Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: RUDY CAN FAIL.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: RUDY CAN FAIL. Today, Bossman-at-Large Mike Tomasky inaugurates a "most Wednesdays" web column for TAP Online with a piece laying out the southern problem that Rudy Giuliani will face in his quest for the GOP presidential nomination. Mike includes a suggested attack ad against Rudy for a Republican opponent, free of charge. Check it out . --The Editors
  • A SPLIT IN THE ANTI-ABORTION MOVEMENT?

    A SPLIT IN THE ANTI-ABORTION MOVEMENT? I recently stumbled across this item from the Christian press in which prominent anti-choicer Leslee Unruh admits that during the South Dakota abortion ban campaign she faced more harassment from hardline "pro-lifers" than from pro-choicers. "When you�re running a pro-life campaign the last thing you need is pro-lifers who have a different strategy and won�t respect the people in the state," Unruh said. [...] "When someone works as hard as I have for 22 years, the outside pro-lifers coming in and bringing trucks and (bringing) anger and hate�that affects the community." All of the tactics that "scared" Unruh -- gory photos of dismembered fetuses, disruptive prayer vigils, videotaping reporters and volunteers -- are classic moves by anti-abortion groups. Maybe she should be asking pro-choicers for some advice. We've got a lot of experience dealing with that sort of harassment. This is yet another sign that Unruh's brand of anti-choice/"pro-woman"...
  • HECK OF A...

    HECK OF A JOB, SAUERBREY. Yesterday, Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly warned about the under-qualified U.S. State Department's Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Ellen Sauerbrey , a GOP activist and former Maryland state legislator: If the [Iraqi] refugee crisis worsens, as it's likely to do, keep an eye on Sauerbrey. We may have another "Brownie"/FEMA story unfolding. That's certainly what some people thought when she was nominated, which is why The Los Angeles Times ' Oct. 2005 article on her appointment by Ken Silverstein got slapped with the headline "Shades of FEMA's Brown in Bush Pick" : "This is a job that deals with one of the great moral issues of our time," said Joel R. Charny of Refugees International in Washington, which opposes Sauerbrey's nomination. "This is not a position where you drop in a political hack." He and critics from other relief organizations - who spoke on condition of anonymity because they work closely with the...
  • ELLISON.

    ELLISON. To follow up on Tom 's flagging of the wonderful Keith Ellison / Jefferson 's Koran story, it's worth plugging this month-old TAP Online piece profiling the new congressman. It does a good job conveying the guy's overall hard-charging liberalism and the sense that he'll be a freshman to watch. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • 'Extraordinary� fall in German jobless

    That was the headline for the Financial Times article . They still use the German national measure of unemployment rather than the OECD standardized rate (again, they get the BBC out, writing for an international audience), but at least they understand the concept of seasonal adjustments. Okay, that's all for today on German unemployment. --Dean Baker
  • SHORTER TOM SCHALLER.

    SHORTER TOM SCHALLER. Tonight my wife and I are having dinner with friends who are in DC for the swearing-in of a good friend of theirs who is a newly elected senator (hint: It's not Bob Corker .) I think I'll offer a simple toast: Here's to the first Democratic majority -- ever -- that is not dependent on support from southern racists. Over the next few years, there will be plenty of occasion to quibble over whether the Dems are selling out, botching the strategy, pushing for too little or perhaps too much. Some of it has already started. But on these two days, let's remember that this is the beginning of something that American politics has never seen before. The last time there was a Democratic majority in both houses, it depended on the likes of Richard Shelby and Billy Tauzin . Earlier majorities featured such folks as Phil Gramm , James Eastland , and Strom Thurmond . Many things have changed in the last twelve years, and we're all going to be groping in the dark a bit to...
  • THE GREAT RISK...

    THE GREAT RISK SHIFT: WAL-MART EDITION. Wal-Mart is moving towards widespread implementation of new employee scheduling software. Sounds innocent enough -- the software tracks customer habits over seven week periods, and reschedules workers for each one. Moreover, it also creates a range of daily possibilities, allowing Wal-Mart to schedule workers to be on-call during surges, or send them home during lulls, or implement a variety of other strategies to create a more flexible, adaptive, workforce. All sounds routine enough, right? But pity the workforce. The new software will make advance scheduling and reliable paychecks a thing of the past. According to The Journal , "experts say [the program] can saddle workers with unpredictable schedules. In some cases, they may be asked to be "on call" to meet customer surges, or sent home because of a lull, resulting in less pay. The new systems also alert managers when a worker is approaching full-time status or overtime, which would require...
  • BBC Flunks Employment Reporting 101

    Okay class, what do we think will happen to employment as the weather turns cold and people lose their jobs in construction, tourism, and other warm weather industries? Yes, that's right -- employment will fall. This is why the good people at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other statistical agencies invented "seasonal adjustments." We know that some number of people will lose their jobs every fall because of seasonal factors. We also know that many people will get jobs in the spring, when the weather turns warm again. In order to avoid having data that make it appear that the economy is entering a recession every fall and booming every spring, economists try to pull out the normal seasonal fluctuations in the data. Someone forgot to explain this fact to the BBC, which headlined an article on Germany's December employment data, "German Jobless Total Rises Again." Those who take the time to read through the article would discover that the December increase in joblesssness is less...
  • FUNNY HOW THAT...

    FUNNY HOW THAT HAPPENS. This morning's Wall Street Journal boasts an op-ed by George W. Bush calling for comity and compromise with the new Congress. Lucky for them, he's got a common sense, broadly agreeable agenda in the offing: Escalation in Iraq, continuing his tax cuts, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, passing a line-item veto, and ending earmarks. Truly, the man's talent for consensus is boundless. As is his knowledge of high school civics. "Our Founders believed in the wisdom of the American people to choose their leaders and provided for the concept of divided and effective government," he "writes." "The majority party in Congress gets to pass the bills it wants. The minority party, especially where the margins are close, has a strong say in the form bills take. And the Constitution leaves it to the president to use his judgment whether they should be signed into law." It's good to see Bush so suddenly concerned with the rights of the minority party. After sitting up...
  • NUCLEAR WINTER.

    NUCLEAR WINTER. Eric at Defense Tech has a neat post about nuclear winter. A large nuclear exchange between the U.S. and Russia would almost certainly have significant and long-lasting global cooling effects, while a regional conflict could result in a drop of 1-4 degrees Fahrenheit over time. Unfortunately, the cooling effects only work if the nukes are used on cities, as cities are the only targets that will burn long enough to release enough smoke particles into the air to precipitate the cooling. The policy of destroying cities carries a set of negative externalities that make nuclear war an impractical solution to the problem of global warming... --Robert Farley

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