• Finger Pointing on the Housing Bubble

    We are still at the early stages of the collapse of the housing bubble, but it�s not too early to start pointing fingers. This isn�t a question of vengeance, the issue is accountability. If the dishwasher breaks the dishes, she gets fired. If the custodian doesn�t clean the toilet, he gets fired.

    Economists think it�s very important that people who don�t do their job adequately face serious sanctions, including job loss. This provides the necessary incentive for people to do their job effectively, and sustains the economy�s productivity. This is why it is important to identify the people who did not do their job, and therefore contributed to the growth of a dangerous housing bubble.


    LAUER STEPS UP. How I mourn, and if I mourn, is nobody's business but mine. It's not the business of network news organizations, and it's certainly not the business of the ambitious young hacks of local news who send the latest Lisa or Brian to New York to stand over a mass grave while maudlin piano music tinkles away in the background.


    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CULTURE CLASH. The clash of civilizations theory isn't, in fact, all bogus, says Addie Stan; but the conclusions the right has drawn from it are the reverse of what's really called for.

    --The Editors


    BEATING DR. BEETROOT. In the world of the AIDS pandemic, South Africa is, as Stephen Lewis, the U.N. Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, memorably termed it, "the unkindest cut of all." The only country in the region rich enough to truly mount an aggressive campaign against the disease is hampered and hamstrung by an administration so aggressively opposed to science that they make the Bush crew look like the MIT Electron Microscope Appreciation Club.


    FALSE SENSE OF INSECURITY? Yesterday's New York Times Week in Review piece about the state of the war on terrorism does the service of raising a notion and a possibility that no politician has found very useful to acknowledge:


    THE LEFT'S COMING OF AGE. For years now, the standard attack on liberals or liberal Democrats has been two-pronged. The first prong proceeds from the idea that the vast majority of liberals are weak, slow-to-learn political bunglers who repeat the same mistakes, chose the same dumb candidates, take lumps without fighting back, etc. The second prong of the attack is to assert that the small sliver of politically competent liberals are ruthless, shameless, rabid radicals bent on destroying the country and its values -- not to mention liberalism itself and the Democratic Party along the way. Call it the feckless-or-reckless critique: The smart, reasonable elements are weak, and the strong elements are unhinged lunatics.

  • REMEMBERING POST-9-11. ...

    REMEMBERING POST-9-11. I'm going to eschew the 9-11 remembrance motif that's flitting through the blogosphere. Like all Americans, I found the day to be wrenching and horrific, the experience hallucinatory and unsettling. But I lived all the way out in California -- indeed, in the very same town where Duncan noticed a curious detachment from the event -- and to pretend that I can even start to understand the agony it caused those who were immediately affected would be nothing more than an opportunistic attempt to use a national tragedy to enhance my own moral credibility. So I won't.


    THE RETURN OF GOREWATCH It�s been awhile since we did this, but I'm becoming convinced that Al Gore will run. Part of my reasoning has to do with grapevine, friend-of-a-friend type of stuff; part of it is that the realization of Hillary's weaknesses has made the field look more open than it previously did; part of it is warm reception his movie received; and part is that Gore's "denials" have become about as convincing as Hillary's.

  • I COME NOT...

    I COME NOT TO BURY DAVID BROOKS... Last week I wrote extensively on the problems I saw with David Brooks' recent column on inequality. I thought it both dead wrong and totally misleading as to the views of Lawrence Katz, the Clinton economist Brooks brandishes for bipartisan cred. Folks can check out the interview I did with Katz here, rebutting much of it. That said, Brooks' follow-up piece, where he proposes some solutions to inequality, was actually quite good, and is coming in for some rather unfair criticism.


    FROM THE SEPTEMBER PRINT ISSUE: THE REAL RUDY. Rudy Giuliani became "America's Mayor" five years ago today with a show of strong leadership while New York was attacked. But the credibility regarding terrorism and security that Giuliani garnered for himself that day doesn't stand up to scrutiny. In this piece from the September print issue of the Prospect (adapted from the upcoming book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11), Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins lay out an eight-year history of error and negligence on the mayor's part that has never gotten the attention it deserves.