aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Chris Bowers has argued that:
The left-wing blogosphere is beginning to decidedly pull away from the right wing blogosphere in terms of traffic. This is largely a result of the open embrace of community blogging on the left and the stagnant, anti-meritorious nature of the right-wing blogosphere that pushes new, emerging voices to the margins.
I don’t think so. I think the rise of left-leaning blogs that we’re seeing now is akin to the rise of right-leaning media in the era of liberal dominance. It’s a reaction.
But for all the talk of an “open embrace of community blogging on the left,” look who’s practicing tough love now:
So yeah, I’m not going to blogroll you, but that wouldn’t really help you anyway. It is easy to look at things on the surface and think that blogrolls are an important factor in building up a blog. However, if you spend a year and a half studying blog traffic like I have, and helping build two blogs up from nearly scratch to major status, the real causes for blog success become a lot clearer to you. Take the hard steps that actually work.
And if you ask me to blogroll you, from now on I’m just going to send you this post as an attachment.
Well golly, I haven’t spent a year and a half studying blog traffic like he has, and my “hard work” is a leisure activity, a labor of love, so what do I know anyway?
But then I have heard somewhere that one of the great things about the web, and by extension the blogosphere, is how it democratizes, makes media production accessible to all and thereby pulls in intelligence from the edges.
Apparently Chris’s edge is bounded by Scoop. Mine’s not.
I watch my traffic and I agree with Chris that my site in your blogroll isn’t going to drive any traffic to me. But I do believe that it does something else that’s legitimate and good.
It’s a marker of acceptance by someone somewhere that welcomes me to the blogosphere. It’s a sign of affinity and kinship and reaching out. It’s an indicator of respect and acknowledgement. It’s a digital nod that I appreciate.
And yes, sometimes it’s nothing. But it’s part of the ritual and practice of blogging that I’ve come to understand. I like it. And I think it’s worthy of respect.
Chris is a blogging celebrity and bloggers clamoring for his favor comes with the territory. It’s how he handles it that matters.
I’m reminded again of this passage from J. M. Balkin’s Populism and Progressivism as Constitutional Categories found via Digby:
What is...difficult for many academics to recognize is that progressivism has its own distinctive dangers and defects. Unfortunately, these tend to be less visible from within a progressivist sensibility. They include elitism, paternalism, authoritarianism, naivete, excessive and misplaced respect for the “best and brightest,” isolation from the concerns of ordinary people, an inflated sense of superiority over ordinary people, disdain for popular values, fear of popular rule, confusion of factual and moral expertise, and meritocratic hubris.
It’s not Chris’s message I don’t like, it’s the method of its delivery. And that’s something I’d like to see some of my fellow liberal bloggers learn.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Truth laid bare
Glamour ain’t pretty.
Salon on Kate Moss and cocaine:
What this drama has done is lay bare the ugly skeleton that holds up a fashion industry that for some time has prized hollow cheeks and vacant eyes, stunted, prepubescent frames, and jutting collar bones from which fabric drapes beautifully. In other words, the body that is appealing to designers—and thus to consumers—is a body that looks like it has been ravaged by drugs. In order to stay employed, models must maintain this shape; to maintain the shape they must do something besides eat right and exercise regularly. Whether it’s cocaine or speed or heroin or caffeine or cigarettes or anorexia or bulimia or some combination of the above, most adult women cannot get bodies that look like Moss’ healthily, because hers is not a healthy body.
For years, Moss has managed to dodge any real trouble. But there have long been chinks in her image. In 1998, she checked herself into a rehab clinic for “exhaustion.” In a rare interview, she admitted that she modeled drunk throughout much of the ‘90s. She is almost always photographed with a cigarette in one hand-she is said to have an 80-a-day habit-and a cocktail in the other. Earlier this year, she won libel damages from the Sunday Mirror for false claims that she had collapsed into a cocaine-induced coma in Barcelona. And, over the last nine months, she has fueled rumors by dating Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty, the music world’s current Sid Vicious: Doherty has been jailed for burglary and last month was arrested in Oslo for possession of heroin and crack. As a spokeswoman for designer Robert Cavalli hinted to the Times (of London): “She is not going to be going out with Pete Doherty and having milk and cheesecake every night, is she?”
