Archive

  • Suppose There Was a Market for CEOs

    David Leonhardt sought to make amends for some of his recent columns by posing a very simple question , if corporate CEOs face a normal market, how come they never end up quitting jobs because of a pay dispute? He points out that the cases of CEOs just quitting for another job, as opposed to retiring or being dumped, are few and far between. The obvious explanation for this is that CEOs don't face a real market. For the most part, they are negotiating with their friends and business associates, who don't have any real interest in holding down CEO pay. This would seem to be a clear failing of the rules of corporate governance. Basically, they do not give shareholders enough power to effectively place a limit on the pay of top executives. The libertarians who want to run for cover at this point in the discussion have missed the boat. Corporations are a creation of the government. A corporation is a legal entity that the state allows individuals to establish in order to advance a social...
  • THE CARE CRISIS...

    THE CARE CRISIS Over at TPM Cafe, Ruth Rosen has a stirring post on the glaring absence of child care and family issues from the national agenda, and the total inadequacy of the currently family support net. Reminds me of something Jacob Hacker said in his book The Great Risk Shift : "U.S policy treats families almost entirely as a personal responsibility, not a social priority." He's right, and it's weird. If you want to dive into this a bit depper, Barack Obama 's policy director Karen Kornbluh has spent the last couple of years thinking hard about a truly pro-family agenda, and her mini-manifesto in the latest issue of Democracy offers some powerful ideas, ranging from small tweaks to Social Security to a new social insurance program that combats the economic instability that buffets families. -- Ezra Klein
  • FREEH LOUIE! ...

    FREEH LOUIE! Well, this certainly seems like a terrible idea on so many levels. Now, there will be no comments from the GOP leadership because of the "ongoing investigation," which likely will be "ongoing" until long after the elections in November, and which will be placed into the hands of an Opus Dei fellow-traveler who's never made a mistake he couldn't blame on someone else. Just the chap you want investigating a sex scandal the most important part of which is the failure of important people not named " Bill Clinton " to take responsibility for their own blunders. But then there is the truly hilarious fact that a sex scandal involving sleazy cybersex is being investigated by an arrogant bluenose who doesn't believe in using e-mail . Good thing Kissinger's advising the White House on Iraq or he might've gotten the gig. UPDATE : And if you think Freeh's a terrible choice, check out the rest of the finalists . Holy mother of God, these people are shameless. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • NEW WAR, JUST...

    NEW WAR, JUST LIKE THE OLD WAR (BUT WITH LESS TROOPS). This post of David Frum 's asking whether Rumsfeld was actually wrong about some of his ideas reminds of a point I've been meaning to make: Rumsfeld's initial attempts to reform the defense procurement process and create a lighter, faster, more adaptable force were right . Many of the ideas, in fact, had been around since Gary Hart 's bipartisan Military Reform Caucus, and some were directly adapted from those reports. Unfortunately, those ideas relied on a new conception of American power: One that eschewed occupation. A smaller, lighter fighting force could intervene quickly and nimbly -- but it couldn't occupy a country. And, if you go back to the Bush administration's rhetoric before we invaded Iraq, it's clear they didn't think it'd have to occupy the country. Instead, the military would swoop in, decapitate Hussein , unshackle a grateful populace, and wander out after the newly liberalized democracy threw them a fine parade...
  • WHY YOU DON'T...

    WHY YOU DON'T CROSS A KENNEDY. Those of us who despaired of Weepin' Joe Lieberman (I-Green Room) years ago have not been surprised by anything he's done over the past six months. He's always been a puling, mewling opportunist who'd sell his grandmother to the Malay pirates for a pat on the head from a jackleg preacher, or 15 minutes of banter on Don Imus 's Wrinkle Farm, where he recently made giddy fun of the demolition of the Geneva Conventions. He's never breathed a political moment in which he was not John Breaux in a hairshirt. However, what happened to him here is not to be minimized. I can't remember another time in which Senator Edward Kennedy summoned up the family iconography in order to beat another Democrat over the head with it, even a putative Democrat like Weepin' Joe who, rejected by the Democratic voters of his state, now finds himself cast out of The New Frontier by the most important member of the Membership Committee. He's had his problems, God knows, and he wouldn...
  • IT AIN'T ABOUT...

