Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE ANTI-REGULATOR.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE ANTI-REGULATOR. This week, the president announced his nomination of the Mercatus Institute's Susan Dudley as federal regulatory czar. In an administration packed with fox-guarding-henhouse scenarios, this is one the most extreme -- and the president just may install her, John Bolton -style, through a recess appointment.* Genevieve Smith brings us the gory details . * Not, in fact, likely to be this month. --The Editors
  • SOCIALLY LIBERAL, FISCALLY...

    SOCIALLY LIBERAL, FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE. I find Jonah 's derision of the socially liberal, fiscally conservative viewpoint baffling. Not because the perspective isn't generally confused -- it is, for reasons I'll go into in a moment -- but his reasoning is so self-evidently addled. So as far as I can tell, he's relying on an old Derbyshire column explaining that socially liberal policies necessitate fiscal liberalism because, for instance, liberalizing views towards homosexuality leads to AIDS, which leads to money spent on treatment. Which makes sense. If only there were different words, arranged in a different order, which actually made sense. Both the beginning and the worst of the AIDS epidemic, as we well know, came during a period when views towards homosexuality were many, many more times regressive than they are now. The epidemic's reversal was accompanied by changes in attitude, and during those years, homosexual behavior was able to transform itself from a repressed, reviled...
  • THE CASE FOR RECEIPTS.

    THE CASE FOR RECEIPTS. It's obvious now that Mountaineer Mike has never been a daily sportswriter, particularly one sentenced to six weeks at spring training in a place like Winter Haven, the least-charming place in Florida, the Designer Mudflap Capital Of The Known Universe, the heartbeat of that part of the Sunshine State we like to call Baja Mississippi. Anyway, let me make it quite clear -- you save receipts for EVERYTHING. Sportswriter pals of mine have been known to submit -- and be reimbursed for -- ATM fees. If you don't, then They -- the big They, the beancounting bastards who run our lives -- will save the company money, and no self-respecting journalist ought to be in the business of saving the company money. This fall, I am contracted to do a major piece for TAP 's print manifestation. If I don't send in a receipt every time I think about spending money, then you can fluff up my hair and call me Lindsey Graham . You have been warned. --Charles P. Pierce
  • CRYING FOR JOE.

    CRYING FOR JOE. It's important to take a little history into a weekend in which I can guaran-damn-tee you the plight of poor Weepin' Joe Lieberman is going to render the Sabbath panel shows into the tear-jerking narrative spawn of Mildred Pierce and Judas Iscariot . Oh, the sights we're going to see. Oh, the things we're going to hear. (There also likely will be some incredibly dumb things about Mel Gibson , and about Oliver Stone 's new movie, which my moles tell me is brilliant, but which is going to get waved around like a cudgel by people who, not very long ago, thought Stone was Leni Riefenstahl on psilocybin. Ignore them and see it anyway.) Anyway, one of the things you will hear, probably from Republicans, unless somebody's managed to use the jaws of life to get Al From away from a hospitality buffet table, is that poor Weepin' Joe is only six years removed from being the Democratic nominee for vice president, and what possibly (sniff, sniff) can have happened to that party...
  • UNEXPECTING THE EXPECTED.

    UNEXPECTING THE EXPECTED. "Two top U.S. generals said yesterday that the sectarian violence in Iraq is much worse than they had ever anticipated and could lead to civil war," reports The Washington Post . It's good to see some reality creeping in. At the same time, it's worth noting that this outcome was fairly widely predicted by observers outside of the U.S. government. John Judis warned Prospect readers in April 2003 that "even if the United States quickly ousts Saddam Hussein, the Mideast might more closely resemble the gates of hell than the new dawn." He was drawing on some pretty basic facts: The country was knitted together by the British after World War I out of three Turkish-controlled provinces and is composed of three feuding religious-ethnic groups, the Sunnis, the Shia and the Kurds. Even though the Sunnis constitute only about a third of the population, the British, following the practice of the Turks, put this group in charge. Under Hussein they have remained so, but...
  • COMPLETELY OFF-MESSAGE FRIDAY AFTERNOON POST.

