Archive for May, 2013

Obama’s scandals in history

Ezra Klein unraveling these “scandals” and predicting how history will look back upon them.

And yet, even if the scandals fade, the underlying problems might remain. The IRS. could give its agents better and clearer guidance on designating 501(c)(4), but Congress needs to decide whether that status and all of its benefits should be open to political groups or not. The Media Shield Act is not likely to go anywhere, and even if it does, it doesn’t get us anywhere close to grappling with the post-9/11 expansion of the surveillance state. And then, of course, there are all the other problems Congress is ignoring, from high unemployment to sequestration to global warming. When future generations look back on the scandals of our age, it’ll be the unchecked rise in global temperatures, not the Benghazi talking points, that infuriate them.

Unfiltered noise damages a democracy

Excellent piece from Jackson Diehl that filters out the noise and gets to the real and nonpartisan issues of Benghazi.

The common thread here is not just the climate of intense partisanship in which media and politicians from the left dismiss what the right insists is a scandal of historic proportions — or vice-versa. It is the diversion of what should be serious, bipartisan discussion about government failings. The Bush administration, after all, did wrongly conclude that Iraq was hiding chemical weapons and trying to revive its nuclear program. For its part the Obama administration didn’t provide enough security to the Libya mission or adequately prepare for an emergency in post-revolution North Africa.

It’s worrisome when foreign policy gets to the point that it is so partisan that the grandstanding could endanger our national security. Moreso, when the media no longer knows how to properly filter the signal from the noise.

Tom Hawking on Time’s Cover story “The Me Me Me Generation”

Why Time’s Millennials Cover Story Says More About Joel Stein Than It Does About Millennials

As you’ve probably read, Joel Stein’s professionally trollish Time cover story about the millennial generation is already the source of an almighty controversy, largely because it’s… well, it’s unmitigated horseshit, basically. Since you can’t actually read the article unless you shell out $5 for a copy of what used to be a pretty decent news magazine back before the millennials were born, we thought we’d save you the trouble and point out exactly why Stein’s arguments are horrible.

Kids these days…


What the Fuck Is All This Benghazi Shit: An Explainer

Your uncle has been posting on Facebook about “Benghazi” or whatever for months now, and you have no clue what the fuck he’s talking about because, really, you don’t have time for this shit. It’s OK. We do. Here’s your guide.

Labor and its discontents

Charles Wowkanech, president of the New Jersey AFL-CIO, writing for

On April 17, a deadly blast at a Texas fertilizer plant took the lives of 14 people and injured more than 160. It is apparent that insufficient oversight and negligence are to blame.

The West Fertilizer plant stored 540,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive chemical — 100 times the amount that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Despite this obvious hazard, West Fertilizer never filed a required report to place it on the Department of Homeland Security’s high-risk chemical facilities.

In addition, the plant was not considered high-risk by the EPA, which may be due to the fact that West Fertilizer did not check the box saying that the plant might face a risk of fire or explosion, in a report submitted to the agency in 2011.

Even more recently, on April 24, a building that housed a number of garment factories in Bangladesh collapsed, killing at least 300 people.

Visible cracks in the building were detected the day before the collapse, prompting police to issue an evacuation order.

However, some employers chose to defy the order, and 2,000 people were still told to report to work. This disregard for safety and human life is criminal.

This tragedy is by no means an isolated event.

Just five months earlier, a garment factory fire took the lives of 112 people in Bangladesh.

In both cases, the garment factories supplied some of the world’s best-known corporations. These companies have the power to ensure that factories that manufacture their products adhere to the highest safety standards but have failed in their moral obligation.

An excellent example of why the rights of workers to unionize and collective bargaining don’t need further depression. Those who demonize unions as unnecessary collectives driving up costs miss the point: without a counterbalance to the powers of business owners (who many would argue are just as self-interested), workers are left completely to the whims of management. Surely labor oversteps its bounds at times, but the policy solution isn’t to use these excesses as justification for union abolition, but instead to ensure both sides can fairly resolve their conflicts as frequently as possible.