    IT AIN'T ABOUT BIGNESS. The quick-moving conversation on whether liberals have anything to say to libertarians who believe corporate power is only dangerous when united with state patronage is an interesting one, and worth thinking seriously about. The libertarians involved argue that liberals -- many of whom want to extend, enlarge, or at least perpetuate state power -- are unwittingly but unerringly strengthening the corporations they seek to constrain. Many of the liberals involved think that's nonsense. Part of the problem here is the simplicity and inadequacy of "Big Government" as a descriptor for much of anything. You can have a huge, interventionist, and corporatist government that doesn't do much to advocate for the public interest, but is nevertheless interventionist in nature and monumental in scale. As LB points out, after the Pinkertons would finish beating strikers, the police would throw the bloodied laborers into jail. That was Big Government, but not in the sense that...
  • GROGGY.

    GROGGY. Is the Russian Navy finally beginning to come out of its fifteen year hibernation ? Admiral Kuznetsov, the Russian Navy's sole aircraft carrier, will apparently rejoin the fleet by the end of the year. Admiral Nahkimov, a Kirov class nuclear battlecruiser, is scheduled to return to service next year after eight years laid up. By themselves, of course, these moves barely begin to staunch the bleeding that the Russian Navy has experienced since 1991, but they may nonetheless signal that the Kremlin has decided to make naval power a higher priority. The Russian Navy has also begun to contribute in a small way to Operation Active Endeavour , NATO's effort to stop piracy, drug trafficking, and refugee trafficking in the Mediterranean. In tangentially related news, the Tories apparently miss the Cold War . Speaking at a Conservative Party conference, shadow defence minister Liam Fox reportedly inveighed against unwariness: He said Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken recently...
  • GREAT LEDERS. ...

    GREAT LEDERS. One of the little biographical secrets that I keep from most of my friends is that I actually went to journalism school. The very first week, they taught us how to write a lead. (This was the first course in the four-year curriculum of How To Write Badly.) Anyway, I can tell you as someone whose family spent several thousands of dollars to teach him that this right here is one of the great leads of all time. UPDATE : Bert Sugar , wherever you are, please forgive me for failing to see the similarities between this lede, and the famous one written by John Lardner concerning the untimely death by lead poisoning of a prominent fighter: "Stanley Ketchel was shot in the back by the common-law husband of the woman who was cooking his breakfast." -- Charles P. Pierce
  • CHENEY SPEAK, YOU...

    CHENEY SPEAK, YOU LISTEN. The Washington Examiner’s Bill Sammon provides some fascinating details from an exclusive interview he conducted on Air Force Two with Vice President Dick Cheney . Cheney predicts the Republicans will hold both chambers of Congress, says Dennis Hastert is a “great Speaker” who should not step down, and claims that Republicans don’t fear potential congressional investigations should Democrats taken control of one or both houses of Congress. The response by liberals and Democrats to these predictions should be nothing short of utter glee. After all, Cheney is perhaps the most over-rated, tin-eared, bumbler-disguised-as-peerless manager in the history of modern governance, as Josh Marshall explained long ago in his chronicle of the “myth” of competence surrounding Cheney. Sammon also reports that, “As for national security, Cheney rejected the notion that Democrats will win the argument if they decouple the Iraq war from the broader war on terror. ‘They are...
  • A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.

    A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. The Hill has a slew of story-advancing short pieces on Foleygate today: A report on the truly severe rifts emerging within the House GOP leadership; a story documenting a push by Deborah Pryce , a member of that leadership team who's also facing a serious reelection fight, for a new angle of the scandal to be investigated; an account of everyone's favorite backbench GOP attack dog Patrick McHenry 's demands for, er, Democratic leaders to come clean about being behind this scandal; and the revelation that, lo and behold, a GOP aide really was the source of the leaked emails. (To be fair, however, this person says that he or she was not the source of the far-more-lurid IMs.) --Sam Rosenfeld

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