Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Washington Post unaware that Blanche Lincoln is, in fact, a woman

From the Washington Post's "On Small Business" blog this morning:
After the meeting Tuesday, Blanche Lincoln, former Democratic senator and head of the NFIB’s Small Businesses for Sensible Regulations coalition, said he was “encouraged to hear” that the president had taken time to gather input from the nation’s smallest employers. Amid the heated debate over tax rates, he also urged policy makers not to neglect business owners’ mounting regulatory concerns. 
Whatever, I mean she was just in the Senate for 12 years, and it's just the Washington Post. Can't really expect them to keep track of everything can you.

David Brooks and Lincoln

This just in, David Brooks doesn't know what he's talking about.

Monday, November 19, 2012


In case it's needed: Dean Baker on why Tom Friedman's column on Sunday is stupid.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twinkies in the news

In case it needs to be said, the whole "it was the union's fault" line coming from the management of Hostess, as the company comes to an end, is rather incorrect. See Laura Clawson at DailyKos and Doug Foote at Working America.

Update: More backstory from Dave Jamieson at HuffPost.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The local stakeout

I just walked by the local scene -- that is, the media stakeout of the house in Mount Pleasant where Paula Broadwell is crashing with her brother. A friend in the neighborhood noted it last night, and it's no secret. AP published a photograph last night of Broadwell there in the kitchen; I assume after that they figured out to close the shades. The whole thing feels weird, or, icky.

 As of just a bit ago, there are about ten people standing out front and ten in the back alley -- camerapeople, still photographers, and reporters. Each news organization that wants to be sure to catch Broadwell when she leaves has to have a person on both sides of the house, 24 hours a day. More photos of the scene from people here and here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

John Brennan and torture: will media erase his past?

John Brennan, currently the President's counter-terrorism advisor (Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism), is apparently in the running for CIA director to replace Petraeus -- or at least someone is trial ballooning it all over the press. But wait, Brennan is the guy who they wanted to be CIA Director the first time. And after Glenn Greenwald pointed out how Brennan had embraced some Bush Administration torture and rendition policies, the nomination stopped, and they gave him a position that didn't require Senate confirmation. (Note: Brennan didn't support all Bush administration bad policies, but his support of rendition and some torture is the important point).

So how are the papers telling this story in their mentions of Brennan now?

Here's the Washington Post on Tuesday's front page:
He was the top contender to lead the agency when Obama was elected in 2008, but he withdrew under criticism, which he deemed unfair, of his role in intelligence excesses in the administration of George W. Bush. Although that challenge is now seen as behind him, officials said he has not indicated whether he would like to be considered again to head the agency where he spent 25 years.
And the New York Times over the weekend:
Mr. Brennan was considered for C.I.A. director before Mr. Obama’s term began but withdrew amid criticism from some of the president’s liberal supporters.
USA Today is at least a touch better:
Brennan carries some political baggage that could make Senate confirmation difficult. He withdrew his name from consideration for a top intelligence position in 2008 because of his alleged links to "enhanced interrogation techniques" while an official at the CIA.
Yes, these articles weren't focused on Brennan, and the possibility of his nomination now was just a small piece of them. But the papers need to find far, far different wording to briefly describe his past support of torture. Spade is a spade, etc.

Monday, November 12, 2012

fiscal curve, and also no one cares about the deficit


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Friday, November 09, 2012


Washington Post already falling for John Boehner's notion that he has offered some "compromise" on taxes. Or as TPM puts it, "Republicans To Obama On Taxes: Let’s Compromise By Not Raising Taxes."

Thursday, November 08, 2012

NYT takes on Obama's popular vote totals

From Peter Baker's news analysis in Thursday's NYT: (emphasis mine)
For his part, Mr. Obama won a clear victory but less decisively than other presidents who were re-elected. He garnered just 50 percent of the popular vote, three percentage points lower than in 2008, in a sign of just how divided the country remains over his leadership.
That's quite a trick. We don't have an exact number yet, but Obama looks to be getting about 50.4% of the popular vote here. How about Bush in 2004? Way more -- 50.73%. And Clinton in 1996? 49.23%.

If you go back before that, presidents winning reelection did indeed get more than that range. But looking at the last two, Obama's reelection is right in the same range. Rather different from what Baker is telling us.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Next steps

From Glenn Greenwald, "Obama and progressives: what will liberals do with their big election victory?"

I think he's basically right, though it doesn't always work exactly this way. Just very often. I thought it was useful.

Meanwhile, is planning a demonstration at the White House against the Keystone pipeline, two Sundays from now.

Friday, November 02, 2012


A compilation of some of the highlights of the #NYTbooks hashtags -- book titles re-written in NYT headline style. Just read it.

Also, wow, I can't believe I just wrote a blog post about where to read about something happening on twitter. I feel like an old media publication, or something.

The New York City Marathon, and whether it should happen

There are a lot of pros and cons, and I don't claim to have read up on them a ton. From what I have read, I'm skeptical that it's a good idea.

But I do think there is some merit to the argument in favor of it on cultural grounds, on continuing with life, on, for lack of better words, not letting the storm win. I recognize, though, that while those arguments are relevant to some people, they're understandably offensive to others who are suffering and concerned that any ounce of services are being diverted from recovery to the marathon.

There will always be people who will say it's "too soon" no matter how long it's been. I mostly try not to think they're right or wrong, even when I disagree. We can have our own answers.

Anyway, I think the big limit to the cultural argument here is that the NYC marathon just isn't a thing for, you know, most people in NYC. It's a huge deal if you're into it. But for the vast majority of people in the city, the marathon is not something they usually pay attention to. It has a tiny constituency when compared to, say, July 4th fireworks, the West Indian Day Parade, or Puerto Rican Day Parade.

After Katrina, some argued that Mardi Gras shouldn't have gone forward in 2006. But it went forward, and I think there the cultural argument was very strong and very right. And, in a very different example, Saturday Night Live coming back two and a half weeks after 9/11 (relatively quickly) was widely seen as the right thing, in part for bringing back some normalcy -- despite the risk that making humor again could be offensive.

Those are examples of the cultural argument being important. For the marathon, the argument exists, but is much, much smaller.