FLOP. FLOP. FLOP. A little over 20 years ago, I went fishing on a cold Wisconsin lake. I pulled in a fairly good-sized bass. It was a handsome critter, and it flopped around in the bottom of the boat. Flop. flop, flop. I had a Polaroid taken of me and the fish and then we threw it back into the lake. I remembered that moment while watching this remarkable hunk o� video. I can assure you that, as it was flopping around in the boat, believing itself on the way to the fishy afterlife, it was at every second more at ease and articulate than the Ivy-educated lady in the middle panel is in this clip.
NIRVANA AND VOTING. Arguably the last great era of FM radio was grunge. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins -- these bands rose from obscurity into the pantheon of rock. It was something to behold. But then there was a shift. Radio stopped taking risks. It slung Backstreet Boys, �N Sync, and other over-produced garbage. It brought in a profit and was safer than the garage band that kept sending in their cassette tapes. Result? Radio listenership fell.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FRIDAY REVIEWS. Two reviews today of new films to check out. Tracie McMillanassesses the new PBS documentary on the working poor, Waging a Living, while Alex P. Kelloggrecommends OutKast's vibrant, subversive musical, Idlewild.
BUT ARE YOU REALLY SURPRISED? New data out of the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research shows that though the nation's largest employers -- those with over 1,000 employees -- still overwhelmingly offer access to health benefits, fewer and fewer of their employees are able to afford the options. Between 1996 and 2004, megafirm workers purchasing their employer's health insurance dropped from about 88 percent to about 81 percent -- a seven percent decrease in eight years. The most significant drops came in the retail (Wal-Mart) sector, where participation plummeted by 16 percent, but numbers were down across all industries.
WEEPIN' JOE AND BATTY BECK.This is the kind of thing that passes for wit on the rightist radio circuit. Ordinarily, it would float past us unremarked as further evidence that the primary thing wrong with the concept of Intelligent Design is the adjective, and not the noun.
SWEET, SWEET ITALY-BASHING. All last week, on IM, I've been chatting with TAPPED alum and current UN DispatcherFast Leon Goldberg, mocking the idea of an Italian-led peacekeeping mission in Lebanon. Italy, after all, has what's got to be the western world's least distinguished military record, managing to get stomped by the disintegrated Austro-Hungarian Empire on various occasions, failing to subdue Ethiopia during the high tide of imperialism, and generally proving to be more millstone than ally during the Second World War. It did, however, occur to me that this might be an unfair smear. Maybe Italy has a distinguished record in contemporary peacekeeping operations.
WHY EDUCATION IS GOOD FOR THE LADIES.Forbes.com executive editor Michael Noer's execrable and poorly reported "article," "Don't Marry Career Women," has been given the thorough mocking it deserves by now, making his name and his site the laughing stock they deserve to be for years to come. Those who are yearning for some real data on what life is like for contemporary "career women" won't have to wait for Noer's ignominy to fade, though.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: WHAT WOULD LENIN DO? Should progressives seek to shore up the employer-based healtcare system in ways that help employees of companies like Wal-Mart, or are such measures actually counterproductive to the long-term goal of replacing that system with national health insurance? Do things need to get worse before they get better? Ezra and Nathan Newman recently tussled over this question. Today, Maggie Maharweighs in on the debate. She's with Ezra.
THE PERILS OF MULTILATERALISM UNILATERALISM.Charles Krauthammer has another one in his occasional series of columns deriding the usefulness and effectiveness of multilateralism. It would seem, however, that his thinly veiled contempt for the cumbersome process of consensus-building is a bit misplaced -- he's convinced that both North Korea and Iran will finish their nuclear bombs, and nothing we or our allies can do will stop them. That is, of course, true. But it's a truth that multilateralism could have helped prevent.
WORTH SEEING? So far I have watched one-and-a-half of the recently released documentaries about the national tragedies of September 11 and Katrina. On Native Soil is the film version -- presuming a documentary can actually substitute for the National Book Award-nominatedReport -- of the findings of the 9-11 Commission. I�m also halfway through Spike Lee�s four-hour film, When the Levees Broke, about the Katrina disaster.