INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN INEPT.Bloggers are in an understandableuproar over a Roll Call article in which a hodgepodge of nameless Democratic aides reveal that the leadership is readying to party like it's 2002 and refocus the election on economic issues. I'm a bit skeptical.
GUEST POST: FASTEN THE ROPES. Senator McCain and his colleagues deserve some credit; they have, once again, pushed back on an administration that is congenitally allergic to the rule of law. When faced with the senators� insistence -- along with the stern warnings of two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs and more than two dozen other senior retired military leaders -- that the Geneva Conventions should be preserved as a baseline standard for detainee treatment, administration lawyers did indeed scramble to resurrect Common Article 3 of the treaties, despite their initial attempt to write that commitment out of U.S. law altogether. According to Sen.
YOU LISTEN. This is just a heads up that Max Sawicky's always terrific MaxSpeak blog now looks to be even more interesting and frisky with the addition of decidedly non-EPIish center-left economist Jason Furman to the roster of contributors. Much mixing-it-up has already ensued. It will definitely be worth checking out.
AMERICANS AND TORTURE. Shrill Charlie Pierce and the unshrill New York Timeseditorialists are correct -- it was substantively a fool's game and a disgrace for Democrats to consciously refuse to engage the torture debate, and, as The Times puts it, "it�s time for them to either try to fix this bill or delay it until after the election." I totally agree with this. I will only note -- not by way of defending the Democrats, but merely of lamenting the state of the nation on this issue -- something Sandy Levinson said yesterday.
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.