Friday, July 10, 2009

Hal Rogers' Embarrassing Record on Health Care

Now that the health care debate's heating up, it's helpful to review where my congressman stands. Here's the recent votes of Kentucky 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers on health care issues.

Voted NO on giving mental health full equity with physical health. (Mar 2008)
Voted NO on Veto override: Extend SCHIP to cover 6M more kids.(Jan 2008)
Voted NO on adding 2 to 4 million children to SCHIP eligibility. (Oct 2007)
Voted NO on requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D. (Jan 2007)

Overall, this is a tremendous embarrassment given that Rogers represents one of the poorest districts in the country. Voting "No" on "requiring negotiated Rx prices for Medicare part D" is especially horrifying. It was basically a vote for pharmaceutical companies in opposition to the national interests and the needs of his constituents.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mort Kondracke: Surprisingly Astute About Palin

Fox regular Mort Kondrack gets something right about as often as it snows in Miami. But he does nail Sarah Palin's chance to get the Republican presidential nomination:

It used to be easy to predict who the next Republican presidential nominee would be. It was decided by primogeniture: The next oldest guy in line got to be the king. It’s not so easy looking to 2012, with former Vice President Dick Cheney out of the running and a woman, soon-to-be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, in . . .

And I do believe she’s in — damaged in her chances, maybe, but fully intending to make a run and very popular with the shrinking hard core of the GOP . . .

Does she have a chance to get nominated? You betcha. She’s attractive, charismatic, ambitious, tough to the point of ruthlessness and smart, if still woefully ignorant.

Before she announced her resignation, she was tied in a CNN poll with 2008 candidates Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee and a Pew poll showed that she had an 85% approval rating among conservatives and white evangelicals, to 52% for Romney.

RSI agrees with Kondracke that Sarah Palin has a real shot at the GOP nomination because she's the candidate who's most popular with the hard core of the Republican Party. The fact that the Republican Party is shrinking down to that hard core gives her an advantage over Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

The main question for Palin is whether she's astute enough to cash in on her advantages. It looks like the answer to that question is "no." But it's not like Romney and Huckabee are geniuses either.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On the Road Tomorrow

The daughters and I are on the road to upstate New York tomorrow. We have a 3 day family reunion coming up on my side of the family.

Can't say I'm really looking forward to it. The more active I've gotten with blogging, the more alienated I've gotten from my largely right-wing family.

But, duty calls and my mother would kill me if I didn't go.

So, we're going.

Maybe I'll do a little blogging while I'm on the road as a way to stay sane.

Early Morning Palin Note

Sarah Palin says "all options are on the table." Does that mean she's going to:

1. Bomb Iran from the family's Piper plane.

2. Sit on her front porch so she can keep an eye on Russia.

3. Learn mandarin Chinese.

4. Hunt down Big Foot--At Last.

5. Patrol the Canadian border to prevent illegal immigration.

6. Keep track of her kids for a change.

7. Shoot the last polar bear.

8. Join the George W. Bush Reading Club.

9. Stop doing all that darn reading so she can feel at home on Fox.

10. Have an affair with Mark Sanford.

That Puppy Was Such a Good Idea

Now we're all up at 3:30am because the puppy Logan attracted a racoon while sleeping outside in the carrier. That got the dog Missie barking and she chased the raccoon. Now we've got to help the puppy not pee in the house. I doubt the poor thing will ever want to go outside again.

Hey, that puppy was a great idea, we should get another one.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Al Gonzales: The Mighty Make Good Adjuncts

It looks like Alberto Gonzales landed an adjunct gig at Texas Tech University.
Gonzales, who was Gov. George W. Bush’s lawyer, Texas secretary of state and then a Texas Supreme Court justice before joining Bush in Washington, will be working as an visiting professor in the political science department, teaching a “special topics” course on contemporary issues in the executive branch, according to Dora Rodriguez, a senior business assistant in the department. The university later said it will be a junior-level course.
Teaching one class--that's adjunct work. But it's not like any university that would hire Bob Knight as a basketball coach has moral standards anyway.

So why shouldn't Gonzalez teach at Texas Tech?

