THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN. There�s an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal on the trend of millionaires giving their money away when they're young rather than when they're old. The piece focuses on medical charity -- grants to cancer foundations and disease research -- as do, I assume, the actual donations as well. That's because these gifts aren't charity in the traditional sense. They're investments, and their ultimate beneficiary is often the millionaire themselves. Cancer, for instance, is largely indiscriminate in its victims, as pleased to attack the rich as the poor.
BLOG POWER! Continuing his welcomed crusade to infuse blogospheric filibustering with actual data, Scott Winship has some additional information on the size and potential power of the Netroots. A few caveats, though: cross-comparisons of group numbers only work so long as the average member of each organization exerts an equal amount of influence. The reason interest groups matter, after all, is because they're pockets of frenetic activity in an otherwise apathetic landscape.
POLARIZATION WHY?Howard Kurtzreports that "a group of political strategists who have spent years firing heavy artillery at each other came together at the Hay-Adams Hotel yesterday, put aside their weapons, decried the polarized state of debate in America and vowed a new approach to peaceful coexistence." My first instinct is to say that any Democrats (and, for that matter, Republicans) who have any of the strategists in question working for them ought to fire them all immediately. Obviously, there's absolutely no place for people who don't like partisanship running partisan political campaigns.
Many of the stories on the reduction in the 2006 budget deficit have correctly focused on the fact that the long-term deficit picture still looks pretty awful. However, they have badly misled readers about the reason for the deficit problem. The standard line is that "Social Security and Medicare" costs will explode as the baby boomers retire (e.g. this NYT piece).
NYT MISSES THE POINT. Today's New York Timesprofile of Keith Olbermann as the great hope of MSNBC misses the most interesting aspect of his ascent. It focuses entirely on the humorous side of Olbermann's beef with Bill O'Reilly and the accusation that Olbermann is picking fights with O'Reilly to boost his ratings. The article never considers whether Olbermann may actually be going after O'Reilly's statements because Olbermann is legitimately offended by statements like this:
A REFRESHER FOR SNOW.Kevin Drum already beat the facts out of this little nugget on his blog, but Tony Snow's performance at his press briefing on Monday deserves another couple of kicks. Snow made a sneering little reference to Bill Clinton's approaches to the "Dear Leader." Well, there were those of us who were at the delegate breakfast when then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told the world that the President looks upon the people of this country the way that he would look upon 10-year-old children who need protection.
FRANK ZEIDLER, R.I.P. An awful lot of my personal politics were formed in Wisconsin and not just because that's where I went to college. I grew fascinated by a cultural mix that could produce both Battlin' Bob and Tailgunner Joe. The legacy of the LaFollette progressive wing was what won my heart, and one of the best evenings I can recall in Milwaukee was spent in the home of one of my professors, listening to Frank P. Zeidler talk about government. He is the last Socialist who ever will be mayor of an American city, and he talked about politics in a kind of good-government sense that had a lot more to do with clean water and good schools than it did the creation of the industrial bourgeoisie.