Archive

  • Get Up, Stand Up...

    The nation's big journalism schools are pooling resources to create new investigative journalism structures that they can aspire to send their students to. Why? Because the current lights of reporting are being tarnished and dimmed daily, and as a result, there's less and less for wannabe reporters to shoot for. The article's a little unclear on exactly what's going to happen -- the first project, it seems, is a 9/11 documentary with ABC News, hardly cutting edge stuff -- but the folks involved are smart and there's a bit of money backing it, so I'm glad to see the effort. More to the point, I'm glad to see the press waking from its slumber. As EJ Dionne wrote today, we're not seeing an uptick in incidents of journalistic dishonesty, but the fruition of a well-planned and impressively executed conservative strategy of tarring top outlets with small errors in order to defang them for the future. That's got to stop, and it'll only do so when the press decides to start punching back and...
  • Hillary's Turn

    A majority of Americans now say they're likely to vote for Hillary. In the last year, her strong support has jumped by 8% and strong opposition has dropped by 5%. This doesn't mean you should vote for her, but the whispers of giant anti-Hillary armies populating the heartland and preparing to take over the country come the kickoff of a Hillary candidacy are simply false. She's legitimately well-liked now, with 53% saying they want to vote for her and only 39% saying they simply won't vote for her, which is about the same number that'd sooner push a Democrat off a cliff than hand him a favorable ballot. All of this means it's time to start evaluating a Hillary candidacy on its own merits rather than as a function of the enormous hatred we're certain she engenders. Unlike us in Blogland or those signed to a Regnery publishing contract, few folks remain stepped in the passion of the Clinton years, and a fewer still have focused their long-term attentions on the then-First Lady. All this...
  • In Defense of Socialized Medicine

    CATO's Tim Lee has been running a very good blog named Binary Bits which seems, in large part, dedicated to correcting Matt, myself, and a few others on our health care posts. Oftentimes, Tim is right and I am wrong. But today he wrote a long post , in response to me, which lets me be right and him wrong (and they say liberals are wishy-washy), so let's get to it. Tim argues that universal health care, and indeed health care, is nothing more than an effort to redistribute money from the healthy to the sick. And he's right, I guess; that is one way of looking at it. But what society is aiming at isn't a redistribution, but a guarantee: it's promising that if you get extremely, expensively sick, the illness will not bankrupt you and funds will be available to cover your treatment. In this way it doesn't deserve to be grouped in with more commonly discussed forms of redistribution, say from rich to poor or, under Bush, from poor to rich, because it's redistributing to a group we all...
  • Bigger Media Matt

    Congratulations are in order to Matt Yglesias , who's closing down his site and thus reducing my competition. ... ... ... Okay, he's really just moving. Scared you though, didn't I? Matt's been bought out by Josh Marshall's TPM Cafe, where he'll have a solo site hosted on their servers and backed by the increased credibility and visibility provided by Josh Marshall's imprimatur. So congratulations to him, it's a terrific move that should make the guy ever more visible and give me ever more to live up to as the next American Prospect fellow to emerge from Blogland. Actually, putting it that way -- never mind. Bastard couldn't even let me get started before upping the bar.
  • The Country Veers Right...

    Wow. Excuse my lapse into Brad DeLongism, but the Washington Post's Jim Vanderhei is getting shrill : The campaign to prevent the Senate filibuster of the president's judicial nominations was simply the latest and most public example of similar transformations in Congress and the executive branch stretching back a decade. The common theme is to consolidate influence in a small circle of Republicans and to marginalize dissenting voices that would try to impede a conservative agenda. House Republicans, for instance, discarded the seniority system and limited the independence and prerogatives of committee chairmen. The result is a chamber effectively run by a handful of GOP leaders. At the White House, Bush has tightened the reins on Cabinet members, centralizing the most important decisions among a tight group of West Wing loyalists. With the strong encouragement of Vice President Cheney, he has also moved to expand the amount of executive branch information that can be legally shielded...
  • No on Bolton

