BLING-BLING VERSUS RING-RING. As a piggyback on Matt�s observations yesterday about Juan Williams� rather superficial analysis of the problems of bling-bling in the black community, I am reminded of the point Michael Harrington famously made in The Other America more than four decades ago: Consumer commodities (e.g., clothes and jewelry) are distributed by markets, whereas many of the most important community assets are allocated based on political power.
SPANISH BOMBS. Yesterday, new Corner blogger Mario Loyolatook to task "the hippies . . . the Howard Dean left" for ignoring their historical roots among "the European and American leftists who, during the Spanish Civil War, went to Spain to fight the rise of a fascist dictatorship," a moment said to have been "their finest hour." This strikes me as confused on several levels, but since when did this become the conservative line on the Spanish Civil War? I recall that a couple of years ago some right-winger or other managed to convince me that this particular sacred cow of the left was worth slaughtering.
ROUGH TIMES FOR SPECTER. And you thought Arlen Specter was having a rough decade, what with all the rolling over, fetching, and mock outrage he's been required to perform in his role as chairman of the kabuki Judiciary Committee of a rubber-stamp Senate during a lawless administration. Now, here come some guys in smocks from a cutting-edge lab, casting doubts upon the great triumph of his youth.
The Post had an article on the Congressional Budget Office�s (CBO) estimate of the cost of the recently passed Senate immigration bill that was sure to mislead anyone who reads it. The article�s headline warns that CBO estimated the 10-year cost at $126 billion.
This headline not only commits the common sin of scaring readers with a big number outside of any context (the spending is less than 0.4 percent of projected federal spending), it also fundamentally misrepresents the CBO report. The report is very clear that there was a mistake in the wording of the bill. The $126 billion is an estimate based on the mistaken wording.
A TRULY UNPOPULAR INCUMBENT. If Sen. Joe Lieberman is ever feeling sorry for himself, he can take some comfort in knowing that at least he's not in as a bad shape as the incumbent governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski, who is currently running third in the GOP gubernatorial primary contest. Just how unpopular is Murkowski? The AP reports:
Murkowski's approval ratings have skidded over the past four years because of much-criticized decisions such as appointing his daughter Lisa to his U.S. Senate seat and purchasing a state jet after his request for the aircraft was denied by both the federal government and state Legislature.
CALLING FOR RUMMY'S HEAD. Senator Joseph Lieberman sought, on yesterday's edition of Face the Nation, to prove that he really wasn't Bush's point man on the war in Iraq, after all. This he did by calling for the dumping of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Kinda like shooting fish in a barrel, don't cha think?
BARONE OFF THE DEEP END. Okay, I'm willing to accept the occasional deeply wing-nutty flavor of the national debate as a price to pay for having a First Amendment. I have a long-established sweet-tooth for the chewiest American brands of it, going back to the rainy Saturday in high school when my father, God rest his soul, gave me his copy of None Dare Call It Treason to read. (If you've never read it, get it now. It's a hoot.) But, I'm sorry, this is just nuts.
ENOUGH OF ST. PAUL. Life would be so much better for a lot of us folks of faith if we could just run St. Paul's sorry ass out of the New Testament the way they snuffed the Gospel of Thomas. Granted, the Book of Revelation has caused an awful lot of trouble, but it has the saving grace of being gorgeously written. Not so with the Bill O'Reilly of Tarsus, "that great blatherskite with his epistles in bad Greek," according to the immortal Flann O'Brien.
IN PRAISE OF MOM AND POP STORES. There was a bit of discussion on this site and elsewhere toward the end of last week about Andrew Young's criticism of mom and pop grocery stores. Some who disagreed with his racial analysis praised the big chains like Wal-Mart for their ability to potentially provide inner-city residents with quality produce at reasonable prices.