Prof. Ann Althouse does a nice riff on incandescents and incandescence, including a line from Tennessee Williams:
Look, Mother, do you think I'm crazy about the warehouse? You think I'm in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that - - celotex interior! with -- fluorescent tubes?! Honest to God, I'd rather somebody picked up a crow-bar and battered out my brains -- than go back mornings! But I go! Every time you come in yelling that Rise and Shine! Rise and shine!! I think how lucky dead people are! But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams and the Laniers are the illustrious wing of my family, including Tennessee, the poet Sidney Lanier, and even Red Barber. And their great-great nephew is not going to live under CFL tyranny. I am going to fill the garage with incandescents before the calendar turns 2011.
George dies and goes to hell. He notices one sign that says "Socialist Hell," and another that says "Capitalist Hell." There's a long line waiting for socialist hell, but no one waiting to get into capitalist hell. George asks the guard, "What do they do to you in socialist hell?"
They boil you in oil, whip you, and then put you on the rack," replies the guard.
"And, what do they do to you in capitalist hell?", George asks.
"Same thing," says the guard."
"So then," asks George, "why is everybody in line for socialist hell?"
"Because in socialist hell," the guard explains, "they're always out of oil, whips and racks."
Last year, Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" -- his far-reaching plan to restore long-term budget balance through tax and entitlement reform -- was the subject of relentless attacks by those favoring a larger government role in American life. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called Ryan the "Flimflam Man" in a widely cited opinion piece in which he tried to dismiss the Roadmap as not a credible solution to the nation's budget problems. The congressional Democratic leadership followed up with an organized campaign aimed at demonizing the plan as a callous assault on Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Their clear intention was to use the Roadmap to damage scores of Republican candidates for House and Senate seats by association.
None of it worked. In fact, not only did the Roadmap survive the 2010 mid-term campaign, the election results -- and the dominoes that have fallen since -- have made it far safer politically for Roadmap proponents to advance the plan's ideas in the public square.
That the political and policy landscape has started to shift, and rather dramatically, became apparent just a week after the election when the co-chairs of a commission appointed by President Obama, on which Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, also serves, offered draft recommendations on how to close the short- and long-term budget deficits. President Obama had appointed former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., to chair the 18 member group earlier this year, and he asked them to report back by Dec. 1 -- after voters were given a chance to decide the make-up of the 112th Congress.
Even a symbolic freeze by the President attests to this change in the terrain.
From TPMDC: “The early reviews of President Obama’s plan to freeze federal worker pay are in — and it gets a resounding “F” from just about everybody outside of GOP leadership. Michael Linden, a budget expert at the liberal Center for American Progress, said the plan is small potatoes that risks driving away valuable civil servants with little budgetary upside.”
From Echidne of the Snakes: “So why pick one particular group only? Or is this a beginning of some larger cutbacks of freezes in, say, Social Security payments? Is Obama courting the tea-party section of the Republicans?”
Prof Mankiw links to a great overview of the Simpson - Bowles debt reduction plan. It's a political plan, so one must ask: "Who are the winners and who are the losers?" Charles Blahous answers:
A complete answer would be fairly complex given the broad array of Social Security's distributional patterns by income level, sex, longevity, birth year, marital status and other factors. I will instead simplify and focus on three obvious categories of winners:
1) Low-income workers;
2) Fiscal conservatives concerned with the growth of taxpayer burdens;
3) Advocates of bipartisan problem-solving.
And, three categories of losers:
1) Advocates of a solution based primarily on tax increases;
2) Advocates of improving intergenerational equity through funded savings accounts;
3) Senior-scaring political opportunists.
It's notable that each of these groups of three winners/losers includes one thought of as being on the philosophical left, one on the right, and one more removed from philosophy or ideology. (This simply happened; I didn't purposely select to produce this result).
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has announced a two-year pay freeze for federal employees, saying the step is necessary to help bring the federal deficit under control.
The freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees but would exclude military personnel.
Obama says the sacrifices of limiting government spending must be shared by government workers.
It's a start. With a slim but nonzero possibility of setting up a virtuous cycle, where Congress and the Executive Branch compete to show who's more serious about cutting spending.
UPDATE: The Heritage Foundation is not too bashful to ask for more:
But while President Obama should be congratulated for this small step toward fiscal sanity, a federal pay freeze is not enough and far more than $5 billion could be saved be reforming federal worker pay.
UPDATE II: I'm serious about the fulsome praise. No, $5 Billion is not going to solve everything, but I love a concrete first step. Many on the left and right are quick to dismiss any spending cut (earmarks, anybody?) because it's too small. But you gotta do something. The French are not going to fix their pension system by making workers slave awy until they are soixante-deux, but the first steps are hard. They should be celebrated no matter how small.
The Refugee trepidatiously embarked on the nation's air transportation system last week, wondering how the new TSA procedures would affect the experience. After taking into account ThreeSourcer's split decision regarding pat down versus scan, he decided to try the combination microwave/Cuisinart device on one segment and the full-body grope on the other. T'was not to be. In neither case did the TSA see fit to administer either torture upon him. In fact, the lines were amazingly small both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, supposedly the busiest travel day of the year, he walked straight through Midway Airport securty without having to wait for a single person.
The news was not all good, however. In Denver International Airport, the man in front of The Refugee did get selected for the grope. This gentleman appeared to be in his 70's and could not walk or stand without assistance, nor breathe without oxygen tanks. Wow - if al Qaida is reduced to recruiting men who can neither walk nor breathe without medical intervention, surely we've won the war on terror. Sadly, it is more likely we who have lost - lost our minds for thinking this system is a fair trade of personal liberty for safety.
Popular Mechanics tries to explain the 99 MPG EPA fuel rating on the all 'lectric Nissan Leaf:
Or maybe they're claiming the number is infinite, but the spreadsheet they used will only display two-digit integers, so 99 was as high as they could list. (Programmers are funny that way: 99=infinity, but only for very large values of 99, and other stuff like that.) -- Mike Allen
Enjoyable as it is pounding on the TSA, I do not intend to develop a sudden aversion to the radiation produced by the body scanners. Fourth Amendment, yes, Junk science, no.
But Ann Althouse suggests an interesting comparison. We (us 'Merkuns) refuse to accept irradiated food products that are proven safe, yet we accept irradiated us.
