Archive

  • From the Times Europe Bashing Desk

    The NYT had a piece this morning reporting on how Europe is heavily dependent on coal, despite its "green image." While the article had much useful information, it never mentioned the fact that Europe emits approximately 50 percent as much greenhouse gas per capita as the United States. In the numerate world, this is an important piece of information. At one point the article discusses how much Europe will have to reduce its emissions if it is to compensate for growing emissions in China and India "to say nothing of the United States." As far as I know, none of the people running European countries are morons, nor are the environmentalists who promoted the Kyoto agreement. If China, India, and the United States do nothing to contain their emissions of greenhouse gases, then whatever Europe does or does not do will be completely irrelevant. There would be absolutely no point in Europe absorbing substantial economic costs in a futile attempt to stop global warming. The proponents of the...
  • LITTLE FISH EAT...

    LITTLE FISH EAT BIG FISH. Bloggers were in a tizzy all weekend over a New York Times report by Opinionator Chris Suellentrop on Friday unearthing the fact that Mark Warner PAC Internet strategist Jerome Armstrong was charged with being a stock tout in the late 1990s, hyping a worthless company in which he held stock without disclosing the conflict of interest , leading to an Securities and Exchange Commission investigation that alleged that �there is sufficient evidence to infer that the defendants secretly agreed to pay Armstrong for his touting efforts�; a permanent injunction against Amstrong touting stocks; and ongoing litigation over potential penalties. Suellentrop then called "the links between online stock speculation and online politics...delicious." The New York Post picked up the story on Sunday, running with the much harder-hitting -- it's a tabloid -- "SHILL TO HACK: CELEBRATED LIB STRATEGIST HAS SHADY MARKET PAST." Since Friday, speculation has raged in blogosphere...
  • MORE MINIMUM WAGE...

    MORE MINIMUM WAGE FUN. From EPI's inimitable Jared Bernstein : The federal minimum wage has been raised 19 times by Congress since its introduction in 1938. Eighteen states, covering about half of the national workforce, have minimum wages above that of the Federal level. And over 100 cities have living wages--a higher minimum that applies to workers on city contracts or at firms with local government subsidies. In other words, more than any economic policy, we've had hundreds of "pseudo-experiments"--rare in economics--that allow us to test the impact of wage mandates on various outcomes. These experiments allow us to compare before and after, or, even better, compare nearby places that face similar economic conditions but have different minimum wage laws. The question that has received the most scrutiny is whether increases in the minimum wage lead employers to lay workers off. You probably don't want to hear the results from me, but here's how Nobel laureate in economics, Robert...
  • THE IRAN OVERTURE....

    THE IRAN OVERTURE. Yesterday, Kevin Drum mentioned a Washington Post article recounting the contents of a secret 2003 letter to the United States from Iranian officials putting a huge slew of issues on the table for direct negotiation (nukes, recognition of Israel, etc.). Drum notes that the Post buried the article. I'll just note, again, that if anyone hasn't yet read Gareth Porter 's comprehensive feature story in the June Prospect , "Burnt Offering" -- Porter, like the Post , got his hands on a copy of the actual 2003 letter -- they really, really should. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CLASSLESS. Nobody admires...

    CLASSLESS. Nobody admires Markos Moulitsas more than I do for breaking new ground, and for unleashing as much political energy as he has during an apathetic age. But linking to the unspeakable Wonkette's photos of Brian Bilbray 's kids at a party is a cheap shot unworthy of his site. (I'm linking neither to Kos nor to his source material. Find it yourself, if you suddenly find yourself lacking any class whatsoever.) Bilbray's spent his entire career as a wholly owned subsidiary. He's fair game. But his 19-year-old daughter has a right to as unruly a social life as, say, I had without having the photographic proof spread all over the Internets. Absent a criminal charge, a politician's kid should be out of bounds. I have no use for Wonkette under either its old or new management, but Kos should be better than this. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • GET IN LINE....

    GET IN LINE. Shadi Hamid is appalled by Zaid Shakir 's declaration that all "honest" Muslims would hope the United States becomes an Islamic nation, "not by violent means, but by persuasion." Hamid says "it is incumbent upon moderate Muslims who believe in freedom, democracy, and the US constitution to repudiate such remarks." But why? This is hardly an exceptional position in public life. Evangelical Christianity is a potent political force, and it's rather straightforwardly interested in widespread conversion. As it should be. If you truly believe those outside your group are sacrificing their relationship with the divine and set to roast in hell for an eternity, of course you'd want to convince your neighbors. And since the Koran makes basically similar claims, Shakir's hopes strikes me as rather predictable. Now, he possibly should have kept them to himself as a matter of political expediency, but given the widespread acceptance of fundamentalist Christianity, I see little out of...
  • GOREWATCH. A...

    GOREWATCH . A few weeks ago, a friend suggested that the way to really put Gore in a bind would be to ask him who he supported in the Lamont / Lieberman race. Well, it looks like Bloomberg TV did exactly that, and Gore refused to take a side. Joe's "a great guy," said Gore, "and he's right on a lot of other issues." Of course, when you've recently become a progressive hero and your former running mate is getting toasted by the left, a non-endorsement is neutrality in name only. --Ezra Klein
  • SAVE AMERICA: BAN...

    SAVE AMERICA: BAN FLUFF. And here I was earlier this morning complaining that there's nothing worth blogging about when Jacob Sullum comes to the rescue : A Massachusetts legislator, allegedly representing the very district where Fluff was invented, wants to ban the stuff from public school cafeterias. "A Fluff sandwich as the main course of a nutritious lunch just doesn't fly in 2006," said state Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios, who was outraged when his son, a third-grader, requested Fluff at home. "It seems a little silly to have an amendment on Fluff, but it's called for by the silliness of schools offering this as a healthy alternative in the first place." Barrios did not explain the nutritional advantages of jelly. As people may recall from my turn as Josh Marshall 's understudy, I don't like peanut butter , and peanut butter detractors throughout the nation have long felt oppressed by America's love affair with the stuff. The fluffernutter sandwich was one of the banes of my existence...
  • LIKE RATS FROM...

    LIKE RATS FROM A SINKING SHIP, CONT'D. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is resigning to take a position at Goldman-Sachs. Formerly the administration's trade representative, Zoellick was one of the crew's rare grown-ups, and there was much rejoicing with he got the job at State over the expected hire, John Bolton . You've heard quite a bit about the President's rebound over the last few weeks. The hiring of Henry Paulson , the non-indictment of Karl Rove , the death of Zarqawi . Of similar importance to the administration, though, is the slow leak of its most talented members: top speechwriter Michael Gerson last week, top China hand Zoellick this week. This doesn't look like any rebound I've ever seen. --Ezra Klein
  • AND THE MONEY...

    AND THE MONEY GOES MARCHING ON AND ON, HUZZAH, HUZZAH? There�s an interesting bit of political entrail reading from The Wall Street Journal , which notes that Big Business, beginning to feel a little shaky over prospects of a Democratic resurgence, is funding donkey candidates at a level not seen since Dick Gephardt was majority leader. According to the article, "[t]he Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has, so far in this election cycle, raised more than its Republican counterpart for the first time since Democrats lost control of Congress in the 1994 election. In the House, Republicans have raised more money than the Democratic campaign arm, but the gap is narrower than in previous campaigns. "Democrats are realizing the importance of working closely with business leaders," says Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the top fund-raiser for Senate Democrats." How charming. Before 1994, the corporate world split its contributions basically evenly between the majority-holding...

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