Archive

  • Keep the People Stupid

    First they came for PBS, and I wrote a long blog post about it. Then they came for NPR, and Laura Rozen wrote the post I would've written about it, so you should just read her. Suffice to say that I hope the billion dollars Joan Kroc bequeathed to the station allows NPR to (and my grandparents should stop reading right about now) tell Kenny Tomlinson and the CPB to shove it up their ass. Less news? A dedicated effort to policing the station's Middle East coverage? You have got to be kidding me.
  • One Last Times

    Via Atrios , it looks like the Times is going to lock Brooks, Krugman, Herbert, Tierney and the rest of their gang of wacky op-ed writers behind a subscription wall : The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's NYTimes.com Web site will only be available through a fee of $49.95 a year. The service, known as TimesSelect, will also allow access to The Times's online archives, early access to select articles on the site, and other features. Ouch. I like making fun of Brooks as much as the next guy, but it's not the sort of pleasure I'd pay $50 a year to retain. And, indeed, I've a sneaking feeling few others will, either. Awhile back, I argued that the NYT couldn't go subscription because it had too many competitors offering exactly the same service for free. Were they to demand $10 for me to read their news, I'd simply redirect my mail over to the Washington Post's site and that'd be that...
  • Ideas Matter (Randomly)

    You're about to hear a lot of whining and high-pitched indignation about this paragraph from an Editor & Publisher survey : Asked who they voted for in the past election, the journalists reported picking Kerry over Bush by 68% to 25%. In this sample of 300 journalists, from both newspapers and TV, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1 -- but about half claim to be Independent. As in previous polls, a majority (53%) called their political orientation "moderate," versus 28% liberal and 10% conservative. Okay kids, listen close and listen quick: if the majority of the folks spending day after day and night after night observing, analyzing, and judging politics are breaking heavily Democratic, that's not prima facie evidence of bias. Indeed, it may be evidence that the facts of contemporary politics break down in such a way that most rational observers in command of all, or almost all, of the relevant information find voting Republican an irrational thing to do. The right...
  • The Dichotomy is Dead, Long Live the Dichotomy!

    I very much like Matt's point on this: Like most Americans, though, I'm inclined to forgive inequality if it leads to nationwide prosperity and if our society remains mobile -- the sort of place where a person born poor has a fair shot at getting rich. The common presumption is that America is an unusually mobile country in this sense, more mobile than tradition-bound Europe and more mobile than the more hierarchical, slower-paced economy of decades ago. The reality is that this isn't really true. The United States has grown somewhat less mobile since the 1970s, and exhibits less mobility than do the continental European welfare states or Canada. We're slightly more mobile than the relatively laissez faire United Kingdom. It's not just, however, that we're willing to forgive inequality if it offers prosperity and mobility, we're actually willing to trade it. The American ethos is a value judgment that we'd prefer the potential for greatness over the guarantee of goodness, and we've...
  • Heh

    Hah !
  • Help Wanted

    Thanks again to Ezra for letting me guest for the weekend. It's been really...real. Anyway, I'm going to use this final post for a little bleg/offer: Due to a thing, I'll be highly non-Internet-accessible (read: "in Eastern Europe") from May 22 to June 3. Of course, I don't want the ol' blog to languish. Now, I'm sure that of Ezra's many regular commenters, more than a few of you have your their own blogs. Of those who do, I'd love to enlist a few of you to guest-post over at my place while I'm gone. It's not quite as big a platform as this place, but it's not too shabby. If you're interested, e-mail me at daniel DOT munz AT yale DOT edu. Send the URL of your blog, a brief (i.e. one or two sentences) statement of interests, and a few particular posts you particularly want me to see if so inclined. I'll prospective guesters know by week's end. Now that I'm done totally wearing out my welcome, I'll take off. Thanks again to the always-gracious Ezra, my prolific co-guest Angelica, and...
  • Get Government On My Back!

    While I'm yelling advice at the Democratic Party, here's another one: Please abandon whatever instinct is driving you to cozy up to libertarians. I know Matt Welch's head probably just exploded, so let me explain: I've written before about why I don't think libertarianism is promising as a philosophical direction for Democrats. As Matt Yglesias has pointed out, liberalism is largely about using government to help people . As Jon Chait has observed, liberalism is also largely non-ideological . Both of these stand fundamentally opposed to liberalism, which is basically an ideological aversion to using government to help people. So we can embrace libertarianism, I guess, but if we do, we'd better explain why it's okay to shout about getting government out of your library records and abortion decisions, but it's fine to keep government's hand in your pocketbooks. Libertarianism elevates "freedom from government" to paramount ontological importance over other values, like freedom from fear...
  • Bluff-Calling for Dummies

    So, I guess my secret's out: I don't like being mean to illegal immigrants. I do, however, like being mean to the leadership of the Republican Party, which is why one of MoveOn's recent e-mails really kind of chafes my hindquarters. One of the nice things about being on MoveOn's mailing list is that it serves as a little pulse-of-liberal-activism memo delivered right to my inbox. Judging from this e-mail, the pulse is...er, slowing rapidly. The issue: Pat Robertson's recent assertion that the federal judiciary, intransigent in its refusal to reverse the tyrannical and undemocratic measures imposed on our nation by a man elected to the presidency four times, has become a greater threat to America than "a few bearded terrorists." Yikes! This certainly calls for some hard-core condemning! So, what's my beef with MoveOn? It has primarily to do with this exhortation to members: Last Sunday, Pat Robertson went on national television to say liberal judges posed a greater threat to America...
  • The EU Comes In Handy

    Speaking of nuclear stuff: Longtime readers of my blog know that I've taken something of an interest in the European Union. Today, Xinhua is reporting that Iran doesn't want the EU to give up the ghost on stalling its nuclear progress: Iran warned the European Union (EU) Sunday that the next round of negotiators between the two sides will be the last chance to save the stalled nuclear talks. "Iran has decided to negotiate with the European trio (France, Germany and Britain) for one more time upon their request, and the upcoming meeting will be their last chance," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told a weekly news briefing. One problem: In the same article, it is revealed that Iran's parliament voted to resume uranium enrichment activities. If this whole thing were a movie script, the EU would currently be cast in the role of "Iran's patsy." In the short-term, this isn't so bad: The EU is still mostly a united front with the US, at least in terms of strategic objectives,...
  • When will Nuclear Energy be safe enough?

    Like Mark Kleiman, I believe that the spectre of global warming is so serious that, in addition to curbing our energy usage, nuclear power should not be off the table. What's the good of worrying about how to keep the nuclear waste safe for hundreds of thousands of years if, at the rate we're pumping out greenhouse gasses and pollutants, there won't be much of a civilization left in a few thousand years? Having said that, I also don't like the idea of energy cowboys, like the guys who ran Enron, blazing in lobbyists in a tow and building plants on the cheap. Nathan Newman raises a good point regarding the recent flurry of lobbying for government subsidies of nuclear plants: But these proposed subsidies are chicken feed compared to the 1957 Price-Anderson Act, which limits the insurance liability of nuclear reactors in case of a meltdown. Yep, if there's a catastrophic accident, the taxpayer is stuck with the bill. My view is that nuclear might be worth exploring, but if private...

Pages