Besides Gonzales is an expert at "Gonzales Standard Lying" as was defined a couple of years ago on this blog:
But Al Gonzales has made his own unique contribution to the history of cronyism in national government--the Gonzales Standard Lie. When challenged about torture during his conformination, Gonzales simply stated that "I share (the president's) resolve that torture and abuse will not be tolerated by this administration." That's
simple and clean--no effort to define torture, no explanation of why the Bush administration's interrogation techniques don't fit definitions of torture, no messing with principles, rules, or facts at all. The Gonzales Standard Lie is not a hype, not a big bragging lie. It's a simple emphatic statement that puts the burden on the questioner to prove him wrong. This lying technique works particularly well in cases like where the questioner does not have access to relevant information. In relation to the torture controversy, Al Gonzales could state that "torture and abuse will not be tolerated" and rest easy in the knowledge that the facts in relation to torture were classified and that he could not be contradicted.
Given the Bush administration's commitment to lying--Bush's people disliked telling the truth so much that they actively avoided it--the Gonzales Standard Lie was a contribution to executive branch functioning and is worthy of study in any class on the "special topics in the executive branch."

I'd say something about Gonzales being an embarrassment to political science, but the less said there the better. Henry Kissinger was a political scientist. So was Zbigniew Brezinski. I even think that former Pentagon no. 3, Douglas Feith--"The Dumbest Fucking Guy on the Planet"--is teaching political science somewhere. According to Wikipedia, Feith is currently an embarrassment to Georgetown University.

One thing you can say about Alberto Gonzales is that he isn't embarrassing a "prestige university" like Georgetown.

Another Big Day: Here's the Breakdown


Rahm Emanuel tries for a pre-emptive surrender on the public option for health insurance. Like many "bi-partisanship" Democrats, Emanuel views the left as more of an enemy than the GOP.

But Obama walks him back. This isn't 1994. The public option is still on.


South Carolina Republicans decide not to ask for Mark Sanford's resignation--something about "earning back the trust" of fellow Republicans by providing the phone numbers of hot Argentinian hookers--'er, I mean, "finding love in unexpected places."

Two Sarah Palin headlines: 1. Michael Steele claims "Palin is off the table for 2012." 2. Campaign contributions take off at "Sarah for President--2012."

Glenn Beck is looking for the connection there.


The Quinnipiac polling organization put out a poll with the news that 69% of the American public wanted to have a public option for health insurance. That's good news for Obama and bad news for Rahm Emanuel and the "Pre-Emptive Surrender Caucus" among Senate Democrats. It's also bad news for the health insurance industry, Republicans, and the tea-bag activists who think the Republicans are too liberal.

Quinnipiac goes on to report that only 28% of the public wants to switch their health insurance to the public plan. I'm in that 28% because I want to pay what will probably be lower rates for better health insurance. Fixed on the 50% wins elections idea, Quinnipiac thinks that the public option won't be that popular. But 28% of the national market in just about anything is pretty good. The federal government might be starting out as the "market leader."

OBAMA IN 2012.

Quinnipiac also has numbers showing President Obama as declining in popularity in Ohio and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight agrees that Obama will be in trouble if the economy doesn't turn around.

But I don't think so--mostly because it doesn't look like the Republicans are going to put up a viable alternative. The top tier potential Republican candidates are Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Mike Huckabee. Out of those three, the only one who could hope to get over 40% in a general election is Romney. Palin was never going to win a national election and that never has gone to never cubed since last Friday. Neither is Huckabee.

The second tier of potential Republican candidates is occupied mostly by Newt Gingrich. But he'll never get above 15% with Republicans let alone anyone else.

That leaves a third tier of candidates populated by the eminently mentionable Tim Pawlenty and the now "unmentionable" Mark Sanford and John Ensign. Another member of the third tier--Jon Huntsmann--gave up on the GOP and left the country for an ambassadorship in China.

In my opinion, the 2012 election is not going to be very competitive. Early on, I'd have to say Obama by at least 10 over Romney and at least 20 over anyone else.


