Subscribe via RSS Feed

Warren, public opinion, and inequality

[ 38 ] January 18, 2015 |

Paul Rosenberg has a good response to Amitai Etzioni’s rather lame attempt at a hatchet-job on Elizabeth Warren at The Atlantic:

Taking Norton and Ariely’s results seriously, we can say that the American people want a much fairer society than they live in, but that the means for articulating this desire—the stories, concepts, policy proposals, etc.—are in scandalously short supply, a de facto example of hypocognition thwarting what people want. Elizabeth Warren is particularly popular precisely because she provides some of the missing means that people are so hungry for—an antidote to the hypocognition that thwarts their desire for a fairer, more just vision of America, which respects both their hard work and their compassionate values. There may be relatively little polling to support this view (though there’s considerably more than you’d expect) but that’s partly just another example of how elites dominate the landscape of acceptable thought to protect their interests, as underscored by recent research by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page. Warren represents a clear alternative to this narrow-minded view. Her popularity derives in large part from her ability to shape narratives that reflect the hidden majority’s shared values and articulate them in policy terms, reversing a decades-long trend by which elites of both parties have turned their backs on the welfare of ordinary Americans.

While Rosenberg offers a much more accurate portrait of American public opinion than does Etzioni, there are reasons to think this offers an overly optimistic account. He’s right, of course, that Americans want a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income than they’ve got. But it’s almost certainly the case that partisan identity is likely to significantly diminish the ‘hidden majority’ support for redistribution when it turns into an actual plan promoted by and associated with Democratic politicians (as the continued unpopularity of something called “Obamacare” demonstrates). Raising the minimum wage manages to remain broadly popular despite the partisan divide, so it’s important not to be too fatalistic about this. (I suspect one reason for this is the simplicity of the policy; it’s harder to spin or dissemble the basic fairness of it away.) But the lack of specific policy proposals cuts both ways–lots of inequality-reducing proposals could be quite popular in the abstract, but once they become “Democratic” proposals support is likely to conform to a more familiar partisan pattern.

Share with Sociable

Republican Minority Outreach

[ 26 ] January 18, 2015 |

Republicans choose not to include Univision in its primary debates. Makes sense, since only the Al-Qaeda drug mule wetback terrorist Mexicans* watch it and they are the enemy of the Good Americans (TM) who vote Republican. At least it will allow for full racist clownshow in all the debates.

*Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, it’s all the same.

Share with Sociable

NFL Conference Championship Picks/Open Thread

[ 154 ] January 18, 2015 |

SEAHAWKS (-8) over Packers You know about these teams. The real question here is Rodgers’s health. If his calf isn’t a major issue, 8 points is too much to give up to the most valuable player in the sport, and his near-flawless second half against the Cowboys would suggest that it isn’t. But his first half makes clear that he’s not going to be near full mobility, and the Seattle defense is much better positioned to exploit this than Dallas’s was. This will probably be close most of the way, but I think Seattle will eventually pull away.

PATRIOTS (-6 1/2) over Colts. I don’t mean to be stubborn, but this is a much easier call. I know Indianapolis has looked good the last two weeks. But the first game was against a below-average QB missing his only two decent weapons (and, yes, yes, picking against the Colts there was as stupid as a pick against the spread can be, an excellent illustration of why contrarianism is dumb and “hmm, should I be picking 4 favorites?” logic is even dumber.) And even Andy Dalton would probably have given Denver a better shot that the “Peyton Manning” who showed up last week. This week, they’re going up against a healthy icon. The (past-peak but still excellent) icon has only one great weapon, but 1)the weapon is great and it’s not clear how the Colts can deal with him if he stays on the field, and 2)the bunch of OK additional options should allow McDaniels to game plan around Vontae Davis easily (and Davis is apparently well less than 100% anyway.) Admittedly, Luck will do some damage — if the Broncos couldn’t get any pass rush it’s not clear how New England will. And they won’t benefit from the inevitable 2-yards-a-carry-plus-fumble from Trent “so nice he was worth a first rounder twice!” Richardson. But the Pats are better offensively and defensively, playing at home. I think they’re headed to Arizona without a great deal of difficulty.

…I greatly appreciate the valiant efforts of Seahawks MVP Mike McCarthy to keep them in the game, but I don’t think it’s going to be enough. Apparently my worries last year about Seattle’s third-rate receiving corps weren’t so much wrong as premature.

Share with Sociable

Today in Genocide History

[ 2 ] January 18, 2015 |

152 years ago today, the U.S. executed Apache leader Mangas Coloradas. Of course his body was then mutilated and subject to the pseudo-scientific racial testing of the day.

