What's the early California primary really all about? State legislators were eager to pass the bill moving up the state's primary to February because they also placed on that ballot a measure to allow them to stay in office longer (before they hit their term limit). The February vote will let incumbents beat the March filing deadline. But Gov. Schwarzenegger has also included an anti-gerrymandering measure. ... Scott Schmidt objects, noting that the package of changes would give incumbents "four more years in their safe legislative districts." In the long run, though, it seems like a good deal, assuming the whole package passes. Anti-gerrymandering reform is very hard to get and worth bribing incumbents with a couple more years in office. And if California takes up the anti-gerrymandering cause, it could start a national trend, no? ... See also New West Notes and Boi From Troy. ...
P.S.: But if, as Boi and George Will suspect, independents won't be able to vote in the early presidential primary, how many will bother to show up at the polls? And aren't they the logical supporters of the anti-gerrymandering measure, and the logical foes of relaxing term limits? Is it now possible that, without a turnout of independents, the state's safe-seated, mainly Dem legislators will get their dream outcome: The relaxed term limits measure passes, so they get more years in office, while the anti-gerrymandering measure fails, so they don't have to face any competition? ...
Update: Apparently independents can vote in the Dem primary. They just haven't been able to vote in the GOP primary, though that might change. If it doesn't, the voters discouraged from showing up would be Republican-leaning independents--voters you'd think would especially fit an anti-gerrymander, pro-term limit profile. Discouraging them would be good for pro-gerrymander, anti-limit Dem incumbents, though there might not be enough of them in this Dem-heavy state to tip the outcome. ... But what if Dems also subtly signal to their voters that they don't really care if the anti-gerrymander measure loses? ... 4:32 P.M. link
Will the U.A.W. organize Toyota's Kentucky factory? I'd bet no, based on the union's inability to deliver on past boasts--assuming there's a secret ballot. But it would be a big deal. Here's the Detroit News' coverage, as discussed in Autoblog. .... P.S.:
While pay rates and bonuses at the non-union plant are approaching the level of UAW workers, the union bosses pointed out those wage levels are more volatile.
U.A.W. wage levels are nice and steady! It's the jobs that disappear. And maybe the companies. ... 2:23 A.M.
"I have seen the future of health care punditry and its name is Jonathan Cohn." I just got back from a talk at the Venice Family Clinic by TNR's Cohn. What Arcade Fire is to rock and Dana Vachon to yuppie lit, Cohn is to health care journalism--i.e., he can't possibly live up to expectations. But in this talk he did, at least for someone like me who is trying to catch up with the health care debate. ... Cohn's book seems to have real people in it--and their stories!--which could be a problem. But in PowerPoint mode he's funny, clarifying, and even wonk-charismatic. ... [Sullivan has nothing on you in the suck up dept.--ed No, he was really good. I still think his so-called "strong defense" of neoliberalism was ridiculously constrained and condescending, especially compared to Yglesias'.] ... Backfill: Tim Noah launches the Cohn campaign. ...1:44 A.M.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Bed, Bath & Beyond TimesSelect: Due Torre thinks TimesSelect's new "students and teachers" promotion--in which everyone with a ".edu" email address gets those premium pay-to-read New York Times articles for free--is a bigger hole in the TimesSelect dike than the paper lets on. ... Let Mike D at Due Torre explain why. (Key player: alumni associations!) ... P.S.: But is this giant loophole really unintentional? I'm not sure the Times really minds if every college graduate in the world gets TimesSelect without paying (though that's kind of a reverse Robin Hood marketing strategy). For one thing, it will make Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd happy. (They get a bigger audience.) For another, it gives the paper a graceful way to effectively abandon its whole ill-conceived pay-for-opinions plan while maintaining it as a formal fiction--just as Bed, Bath & Beyond maintains the fiction that you only get 20% off if you have a coupon (even as it distributes coupons so freely that basically everyone has four or five lying on the floor of their car). ... Update: Ad Age follows up--
But the Times said it doesn't believe most alumni will cheat. "It's an honor system," said Vivian Schiller, senior VP-general manager, NYTimes.com. "And we're assuming that the alumni of this nation's colleges and universities have a thorough enough education in ethics to keep them honest. [E.A.]
Web. Free content. Ethics. Funny! ...12:48 P.M. link