Filtered news 10/29

Explaining income inequlity It's worth reading Jon Chait's entire article about rising income inequality in the New Republic this week, but for my money

Over the last quarter century, the portion of the national income accruing to the richest 1 percent of Americans has doubled. The share going to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent has tripled, and the share going to the richest one-hundredth of 1 percent has quadrupled.

Whenever you hear someone propose an explanation for skyrocking income inequality over the past few decades, try to think about whether it explains the fact that inequality has gotten immensely worse not just between the top 20% and the bottom 20%, but between the top 1% and the 9% just below them. For example:

Greater returns to education? Do you really think that the top 1% are better educated on average than the next 9%?

Greater rewards for technical skills? Do you really think the top 1% have greater technical skills than the next 9%?

Globalization? More stable families? Race and gender? A failure to take account of the growing value of health benefits?

Do any of these things plausibly seem like big differences between the top 1% and the next 9%? Pretty clearly they aren't. So why is the top 1% outpacing even the well-to-do who inhabit the next 9%? What's the big difference between these groups? If you're interested in reading more about this, it's below the fold.

This guy can dig holes like nobody else Fields of Fire, the book that the Allen campaign and Matt Drudge think is "obscene", is on the United States Marine Corps for professional development.

Supporting the troops rhetoric is easy. Any politician with a high-priced team of speechwriters and consultants can fashion speeches, ads and fliers that disguise his or her record on issues of the day. Rather, when looking at members of Congress, it’s important to examine how they voted on legislation and whether their rhetoric matches actions. a non-partisan group “dedicated to pushing for solutions to the Troops’ issues and concerns through issue advocacy,” just released its Find out how your member voted

"What's striking both in Bush's and Cheney's attitude towards water torture is that it never
even occurs to them that there is a moral issue here. It's a "no-brainer". Here we are on the
outside having impassioned debates about the rights and wrongs of abuse and torture of
detainees and these two most powerful men simply assume it's fine. Their only concern is
that they can find a legal euphemism in order to lie about it and pretend it isn't happening.
And remember who their base is: Christians. Orwell could not have invented this."
-- Andrew Sullivan, former (?) chief cheerleader for these torture-happy creeps,

Idiot in chief It helps to know the you're stumping for, Mr. President.

Throwing more than mud Michael Grunwald writes an honest piece today in the Washington Post about the wildly negative campaigning going on in the Republican camp this election cycle. He briefly suggests that "some Democrats are playing rough, too" — and provides a couple of examples — but immediately acknowledges that virtually all Democratic ads have focused on policies and performance.

The result has been a carnival of ugly, especially on the GOP side, where operatives are trying to counter what polls show is a hostile political environment by casting opponents as fatally flawed characters. The National Republican Campaign Committee is spending more than 90 percent of its advertising budget on negative ads, according to GOP operatives, and the rest of the party seems to be following suit.

See? It's not so hard to simply report the facts, is it?

What's in your wallet? The tried to talk up a today, but the government's "accountant-in-chief" offers a :


If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.

A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today.

And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion.

On Saturday Night Live this week they took a humorous look at what we can expect from the RNC on the final week of campaign ads. - WMV - QT As funny as these were, I can only imagine that Ken Mehlman is upset that he didn't come up with the idea to use these as actual ads.

How ya feelin' about that 2nd Amendment now? : Bush signs bill enabling Martial Law

"You ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax,
understand that it's complicated, it's difficult,"
- Rumsfeld to war critics,

“Vice President Cheney said yesterday that when he told an interviewer this week that dunking terrorism suspects in water was a ‘no-brainer.’” and judge for yourself.

In the "Duh, tell me something I don't know now" category: :

The Halliburton subsidiary that provides food, shelter and other logistics to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan exploited federal regulations to hide details on its contract performance, according to a report released Friday. The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction found that Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root Services routinely marked all information it gave to the government as proprietary, whether it was or not. The government promises not to disclose proprietary data so a company's most valuable information is not divulged to its competitors. By marking all information proprietary - including such normally releasable data as labor rates - the company abused federal regulations, the report says. -11428">(Read the rest of this story…)

The secret letter from Iraq :

Written last month, this straightforward account of life in Iraq by a Marine officer was initially sent just to a small group of family and friends. His honest but wry narration and unusually frank dissection of the mission contrasts sharply with the story presented by both sides of the Iraq war debate, the Pentagon spin masters and fierce critics. Perhaps inevitably, the "Letter from Iraq" moved quickly beyond the small group of acquantainaces and hit the inboxes of retired generals, officers in the Pentagon, and staffers on Capitol Hill. TIME's Sally B. Donnelly first received a copy three weeks ago but only this week was able to track down the author and verify the document's authenticity. The author wishes to remain anonymous but has allowed us to publish it here - with a few judicious omissions.

So tell us how you really feel, General Clark. There's no wiggle room in this ad as Clark comes out fighting and calling Holy Joe on his insane stance on the Iraq war. You gotta love Wesley's commitment to the voters of CT that got up—registered—and voted to make their voices heard in the Democratic primary. Meanwhile—Joe needs the lifeline being supplied to him by to keep his chances alive. -WMP -QT

Why does our military hate America? Earlier this month, veterans advocacy group released the . Some key findings:

– 63 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe the Army and Marine Corps are overextended at this time. 67 percent of Army and Marine veterans believe their forces are overextended.

– 53 percent of respondents said they “did not always know who the enemy was” when they were engaged in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

– 42 percent of the veterans said their equipment was below the military standard of being 90 percent operational. 35 percent said their Humvees and trucks were not up-armored when they arrived in-country.

Not sure how to help on election day? How about this--do you have a video camera? If you do or can get one, how about checking this out? Americans will be going out across America to . Or watch this piece from youtube on . No one is out there protecting our rights as citizens to vote--we must do it. Especially if you live in Ohio, Maryland, Florida or any state! This election will be a close one in many races--we must not give those who would suppress the vote the ability to do it again! The right to vote is a basic human right. Exercise it! Protect the right of others to vote!

The annual ‘Treehouse of Horror’ Halloween episode of FOX’s The Simpsons, set to air Nov. 5, will “.” Titled “The Day the Earth Was Stupid,” the segment “recalls the panic caused by Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, only this time aliens Kang and Kodos capitalize on the confusion by invading Springfield.”


October 30, 2006 - 10:01pm