It appears that conservatives are eager to bomb our new Iranian protester friends now that they appear to have lost their struggle with Ahmadinejad. But that's not quite accurate. They've eager for the ISRAELIS to bomb Iran. Newsmax has a "pity the poor Israelis" article entitled "Israel Faces Bombing Iran Alone" on their site. Unbelievable.

The American right has few talents, but I have to admit that they do have a gift for super-audacious hypocrisy.

RSI Recommends: Call John Yarmuth

This is especially for Kentucky readers.

Firedoglake is mounting a campaign to get blog readers to call local Congress people to push health care reform with a public option for health insurance.

Having a public option is extremely important for health reform. The public option will have substantial lower costs than private health insurance in the U. S. and present health insurance companies with two options. Either they will accept the discipline of lower profits or they will go out of business. Accepting lower profits on their investments means that health insurance companies will have lower stock prices, lower salaries for top executives, smaller bonuses, and fewer perks. Maybe they'll be vacationing in Myrtle Beach rather than Aruba as well.

But it just might be that the health insurance companies will prefer to go out of business rather than compete for health insurance dollars with a public option program that's subject to taxpayer discipline.

If so, nobody will miss them.

Firedoglake urges us to call Congressman John Yarmuth of Louisville, KY and encourage him to maintain his support for the public option in health insurance and other reforms of the American health care system.

Yarmuth is good on these issues, but it's still helpful to call him and let him know that he's doing the right thing and to urge him to stay active in the health reform battle.

Yarmuth's number is 202-225-5401.

I'll be calling Rep. Yarmuth around 9:00am myself.

Hopefully, others will have called before then.

Here's some helpful Firedoglake links: ,

Health Care: Obama Has Three Hammers

Let's say health reform is enacted this year?

How would we know if it works?

One of the first signs would be that lower stock prices of health insurance companies, big pharma, and hospital corporations.

According to one conservative outlet, The Washington Post, the Obama administration is going to announce a deal for hospital corporations to reduce costs by $155 billion over the next ten years.

Most of the savings -- about $100 billion -- would come through lower-than-expected Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals, said the two industry sources. About $40 billion would be saved by slowly reducing what hospitals get to care for the uninsured, they added. The reductions would probably not begin for several years, after a significant number of people have enrolled in the new insurance programs.

For their part, hospital officials have an understanding that, if the final legislation includes a new government-sponsored insurance program, it will not pay at Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement rates, which the industry has long argued do not cover
the cost of services.

The Obama administration's idea is that these kinds of negotiations work to lower the cost of health reform down from the initial $1 trillion price tag.

It also reduces corporate opposition to public-option health insurance.

So Obama has struck deals with the drug companies as well as hospital corporations. WalMart has also bought in and the AMA quickly withdrew its opposition.

The Obama administration has been able to get these deals because it has three hammers that it can use in relation to medical companies.

There's always the threat of socialized medicine. There's strong support among Democrats for single-payer health insurance and broadly socialized medicine. That's certainly what I'd like to see. Likewise, the Democrats have big majorities in the House and Senate with the Republican meltdown meaning that Obama has a strong prospect for re-election. As a result, the medical sector has strong incentives to cut a deal with the Obama administration now in order to avoid socialized medicine later.

The second hammer is that the federal government already provides what the medical industry views as low levels of reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid. The hospital corporations were genuinely afraid of the possibility of the Obama administration making Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements the core of their cost containment strategy for this round of health reform. So they traded lower costs for a promise on Obama's part not to do that.

But the medical companies still know that Obama could mandate Medicare/Medicaid level reimbursements if he wants.

That's a second big hammer.

Finally, there's the fact that the American public really does not like to pay taxes. If a public sector insurance option is adopted, it's going to inevitably be seen as a tax and that will act as a hammer on the Obama administration to press the medical sector to keep costs down.

But keeping "costs" down for the Medical sector means reducing profits. That makes medical companies less attractive as targets for mergers and takeovers and that medical sectors stocks should be less attractive for investors.

If health reform is adapted and it works, medical stocks should tank.

