Oct
18
2013

Income Inequality? The TV Industry Is on Top of It

Les Moonves (cc photo: David Shankbone)

TV bosses are in the top 20 percent of big corporations in terms of how much more they make than their employees.

Oct
16
2013

'Searing Memories of Defaults'–and Selective Memory at the New York Times

Argentina real GDP

It's true that Mexico's default on its debts in 1982 was followed by years of hard times. But Argentine and Russian memories of default are far less "searing"

Oct
09
2013

Apologizing for Inequality Is a Growth Industry

Not equal sign on manhole cover (cc photo: Antony Theobald)

USA Today's op-ed from a Manhattan Institute fellow makes is a dubious claim. But it doesn't back up at all the sweeping assertion made in the headline.

Sep
30
2013

Dems and GOP Agree: Independent Journalism Is Bad News

Filmmaker Charles Ferguson announced that he was no longer going to make a nonfiction film for CNN about Hillary Clinton. The reasons why he's pulling out of the project are interesting–and disturbing.

Sep
19
2013

Is Oil Industry Funding of a Fracking Study a Problem? Let's Ask an Oil-Funded Expert

Natural gas drilling (cc photo: Helen Slottje)

To find out whether oil industry funding might have influenced a study, the New York Times went to someone who works for a think thank with numerous oil industry funders–including at least three of the companies who funded the study in question.

Sep
18
2013

The Price of Twitter Is Based on the Cost of You

Twitter birds (cc image: Darren Barefoot)

On the verge of an IPO, Twitter is estimated to have a market value of $15-16 billion. What does that mean for our society?

Sep
17
2013

UN Report Provides Information, Not 'Intelligence'

Rocket engine depicted in UN report.

The contrast between the two reports is striking: While Kerry's report avoided providing specific details to back up its claims–"in order to protect sources and methods," Kerry said–the UN report strove for maximum transparency.

Sep
10
2013

NYT's Bruni: Don't Blame Bloomberg for Inequality–He Didn't Mean It

Michael Bloomberg cc photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank)

As an op-ed columnist, Frank Bruni was a heck of a restaurant critic. That was demonstrated once again by his farewell (New York Times, 9/10/13) to outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who Bruni thinks is getting a bum rap from the Democrats who are vying in the primaries today for a chance to succeed him.  Bruni particularly objects to frontrunner Bill de Blasio's resonant tale of two New Yorks, the wealthy one that Bloomberg is accused of coddling and the less wealthy one that he supposedly showed the back of his hand…. It's a narrative of either-or, of […]

Sep
05
2013

The Strange Thing About Cluster Bombs

These are not the bad kind of cluster bomb, because they are dropped on and not by official enemies. (photo: US Air Force)

When they're used by official enemies, cluster bombs are weapons of indiscriminate terror. When they're used by the United States, they're not much worth talking about.

Sep
01
2013

Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account Is More Credible?

Secretary of State John Kerry making the case that Damascus has used chemical weapons (US State Department)

Which account of the mass deaths in Syria should be given more credence: the U.S. government version introduced by Secretary of State John Kerry, or the article published by the Minnesota-based news site Mint Press? The government account expresses "high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack." The Mint report bore the headline "Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack."

Aug
30
2013

When It Comes to State Violence, Too Much Is Never Enough

U.S. warship firing one of 110 cruise missiles at Libyan forces (photo: DoD)

Time magazine's Michael Crowley (9/9/13) offers an analysis of how the Syrian situation reflects on Barack Obama's presidency: Whatever comes of Obama's confrontation with Assad, an even more dangerous confrontation lies in wait–the one with Iran. If another round of negotiations with Tehran should fail, Obama may soon be obliged to make good on his vow to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. "I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests," Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March 2012. But to his critics, Obama does […]

Aug
26
2013

Jeffrey Toobin, Expert on Bizarre Analogies

Jeffrey Toobin (cc photo: University of Missouri/Kansas City)

In his attack last week on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin (8/20/13) started off by comparing the release of classified information about government spying to the assassination of Martin Luther King: The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy led directly to the passage of a historic law, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Does that change your view of the assassinations? Should we be grateful for the deaths of these two men? Of course not. That's lunatic logic. But the same reasoning is now being applied to the actions of Edward Snowden. […]

Aug
23
2013

Bait-and-Switch on Stop-and-Frisk

Homicide Rate in New York City (Wikipedia)

There's a powerful urge to believe, it seems, that abusing the Fourth Amendment rights of young men of color somehow makes the rest of us safer.