Archive

  • POVERTY WITHOUT RACE....

    POVERTY WITHOUT RACE. I'm intrigued by E.J. Dionne 's column today because it strikes me as such a clear example of the latest trend in liberal anti-poverty writing and thinking, which is to talk about the poor without any reference to race. Writes E.J. : All manner of politicians and columnists said in Katrina's wake that this was the time to revisit the problems of the destitute. The anguish of the people of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward would have at least some redemptive power if the country took poverty seriously again. It didn't happen. The innovative ideas that came from all sides were swept off the table. The poor became unfashionable once more. Congressional conservatives changed the conversation. A concern for the struggling gave way to debate over how to offset spending on Katrina with budget cuts -- directed in large part at programs for the needy. Poverty in America is unequally distributed, according to the latest from the Census (PDF): Last year, the poverty rate for...
  • THREE QUESTIONS FOR...

    THREE QUESTIONS FOR SEAN HANNITY. Continuing his long-standing effort to enrich the civic discourse, Hannity recently said : If you believe that these are consequential, transformative times, if you believe our borders need to be secure, if you believe that we need to cut taxes to keep the economy humming, if you think it's an absolute mistake and a disaster to pull out of Iraq too early, if you think we're gonna retreat in the war on terrorism, if you think we're gonna be less safe, less secure with a party that has a pre-9-11 mentality, then this is the time not to give up. This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of 'em is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn't become the speaker. Three questions for the Hannitized one: 1) So if given the choice, would you actually trade your life to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker? 2) If yes, is this localized to Pelosi, or generalizable to any Democrat? 3) Since you included "fighting" in your...
  • COCOON, THE RETURN.

    COCOON, THE RETURN. In TNR 's new Open University blog, Cass Sunstein has a post describing ideological amplification -- the tendency of likeminded people to reinforce and intensify ideological positions when dissenting viewpoints aren't included. David Greenberg follows up , applying the notion explicitly to the blogosphere and mentioning Sunstein's old book Republic.com , which had warned that the internet would encourage cocooning and ideological echo chambers that would produce extremism and damage serious deliberation. Sunstein has a sequel of a sorts to Republic.com coming out called Infotopia . I haven't had a chance to read through it carefully, but it appears to take a somewhat more optimistic view of the internet's effect on politics and deliberation, and to the extent that my impression is accurate, I'm glad to see it. Sunstein basically wrote Republic.com before blogs and internet political discourse came into their modern form, and I think it made a somewhat plausible...
  • AMERICA: CHILD NEEDING...

    AMERICA: CHILD NEEDING BABYSITTER, REVISITED. I know that I have a president who has speechwriters. They write speeches. So, is it too much to ask that they somehow arrange it so that, here in the middle of World War Whatever It Is, as the existential boogedy-boogedy reaches high tide and we confront the threat from Islamo-nazified-fascistic wha-dee-doo-dah, that the president of the United States not sound like a 12-year-old babysitter speaking to a room full of toddlers? From Wednesday night : We face an enemy that has an ideology; they believe things. The best way to describe their ideology is to relate to you the fact that they think the opposite of the way we think. We treasure the freedom to worship. We value the freedom for people to express themselves in the public square. We honor the right for people to be able to raise their children in a peaceful society so they can realize their dreams. The enemy we face doesn't believe in dissent. They don't believe in the freedom to...
  • CUZ WHO WANTS...

    CUZ WHO WANTS TO CURE CANCER? Over at The Wall Street Journal, Sharon Begley has an important column on the underfunding of the National Institute of Health and all the promising research that's falling by the wayside. She tells the story of Dan Welch , a molecular oncologist who discovered a molecule that suppresses metastases (and thus, cancer's progression) and sought to test whether it could be switched on to fight the disease. But when he went to the NIH, they said he needed to gather preliminary breast cancer tissue from hundreds of women, a project he simply lacked the funding for. That, replicated over and over again, is the story of the modern NIH. Clinton had accelerated the agency's funding, but, in 2004, Bush and the Republican Congress shut off the spigot, and money has flat-lined since. That's left a significant gap between the number of promising proposals from reputable scientists that get submitted and the number of promising proposals from reputable scientists that...
  • SOON ENOUGH, HE'LL...

    SOON ENOUGH, HE'LL BE "THE" MATT YGLESIAS. As Matt embarks on his sabbatical to write the great American foreign policy manifesto, we here at TAP thank him for the years of terrific contributions, steadfast indulgence, and inspiration. So much as you know Matt as a relentlessly provocative and sharp writer, we know him as a cubicle mate, where he's that guy, only more so, and at a higher decibel level. The office won't be the same without him, and we'll all be anxiously reading his new, consolidated blog to get our fix. You should too. Even the basketball blogging. --The Editors
  • WHERE'S THE EXORCIST WHEN YOU NEED HIM?

    WHERE'S THE EXORCIST WHEN YOU NEED HIM? In the small town of my birth, we had an official called a "fence walker." The office was a vestige of the days in which my town grew crops instead of cherubic suburban children, and I always thought the office still existed because nobody ever noticed it. I feel the same way about the fact that the Vatican apparently has an official exorcist. However, I sort of wish the guy would keep a lower profile than this . In the first place, the Vatican should avoid any publicly uttered sentence in which the names Pius XII and Hitler bump up against each other. Second, this sort of thing makes the church of my birth look completely nuts. And last, why in God's name doesn't this guy get on the stick and give us a hand with, say, the Department of Justice? --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE GEEZER VOTE.

    THE GEEZER VOTE. Is it possible that all the thundering rhetoric accompanying the public relations counterattack orchestrated by the White House -- and in particular their comparisons of the war on terror to the fascist and communist threats of the previous century -- is something more than an attempt to try to rescue Bush �s approval ratings and put Democrats on the defensive in time for the 2006 midterms? Specifically, is it a generational ploy to appeal to senior voters heading to the polls in two months? Turnout is always lower in midterms, and can fall even further for the more disaffected party, neither of which bodes well for the GOP. Even conservatives who happen to agree with Bush on Iraq may still stay at home because of their disgust over immigration and government spending. Desperate to find some identifiable, likely-to-vote base of support to help the GOP hold on to the Congress, I wonder if the White House is eyeing Americans who are particularly susceptible to communist...
  • RUMMY WRITES. ...

    RUMMY WRITES. It's only a matter of time before the blogosphere explodes in opprobrium to Donald Rumsfeld 's insipid Los Angeles Times op-ed defending his indefensible remarks from a few days back. The column has it all: Insinuations of treason, wild distortions of opposing viewpoints, total non sequiturs , an inability to squarely confront reality, and bizarre invocations of past World Wars. But one bit of the column seems to resonate more strongly with Rummy than the rest, and it's worth examining for a moment: � Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America � not the enemy � is the real source of the world's troubles? He calls this question "particularly important," rather than particularly irrelevant, or particularly made-up, because we're in a "war that, to a great extent, will be fought in the media on a global stage. We cannot allow the terrorists' lies and myths to be repeated without question or challenge." First, it's unclear what the world's troubles...
  • The Washington Post Redefines "Fast"

    The Post has an article headlined "Fast-Growing Countries to Gain More Clout at IMF." The list of countries is China, South Korea, Turkey, and Mexico. The first three countries can reasonably be described as "fast-growing," but not Mexico. Mexico's per capita GDP growth has averaged just 1 percent annually for the last decade, a slow rate for any country, but an especially pathetic pace for a developing country. Whatever the reason Mexico is getting increased clout at the IMF, it has nothing to do with fast growth. --Dean Baker

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