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COMING MONDAY, NATIONAL SNUFFCARE! One scribe got angry–and one scribe didn’t–when they encountered some rubbish: // link // print // previous // next //
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 2009

Change is coming: Yesterday, we had the pleasure of taking part in a strictly top-secret training session for fourteen impressive federal managers. Our topic? “Influence of the Media on the Policy Process.” After spending three hours (minus breaks) with these managers, we will only tell you this: We suspect that major change will soon be visible all through the federal government.

We only learned upon arrival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia that our affable host, David Ost, had once been a philosophy professor! Sure, we could have walked off the site right then. But we thought we heard a little voice say: We could do it—but it would be wrong!

Coming Monday—Chris Matthews on Snuff-care: On Monday, we’ll start a series of posts about the ongoing health care wars. We’ll start with Chris Matthews’ groaning treatment of the claim that the House bill sets up what is, in effect, a form of “National Snuff-care.”

Returning from our travels, we were struck by divergent treatments of this ongoing matter in the Washington Post.

In Friday’s Post, Steven Pearlstein described this general claim as a “lie,” a “falsehood”—as an example of “wacko-logic.” Pearlstein started with a disclaimer. “As a columnist who regularly dishes out sharp criticism, I try not to question the motives of people with whom I don't agree,” he wrote. “Today, I'm going to step over that line.”

In this morning’s Post, Chuck Lane takes a vastly different approach. We tend to be negative about Lane, going back to his deeply unfortunate work (and lack of same) in the late 1990s. We think Lane’s column today is quite striking. In particular, note how finely the gentleman reasons:

The consultations at issue in the House bill aren’t voluntary, Lane judges. Well no—they aren’t purely voluntary. Actually no—he cuts it just a bit finer than that! These consultations at issue here “aren’t quite purely voluntary,” Lane opines. More specifically, the consultations aren’t quite purely voluntary—given what the phrase “purely voluntary” means “to me,” Lane says.

We were struck by the gentleman’s feathered reasoning—and by the balance of concerns he puts on display. (He doesn’t seem to be real concerned by examples of what he calls “rubbish.”) But we plan to wait before we opine! If you want to sharpen your analytical skills, we’ll suggest that you wrestle a bit with this gentleman’s fine feathered column.

Simple story: Pearlstein is angry—and Lane just isn’t. It’s the greatest division in all world affairs. For ourselves, we liked our high lord’s closing paragraph best. Consultations like these are so much finer—as done by our upper class!