aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, June 18, 2006
It’s laying on my bedside table. Kevin Drum’s browsing recommendation is Chapter 7:
[A]n examination of press coverage of the Swift Boat debacle of 2004. Boehlert’s question here is clear: why was this covered as a serious controversy instead of the vicious smear attack that campaign veterans in the press corps surely recognized it as? After all, (a) there was no evidence to back up even a single one of the Swift Boat charges, (b) there were enormous gaping holes in the stories told by the Swifties, and (c) every piece of documentary evidence dug up by reporters contradicted what the Swifties said. That should have been the story, but most often it was buried or soft-pedaled ("In the end, what happened 35 years ago remains murky...."). Boehlert’s summary of how the coverage unfolded is the best I’ve read.
Firedoglake is hosting a Peter Daou discussion of the book. I’m heading there, then off to bed for Chapter 7.
Naked monopoly profiteering
I like my DSL. The cable company here throttles aspects of its broadband product and it costs more than DSL. But I don’t like my landline phone. Fred Wilson’s no fan of his either:
My contact database is totally integrated on my cellphone. My landline phone doesn’t even know what a contact database is.
I get emails on my cellphone, and phone numbers are hyperlinked so I can click and call them. Try that on a land line. You get the picture. The cellphone rocks. The landline does not.
This weekend I wanted to send The Gotham Gal a text message. I couldn’t make a phone call without being rude. But a quick text message would have been fine. Only she was home, on a landline. And I knew she wasn’t on email. I wanted to text message the landline and have the phone beep alerting her to an incoming message.
The cellphone has conditioned me to behaviors that aren’t possible on landlines. And so I don’t want the landline anymore. I’ll take the reduced quality. What I really want is increased funcationality.
Some customer advocates had hoped that unbundling DSL and phone service might save many households at least $15 a month. DSL costs $29.99 a month, but AT&T (formerly SBC) also required subscribers to use its telephone service, which with taxes comes to about $16 per month. All told, the entire package is about $46 a month.
But if subscribers just use Internet service and forgo a phone line, which is appealing to many who rely on a cell phone, they might be able to realize some significant savings. That is, if AT&T continued to price its DSL at $29.99 a month.
But AT&T said standalone DSL, sometimes called naked DSL, will cost $44.99 a month, about a dollar less than the cheapest regular bundle of DSL and phone service.
Now I hasten to add that I’d be happy to pay even that. I was shocked to find how expensive the phone is here. It’s nearly $50 for the throttled cable product (which you can get without cable) and over $70 for the least expensive landline/DSL package.
Via Susan Crawford.
Raise the minimum wage
KUDLOW: All right. John Stossel, author of “Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity” and Dave Sirota, author of “Hostile Takeover.” We’re going to look at the minimum wage. According to Mr. Stossel, the myth is: A higher minimum wage helps workers. The truth is: A higher minimum wage helps some workers but hurts others. John, your thought.
Mr. STOSSEL: We all want to raise people’s wages, but assuming the government can just set the wage is--better than supply and demand--is such nonsense. It assumes every employer has a fixed number of workers. But we don’t have people washing windshields in gas station anymore because the minimum wage makes it foolish to hire a kid, to give an entry level worker a shot.
KUDLOW: This thing’s back in Congress. A lot of states are either passing it or discussing it. How many people get the minimum wage across the country? This is a data from your own book.
Mr. STOSSEL: Three percent.
KUDLOW: Bingo. Dave Sirota, 3 percent, and it hurts some people. What’s your take?
Mr. SIROTA: Well, listen, John, I would encourage you stop reciting these dishonest talking points and the chatter you’re hearing on the cocktail party circuit because the stats don’t bear that out in any way at all. And here are the stats that you cannot dispute. In states that have raised the minimum wage, above the federal level, those states have created jobs at a far faster rate than the states that have not. That is because, when you raise the minimum wage, you put money into the pockets of people who will spend it and it spurs the economy. Now, that might not be heard in your book which purports to debunk lies, but those are the facts.
Mr. STOSSEL: Well, if those are the facts, why stop at $7. We should pay everybody 20 bucks, 40 bucks an hour. Then we’ll really have buying power. It’s just…
Mr. SIROTA: You’re changing the subject. You’re changing the subject because you know you’re wrong.
Mr. STOSSEL: Well, the study side, and I now realize who you are because you, on my Amazon page, he came on and said, `I’m a smarmy-looking liar.’
Mr. SIROTA: You are.
Mr. STOSSEL: But that one study was from Robert Reich, former employee. And it’s been widely discredited by every serious economist who looked at this.
Mr. SIROTA: That’s not a study. If you--if you look at the states. Just look at the states. That’s not a study. If you look at the states, the states that have raised their minimum wage higher than the federal level have created jobs faster than states that haven’t. That’s a fact. That’s not a study. That’s a fact.
I don’t believe it
I live here in the red red heart of Georgia, 45 miles from the nearest interstate. I know the polls. I’ve sat and discussed the topic with people who have vocally supported then voted for the amendment. Still, I believe there is a disconnect:
Georgia consistently ranks in the bottom quarter of states when it comes to supporting gay marriage and civil unions, according to data compiled by Gregory B. Lewis, a professor of public administration and urban studies at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.
Lewis, who is gay and has a specialty in public opinion on gay rights, said his research on some 10,000 polls and surveys from across the country asking about gay marriage and civil unions consistently finds about 38 to 39 percent of Georgians favor such rights.
“If you take a national poll and subtract 10 to 15 percent, that’s probably very close to how Georgians feel,” he said.
RELATED: American Enterprise Institute ”compilation of public opinion polls on acceptance of homosexuality, gay marriage, civil unions, partner benefits, party identification and voting of gays, employment, and adoption. The study includes all of the latest polling data as well as important historical trends for comparative purposes.” (No mention of Georgia.)