Share with Sociable

Digital Arms Race

[ 8 ] January 18, 2015 |

I’m old enough that I can remember when the Snowden docs were about domestic spying and civil liberties:

In addition to providing a view of the US’s own ability to conduct digital attacks, Snowden’s archive also reveals the capabilities of other countries. The Transgression team has access to years of preliminary field work and experience at its disposal, including databases in which malware and network attacks from other countries are cataloged.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA and its Five Eyes partners have put numerous network attacks waged by other countries to their own use in recent years. One 2009 document states that the department’s remit is to “discover, understand (and) evaluate” foreign attacks. Another document reads: “Steal their tools, tradecraft, targets and take.”

It’s interesting stuff, of course, the breathless citation of Marshall McLuhan aside.

Share with Sociable

Lanny and Roger

[ 15 ] January 18, 2015 |

Two bad tastes that go perfectly together.

Share with Sociable

Robert White, RIP

[ 67 ] January 17, 2015 |

Getting my Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico, I became deeply exposed to the Latin American left and its American supporters. Mostly this was good, but one of the arguments I was never comfortable with was that any person or any program remotely involved with the U.S. government was automatically corrupted with the legacy of American imperialism. While that legacy is certainly strong enough and continues to cause incredible damage throughout the region, this critique made suspicious not only Peace Corps but those who volunteered to do it, Fulbright scholarships, and it goes without saying, anyone associated with the U.S. Foreign Service. But this critique left no room for those who really were trying to do positive things, even if they might not have supported the revolutionary politics of those on the left.

I thought of this last night when I read this obituary of career Foreign Service officer Robert White, drummed out of government service by Al Haig after he blamed the rape and murder of 3 American nuns and a Catholic laywoman in El Salvador on the U.S. supported military government of that nation. Of course, White was correct.

Serving every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower as a career diplomat rather than a political appointee, Mr. White was distinguished by his dispassionate, boots-on-the-ground analysis and his blunt conclusions.

He once branded Roberto D’Aubuisson, the Salvadoran rightist, a “pathological killer.” And in a face-off that Mr. White had with Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Mr. Kissinger blinked, revoking a reprimand he had ordered after Mr. White, at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Chile, delivered an unalloyed critique of the host government’s human-rights infractions.

“I was fired by the Nixon White House for opposing politicization of the Peace Corps, reprimanded by Henry Kissinger for speaking out on human rights, and finally, definitely dismissed by Alexander Haig for opposing a military solution in El Salvador,” Mr. White recalled.

Inspired to serve in Latin America by what he called President John F. Kennedy’s “creative response to the revolutionary fervor” sweeping that region, Mr. White lamented that once Kennedy was assassinated, Washington adopted a single-minded goal to thwart Communism, whether in Vietnam or in its half-century embargo of Cuba.

Maybe White was an anti-revolutionary. Still, quite a record of service there.

Share with Sociable

Impeach Obama!

[ 87 ] January 17, 2015 |

You may have heard about Tom Wolf’s salutary decision not to serve Yuengling, a terrible vaguely beer-flavored water brewed by a union-busting company, at his inaugural. But buried in the reporting is a truly disturbing fact:

When the Canadian ice hockey team defeated the United States at the 2010 Winter Olympics, President Barack Obama sent the Canadian prime minister a case of Yuengling, NBC Philadelphia reported. NBC said at the time that Yuengling was “the President’s brew of choice.”

Surely this will feature prominently when historians determine that Obama makes Buchanan look like Lincoln. I don’t know how the Weekly Standard‘s interns missed this dispositive evidence.

Share with Sociable

Restricting Civil Forfeiture

[ 105 ] January 16, 2015 |

Very important news:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without evidence that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

I’m sure that had Mitt Romney won Attorney General Yoo would have done exactly the same thing, though.

…Balko has more.

Share with Sociable


[ 42 ] January 16, 2015 |

2014, the hottest year in world history. I’m sure the conservatives will find some way to say 1998 was still the hottest and thus global climate change is a hoax. Meanwhile, oil prices are collapsing so I am sure we will deal with these problems very very soon.

Share with Sociable

How Do You Talk to a 7-Year-Old Girl about Comic Books?

[ 138 ] January 16, 2015 |

A man grapples with that question in this terrific read.

What would you say?

What comics would you recommend for young girls?

Share with Sociable

Islam at Duke

[ 62 ] January 16, 2015 |

While I appreciate Duke University’s initial agreement to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer once a week, its quickly succumbing to the racist blatherings of Franklin Graham and the anti-Islam fanatics that dominate the American right show both that the acceptance of Islam anywhere in American society is tenuous at best and that college and university administrations will always cave in the face of the first conservative protest over anything that goes on at their campus.

Share with Sociable
Page 28 of 1,970« First...1020...2627282930...405060...Last »