UNIONS AND POLITICS.Kelly Candaele, a former Los Angeles AFL-CIO employee, has one of those occasional op-eds counseling that the union movement recede from politics and focus on organizing. A couple thoughts:
AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL. The boss, Mountaineer Mike Tomasky, probably thinks that none of his minions read Marie Claire. He's wrong. Yow! I wonder if the latest issue has reached the End Zone Pub in Morgantown yet.
ABOUT THOSE INSURGENTS. "The number of roadside bombs planted in Iraq rose in July to the highest monthly total of the war," reportsThe New York Times, "offering more evidence that the anti-American insurgency has continued to strengthen despite the killing of the terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi." Previous expert commentary on the insurgency:
TALKIN' BOUT GROWTH. This is a great catch over at Dean Baker's blog (which TAP, I should remind you, now has the honor of hosting). Baker noticed The New York Times writing about Europe's 1 percent growth rate -- a pathetic, anemic figure, that supports all the conservative crowing about the failure of the social democratic system. Except that the NYT, for God knows what reason, reported Europe's growth only in quarterly terms, and never contextualized it into a yearly rate (the standard measure for growth).
YOU CANNOT KILL JOE, YOU CAN ONLY MAKE HIM STRONGER. The latest polling out of Connecticut shows Joe Lieberman beating Ned Lamont by 12 points, 53-41 percent. The "actual" Republican in the race, Alan Schlesinger, is being demolished, clocking in at a mere four percent. Even more telling, though, are the internals. Lieberman gets a full 75 percent of the Republican vote, making him, for all intents and purposes, the Republican nominee.
The press treated it as big news that inflation in the core CPI came in at 0.2 percent in July after being 0.3 percent in each of the prior 4 months. The celebration may be premature. While there is some evidence of easing price pressure in the data (lower medical care inflation stands out in this regard), most of the story in July's lower inflation was a 1.2 percent drop in apparel prices. Apparel prices are always erratic, and it is very unlikely that a drop of this size will be repeated. If we construct a non-apparel core CPI, here is what it would have shown since February:
Feb -- 0.209
Mar -- 0.310
April -- 0.278
May -- 0.279
June -- 0.307
July -- 0.268
IN DEFENSE OF MY DEFENSE OF... Since I'm back in my on-again, off-again role as TNR defender, let me say a couple things in response to Charlie: First, we need to be clear on which circle of counterintuitive hell we're occupying at any given moment. Reeve's defense of Coulter is not the sort of impulse that gave rise to Betsy McCaughey's smear against health care, or the magazine's excerpts of The Bell Curve. What allowed those two atrocities has a name: It's Andrew Sullivan, who edited the magazine during that era and still claims those two pieces as top accomplishments on his bio.
BATHHOUSE HISTORY. I do thank Ezra for linking to an earlier Kaus post about the Beinart-Coulter slapfest on Larry Kudlow's show, if only because it pointed out another area in which la Coulter knows next to nothing. Here she is, fuming in response to something Beinart said about her anti-gay bigotry:
MS. COULTER: "Wait. Where are all those heterosexual bathhouses? I must have missed that period of the '70's.