And I would be happy to see it.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Sarah Palin and Movement Conservatism

I'm getting a head-ache from watching the bouncing Palin ball. What's Palin trying to do? Is she getting out of politics altogether? Setting up her run for the presidency in 2012? 2016? Is Palin trying to get rich on the right-wing lecture circuit? Is she going to have a show on Fox or CNN? Who hates Palin more--feminists, liberals, or the Republican establishment? Is George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, or Barry Goldwater the best analogy for Palin.

And finally what does Palin represent in America?

Palin and Class. Ross Douthat of the New York Times--the most lamely officious "young fogey" since George Will was a young fogey--writes that Palin is subject to so much hostility because she's a working class woman.

You’ll be sneered at for how you talk and how many colleges you attended. You’ll endure gibes about your “slutty” looks and your “white trash concupiscence,” while a prominent female academic declares that your “greatest hypocrisy” is the “pretense” that you’re a woman. And eight months after the election, the professionals who pressed you into the service of a gimmicky, dreary, idea-free campaign will still be blaming you for their defeat.

All of this had something to do with ordinary partisan politics. But it had everything to do with Palin’s gender and her social class.

Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true.

I'm not sure what's working class about Palin? Her father was a science teacher--her mother a school secretary. Being from an even smaller town than Wasilla, Alaska myself, I can say with a lot of confidence that Palin middle-class. Palin herself was a high school legend as an athlete, a beauty queen, and a college graduate who worked as a sports reporter. That's all middle class as well. So was being married to Todd Palin who had a management position at BP and was a small businessman (commerical fishing) on the side.

All that says middle-class. Palin describes herself as an "ordinary" person and she does have a pretty humble middle-class background. But Palin was unusually confident and aggressive and that got her on a political fast-track from Wasilla city council and mayor to Governor of Alaska. Palin was somewhat of a conservative version of the fast-rising Barack Obama.

In fact, by 2008, Palin wasn't a middle-class person any more than Obama was a community organizer. She was seen as a potential political star, gaining credibility in the light of the 2006 Republican scandals, and hosting Bill Kristol and other Republican luminaries from the Weekly Standard cruise. By the time McCain nominated her for VP, Palin was already nibbling at the edges of elite status.

Palin was on the gravy train to some sort of elite position in Republican politics.

Palin and the Future of Conservatism. Many of the questions following the Republican reaction to Palin's resignation announcement concern the future of conservatism in national politics. Movement conservatives are not sure how much they want to participate in the efforts of the Republican Party to seek to get candidates elected for president and Republican majorities in the House and Senate. This is where the Palin ball bounces in ways that are confusing to establishment Republicans and activist Democrats. Palin is a "conservatism first, Republican second" politician. Her husband didn't even register as a Republican for a long time and Palin didn't care. Conservatives themselves aren't sure what "conservativism first" means right now, but they are exploring some pretty specific kinds of questions.

Conservatives look at the same information as other observers and can see that the Republicans are losing ground among expanding demographics of minority, urban, and young voters. That means that conservatism is losing ground among these groups as well. But they aren't asking themselves what they can do to appeal to African-Americans, Asians, Jewish voters, and young voters. Rather movement conservatives are asking themselves whether America as a country is irretrievably "lost" and whether they should continue to participate politically or should retreat into their rural towns, home schools, Christian music, and religious colleges. I haven't seen anything that fully articulates this idea, but I believe conservatives are thinking of a Mormon-like exodus out of the larger American society into their own enclaves. Ta-Nehisi Coates has a
post on The Atlantic entitled "What the Right Means When They Say America." In my opinion, the right increasingly thinks of America as a society from which they might want to distance themselves.

I don't think Palin has made her own decisions on this kind of question. Perhaps she hasn't formulated it yet in her mind. But I'm pretty sure that what she's doing with her resignation as governor is positioning herself so she can spend the next two years promoting the "conservative movement." Then, Palin will evaluate the extent to which running as president will be worth her time and energy. I don't think Palin would run for president if she didn't think she would have a good chance of winning. But I also seriously doubt that she would run if she thought she would be facing big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. How would she promote the conservative movement--how would she represent the America she knows and loves--by working with a Democratic Congress?

