The Pew Internet & American Life project just released its latest survey on media use, and the results show both the transformation and stasis in our media diets. The big headline seems to be that "The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day." Sixty-one percent of Americans get news online in a typical day, but only 50 percent read their local newspaper, while 17 percent read a national paper like the New York Times or USA Today (Pew didn't say how many of the 50 percent are also in the 17 percent, but presumably it's enough to bring the total below 61 percent).
Yesterday, I noted that Republicans have a hard time defending the filibuster when they try to claim that circumventing that filibuster via reconciliation would be the crime of the century. That's largely because the filibuster is not easy to defend, particularly as it's being used today -- not as an occasional, dramatic measure to gum up the works for a principled reason, but as something they impose on every single significant piece of legislation. Republicans are now on pace to triple the previous record for filibusters in a single Congress.
When you look over the history of invention, it's clear that the pace of change has increased steadily over time. Three thousand years or so passed between the invention of the alphabet, for instance, and the invention of the printing press. But the microchip was invented in 1958, and the World Wide Web went on line a mere 35 years later, depending on when you date the beginning.
When it became clear that Republicans were going to have to offer their own ideas on health care, if for no other reason than to show they are more than the Party of No, they put on their thinking caps and came up with four. One -- "Give states the tools to create their own innovative reforms that lower health care costs" -- is essentially meaningless. Another -- "Allow individuals, small businesses, and trade associations to pool together and acquire health insurance at lower prices" -- sounds like the exchanges established by the Democrats' plan, just in less effective form.
Let's say you're a subscriber to Newsweek, or you get the New York Times Magazine with your Sunday paper. Within the last few months, you probably noticed that each of these magazines went through a redesign -- new fonts, new layouts, new look. But let's say in that first redesigned issue, or maybe the second, the magazine contained multiple articles from its regular writers with titles like, "Our New Redesign: Why I Think It Sucks." That would be a shocker: One of the principles of publishing is that, generally speaking, you want to convince people that the publication in their hand is actually really great, and they should keep buying it.