End October 22 Column
Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Letters: Forbes on Surveyors, Lasusa Links, Dan Grobstein File

Bush Quips He Might Stay in Power (Threat Level Plays Along)

The news item last week about surveyors and engineers having the lowest suicide rate among employment groups caught my ear. I asked Jim Forbes, descended from and related to a long line of surveyors, why that might be. He responded:

That's because they work out doors, are pretty smart and know it.

Tom Lasusa surfs the web so you don't have to: Man's body found in avocado tree... 450 pound Black Marlin eaten by shark... Report: Bloggers now threatened as much as "traditional" journalists... Dobbs: Beware the lame duck... Embarrassing Movie Posters... Study: Early humans threw clambakes... Doctor Who Fans Can now Defeat The Daleks Deliciously (whew)... Assholes of the Week Award: The right-wing's smear of S-chip 'poster-boy' Graeme Frost... Voters unhappy with Bush and Congress (Trivia time: Which President finished his tenure with a 23% approval rating (Bonus: Who wants to bet that record will be beaten?)..Debbie Harry: Still Punk, Still Proud, Still Breaking the Rules... Chocolatier resigns after "act of truffle-squishing" in a rival store...

Dan Grobstein File

  • Eric Alterman linked to this Chicago Tribune op-ed by one of his regular commentators.


    Every time one of those Blackwater convoys drives an Iraqi civilian off the road because the most important thing in the world is the protection of their "principal," they make a new enemy for the United States.


    What employees of the private security firm care about, and I have heard this from the Blackwaters with whom I interacted in Iraq, is their paycheck. They care about their huge compensation packages, and about getting home alive to spend them.


    and interestingly he says:


    All in all, that's not a bad take for Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and a Naval Academy dropout who served less time under the colors of the nation, in uniform, than my most recent pair of boots.


    I keep reading that he's a former Navy Seal. What's up with that?
  • A slap on the back for Al Gore
  • OPINION | October 12, 2007
    Op-Ed Columnist: Sliming Graeme Frost
    The Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the right-wing political machine at work and its reliance on character assassination.
  • Economics 101


    So if over a period of 6 months or more food and energy costs consistently rise it isn't because they're volatile, it's because they're rising.


[Dan's been to a couple of talks in NYC. His report]

Last Sunday I went to see Dan Rather interview James Carville at the 92nd St. Y. Before the start, there were some announcements. Tickets for the Clarence Thomas interview on Tuesday were still available (laughter). And a few tickets for the Paul Krugman interview (applause) on Wednesday were still available. (Luckily I had tickets already).

James Carville said that we should watch the state races because the party that controls the state legislatures will control the reapportionment after the 2010 census. (Even though the Supreme Court let Delay redistrict Texas and wipe out 5 Democratic seats mid- decade). He also said that it was strange that between Giuliani, Thompson, McCain and Romney the one with only one wife is the Mormon. He didn't have any ideas for getting the Democrat's message out like the Republican noise machine.

Clarence Thomas said that people have been mean to him his entire life. He likes to think problems through from the beginning without having a conclusion in mind. At a reunion of his seminary class (he had dropped out) one of the members came up to him to thank him for showing that you can judge a person without regard to race. Also people have been mean to him his entire life. He first met John Bolton when he was at Yale when Bolton convinced him that passive restraint seatbelts and helmet laws were too much government interference in personal liberty. He was interviewed by Jan Crawford Greenberg of ABC News.

Paul Krugman was interviewed by Leonard Lopate of WNYC public radio in New York. He said that the deficit isn't as great as the one after World War II. By percentage of national income kept by the upper 5% we're back in 1920s territory. Social Security is in good shape. It's medicare and medicaid that need assistance and he supports national health care. We have a deal with China: they send us poisonous toys and we send them fraudulent securities. The yuan could be devalued by 25% without damage. One good thing about the Bush tax cuts is that they have expiration dates to hide the true cost. They expire in 2010. Most of what he said is familiar if you've been reading his columns or his blog on nytimes.com.

Neither Krugman nor Carville spoke about the Republican insistence on a cloture vote before voting on legislation without actually resorting to a filibuster. I don't understand why this isn't shouted from the rooftops. And I don't understand why the Democrats go along with this. You can't compromise with somebody who won't compromise with you.