Archive for April, 2007

Trickle-down craps out again

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

How many times do we have to shoot down this same bottle of snake oil?  You know, the one that insists that the way to improve the lot of the middle class and the poor isn’t to directly help them, but, instead, to shovel even more money to the rich.  In this way, or so the story goes, the rich will be able to invest this extra lucre back into the economy, thereby producing more jobs and better wages.

Growing economic inequality, it seems, isn’t a problem: It’s a first class ticket to the Promised Land.

Only it doesn’t actually work that way — never has and never will.  The only thing growing inequality breeds is even more of the same. 

For the latest evidence of this immutable, if constantly abused, truth, check out Paul Krugman’s latest column:

(NY Times — warning Times Select wall) Another Economic Disconnect

Last fall Edward Lazear, the Bush administration’s top economist, explained that what’s good for corporations is good for America. “Profits,” he declared, “provide the incentive for physical capital investment, and physical capital growth contributes to productivity growth. Thus profits are important not only for investors but also for the workers who benefit from the growth in productivity.”

In other words, ask not for whom the closing bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Unfortunately, these days none of what Mr. Lazear said seems to be true. In the Bush years high profits haven’t led to high investment, and rising productivity hasn’t led to rising wages.

It looks like there may be something to be said for a little old-fashioned class struggle after all.

That would be a no.

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Question: Can the Bush Administration do anything fu*king right?

Most offers from overseas for post-Katrina help were simply ignored.

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More good news from Iraq

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

It seems that all of that good news from Iraq the GOP keeps complaining isn’t being reported, isn’t — surprise, surprise — all that good.

(The Times) Rebuilt Iraq Projects Found Crumbling

In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.

The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.

The inspections ranged geographically from northern to southern Iraq and covered projects as varied as a maternity hospital, barracks for an Iraqi special forces unit and a power station for Baghdad International Airport.

Thank God we didn’t have any other uses for all of the billions and billions of dollars we’ve pissed down a hole in Iraq, such as, say, fixing our own nation’s crumbling infrastructure, providing universal health care coverage for our citizens and rebuilding New Orleans.

Besides, what’s good for Halliburton is good for America — right?

I am so proud of Gov. Kulongoski

Friday, April 27th, 2007

You have probably heard the story by now: Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is spending a week trying to get by on just $21 for groceries — the amount spent by the state’s average food stamp recipient.  What a terrific way to publicize the true state of the lives America’s poor live.  Let’s just see some rightwing gasbag talk about welfare queens in response to this.

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Memo to Democrats: An important lesson about John McCain

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Speaking from my background as a trial lawyer, I can tell you there are certain personality traits that will invariably get an advocate (which would include a politician) into trouble: One prime example involves people who always take the bait.  They can’t help themselves.

A witness makes an off-the-cuff remark the lawyer doesn’t like, but which doesn’t hurt his or her case.  Generally, the smart move is to ignore it and stay with your game plan.  But some lawyers simply can’t help themselves: they just have to dive in.  And as a result they let the witness take control of the flow of the testimony by pulling them off topic.

We now know (if we didn’t before) that John McCain is one of those people.  As I’ve written before, when he made the silly mistake of singing (or perhaps graveling would be a better description) his little “bomb Iran” song, I’m not sure he needed to apologize: But it sure as hell wasn’t something a smart politician would want to embrace with open arms (especially a smart politician who feverishly supports a very unpopular war).  But look what he’s doing:

(Daily News) Hey, lighten up, sez McCain, I’m having blast on campaign

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Shades of the defiant Sen. John McCain of eight years ago surfaced yesterday as he entered and left a campaign rally to the Beach Boys’ song “Barbara Anne.”

The musical selection was an in-your-face response to critics who ripped his singing “Bomb, Bomb Iran” to the same tune earlier this month.

Note to Democrats: Despite his many screw-ups, there’s still a good chance John McCain will end up as the Republican nominee in 2008.  If he is, remember this: He’s the kind of person who will always take the bait.  And believe me — that’s the kind of information that can come in really, really handy.

