Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Read Stuff, You Should

I used to start by linking to things I thought people shouldn't read...I gave that up.  Instead, I'll start with Alex Pareene on Matt Bai.  No further comment necessary.

Oh, and I suppose I should say that my blogging may be a bit inconsistent for the rest of this holiday week.  I mean, in quantity.  Well, perhaps quality too...you never know.  But anyway...Now, for your Thanksgiving reading...

1. I'm not much for rants, but for Thanksgiving, I'll make an exception.  Nicole, on hunger.

2. On redistricting, two gems, from Carl Bialik and Jeremy Jacobs.  Key logic to remember -- partisan gerrymanders come at the expense of safety for individual incumbents. 

3. Fred Kaplan, always.  This time it's New START and the neocons.

4. Sarah Binder on GOP rule in the House (I love when her take is similar to mine, because it means I probably got it right).  Also, Bradford Plumer on the GOP and earmarks.

5. Health care: Austin Frakt explains what's behind changes in Medicare Advantage.

6. Rortybomb surveys GOP-aligned economists (part one, part two).  It isn't pretty.  My question, as usual: where are the hack liberal economists?

7. John Sides talks to Jim Gimple about political geography; Seth Masket likes The West Wing a whole lot more than I do, but he makes a good point about nominations anyway; and Eric Ostermeier points out that governors don't really determine presidential elections.

8. And, the Weekly Standard's Matt Labash wasn't overly impressed with the Sage of Wasilla or her Alaska.


  1. Gosh, I didn't know The Weekly Standard had been acquired by Gawker Media ... but allowed to retain its comfort with classism and mild(?) sexism. Ugh. Labash sure is right that the one thing that brings a lot of naturally unsympathetic people to sympathize with Sarah Palin is the smug awfulness she seems to being out in her critics.

    (Sorry, it is probably tacky to complain about linkdump contents. But it was a little nauseating to hear ML complain that Palin was too comfortable with twitter by ... citing the many critics of hers he's found through twitter; and complain both that the show is so manicured and manipulated that we never get near reality, and that she doesn't deserve any privacy because she's exposed her innermost secrets to the world on television; and complain that the Palins aren't experts at all the stuff they do on the show when it is just a genre convention of reality TV travelogue shows that the people be enthusiastic and somewhat relevantly trained but essentially amateurs; and on and on. I mean, do you think he's written that Chuck Grassley -- a much more unconventional speller and abbreviator -- "sound[s] like a 15-y.o. twitterhead (sic)?" singled out Mike Huckabee for demonstrating his lack of gravitas by writing diet books (!) and whipping out the bass guitar at every opportunity? accused Rudy Giuliani of unfairly subjecting his children to the spotlight (Giuliani's messy public marriage dissolution, among other things, ensured that his daughter doesn't talk to him, besides the whole decade-plus of fame-seeking, the fight-picking, the drag photos, etc. ad infinitum)? does he think Mitt Romney would have refused a reality show if anyone were interested in watching him? I bloody well bet Labash thinks Chris Christie is AWESOME for having turned himself into a walking reality TV show ... Sorry, this really is a rant. Positive recommendation: Jesse Singal's TNR piece about the show was a lot better.)

  2. That survey of conservative economists was great. I think we've found a corollary to the old maxim that an economist is someone who has predicted 17 of the last three recessions: A conservative economist is someone who thinks that the Bush tax cuts - which have been around for nearly a decade without creating a single net private-sector job - are exactly what we need to start creating jobs.

  3. From your link to Pareene: "Here's a line from Bai's bio: 'In fact, I've never lived more than a few miles from a housing project, which probably explains my skepticism toward both Darwinian social policy and the notion that expansive government can fix everything.' I've nearly always lived practically within sight of housing projects too, but I never learned any banal truisms from that fact."

    HAHAHAHA! I can't believe Matt Bai has the naivete to put that on his own site as though it's earned him some unique perspective. I've never realized it before, but I know of housing projects within a few miles of everywhere I've lived too, and I haven't amassed any general insights on industrial decay and politics as a result. In fact, I think most people within the confines of a metropolitan area live are always within a few miles of a housing project. What an asinine statement.

  4. Thanks for the direction to Nicole's rant. Tried to have a class discussion about structural reasons for worsening and deepening inequality today and they hadn't done the reading that covered the actual substance and adopted uncritically/reflexively the (ultra-)conservative view on the value of meaning of inequality. I sent the link as just a reminder that (hopefully) that being poor in America really isn't so hot and that maybe we want to expect a bit more from our government/ourselves. Quiz when we get back from break!

  5. Mr. Bernstein:
    TNR doesn't let non-subscribers comment, so I thought I'd leave it here. You are right about Palin not being VP again. But you forgot one thing. Palin will never play second fiddle to anyone ever again. Also, how are GOP insiders going to stop Palin? Rove backed down when he got called out over the O'Donnell primary win. Also, Palin knows how to play the victim card perfectly. What other GOP candidate has the legion of die-hard supporters she has?

  6. Phil,

    No question, her intense supporters are an asset. OTOH, well, the numbers don't look great for her overall. If her current sub-20% is close to her ceiling, she's not going to win the nomination.

    More to your point: it's certainly possible that people who don't want her to be the nominee would rather not speak out against her right now, but would be willing to next fall if she looks as if she might win Iowa was ~25% of the vote. Yes, that's a tricky game that could go wrong. And we don't even know right now that it's really true that party leaders don't want her. But if they do, and they do speak out against her with something like a united front, it's highly unlikely she could survive that.

  7. My question, as usual: where are the hack liberal economists?

    The Op/Ed page of the New York Times?


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