THE PARTY OF MORE STUFF. I'm not sure whether this is funny or sad, but at the end of a David Leonhardtcolumn arguing that middle-class growth and improvement is deeply understated by the inflation rate, Leonhardt admits:
BUY THIS BOOK. Last week, Brookings held a great book launch event for Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France by Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaisse. The book hit the Prospect�s office today, and it appears to be an exceedingly important read for anyone trying to understand how governments can help promote (or stunt) the integration process of Muslims immigrants to Europe.
EZRA -- STILL A WRITING FELLOW IN NEED. As we said yesterday, the Prospect depends on reader donations. Do consider helping out Ezra, the writing fellowship program, and the magazine with a donation.
UPDATE: Just to be clear: You'll notice Ezra's reading a plain, old dead-tree book in today's picture. Might he have been forced to sell his laptop due his dire financial situation? What's next, we ask you?
WATCH IT, PAL. Listen, Pierce: Andrew Natsios is my next-door neighbor. I�ve never met the man, but I consider an attack on him to be an attack on all of Woodside Park. And those rumors that he wants to build a $312 billion vehicular tunnel under Clement St. are just that!
MAKE YOU FEEL SAFER? One of the recurrent questions I get on panels, call-in shows, and e-mails is "What will be required to change the health care system? What can be done?" It's not a query I'm particularly well-equipped to field, but I think a good start would be photocopying this article on retroactive cancellations by insurers and handing a copy out to each and every American. No other piece I'm aware of exposes the absurdities and cruelty of the system as clearly, and so irresistibly signals the need for reform.
MISSING MICHAEL BROWN. Yesterday, at the United Nations, the president sought to reassure the world that he really has its best interests at heart. Here�s the speech. Now, there was a passage in the speech's late innings that caused the ol' head whiparound in a lot of us here in the Commonwealth (God save it!) It was that moment when the president spoke to the people in Darfur and told them that he would send one Andrew Natsios there as his own super-special presidential envoy.
EUROPE WORKS. Whatever the European social policy you may be advocating for, the almost inevitable, and usually instant, response from ill-disposed interlocutors is to bring up Europe's apparent unemployment problem and wonder if that's the future you're securing for the United States. Well, let them. The latest round of OECD employment data shows (PDF) that Europe has almost entirely closed the employment gap with the United States: The difference is now 1.1 percent, attributable entirely to low female workforce participation among women in Italy and Spain. Indeed, if you factor out the disadvantage conferred by our massive incarceration rate, they may well be ahead.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: LAMONT TALKS. On September 6, we had our seventh Prospect breakfast event -- the guest this time was Ned Lamont. The audio of the hour-long discussion between Lamont and an array of journalists is here, and now we've posted the full transcript of the event. (Both are also available on our multimedia page.)
Lamont fielded questions on subjects ranging from horse-race politics to health care to foreign policy. His answers were at times surprisingly candid.
The story on middle class living standards over the last quarter century is pretty bleak. There are some gains, but most of this is attributable to an increase in the number of workers per family � women have been entering the labor market. While this is the story from the official data, many of those arguing that living standards actually have been increasing rapidly go behind the data and argue that the consumer price index (CPI) overstates the true rate of inflation, and therefore understates the improvement in living standards.