Archive

  • WHERE'S THE EXORCIST WHEN YOU NEED HIM?

    WHERE'S THE EXORCIST WHEN YOU NEED HIM? In the small town of my birth, we had an official called a "fence walker." The office was a vestige of the days in which my town grew crops instead of cherubic suburban children, and I always thought the office still existed because nobody ever noticed it. I feel the same way about the fact that the Vatican apparently has an official exorcist. However, I sort of wish the guy would keep a lower profile than this . In the first place, the Vatican should avoid any publicly uttered sentence in which the names Pius XII and Hitler bump up against each other. Second, this sort of thing makes the church of my birth look completely nuts. And last, why in God's name doesn't this guy get on the stick and give us a hand with, say, the Department of Justice? --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE GEEZER VOTE.

    THE GEEZER VOTE. Is it possible that all the thundering rhetoric accompanying the public relations counterattack orchestrated by the White House -- and in particular their comparisons of the war on terror to the fascist and communist threats of the previous century -- is something more than an attempt to try to rescue Bush �s approval ratings and put Democrats on the defensive in time for the 2006 midterms? Specifically, is it a generational ploy to appeal to senior voters heading to the polls in two months? Turnout is always lower in midterms, and can fall even further for the more disaffected party, neither of which bodes well for the GOP. Even conservatives who happen to agree with Bush on Iraq may still stay at home because of their disgust over immigration and government spending. Desperate to find some identifiable, likely-to-vote base of support to help the GOP hold on to the Congress, I wonder if the White House is eyeing Americans who are particularly susceptible to communist...
  • RUMMY WRITES. ...

    RUMMY WRITES. It's only a matter of time before the blogosphere explodes in opprobrium to Donald Rumsfeld 's insipid Los Angeles Times op-ed defending his indefensible remarks from a few days back. The column has it all: Insinuations of treason, wild distortions of opposing viewpoints, total non sequiturs , an inability to squarely confront reality, and bizarre invocations of past World Wars. But one bit of the column seems to resonate more strongly with Rummy than the rest, and it's worth examining for a moment: � Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America � not the enemy � is the real source of the world's troubles? He calls this question "particularly important," rather than particularly irrelevant, or particularly made-up, because we're in a "war that, to a great extent, will be fought in the media on a global stage. We cannot allow the terrorists' lies and myths to be repeated without question or challenge." First, it's unclear what the world's troubles...
  • The Washington Post Redefines "Fast"

    The Post has an article headlined "Fast-Growing Countries to Gain More Clout at IMF." The list of countries is China, South Korea, Turkey, and Mexico. The first three countries can reasonably be described as "fast-growing," but not Mexico. Mexico's per capita GDP growth has averaged just 1 percent annually for the last decade, a slow rate for any country, but an especially pathetic pace for a developing country. Whatever the reason Mexico is getting increased clout at the IMF, it has nothing to do with fast growth. --Dean Baker
  • China�s Demographic Squeeze? Have the Martians Invaded?

    The Times ran an article about India�s rise as a manufacturing force. Much of it is informative, but some of it is painful. In the painful category is the claim that global manufacturers are turning to India because of �a serious demographic squeeze facing China.� It then goes on to point out that although China has a larger population than India, because of China�s �one child policy� India will have more young workers in less than a decade. Okay, let�s step back to reality. China�s supply of manufacturing workers will not be limited by its population anytime soon for the simple reason that close to half of its work force is still in agriculture. So, there is not any imminent shortage of manufacturing workers in China. Now, there is a separate point. There is some evidence (noted in the article) that wages are rising in China. This is not a �demographic squeeze,� this is the desired result of economic growth. Chinese workers, like New York Times reporters, would like better living...
  • A FOND FAREWELL.

    A FOND FAREWELL. Friends, after almost three years as one of the contributors to TAPPED , today is the day I'll be saying goodbye, at least for a little while. Starting tomorrow, I'll be on a leave of absence from The American Prospect in order to focus on writing a book. I'm going to keep writing a column for TAP Online and will probably do something or other for the magazine in the interim, but no more group-blog for me. I won't be out of the blogging game by any means, but in order to simplify my life and get the task down to a manageable size, I'm just going to post at a single eponymous site -- MatthewYglesias.com -- and leave this one to my colleagues. Change, of course, is nothing new to The Only Blog That Matters, and our two founding writers -- Chris Mooney and Nick Confessore -- have both been gone for some time now. And as you've no doubt noticed, we've taken on a larger cast of characters over the past few months and launched several additional blogs featuring the Prospect...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TACTICS MAKE PERFECT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TACTICS MAKE PERFECT. We hear a lot of clamoring for the Democrats to nationalize the midterms around a positive, coherent policy agenda. That's easier said than done, obviously. Tom makes the case for nationalizing the elections tactically , through the use of a few effective gambits across the country that convey basic Democratic priorities and critiques of the GOP. He's got five proposed examples. Take a look . --The Editors
  • QUANTIFYING A LIE.

    QUANTIFYING A LIE. The new print issue of the Prospect features a disagreement in the letters page between Todd Gitlin and Alan Abramowitz over the question of just how often the meme " Al Gore claimed he invented the Internet" appeared in the American media during the 2000 campaign. Since the media�s war on Gore is something I�ve written about before for the Prospect , I thought I�d settle this dispute. (Before we get there, of course, let�s just make it clear: Al Gore never said he invented the Internet. In an interview with CNN on March 9, 1999, he said, �During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet.� This comment was plainly about his service in the Congress in the 1980s, when Gore was in fact the chief advocate for providing the funding that would transform the Internet from a tiny network linking a few university research facilities into the benevolent provider of shopping opportunities and Paris Hilton videos we enjoy today.)...
  • THE PERILS OF...

    THE PERILS OF READING WHEN TIRED. Yesterday, I wrote that Arnold Kling 's book failed to define the terms "very poor" and "very sick." Today, he writes that "In the simulation of my proposals in the chapter on matching funding to needs, I define poor as below the poverty line and I define very sick as having annual expenses over $5000 for the non-elderly and over $20,000 for the elderly. " He's right -- I'd missed it on my first read-through. Mea culpa. --Ezra Klein
  • IT AIN'T ABOUT...

    IT AIN'T ABOUT HARRIS. I'm pretty sympathetic to the point Jon Chait raises in his terrific piece on Katherine Harris : Now that the GOP spin on Harris is replete with admissions that she's a few crayons short of a full box, shouldn't that force them to reconsider the legitimacy of her decisions during the 2000 recount? In other words, if Harris is nuts, then why trust that in 2000 she was sane. Maybe Bush did lose. The problem is Jon seems to counteract his own thesis in the article. As he writes, Harris was ignorant of election law and completely incapable of making these decisions. So the GOP sent in a ringer: Republicans close to Bush dispatched J.M. "Mac" Stipanovich, a veteran Florida Republican lawyer well-versed in election law, to serve as Harris's close adviser. From that point on, decisions became more decisive and uniformly pro-Bush. When asked by the Post if he was coordinating his decisions with the Bush campaign, Stipanovich tellingly refused to offer a denial. Harris...

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