HARD OUT THERE FOR A PIMP AFTER ALL. One of the quirks of American society is that this is the kind of country where an intelligence official can admit to having partied with defense contractors known to bribe public officials in exchange for defense and intelligence contracts while simultaneously insisting that any allegations that prostitutes were involved is "false, outrageous and irresponsible." But though the hooker angle obviously sexes the story up for media consumption, what does it matter? Commercial sex hardly seems more wrongful than public corruption. And yet, all anyone wants to do is beat the hooker rap.
BUSH V. NIXON. Via Kevin Drum, Jonathan Schwarz at Tiny Revolution graphs the approval and disapproval ratings of George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. The similarity of their trajectories doesn't bode well for Bush's effort to revive his presidency, although the graphs also make it very clear that Bush did benefit politically, at least in the short term, from the invasion of Iraq, and also from the rallying around the flag that followed the Sept. 11 attacks. The temptation to see war as a route to public approval must consequently be very strong within the administration.
IT'S HARD OUT THERE FOR A BLOGGER. With the GOP all unpopular and mired in apparent disarray, there's very little for a progressive writer to spend his time pushing back on. I think we here at TAPPED totally failed to acknowledge the goofy $100 rebate plan that was the Republican alternative to outlining an energy policy and now bam -- just like that -- it's dead without anyone needing the benefit of my insights. I will, however, disagree with Jonah Goldberg on this Coke Zero business; it's fine, but doesn't hold a candle to classic original Diet Coke.
I was struck by the reporting on the increases that the Commerce Department reported for March consumer spending and the personal consumption expenditure deflator (PCE). Both figures were presented as being higher than expected. It seems that the financial markets were surprised by the news, since the yield on 10-year treasury bills rose by 6 basis points.
The reporting on the release of the annual Social Security and Medicare trustees reports was better this year than in the past, but still not very informative. Most reports did not include the context that would have made the information understandable to most readers/viewers.
MEMO TO THE CORNER: DON�T APPROPRIATE MY NEIL YOUNG! Just so John J. Millerknows, �Rocking in the Free World� did indeed capture the spirit of 1989, but not of jubilation after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The album it appeared on, Freedom, was released before the fall of the Berlin Wall. And if he bothered to read the lyrics, he would notice that the song describes urban decay following eight years of the Reagan presidency and at the dawn of George H.W. Bush�s first and only term.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE.Robert Zoellick is en route to Abuja, Nigeria, to try and rescue stalled negotiations between the Darfuri rebel groups and the government of Sudan. The Darfur rebels want a peace accord that loosely resembles the Comprehensive Peace Accords signed in January 2005, which gave the Southern rebels the vice president�s office in the national government and paved the way for autonomy in six years. This kind of deal seems to be a non-starter for Khartoum, so the rebels, who do not speak with one voice, have broken away from negotiations.
COLBERT: EVERYONE'S GOT AN OPINION. Unlike everyone else across the ideological spectrum who's weighing in on this, I refuse to open my Stephen Colbert commentary by saying I'm a "huge fan" of his show or whatever. I think the show's okay, but it's got an inconvenient time slot, so I've only really seen maybe five or six episodes. And, despite that fact, I'd already heard a lot of the jokes he made. That seems a little lame to me. The John McCain bit, however, which I hadn't heard before is great satire: "John McCain is here. John McCain, John McCain, what a maverick! Somebody find out what fork he used on his salad, because I guarantee you it wasn't a salad fork. This guy could have used a spoon!
JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH. See Max Sawicky's post for some brief thoughts and a great early round-up of links to comments across the internets. On top of his many, many, many other accomplishments, Galbraith was a founding sponsor of this magazine -- and the Prospect's core ideological mission certainly owes a great deal to the man and his work.
ALLEN: ENSLAVING PEOPLE IS BAD.George Allen says he's sorry about the whole slavery thing in a Washington Post article that mentions Ryan Lizza's look at his curious racial past. The Post article, though, is unclear on the really noteworthy part of Lizza's story, which is that Allen isn't some white Southern politician who used to be a racist and isn't anymore. Allen's not from the South and neither is his family. He picked up his Stars and Bars loving ways growing up in California.