    COMPLETELY OFF-MESSAGE FRIDAY AFTERNOON POST. I noticed a couple weeks ago that Kevin Drum had a post laying out his wise strategy for avoiding sales clerks. So if he can do that one, I can unload with this. What bugs me is receipts. In this town, sales clerks everywhere are ceaselessly forcing sales receipts into your hand. What the hell is this about? I go into a CVS (a horrifying experience under any circumstance). I get a couple things. It comes to $4.38. Do most people really want a receipt for $4.38? Who still goes home and enters $4.38 into a checkbook? I simply cannot believe that 51 percent of consumers really want their receipts for small purchases like this. It�s just one more piece of useless paper to throw away, to have to� do something with. And when I work up the courage (such is their wrath) to tell them, no, I do not want the receipt, they look at me as if I�ve refused communion. Receipts for expensive purchases, sure. Those, I keep in a safe place. But for the drug...
  • OH, I SEE THE DIFFERENCE.

    OH, I SEE THE DIFFERENCE. Over at the Corner, they�ve been trying to poke holes in E.J. Dionne �s Post column today about the collapse of conservatism. The most beguiling entry is by Kate O�Beirne : E.J.'s eulogy for conservatism�recognizes that moderates in the largely conservative party have to be accommodated. True. That's the fate of a governing majority party. The alternative - a destructive purge to purify the ranks of the minority party - is on display in Connecticut. Hmmm. I guess she means like the way Lincoln Chafee is being tolerated in the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP is tolerating Chafee into a primary next month. He�s in a tight-as-a-tick race against a winger named Stephen Laffey , who has the endorsement of the Club for Growth and whose candidacy against Chafee is closely analogous to Ned Lamont �s challenge to Joe Lieberman . So if what�s going on in Connecticut now is a �destructive purge to purify the ranks,� then what exactly is next month�s Rhode Island...
  • PREDICTIONS. As...

    PREDICTIONS. As I've come of political age in the Bush era, I'm never comfortable watching expectations rise, my historical memory being an uninterrupted cycle of lifted optimism followed by dashed hopes. That said, with more and more pundits predicting a Democratic landslide, it's worth noting that there's a self-fulfilling aspect to these declarations. The stronger the conventional wisdom that Democrats are going to retake Congress, the more business and funders will seek to get on the good side of the coming majority party, and the less they'll see Republicans as a good investment. That means Democratic campaigns will have more resources with which to contest marginal or closely-fought seats, while Republican campaigns will have fewer. And, particularly in an environment where Democrats will get close to overturning Republican rule, those cash infusions could mean the difference between Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Emmanuel . --Ezra Klein
  • A CONSENSUS, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH.

    A CONSENSUS, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH. Kevin Drum is optimistic about the emergence of a new consensus encompassing most everyone "outside of the neocon crazies and the rabid partisans." Sadly, the governance of the country has been entrusted to neocon crazies and rabid partisans. This afternoon, for example, Rich Lowry penned one of the most chilling phrases I've ever read: "one pro-Israel hawk in the adminsitration I was talking to this morning very much shares Krauthammer's view . . . " -- no good could possibly come from having people agree with Krauthammer. He's one of -- if not the -- most genuinely pernicious people on the American intellectual scene. A forceful polemicist, blessed with the ability to engage in staggering levels of dishonesty on behalf of shockingly wrongheaded ideas. Or, as the vice president of the United States put it , "a man I admire very much . . . one great American . . . a superior intellect." This is the reality of the situation. Wrack your brain for a...
  • END OF AN...

    END OF AN ERA? It looks like Toyota is on track to pass GM as the world's largest automaker next year, and last month, they passed Ford to become America's second leading car company. Their second quarter income rocketed up 39.2 percent, and their July sales increased by 12 percent. GM and Ford, meanwhile , saw sales drop by 23 and 24 percent, respectively. I hate to harp so often on this point, but it remains true that unions are not the ill racking GM and Ford -- it's their inability to make cars that people want to buy that has so hampered them. Toyota's sales are being driven by fuel efficient autos (Corollas are up by 37 percent, Priuses by 15 percent), while GM and Ford's drop comes anchored to losses in their trucks divisions. Over the last couple of decades, the American automakers bet on power and size, leaving wimpy efficiency up to their Japanese competitors. They bet wrong. And they're paying dearly for it. But, speaking as a Ford owner whose car posts dismal mpg readings...

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