The Democracy Dodge
March 05, 2007

Brad rightly goes after Mickey Kaus's chicken little prognostications about the Employee Free Choice Act. I don't think Mickey needs to worry, though, since the bill won't pass the Senate, and, even if it does, President Bush will veto it. So rest, assured, Mickey, the economy is safe. Yet, hyperventilating aside, there is an important--and rather obvious--moral reason to oppose EFCA, which is simply that it would do away with the secret ballot for union elections.

Card Check, Continued
March 05, 2007

Okay... James Kirchick writes, "[Brad] does not seem to think that toadying up to organized labor is bad for the Democratic Party." But did I actually say this? No. All I said was that thanks to the newfound influence of Nevada in the primaries--plus the fact that even centrist groups like the DLC now support card check--Democratic candidates will face heavy internal pressure to back labor-friendly legislation. As for polls, I'm agnostic. Jamie cites a GOP pollster who found that 89 percent of workers like the current system.

Smallville, Part 2
February 26, 2007

The Washington Post ran a front page expose yesterday on Larry Small, the Smithsonian Secretary whose managerial missteps I document in this week's TNR. We already knew Small was known for his, er, creative accounting at the institution, but this article digs up some new dirt. Not only did Small use Smithsonian funds to pay for private jets, he also billed his employer almost $6,000 for his wife's 3-day trip to Cambodia. In honor of the happy couple, here's a photo from less scandal-ridden times: --Keelin McDonell

Intimidation Everywhere
February 23, 2007

Next week, the House will vote on the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow employees in a workplace to organize as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted to do so. (Currently, workers have to go through NLRB-supervised elections that are prone to employer manipulation.) Opponents of card-check argue that labor bosses will just coerce employees into signing the cards, although as Ezra Klein points out, research shows that union intimidation during card-check elections is far, far less common than undue management pressure under the current system.

Dept. Of Non-credible Threats
February 23, 2007

Maybe I just don't know what it's like to receive one of Hillary Clinton's Sopranos-like appeals, but her strategy of forcing donors to pick sides in her recently-joined death-match with Obama strikes me as pretty unlikely to work: For weeks, the Clinton campaign has been dealing with the threat from Mr. Obama aggressively, if not in such a public way as it did on Wednesday. Mrs.

Poverty? Not A Problem
February 23, 2007

So the reporters at McClatchy snapped on the rubber gloves, plunged into the dark cavities of the Census Bureau, and pulled out a stunning statistic: "Nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty"--a category that includes individuals making less than $5,080 a year, and families of four bringing in less than $9,903 a year. That number, by the way, has been growing rapidly since 2000.

I Wanna Stand With You On A Mountain, I Wanna Bathe With You In The Sea
February 21, 2007

One of TNR's 15 worst Bush hacks, Israel Hernandez, finally fights back. This from the Times: Mr. Hernandez, who is so close to the Bushes that he moved in with them in Dallas after his apartment was burglarized, has been the subject of news articles suggesting that the president dubbed him Altoids Boy, a reference to his duties dispensing Altoids mints to Mr. Bush during their Texas travels. "I hate that," Mr. Hernandez said. "He doesn't call me Altoids Boy.

It's Not An Act
February 19, 2007

Yesterday, John McCain told a group of South Carolina voters, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned." I'm curious if anyone out there still believes--as Jon Chait and Jacob Weisberg have argued in the past--that McCain is just mouthing these lines to curry favor with the Republican base, but doesn't really believe any of this and wouldn't act on it if elected to the White House. That seems unlikely.

In Today's Web Magazine
February 18, 2007

Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Victor R. Fuchs want to finance universal health care with vouchers; Jonathan Chait says that foreign policy is truly foreign to Rudy Giuliani; Benjamin Wittes doubts that John Roberts and Samuel Alito will be really be able to transform the Supreme Court; and Steven Hahn looks at the scholarship of Drew Gilpin Faust to see whether she'll be a good president for Harvard. --Adam B. Kushner

Quds Force Reconsidered
February 16, 2007

What, exactly, is the Quds Force--the paramilitary wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)--doing in Iraq? The Bush administration maintains that the group is trying to destabilize the country, supplying explosives that are being used to kill U.S. troops in Iraq.