Archive

  • WON'T LAST THE...

    WON'T LAST THE DAY. That's what Bay Buchanan was saying yesterday afternoon on CNN about the fate of House Speaker Dennis Hastert in response to the latest development in the Mark Foley scandal -- the one in which Kirk Fordham , Foley's former chief of staff, claims he brought, three years ago , Foley 's predatory behavior with pages to the attention of staffers in the speaker's office. (Bay's literal prediction has been proven wrong, of course, but it's early yet.) All this comes on the heels of calls by prominent right-wingers, most notably New Right Founding Father Richard Viguerie , for Hastert to step down. As per Tuesday's prediction by Brother Rosenfeld that Rep. Tom Reynolds , chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, could be next in line after Hastert to take a fall, of course the office that Fordham moved to after he left Foley's staff was none other than Chairman Reynolds'. --Adele M. Stan
  • Fed Talk: Warning on Housing Market Assessments

    Every news article that reports on Fed Chairman Benjamin Bernanke's assessment of the housing market should include a warning notice. Alan Greenspan has publicly stated that he deliberately chose to not to talk about the stock bubble while it was inflating, even though he recognized the bubble, because he thought it was inapproprate for the Fed to try to influence the course of the bubble. If Mr. Bernanke has the same view of the Fed's responsibilities as Alan Greenspan, this means that he would not say that he believed there to be a housing bubble, even if in fact did believe that there was a housing bubble. This means that, whether or not Mr. Bernanke's believes there is a housing bubble, he will say that he sees no serious risk of major price declines in housing prices. Reporters should inform readers of this possibility when reporting Mr. Bernanke's public statements on the housing market. --Dean Baker
  • FOR THEM BEFORE...

    FOR THEM BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST THEM. The National Labor Relations Board, currently stacked with anti-worker Bush appointees, ruled today that about 8 million workers are actually of supervisor status, and thus cannot form unions. Charming. Exactly one month ago, Bush spoke at a union's Center for Maritime Training and Education, saying : Michael, I didn't realize how strong your facility -- facilities are here. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a fantastic facility. It speaks to your leadership, and the leadership and the importance of your union. And so, here on Labor Day, I say to the union members who are here, happy Labor Day, and thanks for supporting leadership that is progressive, smart, capable, and has your best interests at heart. Think Bush qualifies? A comprehensive rundown of the atrocious new rules can be found here . -- Ezra Klein
  • THE REAL CULPRIT.

    THE REAL CULPRIT. I'm truly going to miss the old girl when she loses by a couple of miles in November. Perhaps in gratitude to Mark Foley for declining to run for the Senate, thereby enabling her to put together the most singular combination of incompetence and public nutbaggery in the history of American electoral politics, Katherine Harris cuts right to the heart of the ongoing scandal -- if you're keeping score at home, the Republican leadership of the House knew nothing of any of this, but the omnipotent Democratic leadership sat on this information until just the right moment. Katie, you've been a joy. Some day, I'll figure out how you beat the rap in Salem. --Charles P. Pierce
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CONFOUND IT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CONFOUND IT. You knew it was coming: Paul Berman rejoins Eric Alterman 's rejoinder to his essay on I.F. Stone . What is the proper way to assess Soviet Communism's influence on the American left? What does Berman think a midcentury American Menshevik has to teach American liberals about current Iran policy? All this and more get discussed -- Berman on Alterman on Berman on McPherson on Stone. --The Editors
  • WEBCAMERON. Wrist-deep in...

    WEBCAMERON. Wrist-deep in a sink full of dirty dishes, discussing his vision for a better country while continuously fighting off interruptions from his kid -- this is how Britain�s boyish new Conservative Leader David Cameron chose to appear in a new behind-the-scenes website launched this week. Cameron, who spoke today at his party�s conference and is profiled glowingly in this morning�s Times , is already a political phenomenon across the pond. WebCameron 's mix of aggressive informality and smart technology adds to the intrigue. Cameron does the dishes. Cameron discusses a speech he gave minutes previously. Cameron taps away at a laptop, while the camera pans in to reveal he is actually writing his own blog . The site�s creators clearly believe that the only production values that can inspire trust among cynical voters are no production values at all. Few politicians here in America have yet managed this trick of conveying a strong personal touch through new media. (I'd say John...
  • COMMAS.

    COMMAS. Once again, the president has been gifted with a new turn of phrase and he's taking it on the road with him. On Tuesday, talking about the war in Iraq, he told an audience in California: You know, it must seem like an eternity to you, when you think about those elections last December. It certainly does to me, in some ways. Ultimately, when this chapter of history will be written, however, it's going to be a comma. The Iraqis voted for freedom -- comma -- and the United States of America understood that Iraq was the central front in the war on terror and helped this young democracy flourish... Not surprisingly, the president got the grammar wrong. A comma is incorrectly used when the word "and" is used to join equal and coordinate elements of the same sentence. You don't need a comma before "and" in that sentence. Occasionally, however, you do need a comma before "and." Usually, that is what is called the "serial comma," which is back in vogue with grammarians (as it should be...
  • SAUDI ARABIA TO WALL OFF IRAQ.

    SAUDI ARABIA TO WALL OFF IRAQ. As Juan Cole observes , it's hardly a sign of confidence in the Bush administration that Saudi Arabia is planning to build a giant fence in the hopes of lessening the expected blowback of jihadis fresh from the World's Most Expensive School for Terrorists , a.k.a Iraq. The high-tech, 900-km long fence will take five-six years to complete, according to Nawaf Obaid , head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project and an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Obaid authored a report for CSIS in April that analyzed the implications of Bush's Iraq fiasco for Saudi national security.As you can imagine, the report makes for very depressing reading. Foreshadowing the recent debate over the NIE (pdf), Obaid recommended that Saudi Arabia be more effective in communicating its assessment of the real situation in Iraq to American policymakers, because: ... statements by US officials indicate that the Bush administration...
  • THE WAL-MART EFFECT....

    THE WAL-MART EFFECT. So long as I'm talking books, I've been trying for days now to figure out how to recommend Charles Fishman 's The Wal-Mart Effect , which is by far the most important, enlightening, and judicious examination of the new economy I've yet seen. Since all I've got for the tome is unadulterated, schoolgirl-like praise, a review wouldn't quite have worked, so I'm just going to shoehorn it in here. If you're at all interested in the subject, Fishman's book is among the top two or three I've ever read on a contemporary issue (the others, if you're interested, being Jason DeParle's American Dream and Thomas Geoghegan 's Which Side Are You On ?). It's masterfully written, deeply reported, and thoroughly analyzed: You'll close the last page thinking differently than when you opened the first, which is about the highest praise I can offer a book. Give it a look. -- Ezra Klein
  • BOOKS. David...

    BOOKS. David Brooks argues that one indicator that conservatism is running out of steam is a distinct paucity of "big, impactful books" on the right. He reminisces about the good ol' days, the 80's and 90's, when George Gilder, Alan Bloom, Charles Murray, and others were writing books that fundamentally shifted how conservatives viewed the world. Such books aren't being released lately, he laments. Well, truth be told, my knowledge of conservative publishing is rather sparse, so I've little more than a suspicion that he's right. But is the left any different? Over the past ten years, and certainly over the past five, it would be simple to point out titles that changed how the left views politics . Books like What's The Matter With Kansas, Don't Think of an Elephant, and even Crashing the Gate offered fairly fundamental insights into the depressing electoral realities facing Democrats. But eliminating the strategic, have there been any really important books for how the left views the...

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