LAWRENCE KATZ SPEAKS. One last thing on yesterday's David Brookscolumn. My friend Reihan Salamwondered why I was so dismissive of the piece, and he was right to. In short, I've done a lot of reading into the economic literature on inequality and never, ever come across what Brooks was saying. Moreover, I'd read a fair amount of Lawrence Katz's work on inequality and it also failed to support Brooks' thesis. Something seemed wildly awry.
WHY THE REPUBLICRATS WILL RISE.Julian Sanchez has some thoughtful comments on my feature in the latest issue arguing that small government conservatism is dying and the right is going to swing towards an economic progressivism that takes the survival and encouragement of the nuclear family as its raison d'etre. His comments make me fear, however, that I overemphasize poll numbers in the original piece, so let me restate the evidence a bit.
THEY EVEN HURT THE ONES THEY LOVE. One of the real, overlooked tragedies of this whole ABC docudrama mess is that it plays political handball with the story of the late John O'Neill -- who is, by all accounts, superbly played by Harvey Keitel -- the relentlessly hellraising FBI cop who beat people over the head on the subject of al Qaeda until he finally ran out of friends and allies, and who died at the World Trade Center. I never met O'Neill, but I knew a lot of NYC reporters who knew him, and I trust all of them implicitly.
THE PROBLEM WITH THE LIKABILITY ECONOMY. Yesterday, David Brooks argued that merit is its own reward in the contemporary economy, and that those who are falling behind are doing so because of a lack of merit. Even on its surface this philosophy is among the most pernicious and noxious forms of historical justification for social inequality around. A story in today's New York Times news section really drives that point home. Let's look again at what Brooks wrote:
300 MILLION AMERICANS CAN BE WRONG. I do like the continual sharpening of differences between the libertarian health care wonks and, well, me. Today, Cato's Michael Cannonfiles the shank a bit more and stabs down to the heart of it: I think panels of experts should watch over health care decisions, he thinks individual patients should evaluate care (he is responding to a study that found individual patients are incompetent at evaluating care -- he believes that, if the world were radically different than it is, that study would be incorrect).
GOOD ONE, CALIFORNIA. The Corner's Anthony Dick needs a better sense of your humor. He's got a post today on California House Resolution 36, which focuses on Pluto's planetary status and the concern that "[d]owngrading Pluto's status will cause psychological harm to some Californians who question their place in the universe and worry about the instability of universal constants."
OUTRAGE FATIGUE. I must confess at being a bit surprised by today's New York Times piece by Mark Mazetti, which challenges the veracity of several claims made two days ago by President George W. Bush regarding the efficacy of what the president called an "alternative set of procedures" for intimida-- er, interrogation of terrorism suspects by the CIA in its secret prisons.
WILL THE REPUBLICANS ROLL OVER? It would be nice to believe, as this article reports, that various Republicans really are repulsed by the administration's desire to keep evidence secret from those being tried. After all, a veritable squadron of top military lawyers are aligned against the proposal, and Lindsey Graham even went on record saying that �It would be unacceptable, legally, in my opinion, to give someone the death penalty in a trial where they never heard the evidence against them, �Trust us, you�re guilty, we�re going to execute you, but we can�t tell you why�?
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY.Piercechannels Clio, Muse of History, delivering a stern warning to the folks in the Bush administration and over at ABC who keep making a mess of the past.