Why the left could love Bush's "ownership society."

Why the left could love Bush's "ownership society."

Why the left could love Bush's "ownership society."

A mostly political Weblog.
Nov. 22 2004 2:45 AM

The New 'New Property'

Why the left could love Bush's "ownership society."

Don't Let Prince Charles See The Incredibles: Was Prince Charles being feudal or simply a good meritocrat when he wrote, of a secretary seeking a promotion:

What is wrong with people nowadays? Why do they all seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities. ... This is all to do with the learning culture in schools. It is a consequence of the child-centred system which admits no failure and tells people they can all be pop stars, High Court judges, brilliant TV presenters or even infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary effort or having abilities. It's social utopianism which believes humanity can be genetically and socially re-engineered to contradict the lessons of history.

Charles was accused of feudal leanings by the secretary in question, by much of the British press, and (implicitly) by Charles Clarke, the Labor education minister, who said

We can't all be born to be king but we can all have a position where we can really aspire, for ourselves and for our families, to do the very best they possibly can.


Technically Charles would appear to be off the hook--he doesn't say in his memo that no secretary can ever aspire to other achievements. He merely seems to be saying 1)this secretary doesn't have the chops, and 2) too many people think they can do things for which they don't have the chops. The first is a judgment non-feudal, fluid meritocracies have to make of everyone at some point (when they've done "the very best they possibly can"). The second is a complaint anybody who has to run such a meritocracy (and constantly tell people "no") might have, and isn't incompatible with believing that people who actually have ability and put in the effort should rise. (Issue 2 is ventilated in The Incredibles, which takes Charles' side. How'd Tierney miss that angle?)

Meritocracy, it's often noted, is the most vicious of hierarchies because it tells people not only that they have wound up at a certain level but that they deserve to be at that level. It may say something about the unwillingness of putative meritocrats (like Clarke) to face the harshness of their own system that they need to acccuse people like Charles, who make those harsh judgments explicit, of not being meritocrats but of really being aristos who don't want people to "rise above their station." ... P.S.: It's entirely possible, of course, that Charles is an inveterate feudal bigot in private. (If not him, who?) And it's too bad he didn't cut the condescending line in yesterday's self-defense that declared, "In my view it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor." Does anyone think he really thinks that? ... 11:18 P.M.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Ex-President Bill Clinton, in an interview with Peter Jennings:

You know, my position on the Iraq War was different from almost everybody else's that I've heard talk. I supported giving the president the authority to take action against Saddam Hussein if he did not cooperate with the U.N. inspectors, or if he was found to have had weapons of mass destruction he wouldn't give up. I did believe that the administration made a mistake going to war when they did, and that's what alienated the world. Most Americans still haven't focused on this. [Emphasis added]


Wait. Wasn't that John Kerry's position on Iraq? It sounded like a flip-flop when Kerry said it! ... [But Kerry said he'd have supported giving the authority even if he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq--ed.  Staff error.] 8:59 P.M.

The New 'New Property': In Slate's just concluded welfare dialogue, there was one obvious solution to the dilemma of hard-working single mothers who don't make more than $18,000 a year: Give them training so they can earn more. I had assumed, without really knowing, that individual job training "accounts" must be part of President Bush's high-concept "ownership society." They certainly should be. The government spends billions on job training, after all. Some programs work. Some don't. Why not trust the workers themselves to figure out which ones will actually get them higher-paying jobs--as long as they know that if they waste their training money it's gone, just as if they'd spent their own funds? ....

Is that what Bush has in mind, though? The NYT's David Brooks advertised job training as part of the Ownership Society in a column last December (presumably because that's how White House aides were talking about it) and the Department of Labor is billing "reemployment accounts" for the workers who lose their jobs as an O.S. initiative. But President Bush's speech announcing his big job training initiative last spring  talked mainly about funneling money to governors and community colleges--i.e. government--not to the workers themselves. And while Bush's GOP convention acceptance speech two months ago mentioned both "training" and the "ownership society" within a few sentences of each other, Bush was unclear on the connection. All this suggests to me that the community colleges, governors, and existing training providers are effectively resisting giving control of job training funds to the individual workers--after all, the workers might decide to spend the money elsewhere. ...

Isn't this potential Bush initiative--giving citizens "ownership" of their training subsidies--one liberals should applaud? Sure, it appeals to conservatives: No less than Social Security privatization, it takes a large bureaucratic government program and gives individuals control of --and accountability for--their little piece of it. (It's "New Paradigm"-y!) Unlike Social Security privatization, though, it doesn't threaten the core purpose of the welfare state--after all, if you waste your training account, you're just not going to earn very much, but if you waste your Social Security investment and there's no government check to plug the hole you're destitute. ....


In both cases, giving individuals control of their government subsidies could create a built-in demand to constantly increase those subsidies. To voters' desire for every-higher Social Security benefits we might be able add voters' desire for ever- fatter retraining accounts. Maybe that's why President Bush is dragging his feet. He can handle the lobbying of community colleges for more money. But lobbying from voters might be harder to resist, leading to a big expansionof government in an area where its growth has been held in check.

When you think about it, "Ownership Society" programs aren't such an inherently right-wing idea after all. Another word for them might be "entitltements." On the Left, in the 60s, a trendy Yale law professor named Charles Reich came up with a whole theory about individuals' de facto ownership of govenrment benefits--he called it the "New Property." Reich's theory was then used to justify all sorts of judicial interference with any attempt by government to take away this "property." (A civil servant's job was even declared his or her "property" for constitutional purposes.)

Maybe "ownership society" only sounds conservative when it's used as a way to erode existing collectively-administered government benefits like Social Security. When it's used to create new individually-controlled govenrment benefits, like job training accounts, it sounds like Charles Reich's 1960's Yale Law school dream come true. ...

(Not that there's anything wrong with it! Except when a) the new "owned" benefits subsidize able-bodied people who don't work--like the old AFDC program; b) we can't afford them; or c) "ownership" translates into paralyzing legal protections.) ... 7:26 P.M.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Just an excitable boy: Andrew Sullivan says

Bill Clinton was celebrated for his progressiveness, and ease with African-Americans. But it's inconceivable that he would have given so much power and authority to a black female peer. [Emphasis added]

It is? I can conceive it quite easily, if there'd been a suitable candidate around. ... What hidden wellspring of Clintonian insecurity is Sullivan referring to? ... P.S.: One bit of evidence--Clinton reportedly offered Cheryl Mills the job of White House counsel. Not an unimportant position in the Clinton White House! ..3:13 P.M.


Kerry--It was all Osama's fault: Fox's Geraldo Rivera has Kerry blaming the Osama tape for his loss. Just because the Osama Excuse is convenient and self-serving doesn't mean it's wrong! (The Batman Effect  might have come into play.) But here's what Newsweek's post-election now-it-can-be-told insider account has to say on the subject, from Kerry's own pollster:

Osama bin Laden had given the Kerry campaign a good scare on Friday night. The tape of the Qaeda leader, creepily invoking polemical filmmaker Michael Moore, was played in the war room at Kerry headquarters in Washington. Pollster Mark Mellman noticed the quiet in the room and the color draining from people's faces. Was this the October Surprise? Was bin Laden going to get Bush re-elected by showing his fright mask on election eve?

Mellman saw a slight wobble in Kerry's polls overnight. He walked 45 minutes from his Georgetown home to headquarters downtown (he doesn't drive on the Sabbath) to present the potentially ominous results, but by Sunday Kerry had recovered. Perhaps voters had been numbed by the years of scratchy tapes smuggled out of Pakistan and the elevated threat levels. "Saturday Night Live" took out some of the sting by parodying the tape. In any case, by Sunday night the Kerry campaign was allowing itself to feel optimistic.

Nor was Kerry having such a great week before the Osama tape was televised on 10/29, at least according to WaPo's tracking poll. (The Osama explanation does conform to the TIPP poll, however.) ... P.S.: Wasn't it Kerry's job to convince voters he had at least as good a strategy for combatting bin Laden as Bush does? So whose fault was it in the end? ... If the OBL tape really had a big impact, isn't that really an argument against the political pros' main second-guess of Kerry's campaign--that it should have "pivoted" more clearly to domestic policy? ...  Update: More Kerry excuses here (including, inevitably, blaming his staff!). ... 1:45 P.M.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Noam Scheiber cites GOP polltaker David Winston for the theory that liberal guilt causes exit-poll interviewers to oversample blacks and women. But this is a testable theory, no? Did the early exit polls oversample blacks in comparison with the final vote? And did it vary from polltaker to polltaker? (Presumably some of them are more guilty of guilt than others.)  Update: Several readers claim Winston's theory is not testable, because it's only from exit polls themselves that we think we know the percent of voters who actually are black, female, etc.But obviously if, say, 30% of the national sample were African American, that would be too high. More: Mystery Pollster seems to agree--he says he's "heard, through the grapevine, that the mid-day exit polls did have unusually high percentages of women and African American voters." Of course, an oversampling of women and blacks doesn't necessarily reflect interviewer guilt or bias--it could be an artifact of, say, Kerry voters differential eagerness to talk to the interviewers.  MP points out that  a) the interviewers are told to interview "every 4th or 5th or 10th voter exiting the polls," which should in theory eliminate the effect of any liberal guilt, and b) interviewers also note the race, sex and approximate age of voters who refuse interviews, which in theory provides a fair demographic picture of the actual electorate and allows any oversampling of blacks, women, etc. to be discovered and corrected. But those corrections may not have been made in the early pro-Kerry numbers that sent everyone into orbit. ...  11:05 P.M.

Wedneday, November 17, 2004

Exit poll debacle impresario Warren Mitofsky says his precinct level returns disprove the idea that no-paper-trail electronic voting machines were rigged. ** Exit results from the non-machine precincts were just as off as the results from machine precincts!. ... P.S.: I wasn't going to link to this--Mitofsky is not exactly glowing with credibility these days as he tries to blame untutored bloggers for the fact that, based on his expensive, faulty poll, every news organization in America and both candidates thought Kerry was going to win.  But Mystery Pollster thinks it's important. ... ** Update/Correction: Mitofsky's analysis probably used precincts from all across the nation, not from a single state such as Florida. MP  offers reasons  why Mitofksy's "ability to detect differences within a single state are limited." 9:59 P.M.

Would you believe John Cougar Mellenkaus? Hmm. If I changed the name of the blog to blowfiles I'd probably get more hits. It's available! ... P.S.: But it's not as if I now have an embarrassing name that sounds like that of a world-famous kiddie's cartoon character! ... What's that?. ... P.P.S.: Big mistake! Rich Blow--memorable! Richard Bradley--fades into th e  w  o  o  d  w  o  r  k. ... 8:18 P.M.

In The Nation, Tom Geoghegan pushes a really bad idea--"Blue States could pass a law: 'Nobody can be fired, except for just cause.'"** But his trademark mordancy is intact:

The problem is, unions represent only about 8 percent of the workforce (private sector). When the airlines finish with Chapter 11, we could be even smaller. In four years, could labor in the private sector be more or less gone? I hope not. Anyway, I suppose someone will always be on strike at Yale.

P.S.: I do think Geoghegan's plan to put concrete worker benefits on blue-state ballots--"paid maternity leave for three months ... right to a vacation for seven days ... right to four sick days ... severance pay"--might work, in that many of the measures would pass. (But then who'd need unions?) The obvious counterexample, though, is California's Prop. 72 to mandate employer-paid health benefits, which narrowly failed after Gov. Schwarzenegger came out against it. (I voted for it on immature 'heighten the contradictions' grounds.) ... P.P.S.: Geoghegan's article, available yesterday, seems to have been pulled back behind The Nation's subscriber wall. Guess too many people were reading it! (Soviet-era store manager: "We no longer carry that item. It kept selling out.")

**--Then Mike Ovitz's severance would have been even bigger! 9:35 A.M. 

From Kay Hymowitz's depressing, sensible  City Journal report on black "Accidental Fathers":

In fact, some hip-hop icons are going all Ozzie, crooning their devotion and life lessons for their sons. "You a blessin' and I'll always guide you," sings rapper Ray Benzino, co-owner of Source Magazine and organizer of the publication's 2002 event "to reveal the nurturing side of rap artists as fathers and mentors." [Emphasis added]

Wouldn't it have been better if The Source had just gone out of business? ... P.S.: Hymowitz also says "More black males get their GED in prison than graduate from high school." If John Kerry said that, I wouldn't believe it. I don't believe it! ...9:20 A.M.

Monday, November 15, 2004

FYI: I'm participating in the Festpost for Jason DeParle's big welfare book here. ... 1:59 P.M.

Post-Mortem Skipper: If you haven't been able to bring yourself to face all the Democratic recriminations, Alexander Barnes Dryer's excellent TNR summarizer  may be all you need to read. ... But: He's way too tough on the "gay marriage" theory. If that issue really caused Southern Ohio to go for Bush, doesn't it explain, like, 100% of the outcome, not 5%? ...Also: Why no links? ... P.S.: Are you really going to make us type out "Alexander Barnes Dryer" for the rest of your career? I have RSI already. ... 11:00 A.M.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Keep Your Hat On: Randy Newman's 1988 hit "It's Money That Matters" opens with a lyric that always puzzled me:

Of all of the people that I used to know
Most never adjusted to the great big world
I see them lurking in book stores
Working for the Public Radio
Carrying their babies around in a sack on their back
Moving careful and slow


All of these people are much brighter than I
In any fair system they would flourish and thrive
But they barely survive
They eke out a living and they barely survive

Are people at NPR that hard up? Or was Newman's perspective distorted by his exposure to the entertainment industry pay scale? I never figured it out. Comes now the news, via NPR's Form 990, that All Things Considered host Robert Siegel makes $259,777 a year (plus benefits). Seems like plenty to me! [Thanks to Petrelis ] ... Update: Well-informed emailer B. suggests "the big run up in NPR salaries" didn't take place until after this incident in 2001. I tend to think Newman was wrong even back in 1988. The NPR people could always afford Volvos. What more do they need! ... Update: Many readers suggest Newman was referring to employees of local public radio stations, rather than NPR. Reader AOP thinks he was employing the "unreliable narrator" device. "[T]he narrator is a crass dummy who can't identify the signal characteristics of the upper-middle class liberal good life (which do, at first glance, often bear a lot in common with impoverished college life)." ... But do crass dummies go around talking about what would happen "in any fair system." That sounds like what college lefties (or NPR employees!) would say. ... 11:19 A.M.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Poached Blog: At the ONA convention in Los Angeles, I stole the following ideas ...

From Joe Trippi: Expect a big wave of Democratic retirements from Congress in the next couple of years, as veterans who've been holding on in hopes of regaining majority power give up. Many of these Democrats have been using their personal popularity (and powers of incumbency) to win in Republican areas. When they leave, their seats will flip. The GOPs could attain 60 votes in the Senate and maybe 30 more seats in the House. Thank you, Rep. Matsui!

From Dave Winer: Trippi argued that the Internet sends power within the parties to the activist/citizens at the bottom. Winer says that in the long run the Internet will not distribute power within parties so much as lead to entirely new political organizations. What the Web does, he notes, is enable communities of interest to form that aren't well served by the Dem/Gop duopoly. I tend to think Winer's right. Why? It became apparent, during the Trippi-Winer discussion, that the Internet has been wildly successful at raising millions of dollars for the parties' presidential candidacies but that in 2004 there was a shortage of things the parties could efficiently spend those millions on. Would $10 million more have helped Kerry? By allowing him to do what, exactly? Place more TV ads in the clutter that clogged battleground viewers' brains? Hire yet more organizers and canvassers? Kerry had plenty of canvassers; at some point adding more just annoys voters. I suspect that, in the future, millions of potential dollars will be sloshing around with no place to go--at least no place within the existing two party structure. Isn't it logical that these easily-raisable millions will instead go to create organizations that serve the new hybrid communities that are now able to form: Anti-war Republicans or culturally permissive free-marketers; Giuliani-McCainiacs; anti-Union Democrats; an anti-immigration party drawing from both Dems and GOPS, etc. Some of these groups will last several election cycles. Some may form and dissolve in a single campaign. One of them may eventually supplant the weaker of the two majors--a revival of the "party in a laptop" notion that was dashed when Howard Dean declined to mount a third-party run.  Who needs Terry McAuliffe to raise your money when you have the Web? It's very, very easy to start an organization of national scope these days. (Small partial example: KerryHatersforKerry. About a day and a half's work went into it, I'd guess. The Democrats did not approve the message. But more than 200,000 people visited it in about a month of existence.)