Is it that we are not only irrational, but we are also irrational in our choice of what to be irrational about? I don't think so. Food radiation was something that businesses were permitted to do, but they stopped because we avoided buying the product. The government isn't asking us whether we want our bodies irradiated if we want to travel by plane. It's not like going to the grocery store and picking one package of hamburger instead of another. We still get our hamburger. We don't have a choice of flying with radiation or without radiation. The only choice the government gives us is not to fly or to accept a groping.
A commenter suggests 4000 Americans die every year of food poisoning. Looking up that alarming number before I pass it along, the CDC claims 5000:
To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths. Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.
We're comparing apples to Tonka® trucks in the moral realm here, but just to look at the numbers, we could safely prevent a 9-11 every year and don't. Yet we provide the TSA, who have yet to catch a terrorist or knowingly foil a plot with a much more questionable tool.
It's a mixed up, muddled and shook-up world 'cept for Lola...
SALT LAKE CITY -- A hectic, hard-hitting storm shut down highways in Idaho and Wyoming and threatened much of Utah with a blizzard Wednesday as travelers in the Rockies dealt with canceled flights and windy, snow-covered roads on the day before Thanksgiving.
What's fascinating about [Rep. Paul Ryan (R - WI)] is that he keeps saying things that should get him into political trouble, but they don't. He wants to rework Social Security. He wants to restructure Medicare. He thinks a cheaper dollar is a bad idea. And he won reelection with 68 percent of the vote in a district that Obama carried by four points. Good ideas expressed well and with conviction are powerful things. -- James Pethokoukis
This week the euphoria has given way to the task of making the new GM successful again. I'm optimistic, though with a cautionary note. I was in Detroit on the company's coming-out day and was surprised by the level of local skepticism among people who have every reason to root for the new GM.
One man, a retired components-company executive, told television interviewers that unionized auto makers can't compete over the long term with their nonunion counterparts. Another retiree, who worked 40 years for GM, said he decided not to buy IPO shares when the company announced sponsorship of an Indy Car racing team. A sure sign, he told me, that cost discipline is being tossed aside for dubious and ephemeral marketing benefits.
I was thinking the same last night watching a commercial about how GM was planting trees to sequester carbon. If any new data were needed to prove that this crony union behemoth is not serious about competing in the actual automotive marketplace, there it is.
Another key cultural indicator will be whether Detroit's managements can resist believing their own hyperbole. Exhibit A is the Chevy Volt, GM's new plug-in hybrid vehicle, which is setting records in miles per gallon and in hype per mile. The Volt runs mostly with electricity. But it will be sold mostly with enormous federal tax credits--$7,500--to defray a price of around $42,000.
It's outrageous, really. America is running trillion-dollar budget deficits. The taxpayers have shelled out tens of billions of dollars to rescue GM. And the company's accumulated tax-loss credits could shield it from paying federal income taxes for years. So why are we also paying people to buy GM cars, or any brand of alternative-fuel vehicle for that matter? If GM thinks a lower price is necessary to sell the Volt, it should cut the price itself.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans support the new full-body security-screening machines at the country's airports, as most say they put a higher priority on combating terrorism than protecting personal privacy, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Once again, they didn't poll ThreeSources. But the outrage is a blogospheric phenomenon. Media outlets are covering the controversy, but it appears the editorial side drives the story.
Matt Welsh, gives props to his peep Radley Balko and nails it in "Editorial Boards to the Little People Complaining About the TSA: Bend Over and Take it Like a Man!"
More evidence for Radley Balko's thesis that the media is more statist than liberal (and for my contention that the unsigned newspaper editorial should go the way of the dodo bird):
Conservatives make a huge mistake attributing all the media sins to bias. The media are lazy, incurious, uncourageous, elitist, and biased. Without understanding all their flaws, crying "bias" does not fit all the symptoms and sounds black-helicopterish. Time to add statist to the flaw list.
Why do we watch football? Is the marginal benefit of winning greater than the marginal loss of losing? I paid for four Super Bowl victories in one game last night. Considering the actual time investment, I really do wonder.
Like Mister Sinatra at 0245, you gotta listen to me until I've had my say.
If I hear one. single. additional. nice word about Chargers Quarterback Phil Rivers, you're going to have to call 911. The entire announcement team last night went on the most extensive and disturbing man crush I have ever seen (and I watch Buffy on the Gay Channel). "Phil Rivers cured Cancer." "Phil Rivers established world peace and ended African poverty." "We should fly Phil Rivers into Afghanistan to catch Osama Bin Laden."
I get it, he's good. But he went 15-24, for 233 yds and his team is 5-5 in what has sadly become the worst division in the NFL. And the team he beat is 3-7. I guess they didn't have much else to talk about, but...
No doubt we differ in our opinion of 43 (who also liked to refer to presidents by ordinal), but Decision Points offers Bush's own view on many of the issues we have beat up on these very pages. You want to hate him for TARP or Medicare Part D, it is certainly your prerogative. I found I could go along with about any of his explanations -- you've heard me make most of them -- but I cannot join him on "when people hurt, government must act." He never questions that. He's essentially a market guy, but lacks Reagan's (and our) skepticism of government. For all of Senator McCain's blather, George W. Bush is the modern day's Theodore Roosevelt. And I do not mean that in the nicest way.
But after two years of his successor, it is hard not to feel nostalgia for his decency, probity, and patriotism. Without saying the present occupant of 1600 Penn lacks these, a few hundred pages of President Bush (and Laura's which I read right before) refreshes because he wears his love of country, freedom and our nation's military on his sleeve.
A mixed bag indeed. Of the 14 chapters, the one I found most difficult to accept was the penultimate on "The Financial Crisis." "Wall Street had a party and we all got the hangover" not only lacks nuance, but also connection to reality. He spins around and expresses cogent thoughts on Fannie and Freddie and comes close to questioning whether Federal largesse should subsidize minority home ownership, but he won't say a word against Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and one is left -- at the very end of the book -- with the thought that he doesn't get it.
I quibble, and you will too. But it is a fun, interesting, and informative read. ThreeSourcers will know the policy but will enjoy the anecdotes. Four solid stars -- plus a quarter for pissing off Jacques Chirac again. One last time.
Rand's words of fiction resemble non-fiction more and more with each passing day of the Obama Administration.
Part III, Chapter 3 - Anti-Greed:
[Dr. Floyd Ferris:] 'Robert Stadler' is an illustrious name, which I would hate to see destroyed. But what is an illustrious name nowadays? In whose eyes?" His arm swept over the grandstands. "In the eyes of people such as you see around you? If they will believe, when so told, that an instrument of death is a tool of prosperity - would they not believe it if they were told that Robert Stadler is a traitor and an enemy of the State? Would you then rely on the fact that this is not true? Are you thinking of truth, Dr. Stadler? Questions of truth do not enter into social issues. Principles have no influence on public affairs. Reason has no power over human beings. Logic is impotent. Morality is superfluous. Do not answer me now, Dr. Stadler. You will answer me over the microphone. You're the next speaker."
"I am proud," Dr. Stadler read into the microphone and into the attentive silence of a nation, "that my years of work in the service of science have brought me the honor of placing into the hands of our great leader, Mr. Thompson, a new instrument with an incalculable potential for a civilizing and liberating influence upon the mind of man …"
House Republicans announced last week that they plan to force a floor vote on defunding NPR in response to the firing of analyst Juan Williams last month. House GOP Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (Colo.) said that cutting funds to the publicly subsidized news organization was the winner of the conference's weekly "YouCut" contest, in which the public votes online on spending items they want eliminated. "When NPR executives made the decision to unfairly terminate Juan Williams and to then disparage him afterwards, the bias of their organization was exposed," the two Republicans said in a statement.
Defunding NPR: awesome! Having a weekly "You Cut" contest: Super awesome!
The Saddest -- and Truest -- Thing You'll Read All Day
Bill Gates, may God's mercy shine always upon the holy prophet, was pretty famous for not spending a lot of dough on lobbying. I paraphrase but "Let them run their business and I'll run mine" is pretty close to an actual quote. Then he met a fellow named Joel Klein who worked for a fellow named Clinton...
Both men are wiser now. Klein has stood up courageously to the Teachers' Unions in a bid to free NYC schools from their evil aegis. Sadly, Gates and his successors learned their lesson as well. Nobody escapes Washington for long. All of Silicon Valley has lawyered up and lobbied out. Adam Thierer at CATO is rightfully disappointed:
I don't know if it would make him smile or grimace, but someone should give T. J. Rodgers a prize for his predictive powers. Back in 2000, Rodgers, the president and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, penned a prescient manifesto for the Cato Institute with a provocative title: "Why Silicon Valley Should Not Normalize Relations with Washington, D.C."
"The political scene in Washington is antithetical to the core values that drive our success in the international marketplace and risks converting entrepreneurs into statist businessmen," he warned. "The collectivist notion that drives policymaking in Washington is the irrevocable enemy of high-technology capitalism and the wealth creation process."
Alas, no one listened. Indeed, Rodgers's dystopian vision of a highly politicized digital future has taken just a decade to become reality. The high-tech policy scene within the Beltway has become a cesspool of backstabbing politics, hypocritical policy positions, shameful PR tactics, and bloated lobbying budgets.
Perhaps we shouldn't find it surprising that so many players in the tech policy arena now look to throw each other under the Big Government bus to gain marketplace advantages.
After all, that's the story of many other industries that got under the covers with Washington. But the sheer rapidity with which this sorry state of affairs has unfolded in the tech policy world is shocking, even to the most jaded among us.
Hat-tip: Insty, who suggests you read the whole thing. I'm going to demand it and there will be a quiz in our next session. It's everything that is wrong: our most innovative companies find a better return on legislative investments than R&D.
I've been desirous of an "I love Coal" T-shirt for quite a while now, probably since Climategate hit the news - possibly in response to Colorado's legislature voting to subsidize coal's competition. I've been a denier since before it was cool, but now it's cool! I thought I would have to design and print my own. False.
Anyone who wants to join me can use this refer-a-friend link and reward me with a $10 Cafe Press credit (because you're so thoughtful.)
Economist Steven Horwitz findsthat more Americans will die travelling because of the TSA:
As the nation readies for one of the busiest traveling holidays, Steven Horwitz, a professor of economics at St. Lawrence University, told The Hill that the probable spike in road travel, caused by adverse feelings towards the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) new screening procedures, could also lead to more car-related deaths.
"Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane," said Horwitz. "The result will be that the new TSA procedures will kill more Americans on the highway."
I'm uncomfortable saying that the FDA or the TSA is "killing" Americans. I think that charge requires mens rea. But unintended consequences that result in needless fatalities need to be recognized.
The newspaper business is clearly caught in a conundrum between providing free online content and making enough money to operate a business. That is ostensibly why the Denver Post and other Colorado newspapers recently threatened a local political blog with "injunctive relief" action if they fail to "cease and desist from any and all unauthorized literal copying..."
It seems the blog had a "gentlemen's agreement" not to exerpt more than two paragraphs from a story it linked, but routinely lifted as many as eight paragraphs.
A ThreeSources post this brazen is indeed rare. If you wanted to "whole thing, read, now" you'd click through, right?
No, not that one. LPL Investments, which chose to have its Initial Public Offering today.
Even other IPOs that chose to go public earlier this week had the shadow of GM’s massive offering looming ahead. While Booz Allen Hamilton’s CEO Ralph Shrader felt that the auto maker’s deal didn’t distract potential buyers during his discussions—“investor groups we talked to were focused on us while we were there”—people certainly did mention that GM executives had been visiting the day before, or were expected later in the afternoon.
Shrader's daughter will probably get married the same day as William & Kate...Well done!
No doubt brother br will chime in in support of the authorities, here. They were just doing their job, most milk patrol officers are good people, goat bites can be extremely painful, and drinking raw milk is not a victimless crime -- children may have to smell it if you get sick.
But for the rest of us, can we start with a little John Stuart Mill? I rolled my eyes at announcements that the FDA banned caffeinated alcoholic drinks. Not sure that's a good idea (I mean what would you drink to sober up?) but the wholesale theft of our sovereignty is deeply disturbing.
I've given small amounts to Spirit of America over the years. They raise money to provide our troops with items to distribute to families in Iraq and Afghanistan. School supplies. playground equipment and the like go a long way toward improving the communities and showing what our military represents.
I was moved by this request. The lovely bride and I decided that a more generous than usual donation was to be our Christmas present to each other this year.
Captain Jensen writes: "Right now we have four schools, and children are flooding into the schools by the hundreds, no exaggeration. These people haven't had a school open since the Soviet invasion of '79, so they are determined to send their children to school even though the Taliban are taking steps against it. Anyways, with winter right around the corner, the head elder here expressed his concern that the children have no cold weather clothes (coats, boots, gloves, beanies, etc.)."
A fleece jacket is $12 and a fleece blanket costs $6. Our goal is to provide 1,000 of each to the Marines in Garmsir to help the Afghans there. If we can buy before Thanksgiving, we should be able to get them there by Christmas. We'll use clothing from the drive mentioned last week to do even more. Your help matters.
A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare platform surprised fellow freshmen at a Monday orientation session by demanding to know why his government-subsidized health care plan takes a month to kick in.
Yeah, I could defend this if I had to. But you can understand how much one of my infamous "Facebook Friends" is enjoying this...
Ken Buck's anti-abortion stance cost him the U.S. Senate seat in Colorado.
True, Buck had other problems. He made a few gaffes, as when he jokingly said he should win because he doesn't wear high heels (a response to his primary opponent's many references to gender), and when he likened homosexuality to alcoholism. The left unfairly attacked Buck for his prosecutorial work on a gun case and a rape case. Moreover, the Democrats did a good job getting out the vote for Michael Bennet.
But Buck's anti-abortion position made more difference than any of those other things, alienating many women and independent voters. And it was only in the context of Buck's perceived antagonism toward women's right to control their own bodies that the "high heels" comment and the claims about a mishandled rape case gained traction.
Hard to make a forceful argument against. "Rape and Incest" is not a compelling part of the abortion question 'round these parts, but it is indicative of an "extreme" position. Match that with a call to repeal the 17th Amendment, and a principled or quirky suggestion starts to appear darker.
Without the gaffes, I still think he had a run. It took the biggest expenditure of Demagogue I mean Democrat cash in the country to beat him narrowly.
The three-alarm blaze that caused $1.1 million in damage to a warehouse filled with rock legend Neil Young's music equipment and memorabilia appears to have started in a one-of-a-kind hybrid car stored at the site, a fire official said Monday.
Flames began in a 1959 Lincoln Continental dubbed LincVolt, which runs on electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator, and then spread to the warehouse at 593 Quarry Road in the early morning of Nov. 9, according to Belmont-San Carlos Fire Marshal Jim Palisi and a website devoted to the car.
Quit snickering in the back! Somebody could have been hurt!
Hat-tip: Blog friend Sugarchuck, who adds "Couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
... Since I didn't get a chance to post this yesterday, but I think it's good enough for belated honors.
A male caller to Mike Rosen's radio show in yesterday's 9 o'clock hour, who claimed to be a school teacher with over 20 years of experience, regarding the culpability of administrators for the failures of America's public education system:
"I don't think it's [administration] part of the problem, I think it's eighty-five percent of the problem."
Here's hoping he doesn't teach math. Or grammar. Or logic.
A lot of my economic betters are okay with the Fed's increasing its balance sheet. Don Luskin parries with "King Dollar" Kudlow, Alan Blinder's WSJ column was superb, and the list goes on.
Ramesh Ponnuru warns the right not to get too invested in monetary policy.
Maybe Bernanke’s critics are right. Certainly there are a lot of smart monetary economists who agree that QE2 is a bad idea, and the skeptics include many of the people on whom I usually rely to form judgments about economic policy. But I find the economists on the other side of the argument–I’ve started reading these three economists daily–more persuasive.
I'm one of Helicopter Ben's last remaining fans, so I'll go $600Billion further. But the most compelling cases on the other (starboard?) side include commodity price inflation and -- more importantly -- the idea that monetary policy is being asked to compensate for abysmal fiscal policy. We can't cut taxes, we can't cut spending, we can't stop overregulating -- so let's trash cash and force investors into riskier investments. If the fiscal side were not completely broken, I'd be more likely to accept the monetary side.
A good friend reads The Nation so I don't have to. Between the Caddell piece I linked last weekend and this piece of contrarian thinking from William Greider at The Nation, our blog friend things he may be in trouble. In colorful terms: "...might as well get back on the plane to Kenya now."
The problem, Greider explains, is that the President is just too doggone nice:
There is a cloying Boy Scout quality in his style of leadership--the troop leader urging boys to work together on their merit badges--and none of the pigheaded stubbornness of his "I am the decider" predecessor, nor the hard steel of Lyndon Johnson or the guile of Richard Nixon.
Or the competence of President Carter...but I digress.
Republicans, who are masters of deceptive marketing, seized on Obama's most appealing qualities and turned them upside down. Their propaganda cast him not as soft but as a power-mad (black) leftist, destroying democracy with socialist schemes. The portrait was so ludicrous and mendacious, the president's party hardly bothered to respond. Egged on by the Republican Party and Fox News, right-wing frothers conjured sicko fantasies and extreme accusations: the president is not only a black man (bad enough for the party of the white South); he is not even American. The vindictive GOP strategy is racial McCarthyism, demonizing this honorable man as an alien threat, just as cold war Republicans depicted left-liberal Democrats as commie sympathizers.
These Republican guys sound pretty nasty -- glad there are none around me on the Upper West Side.
I suggest that Caddell really never got on the Wonderland Express. Not being a regular Nation reader I cannot say for sure, but I think his left flank has been problematic since Jan 21, 2009. I am not certain how real this defection is -- but there is certainly the whiff of blood in the air.
UPDATE: More color:
Caddell didn't surprise me but Wapo running with it did. Greider isn't surprising either in a way, but the fact that his own text lays out a perfect argument for Obama as worthless and then walks things back, suggesting Obama is too nice or principled is astonishing. It's like he's Kerouac writing on Benzedrine and refusing to proofread.
The important point is that Progressives are never wrong. Top-down reform is the only way to fix the health care system. Anthropogenic global warming is scientifically proven, and its solution requires strenuous exercise of political control over individual behavior. Deficit spending is necessary and sufficient to create jobs. Technocrats can make banks too regulated to fail. Markets without technocratic control are like adolescents without adult supervision. Individual happiness can be improved by political authorities using scientific knowledge. Concentrated political power is the wave of the future, and it is good. -- ThreeSources Favorite, Arnold Kling
Rant alert. Skip to the next topic for reasoned, informed commentary...
I have a new most-hated commercial. After bravely defending Toyota in the Christine-Prius imbroglio, this proud owner is ready to file off the logo from his MR2. Anybody who watched football this weekend (how 'bout them Broncos?) probably saw it a few times. A young man drives around in his Toyota Hybrid with a young child. Precious as can be the driver (not the four year old, mind you) suggests that Toyota's regenerative braking should be employed on the roller coaster "to create a self-sustaining amusement park."
At last! Perpetual motion is discovered! The Second Law of Thermodynamics is repealed! You capture energy from the descending coaster and use it to send it back up! And light the lights! And make the popcorn! And power nearby communities!
There's a web site where you can post your own sanctimonious ideas, irrespective of any knowledge of physics or chemistry.
Despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the federal government, Solyndra, a maker of solar panels in the southeast San Francisco Bay Area city of Fremont, will close one of its manufacturing plants, lay off 40 permanent and 150 contract workers, delay expansion plans of a new plant largely financed with the government-guaranteed loan and scale back production capacity more than 50 percent.
Despite the hype and tax money, Solyndra seems unable to compete with Chinese manufacturers, whose prices are lower.
Did California listen? No, they've got a plan to put generators on roller coasters...
I thought Charles Krauthammer and I were going to have a big metaphorical gimpy guys group hug. Insty linked to his WaPo editorial defending President Obama's Excellent Indian Adventure.
I winced when I first heard the cost, but it was not the First Lady's vacation, it was an official Presidential visit to the most important emerging economy in the world. When he championed their inclusion to the UN Security Council, I thought he had paid the bar tab for the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel a few times over. I must now admit my first impulse was wrong.
Dr. Krauthammer defends the trip as well. Starting with the "American Exceptionalism" defense:
It is protested that Britain's prime minister took a British Air flight when he traveled here in July. So what? To be blunt about it: A once-imperial middle power flies commercial; America flies colossal. Why do you think we built that 747 flying palace emblazoned with the presidential insignia - if not to land to awestruck crowds wherever it goes?
There was grumbling about the White House taking over every room at Mumbai's five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel. What is the Secret Service to do? Allow suites to be let to, say, groups of Pakistani madrassa instructors?
Instead, however, of continuing that future free trade would pay for the trip, K goes off into China bashing. I'll let you read the link but his acceptance is predicated on breaking sino hegemony, I would advance US-Indian relations.
Either way, I'd call the Indian success worth the cost. I'm distraught that all the King's horses could not put together a bilateral trade deal with South Korea, But -- with this President -- I was happy to win one.
Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." He now has the chance to deliver on that idea. -- Pat Caddell, WaPo Ed Page
UPDATE: I thought this was a WaPo Editorial (corrected) and was, to use a technical term, gobsmacked. Caddell is a moderate and it is much less of a shock coming from him. I will not rescind QOTD honors, it's still a good line!
Gotta give WaPoWünderkind Ezra Klein credit. He pens a reflection on the 2010 election I have not heard before: It's all Joe Lieberman's fault!
The health-care law doesn't really kick into effect until 2014. There are a couple of reasons for that. The most legitimate is that it takes some time to properly set up exchanges and subsidies, to dialogue with the industry and advocacy groups so the regulations work for both consumers and providers, and to give the various stakeholders time to adjust to the new rules and transition smoothly.
The less legitimate -- but perhaps more important -- reason was that self-described moderates in Congress (and eventually the President of the United States) arbitrarily decided that the bill shouldn't spend more than $900 billion over its first 10 years, no matter whether the bill cut and taxed its way to deficit neutrality. But for the system to work, it would have to spend more than that implied on a per-year basis. So the legislation's architects simply delayed its start. That way, the 10-year price tag was only capturing six years of spending. That got them to a per-year number that could actually work.
SAN DIEGO – A disabled cruise liner inched into San Diego Bay on Thursday after three nightmarish days adrift on the Pacific, sparking cheers from passengers who disembarked and described limited food, backed-up toilets and dark cabins.
Nightmarish? Hell, I have much worse nightmares than backed up toilets on a cruise ship.
A great friend of this blog emails this link adding only the comment "Heaven Help Us."
Who will replace Larry Summers as the director of the National Economic Council? One well-placed source of mine claims it is likely to be Jared Bernstein, currently VP Joe Biden’s economic guru.
Jared is wonderful guy whom I frequently debated on CNBC when he worked at the Economic Policy Institute. But he is definitely a pro-union, pro-tax liberal whom business would frown upon. I would guess he, like Christina Romer, also would have preferred to have seen a bigger stimulus package in 2009.
The CNBC debates Mister Pethokoukis alludes to are guest appearances on Kudlow & Company. Bernstein was the go to guy to hear the conventional collectivist opinion on an issue. Anybody who has watched much Kudlow will not be sleeping well with the threat of Bernstein's having a policy role (VP Biden's Economic Advisor was a cartoonish enough post, I don't think it scared anyone).
New commenter "PoppaGary" (welcome!) explains that Washington State's defeated "income tax for the rich" was distrusted, in part, because "in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature" and "based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone." This reminded me of the way the federal income tax was foisted upon Americans in 1913. It was justified as a tax "only on the rich."
Beginning in 1913 the income tax was levied against "adjusted gross income" as it is today. Considering just the personal exemptions the tax was zero on the first $3000 of earnings for single persons or $4000 for married couples. Adjusted for inflation from 1913 to 2010 these tax floors are equivalent to $66,193.64 and $88,258.18, respectively.
The tax on adjusted incomes up to $20,000 ($441,290.91) was just 1 percent, or a maximum of $200 ($3,750.97).
The top tax bracket was for adjusted incomes over $500,000 ($11,032,272.73) and was just 7 percent.
These numbers make today's argument that individuals earning over $200,000 are "the rich" pretty da_n laughable: $200,000 today is equivalent to $9,064.32 in 1913 dollars, resulting in a tax of $90.64 ($1999.93.) I don't make anywhere near 200K but I'd gladly trade my tax burden for that of 1913's version of "the rich."
I guess it is admirable for the WSJ Ed Page to post content outside its preferred ideological framework. They don't want to be MSNBC.