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight thinks that much of the liberal hostility to Palin originates in her resemblance to George W. Bush.
Palin is the most Bushlike of all the Republicans who have emerged as contenders for the national ticket: the smirkiness, the smugness . . . the malapropisms, the contempt for media . . . the express deference to religious faith, the occasionally undeniably likable moments of joviality and regular guy/gal-ness, the tendency toward self-dealing, the bulldog/barracuda mentality, the comfort in one's own skin . . . the (apparent) preference for isolation in [Wasilla, Crawford], and last but not least, the no-holds-barred, no-apologies conservatism.

But Sarah Palin is more Bush than Bush. She's even less knowledgeable of the world than Bush and is perfectly content with knowing little. Bush studied up quite a bit with Condoleeza Rice and others as he prepared for his presidential run in 2000. Palin didn't try to read more after she was nominated for VP and hasn't done any study in preparation for a 2000 run. This is dumbfounding to Karl Rove, Fred Barnes, and other establishment Republicans. But George W. Bush believed far more in the politics of big gestures than he believed in sound policy and Palin believes in the politics of gestures more than Bush. Conservatives have become increasingly suspicious of climate science, evolutionary theory, and other forms of research whose findings contradict their values. Palin takes that suspicion to its logical conclusion of not particularly needing to know much in order to campaign and govern according to her values.

Personally, I don't think Sarah Palin is going to run in 2012. She'd have a shot at winning the nomination in a shrinking Republican Party but would have so little chance of beating Barack Obama that I don't think she'd see running as worthwhile.

Instead, I believe that Palin will find a platform for promoting movement conservatism and be a factor in drawing movement conservatism a little further from the American mainstream.

That, I have to admit, is a development that makes me rather nervous.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Daniel Radcliffe: Atheist and Role Model for My Daughters

It turns out that Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter movie fame is an atheist.

Radcliffe has been reticent on the subject of religion in the past, but in an interview to promote the latest instalment in the film franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on July 15, he said: "I'm an atheist, but I'm very relaxed about it. I don't preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch."
No surprise there actually. Isn't Britain in Europe and aren't all Europeans atheists?

Anyway, now I'm going to make my daughters re-read all the Harry Potter books and re-watch all the Harry Potter movies.

Nothing like exposing them to good solid role models.

The Need for Neo-Con Bashing

Matthew Yglesias has an important post about the necessity neo-con bashing up on his web site. I quote it in full.

Greg Djerejian offers up something of a mea culpa and something of a defense against Jeff Weintraub’s charge of “rather tiresome ritual ‘neocon’-bashing which is becoming too much of a reflex in some quarters.”

It’s actually true that neocon bashing is a bit on the tiresome side. That said, I think it really has to be understood as a vital social necessity. Adherents of a deranged and sociopoathic “neocon” conception of America’s role in the world continue to be tremendously influential in our society. They have columns at The Washington Post and dominate the foreign policy coverage on Fox News. They have The Weekly Standard and Commentary and a healthy slice of The New Republic. And most important, as best as anyone can tell their ideas remain utterly dominant in the Republican Party. Their intra-party critics like Colin Powell, rather than winning intra-party arguments seem to be simply drifting out of the GOP coalition.

This is a dangerous situation. In the United States, the opposition party is always one ill-timed recession or political scandal from taking power. So a set of ideas that dominates one such party is something you need to keep a watchful eye on, no matter how marginalized that party may seem at any particular moment.

It's just important to remember that neo-cons like William Kristol and John Bolton are sociopathic and deranged. Likewise, the fact that these men occupy significant positions within the American policy elites makes the United States a constant source of danger to the world.

Yglesias does us all a service by reminding us of these facts.

The Unethical Parent, No. 1--"Zit-Starter" Gum

Mrs. RSI and I used to joke a lot about writing a book entitled The Unethical Parent about the necessarily shady business of raising human children.

We told a lot of fairy tale whoppers when our two daughters were little and had fun speculating on the necessarily unethical dimension of parenting in general.

Eventually, the chatter about The Unethical Parent passed and we moved onto other ways to have fun around the house.

But last night I had an idea.

