Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Caffeine in the water

From National Geographic: Caffeinated Seas Found off U.S. Pacific Northwest. Can't make this stuff up. It's a bit murky but it may come from septic systems. Oh the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Chang W. Lee photo

Great photo with today's NYT story on Bloomberg press secretary Stu Loeser.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's 2012, and the NYT has discovered that John McCain is not a maverick

Jennifer Steinhauer article on A1: "Once a Rebel, McCain Now Walks the Party Line."

From the middle of the last decade, perhaps? No, this was today's  A1.

There was a time when on some issues, McCain bucked his party. His signature bi-partisan achievement, campaign finance reform, came in 2002. Perhaps most notably, he voted against the Bush tax cuts -- one of only two Senate Republicans to do so in 2001, and one of three in 2003.

But within a few years of that, McCain was solidly to the right -- even toward the right end of Senate Republicans -- on nearly every issue (see Krugman's rundown from 2006). He was for the tax cuts he used to be against.

McCain did move further to the right for his 2010 reelection, as the article notes. But he already had been solidly in the deeply conservative part of his party.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Democratic competence

Via TPM, Senate Dems Jam House Republicans, Pass Bush Tax-Cut Extension For Middle Class. If I'm understanding this correctly, they are doing the politics right. It's a nice change.

NOPD consent degree

John Schwartz's A1 in today's NYT nicely lays out the news of yesterday's DOJ consent decreed with the New Orleans Police Department.

DOJ's Civil Rights Division is a shining light for this administration.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marriage and class

This is a bit over my head, but regarding Jason DeParle's front pager on Sunday about marriage and class, Shawn Fremstad at CEPR responds that actually "family structure is overrated as an explanation of inequality."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drought in the news

Sixty-one percent of the land in the lower 48 states is in drought now. The Christian Science Monitor looks at how rising prices could affect the presidential election. The WSJ reports on how the Mississippi is very low and barges can only take a much smaller amount of cargo so they don't hit the bottom.

Monday, July 09, 2012

On liberal justices

From Dahlia Lithwick: "Where Is the Liberal Outrage? Conservatives are pillorying John Roberts for his health care decision. Why don’t liberals get angry when their justices fail to deliver?"

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Shameless plug: WaPo hit

WaPo ombud Patrick Pexton's column this weekend is on the Post's inadequate coverage of the storm aftermath in the DC region, where hundreds of thousands were without power for days. His third paragraph quotes from my post on this from Tuesday.

Friday, July 06, 2012

So people just won't believe Romney is as conservative as he is

Useful little explanation and discussion here. Our instincts to tell people "Romney supports something way more conservative than what you are for" doesn't necessarily work so well, in part because people just can't believe he's as conservative as he says he is.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Ken Cuccinelli, in context

WaPo columnist Robert McCartney had a great column the other day: "For Ken Cuccinelli, losing big cases won’t work forever." It was so refreshing to see someone say, hey, this VA AG dude, he's a joke.

It was a better debunking than I could do of the Post magazine's Aug 2010 fluff piece on Cuccinelli, by David Montgomery. That piece had presented something of the opposite thesis: Cucinelli's the real deal!

It's so fitting that one of the cases Cuccinelli just lost recently, as noted by McCartney, was one trying to undermine climate science.

The WaPo magainze had mentioned that territory, but only in an oddly positive way. We had learned from the magazine only that in Cuccinelli's crusade against climate scientist Michael Mann, he "demanded that U-Va. hand over documents connected to a former professor's work on climate change, to determine whether the professor used false information to obtain taxpayer-funded research grants." And: "Two weeks hence, he would demand the climate change professor's records from U-Va."

Those basic facts were all correct -- and they make the whole exercise sound rather reasonable. Yet what Montgomery never told readers were some other basics: Michael Mann has already been cleared of wrongdoing in inquiry after inquiry. Cuccinelli had been caught quoting Mann out of context, and in one place even quoted a different scientist but attributed it to Mann. And more than 800 scientists and academic leaders in VA responded to Cuccinelli, calling on him to end his "unwarranted" investigation.

Two years later, McCartney's piece on Cuccinelli is a neat antidote to the Montgomery nonsense. Fluff pieces don't usually fare well, and this one is no exception.

Another day, another pointless Washington Post headline

Tell us something we don't already know, Washington Post. Lede with your big news, something we won't find elsewhere. I mean, there are 200,000 people still without power (that info is easy to find) and we've got a few deaths so far. Give us something that's useful to know for the readers who are off the grid and need information. Come on. Give it your best. Ok let's see, here's Tuesday's A1:

That is not news. It is stuff you could write in advance. In the article we also learn things like:
Across the region, utility crews worked through the night to repair damage.
Stop the presses.

The Post's coverage of the storm and its aftermath have been lackluster. Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people worked very long hours over the weekend to get the coverage they have. But there's just not all that much there there. It's slow and it's boring and unimaginative. The Post is the main daily here and it should be leading the pack, telling us things we would not have thought of. Instead, too much of the Post's coverage has been simply compiling information from various officials.