Like everyone else, the media have been confused on this basic question, with the main data sources providing very different answers. Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the employment cost index (ECI) which showed a sharp slowing in the rate of nominal hourly compensation growth in the first quarter to an annual rate of just 2.4 percent. This is well below the rate of inflation, which, depending on the course of gas prices, will be in the range of 3.0-4.0 percent for this year.
WHEN CHICKENHAWKS CLUCK. Annoyed by complaints of chickenhawkery, Warren Bellposts an email from Greg Pollowitz who complains: "I got called a chickenhawk the other day. I think one of the greatest missed opportunities since 9/11 is that the govt. didn't create a way for 30+ year old guys who want to help, but really can't, to serve." But, actually, they did. Welcome to the National Guard, where all citizens between the ages of 17 and 40 are eligible for service.
POSSIBLE GOOD NEWS. According to this latest dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria, both the Sudanese government and the disparate Darfuri rebel factions have agreed to sign the peace accord. The details of the accord are not yet available, but presumably the agreement entails the absorption of rebel fighters into the Sudanese armed forces and some sort of power-sharing arrangement
THE CULTURAL CONTRADICTIONS OF CAPITALISM.This sure is weird. Even weirder, while it looks like a parody ad, as best I can tell it's totally real. Where are the indecency police when you need them? Surely Big Razor isn't the most powerful lobby in town.
BUILDING A BRIDGE TO THE 19TH CENTURY. Boy, George Allen is really into this wanna-be Southern secessionist thing. A tipster informs me that the junior senator from California, I mean Virginia, didn't just cotton to the rebel flag, he's also dressed up in the uniform of the old slave states in film. According to this 2003 CNN story, Allen played the role of a Confederate officer in 2003's Gods and Generals.
POLLACK ON IRAN. Since Ken Pollack seems to have re-emerged as a figure of controversy, I thought it might be worth noting what his actual views on Iran are. He thinks we ought to invade just like in Iraq engage in some diplomacy. Or to quote from his essay "A Grand Strategy for the Middle East" in the Progressive Policy Institute's book, With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty, "It is crucial that the United States engage with like-minded states to develop a multilateral approach that would impose graduated economic sanctions on Iran if its intransigence continues.
BACK IN THE DAYS OF AWESOME. I figured I�d wait until cubiclemate Sam left the office for lunch to launch a brief rebuttal. As one of his commenters pointed out, there is much more to rock criticism than parsing through lyrics. And what makes Neil Young�s Living With War magnificent is the album�s coarse and hard-driving edginess. Layered on top are some brilliant lyrics that astutely capture the mood of liberals in the spring of 2006.
Take for example, the lyrics to the track �Shock and Awe.� In the parlance of our Supreme Leader, I�d say this epitomizes zeitgeisty.
PERMANENT BASES. Now here's a real sign of the President's burgeoning lame duckedness: The Senate actually approved an amendment from Joe Biden preventing the administration from using funds from the Iraq supplemental appropriation for the construction of permanent bases.
CAPTURE THE FLAG.Ryan Lizza's just posted a devastating follow-up to his TNR cover story on Virginia Senator and likely presidential contender George Allen. The take-home: Allen's love affair with the slave-holding past was no youthful affectation. Writes Lizza: