• 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...
  • Viva Big Government!

    Matt's buried a lot of big important points in this tiny little paragraph : Positioning itself as the party of dogmatic tax-cutting has brought the GOP certain advantages. The big disadvantage is that it's left the field open for Democrats to be the defenders of spending more money on popular programs like Social Security or the military. In that vein, the "bigger Army" gambit is hardly a novel one for the post–September 11 Democrats. It was a plank of John Kerry's presidential campaigns, and it's one of Harry Reid's agenda items. The trouble is that despite this it hasn't become an issue the Democrats are clearly identified with. I'm a bit unsure about this. Certainly the GOP is increasingly in a corner as American faith in government slowly restores itself (which, despite the best efforts of the Bush administration, it appears intent on doing), but they've dealt with that through their new affection for incoherence, aka "big government conservatism". More to the point, the right's...
  • Settling Scores

    Arnold, still smarting from last month's whipping at the hands of the public sector unions, has decided to use the governor's office to settle the score. He backed down from all the initiatives he placed, or wanted to place, on the ballot, but is now opening a proxy war by threatening to endorse a so-called paycheck protection proposal, one of these anti-union initiatives that would force unions to get permission from each individual member before using any portion of dues for political work. But you know what? I'm willing to support him on it. I am. I'm willing to give Arnold the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I'll support him the moment he brings this proposal to its logical conclusion. Corporations, clearly, should have to inform every single one of their shareholders before using funds to influence politics. Wait -- no, they should actually include a little piece of paper with each product, service, or negotiation that would break down how their lobbying works, how much goes to each...
  • LA Mayoral Race

    Kevin writes : Since we live in Irvine, Marian and I just laugh at these ads. If we actually lived in Los Angeles, we'd probably be thinking of slitting our wrists instead. So to all my Los Angeles readers: my condolences. Do your duty at the polls tomorrow and write in Bill Clinton or something. Motion made and seconded*. Well, kinda. I won't actually be voting tomorrow. I can't stand either candidate. Watching them debate made me want to vote Republican, the two of them made Bush look skilled. The single-mindedness they exhibited reforming every question as a clumsy attack on their opponent's record showed a mixture of zen master focus and absolute mediocrity. Standing on stage with one of these candidates would be the average politician's dream, even the least inspiring and most dutiful of rhetoric would soar, sing, and sparkle compared to the pathetic pissing match going on at the other podium. But neither recognized the opportunity. So, instead, the race has devolved into a game...
  • Da' Votes

    Looks like Reid thinks he's got the votes : Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "declared an end Monday to compromise talks with Republican leaders over President Bush's controversial judicial nominees, saying their fate along with the future of long-standing filibuster rules will be settled in a showdown on the Senate floor," the AP reports. It wouldn't surprise me if a few conscious Republicans have begun to believe a "no" vote is necessary to make the Senate work again. It'd surprise me even less if a few, like Hagel, thought that casting one would cement their reputations as great men of the demands of petty partisan politics, and that such a reputation will come in handy among a worn-out electorate tired of the constant battles and gridlock. Guess we'll find out soon enough.
  • That About Sums It Up

    August : A faulty report. Unreliable sources. People have died. And who do they want to resign? The editors of Newsweek.
  • 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.