The Note: Everybody into the Pool

Paul Krugman's column today will cause a stir: "The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk." LINK

The Colorado Supreme Court's ruling that jurors improperly consulted Bibles when determining a sentence is bound to resonate in the clash of worldviews and philosophies drawn out by the Schiavo case.

The New York Times' Kirk Johnson writes that "the dissenting judges said the majority had confused the internal codes of right and wrong that juries are expected to possess in such weighty moral matters with the outside influences that are always to be avoided, like newspaper articles or television programs about the case. The jurors consulted Bibles, the minority said, not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations, but for wisdom." LINK

"Professor Howard J. Vogel, who teaches ethics at Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and has a master's degree in theology as well as a law degree, said, 'I don't think it's a religious text that's the problem here, but rather whether something is being used that trumps the law of the state.'"

No word on whether this will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Washington Times' Stephen Dinan and Amy Fagan report that some congressional Republicans are upset that the courts are not, well, being activist courts in the Schiavo case. LINK

Social Security:

The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports that now some of the "conservative intelligentsia" have a problem with President Bush's plan to include private accounts as part of the Social Security system, for reasons including its expansion of government involvement and promises for an entitlement program, and that it's too complex. LINK

Free advice from Dick Morris to Karl Rove: "Why not give us choices? Of course, if Bush offers us choices, he will also escape political damage when we make the choices. It will not be by his fiat that our taxes go up or our benefits drop. It will be by our informed choice, coupled with the inexorable demographics of the retirement population and their financial impact on the Social Security system. We will accept that. Individual choice for how to deal with Social Security's insolvency: That's how Bush can break the logjam." LINK

The State's Lauren Markoe reports that the Club for Growth is targeting Sen. Lindsey Graham with a new statewide TV ad today, scolding him for favoring raising the cap on wages subject to Social Security taxes. Markoe Notes that the Club gave $2,500 to Graham's first Senate campaign in 2002. LINK

Medicare:

Writes Robert Pear in the New York Times: "The Bush administration said Monday that it had sent the first of some 20 million applications to low-income people who might qualify for financial assistance with Medicare's new prescription drug benefit." LINK

"But lawyers and other advocates for low-income people said the form was so complex that they expected fewer than 5 percent of the people to respond."

Bush agenda:

Note the Cheney paragraph in David Sanger's and Scott Shane's preview of the Silberman-Robb report on intelligence failures. LINK

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