Kaus’ House

Mickey Kaus has a post up comparing & contrasting two NYT stories on the housing market. Since this (unlike, say, energy) is something I actually know something about, I’m just thrilled to lay out why both stories are true, and his concern misplaced.

The stories he quotes can be found under his Friday, November 28 dateline, so scroll down. Does anyone out there know how to link directly to his stories? If not, Mickey, if you read this, could the MS folks help you out on this sometime? Helllp….Back to the issue at hand. They have the following ledes:

“Apartment Glut Forces Owners to Cut Rents in Much of U.S. … While rents have continued to rise in many big cities on the coasts, including New York and Los Angeles, they are falling in more than 80 percent of metropolitan areas across the country.”

NYT, David Leonhardt, November 29, 2003


“Poor Workers Finding Modest Housing Unaffordable, Study Says… With the rise in housing costs outpacing that of wages, there is no state where a low-income worker can reasonably afford a modest one- or two-bedroom rental unit, according to a study issued today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition …. “When low-income families are paying so much of their income on housing, they are left to skimp on other necessities like food, medicine, clothes and time spent with children,” said Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.”

NYT, Lynette Clemetson, September 9, 2003

Here’s the deal. The housing market isn’t “a” market, it’s a collection of submarkets, each of which has links of varying strength to its neighbors. The submarkets are defined loosely by cost and location (there are other social/cultural selectors as well, but these two really drive the markets), each of which serves to isolate a submarket somewhat from its neighbors. In my personal case, I can’t legally move (under the terms of my Marital Settlement Agreement) from an area roughly one mile on a side – but other people are also connected to a location, by schools, jobs, or family ties. They can’t simply pick up and move to another region of a city, much less another a city, because of job issues or social ties. This means that they can’t transparently make the economically rational choice to move from, say Los Angeles to Pahrumph Nevada. They do – at increasing rates, as many of the low-housing-cost regions see some measure of population inflows. But the reality is that many low-housing-cost regions are also low-wage regions, so the choice isn’t quite so easy to make.

And within a geographic area, there are a series of horizontal markets defined largely by price (although obviously the low-cost ones tend to cluster in or within neighborhoods). And it’s here that we see the explanation for both articles – apparently contradictory but equally true.

At the top of the rental housing market is luxury or near-luxury housing, which competes with for-sale housing for tenants. They have the means and credit to buy a home, should they choose to, and when interest rates are low and the housing markets are strong, they do – sucking much of the demand out of the top of the market.

Below that – all the way to the bottom, if we choose – is a series of markets of people who realistically are not going to be confronted with the option of homeownership anytime soon. The pressing issue in those markets is simply affordability (which gets tweaked, as Mickey notes, but only because the rents in the marketplace are so high and costs of new development so expensive that otherwise no landlord would rent to certificate holders and no developer could afford to build new affordable housing – note that I’ll question whether they should build new affordable housing, but that’s a policy argument for another day).

Make sense?

So in the submarkets appealing to high-wage workers, they are abandoning rentals for ownership (probably a good thing). In the submarkets available to low-wage workers, they are increasingly crunched between flat incomes and rising rents.

Both are true, and there’s nothing to bust anyone over, so move right along…

House Party, Anyone?

A friend of TG’s just emailed us an invitation:

“With your help, on Sunday, December 7th, we’ll hold thousands of house parties across the country to screen the new documentary Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War. The parties will be brought together through a huge cross-country conference call. At 5:30p PST / 8:30p EST, party attendees will be able to dial in to a call featuring director Robert Greenwald, the MoveOn team, and guests from parties all over the country. You’ll also be able to submit questions for Mr. Greenwald and the team online.

This’ll be fun, but it’s also strategic.

Here’s a little more about Uncovered:

MoveOn.org doesn’t usually sponsor documentary films, but this movie is a really important one. It’s built around interviews with over 20 intelligence and military experts, many of whom are speaking out for the first time. True to the MoveOn ethic, director Robert Greenwald lets the facts speak for themselves. And the results are pretty shocking. Uncovered combines expert interviews with extensive research to go behind the walls of government. Interviewees include:

* Joe Wilson, the former Ambassador to Iraq who exposed that the famous “16 words” in Bush’s State of the Union address about uranium in Niger were false. In retaliation, senior White House officials appear to have blown the cover of Wilson’s wife, an undercover CIA agent.
* John Dean, White House lawyer for President Nixon during the Watergate scandal.
* Rand Beers, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for combating terrorism.
* David Albright, a physicist, nuclear weapons expert, and former weapons inspector with the IAEA Action team.
* Rt. Hon. Clare Short, the British Member of Parliament who recently resigned her position as Tony Blair’s secretary for international development because Blair did not support a UN coalition to rebuild Iraq.”

