Redacted all absurdum: Remember the famous 8 redacted pages in Judge Tatel's concurring opinion in the Plame case, the pages that many observers, following Lawrence O'Donnell's lead, assumed contained top secret eye-only information on the grave national security consequences of CIA "operative" Plame's outing--the pages, indeed, that O'Donnell said constituted "the one very good reason Karl Rove might be indicted"? Well, never mind! Tom Maguire notices a buried lede in today's NYT story indicating that those 8 pages turn out to contain nothing like that. They seem to mainly disclose information about witnesses, etc. involved in Fitzgerald's perjury case--not a case about horrible damage done to our intelligence agents or their sources. The upshot may be that, despite Joseph Wilson's dramatics, his wife's outing didn't really cause such national security damage--something a few scandal-poopers have claimed all along. ... 3:50 P.M.
Who Killed Spring Hill?The clueless NYT is on the case: The NYT manages to produce a long, moving front-page story on the demise of Saturn's innovative (and successful) Spring Hill, Tennessee plant without once mentioning the UAW's complicity in its killing--specifically in the decision to produce the larger Saturn sedan at an old-style plant in Wilmington, Delaware rather than at Spring Hill. ... The Times pisses on Spring Hill's success, writing:
In truth, Saturns never consistently beat their Japanese rivals in surveys performed by J. D. Power or Consumer Reports, but Saturn's consumer-friendly image ... [snip] ... made it seem as though they did.
But to even match the Japanese at a time when no other Detroit car came close was a huge achievement. Why didn't GM build on that success? Because the Saturn workers' very competence threatened the continued existence of other, less competent parts of General Motors--and there were more people working there than at Spring Hill. ... I suppose this tension--between productive and unproductive divisions--exists at every large organization, but it's surely exacerbated by the presence of a powerful union, especially a powerful small-d democratic union. The UAW, you could argue, was legally obligated to represent the interests of the majority of its members--and the majority worked in the unproductive parts of GM that Spring Hill threatened. It didn't help that Spring Hill succeeded by getting rid of the elaborate work rules so prized by the UAW's more traditional locals. ... It is written: The Nostradamus-like "Chatterbox" predicted all this in a previous century. A small, colorful cult worshipping him has sprung up in Micronesia. ... 12:34 P.M.
Gregg Easterbrook's rule that All Economic News is Bad was effectively illustrated by yesterday's NYT front-pager, "Upbeat Signs Hold Cautions for the Future." The article notes several positive economic trends, including lower gas prices, but then warns darkly that
... as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.
For every encouraging sign, there is an explanation. ...[snip] Gasoline prices - the national average is now $2.15, according to the Energy Information Administration - have fallen because higher prices held down demand and Gulf Coast supplies have been slowly restored. [Emph. added.]
It's indeed deeply disturbing to learn that higher gas prices have held down demand, causing those prices to fall back to a level at which demand begins to rise again! It's almost as if some insidious law was at work--as prices rise, demand declines! As supply increases, prices fall! You can't win! ... P.S.: The price drop might be alarming if the decline in demand for gas reflected a general economic downturn. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What the NYT's Vikak Bajaj ominously describes is the market working exactly as it's supposed to, coupled with successful rebuilding efforts on the Gulf Coast. It appears to be "quite that simple." ... P.P.S.: Nor can I spot any "cautions for the future." .... P.P.P.S.: Bijaj further reported that
the Federal Reserve and businesses will have a big part in setting the economy's pace next year - the Fed through interest rates and companies by their hiring decisions. [Emph. added]