Run Warren, Run
Maybe he’s warming up:
Actor Warren Beatty leveled a blistering political assault on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday night, accusing him of governing “by show, by spin, by cosmetics and photos ops” while imposing Bush administration policies on California.
Beatty made his remarks at a convention of the California Nurses Association, an organization that has emerged in the last year as one of Schwarzenegger’s most vociferous critics.
Beatty, a Democrat and longtime political activist who has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Schwarzenegger next year, did not announce his candidacy, as many in the boisterous crowd had hoped. But he indicated he hadn’t ruled out a run and said he would continue to speak out on important issues.
UPDATE: More from the Times of London:
WARREN BEATTY is considering a challenge to Arnold Schwarzenegger for the governorship of California next year in what could be a battle of the celebrities.
Mr Beatty, 68, has been involved in politics since 1968, when he campaigned with Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated that year. He also supported Senator George McGovern.
When Bill Clinton left office, the actor was rumoured to be interested in the Democratic presidential nomination, but he ultimately did not run against Al Gore and Bill Bradley.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister says the Bush administration did not heed some Saudi warnings on occupying Iraq and that he doesn’t believe a new constitution and elections will solve the emerging nation’s problems.
In a wide-ranging interview Thursday, Saud said he’d like to see oil prices drop about $20 a barrel from their current $60-plus range, but predicted a lack of refineries will keep consumer prices higher even if crude becomes cheaper.
On Iraq, the foreign minister expressed skepticism at Bush administration officials’ predictions that the upcoming political events in Iraq would heal the country’s divisions.
“Perhaps what they are saying is going to happen,” he said. “I wish it would happen, but I don’t think that a constitution by itself will resolve the issues, or an election by itself will solve the difficult problems.”
U.S. policies in Iraq risk dividing the country into three separate parts: Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite, he cautioned.
He’s not going to blogroll me
Dear anonymous blogger,
Around 25-30 times a week, at least, I receive emails from bloggers such as you asking me to put them on the MyDD blogroll. Overall, in less than a year and a half of blogging, I have easily received more than 1,000 such requests. By now, if “blogroll” or “link” is in the title of an email sent to me from someone I don’t know, I simply delete that email without even reading it.
I am not angry that people send me these emails. In fact, it has happened so often that by now even annoyance has worn away. Read on.
Me thinks this sounds, if not aristocratic, a bit off-putting.
For the record, I don’t ask to be added to blogrolls; but I’m grateful to everyone who includes me.
Duncan’s Day in DC
Atrios was in DC yesterday:
Basically where we are is that the FEC is at the tail-end of a rulemaking process, which I testified for previously, regarding regulating political speech on the internet which they were forced to do by a judge. It’s unclear, however, why they have yet to actually issue their ruling. It’s possible they’re dragging their feet either because they want and/or expect congress to intervene in some fashion nullifying anything they do, or because they’re waiting for a ruling on the standing of those who filed the lawsuit which led to them being forced to do something (they didn’t appeal the ruling itself, but if it’s determined that there’s a issue with the standing the ruling could be chucked out anyway).
A controversial plan by the Federal Election Commission to regulate political blogging may be short-lived after all.
Members of Congress said Thursday that the freewheeling world of Internet politicking should continue to be immune from campaign finance laws, and indicated they may rewrite the law to halt the FEC’s proposal.
The handful of politicians present at a hearing convened by the U.S. House of Representatives Administration Committee hailed the Internet’s power in democratizing politics and breeding grassroots action.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
...tiny, lightweight, reasonably priced camcorders that contain iPod-type miniature hard drives. There are four models in all, ranging from the GZ-MG20 to the GZ-MG50. The differences are the prices ($750 to $800 online), light sensitivity, hard drive capacity (20 or 30 gigabytes), zoom lens power (15X or 25X), and the resolution of the low-quality still photos (0.3 megapixel or 1.3). Not one of them uses a tape or DVD.
The hard drive holds five or seven hours of video at top quality - easily a vacation’s worth. The 2.5-inch screen displays each shot as a thumbnail image (or as an entry in a chronological list), so you can jump directly to anything filmed without having to rewind or fast-forward. You can assemble up to 99 video playlists on this screen, too (selected scenes that play back in a certain order). And who among us hasn’t, at one point or another, accidentally recorded over something important on a videotape? (Oh, sorry - touchy subject.) On a hard-drive camcorder, that is impossible.
