Whither health care reform? I've received two action alerts concerning health care reconciliation in the last 24 hours: Unionvoice continues to press for a public option, but, oddly, CREDO doesn't. Nominally progressive organizations shouldn't be abandoning the fall-back position, for Ford's sake. Now the Senate bill actually has slightly better cost-containment measures than the House bill, and I've long said that you have to contain costs if you're going to impose an individual mandate on citizens. But nothing in the Senate bill prevents health insurers from jacking up rates on everyone indiscriminately to make up for lost profits. A public option might coerce health insurers not to do that, and at this point would only require 50 votes in the Senate, which would make Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln exactly as relevant as they're supposed to be. Of course, the public option is the minimum I'd ever accept, and you know how good I am at accepting the minimum.
Meanwhile, I was surprised to learn that Democrats have only 10 House retirements to the Republicans' 14 so far this cycle. I wonder why. And please understand that by "I wonder why" I actually mean "I know full well that the 'liberal' media has been overcovering Democratic retirements at the expense of Republican ones." Even the above-linked author, Chris Cilizza, admits as much, though not with the requisite courage -- "much of the focus for the last month (or so) has been on Democrats' retirement problems," he says, and n.b. the use of the passive voice in "has been," as if no one's really to blame. Also n.b. "the sense in Washington that Democrats are losing altitude rapidly," as if that "sense" didn't come about because of what elite newspapers "reported." Hate to pile on, but "the lingering impact of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks" didn't have as much to do with the Republicans' relatively strong showing in 2002 as Mr. Bush's insistence on having an Iraq war vote right before the midterms did.
Finally, I understand that Brit Hume has shown concern for Tiger Woods's soul. Well, specifically, Mr. Hume suggested that Mr. Woods's Buddhist faith doesn't "offer the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'" Not being the sort of Christian who would sprinkle water on large crowds and declare them thus converted, my message to Mr. Hume would be that if you're coming to Christianity because you've done wrong and want forgiveness, then you're not ready for Christianity. You come to Christianity because you feel compelled to come, not because you think you need something from it -- if you come because you think you need something from it, you will only corrupt yourself further. The best way to "be a great example to the world" is to live a moral life. You may need Christianity to do that, or you may not. But I certainly don't assert that Buddhists need something other than Buddhism to "be a great example to the world," and I remain annoyed that so many Christians are so insecure that they do assert just that. Must be that fear-of-death-and-eternal-hellfire thing.