• Beware of Nutrition Labels

    Was just looking at my Planters Honey Roasted Peanuts label and thinking, "Wow, 150 calories for 39 pieces, that's pretty damn good." "Huh. Why 'pieces' and not 'nuts'?" "They're half nuts aren't they? That's what they mean by pieces. Fucking Planters." Aside from the decidedly unshocking news that I don't think about very interesting things, let this be a warning to you: labels lie, and if they seem too good to be true, they probably are.
  • The Mystery of the Missing Spokesperson

    I think I should say a bit more about the Gary Hart piece I plugged yesterday. What's interesting here isn't his skewering of the Bush administration or his lionization of Cindy Sheehan, but his diagnosis of what's wrong with the antiwar movement today: where will the expanding majority of Americans look for a representative, a spokesperson, a voice for their anger, frustration, and distrust at being misled? The circumstances suggest it should be a Senate or House Democratic leader, a recognized authority on foreign policy constantly seen on the Sunday talk shows, certainly one of the many “leaders” lining up to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in 2008. Strangely, no one in any of those categories comes to mind. Their voices are silent. He's right. And it's strange. For some reason, no William Fulbright has emerged, no George McGovern or Eugene McCarthy or RFK has stepped forward to focus the call for withdrawal. We've got this big rally, and most of America has...
  • I Don't Get Letters

    Rumor has it that my e-mail address on the right doesn't work. Well it does now.
  • It Won't Happen Outside Here

    CNtodd, in a post hoping for the rise of a new labor party to challenge the Democrats, writes : Unless labor unions drop their support of the Democratic Party, workers will continue to lose the rights they fought for so long ago. The Democrats need a wake-up call in 2008. Sorta like the wake-up call Nader gave them (and the country) in 2000, right? And do you think things would be quite so bad for workers if, say, that wake-up call hadn't happened and Gore had won? If Kerry had won? I don't. In any case, new parties really aren't the way to go. Lipset and Marks wrote a great book called It Didn't Happen Here , explaining why socialism never grabbed hold in the States. They argue, basically, that the essential impenetrability of the two-party system killed its chances; there was no electoral space in which it could breathe. Convincing stuff, and worth a read if you're interested in that sort of thing. A good example of why these initiatives fail can be seen on the right. Howard Jarvis...
  • One Scandal, Two Scandal, Red Scandal, Blue Scandal

    You know what was fun? Last month's scandal where Arnold's second job as magazine publisher nicely intersected with his first job as pretend-governor when he signed off on a bill protecting their advertisers. But you know what's going to be even more fun? This month's scandal . Cause this time, there's hush money: Days after Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped into the race for governor and girded for questions about his past, a tabloid publisher wooing him for a business deal promised to pay a woman $20,000 to sign a confidentiality agreement about an alleged affair with the candidate. American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, signed a friend of the woman to a similar contract about the alleged relationship for $1,000. American Media's contract with Gigi Goyette of Malibu is dated Aug. 8, 2003, two days after Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy on a late-night talk show. Under the agreement, Goyette must disclose to no one but American Media any information about her "...
  • Soapbox Strategies

    Looks like NARAL's pulling their ad . Fair 'nuff. I think, after Leahy rebuked them, that we can safely judge that one a flop. But the discussion it created was interesting, and raises some issues we should be thinking about. The ad, for those who don't know, linked Roberts to violent antiabortion protesters because he defended them in a nonviolent context. It was hardball, to be sure, but nothing batters haven't seen before. The shock, awe, and surprise came mostly because the Roberts nomination washed such a warm glow of comity and calm over all involved, and so NARAL's frontal assault caught both the left and the right unawares. For my part, I figured it par for the course. The one danger was that Roberts, who almost certainly will be confirmed, would take it personally. Much of what we've seen seems to show him a fair-minded jurist willing to seriously consider opposing arguments. But if NARAL really enrages him, it's possible he'd take it out on their cause during later trials,...
  • I Hart Him

    I first entered politics in 2003, to work on Gary Hart's (quickly aborted) run for President. This is why .
  • Back to Basics

    In the latest LA Weekly, Marc Cooper has an extraordinary article on California's hordes of immigrant farmworkers. While he was in the Central Valley reporting it, two of the workers died from heat exposure. We are, quite literally, working these people to death. Cooper writes: exactly 40 years after Chavez’s UFW exploded into the national consciousness by leading the great 1965 Delano grape workers’ strike and forced America to recognize the plight of those who put our food on the table, nothing could be further from the truth. The golden years of California farm workers lasted barely a decade and then sharply began to fade. “Since the late 1970s, it’s all been downhill, it’s all been on the defensive,” says Oxnard-based CRLA attorney Jeff Ponting. The landmark 1975 Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) that passed during the Jerry Brown administration promised a New Deal for farm workers. Today it is little more than a historical asterisk. Wages among California’s 700,000 farm...
  • You Are!

    Can't you just imagine Jonah stepping up to his bathroom sink, looking into the reflection, and saying "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most honorable party of them all?" What he seems to see in his party (and in ours) is so totally outlandishly false that either wizardry or drugs have to be involved.
  • Miniblog

    Furl, the service I use for the miniblog on the right, has been slowing the site recently. Worse, I'm not sure anybody even uses it when it's working. So I think this is going to be the end of it. From here on out: the site's left is capitalist corner, full of blogads (or it would be full, if folks would buy more of them) and pleas to buy me things from my Amazon Wish List (which never happens but, hey, hope springs eternal).