Gosserdammerung, Act II

A mostly political Weblog.
May 9 2006 5:42 AM

Gosserdammerung, Act II

Lost in the Foggo of war!

Which Goss exit story is more damaging to Bush: 1) The story the anti-Bush left is pushing, involving hookers and poker; 2) The story the Bushies are pushing, which is that Goss was a disaster Bush imposed on the struggling CIA for 18 crucial months? Sullivan says #1. Bloggingheads disagree. ... 2:36 A.M.

I take it back--Jonathan Klein really is a genius! His networks' ratings are down 38% in prime time, and he gets the LAT's TV columnist to focus on ... a  decline of half as much at competitor Fox! (Headline:"A ratings downer for Fox News.") Patterico is prosecuting  the case. ... P.S.: At least Klein didn't offer a memorably mockable excuselike "We're down because we had such a phenomenal year last year."**  ... Oh, wait.

**--Last year's excuse was "we haven't even started trying yet."   11:33 P.M.

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Hayden, Trailblazer: I'm finding it hard to get suitably alarmed about the grave constitutional danger of an Air Force general taking over the CIA. Hosenball flags a more troubling issue:

In an exhaustive investigation published in January, the Baltimore Sun, the NSA's hometown newspaper, also raised questions about the NSA's management, during Hayden's tenure, of a major classified project called Trailblazer. This project was supposed to modernize the agency's entire system for processing and sorting out "Signals Intelligence" reports—raw, and later, evaluated intercepts of messages collected by the NSA's worldwide eavesdropping network. One intelligence expert told the Sun that Trailblazer was "the biggest boondoggle going on now in the intelligence community." An intelligence official familiar with the program told NEWSWEEK that Congressional investigators now believe that much of the money that was poured into the program was wasted, and that Hayden's successor at NSA has now "abandoned" significant elements of Trailblazer.

11:23 P.M.

Can't Get Enough About Third Parties:Mystery Pollster says he's "not convinced that immigration has yet become an issue of as 'paramount political concern'" as the issues that have historically produced third parties. That's almost certainly true. What MP overlooks, I think, is that the barriers to third party formation are dramatically lower than they used to be. It takes less, in the way of issue salience or personal ambition, to overcome them. .. . What, exactly--other than a first-mover advantage and often-negative "branding"--do the two existing parties have that can't be duplicated un a couple of months via the Internet, a few petitions and some lawsuits by a disaffected maverick or one of Lawrence O'Donnell's bored billionaires? If McCain doesn't get the GOP nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if he went the third party route. Heck, if Hillary doesn't get the Democratic nomination, I wouldn't be surprised. ... 8:59 P.M.

Which vehicle has more "domestic content"--that is, percentage of parts value from the United States and Canada--the Toyota Corolla or the new Chevy Tahoe? I wouldn't ask that question if the answer weren't the Corolla--with 75% domestic content, according to the Detroit Free Press' calculation. The new Tahoe has only 67%--25% of its content is from Mexico. ... I always figured inexpensive small cars like the Chevy HHR and Cobalt were in large part Mexican. I didn't realize GM's huge gas guzzlin' SUVs were heavily Mexico-sourced as well. Not that there's anything wrong with that! If you don't want unfettered immigration from Mexico then it makes sense to buy products that create decent jobs in Mexico. Still, you have to wonder if the price of maintaining Big Three UAW assembly jobs in the U.S. is the outsourcing of more and more parts overseas.** Honda, by way of contrast, doesn't have to support the UAW and is able to source 75 percent of its Pilot and Ridgeline vehicles domestically. Some 80% of the Toyota Tundra is domestic. ...

P.S.: What's Wrong with the Wagner Act Unionism, Part XXVIII: The UAW is only now concluding a drawn out, teeth-pulling, plant-by-plant reduction in the elaborate work rules and job classifications  that have been built up over the decades. "One Chrysler official, who asked not to be identified, said changes included in the framework agreement are so significant that it is doubtful the union would have considered it five years ago." Non-union Japanese manufacturers' U.S. factories, in contrast, have never had such a cumbersome structure to dismantle. They've been building cars, not job categories. ... [ via Autoblog]

**--Many Corollas are in fact built by UAW workers at the quirky joint-venture GM and Toyota plant in Fremont, California. That doesn't change the general point that more heavily-unionized and work-ruled GM may face more pressure to use parts from cheaper-labor countries. 8:40 P.M.

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