• Greetings

    Hello, Ezra Kleinians. In a spectacular bit of misjudgment, Ezra has decided to let one of the inmates run the asylum, as he earlier noted. And since all the boys are angling for their Estrogen-Friendly Boy Scout Badge this week, choosing me has put him well ahead of the competition. I kid, I kid. Tonight I did one of my favorite things in the world—I saw a great film. One never knows, of course, whether the evening will turn out as hoped when the lights go down; I’ve wasted more money on films that aspired to be swill than I care to consider. But I spent this evening engaged by the thoroughly wonderful Million Dollar Baby , which I encourage you to see. (It’s not such a strange thing to recommend on a political blog, but I won’t tell you why if you don’t already know. Suffice it to say it will leave you with something to debate, should you be so inclined.) On the way home, I was considering the strange path that Clint Eastwood’s career in film has taken; once vilified as...
  • See Ya Monday

    I'm out for the weekend. Mother's birthday, girlfriend's in town, etc. Your hostess will be the excellent Shakespeare's Sister , so you should be excited. She'll make sure you don't get bard. Ba-da-ching! Sorry. I'll leave now.
  • Labor

    In my second Newman link of the day, Nathan's got an excellent case study of how union votes are won -- by anti-labor corporations. Go. By the way, you're probably going to see a lot more labor posts on this site. I recently read Thomas Geoghegan's Which Side Are You On: Trying to be For Labor When It's Flat on its Back (a really phenomenal, visceral tour of the decline of Labor). True to the title, you can't read the book and stay neutral -- which is why everybody should read the book. For my part, I'm determined not to contribute to progressivism's strange indifference towards labor issues. Indeed, I'd like to push us in the opposite direction, so expect the blog to be affected by that. If any of you are well-versed in labor issues and could recommend some books or sites that could help me, I'd be grateful. Update: On that note, read this Nation article on the future of Labor.
  • Towards a Liberal Goldwater Moment

    Matt's efforts to reality-check the "Goldwater moment" are really worth reading and you should, uh, read them . But it's worth noting that conservatives don't really view Goldwater as this seminal, epochal moment, but rather as part of a larger history that encompasses Goldwater, Reagan, and Bush. This triumph of the true believers narrative, wherein conservatives clung to their ideals through the loss of Goldwater, were redeemed by Reagan, and proven victorious by Bush 43, allows the right to paint itself as a movement secure and unflinching in their beliefs. It creates a meta-narrative or -- dare I say it? -- a heuristic for Republicans as courageous, tough, committed, reliable, grounded, trustworthy, etc. They had their time in the wilderness and ended it through sheer dedication to conservative principles. It's not just an American story, it's a Christian one. That's why the work Matt's doing is important, but also why it's unlikely to have an effect. Revising history is a very...
  • Tickle Tickle

    The Apostropher catches a lie being born...
  • Change is Good

    Via Nathan Newman comes tell of some innovative methods being used or proposed to force Wal-Mart into the realm of the socially conscious. Montana is considering a plan whereby large retailers would face an additional tax on receipts unless they proved their employees made a living wage. George Miller Ken Toole, the Congressman state senator behind the proposal, sensibly argues that since the state has to subsidize what underpaid Wal-Mart employees can't buy (health insurance, etc), Wal-Mart might as well be forced to fund the effort. I'm a big fan of ideas like this (I hope Monsieur Singer will pop by to tell us about its chances in the Leg), not least because they seem so karmically delicious. Montana, however, is small enough that Wal-Mart could easily absorb the costs of such a proposal without having to change their business practices. California, on the other hand, is not. If we passed a similar bill, it'd have the same effect of our auto standards. When we decreed that cars...
  • Bloggers and Rappers

    Damn. That's exactly what I wanted to say about it.
  • Was This Townhall Thing a Mistake?

    Mind if I go on a rant for a second? Wel,l it doesn't really matter if you do or don't because anyone answering no can't enter the site. What? Typepad doesn't have a screening system? Well fuck this, I'm not doing the blog then. Why should I? I'm leader of the free world, in case you didn't notice. Only...I'm not like the leaders you remember. I'm not a great mind like Clinton or Wilson. Not a spectacular speaker like Reagan. Not an old hand like my father. In fact, sometimes I fear I'm just a little man in a big flight suit, and all the padding on the planet can't protect me from an impromptu query. That, for those wondering, is why I'm canceling the centerpiece of my trip in Germany, because they won't allow my staff to screen the questions before I take them. When I billed it as an "American-style" townhall, it seems I didn't really explain what American style is. American style, in some ways , is a lot like Cuban style. Or North Korean style. It shares some threads with Russian...
  • Evil AARP

    Awesome .
  • Percentile Equality

    Brad's point that: The way things are going, in the future people are going to be choosing to spend X percent of their income on health care. X will get larger and larger over time, by choice. So let's say X is 40 percent. From one standpoint, it really doesn't make a difference whether you pay 40 percent of your income for private health care, or 40 percent of your income in taxes that then go to government-administered health care. That's a very specific standpoint Brad's using. Because paying for government-provided health care leaves you in an enormous pool that guarantees you access to these procedures, no matter their cost and no matter your income. Private insurance, however, is different. If you want comprehensive health care, you have to buy into (or have your employer buy into) pretty expensive plans. For many, that much income simply cannot be spared and, thus, they simply won't have access to many of those treatments. To even try and get close to the top plans, poorer...