with a huge price. Last Sunday not a single non-Frenchman backed France against adorable Italy.

Nonetheless, July 14 remains a special day.Thirty-nine years ago I stood along the Champs Elysees across from President Charles de Gaulle as he reviewed that day's military parade. The highlight naturally was the flyover by the wonderfully named Mirage jets. (Sure sounds better than "stealth," no?) Eternal France may not last till the end of time, but there's a reason the term took root. If I didn't live here, I'd want to live there. And it has nothing to do with the food or even wine, however superior it remains to those California pretenders.


By on 7.14.06 | 12:08PM

Speaker Dennis Hastert, Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, and the rest of the "House GOP leadership" (an oxymoron if there ever were one!) all deserve major demerits -- or perhaps major bonus points for political hack-ery, whichever way you want to look at it -- for their behavior yesterday on the extension of the supposedly temporary portions of the Voting Rights Act. Meanwhile, my longtime hero Jack Kemp, writing on the same subject, went as far as outright obnoxiousness, stooping to cheap political name-calling of his fellow Republicans, and wholly undeserved name-calling at that, obviously forgetting Ronald Reagan's "11th Commandment" in the process.

Happy Bastille Day

By on 7.14.06 | 11:54AM

It seems like only yesterday when the French finally began a war, fought it heroically and defeated an enemy. Of course, the enemy was other Frenchmen, but you gotta give them credit for their one win. 217 years ago today, they stormed the Bastille. Yeah, whatever.

Today, of course, the French are still performing precisely as John Cleese and the Monty Python crew portrayed them in a couple of scenes in what we can only characterize as the unintentionally accurate "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." According to this report from al-Reuters, France condemned the Israeli action in Lebanon. The money quote:

RE: ‘The 24 Addiction’

By on 7.14.06 | 11:49AM

Paul: I, for one, can most definitely attest to the power of 24 DVD addiction, having just finished season 4. I literally ran around DC, from Blockbuster to Blockbuster, to find consecutive episodes. I was, however, able to finish the entire season in about 3 days, with little to no sleep of course. For how can you turn 24 off once you have started? Unless the DVD runs out and you have no choice, which of course is what happened.

Five months more until season 6...

‘The 24 Addiction’

By on 7.14.06 | 10:17AM

Dorothy Rabinowitz admires 24 in today's Wall Street Journal Weekend section, an admiration she acquired at least partly by doing what apparently many of the show's fans have done at some point: view whole seasons via DVD over a few days. The show encourages such addictive watching, as its plot structure relies on cliff hanger endings to nearly every episode. I'd concur with her judgment that the show's 4th season was its best, and that the just completed 5th season left more than a little to be desired:

"As it turned out, the show's writers, who had had no problem, earlier, creating entirely believable American leaders, models of honor and decency - take that heroic specimen, President Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) - seem to have fallen on hard times in Season Five."