Archive

  • THE DAILY SHOW...

    THE DAILY SHOW REVISITED . I awoke this morning to a gleeful Lee Siegel post trumpeting a new study that shows, just as Siegel predicted, that exposure to The Daily Show turns viewers off of politics. "Jon Stewart's show," Siegel wrote, "is destroying democracy as we know it." Only it isn't. Siegel got his information from a woefully incomplete Washington Post column on the subject, whose author either didn't read the paper he purported to explain or didn't understand it. The actual findings were that Stewart's show increases cynicism towards politics, but included no data showing that heightened cynicism decreases participation (indeed, I'd expect it wouldn't). Determined to get to the bottom of this, I employed a variant of the secret reporter tactic of PUTDP (Picking Up The Damn Phone) and sent John Morris , one of the study's authors, an e-mail. Here was his reply: Bloggers and the mainstream media have overstated our findings greatly. Our study does not argue that Jon Stewart is...
  • THAT WAS THEN....

    THAT WAS THEN. So I woke up in the middle of the night and flicked on TCM. And there was The Shoes of the Fisherman , the 1968 Michael Anderson -lensed (as they say in Variety ) adaptation of the famous Morris West novel about the ascension of the first Eastern European Pope. I was transfixed. I remember both novel and film being much discussed in my house when I was a kid, although I don�t really remember anyone�s opinions. I think I recall my late, beloved Aunt Vicky , who was the devout Catholic among our extended clan, speaking of it approvingly. Which is interesting for the following reasons. TSOTF struck me as having, very clearly, a liberal message -- a subtle piece of propaganda that was pro-Catholic (reverent attitude toward the ceremonies of the Church) but that must have been, at the time, egging its audience to embrace Vatican II and change in general. Pope Kiril I, played with a certain appealingly leaden steadiness by Anthony Quinn , announces at his investiture (forgive...
  • JUST SAY NO....

    JUST SAY NO. This is what Peggy Noonan wrote today on a website sponsored by one of America's most influential publications: "Bush The Younger would breastfeed the military if he could." This is one of those moments in which I love to imagine how the editing process at a place like OpinionJournal works: "Jesus, Bill, I told you to hide the damn mushrooms." Feed your head, Peg-o-my-heart. One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small. Ask Rush if you don't believe me. --Charles P. Pierce
  • SCOTUS STANDS UP....

    SCOTUS STANDS UP. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hamdan case. Ordinarily, the Court is very deferential to executive assertions of national security authority and then turns around and changes its mind years after the fact. Note also that conservative "strict constructionists" continue to believe that the Bill of Rights secretly doesn't apply . . . when the President says it doesn't. Meanwhile, it's always worth recalling the administration's underlying legal theory about Gitmo. This holds that U.S. law doesn't apply there because it's in Cuba. But Cuba doesn't actually get to have sovereign control over the area either, because if it did we'd have to leave as per their request. So, basically, it's a legal null zone where you can just do whatever. This is the kind of thing you expect a seven year-old to come up with when forced to explain why he should be allowed to have dessert even though he hasn't finished his peas yet. --Matthew Yglesias
  • LONG HOURS, HIGH...

    LONG HOURS, HIGH PAY? Greg Mankiw points out a new study showing that, in 2002, the top income quintile was twice as likely to work long hours as the bottom quintile. "That is," he writes, "wages and hours worked went from being negatively correlated to being positively correlated. This may be an important piece of the puzzle of rising income inequality." Possibly so. Of course, the bottom quintile are low-wage workers in jobs that rarely pay benefits and often keep employees in a sort of part-time twilight so they don't qualify for health care -- that may be a piece of the puzzle as well. Also interesting, however, is recent research by Tom Hertz of American University who found that "[h]ouseholds whose adult members all worked more than 40 hours per week for two years in a row were more upwardly mobile in 1990-91 and 1997-98 than households who worked fewer hours. Yet this was not true in 2003-04, suggesting that people who work long hours on a consistent basis no longer appear to...
  • DICK MORRIS IS...

    DICK MORRIS IS RIGHT!! He has this column in The Hill saying that Lieberman should forego the Democratic primary entirely and just run as an Independent, and that if he did so, he would win �overwhelmingly.� Alas, I�m afraid that I suspect this is entirely correct. Consider: First, voter enrollment in Connecticut looks like this (PDF; scroll down to page 12 of 14 for totals). You have roughly 700,000 Democrats, 450,000 Republicans, and 930,000 �unaffiliateds� (i.e., independents). Second, think about turnout in a dead-of-August Democratic primary (it�s August 8). Let�s be generous and assume a primary turnout of 25 percent. That�s 175,000 voters. Let�s say Lamont beats Lieberman 55 to 45. That�s 96,250 votes. That�s not a huge base on which to build for a general election that will probably include 1 million voters (the total state enrollment is 2 million; assume general election turnout of 50 percent or so). Assume also a fairly weak Republican, as seems to be the case -- a bloke...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE FROG IS US. Ok, so apparently a frog won't actually stay in a bowl of water that's slowly brought to a boil. But it's still a damned good metaphor! Jim Sleeper takes a look at the mainstream media bowl and sees too many frogs drifting listlessly in the rising heat. --The Editors
  • ACTUAL CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINES:...

    ACTUAL CONSERVATIVE MAGAZINES: ALSO BAD. This Jonah Goldberg post on Linda Hirshman is really pretty revealing. And I'd like to say, for the record, that contra Jonah, I think her arguments should be taken seriously because they deserve to be taken seriously and not as part of some marketing ploy. At any rate, Jonah writes: [Hirschman] says that unless women work, they aren't fully human beings. We're supposed to take this seriously? I thought feminists were supposed to be champions of personal choice, self-empowerment, constructing their own inner-narratives, defining "me" on my terms, not seeking standards in the "male paradigms" of the partiarchal eurocentric capitalistic system yada yada yada yada, blah, blah, blah. This is the whole point! Hirshman is arguing that feminists shouldn't be champions of personal choice. She's arguing that, instead, feminists should be champions of equality and that getting from the status quo to an egalitarian world will require people -- men and...
  • MAGAZINE BLOG FEUD:...

    MAGAZINE BLOG FEUD: NOW WITH POLICY SUBSTANCE. I'm afraid the Lawrence Kaplan post on Kerry and Iraq that Ezra mentioned below is actually way, way, way worse than Ezra's post would lead you to believe. The thing of it is that the article Kaplan links to is a clear-cut piece of evidence against his basic view of the Iraq War and a strong piece of evidence in favor of the Spencer Ackerman line that a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq is a "prerequisite for success." Read the lede: Eleven Sunni insurgent groups have offered an immediate halt to all attacks � including those on American troops � if the United States agrees to withdraw foreign forces from Iraq in two years, insurgent and government officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The upshot of this article is, of course, that the United States should agree to a timeline for the withdrawal of forces. The Kaplan Perpetual War plan is, in other words, totally wrong, as is the series of posts he's written recently mocking Democrats...
  • The Post Doesn't Think That Mexican Voters Care About the Economy Either

    Here's the proof. --Dean Baker

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