Archive

  • PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT....

    PUBLIC HEALTH ANNOUNCEMENT. Don't use your cellphone during a lightning storm. Contrary to popular belief, getting struck by lightning isn't nearly the worst that can happen to you. Generally, the high resistance of your skin works to ground the blast, leaving you little more than singed. According to a new study , however, the presence of a phone disrupts the transmission process, vastly increasing the likelihood of serious internal injury. The findings are particularly on the mind this morning as D.C. experienced an absolutely epic thunderstorm last night. Being a naive Californian who'd only experienced irregular bolts in the past, the constancy of the light led me to believe, for the first half hour, that there were sirens outside. When Zeus nailed my street a few times, though, I revised my opinion. Impressive stuff, but not the sort I want to describe from outside on my LG. --Ezra Klein
  • HOUSES, POX ON....

    HOUSES, POX ON. The really great thing about the Daily Kos versus New Republic war is that the more each side opens their mouths, the worse you think of them. Markos 's initial impulse to stay silent in the face of Chris Suellentrop 's allegations seemed sound. Suellentrop didn't really have the goods. Let some time pass and the goods would either surface or not and there was nothing worth saying about it. But then Jason Zengerle started spinning a rather implausible conspiracy theory. Folks were rising to Kos' defense, but then Kos chose to ruin everything by penning a laughably self-regarding response (as I've been muttering around the office, the only real scandal in Kosland is that Markos is a bit of an egomaniac, but I assume you'd have to be in order to succeed in creating a massive online community) in which the key metric for judging TNR 's degree of progressivism isn't their warmongering, but . . . their opinion of Markos. As of late afternoon yesterday, I was ready to...
  • SOFT BALANCING. In...

    SOFT BALANCING. In an important post on the TNR soccer blog, Alex Massie notes that it's not just the World Cup we're losing , American performance in international athletic competitions generally has been poor in recent years. He asks, "So what, fellow Goal Posters, is it about the United States that makes this country so apparently and congenitally hopeless at team sports?" In a later post Brian Sinkoff observes that, among other things, we were beset by very unfortunate officiating. The same thing happened to USA Basketball in the 2004 olympics in Athens. Coincidence? I think not. Welcome, friends, to the exciting world of "soft balancing" in international relations: Soft balancing occurs when weaker states decide that the dominance and influence of a stronger state is unacceptable, but that the military advantage of the stronger state is so overwhelming that traditional balancing is infeasible or even impossible. In addition to overwhelming military superiority, scholars also...
  • NPR's Sob Story for Struggling Doctors

    NPR did a piece this morning on doctors' pay that leaves you wondering why they get taxpayers dollars. The basic point was that doctors, especially primary care physicians, are struggling. The news hook was a new survey that showed that doctors' net (after malpractice) pay is not keeping pace with inflation. The survey showed that average net compensation for all physicians in 2003 was just over $220,000 a year (in 2006 dollars). This is down by 7.1 percent (adjusted for inflation) from the 1995 level. Of course there are big differences by specialty. (The decline in pay is partly explained by a 4.1 percent shortening of the average workweek.) While the survey found that surgeons average almost $300,000 a year, primary care physicians average just $160,000 a year. The NPR story chose to focus on the latter, highlighting the difficulties of making ends meet. However, instead of finding a typical primary care physician, NPR found a doctor who claims to be making just $50,000 a year,...
  • Reporting Nonsense on the Minimum Wage

    Suppose that the senators who support a quick withdrawal from Iraq got in the habit of saying that the United States should get out of Iraq because losing 100 U.S. soldiers a day is an unacceptable price for the occupation. Would the media simple report this claim without comment? Or, would they point out that these senators apparently don't realize that the fatality rate is approximately 2 per day? My guess is that every story that noted the claim that 100 soldiers a day are being killed would correct this assertion based on an authoritative source on the causality count. The media would probably also run numerous stories that reported on the fact that the proponents of a hasty withdrawal have no idea what they are talking about. This would be good journalism. The question is why it is not applied to the debate over the minimum wage. Reporters routinely quote claims from politicians opposed to raising the minimum to the effect that it would lead to a large loss of jobs and will slow...
  • I COME NOT...

    I COME NOT TO BURY TNR ... Consider this a "before we get too far" post. It should be said, amidst Markos 's assault on TNR , that no magazine where the publisher just penned a Gore 2008 endorsement should really be considered "on the other side" or the " Joe Lieberman " weekly. Ryan Lizza 's recent work on George Allen 's neoconfederate sympathies has been superb, anyone on the left who has the slightest interest in Iraq should be reading Spencer Ackerman 's every word, and the magazine is, in general, a strong and forceful advocate for progressive domestic policies. I do, like Jon Chait , worry about the "with us or against us" overtones of Kos's riposte -- the left should judge its allies on more than friendliness and tone. That said, I was unimpressed with Jason Zengerle 's post yesterday and said so. It's simply untrue that Markos commands fealty by dangling advertising revenue. But I take no joy in the accelerating split between "the netroots" and TNR . The basic issue, it seems...
  • HACKERY UNBOUND. You'll...

    HACKERY UNBOUND. You'll have to search far and wide for more egregiously hackish behavior than that engaged in this week by the chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee , respectively. These guys are real tributes to their posts. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CAN THIS MAN...

    CAN THIS MAN SOLVE POVERTY? He's good. Better, in fact, than you remember. I just got back from a National Press Club luncheon where former VP candidate John Edwards gave the first substantive policy address of his yet-unannounced 2008 candidacy. News that Edwards can command a crowd's attention is scarcely news at all, so I'll not dwell on that. Nor will anyone be particularly shocked -- though some will be enthused, and others inspired -- to hear that Edwards wishes to make the elimination of poverty a national crusade. Here's what is new: � Poverty is going to be John Edwards foreign policy. That's not to say he'll lack a variety of proposals and opinions on our dealings with other countries. He's called for the immediate withdrawal of 40,000 troops from Iraq and just coauthored a book on Russia with Jack Kemp . But his vision, his mega-critique of our foreign policy direction, will be about poverty. Edwards's big idea seems, at least from this speech, to be downright Beinartian...
  • THE REPORT. Keep...

    THE REPORT. Keep scrolling through TPM Muckraker for some choice excerpts from and analysis of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's final report (PDF) on Jack Abramoff 's Indian tribe shenanigans. As has been noted , committee chair John McCain had been quite careful in steering this investigation away from intensive looks into the actions of sitting members of Congress; discussion of Bob Ney , however, was unavoidable in a final, comprehensive report. Go to pages 162-180 for the goods. The report's authors are very careful in how they structure the account of the Tigua tribe's work with Ney, documenting Ney's contradictions of other witnesses' claims without explicitly rendering a judgment on the he said, she said disputes. Plenty of the material is damning, though: During his interview with Committee staff, Congressman Ney said he was not familiar with the Tigua.272 He could not recall ever meeting with any member of the Tigua.273 When asked about a possible two-hour meeting,...
  • WEIRD LEDE OF...

    WEIRD LEDE OF THE DAY. The Hill takes the prize: When Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter stepped into the shower yesterday, it was an elusive immigration overhaul, not a slippery bar of soap, that he most hoped to keep within his grasp. Potent imagery, I suppose. --Sam Rosenfeld

Pages