Archive

  • Minimum Wage Woes

    Heather Boushey of the CEPR has written a stunning report on America's minimum wage. Required reading. Except, you guys don't actually ready things when I say that, so here's a summary: • Most minimum wage workers are adults. Less than one in five is under the age of 20 and more than half are between the ages of 25 and 54. • A full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $10,300, putting her below the poverty line for a one-parent, one-child family. Health care, of course, is but a dream. • Many workers get stuck at minimum wage, meaning that, three years after they began, they'd netted neither a promotion nor a raise. Mobility is better for men, native citizens, those who change jobs (indicating mobility and skills), and union members. • The minimum wage itself hasn't increased since 1997. Thanks to that, inflation has made the already-paltry $5.15 an hour worth about 1/6th less in real terms than when it was instituted. • Minimum wage workers earn an average of 68% of their total...
  • Fire Rumsfeld!

    Kevin identifies one portion of the Newsweek story that's getting consistently overlooked. If Newsweek really was pursuing such a pack of lies, why then, when they ran the story by the Pentagon, didn't the officials flag it as false? They gave them the heads-up, hell, they gave them the text! And yet no one seemed to think the upcoming government report wasn't going to include the Korans-in-toilets factoid. That right there should tell you plenty about why the piece ran. It's reminiscent of the National Guard memos, wherein the Bush administration clearly figured they were true and declined to challenge them when the story broke. in both cases it seems that the facts were essentially straight, its the sources who were out of line. But you can't fault Newsweek -- they gave the higher-ups the opportunity to correct the error and, if you believe the article caused riots, to preempt those, too. The Pentagon failed.
  • Yes, But The Peach People Are Exterminating the Blueberryites

    Shakespeare's Sister is getting a bit tired of her comrades-in-pigment: If you want to know why I prefer to identify as Kinda Peachy, eschewing labels like white and straight and all that junk, it’s because even I’m starting to think of straight white folks as being completely and utterly fucking nuts. Yes, I know there are plenty of decent straight white liberal people, and I also know there are sickos and weirdos and freaks of every race and creed and orientation, but between the evil dipshits* running the country, the crackpot Dominionists trying to Jesusize the country, and the slew of deranged psychos that have been in the news lately (BTK serial killer, the dude who kept his dead mom in the basement in a chunk of ice, etc.), I’m just going to pack my bags for a permanent move to Kindapeachistan. Considering the story she flags as the coup de grace, a child abuse/bestiality cult with a Texas Chainsaw Massacre level of sadism and widespread community acquiescence, I can't blame...
  • Oh, And John Kerry Was a Flip-Flopper

    In the middle of a sobering, grim article on Iraq's worsening prospects comes this bit of carefully placed, lovingly-crafted spin (italics mine): Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, said in a briefing in Washington that one problem was the disappointing progress in developing Iraqi police units cohesive enough to mount an effective challenge to insurgents and allow American forces to begin stepping back from the fighting. General Abizaid, who speaks with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld regularly, was in Washington this week for a meeting of regional commanders. Sound familiar? Like from every Bush administration press conference you've ever heard? Yeah, I thought so too. Gotta respect that sort of message discipline, coming as it is from New York Times reporters. The rest of the article, however, is very good, and you should read it. Looks like Iraq isn't prgressing as swimmingly as we'd hoped.
  • Boots on the Ground

    Lorelai Kelly has an absurdly good post thinking through the implications of the call for 100,000 more troops that's been echoing around. Do we need that many boots on the ground? Nut grafs: We need more than boots. In fact, over-reliance on boots may be a primary cause of our public relations problems with the rest of the world. We need loafers, pumps, Birkenstocks, waffle-stompers, sensible flats and tourists in tennis shoes out around the planet… working to retrieve the golden reputation of the good ole USA. The more the face of America is seen in uniform and holding weapons, the less this reputation holds up. Now, I love the Army as much as anybody, so why do I have a problem with it expanding to carry out ever more duties around the globe? This question needs to be answered with perspective sharing. The American experience with the military institution is by and large positive and mutual. Civilian control over the military is scrupulous and most military officers themselves know...
  • 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...

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