No longer an early adopter, I’d give it another year. Maybe.
Yesterday on Marketplace Robert Reich made a darned good point. Contrasting how the government has given up its bargaining power to award no-bid contracts to large politically connected corporations rebuilding in the gulf—companies that also just happen to be large Republican donors—he notes:
[I]t does seem curious that when it comes to paying ordinary workers to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, workers who have no political connections at all, the administration is eager to use its enormous bargaining power to get the lowest wages it can. It suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires the government to pay prevailing wages on all federal contracts. Now I could be missing something here, but this just doesn’t seem fair.
NOTE FOR THE MATH CHALLENGED: $9 an hour is about $18,000 a year. The prevailing wage wasn’t about to create any new millionaires on the Gulf Coast.
UPDATE: Nathan Newman says, “It didn’t start with Bush...”
Phil Donohue v Bill O’Relly on Crooks and Liars:
Donohue: Cindy Sheehan is one tough mother and nothing you say or anyone else is going to slow her down.
Bill: That’s fine, she’s has a right-
Phil:....You can’t hurt her, she’s already taken the biggest punch in the nose that a woman can take.
Bill, in his infinite wisdom asks: How? Phil: She’s lost a son- Bill: Oh, OK…
Let Google copy!
From Wired today:
Google’s book war with copyright holders is coming to a head with a lawsuit this week from the Writers Guild of America. The courts should take this opportunity to loosen unnecessary restrictions that are limiting innovation with no clear benefit to the public or rights holders.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Google stands charged with illegally copying protected works for a commercial purpose without first obtaining the permission of the copyright holders.
The suit hands the courts a chance to revisit a long-standing principle of copyright law that’s increasingly come under pressure thanks to digital technologies. They can either update copyright law for the better, or side with tradition and hold back innovations that would benefit thousands of writers and millions of readers by rescuing books from obscurity. Read on.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Ever attend a gay marriage ceremony?
Think you’d remember if you did?
Andrew Sullivan’s ”Whopper of the Week:”
“Q: Let me change gears here for a moment, if you don’t mind. I’m curious if you, Governor Schwarzenegger or private citizen Arnold Schwarzenegger, if you’ve have ever attended a gay marriage or a gay commitment ceremony—a gay or lesbian marriage or commitment ceremony?
Arnold Schwarzenegger: I can’t remember.”
Authors sue Google
They say the program to create searchable digital copies of the contents of several university libraries violates copyright. Google says it’s Fair Use. I’ve read good arguments against Google’s stand (links will come as I find them), but I’m squarely on Google’s side.
Let’s be clear: Google doesn’t show even a single page to users who find copyrighted books through this program (unless the copyright holder gives us permission to show more). At most we show only a brief snippet of text where their search term appears, along with basic bibliographic information and several links to online booksellers and libraries.
Make money giving away your books
It’s not that I have no sympathy for authors; it’s just that I see the suit against Google as not in their interest.
[My transcription beginning @ 51:15] The important thing for me isn’t whether or not I lose some sales. The important thing for me is whether I gain more sales than I’ve lost… The thing that’s important to me isn’t to get 100% of a very small pie, it’s to make sure that the piece of pie that I get is as large as possible.
And so I think that by giving books away I make a much larger pie. I gave away half a million copies of my first novel through my website and God knows how many more copies have been given away through other people’s websites. It’s just gone into its fifth printing!…
You can think about this as dramatically lowering my cost of customer acquisition while simultaneously lowering my per customer revenue. So I was able to acquire 500,000 customers for free, but most of them never bought the book, so the other ones are paying for the free ride…
I think that’s pretty typical of any kind of entertainment economics, that you have, you know, with music. How many people listen to a song on the radio without buying the CD?
The emphasis is mine. Originally posted verbatim here on July 13.
Book is (again)
[My transcription beginning @ 43:20] Book is what you do when you’re reading. Book is not a literary form, because obviously we have literary forms that we’ve called books that weren’t published in book form starting with the Bible… That book was a scroll. You know, it wasn’t in book form at all. And then we have books like Charles Dickens books which were in fact published in newspapers as serials.