But I do not miss Thomas Frank (or really even Al Hunt). The occasional responses from an elected Democrat or former statesman are always worth a read, but presenting the other side just to say you did provides unfulfilling content.
Case in point, Zoltan Hajnal, an associate professor of political science at U.C. San Diego. His piece today states that the GOP should be concerned because amid its victories, the party relied on higher concentrations of white voters, And that demographic shifts threaten the party's future. Pretty good stuff so far, huh? Then some facts showing that the partisan percentages of minority votes remain pretty constant. Interesting -- but what's a party to do?
Republicans thus face a real dilemma. They may be able to gain over the short term by continuing their current strategy of ignoring or attacking minorities. But that is short-sighted.
Don't get me wrong (Associate) Professor Hajnal makes a valid if not particularly original point. Surely the GOP will have to make better inroads into the minority community, One hopes that Tea Party principles and high profile minority candidates like Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio will help. But the faculty-lounge wisdom of "ignoring or attacking minorities" adds nada to the debate -- and makes one wonder if any of Hajnal's books go back before 1965.
Jameson Hospital, where Isabella Rodriguez was born on April 27, has a policy of testing expectant mothers' urine for illegal drugs and reporting positive results to LCCYS, even without any additional evidence that the baby is in danger of neglect or abuse. LCCYS, in turn, has a policy of seizing such babies from their homes based on nothing more than the test result. Unfortunately for Isabella's parents, Elizabeth Mort and Alex Rodriguez, Jameson sets the cutoff level for its opiate test so low that it can be triggered by poppy seeds, which is why two caseworkers and two Neshannock Township police officers visited their home the day after baby and mother returned from the hospital. LCCYS seized the three-day-old girl and put her in foster care for five days before conceding it had made a mistake.
The ACLU does not get a ton of love on these pages, but hip-hip-hooray, baby!
What kind of world lets a government take a new baby from her parents? Based on a goddam drug test? Even if the test was not a false positive -- hands up those who think the child is better in foster care. Mandatory drug tests for parenthood?
I've only one question mark remaining: Citizens or Subjects?
There is nobody I'd listen to on culture more than Virginia Postrel. Even if she refuses to allow Dennis Miller to call her "Ginny." (Anybody else see that?)
Today she opines in the WSJ (and Insty links) on the cultural significance of the TV show "The Big Bang Theory." She suggests that our heroes used to be the guys who stole lunch money, but in a post Gatesian-Zuckerbergian world, the lowly geek is now the star.
The characters on "The Big Bang Theory" offer a welcome alternative to the cultural politics of elitism and populism. They neither eat arugula nor follow Nascar. They regularly frequent the Cheesecake Factory, where their pretty foil Penny (Kaley Cuoco) is a waitress. They've hit Las Vegas. But they also build fighting robots, have equation-filled white boards in their living room and know (to the degree anyone does) what dark matter is.
Ginny's column is suburb as usual. I wonder if any ThreeSourcers number themselves among the 15 million who watch this show.
I have had quite a few intelligent and trustworthy friends recommend it to me, assuring that I'd love the little physics and math quips in the dialogue. I watched once and was unimpressed. Last week Eliza Dushku was guest starring so I gave it another shot. But I simply cannot handle the sitcom format. The pacing, production and laugh track make me want to slit my wrists.
I feel comfortable snobbishly deriding it, but several people of whom I think highly dig it. Now including Ms. Postrel. Any fans 'round these parts?
Color me tired of the leadership fight between Reps Michelle Bachman and Jeb Hensarling of TX. This is ginned up in the media (and my Daily Dick Viguerie email) as an important signal that the GOP is embracing the Tea Party.
Merciful Frozen Zeus on a Stick! I mean, I love the work Michelle did with The Guess Who, and some of the BTO stuff is good, but this is a fight we do not need at a time we don't need it. It's not like Hensarling is Jerry Lewis or Ted Stevens. He's a proven leader whom I trust to be very good on spending and limited government.
UPDATE: Maybe it was Randy Bachman who was in The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner-Overdrive. Sorry, I get those guys confused all the time...
I hate 24-hour news networks. Two talking heads yelling at each other and usually eschewing the main points of whatever issue they are discussing. Nevertheless, apparently liberal talk show host Keith Olberman was suspended for donating money to Democratic candidates. Rachel Maddow responded by basically saying that the folks at Fox air direct political advertisements on their shows. Unfortunately for Maddow, somebody actually watches MSNBC and compiled some video clips. Hilarity ensues:
In last Tuesday's election 1,339,522 Washington State voters chose not to "demand the unearned" when they rejected Initiative 1098 by a whopping 2-1 margin. What did this Democrat-leaning state find so objectionable? I-1098 proposed a new state income tax on people making $200,000 per year or more (adjusted gross income.) A chief advocate for the proposal, Bill Gates Sr., said "Our tax code is unfair" and "Poor people and middle-income people are paying too much to support the state and rich people aren't paying enough. That's the starting point for me." Is it also unfair that poor people get exactly the same number of votes as rich people - one per person? Why then is it unfair that everyone pay an equal share of the cost of running the state?
Michelle Malkin uses the Washington result to urge "outing" the White House's "war on wealth."
I-1098's promoters tried to disguise their wealth-suppression vehicle as tax "relief" by tossing in a few stray targeted cuts. But they were called out by a judge and slapped with a court order to make the income tax burden explicit in the ballot title.
If only the taxmen in Washington, D.C., were required to do the same. Obama's budget proposal is a soak-the-rich scheme adorned with a few business tax breaks that would -- for starters -- impose nearly $1 trillion in higher taxes on couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000. Some "relief."
Now a few words on those who did attempt to "demand the unearned." The I-1098 campaign was naturally supported by donations from Bill Gate's Sr., in the amount of $600,000, but also by many thousands of unwitting supporters who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the National Education Association (NEA.) These two unions were the measure's 1st and 2nd highest donors, respectively giving a combined $3.3 million. And they committed a moral crime by using union dues to lobby for this new tax against the wishes of doubtless thousands of members. In essence, the unions used unearned dues from coerced members to buy the megaphones they used to demand unearned tax dollars from productive Washingtonians.
But they failed. For their effort, however, I will thank them for the referendum that proves the unpopularity of their "fairness" scheme. Hope for liberty still flickers.