    Democrats voted to reject cloture on Bolton, in other words, they're filibustering him until they get the NSA intercepts and other documents that have thus far been withheld. Looks like the opposition party has decided against going quietly into the sweet night. Good for them. Indeed, I think this may be more important than it appears on first glance. Aside from the obvious utility of holding up Bolton, the power balance in the post-compromise Senate was really up for grabs. The language of the resolution was so vague as to make it entirely possible that Republican moderates, and thus the Republican majority, had actually increased their power over the Democrats, that they could demand "good behavior" in return for abiding by the compromise. Rejecting Bolton -- with a filibuster no less! -- proves that the Democrats don't see what happened in the judicial fight as binding them in future confrontations. They're still on the attack and Frist is still stuck pathetically calling for...
  • Fun Fact of the Day

    There was a time in this country when corporations sought not to cut and run from pension plans, shift health costs onto employees, and shortchange their workers. Indeed, their was a time when companies sought to invest in their workforces, under the assumption that their workforces would respond in kind. This comes from page 23 Of Robert Collins' More : The relationship between General Motors and the United Automobile Workers exemplified the new turn in class relations. General Motors had embarked on a massive $2.5 billion post-war expansion program designed to boost production by more than 50 percent over prewar levels, building new plants in California, Texas, Ohio, and New York and increasing its blue-collar workforce by 25 percent. To safeguard this expansion, GM needed stability and predictability. On the other side, the UAW wanted higher pay, better benefits, and relief from the press of post-war inflation. In 1948, GM and the UAW agreed on a contract incorporation both a...
  • Clark Comes Back

    Via The Carpetbagger we get a Roll Call article on Wesley Clark's continuing efforts to insinuate himself into the national Democratic structure as the go-to guy on national security. As The Bagger says: The implications in the 2008 race are obvious, and the article notes that Clark is continuing to cultivate his relationships with key Dem leaders, including Reps. Charlie Rangel (N.Y.) and Rahm Emanuel (Ill.). Of course, it’s not just beltway activities either — Clark is maintaining a busy speaking schedule with Dems across the country, including a speech next month at the annual Flag Day Dinner of the Manchester City Democratic Committee in New Hampshire. Indeed, the article suggests that Clark retains a surprising depth of support within the Democratic establishment. Rangel says, on the record, that Clark would have won the election, while Tom Harkin, the article implies, wanted to endorse him in Iowa up until he pulled out. Speculation for the next round seems to settle on Hillary...
  • Think Forward

    Kenny Baer's got a piece over at TNR raising the alarm over erosion in the Jewish vote. According to exit polls, there really isn't any erosion in the Jewish vote, but as Baer convincingly argues, that may not actually be true. In any case, it doesn't matter. At this point, it's really not about keeping the old band together. The sad fact is that the Democratic party is, if current demographic and voting patterns hold, marching straight towards obsolescence. Check out this chart of projected changes in the electoral college due to population growth. The South is growing. The Northeast is shrinking. In 2004, we got 252 electoral votes to the Republican's 286. In 2012, the same state breakdown would give them 290 votes, and us 248. 2024 would would make it 299 to 239, and 2032 would give us 235 electoral votes to their 303. The trends, one might safely say, are not in our favor. Fighting to retain Jews in New York, which is what Baer's talking about, isn't really worth our time. We're...
  • Explaining the Deal

    David Corn sat in on Dick Durbin explaining the filibuster deal and he's come out with a good write-up of the senator's rationale. Durbin's disappointed, so those of you who found the halfway measure distasteful can rest easy in Dick's arms. But he's also resigned. According to him, we didn't have the votes to stop the nuclear option, and a senate shutdown would be a very, very hard PR battle to win. The best case scenario, certainly, was voting the option down. But once that proved out of reach, this was second best for the Democrats.

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