NOTE THE ELLIPSIS. While I was on the whole Catholic thing earlier -- sticking up for Holy Mother Church against the Worst Published Writer Ever -- I figured I'd slide on over to see what one of my favorite Papalettes was up to. Ah, mais oui. La Noonan never disappoints. It seems that nasty liberals -- in this case, Howard Kurtz (!) -- have been up to their censorious worst these days. For example:
THE RETURN OF COINTELPRO? In one of the scarier articles I've read this week, an ACLU lawsuit has forced the Defense Department to turn over the information they've collected on anti-war protesters. The revelations are not comforting. The military labeled, for instance, a "Stop the War Now!" rally in Akron, Ohio, a site for "potential terrorist activity" (which, taken very literally, makes sense, as any place where humans can effectively exist has the potential for terrorist activity). Students United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war group at my alma mater of Santa Cruz, also made the cut. The reason they were considered a threat to military personnel?
ALWAYS HIGH SETTLEMENTS. ALWAYS. In what is only the latest of many such decisions, Pennsylvania courts decided against Wal-Mart in a 187,000 person class action suit alleging the company forced employees to work extra hours without pay and withheld rest breaks. The damages will reach into the hundreds of millions. Wal-Mart recently paid $50 million in Colorado and $172 million in California for similar suits, and is currently facing the largest gender discrimination case in history. You have to wonder about a corporate culture that seems to so routinely violate labor laws.
PLAYED FOR SUCKERS.Kevin Drumhighlights the new Gallup poll showing a collapse in the GOP's typically overwhelming dominance among white religious voters. He notes at the end that "if even 5% of them stay home and another 5% switch to the Democrats, it's going to have a huge impact.
CAN THIS ARGUMENT BE SAVED? In response to my claim that the exemption of women from punishment under laws banning abortion is fatally incoherent, a commenter here (as a TAPPED commenter did earlier) invokes Ronald Dworkin's argument that abortion is a "cosmic shame" that nonetheless doesn't rise to the level of murder. The commenter says:
TAX-EXEMPT MONEY-LAUNDERING. The Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, led by Max Baucus, have put together a minority report (PDF) questioning the tax-exempt status of several of the non-profit organizations that apparently put dollars through the Maytag for the felonious Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (It should be noted that Finance committee chairman Chuck Grassley did sign off on the report.)
The latest Fed Beige Book, which gives assessments on current economic conditions from the Fed's 12 regional banks, reportedly finds that the impact of falling gas prices is offsetting the impact of the weak housing market. This one doesn't sound quite right.
HOW DO YOU SAY "SI SE PUEDE" IN CHINESE? Here's a very simple question: Do you think worker laws are too generous in China? Do you think employees there get paid too much, or treated too kindly? Well, America's corporations do.