LABOR 101, PLUS SOME EXTRA CREDIT. You owe it to yourself to read Nathan Newman's inspiring, irresistible "Why Unions? Labor 101." Folks here know I'm a health care guy, but one of the reasons why is my belief that among our health system's many destructive tendencies, it's largely helped doom the labor movement. To be fair, the union movement was often complicit, offering insubstantial support to national proposals and preferring to expend resources on improving limited benefits for their direct members. It's a sin they've long since repented for, with yesterday's UAW convention offering only the latest example.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE!Slate is hosting a debate between former New Republic Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart and American Prospect Editor -- and advanced, multidimensional life form -- Mike Tomasky on Beinart's new book The Good Fight. Attentive readers will already have read Mike's review of the book, but if not, check it out, then grab your ringside seat to Slate's prominent pundit thunderdome.
BORROWED TIME. I'm not going to try and strain to work myself up into a lather of ineffectual indignation about it, but obviously beating a crowd of 200 women's rights protestors in Teheran in loathsome. The article even comes with bonus Islamic Republic weirdness: "Throughout most of the confrontation, female officers beat female protesters and male police beat male protesters there to support the women. Male police generally are not permitted to touch female suspects."
UNCHARITABLE. Cato's David Boaz has a gleeful post whipping Andrew Cuomo -- and by extension, all liberals -- for his relatively paltry commitment to charity. "In 2004 and 2005," Boaz writes, "Cuomo had more than $1.5 million in adjusted gross income. And he gave a total of $2,000 to charity. He made no charitable contributions in 2003, when his income was a bit less than $300,000. It�s no wonder that Cuomo believes passionately in taxing Americans to support all manner of welfare and transfer programs. Looking within himself, he quite understandably fears that in the absence of coerced transfer programs there would be no support for the poor.
THE QUIET IRAQI. Check out yesterday's Spencer Ackermanpost noting that the Iraqi government includes a man by the name of Muhammed Shahwani who was appointed back in the Iyad Allawi days. He apparently can't be fired by Allawi's successors, is paid by the United States of America, and runs a secret police outfit that, likewise, is accountable to the American government rather than the Iraqi one.
THERE'S THE BEEF.The New Republic has obliged those of us puzzled by their previous Darfur editorializing with a new one spelling out what exactly they think we should do. I have some concerns. "The consensus among experts," they write, "is that it would take approximately 20,000 troops to secure Darfur." At the same time, the explicit model for this operation is Kosovo where the initial KFOR deployment was over twice that size, and even today "more than 16,000 peacekeepers" are on the ground.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne is a decent person, whose views on many issues I share, but his column today is almost a caricature. It perfectly demonstrates why liberals/progressives are so lost on economic policy.
THE MYTH OF THE FREE RIDE.ViaTom Lee I see that in the course of editorializing against network neutrality, The Washington Post's editorial writers have decided that big Internet firms "want their services delivered fast but don't want the pipe owners to extract fees from them." This is misinformation pure and simple. As Tom writes, "Content providers pay for their bandwidth." Here's a quick-and-dirty experiment that can prove the point to readers. Try to start a website. Go do it now.
SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK. On the great David Brooksdebate, can I suggest a compromise? Let kids read what they want. Give them a list of books to choose from and allow them into the classes, or into the groups, that are studying books they'd actually like to read. As it is, Brooks' contention that boys are desperate to read Hemingway but foiled by a feminized education system is a bit silly. Hemingway, for one, would think any male lacking the gumption to stride into Barnes and Nobles and pick up the damn book himself deserved a whupping.