WHITHER THE PRICE OF OIL?Newsweek's Leonardo Maugeri seems pretty confident that oil prices are staying down for the time being, even as OPEC is discussing possible cuts in supply (there are conflicting reports about this, but there will at least be a meeting to consider the possibility).
To its credit, the New York Times can occasionally present substantially diverse viewpoints. Today�s paper includes an excellent piece by Paul Krugman, one of the country�s leading economists, about Wal-Mart plans to reduce its wage bill by hiring more part-time workers. Part-time workers get lower pay and fewer benefits.
Right next to Krugman�s column, it has a piece by columnist Tom Friedman (sorry, both Times Select and not linkable). In this column, Mr. Friedman proclaims himself a �radical free trader� and criticizes the people who oppose a new WTO treaty and the other trade agreements being pushed by the Bush administration.
LOUIE, LOUIE, WHOA, BABY. If you ask Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the reason former Rep. Mark Foley hit on teenagers was specifically because Foley is gay. (In fact, you don't even have to ask Tony; he'll spout this stuff without solicitation.)
If you ask Mark Foley why he hit on teenagers, he'll have his lawyer tell you it's because he was molested -- by a clergyman, no less -- when he was a teenager.
David Leonhardt sought to make amends for some of his recent columns by posing a very simple question, if corporate CEOs face a normal market, how come they never end up quitting jobs because of a pay dispute? He points out that the cases of CEOs just quitting for another job, as opposed to retiring or being dumped, are few and far between.
THE CARE CRISIS Over at TPM Cafe, Ruth Rosen has a stirring post on the glaring absence of child care and family issues from the national agenda, and the total inadequacy of the currently family support net. Reminds me of something Jacob Hacker said in his book The Great Risk Shift: "U.S policy treats families almost entirely as a personal responsibility, not a social priority." He's right, and it's weird.
FREEH LOUIE! Well, this certainly seems like a terrible idea on so many levels. Now, there will be no comments from the GOP leadership because of the "ongoing investigation," which likely will be "ongoing" until long after the elections in November, and which will be placed into the hands of an Opus Dei fellow-traveler who's never made a mistake he couldn't blame on someone else. Just the chap you want investigating a sex scandal the most important part of which is the failure of important people not named "Bill Clinton" to take responsibility for their own blunders.
NEW WAR, JUST LIKE THE OLD WAR (BUT WITH LESS TROOPS). This post of David Frum's asking whether Rumsfeld was actually wrong about some of his ideas reminds of a point I've been meaning to make: Rumsfeld's initial attempts to reform the defense procurement process and create a lighter, faster, more adaptable force were right. Many of the ideas, in fact, had been around since Gary Hart's bipartisan Military Reform Caucus, and some were directly adapted from those reports.
WHY YOU DON'T CROSS A KENNEDY. Those of us who despaired of Weepin' Joe Lieberman (I-Green Room) years ago have not been surprised by anything he's done over the past six months. He's always been a puling, mewling opportunist who'd sell his grandmother to the Malay pirates for a pat on the head from a jackleg preacher, or 15 minutes of banter on Don Imus's Wrinkle Farm, where he recently made giddy fun of the demolition of the Geneva Conventions. He's never breathed a political moment in which he was not John Breaux in a hairshirt.
IT AIN'T ABOUT BIGNESS. The quick-movingconversation on whether liberals have anything to say to libertarians who believe corporate power is only dangerous when united with state patronage is an interesting one, and worth thinking seriously about. The libertarians involved argue that liberals -- many of whom want to extend, enlarge, or at least perpetuate state power -- are unwittingly but unerringly strengthening the corporations they seek to constrain. Many of the liberals involved think that's nonsense.