WHEN THE OP-ED PAGE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE NEWS PAGE IS DOING... Yesterday's Washington Post op-ed page had a very sensible column from education writer Jay Mathews. He argues that the media sensationalism surrounding over-worked, over-pressured high-schoolers is totally misplaced. Media elites regurgitate this story because their own children attend fancy suburban public schools or urban private or magnet schools, where students have too much work, too many extracurriculars, and too much pressure to get into Dartmouth.
POSITIVE REENFORCEMENT. Check this out in the Times:
�What matters is that in this campaign that we clarify the different points of view,� Mr. Bush said from the press secretary�s lectern in the White House conference center up the street from the Oval Office. �And there are a lot of people in the Democrat Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done, period, and they�re wrong.�
BILL'S MISREMEMBERED BIPARTISANSHIP. Far be it for me to criticize Bill Clinton (or, for that matter, Hillary), but his op-ed today is just nuts. Celebrating welfare reform's better-than-expected results, he generously concludes that "[r]egarding the politics of welfare reform, there is a great lesson to be learned, particularly in today�s hyper-partisan environment, where the Republican leadership forces bills through Congress without even a hint of bipartisanship.
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.