Archive

  • GOOD ONE, CALIFORNIA....

    GOOD ONE, CALIFORNIA. The Corner's Anthony Dick needs a better sense of your humor. He's got a post today on California House Resolution 36, which focuses on Pluto's planetary status and the concern that "[d]owngrading Pluto's status will cause psychological harm to some Californians who question their place in the universe and worry about the instability of universal constants." As you may expect, he sells it as evidence of California's cosmic self-absorption and total looniness when, in fact, it's quite the opposite. The resolution is a clever joke meant to mock the priorities of the legislature -- which it does, with more flair, self-consciousness, and genuine humor than any similar bill I've seen. I really recommend you download the pdf , but here are some of the choicest lines: WHEREAS, The deletion of Pluto as a planet renders millions of text books, museum displays, and children�s refrigerator art projects obsolete, and represents a substantial unfunded mandate that must be...
  • OUTRAGE FATIGUE.

    OUTRAGE FATIGUE. I must confess at being a bit surprised by today's New York Times piece by Mark Mazetti , which challenges the veracity of several claims made two days ago by President George W. Bush regarding the efficacy of what the president called an " alternative set of procedures" for intimida-- er, interrogation of terrorism suspects by the CIA in its secret prisons. It's not the general quality of Mr. Mazetti's reporting that causes my reaction; he has done some stellar work on the national security front. Nor is it the notion that our president would lie to us, especially about the nature of the so-called " war on terror ." My non-plussed response, rather, stems from the idea that anyone considers such prevarication news enough to investigate it anymore. (Kudos to Mazetti.) Indeed, I find myself quite often falling victim to the condition of outrage fatigue, whereby I perceive an obvious lie, or something that doesn't pass the smell test, coming out of the mouths of the...
  • WILL THE REPUBLICANS...

    WILL THE REPUBLICANS ROLL OVER? It would be nice to believe, as this article reports , that various Republicans really are repulsed by the administration's desire to keep evidence secret from those being tried. After all, a veritable squadron of top military lawyers are aligned against the proposal, and Lindsey Graham even went on record saying that �It would be unacceptable, legally, in my opinion, to give someone the death penalty in a trial where they never heard the evidence against them, �Trust us, you�re guilty, we�re going to execute you, but we can�t tell you why�? That�s not going to pass muster; that�s not necessary.� Of course, I remember Arlen Specter rolling over on wiretapping, and Pat Roberts playing dead on the Iraq investigations, and Republican after Republican getting snake charmed or arm twisted by this crew till they willingly sacrificed their ideals and beliefs in a dazzling diaply of fealty to Rove. So my confidence level really isn't high. That goes for the...
  • 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'...

Pages