Chris Chillizza joins Senator Jim DeMint (R - SC) in speculating that Christine O'Donnell could have won her Delaware Senate race, "had she not been so 'maligned' by the national GOP."
I'll let the pollsters slice and dice the exit polls. But I must comment on media treatment in the very post discussing her chances. The lead paragraph starts "Over the weekend South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint suggested that marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell..."
Now. I've worked as a "Marketing Consultant" and hate to come across as maligning that important field of industry BUT, clearly Chillizza is denigrating her achievements. The modifier "political newcomer" could have communicated the idea less pejoratively.
And here is the photo his editors chose to decorate the post. After a lengthy Senatorial campaign, our nation's primary political newspaper does not have a less candid image in its photo files?
I'll answer Chillizza: yes, she could have won but it would have required a moderately balanced press. So, no, she didn't have a chance.
Obama's problems are magnified by Pelosi's daffy decision to try to become minority leader. Having led her House troops to a historic defeat, her announcement that "our work is not finished" reads like a parody.
Any more "work" of her kind and the country will be finished.
Instead, we're making bets on how long it will be before your next meltdown. Oh, wait--you're already melting down.
You've racked up nearly $70 billion in general obligation debt, and that doesn't include your $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Your own analysts predict you'll face a hole of at least $80 billion over the next four years.
Your government's run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they're not taxing or spending, they're creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren't for your sunny climate.
From Allysia Finley, a "lapsed Californian" on OpinionJournal.com.
I can't throw stones. Our fair state has looked at the other 49 Brandeisian laboratories of democracy, pointed to California, and said: "That One!' We're right behind ya...
UPDATE: My. Oh. My. Insty links to a list of California State agencies. Like John Stossel's boxes of Federal Regulations he keeps as a prop on set. The length of this list speaks to fiscal irrectitude.
More importantly, how free can anybody feel or be in a State with that many regulatory bodies?
"I went to dinner at 6 o'clock and kept thinking 'This is really going to work,' " Tancredo said in an interview with The Denver Post on Thursday. "And of course it didn't. I'm content in the fact that it's part of God's plan. I just wish he wouldn't tease me so much."
I have a suggestion for your future, Mister Congressman...
I don't remember what precipitated the choice but I decided to make "V" my halloween costume this year. I watched the movie again and found it much more pleasing than on initial viewing (during the second term of the "atavistic, homophobic, warmongering" President George W. Bush.) Obviously I wasn't so defensive about possible hidden meanings this time around.
I reviewed past reviews and commentary on these pages and was reminded that we all instantly recognized that labeling V as a "terrorist" was false. (He never attacked innocent civilians, only the guilty accomplices of a totalitarian state.) While searching the web for character quotes I found this leftist review which, despite it's anti-conservative bias and failure to grasp the "terrorism" distinction, recognizes the liberty and freedom message of the film.
One of the most progressive aspects of the film is its attempt to inject optimism about political change in a world that is despairing. "Every time I have seen the world change, it was for the worse", Evey tells V, echoing the reality of an entire generation in the First World. V sets out to prove to Evey that "governments should be afraid of their people", and, despite the terrorist trappings, the film's fundamental message is that responsibility for political change lies with the mass of people, not institutions or politicians or stars.
Then why do leftists so despise the TEA Party movement, which seeks to restrict government and champion liberty via popular activism?
A well known but poorly attributed sentiment on free trade states, "If goods don't cross borders, armies will."
Frederic Bastiat wrote,"By virtue of exchange, one man's prosperity is beneficial to all others."
And Ayn Rand wrote,"So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another--their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun."
All of these values are expressed through the brand new ThreeSources-dot-com bumper sticker: COEXI$T - Don't Demand the Unearned.
It stands in clear contrast to the popular "peacemonger.org" Coexist bumper sticker that promotes "religious freedom, tolerance and understanding." Not that any of these things are objectionable but they don't, in and of themselves, lead to peaceful coexistence. Free, voluntary, uncoerced trade does - and the symbol of trade is the sign of the dollar.
One might think it ranks among the simplest of cooking tasks. Yet there are dozens of methods described using almost as many different tools. None include mine, which is to buy the strips prepackaged in a microwave bag.
Imagine if we were to allow Doctors the same creativity permitted to individual bacon chefs...
Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard makes an interesting observation over at NRO:
I'm not sure. I don't know what to make of the Tea Party. What is it? It's not an organization like the AARP or the AFL-CIO. There are no costs to claiming to be a member. It's not even like a political party, where you signal to the state that you belong to it. You can wake up in the morning as a tea-partier and go to sleep at night as a non-tea-partier. My feeling is that "Tea Party" has really been a way for fiscal conservatives to communicate with each other.
They've had to do that because the word "Republican" has been run through the mud. If one fiscal conservative says to another, "I'm a Republican!" that doesn't convey much information anymore. But say, "I'm a tea partier," and that is packed with information.
So my feeling is that if the Republicans in Congress redeem themselves over the next two years, fiscal conservatives will once again feel all right calling themselves Republicans, and the "Tea Party" label will fade. That would be a good thing, as it means that they have regained control over the Republican party.
In a famous "Saturday Night Live" skit, Christopher Walken plays a legendary rock music impresario whose advice, his only advice, to a young band is "more cowbell." The actor Will Ferrell furiously pounds away on a cowbell but it's never enough for Mr. Walken, who ultimately shouts, "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!"
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke must be a fan of that skit because he is applying the same logic to monetary policy: The economy isn't growing fast enough, and the only prescription is more money.
A comment to a linked piece gets promoted by Insty today. I thought it deserved the full force of ThreeSources:
I was a three term Republican Precinct Chairman from George W's first run for Governor until I retired from active politics due to my health. I say this because I have a certain amount of experience in working politics.
During those three terms I noticed who did what. The Country Club Republicans put up most of the money and provided meeting places. Important.
The religeous right provided a lot of work. It was they that walked precincts and they that worked phone banks. Very important.
The libertarians talked. The libertarians also complained. They were always too busy taking and complaining to do any work.
Perhaps things are different now, I don't know. I have been retired for twelve years. Yet from what I have read, it's still the same, the RR folks working, the CC folks contributing and the libertarians talking about how the other two groups are RUINING EVERYTHING!!!!!111!!!
