• 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...
  • We Shall Overcome

    Wow : One thing is for sure: the discrimination represented in that lunch monitor’s tap on my praying nephew’s shoulder will not stand. Like Rosa Parks, religious conservatives refuse to shuffle to the back of the bus. The story there, for interested readers, is that the nephew prayed before lunch, a hall monitor told him not to, the kid's dad called to complain, the hall monitor apologized the next day. Yes. Just like Rosa Parks. This country's dominant religion will not submit to continued discrimination from Bull Connor-like hall monitors. He took a whole day to apologize! And nor, we should warn, will the evangelical Christian who is our president, the members of the Supreme Court who are devout Christians, the Senators, or the congresscritters. Freedom now! Freedom forever! We shall overcome! Shit, the hall monitors got a firehose attack dogs detention slips! Shield the children!
  • Populist in Substance AND Speech

    Responding to Meyerson's article (which excellently lays down the Democrat's problem with the working class, but hides when solution time comes 'round), Brad Plumer writes : Personally, I'm against "economic populism" as a political strategy. I prefer something along the lines of Eliot Spitzer's outlook on things : use regulation to correct market failures and get the capitalist system working more efficiently. That's a cumbersome message, but speechwriters can have at it. Also, I'd prefer a set of policies that reduced "economic risk" while promoting more of the sort of risk-taking that makes capitalism so marvelously vibrant. For instance, universal health care would help cushion your family against a job loss, but it would also encourage you to move jobs, relocate, seek a bold new career for which you might be more suited, without being chained down by the fear that comes with switching jobs and possibly losing your coverage. The end result, in theory, is a more dynamic economic...