So clearly it’s not a literary form and it’s not a physical object, it’s a practice. It’s the thing that you do when you are reading things that are book-like… Book is not a thing, it’s a verb, it’s not a noun. So I think that when you consider that more people read more words off of more screens every day, and fewer people read fewer words off of fewer pages every day, then we have to conclude that what people are doing with screens is book.
GMA just had a report on a possible Schwarzenegger Beatty matchup in California. I cant find anything to link to, except of course DraftWarren.com (where the “a better actor and a better governor” tagline has been replaced by the more serious “a real progressive candidate for California governor"). So here’s another oldie but goodie…
Michael Moore on the Today Show in January:
Where’s our Arnold? Why aren’t we running our Arnold? Why do we continue to run these wonks? The American people--see the Republicans, as much as they berate Hollywood, actually they love Hollywood. In fact, they know that Americans love Hollywood, too, and that’s why Republicans run people from Hollywood. Reagan, Arnold, Gopher from “The Love Boat.” He was in Congress...Sonny Bono...Fred Thompson. They know that Americans love Hollywood. That’s why they run people from Hollywood. And--and when the Democrats run stars: Bill Clinton, the rock star; John Kennedy, the movie star, they win. And when they run wonks, they lose. And they’ve got to start thinking about the people who connect to the average American out there, and who are really--you know, people who move the American public in--in a very visceral way...when we start running people that are beloved by the American public, we’re going to win.
I have an impression of Beatty as serious, smart and politically savvy. I’d like to see that borne out.
Where’s the Mac versions?
Google’s products are great, but as Scott Rosenberg asked a few weeks back, what about the Mac?
For some reason, each time Google releases any software that is not browser-based—whether it’s Google Desktop, or Picasa, or the new Google Talk—it has offered only a Windows version of the product. No Mac versions, no Linux versions.
Maybe Google feels that the Mac already offers a rich software environment for geeks (with good desktop search already built into the latest OSX) and Linux isn’t a big enough desktop market. Maybe they just target Windows because, to paraphrase the old bank-robber line, “that’s where the users are.” Or maybe they’re targeting Windows users precisely because they want to woo Microsoft addicts on their own turf.
No doubt, it would take a lot of extra work to release editions of Google software for non-Windows platforms. Cross-platform development is enormously difficult: that’s a fact of software life. (Browser-based software is so attractive because you don’t have to worry about writing different versions for different operating systems; the browser makers have already done that heavy lifting for you.) I always understood this intellectually, but now, after several years of following the work over at OSAF for my book, I feel it in my bones.
But Google has assembled a vast reserve of computer-science horsepower. It is, if Rivlin’s story is to be believed, sucking Silicon Valley’s software brains dry. Surely, with all that coding prowess, Google could set aside some cycles to offer non-Windows users equal access to the cool toys it is providing. If the Googleplexniks are serious about that phrase “the world’s information,” they need to look beyond the realm of Windows. The world doesn’t stop where the “Start” menu ends.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I love the Times, now more than ever. I took it for granted when I lived in New York. This hurts:
The New York Times Co. said Tuesday it would cut about 500 jobs, or about 4 percent of its work force, as part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs. The reductions come atop another 200 jobs that were cut earlier this year.
The Times said it expected 250 jobs at its main newspaper group to be affected, which includes the Times, the International Herald Tribune and the online operation of the Times. Of those job cuts, about 45 will come from the Times’ newsroom, the company said in a statement.
Another 160 jobs will be cut from the Times’ New England operation, which includes The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and Boston.com. The company did not provide a breakdown of those job cuts other than to say that 35 newsroom jobs would be cut at The Boston Globe.
In essence, Sulzberger is doing what his forebears have always done: sink money into the Times in the belief that quality journalism pays in the long run. “The challenge is to remember that our history is to invest during tough times,” he says. “And when those times turn—and they do, inevitably—we will be well-positioned for recovery.”
THE CONSTANCY OF THEIR COMMITMENT to high-cost journalism has put the Sulzbergers in an increasingly contrarian position. Many of the country’s surviving big-city dailies once were owned by similarly high-minded dynastic families that long ago surrendered control to big public corporations that prize earnings per share above all else. Editorial budgets at most newspapers, as well as TV and radio stations, have been squeezed so hard for so long that asphyxiation is a mounting risk. The proliferation of Web sites and cable-TV stations has produced an abundance of commentary and analysis, but the kind of thorough, original reporting in which the Times specializes is, if anything, increasingly scarce.