Miss Teen and I were at the check-out counter at the local Walmart in Morehead, KY when she reached for some gum.

Pretty much like usual.

But I didn't make my usual decision about whether she had been generally cooperative enough that I would pay for the gum.

Instead, I said "ah, I see you're getting the "Zitstarter" brand again.

Well, that threw her for a loop and, after a moment's hesitation, Miss Teen put her down her super-sugar gum and reached for the sugar-free stuff.

I also paid for it.

A minor victory for evil parenting.

But a victory all the same.

David Broder Writes From "The Broder Zone"

RSI would like to congratulate David Broder on the publication of his 5,000th column on the "Need for Bi-Partisan Compromise." According to Broder:

"Scholars will also make the point that when such complex legislation is being shaped, the substance is likely to be improved when both sides of the aisle contribute ideas. And they will argue that public acceptance of the mandated changes in such programs will be greater if the law comes with the imprimatur of both parties."
Such an accomplishment. That's truly an important milestone and puts David Broder back ahead of Charles Krauthammer's "Israel Should Never Give An Inch" columns on the all-important, all-time list for "op-eds making the same point."

Nobody knows the story of the sacrifices David Broder has made to keep telling the bi-partisan story.

But here at Red State Impressions, we've learned from a real anonymous source that Broder has entered an alternative universe that was named especially for him--The Broder Zone.

In the Broder Zone, there's a special kind of bi-partisanship where moderate Democrats and conservative Republicans come to mutually beneficial compromises. Democratic presidents are more than willing to compromise with their conservative Republican colleagues and Republican presidents are always open to the ideas of Democratic moderates. The Broder Zone is such a wonderful place of compromise because both Democratic moderates and Republican conservatives recognize that liberals must be stopped at all costs.

All of that liberal talk about peace, health care, the environment, and corruption makes everybody who counts feel like they're immoral people or something like that. Liberals are bad, bad, bad. Liberals have cooties and bi-partisanship means that liberals will no longer be able to infect American politics.

Such is life in the Broder Zone.

Needless to say, the real world is not nearly as "nice" or "special" a place as the Broder Zone. That's why nobody as sane and sober as David Broder could write 5,000 columns about the Need for Bi-Partisan Compromise" if they lived in the real world.

In the real world, conservative Republicans lost all interest in "bi-partisan" compromise in 1999 when Tom DeLay became House majority leader. That's when conservative Republicans decided that Democratic liberals were not the only liberals. Follow this closely because the real world is much weirder than the Broder Zone. Republican conservatives decided that liberals were really Europeans, socialists, or even "fascists" if you've seen the cover of that Jonah Goldberg book nobody's read. Conservative Republicans then decided that Democratic moderates were the same as liberals, that Republican moderates were the same as Democratic moderates who were the same as liberals, and that many old-fashioned conservatives were the same as Republican moderates who were the same as Democratic moderates who were the same as liberals.

If you've read "The House that Jack Built," you'll understand how Republican conservatives were thinking.

So Republican conservatives refused to compromise with anybody because they refused to negotiate with liberals even if those liberals thought they were conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans, or conservative Republicans. Conservatives wouldn't talk with anyone like Diane Feinstein (moderate Democrat), Susan Collins (moderate Republican), or Bob Dole (conservative Republican) because that would be the same as negotiating with liberals and liberals were fascists who had cooties.

David Broder heroically responded to the principled aloofness of conservative Republicans by trying to convince everyone else to become more conservative so that sensitive conservatives wouldn't feel so offended by the taint of liberalism.

But that didn't work either. Conservative Republicans wanted no taxes, big wars, and a picture of Jesus on every dollar saying "I say unto you, kill your enemies," and they weren't willing to compromise their principles.

Then conservative Republicans found out that they really had to negotiate with moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats in order to get legislation passed.

So conservative Republicans lost interest in passing legislation.

In some ways, that wasn't so bad.

At first, conservative Republicans enjoyed themselves immensely by having affairs with their staffers, looking up their favorite DC hookers, hitting on Congressional pages, and dipping into their huge money piles for golf trips to Scotland, jobs for their relatives, and really nice wardrobes.

