GOOD READING….I’ve fallen woefully behind on articles and blog posts I want to link to. Rather than just delete them en masse from my email inbox, though, here they are in quickie linkdump form:

  • This week National Journal rated the healthcare plans from the main presidential candidates. Basically, they created 13 categories, or goals, and gave each candidate a score of 1-10 for each goal. The Democrats ended up being bunched pretty tightly: Hillary Clinton scored 86, John Edwards scored 83, and Barack Obama scored 81. The Republican scores were so pitiful I didn’t bother adding them up. Details here.

    UPDATE: As Matt points out, the basic breakdown here is that Democrats do well on goals associated with providing better healthcare to more people, while the Republicans tend to do well only on categories related to spending less money. In terms of actually accomplishing anything, the Republican plans pretty much suck.

  • In “Spies Around the Watercooler,” Laura Rozen writes about the unique problems faced by women who work for the CIA. Turns out it goes beyond just Valerie Plame.

  • Jeb Koogler notes that al-Qaeda in Iraq is getting pretty good at hearts-and-minds counterinsurgency.

  • Over half of all public school children in the South now come from families poor enough to qualify for school lunch assistance. And no, it’s not because all the rich ones are leaving the public school system for private schools. There are just more families who don’t have much money these days.

  • What if torture works? Does that make it OK?

  • Ilan Goldenberg links to a new GAO report that says our efforts in Iraq “lack strategies with clear purpose, scope, roles, and performance measures.”

  • Salon has a long piece tonight about the Bush administration’s war on whistleblowers. Don’t let the sitepass stop you from reading it; it only takes a few seconds to get through it.

  • Stories like this make me fear for the future of the country. The punchline is at the end, of course.

  • Attention physics nerds: the New York Times says a plane flying through a crosswind travels faster than it would in clear skies. I say that’s bogus, assuming you actually want to get to your destination. Anyone care to referee this problem? Your competition is a bunch of precocious ninth graders.