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  • Joe Six-Pack's Stock Portfolio?

    "Experts" get away with saying almost any nonsense they like when it comes to talking about the stock market and the economy, but I think that we may have hit a new high today. A Times article today quotes Mark Cliffe, global head of financial markets research at ING Group in London, saying that the U.S. stock market has fallen 5-6 percent this year. The expert adds that if it falls another 5 percent, it could affect consumer spending and "‘Joe-Six' could start to cut back his stock portfolio." Okay, there could be a wealth effect from lower stock prices on consumption, but this usually takes some period of time. Furthermore, wasn't the purpose of supply-side tax cuts (as in President Bush's tax cuts) to increase saving? In other words, we are supposed to believe that less consumption is bad when it happens because the stock market falls, but good when it is due to a tax cut. (More savings MEANS less consumption.) But part 2 of this quote is the real fun -- Joe Six-Pack's stock...
  • OHMIGOD, SOMEONE HAS MIXED ME UP WITH JUDITH WARNER.

    OHMIGOD, SOMEONE HAS MIXED ME UP WITH JUDITH WARNER. I just read Garance �s post in response to my week�s writing and to Judith Warner �s dreaded reappearance on The Times website. Although Garance made the linkage, I don�t think this is her mistake -- because she has been following my writing since I published � Homeward Bound � in the Prospect last December. But many of the commentators seem to read Garance�s post and conclude that, like Warner, I take the position that life is so hard for mommies, they cannot keep their jobs and need to be rescued by an omniscient government. Nothing could be further from the truth, as anyone who has read anything by or about me during the last six months surely knows. Even seeing the phrase �Judith and Linda� makes me a little dizzy. It is true that when the women graduate from Harvard, or anywhere else, as I said, the speedup in well-paid jobs has made the prospect of finding good work and having a home life harder. It is also true, and this is...
  • A DISAPPOINTING RETURN....

    A DISAPPOINTING RETURN. To the great consternation of many of my friends, I am a hockey fan. This comes from my father, who was a high school hockey coach whose team used to win the championship of Central Massachusetts every couple of seasons, thereby earning the right to go to the state tournament in Boston and get wasted by some squad made up primarily of players who would go on to join either a) the Boston College Eagles, or b) the Winter Hill mob. Or, occasionally, both. I had high hopes for this year's Stanley Cup finals, despite the overwhelming empirical evidence that the National Hockey League is run by marmosets. (Q: How shall we cement our dwindling support within the general public? A: I know. Let's make the sport freaking DISAPPEAR for a year and see if anyone notices. Nobody did.) Edmonton and Carolina were both talented clubs suited ideally to the new, free-skating NHL. So, for two-and-three-quarters periods, the two teams put up a rip-roaring Game One. Then an Edmonton...
  • PRC VERSUS DA...

    PRC VERSUS DA VINCI CODE . Here 's a fascinating tale. Some time ago, the Chinese government created something called the Catholic Patriotic Association, designed to run the Catholic Church in China. The Vatican, naturally, has long objected to that, insisting that the Catholic Church should run the Catholic Church in China. This medieval-style political controversy was bopping along in obscurity until the release of The Da Vinci Code in China, which both the Vatican and the CPA found objectionable. And now, at the CPA's behest, China's Propaganda Department has ordered China Film (a state-owned company) to yank the film from Chinese cinemas. Obviously, only in an authoritarian state are you going to see something like that. On the other hand, the fact that this whole tussle took place between two state-controlled entities -- the CPA and China Film -- only to be eventually resolved by a third state entity indicates the evolution of a kinda sorta pluralism in the People's Republic. --...
  • MORE NAME THING....

    MORE NAME THING. This is a bit late, but regarding the wide array of florid names deployed to describe our terrorist enemies, I did just want to note for the record that nobody is more impressive than Marshall Wittman in playing this game. The man puts in effort -- a term like " fascist Jihadism " is a natural for him but it's basically just too easy. When he really gets on a rhetorical roll, no one can touch him, from " death worshiping Jihadists who seek to kill us " to my personal favorite, " seventh century theocratic killer fascists ." --Sam Rosenfeld
  • A QUESTION OF...

    A QUESTION OF TEMPERAMENT. Reading Linda Hirshman 's guest-blogging items over the past week, along with Judith Warner 's latest New York Times (Select) column on the terrible anxiety and stress of throwing a last-day-of-class kindergarten party, have really made me wonder how much of the writing about women, work, and motherhood is a reflection of reality and how much of it is a reflection of the unique temperaments of certain women writers. For example, this, from Warner : I arrived at the party feeling quite proud. I had managed that morning to 1) take a shower 2) work for the better part of an hour 3) remember to bring the cookies I�d promised and 4) arrive a few minutes early, which gave me the satisfaction of seeing Emilie�s face change from anxious anticipation to pure joy as she entered the room and saw me. In the previous 10 days, I�d been through three violin recitals, many half-days of school, a �biome presentation,� camp forms, doctor visits and an overnight trip to the...
  • AND NOW FOR...

    AND NOW FOR A SERIOUS POST. Pat Buchanan (and no, damnit, I'm not going to apologize) raises a series of under-considered questions in his column about the consequences of the aid cutoff to the Palestinian Authority in the wake of Hamas' election win. One is simply that the actual consequences in terms of human suffering provoked by this are going to be large: "Surgeons at Gaza�s biggest hospital," he quotes the Financial Times as reporting, "have suspended non-essential surgery for lack of sutures, laboratory kits and anesthetics." Obviously, one follow-on consequence of this is going to be increasing detestation for the United States among the Palestinian population and their sympathizers throughout the Arab world. Even worse, though, are the precise circumstances of this. Palestine is being punished for having voted Hamas into power. But the election in which that took place was only organized because the American government took the line that Israel shouldn't negotiate with the...
  • THE ENEMY OF...

    THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY. Here's an important question for our friends on the other side of the aisle -- who to root for in Sunday's World Cup match between Mexico and Iran , the right's two most loathed countries? --Matthew Yglesias
  • THE NAME THING....

    THE NAME THING. One of the intriguing subplots of the post-9-11 era has been America's persistent inability to reach a consensus as to what to call the enemy. We've had "Islamism," "jihadism," the awful "Islamofascists," and now, courtesy of Tom Friedman , the even worse "Islamo-totalitarians." --Matthew Yglesias
  • AND A PONY!...

    AND A PONY! David Ignatius 's inspiring plan for post- Zarqawi Iraq: "Destroy his networks around the country. Peel off his supporters among the ex-Baathists and former regime loyalists; break his hold in towns such as Ramadi and Baqubah; get the Iraqi government out of the Green Zone and into the streets, where it can embolden ordinary Iraqis to believe that the republic of fear has ended." Good plan! How come nobody thought of that before? Maybe Superman will lend a hand . --Matthew Yglesias

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