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Friday, April 27th, 2007

Here’s a first thing in the morning query: Does anyone actually buy stocks, bonds, time-shares in Jersey or any other investment properties or holdings based upon spam email solicitations?

I mean, jeepers, I must get 50 of these annoying things a day, each advertising an investment opportunity I simply can’t live without.  Most of them have deceptive subject headings, of course: “You were great last night!”  “How’ve you been buddy?”  “You were absolutely right in your last message!”  “Have you heard the great news?!”  And so on and so forth — one after another after another.

My particular favorites are the ones that come disguised as a political message, but when you open them they somehow morph (in the sense of a new message replacing the one that was there when you opened the email) into a pitch for a penny stock, pork belly futures or the like.

So, seriously, what kind of a moron, having been mislead in this fashion, would then say in response to an email from who knows the hell where, “Hey, that sounds like a good investment opportunity, I think I’ll dump my life savings into it?”

And if no one does, then why do they bother sending the damn things?

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Thursday, April 26th, 2007

While I can claim no scientific expertise the slightest bit relevant to the disappearing honey bee mystery, I hereby declare myself Posted in Comment | 5 Comments »

The coming (right wing) imperial judiciary

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

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Big wow for Paul Begala on David Broder!

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

I no longer feel guilty about all of those anti-Broder posts I never got around to writing; Paul Begala just made anything I might have said on the subject obsolete.

(The Huffington Post) David Broder Is a Gasbag

One of the few regrets I have in life is that I allowed Ann Devroy of the Washington Post to talk me into apologizing for calling David Broder “a gasbag” in 1995. My admiration for Devroy trumped my contempt for Broder. Ann, sadly, is gone, but Broder remains. She was everything Broder is not: fearless, intellectually honest, scrupulously fair, and suspicious of power.

Broder, of course, is a gasbag. The Hindenburg of pundits. But my respect for Ann knew no bounds, and she thought I was being unfair. In retrospect I was being unfair. To gasbags.

Mr. Broder has been foaming at the mouth these days. A man generally given to soporific prose, Broder has been downright venomous lately. And what has put the Benzedrine in Mr. Broder’s Ovaltine? Not the fact that President Bush continues to lie about “progress” in the war in Iraq. Or that Dick Cheney continues to lie about pre-invasion links between al Qaeda and Iraq. Or that the Bush Administration has neglected our wounded warriors, ignored the victims of Katrina, potentially obstructed justice by firing US Attorneys who were pursuing GOP wrongdoing. Not even that the Bush Administration lied to the families of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, cynically using their blood to distract from their own incompetence and dishonesty.

Read the rest . . .

If you have any doubt at all about the fairness of Begala’s attack, just read Broder’s latest installment in his unwitting advocacy for establishing a mandatory retirement age for pundits.

(Note to readers: It appears I’m addicted to blogging; my effort to go cold turkey fell flat.  Beginning today, I will be posting occasional (very) short pieces between the major Thursday postings.)

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Dear Winston, sixth edition

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Dear Winston,

Winston, how would you pigeonhole Maureen Dowd, The New York Times columnist, in terms of her political ideology?  People say she’s a liberal, but she seems to spend more time running down liberals (and Democrats in general) than conservatives.

So, how about it, Winston?  Am I missing something here?


Dowdy in Delaware

*  *  *

Dear Dowdy,

Maureen Dowd is not now and has never been a liberal, or for that matter a conservative.  She’s an egotist. 

One almost gets the impression that she would gladly see the poor go hungry, the environment go to hell and the war go on forever if that would give her one really good catty quip to use in one of her columns.

Always approach Dowd the way a wise mate (if there were such a thing) would approach a black widow spider: you can enjoy the beauty of her occasional anti-Bush tirades, but never forget that she’ll turn on you in the end.

(Actually, the belief that black widow spiders always eat their mates is apparently a myth.)

BartCop has a nifty way of describing her: he always uses the tag: “She hates everybody.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.