Archive

  • BILL'S MISREMEMBERED BIPARTISANSHIP....

    BILL'S MISREMEMBERED BIPARTISANSHIP. Far be it for me to criticize Bill Clinton (or, for that matter, Hillary ), but his op-ed today is just nuts. Celebrating welfare reform's better-than-expected results, he generously concludes that "[r]egarding the politics of welfare reform, there is a great lesson to be learned, particularly in today�s hyper-partisan environment, where the Republican leadership forces bills through Congress without even a hint of bipartisanship. Simply put, welfare reform worked because we all worked together. The 1996 Welfare Act shows us how much we can achieve when both parties bring their best ideas to the negotiating table and focus on doing what is best for the country." Wrong. Clinton vetoed the first two welfare reform bills the Republican Congress sent him for their unimaginable cruelty -- they were punitive programs, focused on punishing, not uplifting, poor blacks. The third bill sparked the most acrimonious and intense negotiations of the Clinton...
  • BLING-BLING VERSUS RING-RING.

    BLING-BLING VERSUS RING-RING. As a piggyback on Matt �s observations yesterday about Juan Williams� rather superficial analysis of the problems of bling-bling in the black community, I am reminded of the point Michael Harrington famously made in The Other America more than four decades ago: Consumer commodities (e.g., clothes and jewelry) are distributed by markets, whereas many of the most important community assets are allocated based on political power. Thus, a white kid from an affluent family in the suburbs heading to college in the fall of 1985 could afford to buy the new Air Jordans and throw them in the trunk of the car his folks bought him for graduation a few months earlier -- just as the high-school dropout from the single-mother family in the blighted urban area was able to buy the same sneakers, even though that meant spending his last $100. (The shoe salesman will take money from both.) Williams might counter that purchasing sneakers with the last $100 of dispensable...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: BODEGA BLUES.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: BODEGA BLUES. Matt elaborates his argument that liberals shouldn't let their criticisms of Wal-Mart lead them into enlisting in the cause of mom-and-pop retail. --The Editors
  • SPANISH BOMBS.

    SPANISH BOMBS. Yesterday, new Corner blogger Mario Loyola took to task "the hippies . . . the Howard Dean left" for ignoring their historical roots among "the European and American leftists who, during the Spanish Civil War, went to Spain to fight the rise of a fascist dictatorship," a moment said to have been "their finest hour." This strikes me as confused on several levels, but since when did this become the conservative line on the Spanish Civil War? I recall that a couple of years ago some right-winger or other managed to convince me that this particular sacred cow of the left was worth slaughtering. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the International Brigades more generally were organized by and under the control of the Comintern , which is to say Stalin . The membership was mostly Communists and fellow travelers. There's no reason for contemporary American liberals to look back on that movement as a key model to emulate, and there�s certainly no reason for contemporary American...
  • ROUGH TIMES FOR SPECTER.

    ROUGH TIMES FOR SPECTER. And you thought Arlen Specter was having a rough decade, what with all the rolling over, fetching, and mock outrage he's been required to perform in his role as chairman of the kabuki Judiciary Committee of a rubber-stamp Senate during a lawless administration. Now, here come some guys in smocks from a cutting-edge lab, casting doubts upon the great triumph of his youth. I have no intention of chasing this story any further into the Kennedy Assassination swamps than I already have, and I've forgotten most of the metallurgy they taught me in journalism school, but these guys seem to have no dog in this fight one way or another. Step up, Arlen. Take some time off from vandalizing the Constitution and explain to us (again) why you're not full of beans. (Thanks to Will Bunch for the link, and Susie Madrak for the original catch.) --Charles P. Pierce
  • Really Bad Immigration Bill Numbers at the Washington Post

    The Post had an article on the Congressional Budget Office�s (CBO) estimate of the cost of the recently passed Senate immigration bill that was sure to mislead anyone who reads it. The article�s headline warns that CBO estimated the 10-year cost at $126 billion. This headline not only commits the common sin of scaring readers with a big number outside of any context (the spending is less than 0.4 percent of projected federal spending), it also fundamentally misrepresents the CBO report. The report is very clear that there was a mistake in the wording of the bill. The $126 billion is an estimate based on the mistaken wording. CBO did a separate estimate that is based on the intention of the sponsors of the bill, as conveyed to them from conversations with the key sponsors of the bill and their staff. The net cost of the bill under this estimate is less than $35 billion over the next decade, or less than 0.1 percent of projected spending. Members of Congress may not be the brightest...
  • A TRULY UNPOPULAR...