But then the media ruined all that.

So conservative Republicans started quitting their elective offices. Trent Lott quit the Senate to become a lobbyist, Billy Tauzin quit the House to become a lobbyist, and all sorts of Republicans decided not to run for re-election again.

Now Sarah Palin is quitting.

The bottom line for David Broder is that you can't have "bi-partisan compromise" in the real world because there are so few conservative Republicans left in office and they still don't want to compromise with anybody.

Even worse, there's a lot more liberals around these days and David Broder is still convinced that liberals have cooties.

So, David Broder made the ultimate sacrifice.

In 1005, Broder left the real world and entered the Broder Zone where conservatives wanted compromise, moderates weren't liberals, and everybody still thought liberals had cooties.

And he's been writing three columns a week on the "Need for Bi-Partisan Compromise" ever since.

God Bless Him!

Return to the Estrogen Palace

I'm back from a five-week research trip to Philadelphia, back to the home I share with my wife Mrs. RSI and our daughters Miss Teen (almost 15) and Miss Tween (12).

A little world that has now become an estrogen palace.

Of course, the estrogen foundation was already in place. Miss Tween hit puberty and there's been a lot more talk about periods, pads, hormones, washing out panties, mood swings, and the details of menstruation. Videos, music, cell phones, and boys became more important; bikes and Scooby Doo less. There's also been an exponential increase in the bra population.

Mrs. RSI makes comments about the girls being "hormonal" when they're in bad moods. I'm not sure about this. I was "testosteronal" every minute of every day as a teen-ager and had a lot of sulky moods, bullying moments, and general over the topness. I'm not sure I'm all that tremendously different now either.

So, it seems that being human in any full sense of the term means being hormonal all the time.

And I generally think that's a good thing.

But I'm not so sure about the aesthetics of it all now Mrs. RSI and the girls have been painting the house in their own particular estrogen colors.

I'm highly allergic to paint. So there's always paint projects when I'm gone. But this time, I heard something new when the girls talked about painting various rooms. Miss Teen picked out an "egg shell yellow" for the kitchen and told me that it was "r-e-a-l-l-y p-r-e-t-t-y" in this sing-song voice I'd never heard from her before.

When I heard that, I thought it literally sounded like Miss Teen was drunk, but I also had a feeling that she was on a high from remaking the world to reflect her hormones.

She was painting an estrogen palace.

The next project was going to be painting the living room "rose-pink." Mrs. RSI vetoed that as too "girlie," but she then chose a luminescent green that's probably even more girlie. Now that I'm home, what's interesting about "the green room" is that it's so sensitive in light. The walls seem to "glow" in different ways as the light changes.

It has a very 60's kind of effect. Groovy, man.

But still girlie to the max.

Then there's the new baby, 'er puppy. Or as I heard over the phone-- p-u-u-p-p-y with a sigh at the end.

Our little family already included a dog and two cats. We also support a large avian population with all our bird feeders. But Mrs. RSI and the girls went shopping and Mrs. RSI fell in love with the look on Miss Tween's face when they were at the Pet Smart (entirely by accident I'm sure) and Miss Tween held up a puppy blue heeler mix and hugged it.

Love was in the air and I wasn't at home. So now the family has a new blue heeler puppy to swoon over.

Well, everyone except me.

I have to admit that I do swoon a little bit to see the girls growing up. Miss Teen has already started insisting on driving the car up and down the driveway in preparation for her 16th birthday in 2010. Dad's in Eastern Kentucky traditionally buy cars for their daughters and I'm thinking about adapting that practice if Miss Teen turns out to be a safe driver.

We're also starting to talk colleges and I'm going to take the girls to tour Cornell University next week when we attend a family reunion in my ancestral homeland of Upstate New York.

Why not think big?

But I'm not swooning over the puppy and not swooning over the luminescent green. Likewise, the teen-age boy in me is starting to question all the "cutesiness" around the house even as I make a conscious adjustment to living in an estrogen palace.

But there's nothing that says an estrogen palace can't have a "man hut" and I'll probably start building mine soon.

If only in my head.