Archive

  • BOOK CLUBS. ...

    BOOK CLUBS. This is rather funny. Excited that the Chamber of Commerce's educational wing has selected Cato scholar Arnold Kling 's healthcare treatise for their "Top 10 Reading Selections," Michael Cannon enthuses that "The foundation�s board is a bipartisan group of influential figures from the business, political, and policy spheres...[which] evidently agreed with Marginal Revolution publisher Tyler Cowen that Crisis of Abundance 'is one of the most important books written on health care.'� Well that's true. But that bipartisan bit is a smidge suspicious. Here are the 10 titles on the list: 1. Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moises Naim 2. Three Billion New Capitalists: The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East by Clyde Prestowitz 3. The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy by Peter Huber and Mark Mills 4. In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State by...
  • WAIT A SEC....

    WAIT A SEC. All due respect to Charlie Pierce , but I've never mentioned Jerome 's astrology stuff, have no idea what this is about, and would appreciate it if someone could link me to a synopsis. I think he means Garance and Matt . By the way, TAPPED astrology fun fact: Did you know that Sam Rosenfeld, Matt Yglesias , and I are all Tauruses? --Ezra Klein
  • ASTROLOGY, A POLITICAL LIABILITY?

    ASTROLOGY, A POLITICAL LIABILITY? All due respect to Garance and Ezra , but the proof that this whole Kos- TNR rockfight has been conducted exclusively with the moon in the House Of Groucho is probably the latest iteration in which poor Jerome Armstrong , who should just go to the track the next time he wants to make easy money, is belabored with the fact that he has an interest in astrology. I disagree with the notion that this necessarily is a political problem, and anyone who asserts that it is must somehow answer the argument that a similar interest didn't seem to derail the political careers of these fine folks. --Charles P. Pierce
  • DAVID BROOKS: MAKING...

    DAVID BROOKS: MAKING THINGS UP. David Brooks , joining the "kosola" fake scandal brigade over the weekend wrote: When Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senate candidate in Ohio, hired Armstrong last year to help with his campaign, this was also a sign of respect. The Kingpin [i.e., Kos] had instructed his Kossack cultists to support Brown's Democratic primary rival, Paul Hackett. But the Kingpin switched sides and backed Brown over his former anointee. As has been the case lamentably often during this escapade, the person making the allegations here isn't being totally clear on what he's alleging. The "suspicious" pattern of activity, however, is pretty clear. First Kos is backing Paul Hackett . Then Sherrod Brown hires Jerome Armstrong . Then Kos decides to back Brown instead. Suspicious. Only, as Robert Wright points out , this gets the order of events totally wrong. Look at Jim Geraghty 's timeline and you'll see that Brown hired Armstrong in April 2005 . Then, on October 4, 2005,...
  • SUBURBIA DEFENDED. ...

    SUBURBIA DEFENDED . Yesterday, TAPPED contributor Ben Adler ended a post on the minutemen with a bizarrely digressive shot at suburbanites. "That kind of selfish mentality -- our public schools are only for rich, healthy students -- is lamentably common in suburbia." Is it truly? Ben has not, to my knowledge, ever lived in a suburban community, so his anecdotal evidence cannot claim a wide sample. More to the point, Ben is a close friend of mine, and I well know the raging contempt the proud Brooklynite holds for the landscaped tracts that I grew up in. We've all got our quirks, I guess. But his assumption of suburban selfishness is not a rare strain in progressive thought, and so it deserves to be questioned a bit. The simplest test would be to compare the percentage of total education funds devoted to special ed in urban and suburban districts. My hunch, having lived in Orange County as well as D.C. and L.A., is that the conservative crazies in Fountain Valley's fallout shelters are...
  • NONE DARE CALL...

    NONE DARE CALL IT BULLSHIT. I never, ever, ever watch prime time cable news because it makes me want to kill extremely large numbers of people. Tragically, I walked through the door yesterday and my roommate already had Hardball on. There were two people debating the issue of . . . whether or not The New York Times should be brought up on charges of treason. Seriously. Treason. For publishing an article in a newspaper. Treason. And there was Chris Matthews happily presiding over the whole thing as if this was a serious conversation that people should be having. This all taking place on a network that, allegedly, does journalism. UPDATE: Video available as well. --Matthew Yglesias
  • THE LIMITS OF...

    THE LIMITS OF CHARITY. Warren Buffett 's plan to give most of his money to the already giant foundation Bill Gates started is, of course, going to make the foundation super-large. Word on the street is that it will allow the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to approximately double its current $1.4 billion in annual grant-making, which is mostly focused on the important and under-served cause of fighting third world disease. Still, one thing that I think contemplating the prospect of this super-foundation does is simply demonstrate the limits of direct charitable work as opposed to spending money on policy work aimed at systemic change. If the foundation really does double its grant-making, that would come to about $1.7 billion per year on global health issues. By contrast, were the United States government to live up to the commitment it's already made to the United Nations Millenium Development Goals that would involve spending about $77 billion on third world development issues...
  • When Numbers Don't Add Up at the New York Times

    I have complained in the past about reporters' willingness to accept corporate numbers uncritically. My favorite example is the widely reported claim that the compensation of Delphi's unionized workers averaged $65 an hour. This implied a benefits package worth more than $70,000 a year. Anyone believe that? We have another example from the Times today. Its article on GM's buyout offer to workers reports that getting rid of 35,000 workers will save GM $8 billion a year. Hmmmm, my calculator puts that at a savings of just under $230,000 per worker. If you think this number sounds a bit high, you would get confirmation by the end of the article. The last paragraph reports the assessment of a stock analyst that GM earnings will rise $1.25 a share for each 10,000 workers who accept the offer. With 565.6 million shares outstanding, this implies additional earnings of $707 million for each 10,000 workers, or $2.47 billion for the 35,000 workers who accepted the buyout. That comes to a more...
  • New Homes Sales, the Rest of the Story

    The May data for new home sales came in somewhat higher than expected. It is important to keep in mind that the home sales data record contracts, not completed sales. In the boom period a year ago, broken contracts were rare. Now that prices are weakening in many of the formerly hot markets, broken contracts are becoming common. To my knowledge, no one keeps data on the percentage of contracts that are broken, but there have been reports from some builders in California and Florida of cancellation rates in the range of 20-30 percent. If the nationwide rate of cancellation is even 5 percentage points higher than last year, it would conceal a sharp falloff in actual sales. One key measure that gets around this issue is the number of unsold homes. This was 556,000 in May, essentially the same as April's record high of 560,000, and more than 100,000 higher than the inventory of 450,00 reported in May of 2005. --Dean Baker
  • THE BLOGOSPHERE'S BEEF...

    THE BLOGOSPHERE'S BEEF WITH TNR . I think Marty Peretz 's Friday evening post on The Plank, in which he defended TNR from its left-wing blog attackers and excoriated their grammar, actually made a lot of fair points. TNR does effectively criticize the Bush administration and congressional Republicans on any number of issues, mostly domestic. And, I might add, they often do so more effectively than some of their more left-leaning counterparts precisely because their tone is less rigidly partisan and they are willing to grapple more seriously with conservative counter-arguments. [Full disclosure: I used to work there.] But here's the irony: Immediately below Marty's post is a prime example, courtesy of Lawrence Kaplan , of precisely what the bloggers find so maddening. And no, sorry Marty, it isn't because "TNR is a heterodox institution, a concept Kos surely cannot fathom." It's because TNR is an institution that gives space to the conservative -- not moderate -- rantings of liberal-...

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