I would like to say that this has changed for I have a pretty big "leave me alone" streak when it comes to politics. I got involved through my work with a shooting club, the 2A is my big issue. Yet I see no trace of a change. The libertarian wing will suck the hind tit until y'all stop talking and start working.
My blog brother jg suggested in a comment that LtGov Jane Norton would not have fared better than Weld County AG Ken Buck. Norton's staunch pro-life views would "still have been vulnerable to the well funded 'I just can't vote for that' ad campaign."
I'm not trying to be argumentative but it is important to ask whether the Tea Partiers cost the GOP a seat. I think the answer is clearly yes. Our buddies at The Denver Post suggest a turning point:
Buck appears to have lost his lead for good in a single week in late October, when he equated homosexuality with alcoholism on "Meet the Press," polls tightened up and key newspaper endorsements went to Bennet, said independent Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli.
My Facebook friends went nuts over that. Not that they were likely to vote Republican, but that was talked about more than anything else. I winced on these pages at the "I don't wear high heels" gaffe, that made it into a few ads. For better or worse, Conservatives will be portrayed as Neanderthals and need to be cautious about supplying ammo.
No, I think Norton wins in a walk. That does not mean I have regrets -- the establishment clearly deserved thumpin'. But I think we need to be honest. I'm not gonna miss Mike Castle in Delaware and I would as soon have the write in winner in Alaska be "Satan" as Ms. Murkowski. But we may have made a mistake in Colorado.
Guess who said the following: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work." Was it Sarah Palin? Rush Limbaugh? Karl Rove?
Not even close. It was Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury under Franklin D. Roosevelt and one of FDR's closest advisers. He added, "after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . And an enormous debt to boot!"
"The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says [The Rolling Stones'] Keith [Richards], Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all. -- Forbes?
Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw, defending his assertion that incentives matter.
Not nearly the headline of "Et tu, Tunku?" But I am twice as broken-hearted.
Shikha Dalmia has become one of my favorite writers, and no it is not solely because of her attractive profile picture by her Forbes columns. She is smart, principled, and a clear communicator.
Today she takes to the pages of Reason.com for a snarky, elitist, Tea Party bashing that is completely unworthy of her
Anyone who has not been living under a pumpkin lately knows that the single, biggest threat to this country's economic future is its gimongous (hey, if Sarah Palin gets to invent words, why not me!) entitlement state.
Bash Governor Palin, check -- hey this must be a very smart person!
Geithner has yet to encounter an economic woe anywhere in the world that a good dose of stimulus can't cure, its fiscal side effects be damned. He is to the cause of global stimulus and bailouts what Bush was to the cause of global democracy.
President Bush, check -- girl's on a roll!
[...]although a vast majority of Tea Party supporters favor smaller government, they don't want cuts in their Medicare or Social Security, a contradiction perfectly captured in a sign at a Tea Party rally: "Keep the Guvmint out of my Medicare."
They're so stupid!
In fact, setting aside the lapsed witch of Delaware, Christie O'Donnell[...]One is Joe Miller of Alaska, a man so unfamiliar with the First Amendment[...]
Two candidates who did what you wanted but still get a slap...
I don't know if it's better that she sees the flaw in her position and ignores it or not. Umm, why might some candidates be unprepared to make a bold stand to cut entitlements? Wait...I know this one...
To be sure, much of this backsliding is in response to attacks by Democratic opponents who are undoubtedly worse and shamelessly demagoguing the issue. Still, the fact of the matter is that instead of pulling Democrats in the direction of reform, the Tea Party candidates themselves are moving in the direction of the status quo. This wouldn't happen if these candidates could count on a strong and large constituency for reform within their own movement. Elections are a discovery process through which candidates find out what their base really wants. And what many of the Tea Party candidates have found is that when push comes to shove, their backers want to protect their entitlements as much as the next guy. In fact, much of the fury of the Tea Partiers against government stimulus and bailouts might have less to do with any principled belief in the limits of government and more to do with fear of what this will do to their own entitlements.
To recap: Angle, O'Donnell, and Miller are holding their ground and have turned "cakewalk" GOP victories into two nail-biters and an expected loss. Why won't the rest follow suit?
Breaking up is hard to do. I could have handled the analysis -- especially from Reason -- but to put it in a snarky, smarmy package like this is too much.
The week before last, Denver's David Harsanyi gave us a celebration of the TEA Party's "Stupid Stupidity." Last weekend his antipode, Denver's David Sirota, explains why they're 'stoopid' in "It's the Stupidity, Stupid." He starts out wondering how "red-baiting crusades by the plutocrats" are managing to get such traction with the electorate.
As Wall Street executives make bank off bailouts, as millions of Americans see paychecks slashed and as our economic Darwinism sends more wealth up the income ladder - it's surprising that appeals to capitalist piggery carry more electoral agency than ever.
What could cause this intensifying politics of free-market fundamentalism at the very historical moment that proves the failure of such an ideology? Two new studies suggest all roads lead to ignorance.
But since Sirota is "smarter" than Harsanyi he uses "science" to support his claims.
As Northwestern University's David Gal and Derek Rucker recently documented in a paper titled, "When in Doubt, Shout!", many Americans respond to convention-challenging facts not by re-evaluating their worldview. Instead, they become more adamant in defense of wrongheaded ideas.
So, for instance, we may be aware that our broken economy is creating destructive inequality; we may know the neighbor's opulence is underwritten by loans. We may even see the connection between our personal financial struggles and census figures showing inequality at a record high. But many of us nonetheless react by more passionately insisting our economic system sows equality.
Or we may write opinion columns asserting that free-market economics is a proven failure and that "equality" is somehow the panacea, and if you don't agree with us you are "stupid."
Interesting that the DSCC has been using a lot of blog ads. But am I the only one who gives a double-take to this ad on Reason.com?
No doubt yer basic Reason reader would scoff at some "Buckisms." But the extreme views that cause such Strum and Drang in an anti-Buck ad are pretty mainstream in the lofty salons of Reason. "Tearing up the Constitution and taking away your right to vote for your Senator!" (Umm, we call it repealing the 17th Amendment and Article V [and the 21st] provides a good map.) "Putting Social Security in the Stock Market!" (Umm, that's called private accounts and your only chance to frighten a Reason reader is to make it too small.)
Just seems odd -- I mean clearly, they should have been advertising on ThreeSources!