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  • FLOP. FLOP. FLOP....

    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. --Charles P. Pierce
  • NIRVANA AND VOTING.

    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 . The same thing is happening to television. As iPods and YouTube have crept into our consciousness and as media outlets cower before the administration, television news viewership has dropped . Like radio, they�ve opted for the safe route and seem surprised when their viewers have turned their attention elsewhere.
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FRIDAY REVIEWS.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: FRIDAY REVIEWS. Two reviews today of new films to check out. Tracie McMillan assesses the new PBS documentary on the working poor, Waging a Living , while Alex P. Kellogg recommends OutKast's vibrant, subversive musical, Idlewild . --The Editors
  • BUT ARE YOU...

    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. The number may not seem large, but we're peering into the most protected, rarified realm of health insurance here. Massive employers can bargain down health costs far better than small employers or individuals, and their ability to spread risk across a large pool ensures fair pricing for all and relatively smooth cost growth. That health inflation is...
  • WEEPIN' JOE AND BATTY BECK.

    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. However, it should be noted that, just last week, Weepin' Joe Lieberman (I-Green Room) played kissy-face with this very same tackhammer. They agreed that we are currently in World War III and, if you read all the way to the end, you find that Weepin' Joe is "very proud" of his new friend. I guess this is what The Washington Post was talking about, back before the primary, when Fred Hiatt or someone went briefly off their meds and decided to launch this editorial from the highest peak of Delusion Mountain. Weepin' Joe is very proud of his new friend who makes jokes about blind people. Weepin' Joe remains the most prominent scarecrow on the Imus Ranch. Principles, my aunt Kate . He'd kick a crutch out from under a...
  • SWEET, SWEET ITALY-BASHING.

    SWEET, SWEET ITALY-BASHING. All last week, on IM, I've been chatting with TAPPED alum and current UN Dispatcher Fast 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. It could happen, right? Well, it could , but Jeremy Kahn , less lazy than I, takes a look at the evidence and finds nothing but more of the same. It's probably actually irrelevant to the current situation, in which the UN force is more of a face-saving way for everyone to return to the status quo ante and get a new...
  • WHY EDUCATION IS...

    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. This October, social scientist (and friend of GFR ) Christine Whelan will publish Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women (Simon & Schuster), which gathers in one place all the most recent facts about men, women, education, achievement, and marriage. Whelan finds, contra the misogynistic Noer's glib and partial reading of the social science literature, that real career women -- women with graduate degrees or who are high-earners for their age group -- are just as likely to marry as their less accomplished peers, and significantly less likely to divorce...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: WHAT WOULD LENIN DO?

    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 Mahar weighs in on the debate. She's with Ezra. --The Editors
  • THE PERILS OF...

    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. Going to your allies is not a solely transactional process. You do it to attract their cooperation and material support for your plans, to be sure, but you also do it to get outside feedback on your priorities. If no one is willing to accede to your scheme, it may indeed be a crackpot, counterproductive, or problematic undertaking. So it was with Iraq, which other countries realized would prove an eventual mess. When we were readying to enter the country, Dominique...
  • WORTH SEEING?

    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- nominated Report -- 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. Although the directors of ONS have an advantage in terms of the volume and visual impact of available footage -- is there any more compelling, if horrifying, footage than the sight of that second plane hitting the South Tower? -- Lee paces his film so slowly that I repeatedly found myself wanting to hit my DVR�s fast forward button. Though I�ll reserve final judgment on Levees until I plow through the last two parts of his four-part requiem, the choice of �plow� is the giveaway. Some of Lee�s interviews are great, especially those he extracted from New Orleans...

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