Always room for Jello

One more non-random song from the iPod. This one's dedicated to right-wing talk radio host Neal Boortz and Republican insider Bill Bennett: The sun beams down on a brand new day No more welfare tax to pay Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light Jobless millions whisked away At last we have more room to [Read More...]

“There’s always room”

That's the last line in Hotel Rwanda. It's hard to talk about Hotel Rwanda because Nazi references are supposedly taboo. Every frame of that film says, "Never again." That statement is one of the most important things we can say. It is also, among other things, a Nazi reference. So please excuse me for ignoring [Read More...]

Two Americas

Sometimes a journalist's job is simply to state the obvious. That's why, for example, TV weather jockeys start their reports confirming that yes, your eyes didn't deceive you, it really was a very nice day outside. That's sort of what the AP's Frank Bass does with this piece, "Poor suffered brunt of Katrina's wrath." Bass [Read More...]

The poor are left behind

1-800-HELP-NOW Teresa and Patrick Nielsen Hayden have posted some remarkable stuff this week on the unfolding tragedy. Go read it all, but see especially their Katrina info page. Patrick includes a link to a rant from Tenn.-based Cherie Priest, who dissects the class-based cluelessness of much of the reporting on the destruction of New Orleans: [Read More...]


A word here about greed and need, which have been treated as a bit too interchangeable in some of the previous threads. (And also because it's an appropriate subject during hold-out week for NFL training camps.) Greed and need would both fall under the category of what economists call "incentives." They can both serve to [Read More...]

Remedial unbribery

So, OK, quick review w/o any of the tangents that were apparently confusing to some: 1. Any given proposal — tax-cut, tax-hike, public works, whatever — must justly serve the public interest and promote the common good. Any politician advocating any kind of policy must demonstrate that the policy meets this test. 2. When politicians [Read More...]

Unbribery Objection No. 2

Some politicians benefit financially from policies — legislation, regulations, tax code — that they have promoted and supported. In some cases, this financial benefit is significant, even massive — $40,000 a year, or more than $700,000 in one big chunk. I want to talk about that money. It matters. It is at least potentially corrosive. [Read More...]

Unbribery Objection No. 1

Got quite a bit of response, both in comments and via e-mail, to this post about the immense sums of money that President Bush and Vice President Cheney personally have at stake in abolishing the estate tax. One friend suggested that I look at this in terms of the 1993 movie, Indecent Proposal. You'll recall [Read More...]