THE SILENT PARTY. You worthless passel of cowards. They're laughing at you. You know that, right?
The national Democratic Party is no longer worth the cement needed to sink it to the bottom of the sea. For an entire week, it allowed a debate on changing the soul of the country to be conducted intramurally between the Torture Porn and Useful Idiot wings of the Republican Party, the latter best exemplified by John McCain, who keeps fashioning his apparently fathomless ambition into a pair of clown shoes with which he can do the monkey dance across the national stage. They're laughing at him, too.
While I am reluctant to perpetuate the debate on living standards and the accuracy of the consumer price index (CPI), I just can�t resist holding economists and pundits to the things they claim to believe.
My last post featured the claim that living standards had improved substantially despite the stubborn refusal of the CPI to support this claim. When median family income is deflated by the CPI, then real family income was just 14.4 percent higher in 2004 than it was in 1979. This increase is explained largely by an increase in working hours per family, as the median hourly wage rose by even less over this period.
IRAN'S GAME. It was nice to see Charlie Rangel and Nancy PelosiattackHugo Chavez's ham-handed attempts to condemn President Bush. Chavez is a clumsy, crude political actor, and his extended comparison of Bush and the devil looked over-the-top and foolish. More interesting, and more relevant for American interests, is the current charm offensive of Ahmadinejad. From this Time piece, you could easily get the impression that Iranian leader had just finished Lakoff.
NATIONAL I.D. To follow up on Ben's post, I see Kevin Drummakes a similar critique of the GOP legislation, but also comes out in favor of a universal I.D. given to everyone in the country. This is an idea that Boston bossman Bob Kuttner proposed in 2004. I remember finding his old column on the subject highly persuasive -- it's worth a read.
DEMOCRATS FOR REPUBLICANS? In his latest piece, Jacob Weisberg addresses the question of whether the party that loses the midterms will, as a result, actually win in the long run. Although I think he takes the silly proposition a little too seriously, he admits that the right answer to this is the "boring" one: "the real winner in the November election will be the winner."
WAL-MART...GOOD? Some of my right-wing readers may think this'll make my head explode, but Wal-Mart's embarking on a new initiative to use its size and weight to bargain down the prices on generic prescription medications. In other words, the company I always accuse of acting like a monopsony is now going to use their might to act as consumer advocates on health care -- which will be good for consumers and bad for Pharma. Hooray!
THERE MAY NOT BE ROOM, BUT THERE'S CERTAINLY MONEY. The Big Bossman and I had slightly different interpretations of Mark Warner's admonition that Democrats shouldn't alienate the wealthy by opposing their tax cuts the other day. I viewed the move as politically unhelpful anti-populism of the type favored by influential elites but harmful to the progressive project, while Mikesaw the effort as a substantively insignificant move that would project electability and centrism and allow Warner space to push the progressive line on other subjects. Maybe we're both wrong.
I.D., PLEASE. Much like how the PATRIOT Act included a host of provisions that had been on the right's wish list for years before 9/11, House Republicans are using the current uproar over immigration (which they themselves have stoked) as an excuse to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. From The Los Angeles Times: