O.K., so the news that new claims for unemployment benefits fell below the benchmark 400,000 level (which sent the Dow up 180 points) gets buried on page C5, while news that the unemployment rate for last month stayed stubbornly stable (which didn't send the Dow anywhere) gets splashed above the fold on the front page, along with Democratic doubts that Bush's tax cut does enough to stimulate the economy. That's standard operating procedure for today's New York Times -- 'If there's gloom, there's room!' -- and arguably the monthly employment numbers in the second story were more important because they're more reliable than weekly figures on claims. But I worry -- what if the economy recovers? Will the NYT be able to gracefully make the shift from arguing that the Bush tax cuts are a bad idea because the economy's in the dumps to the (inevitable) argument that the Bush tax cuts are a bad idea because the economy's recovered without them? ...
P.S. If the tax cut proposals are all about "psychology," as Joe Klein claimed today on Face the Nation, is it possible that the necessary psychological benefits could be achieved without the cuts actually having to go into effect? The sequence would be a) thestock market rallies on prospect of dividend tax cut; b) investors feel richer and start spending more; c) this spending helps jump-start the economy; d) the ensuing economic recovery is strong enough to start boosting stock prices by itself; so e) the Bush dividend tax cut can die in Congress without causing a fall in the stock market. Presto! You've got recovery without taxes actually being cut and without blowing a hole in the long-term budget -- a bootstrapping trick not unlike the virtuous circle of bogus self-esteem. (The circle: a) You falsely, baselessly increase your self esteem; b) this increases serotonin production; c) the serotonin helps you perform better; d) you achieve genuine, deserved self-esteem).... 3:42 A.M.
John Ellis has noticed a near-unbelievable Boston Globe quote about Ted Kennedy. 2:17 A.M.
The U.S. military has begun an e-mail campaign urging military and civilian leaders in Iraq to turn away from President Saddam Hussein as the Pentagon builds forces for a possible invasion of the country, defense officials said on Saturday.
Thanks to next-generation technology that allows researchers to divine U.S. strategy from a close analysis of the fonts on Andrew Sullivan's Web site, kausfiles has been able to obtain a copy of these top-secret emails to the Iraqi high command. Evidently our psy-op warriors are employing state-of-the-art e-marketing techniques. ... 1:02 A.M. Friday, January 10, 2003
Friday, January 10, 2003
They're after him: Prof. Eugene Volokh (not me!) on whether Paul Krugman's latest distillation of complaints against
the Bush administration's creation of a cult of personality, its obsessive secretiveness, its propensity for mass arrests, and its evident fondness for Big-Brotherish schemes of public surveillance
is a sign of formerly "reasoned criticism" turning into "blind hatred." Volokh particularly derides the "cult of personality" charge ("Oh, yes, outside my office window I see the sign on the street corner -- 'Long live Bush, hero of all times and nations!'").
Krugman calls his critics "web stalkers." He also seems to believe he's such a threat that the Bush administration and its henchmen have been investigating his private life. Alerted to an anonymous web query for bio info, he writes