The Times reported today that the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts a 5 percent increase in holiday sales for 2006. It notes that this is a lower pace than the 6 percent increases seen the prior two years. It would have been helpful to adjust this prediction for inflation.
POVERTY & THE DEMS -- AN UPDATE. A couple of weeks ago, during one of the rounds of the blogosphere debate on poverty, I citedElizabeth Warren's article from The Democratic Strategist, where she said:
When I talk with families about politics, I often hear a variation on this theme: "Democrats care most about the poor. They tell me I'm better off than the poor, and that I should give up more of my money to help the poor. Well, I'm stretched to the breaking point, and I just can't do it any more." Whenever a Democrat stands up and says, "I'll help every child go to college," then cuts off benefits at $20,000 a year, the message just burns deeper.
A BELLWETHER BLOWOUT? More trouble is brewing for Ken Blackwell�s gubernatorial bid in Ohio. Last week, three prominent Ohio Republicans publicly denounced Blackwell as being outside the mainstream of the Republican Party and announced their support for his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland.
GORE SPEAKS. Around the time Al Gore's movie came out, a number of conservatives criticized the film for not advocating for a carbon tax. By obscuring the necessity of that policy choice, he was making his case look too easy and the solutions artificially simple. But whether or not he acknowledged it the film, Gore has long been a lover of carbon taxes, and today he came out in favor of one (and basically every other pro-renewable policy you can think of) in a major speech at NYU.
FLACK WATCH. If ever a blog cried out for a snarky, anonymous author, it's this one. But, alas, the new Potomac Flacks blog, dedicated to the "comings and goings of D.C.'s spokesguys and spokesgals" and penned by former Joe Lieberman '04 spokesguy Adam Kovacevich, maintains the decorum one would expect from the Assistant Vice President at Dittus Communications, the title that Adam now holds. With an open comment policy, however, I suspect the snark won't be far behind...or hard to find.
YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA.Real Clear Politics has entered a content deal with Time magazine, and will now have their blog hosted on Time's servers. "TIME.com hosts a diverse chorus of political voices," said Josh Tyrangiel, the editor, "and we're excited to add the Real Clear Politics blog to the mix."
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SCHOOL'S OUT. You may have caught the new round of debate over the efficacy of homework. Conor Clarkeexplains both why the homework critics may indeed be correct, but also why this debate, just like most other arguments over education policy as such, matters less than one might think.
WHY DO THEY TORTURE?Ron Suskind, writing in last week's Time, details the path of the al-Qaeda 14, the captured terrorists whom Bush based his appeal for torture on, and provides a good look into the politics of torture within the Bush administration. As he tells it, there were two operating paradigms in the immediate aftermath of Afghanistan. The first belonged to the FBI, which had found "al-Qaeda members assumed their jailers would dismember them. When instead the interrogators presented a tough but very human face, the detainees were confused.
THE TRUE SPIRIT OF '94. Over the weekend, the Post began its (premature) obituary for congressional Republicans with an electoral advisory issued by none other than Joe Scarborough. I�m happy to give Joe credit for showing, both in the Post and in his Washington Monthlypiece, the courage to wonder aloud about how the supposed revolution swept in by the 1994 election has so quickly collapsed, as he did in the opening sentences yesterday: