Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY. Pierce channels Clio, Muse of History, delivering a stern warning to the folks in the Bush administration and over at ABC who keep making a mess of the past. Do you have any appreciation for the kind of trouble this causes up here? That scene where the Afghans are going to hand over Osama bin Laden but Sandy Berger hangs up the phone on them? If that didn't actually happen, it's not my problem, but to whom do I hand it off? Do I give it to Melpomene, who handles Tragedies for the firm? She's got a fulltime job monitoring "The Young and the Restless," Lifetime TV movies, and Very Special Episodes of "Seventh Heaven." She wouldn't be able to get to it until after the October sweeps, at the earliest. Look, I'm not a difficult muse. I'm pretty open about the uses to which my material can be put. You want to film Field Of Dreams and have Shoeless Joe Jackson batting from the wrong side of the plate? Hey, magical realism and all. I'm...
  • CRAZY, NOT CORRUPT....

    CRAZY, NOT CORRUPT. I've been a bit puzzled recently by the unanimity of conservative support for Wal-Mart. It's not that the right should agree with me, or throw their lot in with the unions, but the confidence they place in the company's executives seems a bit odd. It's as if the class consciousness of yesteryear has given rise to its antithesis: corporate consciousness, a mindset where private corporations serenely pursue the public good, and any fall in their fortunes or impositions on their business model are direct attacks against the little guy. On the other hand, I don't really buy the implications of this New York Times article suggesting that the steadfast support of AEI, Heritage, The Manhattan Institute, and others is a quid prop quo for donations by the Walton Family Foundation. After all, I (and many liberals) routinely rely on the research of progressive think tanks like the Economic Policy Institute, which is both heavily funded by unions and scrupulously honest in its...
  • Will Autoworkers Catch Up to CEOs?

    According to the New York Times reporting on wages at Delphi, the autoworkers seem to be gaining rapidly. Earlier the NYT had reported that compensation for autoworkers at Delphi averaged $65 an hour. They never gave a detailed breakdown of this figure, but they did report that wages were $28 an hour. If the wage number is right, then the Times $65 an hour figure implies that Delphi workers average $37 an hour, or $74,000 a year, in health insurance, pension and other benefits. While I had noted that this seemed implausible to me, the Times has raised the bar in their latest reporting. It now tells us that workers at Delphi get more than $80 an hour in compensation. If the hourly wage rate is unchanged, then the Times is telling us that Delphi workers are getting health insurance, pensions, and other benefits that are worth $104,000 a year. I don�t think so. --Dean Baker
  • SORRY, NOT SORRY.

    SORRY, NOT SORRY. I realize this is not a mystery that ranks up there with whether the president really read a biography of Chairman Mao , but I suppose I should clarify that no, we won�t be apologizing to Karl Rove as per David Broder �s suggestion today. Broder cites a Salon piece by my friend Sidney Blumenthal (reprinted in Sid�s new book How Bush Rules ; buy it now!), a Newsweek piece by an unnamed writer, and a TAP cover story by our investigative editor Joe Conason as having unfairly calumniated Rove in connection with Plame -gate. It�s the standard line: that Mike Isikoff and David Corn �s revelation in their new book, Hubris ( buy it now!), that Richard Armitage was Bob Novak �s source has to mean that Rove and Scooter Libby are completely innocent. Joe dispensed with this argument in his Observer column yesterday: But whatever Mr. Armitage did, or says he did, in no way alters what Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby did in the days that followed, nor does it change their intentions. It�s...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE NEDSTER SPEAKS.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE NEDSTER SPEAKS. Yesterday was the latest Prospect breakfast (this one actually took place over lunch, but never mind). The guest was Ned Lamont , and he fielded questions from the audience of progressive journalists for an hour. The audio of the talk is available now ; a transcript will be posted soon. (Both will be made available on the Prospect 's muiltimedia page .) Give it a listen . --The Editors
  • READING PUBLIC OPINION...

    READING PUBLIC OPINION IN TEHRAN. Michael Ledeen wonders why, if Ahmadinejad is so popular, the Iranian government insists on censoring the press. I'd suggest that the impulse to intimidate and cow the popular press isn't quite specific to Iran. I wonder why, since Michael Ledeen has never even been to Iran , anyone listens to this sort of speculation from him. Back in the land of people who actually know what they're talking about, no matter how comforting it is to believe otherwise, Ahmadinejad's popularity is soaring -- he's engaged in a smart strategy to make himself America's primary opponent in the world, while simultaneously promoting programs for the poor and symbolic cultural reforms (he thinks, for instance, that women should be able to attend soccer games, a particularly controversial opinion in Iran). That he owes us a big basket of fruits and flowers for so precisely and enthusiastically playing our part in his own strategy is undeniable, but I guess George W. Bush knows...
  • THE LIKABILITY ECONOMY....

    THE LIKABILITY ECONOMY. To say a bit more about the economic fraud Brooks is perpetrating in his column , we've got to say a bit about meritocracy and how it relates to income inequality. Brooks would like you to believe that the driving force for inequality is a relative of skills-based technical change. That's what economists tend to call the adoption of computers, but Brooks appears to think it's currently about social skills. In his mind, the difference between the rich and the poor largely rests on having "high social and customer-service skills." The intent of this is that it justifies inequality. Instead of the maldistribution of income being something to fix, it's those who are losing income who are broken. Better yet, by relying on social skills rather than intelligence, Brooks makes the deciding factor mutable: a personality characteristic that we can change, improve, or develop. To say that this doesn't support the facts is like saying Newt Gingrich is a tad hysterical. It'...
  • MOUSEGATE CONTINUES! James...

    MOUSEGATE CONTINUES! James Bamford reveals that one of the FBI's consultants quit Disney's Path to 9/11 miniseries because he believed the producers and writers were simply "making things up." Elsewhere , Clinton and his top aides penned a four-page letter specifically refuting a series of fabricated vignettes from the show and demanding that ABC either make the necessary changes or pull the program. Nevertheless, an inside source on the show wrote conservablogger Hugh Hewitt , assuring him that "the blame on the Clinton team is in the DNA of the project and could not be eradicated without pulling the entire show." --Ezra Klein
  • BILL SPEAKS.

    BILL SPEAKS. Yesterday, I wondered about whether or not Bill Clinton was going to leave the House of Many Triangles and defend his record in the face of the now nakedly spurious ABC docu-fakery. Well, any man who defends himself in such a fashion that the staid, old New York Post can put a goofy headline on the story has answered more than adequately any complaints I might have had. I now entertain fond daydreams about the reaction on the right if ABC were to send this production off to cable hell the way the Reagan production was dispatched under fire three years ago. I also now remember that I saw this movie once and wonder whether my daydreams may be violating the laws regarding intellectual property. --Charles P. Pierce
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DEBATING THE MIDDLE.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DEBATING THE MIDDLE. Today's David Brooks column that Ezra discusses below referenced Monday's TAP Online piece by Steve Rose , but Brooks didn't mention that Rose's article is part of an ongoing debate we're hosting about the fate of the middle class and the appropriate political message for middle-income Americans. Here's the page for that debate. In addition to Rose and Larry Mishel 's opening salvos and Matt 's offering from Tuesday, responses from Jeff Madrick , Jacob Hacker , and Jason Furman are now included. The page will be continuously updated as further responses -- from other contributors as well as Rose and Mishel themselves -- are added, and a link to the debate will remain available on the Prospect 's main page. Give it a look . --The Editors

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