Archive

  • Fear It

    Your world is about to get sleeker . Apple is bringing out an ipod cell phone. Someday, someone will write a history of mobile devices that explains why teeny-tiny cameras that focus worse than a midget after a bender were a more logical accompaniment for phones than music players, which many of us carry in our pockets anyway. And when that book is written, next week's unveiling of Apple's later market-mover will be lionized as the day sense returned to cell phone manufacturing. Unfortunately, it will also be known as the day we all switched to Cingular, even though their service totally sucks. But I guess you take the good with the bad. If my phone is going to reduced to a useless rectangle in my pocket, it may as well look like a present from the martians and hold my entire music library.
  • I Have Failed to Cure This Problem I Have Made Up

    Tierney knows not of what he speaks . Although, now that I think about it, in posts that start with the word "Tierney", the rest of that sentence is generally assumed. So never mind it. In any case, The Times ' token libertarian (and how come no major papers need a token green on staff? Don't they reliably attract more votes than libertarians?) has aimed his non sequiturs at hybrid cars and the collision, as you would expect, claimed coherency as collateral damage. Tierney apparently travelled to LA and rented a Prius so he could drive in our carpool lanes and write about how superior he felt. Unfortunately, that gig only works when your audience is in New York. As any Angeleno will tell you, our carpool lanes may as well not exist. Fairly often, they're worse than the other lanes (because movement in and out is restricted save for certain, small junctions). When traffic is clear -- it happened for about 10 minutes last October -- the carpool lane is, you guessed it, slower than the...
  • Gas Tax vs. Cafe Standards

    There's been a lot of CAFE bashing lately, and much of it, I fear, is a bit misguided. Brad Plumer (who I don't mean to single out, he's just the most recent) joins in with a post blasting CAFE in favor of a gas tax, maybe with some means-tested rebates to ease up on the regressivity of it. A few things: • First, gas taxes are a very direct way of influencing fuel consumption, but it's not clear that, at attainable rates, they actually do influence fuel consumption. Raising the tax by the small, incremental amounts that could (and by could, I mean in a hypothetical world where this was somehow a viable policy option) pass would likely do little to stem consumption. That's because, as it turns out, gas hasn't even been near the top price folks are willing to pay. Most simply bear the burden, preferring to pay more rather than disrupt their lifestyle. The place gas taxes make a difference is, in the end, among the poor, but if we put in rebates like Brad is suggesting, it won't affect...
  • Partisans Anonymous

    Can't argue with this : Finally, we've decided that syndicated columnist Ann Coulter has worn out her welcome. Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives. And thus ends Ann's tenure at the Arizona Daily Star . A few months ago she was on Time's cover, now she's kicked off a Western regional's op-ed page. This, of course, should be expected. Coulter, and others like her, are the red bull and vodka of political pundits. First time you see her she makes you feel weird, but good. Second and third times, there's still novelty, but you're a bit surprised by how strong she is. Give her a couple more chances and you love her -- there's never been a columnist this awesome! You could read her forever! The next morning, you wake up blinded, aching, hating yourself. Just knowing that you indulged in Ann hurls (sorry, bad word choice) you into a pit self-loathing. More to the point, you hate her for...
  • Perspective, People

    T.A Frank on the recent shooting of Suge Knight, and his associate's plea to not make a big deal out of such an ordinary event: Anytime you get a lot of people together, there's going to be the odd shooting or two. If the papers wrote about me every time I hosted a large event and the stray bullet or two went flying, there'd scarcely be room for anything else. Word.
  • States Matter

    The last year has not been a good one for choice : This year's state legislative season draws to a close having produced a near-record number of laws imposing new restrictions on a woman's access to abortion or contraception. Since January, governors have signed several dozen antiabortion measures ranging from parental consent requirements to an outright ban looming in South Dakota. Not since 1999, when a wave of laws banning late-term abortions swept the legislatures, have states imposed so many and so varied a menu of regulations on reproductive health care. Three states have passed bills requiring that women seeking an abortion be warned that the fetus will feel pain, despite inconclusive scientific data on the question. West Virginia and Florida approved legislation recognizing a pre-viable fetus, or embryo, as an independent victim of homicide. And in Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt (R) has summoned lawmakers into special session Sept. 6 to consider three antiabortion proposals. A...
  • Politics of Terrorism, Comparative Edition

    Tony Blair's unending cycle of Bush-related problems gained a new twist this week with a leaked document from the head of the Foreign Service warning Blair that British policy in Iraq and the Middle East was feeding Islamic radicalism and doing wonders for recruitment. That's not necessarily surprising, one needs only the barest flicker of sentience to intuit that every time we blow up an Iraqi wedding or refuse to disavow permanent bases we give some Islamic extremist that last push towards violence. What is interesting, though, is the cultural difference between the politics of terrorism across the Atlantic and the way it plays out here. To wit: Blair has consistently denied a link between Britain's participation in the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the July 7 bombings, which killed 52 people, along with the four presumed bombers, and injured 700 others on three London subways and a bus. Blair has said the accused bombers -- all young Muslim men, several of them British citizens -- were...
  • SPR

    I'm with Kevin -- Katrina has really made it a necessity that we dip into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Last week, the economy was already beginning to feel the effects of the accelerating price of oil, a shock like Katrina needs to be smoothed out lest the economy really feel the increase.
  • Could've Been Worse

    Looks like New Orleans got spared the worst of it. Katrina spun through in such a way that her deadlier fronts didn't slam into the city's most total vulnerabilities, so bully for that! Nevertheless, it's going to be a bad day for Louisiana, for Mississippi, and a couple of others besides. In two days, when the refugees trudge back into their drowned metropolis, they'd better mix thoughts of reconstruction with serious attention to Chris Mooney's article on prevention. Not to mention that, as Chris notes at his site , global warming (and its expected rise in sea levels) is not going to make for a prettier picture over the next few decades. Maybe Katrina could be a wake-up call? Nah...this bed is just so comfy...
  • Help -- They Need Somebody...

    Want to help those affected by Katrina? Here are some options: • Red Cross • Catholic Charities • Kimarsh in comments notes that MSNBC has a much more complete list . I'll update this as I get more. Leave suggestions in commentd.

Pages