Wall Street Journal

Dear James Taranto
June 06, 2012

James Taranto, in his Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web" feature, is taunting me for not replying to his tweet quoting with approval an African American minister (one who supports Sen. Scott Brown's re-election) making what Taranto obviously believes to be a devastating critique of Brown's opponent, Elizabeth Warren. To wit: “Affirmative action—that issue becomes important because it points to who you are,” added the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the TenPoint Coalition, who pointed to an assertion that she is 1/32 Cherokee.

“We Must Have An Individual Mandate”
June 05, 2012

When the Boston Globe reported last year that Mitt Romney’s gubernatorial team had wiped clean hard drives and even paid to take them home with them at the end of his term in 2006, one couldn’t help but wonder: what were they trying so hard to hide? The Romney crew seems unlikely to be indulging in office porn. Maybe some secret hot-cocoa recipes? Well, today we got a hint.

Quick Fix Of The Day
May 29, 2012

Quick fixes get a bad press (i.e., "there are no quick fixes"). But some problems (e.g., not remembering postage rates, sitting in long lines to exit parking garages) really are easily fixed (forever stamps, pay machines by garage elevators). In the May 26 Wall Street Journal Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke, considers why it is that people lie or cheat in small everyday ways ("Why We Lie"; this appears to be an excerpt from a new book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty).

Private Equity Ain’t No Reform Movement
May 22, 2012

New York Times columnist David Brooks, defending Mitt Romney against a new Romney-bashing ad from President Obama’s re-election campaign, describes private equity as a “reform movement”: "Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations. The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs.

About That Obama Enemies List
May 16, 2012

One of the rewards of being a loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber is that one gets to read things one might not see anywhere else.

Stop Worrying: There’s No Political Downside to Backing Gay Marriage
May 11, 2012

Will Obama’s Wednesday embrace of same-sex marriage equality hurt him in November? The short answer is: possible, but not likely. First, as a general proposition, it seems unlikely that there are large numbers of socially conservative voters who lean Obama today but will be transformed into opponents simply by his declared support for marriage equality. Obama’s backing for equality for gays has, after all, been apparent throughout his administration, most famously in ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military.

The Facebook Part of Your Brain
May 08, 2012

Why do I post my opinions online, day after day? Ostensibly it's to earn money to feed my family. But there are much easier ways to do that. According to a new study by Harvard psychologists Diana I. Tamir and Jason P. Mitchell published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (and written up in the May 8 Wall Street Journal), I suffer from a "species-specific motivation to share one's beliefs and knowledge about the world" that kicks in at about 9 months, which means I've been doing it almost 54 years.

Robert Caro And Our “Great Man” Fetish
May 07, 2012

Put me squarely in the camp of Robert Caro admirers, even if I’m woefully behind in making my way through the biographer’s LBJ canon. But it’s also been clear to me for some time now that Caro’s exhaustive, colorful depiction of Johnson’s rise to power in Washington has not exactly been helpful when it comes to our country’s weakness for the Great Man Theory of politics and history.

Eric Cantor: Tax The Poor!
April 25, 2012

Prominent Republican officeholders are getting bolder about saying they want to raise taxes on poor people. I have written before about the bizarre conservative meme that we need to "broaden the tax base" by raising taxes on low-income people whom the Wall Street Journal editorial page has labelled, grotesquely, "lucky duckies." This is a complete reversal from the previous conservative position that the working poor, far from paying federal income tax, should receive government payments through the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Stop Thinking About Inequality!
April 18, 2012

Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins deems income inequality "a strange obsession, at least to the extent the obsessives focus their policy responses on trying to adjust the condition of the top one percent rather than improving the opportunities of everyone else." Academics who study it are "seemingly incapable of freeing [themselves] from tendentiousness." The "claimed shift toward inequality can be made to disappear" when you take household size and differing definitions of income into account.

Pages