Archive

  • A FOND FAREWELL.

    A FOND FAREWELL. Friends, after almost three years as one of the contributors to TAPPED , today is the day I'll be saying goodbye, at least for a little while. Starting tomorrow, I'll be on a leave of absence from The American Prospect in order to focus on writing a book. I'm going to keep writing a column for TAP Online and will probably do something or other for the magazine in the interim, but no more group-blog for me. I won't be out of the blogging game by any means, but in order to simplify my life and get the task down to a manageable size, I'm just going to post at a single eponymous site -- MatthewYglesias.com -- and leave this one to my colleagues. Change, of course, is nothing new to The Only Blog That Matters, and our two founding writers -- Chris Mooney and Nick Confessore -- have both been gone for some time now. And as you've no doubt noticed, we've taken on a larger cast of characters over the past few months and launched several additional blogs featuring the Prospect...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TACTICS MAKE PERFECT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TACTICS MAKE PERFECT. We hear a lot of clamoring for the Democrats to nationalize the midterms around a positive, coherent policy agenda. That's easier said than done, obviously. Tom makes the case for nationalizing the elections tactically , through the use of a few effective gambits across the country that convey basic Democratic priorities and critiques of the GOP. He's got five proposed examples. Take a look . --The Editors
  • QUANTIFYING A LIE.

    QUANTIFYING A LIE. The new print issue of the Prospect features a disagreement in the letters page between Todd Gitlin and Alan Abramowitz over the question of just how often the meme " Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet" appeared in the American media during the 2000 campaign. Since the media�s war on Gore is something I�ve written about before for the Prospect , I thought I�d settle this dispute. (Before we get there, of course, let�s just make it clear: Al Gore never said he invented the Internet. In an interview with CNN on March 9, 1999, he said, �During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.� This comment was plainly about his service in the Congress in the 1980s, when Gore was in fact the chief advocate for providing the funding that would transform the Internet from a tiny network linking a few university research facilities into the benevolent provider of shopping opportunities and Paris Hilton videos we enjoy today.)...
  • THE PERILS OF...

    THE PERILS OF READING WHEN TIRED. Yesterday, I wrote that Arnold Kling 's book failed to define the terms "very poor" and "very sick." Today, he writes that "In the simulation of my proposals in the chapter on matching funding to needs, I define poor as below the poverty line and I define very sick as having annual expenses over $5000 for the non-elderly and over $20,000 for the elderly. " He's right -- I'd missed it on my first read-through. Mea culpa. --Ezra Klein
  • IT AIN'T ABOUT...

    IT AIN'T ABOUT HARRIS. I'm pretty sympathetic to the point Jon Chait raises in his terrific piece on Katherine Harris : Now that the GOP spin on Harris is replete with admissions that she's a few crayons short of a full box, shouldn't that force them to reconsider the legitimacy of her decisions during the 2000 recount? In other words, if Harris is nuts, then why trust that in 2000 she was sane. Maybe Bush did lose. The problem is Jon seems to counteract his own thesis in the article. As he writes, Harris was ignorant of election law and completely incapable of making these decisions. So the GOP sent in a ringer: Republicans close to Bush dispatched J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, a veteran Florida Republican lawyer well-versed in election law, to serve as Harris's close adviser. From that point on, decisions became more decisive and uniformly pro-Bush. When asked by the Post if he was coordinating his decisions with the Bush campaign, Stipanovich tellingly refused to offer a denial. Harris...
  • REALITY TV AND UNION-BUSTING.

    REALITY TV AND UNION-BUSTING. For years now, I've been telling anyone who'll listen that reality television isn't just bad aesthetics -- it's union-busting. Initially, the idea was simply to come up with programming that didn't involve unionized writers because it actually didn't involve writers , thereby allowing the networks to better-immunize themselves against the threat of a strike. More recently, it's reached absurd heights where you have "reality" shows that actually do employ writers, just not unionized ones covered by the collective bargaining agreement. Campus Progress has a good article up about how this is playing out behind the scenes of America's Next Top Model . Let me also add that while America's entertainment unions don't involve especially large numbers of people and their actions don�t have especially dramatic implications for the American economy as a whole, they do have a certain significance. Specifically, the success of the Writer's Guild of America, the Screen...
  • WHERE THE PATIENTS HAVE TAKEN OVER.

    WHERE THE PATIENTS HAVE TAKEN OVER. Now, it is important to remember here that Sean Hannity has already proved himself incapable of experiencing combat with an opponent any more vigorous than Alan Colmes . So we should probably be grateful that Sean has found a cause for which he�s willing to lay down his life. In a more sensible media universe, of course, anyone who said something this preternaturally idiotic into an open microphone -- Kyra Phillips made far more sense accidentally earlier in the week -- would be patted gently on the head, handed a complimentary company pen, and sent off toward the commissary with the rest of the tour group from the nervous hospital. Is there nobody at FOX who looks at the people who say things like this and wonders, "How in God's name did I end up in this monkey house?"? --Charles P. Pierce
  • FRODO'S FATE.

    FRODO'S FATE. Last week, philosophy doctoral student and ethical werewolf Neil Sinhababu argued against the conception of personhood and moral status advocated by Ramesh Ponnuru in his book The Party of Death . Neil concluded that to adopt Ponnuru's outlook would be "to shrug at the enslavement of hobbits, the slaughter of kittens, and the destruction of all life beyond earth." Now Ponnuru has responded with an article of his own (he says Frodo 's safe), and Neil has responded to Ponnuru in turn. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • GLOBAL WARMING: THE GOOD NEWS.

    GLOBAL WARMING: THE GOOD NEWS. I wrote earlier this week about the clever name change that persuaded lots of people to open farms on the Great American Desert Plains. The greatest climate-nomenclature scam of all time, however, was run by Erik the Red , who named the ice-bound island he discovered "Greenland." At the time, the world climate was warmer than it is today, and Greenland, though very cold, did actually support some marginal agricultural production and dairy farming. Consequently, he got a bunch of Vikings to move out there and build a settlement. A few hundred years later, it got colder and all the Norse settlers wound up dead. Nowadays, though, thanks to the munificence of fossil fuel consumption, the world is heating up again. And, according to Der Spiegel , it's getting warm enough to farm Greenland once again . Sadly, way more people live in the destined-for-devastation portions of the world than in the looking-forward-to-less-permafrost portions of the world. It's...
  • CLEAN, GREEN, AND...

    CLEAN, GREEN, AND POPULAR. Let's just take a moment to enjoy this description of Big Business� reaction to this major piece of legislation in the glorious Golden State: Business interests, especially oil companies, were irate and said they felt abandoned by the Republican governor, who had pledged to work for a bill they could support. They accused Schwarzenegger and Democrats of cobbling together behind closed doors a haphazard bill that could create unintended economic chaos. Ahhh. What a difference a few years makes. Remember when it was Cheney and the Big Business interests working behind closed doors to cobble together an energy bill that padded their pockets and accelerated our ecological decline? Yeah, me too. Anyway, this a Schwarzenegger film, top to bottom. Conscious of the perils of running for reelection in California, he's playing up the issue area where his progressive impulses appear genuine: environmentalism. In recent weeks, he's sought a compact with Tony Blair on...

Pages