Protection racket

Here’s an astonishing figure: $17.5 billion. That’s what banks collect from their customers every year in “overdraft protection” fees. It sounds so benign — protection — like it’s there to look after your interest, but that’s not how it works. What it means is that your debit card will never again be declined due to [Read More...]

Bailey 1, Potter 0

If you haven’t seen this yet, The Roosevelt Institution has put together some of the better policy recommendations from college students around the country. There’s plenty of good stuff there, lots of constructive, pragmatic ideas from people still young enough to think that policy matters matter. (When they’re older, they’ll learn that they can make [Read More...]

Wake up with fleas

I'm disappointed with Kathy Ireland (not that I know her personally, but like many American males my age, I remember her fondly from a series of Sports Illustrated photo shoots that coincided with my teenage years). But my remnant of respect for her — that which survived after seeing Necessary Roughness — is being sorely [Read More...]


In The New York Review of Books, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof looks at several recent titles on "The Wretched of the Earth." The book review aspect of this article is almost incidental. Kristof's main point here, to his credit, is something he often uses his New York Times column to remind us of: Most people [Read More...]

Guest worker program

Tom said, "Back home some fellas come through with han'bills — orange ones. Says they need lots a people out here to work the crops." The young man laughed. "They say they's three hunderd thousan' folks here, an' I bet ever' dam' fam'ly seen them han'bills." "Yeah, but if they don' need folks, what'd they [Read More...]

Or you’ll sink like a stone

Continuing on the subject of why some things aren't funny. … This cartoon ran on Sunday's editorial page. That's Sunday, April 15, 2007. We'll get to the content in a bit, but first let's talk about the joke itself. Chicken Little … get it? Al Gore and the IPCC and, you know, all those folks [Read More...]

Comics, journalists & preachers

Happily, big-time movie director John Rogers still finds time to do a bit of blogging, including yesterday's post clearing up the confusion on the Imus affair. Rogers' main point has to do with the way comedy "steals power": I think this is the key to understanding why the Rutgers incident suddenly brought the whole Imus [Read More...]

Broken laws

"Our job is to enforce the rules," said Orlando police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones, following the first arrest under the city's homeless-feeding law. Sgt. Jones didn't elaborate, didn't attempt to defend "the rules" in this case. Probably wise on her part: Eric Montanez, 21, is the first to be arrested under the city's controversial ordinance [Read More...]