• Wanted: Newt

    I've got to take issue with The Carpetbagger's read of Josh Green's piece in the latest Atlantic Monthly . Like the the Honorable Bagger, I like Josh Green. Also like the honorable Bagger, his piece did not exactly spur me to do cartwheels around the room. But the Carpetbagger's critique is simply a restatement of Green's thesis rendered as a criticism: Green's article attempts to argue that Democrats are faltering under the stewardship of Reid and Pelosi because, while they've been excellent parliamentary maneuverers and done much to stymie Bush's agenda, they've not done anything to repair the party's tattered public image. So while good at working Congress, they're terrible as public faces for the party. Green's right. Publicly, Democrats have no leader, no singular voice. While our elected officials are certainly under the command of much-improved tacticians, we're winning battles without changing hearts and minds (for evidence of this, go here or here ). Dean, who many thought...
  • Union Busting as a Side Dish

    Kevin writes : But the right wing never rests, and for any of my liberal readers who harbor suspicion of labor unions as an "old" liberal cause — just another one of those special interest groups that Democrats are always pandering to — ask yourself this: why are conservatives so hellbent on breaking them? Why did Ronald Reagan fire those air traffic controllers in 1981? Why did George Bush make union busting a key issue in the 2002 midterm election? Why the relentless opposition to using card checks to organize workers in new industries? Why the continuing demonization of unions from a party that's otherwise so conscientious about building its appeal to the working and middle classes? Italics mine. Kevin's right on the rest of it, but George didn't emphasize union busting in 2002. What he did was actually much worse: after opposing the Dept. of Homeland Security -- a Democratic proposal -- for seven or so months, he pivoted and supported it, with one minor change. In George W. Bush's...
  • Hot For Teachers

    Dave Eggers is writing, or has written, a new book. In a break with tradition, this one is light on the self-involvement and heavy on public school teachers. That's because this one is all about public school teachers. Campus Progress has a graphical excerpt from it tracking the day of a teacher vs. the day of a pharmaceutical rep. And while the deck's kinda stacked by comparing the married teacher with a single, mobile worker who'll obviously have long gaps of inactivity while driving between meetings, just reading about the instructor's schedule left me exhausted. Take a look.
  • The De Soto Fallacy

    According to Praktike , or at least Alaa Al'-Aswany, the author he's quoting, the paucity of Arab literature isn't a problem requiring the drastic interventions of creativity or liberty, but merely a bit of Hernando De Soto. With no mature publishing industry, there's no way to effectively market or accurately profit from writing books. But slap some legal frameworks and protocols on the distribution system and it's a whole new ball game. Interesting thought. But couldn't this fall prey to the Hernando De Soto problem? De Soto is an enormously popular and influential economist whose big idea was that capitalism failed in developing countries because there's no legal framework for converting informal holdings into formal assets. Add that, he argued, and the poor could participate in the free market too. The problem was that banks and buyers didn't much want the title to 25 square feet of slum land, so the poor were no more able to net favorable loans or sell their property than before...
  • Moving Day

    As you can tell, we're still having design issues. I've put two "real" posts up right under this so you've all got some content to look at that isn't me plaintively asking for html help. I've also tweaked the html a bit so if it's working for you and it wasn't before, let me know in comments. If you're an html whiz and think you know what's going on, also put it in comments (or e-mail me). Otherwise, I'll be back in a bit.
  • The "New" Bush Plan or A Summary of the Ball Plan

    From what my conservatives friends have said recently, it seems that George W. Bush has settled on two main goals with Social Security, making it more progressive and fixing the shortfall. I'm all for it. But the Pozen plan isn't an efficient way of doing that. It hurts the middle class, reduces benefits, etc. So I'm going to help the president out, I'm going to tell him how to fix the shortfall in a progressive way. Ooh Mr. President, you're going to love this! • First, raise the cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax so 90% of all income is included, That, after all, was Ronald Reagan's magic number. What the Gipper failed to foresee was that the earnings of the rich would spring forward, laughing maniacally as the rest of the country's income tried and failed to catch up. Because of that, 15% of earnings are outside the tax. So increase the earnings cap by 2% more per year than we would otherwise and, by 2043, we'll hit the magic 90%. Not only that, but you'll cut the program's...
  • Talkin' Bout Wal-mart

    What's that you say ? Now there's a decision to be made here. People need to either say out loud that they're willing to pay more in Wal-Mart so the workers there can make more (and be willing to put their money where their mouth is) or they need to shut up. Until or unless they are willing to do so, something they have proven unwilling to do in the case of Mom and Pop, they don't have anything to say about this. This is between Wal-Mart and its employees, and none of anyone else's business. So it's not the business of us taxpayers paying billions each year to subsidize Wal-Mart's "Always Low Wages, Always"? Why? And does McQ still not understand that the way Wal-Mart functions effectively chokes off, then kills the competition? For most, it's not a choice of where to spend your dollars. You have to go to the retailer still operating in your town. And, after Lee Scott's store comes in, the others have a strange propensity to stop operating. One thing I never understand about these Wal...
  • Redesign Update

    Is it fixed? Remember, it should look like this . Safari users, I'm looking at you.
  • Redesign Problems

    Seems that Safari is smushing the left sidebar into the banner, and somehow denying other portions of the code from being recognized (i.e, the sidebars are the old color, the right one is the old size, etc). Now why would it be reverting back to portions of the old template when I've published it into this new one? Anyone have any ideas what could be going on? And why's it working in Firefox and IE but only some Safaris? Remember -- it should look like this . The internets are hard.
  • Redesign

    So things should be looking a little different round these parts. If they're not, hit reload. The amazing, wonderful, phenomenal, and brilliant Shakespeare's Sister has been helping me with the redesign (read: she did it, and I had editorial input) and here's the result. We've got some color, we've got a tagline (the winner of a contest I had back in my Pandagon days), and we've got a third column. Why a third column, you ask? In order to sate this site's unending appetite for content, I read an enormous amount of news, blogs, op-eds, and think-tank reports in the course of a day. And, during my online travels, I find a lot of interesting, well-written, edifying stuff that I don't have anything to say about and thus can't build a post around. The choice then becomes taking up space with a throwaway "check 'er out" or ignoring an article of legitimate interest. Since I don't like to fill the page with pointers, most of it gets ignored. The third column should end all that. What we've...