From Trippi and Jehmu Greene: The youth vote did too turn out in 2004, and for Kerry. Trippi claims two million new Kerry voters--whose impact was swamped by other factors.

From Ana Marie Cox: CBS, in publishing the Texas National Guard documents story, was behaving like a good blogger would! If I got some seemingly important documents about a presidential candidate, I might well** slap them up on the web and ask if they could really be authentic, confident I'd find out the truth by return e-mail. The difference is that CBS pretended its story was an old media, take-it-to-the-bank triple-checked black-and-white shot of professional-grade truth, not a blog query with an implicit or explicit question mark after it.

**Assuming it wouldn't open up libel exposure. Microsoft has lawyers to help make that judgment. A presidential candidate seems unlikely to sue. But CBS arguably opened itself up to a possible claim by at least one other individual. 11:42 P.M.

Que Mal! When Fouad Ajami wrote a strange, pessimistic NYT op-ed piece on the Iraq War last spring, headlined "Iraq May Survive, but the Dream Is Dead," I was puzzled. What "dream" was that, and why was it dead, given that a U.S. defeat in Iraq was (and still is) hardly certain?  I admit I should have known the answer--but Michael Hirsh's piece in this month's Washington Monthly  was an eye-opener for me. Turns out it's all about Ataturk. Who knew? Not me. ... P.S.: Hirsh's piece is dotted with cheap anti-Bushisms (e.g.: "Bush, having handed over faux sovereignty to the Iraqis and while beating a pell-mell retreat under fire ...") but it's not nearly as pessimistic as it thinks it is. If the "Kemalist vision of a secularized, Westernized Arab democracy that casts off the medieval shackles of Islam" is currently unattainable in Iraq--indeed, it seems in retrospect crazy--Hirsh's last-best outcome of "a moderately religious, Shiite-dominated democracy, brokered and blessed by [Ayatollah Sistani]") seems like a major achievement, maybe one worth fighting and dying for. ... You'd have to be less of a Marxist/Wrightist than I am to think that Islamic, non-secular societies can't and won't eventually find their way to modern democracy and market economics themselves, as it becomes manifest it's in their self-interest to do so. ... 2:09 A.M.

Friday, November 12, 2004

But they're really nice pajamas: Vanity Fair unveils its  Web portal, which seems remarkably straightforward and un-snobby. ... VF's interest is either a sign that a) blogs have peaked (Graydon Carter thinks they're hot!) or b) blogs are here to stay. I can't figure out which. ... 1:43 P.M.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Better Wonkette: Shouldn't it be "When you're not with the one you love, love the one you love!"? 7:19 P.M.

Jayhosed: Heartless Ryan Lizza recriminates up a storm--make sure you read the blog tidbits as well as the print set-piece. 1) Lizza argues the Kerry campaign lacked a message and was stuck on the "JHOS" laundry list -- "jobs, health care, oil, and security." I thought that after the early-September Clintonite coup the campaign had an overall message-- something about "more of the same" vs. "new direction." What happened to that? 2) Joe Lockhart is fingered as responsible for the final week's Al Qaqaa obsession; 3) Shrum does indeed seem to be guilty of blaming "events" that prevented a pivot to domestic issues:

 "I think partly or primarily because of events, the case Kerry was making on health care, the economy, and energy was not heard as clearly as it could have been or should have been."

