Timothy Noah

I wouldn't say that I particularly like Rick Perry. But I sure do love the swing-for-the-fences, I-swear-to-God-the-apocalypse-is-just-around-the-corner tone of his TV ads. They practically scream "I am so much crazier than you think I am!" The music in this one is particularly good.  

Still 9.1 Percent

The new jobless numbers are out. They're apparently a smidgen better than was expected, but the unemployment rate remains 9.1 percent. Letting Warren Buffet pay less in taxes than his secretary doesn't appear to be doing the trick. Leading the recovery, such as it is, are health care and education, two sectors where spending is universally acknowledged to be wildly out of control. Have a nice day!

Steve Jobs was the greatest manufacturer of consumer products of his age. His marketing vision put him on par with Henry Ford, and his grasp of the aesthetic component to industrial design far surpassed Ford’s. But Jobs differed from Ford in one significant way. His surname to the contrary, he did not create a lot of American jobs.I raise this point not to single out Jobs, whose tendency to “offshore” manufacturing jobs followed economic imperatives not of his making. He did what his contemporaries in America’s younger and more flexible manufacturing companies did. Rather, my purpose is to illustrate the perplexing failure even of one of America’s most stunningly successful companies to provide domestic employment on anything like the scale that America was once able to take for granted.


Sen. Scott Brown's strategy so far against challenger Elizabeth Warren is to insist that he's prettier. Asked about Warren's comment (in response to a question about Brown's famous Cosmo shoot) that "I kept my clothes on" in paying for college, Brown replied, "Thank God." Which, in addition to being un-gallant, suggested by implication that Brown thinks he's prettier, no? If it's OK for Brown to have posed nude but it wouldn't have been OK for Warren to pose nude, what other conclusion can we draw?  This is going to be a fun race.

Sarah Palin's Cruelty

Sarah Palin finally announced that she won't run for president. Not the most surprising development, since she didn't even have the patience to complete her single term as Alaska's governor. But how can she do this to her public? I don't grieve for her supporters. They'll find solace with Rick Perry or Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann. What I mean is: How could she do this to Joe McGinnis? (Before he writes in to point this out: Yes, I know he's been predicting for some time now that she wouldn't, in the end, run.


We are now a week, maybe two, into the Herman Cain boomlet and I still refuse to learn enough about him to have anything worth sharing with you, dear reader, about his candidacy. Some might blame this on ideological animus. But in fact I enjoy learning about lots of people with whom I disagree. No, my real reason for boycotting this topic is a sense of futility (or, if you will, laziness).


Try to remember, as you read the following (full text here), that it was not written by any of the protesters currently occupying Wall Street. It's the work of Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and her "team." The protesters and the protested have a remarkably similar worldview. "Our colleague, Ethan Harris, Senior Economist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, has suggested that one element of the structural change has to do with a transformation in the implicit contract of loyalty that historically operated between labor and management.


Page One-ology

May I be indulged a forbidden thought? Every now and then I wonder what future generations will make of our notions about what constitutes a Page One story. We live in an era of mind-blowing scientific discovery, virtually none of which ever makes the front page, even as every trivial twist and turn in the rococo political drama has a secure place as the lead story. Today, for example, the New York Times leads with the news that Chris Christie, who after all has been saying for some time now that he won't run for president ... won't run for president.


In case you were wondering whether Doug Schoen has completely lost his mind, Schoen clarifies the matter by declaring that the chief beneficiary of Chris Christie's deciding not to run for president is Herman Cain: I had a chance to hear Herman Cain live and in person last night at the Monday Meeting in New York City.


I can't defend Rick Perry's (or his father's) apparent slowness to paint over the word "Niggerhead" on a rock by the entrance of a West Texas hunting camp that his family leased. It's deplorable, and it doesn't speak well for his racial sensitivity.