In effect, the Sulzbergers have subsidized the Times in valuing good journalism and the prestige it confers over profits and the wealth it creates. In fact, for much of its history, the Times barely broke even. Recasting the paper into a publicly held corporation capable of pursuing profit as determinedly as Times editors chase Pulitzers was the signal achievement of Arthur Jr.’s father, Arthur O. “Punch” Sulzberger Sr.
Apple integrating video?
A recently published Apple patent application reveals that the company last year toyed with the idea of integrating a tiny video camera into the latch of a future laptop design, presumably with intentions of leveraging its iChat audio-video conferencing software.
While it’s unlikely that Apple will release a PowerBook with a built-in camera in the immediate future, reliable sources have recently reported sightings of a PowerPC-based iMac prototype that is said to sport similar functionality.
The sources describe the iMac G5 prototype as being marginally thinner than the current model and including a scaled down version of Apple’s iSight video camera that is built into the computer’s display bezel. The iMac design, which could see the light of day in coming months, is also said to sport a memory card reader and Bluetooth remote control capabilities.
Via Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing.
More on busses
Blanco wanted to use the school busses. FEMA said no:
Hours after the hurricane hit Aug. 29, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a plan to send 500 commercial buses into New Orleans to rescue thousands of people left stranded on highways, overpasses and in shelters, hospitals and homes.
On the day of the storm, or perhaps the day after, FEMA turned down the state’s suggestion to use school buses because they are not air conditioned, Blanco said Friday in an interview.
Even after levees broke and residents were crowding the Louisiana Superdome, then-FEMA Director Mike Brown was bent on using his own buses to evacuate New Orleans, Blanco said.
Via Republic of T.
Sports v news
Did anyone notice that there was an “abbreviated” 60 Minutes following the game on Sunday?
Then last night after Monday Night Football, the Atlanta ABC affiliate evidently skipped Nightline, in favor of Entertainment Tonight.
So if you want news, get it on the Internet! Broadcast television’s abandoning the space.
Monday, September 19, 2005
TimesSelect & Sully on WaPo
I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I’m likely to pay. And keep quoting. I sure don’t blame them for trying.
[T]his blog is going to be streamed to the Washington Post’s online opinion section. WaPo, unlike the NYT, is trying to reach out to bloggers and increase the interaction between old and new media. They approached me; and I’m always up for an experiment. WaPo will carry my lede item at any given time, and a couple of teaser headlines for the rest. I have no idea what to expect; and neither do they.
Good for him. We’ll see.
He ends with one more swipe at the Times:
...David, John, Tom, MoDo, et al. You deserve a little better, I think.
Somehow I think Andrew would jump at the chance to have their pitiful perch.
Talk of a ban on gay parenting in Georgia
In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers say, they have discussed submitting legislation to ban gay foster parents and adoptions by homosexuals when the Legislature convenes in January. The state Senate majority leader said recently that he would welcome such legislation.
Those who favor such bans argue that the state should not expose children to what they say is an unnatural, if not deviant, lifestyle. They say such children may be stigmatized, lack proper adult role models and have a greater chance of growing up homosexual themselves.
Is it politics or do those who oppose gay adoption really care for the children:
[Executive director of Georgia Equality Chuck] Bowen said gays have a history of taking in children who are hard to place: those with HIV or developmental disabilities and crack babies.
Renn McClintic-Doyle of Stone Mountain, who has been a foster parent of seven children and adopted two, said the state cannot afford to lose gay foster parents, especially considering the need. Georgia has about 15,000 children in foster care and 4,000 foster homes.
Photo-foiling & OCR
The technology they’ve devised detects the presence of a digital camera up to 33 feet away and can then shoot a targeted beam of light at the lens, according to Shwetak Patel, a grad student at the university and one of the lead researchers on the project.
That means that someone trying for a surreptitious snapshot of, say, a product prototype or an amorous couple gets something altogether less useful--a blurry picture (or a video) of what looks like a flashlight beam, seen head on. (A video of how the system works can be viewed here.)
