1. Just added my longtime friend and former Prism colleague Dwight Ozard to the links list on your right. Dwight is celebrating his latest UPEP count, which is lower than it's been in a long time (lower is good). I hope that you will never have to worry about your UPEP count. If I ever do, I hope I will do so with as much grace and courage as Dwight has shown.
2. Mark Schmitt of The Decembrist detects a strange new economic category in the Treasury Department's spinning analysis of John Kerry's tax proposals:
Treasury didn't use the standard categories that would go into a distributional analysis, such as income quintiles or households with income in certain ranges. Instead, they used a category of their own devising: "Hardworking Individuals and Married Couples."
And what's the definition of the new population category called "Hardworking Individuals and Married Couples"? To me, it brings to mind the guy who guts chickens for a living ten hours a day and his wife who works at Wal-Mart. But I must have too bleak a view. Apparently this category refers to people who earn more than $200,000 and get much of their income from dividends and capital gains. I don't want to engage in class warfare, and I'm sure some of these people are very hardworking, but that just doesn't seem like the appropriate term.
3. Did you ever find yourself immersed in a project and wondering exactly how it was you ended up doing this? I felt that way a bit last month at rehearsals for "Step in Time," the spring musical revue at an all-girls Catholic school. If you're putting on a revue, somebody has to write the book that stitches all those songs together through some narrative pretext, however flimsy. In this case, that somebody turned out to be me. It was a privilege — those kids can really sing and dance.
4. My friend Josh — who comments here under the nom de guerre "oh," and blogs at generosity without borders, pointed out this fascinating, interactive graph of world income distribution. Go play with it for a while. Here's hoping they add more countries in future versions. (I'd also like to see a taller graph — a billion people ought to occupy more space on the graph than $100,000.)
5. I forget who pointed to this link (Kevin Drum maybe?), but here is the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' "Comprehensive Assessment of the Bush Administration’s Record on Cutting Taxes." You should read the whole thing, but at least check out the graphs: this one shows the size of the deficit with and without the Bush tax cuts (our grandchildren are going to hate this guy). This one shows actual job growth versus the Bush administration's projections.
8. Another musical note: I recently installed Flash Player on my newsroom computer, which means tonight when I'm working the late online shift, I can listen to all of Lucinda Williams' World Without Tears at Lucindawilliams.com. The flip side of this is that I've learned it's probably not best for one's emotional state to listen to lots of Lucinda if you're alone in a newsroom at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night.
11. Here again is the CBPP's graph charting actual job growth vs. Bush administration projections. It's just such an astonishing graphic display of dishonesty and/or failure that I had to link to it twice.