    A TRULY UNPOPULAR INCUMBENT. If Sen. Joe Lieberman is ever feeling sorry for himself, he can take some comfort in knowing that at least he's not in as a bad shape as the incumbent governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski , who is currently running third in the GOP gubernatorial primary contest. Just how unpopular is Murkowski? The AP reports : Murkowski's approval ratings have skidded over the past four years because of much-criticized decisions such as appointing his daughter Lisa to his U.S. Senate seat and purchasing a state jet after his request for the aircraft was denied by both the federal government and state Legislature. A statewide poll by the Dittman Research Corp. showed Murkowski with 17 percent, compared with 40 percent for former Wasilla mayor Sarah Palin and 29 percent for former state legislator John Binkley of Fairbanks. Anti-incumbent fever this year clearly is not limited to just the blue states -- or even the mainland ones. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • CALLING FOR RUMMY'S...

    CALLING FOR RUMMY'S HEAD. Senator Joseph Lieberman sought, on yesterday's edition of Face the Nation , to prove that he really wasn't Bush 's point man on the war in Iraq, after all. This he did by calling for the dumping of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld . Kinda like shooting fish in a barrel, don't cha think? According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted between April 7 and April 16, 2006, 38 percent of respondents rated Rumsfeld�s favorably, while 40 percent did the same for the president. Now with Bush 's rating having dipped to 33 percent, according to the most recent AP-Ipsos poll , it's difficult to imagine that Rummy's hasn't continued its downward slide. Asked by Schieffer to illustrate his differences with President Bush on the conduct of the Iraq War, all Lieberman, the anti-Democrat Democrat, was able to offer was his call for Rummy's head. Over at NBC's Meet the Press , Senator John McCain , the maverick-in-name-only Republican, fell absurdly short of calling for...
  • BARONE OFF THE DEEP END.

    BARONE OFF THE DEEP END. Okay, I'm willing to accept the occasional deeply wing-nutty flavor of the national debate as a price to pay for having a First Amendment. I have a long-established sweet-tooth for the chewiest American brands of it, going back to the rainy Saturday in high school when my father, God rest his soul, gave me his copy of None Dare Call It Treason to read. (If you've never read it, get it now . It's a hoot.) But, I'm sorry, this is just nuts. Barone used to be a fairly respectable voice; in our house, we still pick up The Almanac of American Politics every couple of years. But, Michael, baby, I think you've been drinking out of the wrong water-cooler in the FOX Green Room, buddy. (Stay away from the one marked " Ollie North Only.") There's so much to be delighted by, but this is by far my favorite passage: We are taught that some of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders -- and are left ignorant of their proclamations of universal liberties and human rights. We...
  • ENOUGH OF ST....

    ENOUGH OF ST. PAUL. Life would be so much better for a lot of us folks of faith if we could just run St. Paul 's sorry ass out of the New Testament the way they snuffed the Gospel of Thomas . Granted, the Book of Revelation has caused an awful lot of trouble, but it has the saving grace of being gorgeously written. Not so with the Bill O'Reilly of Tarsus, "that great blatherskite with his epistles in bad Greek," according to the immortal Flann O'Brien . (In heaven, according to Himself, Paul is repeatedly squelched by his fellow saints, who tell him, "You're not on the road to Damascus now!") Anyway, here's the latest damage he�s done. The woman taught there for 54 years . Was she silent the whole time, or was the First Baptist Church of Watertown, N.Y., operating a carnival of sin in its Sunday school until the providential arrival of Reverend/Councilman LaBouf ? I can only imagine how many of these smaller, manifestly un-Christian incidents take place, day after day, all over the...

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