But a New York Times story about a months-old disappearance of munitions is not an "event" in the same way the Osama tape was an "event." Kerry didn't have to talk obsessively about Al Qaqaa in the week before the tape's appearance. (I agree that Kerry should have kept his main focus on Iraq and terrorism  instead of even trying to "pivot" to domestic pocketbook topics. But reacting like Andrew Sullivan to every day's headline wasn't the way to do it! The decision wasn't dictated by the closing weeks' "events.") 4) Bitchy quote of the day: "Go ask [Edwards] what he's hunted." 5) A cautionary note when evaluating the decision not to go viciously negative on Bush: Just because Kerry lost doesn't mean that every decision his strategists made was wrong, even if it was a play-it-safe, focus-grouped decision! 6) According to Lizza, one Kerry aide "repeatedly pressed" the candidate to give a speech about ... welfare reform. ... Why didn't I think of that? Kerry had, after all, voted for the big 1996 reform bill:

The idea was rebuffed because welfare didn't show up in polling as a key issue for voters. "It's never going to be the top issue," the aide complains. "If you call me on the phone, I'm not going to say that. But, if I hear you talk about welfare reform, it tells me something about your underlying character."


P.S.: And don't miss the dishy outtake from anti-pivot Huffington's LAT piece, available here.

Just how misguided the campaign's leadership was can be seen in the battle that took place between Vernon Jordan, the campaign's debate negotiator, and Cahill and Shrum. "They were so opposed," someone close to the negotiations told me, "to Jordan's accepting the first debate being all about foreign policy, in exchange for a third debate, that Jordan and Cahill had a knock down, drag out argument. It was so bad that Jordan had to send her flowers before they could make up." It was a familiar strategic battle with Jordan siding with those who believed that unless Kerry could win on national security, he would not win period. ... [Emphasis added]

The wisdom of the P____-Man! 2:24 P.M.

John Kerry, master politician, knew how to win over Gore mentor Martin Peretz:

[Kerry] was first elected to the Senate in 1984, the same year as Al Gore. Something demonic in Kerry persuaded him to belittle Gore whenever we met.

At last, Peretz tells us what he really thinks of Kerry! 12:12 P.M.

De' Whole Bunk and Nothing But Debunk: If you read Glenn Reynolds' roundup of stolen-election debunkings  alongside RottenDenmark, you'll be up to date on the state of the "Are We Sure Bush Won?" debate. ... The best of the debunking articles is Farhad Manjoo's piece in Salon, though  this Yale Free Press report does a better explaining-away of the most salient "anomaly" out there--the pro-Bush surge in Democratic opti-scan counties in Florida. ... Denmark's anonymous Hamlet  tries to poke holes in the YFP analysis, with only limited effectiveness in my judgment. (It would be one thing if all the opti-scan counties showed a mysterious GOP surge that hadn't appeared in previous years. This doesn't seem to have been the case--previous years fall roughly into line. Denmark's surviving charge is much weaker--that non-optiscan counties didn't see as big a pro-Bush surge this year as opti-scan counties. But counties that can afford to move up from opti-scan systems tend to be richer and different--Lee County, for example, which contains the city of Fort Myers. You wouldn't necessarily expect a big surge of Bush voters there--certainly not a surge of registered Democratic Bush voters.  That's because Lee County, unlike the 28 puzzling opti-scan counties, has more registered Republicans than Democrats. The area's conservative voters have obviously already switched over to the GOP.) ...

P.S.: I still support more debunking, and bunking! I disagree with Reynolds' suggestion that those who press vote fraud complaints are "losers" (except in the sense that they wouldn't be complaining if they'd won).  But the left-blogosphere's election-stealing charge now looks like it's in about the same shape that Yasser Arafat was in four days ago. ... Update: Make that three days. WaPo notes that the Bush totals in the seemingly Dem-heavy opti-scan counties were also boosted by independents. I forgot about them! ...

P.P.S.: See also this Wired News  article. Wired quotes Stanford professor Jonathan Wand:

"It's important that when allegations are made that people bring to bear the correct evidence and statistical analysis to actually back it up. ... What is destructive is when the allegations are made and they are misconceived or implausible.

Nah. It's only when people make misconceived and implausible allegations that other people can point out how misconceived and implausible they are--something that happens very quickly on the Web. That's less destructive than letting them seethe unexamined, no? In this case, the conspiracy theories are being put to rest in under two weeks, thanks to all the irresponsible people. ... Even if they don't bother to read Barone's Almanac first! 4:01 A.M.



Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk