• Word to the Nick

    By the way, massive thanks to Nick Beaudrot for filling in this weekend. You can generally find him at and, as you saw this weekend, you should go looking.
  • You Try Your Way, I'll Try Mine

    Certain Republicans -- and Republican outlets -- are very excited over Arizona Representative John Shadegg's bill to allow consumers to buy insurance from all 50 states. The basic idea here is that, due to varying regulatory decisions, insurance in one place is cheaper than insurance in another. It covers less and exposes you to more risk, but it's cheaper. Under his bill, you could buy a cheap plan from, say, Missouri, even though you live in California, and even though the Missouri plan breaks California law. Ignoring the possibility that this'd be ruled unconstitutional, it's still a bad idea. It's fine, I guess, in that it'd make health care cheaper for certain folks (though it's unclear how many healthy ones it'd suck away from the overall risk pool), but it's a little odd to tell states -- particularly for Republicans to tell states -- that they can't regulate the insurance sold in their boundaries. So why are Republicans contravening states rights? Because this is an insurance...
  • Workers United Against Workers

    Ah yes , because among workers, there's a massive constituency begging for lower pay, smaller benefits, less job security, and an end to representation in the workplace. And it must be those impulses, not the longtime Republican demonization of unions and certainly not employer threats to close plants, fire organizers, and cut jobs, that lie behind the low numbers of unionized workers. It all makes perfect sense now.
  • Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

    It's inches from official -- we're almost certainly going to have a Labor split. Good. There are two ways to look at this. The first is from the Labor movement's perspective. Is splitting going to reverse the decline of unions or hasten it? The answer, truthfully, is that we don't know, but we're quite sure that the AFL-CIO's methods weren't helping matters any, so changing them up is crucial. But it goes beyond that too. You have to think of the Labor movement as having two parts: the old style, manufacturing and public sector unions, which have historic employee power and are primarily focused on retaining their gains, and the new movements, which are trying to unionize the low-wage service sectors. The strategies needed to retain old gains are very different from those necessary to make new ones, and the fundamental conflict is whether the AFL-CIO will be organized to support the latter aim or the former. Neither group really feels it can do both. But the SEIU, Teamsters, and all...
  • Standing Proud

    Seems that Sir Roberts was for the Federalist society before he was against it. Fun. I think I'm with Singer's reaction : Why are they lying? Why is the first response always to lie? Every Administration in history lies, but with this one, the assumption needs to be that it is lie until verified. It's a funny thing, conservatives, quick as they are to crow about their ideology's ascendance, are terrified to admit membership in its organizations. So right-wingers aren't Republicans, they're "libertarians"; Roberts isn't part of the Federalist Society, but he actually was; Bush is a "conservationist" who passes bills with environmentally friendly names and promises that Social Security privatization should be enacted because it'll result in a bigger entitlement for quick-dyin' black people. It's all a bit ridiculous. There's plenty of talk about how weak the Democratic party is, how embarrassing it is to be affiliated with it, and all the many methods unlucky liberals can choose from in...
  • And I'm Spent

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot Well, I believe our time here has come to an end. Sadly, it's been a slow weekend for news with something of a numerical bend to it; really, the most recent thing I've had to say on the subject of polling is that the more the right to choose is threatened, the more people support it . If you find this sort of thing interesting, you can find my regular postings at ;but just as a heads up, I have a day job and I don't use web-based blogging software, so I consider posting once a day to be a success. Speaking of which, anyone who tells you regular blogging isn't work doesn't know what they're talking about. Try come up with something insightful to say, and then condensing that thought into two or three paragraphs, and then try doing that three or more times a day. It's not easy, even with practice, no matter what the outcomes of all those conferences on blogger ethics are. Perhaps I'll see y'all again here some other time. But for now I'll hand...
  • Did Tom DeLay Just Lose a Legislative Battle?

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot CBS News -- which I try to use as a barometer of what non-cable news is covering -- has this story on their gateway page: "Congress Nearing Energy Bill Deal". Let's pause for a moment about the thought of giving oil and natural gas extraction even more tax favored status at a time when Exxon Mobil literally has more money than it knows what to do with. Now that that's over, let's get to the real news: "House and Senate conferees abandoned giving makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection against environmental lawsuits on Sunday, removing the major roadblock to enactment of broad energy legislation". This is significant, because House Leadership, in the form of DeLay and his collegaue "Smokey" Joe Barton (R-TX) have had a monomaniacal obsession with protecting the poor small-market gasoline manufacturers from the big bad environmental groups. It seems strange for them to give up on their favorite pet rock when they are so close to victory. So are...
  • Lance Armstrong: Most Dominant Ever?

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot More substantive posting is on the way, but I just wanted to pause and ask this question: Now that he's won his seventh consecutive Tour de France , is there anyone in any sport who has been as dominant for as long as Lance Armstrong? At a glance, the closest thing I can come up with is Garry Kasparov, who was the Undisputed World Chess Champion for eight years, and the classical world chess champion for fifteen years. Tiger Woods' two years where he won 50% of the tournaments he entered, and became the first person to hold all four majors' titles simultaneously was unprecedented... but that wasn't a particularly lengthy period of dominance. Sandy Koufax led the National League in ERA for six years in a row ... but he was helped to some extent by Dodger Stadium. Michael Jordan? Jim Brown? Wayne Gretsky? Even Gretsky had players who put up comparable numbers and would beat him for the scoring (points, not goals) title from time to time. Put your thoughts in the...
  • Sunday Music

    In some senses, this is the more important one. I've got plenty of good books to read, but I'm woefully out of it on music and am absolutely desperate to find some new stuff I like. So here's what I'm listening to this week, recommendations would be gratefully accepted: • Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism. This, along with the Garden State soundtrack and Postal Service, is my favorite quasi-indie rock. I know, it's horribly trite and mainstream but, you know what? Screw you music snob! This is my sandbox on the internets and I can like what I want! • Grouch and Eligh's No More Greener Grasses: Probably my favorite CD of all time, and still good after all these years. • Dispatch's All Points Bulletin: Not sure if it beats their other live CD, Gut the Van , but it's damn good. And you?
  • Social Security Privatization: Still a Bad Idea

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot I know it feels like beating a dead horse, but it's worth remembering that there are people out there still trying to pass "free lunch" proposals to privatize Social Security and/or cut benefits. There's a large message machine out there to promote the idea. And that idea must be rebutted until it's drummed from of every prominent Republican circle. Thankfully I can outsource this intellectual garbage pickup to Angry Bear's Pro-Growth Liberal . And remember, folks, garbage men get paid pretty well. Just say no to fuzzy math.