So (if!) they block the surreptitious shot, next challenge, the surreptitious scan:
NEC has developed software that lets you wave your cameraphone at a page of text for 3-5 seconds and produce a scan that includes optical-character-recognition-extracted text as well as any images and a graphic of the page itself. This is abominably cool, so of course there are a couple of alarmist Luddite publishing types who are predicting that this will napsterize the printed page and cause gigantic copyright headaches.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
More than you ever wanted to know about the semicolon:
Indeed, part of the semicolon’s mystique is the way that it wantonly gives itself to great writing without offering a clear rule for lesser writers to follow. This has perturbed pedants everywhere English is written, leading to the widespread conviction that the semicolon should, on principle, be avoided. In fact, one attempt to quash San Francisco’s gay marriage law last year was dismissed on the grounds that the plaintiff had used a semicolon instead of a conjunction. A conservative group had asked the court to order the city to “cease and desist issuing marriage licenses to and/or solemnising marriages of same-sex couples; to show cause before the court.” As the San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren explained, the word “or” should have been used instead of the semicolon. “I am not trying to be petty here,Ã¢â‚¬Â� he told reporters, “but it is a big deal… That semicolon is a big deal.”
“Let me be plain: the semicolon is ugly, ugly as a tick on a dog’s belly, I pinch them out of my prose,” says the American postmodern writer Donald Barthelme in his essay Not-Knowing.
Ditto for Bill Walsh, a top copy-editor at The Washington Post with a sardonic take on matters of style: “The semicolon is an ugly bastard, and I try to avoid it,” he writes in Lapsing into a Comma: A Curmudgeon’s Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print - and How to Avoid Them. And in the August issue of Vanity Fair, readers are warned not to get the punctuation-shy, tough-guy novelist Cormac McCarthy “started on the ‘idiocy’ of semicolons”.
“The most common abuse of the semicolon, at least in journalism,” explains [Michael] Kinsley, “is to imply a relationship between two statements without having to make clear what that relationship is. I suppose there are worse crimes in the world. (I don’t know if Osama bin Laden uses semicolons or not.) But Fred ["They should be turned into periods,” Barnes] did have it right.”
Me, I like them. I’m in good company:
“It’s true that American writers tend to scorn and spurn the semicolon,” says James Wolcott, Vanity Fair’s artfully acerbic critic. “But those with more Anglophile tastes in literature and journalism, such as Gore Vidal or the editors of The New Yorker under William Shawn, sprinkled it liberally. It may be a fear of being thought pretentious, even poncy. The semicolon adds a note of formality, and informality has been all the rage for decades. ‘Real’ writing is butch and cinematic, so emphatic and declarative that it has no need of these rest stops or hinges between phrases.”
Via Andrew Sullivan.
Whatever his other accomplishments, Bush will go down in history as the most fiscally irresponsible chief executive in American history. Since 2001, government spending has gone up from $1.86 trillion to $2.48 trillion, a 33 percent rise in four years! Defense and Homeland Security are not the only culprits. Domestic spending is actually up 36 percent in the same period. These figures come from the libertarian Cato Institute’s excellent report “The Grand Old Spending Party,” which explains that “throughout the past 40 years, most presidents have cut or restrained lower-priority spending to make room for higher-priority spending. What is driving George W. Bush’s budget bloat is a reversal of that trend.” To govern is to choose. And Bush has decided not to choose. He wants guns and butter and tax cuts.
Here’s a comparison to Viet Nam that’s hard to argue:
Robert Hormats of Goldman Sachs has pointed out that previous presidents acted differently. During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt cut nonwar spending by more than 20 percent, in addition to raising taxes to finance the war effort. During the Korean War, President Truman cut non-defense spending 28 percent and raised taxes to pay the bills. In both cases these presidents were often slashing cherished New Deal programs that they had created. The only period-other than the current one-when the United States avoided hard choices was Vietnam: spending increased on all fronts. The results eventually were deficits, high interest rates and low growth-stagflation.
The worst of both worlds:
Today’s Republicans believe in pork, but they don’t believe in government. So we have the largest government in history but one that is weak and dysfunctional. Public spending is a cynical game of buying votes or campaign contributions, an utterly corrupt process run by lobbyists and special interests with no concern for the national interest.