NEW RULE. To follow up on Matt's spat with David Frum, I think a rule needs to be adopted: If you don't care about income inequality normally, you're not allowed to make it your central argument against immigration. Frum is a guy who, throughout his career, has argued that income inequality has simply been a surge of salaries at the top. And he's been similarly unconcerned about mobility (which has decreased across the board, not just for Mexicans). The rich get richer, but the poor don't get poorer, so why worry?
DUBLIN DISPATCH. This is the way politics should be. On a visit to Dublin this week, I happened to be in Grogan's public house at 11 a.m. The occasion -- as though one needs an occasion to be in Grogan's -- was a press event to celebrate a month-long tribute by the city to At Swim-Two-Birds, the Flann O'Brien masterpiece which is merely the greatest novel ever written by the hand of man, as part of Penguin International's "One City, One Book" series. There was a spirited public reading of "A Pint Of Plain Is Your Only Man," the epic poem by Jem Casey (the Poet Of the Pick), which is one of At Swim's many highlights.
LESSONS UNLEARNED. To slightly dissent from Ezra's take on John Conyers's column on impeachment, I don't really think it's evidence of significant preemptive punch-pulling on oversight by the Democrats. This proposal for a select bipartisan panel is indeed possibly dubious, but I don't read it as being intended as the model for all committee investigations and hearings under a Democratic majority, just for the hot-potato impeachment question.
THE CHICANO DIFFERENCE?David Frumtags me with glossing over some wage data in regard to the assimilation debate. He doesn't challenge the point about language use, so I'll take it that he's conceding this point to me. Frum observes that intergenerational Latino-Anglo wage convergence has slowed markedly since 1980 or so, which seems to be true. He attributes this to the difference between the older, Cuban-dominated Latino population and the newer, Mexican-dominated Latino population. That, however, just seems to beg for a further explanation of what about that difference makes a difference.
THE CONYERS PLAN. Obviously stung by Republican accusations that he's just achin' to impeach, Rep. John Conyers, potential chair of the Judiciary Committee in a Democratic House, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post laying out the Conyers Plan for his committee.
GORE WATCH. Looks like Al's well on his way to netting the all-important Ariannaendorsement. She checked out his new film and left the theater rather impressed. "Whether Al Gore ends up running in 2008 or not," she writes, "he is modeling the way our public figures, and especially our would-be presidents, should be operating -- from the heart and true to themselves.
THE RACE CARD. It's worth linking to some recent Media Matters items on Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson who, rather than adopting the Robert Samuelsonbad statistics approach to immigration restrictionism, have left the racism pretty close to the surface of their thinking about the issue. And, one has to concede that O�Reilly and Gibson are correct -- unless you massively reduce immigration off its current trends, America's future is going to have a much smaller proportion of white Anglos, sort of like the present-day Texas or California.
NUCLEAR BLUFFING.Dahlia Lithwick's ruminations on a possible revival of the nuclear option fight and the dangers this particular method of base-pandering could pose for the GOP are worth reading. Lithwick argues that the Bush administration wouldn't be able to appease its religious right base even if Senate Republicans pulled the nuclear trigger this fall, but that's probably thinking a step further than necessary.
The Times ran a piece this morning on a budget resolution passed by the House last night. According to the article, the resolution provides for a substantial increase in defense spending (not counting war expenditures) and some degree of cuts for everything else. However, it is not clear where (if anywhere) adjustments have been made for inflation (now between 3.0-4.0 percent) so I doubt that many readers have any clear sense of what spending changes would be implied by this resolution for a $2.7 trillion budget ($2.8 trillion on NPR).
To increase sales, we now have my new book, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer, available for free download in html format. It is still possible to get a free PDF download, or you can also order a paperback copy.
Also, for those interested in asking questions on the book, or just questioning my competence and integrity, I will be guest blogging at Maxspeak on Wednesday, May 24, from 1:00-2:30 (EDT).