Archive

  • Mom and Apple Pie. In Space.

    Via Democracy Arsenal comes this priceless quote from a military hearing: The Air Force believes "we must establish and maintain space superiority," Gen. Lance Lord, who leads the Air Force Space Command, told Congress recently. "Simply put, it's the American way of fighting." Air Force doctrine defines space superiority as "freedom to attack as well as freedom from attack" in space. No no no. That's the Empire's, or at the least, the Enterprise's way of fighting. So unless America really does transubstantiate into our pop culture, there's nothing Norman Rockwell about a moon bristling with Lockheed-Martin produced weaponry. Update : Suzanne Nossel makes the great point that nobody, in fact, can attack us from space. Maybe this is some sort of aftershock from Ronald Reagan's obsession with an alien invasion?
  • Bad Timing

    Writing in the LA Times, Michael Hitzlick makes a great point: when corporations are shedding their responsibilities, it's the wrong time for the government to do so. When the president, who never seems to think about the difficulty most people face in holding on to what they do own, proposes to cut the Social Security benefits of the majority of workers by 30% or more, how does he account for abrogations of promises made by companies such as United? Some workers spent their careers at the airline working toward pensions they were told would be worth $100,000 a year or more. Instead, they'll receive $45,000 or less. As he argues, the most effective rejoinder to Bush's plan has been the time period in which he proposed it. To tell workers to trust the stock market post-Enron, to take a benefits cut post-United, and to accept transition costs post-deficit has been nonsensical. Bush's determination to push his plan through while every single real world indicator rips open its flaws has...
  • Three Media Links

    • Kevin Drum's must-read piece defending the newspaper. One thing I think he ignores, however, is that the left and the right do indeed have a vision for the way reporting will be done in a post-newspaper era. Think blogs. Assuming the newspapers either did dry up or, worse yet, became partisan, Washington Times -like outlets, what you'd see wouldn't be the end of reporting but the beginning of a new sort of news gathering, wherein partisan groups deploy "journalists" to all places and stories in order to have them return with the sort of news rundown that benefits their side. Imagine, basically, a media populated by a million Powerline's on one side and a million Daily Kos's on the other (and no I'm not claiming equivalence between the two, they're just both examples of folks who do, or direct, original reporting in order to find stories that fit their world-views); pretty dystopian, huh? The newspapers, for their faults, attempt to hew to a flawed but predictable standard of...
  • Newsweek

    Since James Joyner got me talking about the blogosphere's last media scandal, I may as well say a few words on the current edition. To be honest, I've had a really hard time figuring out exactly what Newsweek did wrong. One of their stories was poorly sourced and they deserve a rap on the knuckles, but that's exactly what a public retraction is. They wrote that an upcoming government report would include allegations of Koran-flushing. They were wrong. The report, as it turns out, may not include said allegations so Newsweek publicly admitted error and informed their readers of the inaccuracy. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but isn't that how the media is supposed to work? This isn't "Rathergate", where some operative tipped off a blog and CBS resisted for a few weeks before admitting error. This isn't, in fact, anything found by anyone but Newsweek. They self-policed. The system worked. They should be more careful. Where's the beef? In keeping with my desire to not spend time dealing...
  • Your 60 Minutes Are Up

    With CBS canceling the viewer-allergic Wednesday edition of 60 Minutes, James Joyner couldn't resist a parting shot: Moonves' claims that the scandal that brought down Dan Rather was "not even slightly" to blame for this is ludicrous. The show and its lead anchor were permanently associated with the forgery and for its embarrassing failure to admit to its shoddy reporting for weeks after it became obvious what had happened. A news program simply can not exist without believability. Huh. "Ludicrous". Well, speak of the devil. Does James really think that Dan Rather and 60 Minutes have lost all credibility in the eyes of the viewing public? I mean, really think that? I'm sure they've tumbled in the eyes of many a right wing blogger and partisan but, let's be honest, who hasn't? And I know this'll prove my ignorance or bias or something, but when I heard the show was being canceled, I didn't even connect it to Rather. I had no idea that's where the documents were mentioned. Eight months...
  • TEPR

    Health care consultant/blogger extraordinaire Matthew Holt is liveblogging the TEPR conference, a health professionals convention focusing on technology in health care. It's interesting stuff, go have a look-see.
  • LA

    As expected, Villaraigosa trounced Hahn to become LA's first Latino mayor since the city's infancy. Much luck to him.
  • Why 70?

    Robert Samuelson gets his "seriousness" card punched today with a column advocating a raise in the retirement age to 70. I'm genuinely confused by this. The argument, so far as I can tell, is that folks retiring in the 30's didn't live as long and so our current age is way higher in absolute terms than it was then. We need to change that. But why? I was born in 1984, but let's say I entered the world in 1980. Assuming I make it to 65, which I dearly hope to do, I will, on average, have 14.1 years of life left in me. If nothing changes, the retirement age will be 67, which'll allow me roughly a decade of retirement (12.1 years, actually, but who's counting?). Exactly why should that be raised? What sort of society are we that we can't offer our old ten years to relax and enjoy their kids and grandkids after they've spent roughly 65 years being educated and employed? I personally hope to be a cranky, Safire-esque character writing biting columns and channeling the ghost of Bill Clinton...
  • Decision Time for the AFL-CIO

    So Stern made it official . If Sweeney is reelected as head the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, Stern's union and the confederate's largest member, will disaffiliate. In terms of Labor, that's a big, big , deal. In addition, the SEIU, along with the Teamsters, UNITE-HERE, the Laborers and, potentially, the UFCW and Carpenters, released their vision of what the union movement should look like. It's an important document if you want to understand the current conflict, and I encourage you to download it (warning: PDF). The basic conflict is one between organizing and political work with Sweeney and the AFL-CIO's "mainstream" subscribing to the philosophy that the political environment and legislation has to change before unions can return to effective organizing while Stern and friends believe the organizing can succeed now and the political atmosphere can only be created by a resurgent labor movement. The nut graf, as Nathan Newman recognizes it, is here: Our unions share a common commitment to...
  • Pundit Fever

    The Carpetbagger catches EJ Dionne in a bout of pundit fever, that peculiar malady that forces otherwise intelligent columnists to pretend that whatever solution or ill they've discovered is a threat to the political party they're criticizing, even while said party is way ahead of them on the issue. Today EJ dashes off to meet a county official from Long Island who has found a novel new approach on choice: he agrees that it's bad, wants it to remain legal, and is focusing on reducing the total number of abortions. This formulation, otherwise known as the Hillary Clinton approach or Reid's Prevention First bill offers precisely nothing new to the Democratic party that's currently pushing it, but you'd think the EJ had found a political rosetta stone that Terry McAulliffe and Ed Gillespie had kept hidden through sheer force of will. The worst part of this column is that Dionne doubtlessly knows where the blame belongs: squarely on the chest of a Christian Right that has no interest in...

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