Just to whet your appetite, the film’s poster is at: http://action.moveon.org/meet/content/UncoveredArt.pdf So please RSVP by signing up at: http://action.moveon.org/meet/selectmtg.html?event_ids=416″

Think I ought to go? Or should I host my own party?

Well, I Asked For Dialog…

Backtracking through Technorati (which I do once a day), I came upon a post on a blog called ‘Osama Bin Laden Is Winning‘ about my dialog with Calpundit.The author took intelligent issue with my prescription for perseverance as a path to success; I commented, and he replied, suggesting I read his essay on terrorism.

I did, and think that we agree in a broad set of areas, and disagree in others – and definitely think that a dialog would be productive. I was going to make these points on a comment on his blog, but thought a post would send some other readers his way, and open a broader dialog.I only have the mental/temporal capacity for one dialog at a time, so I have to move the Calpundit discussion ahead a bit before I really engage here. I’d like to suggest that folks go over and take a look, and that the author, who goes by ‘obliw’ take a look at some of my older stuff on terrorism as well.

At Armed Liberal:

Romanticism & Terrorism

Terrorism Pt. 1

The War on Bad Philosophy

Here at WoC

On Being a Liberal Hawk

It’s Not a ‘Schtick,’ Kevin

Saved By Technology

It’s 11:00 pm, and Middle Guy (who just got a brilliant almost-perfect report card, and pretty darn good SAT scores as well) is wrapping up a study group in his bedroom downstairs. He’s got two friends over, prepping for a math test tomorrow.

They’re playing their music kinda loud (small objects on my office floor are rattling), and I’d like them to turn it down; but they won’t hear me from the top of the stairs, and they’re on the phone (both lines, it appears) getting outside help, so I can’t call…I may actually have to walk downstairs and knock on his door.
…wait! I can IM him!

him: Turn what down? I can’t hear you, the music is too loud…
me: OK, I’m shutting down the router then.
him: NOOOOO! Ok, I’ll turn it down…

…and he did. Order is restored within the household, thanks to internet messaging protocols.

A Little Help, Please?

An acquaintance of mine has just taken on the role of executive director and conductor of a classical music – thing which I can’t explicitly talk about because of my damn pseudonymity thing. I’ve suggested to him that he start doing a blog about it, but can’t point him to any blogs like what I’m talking about. Does anyone out there know of any blogs being done by working classical musicians or artists?I’d like to show him some examples.

Uncertainty In Iraq

In reading up about energy, I’ve spent a bunch of time over at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (www.csis.org) – a Washington-based think tank with some apparent connections to conservative Democrats. I find their work interesting, and while I don’t know them or their biases enough to decide where I stand relative to them, I do think they are looking at the right issues.

In browsing around, I found an interesting paper on Iraq that echoes a number of my thoughts about the war, by Anthony Cordesman, called “Iraq, Too Uncertain To Call” (pdf). Here are a couple of quotes. It opens:

There is a tendency to see the situation in Iraq either in terms of inevitable victory or inevitable defeat, or to polarize an assessment on the basis of political attitudes towards the war. In practice, Iraq seems to be a remarkably fluid and dynamic situation field with uncertainties that dominate both the present and the future.

A visit to Iraq makes it clear that no one is really a current expert on this country. Too much is changing. Even if most prewar statistics had been valid, they would not be valid now. The security situation is evolving by the day. The local and provincial leadership elites are in a state of flux, and the Governing Council is deeply divided and has not yet taken hold in terms of winning popular support. The economic situation may be improving in broad terms, but the day-to-day of ordinary Iraqis varies sharply by area and by individual, and much of the aid program is just beginning to take hold.

More broadly, political, economic, social and military forces have been unleashed by the fall of Saddam Hussein that are only beginning to play out and which will take years to have their full effect. No Iraqi can credibly predict the end result, much less an outsider. In fact, trying to understand the uncertainties at work is probably far more important than trying to make assessments and predictions which cannot be based on past knowledge, current facts, or stable trends.

and continues:

The US can, however, also lose for internal and political reasons, and these may prove to be as much, or more of a threat. The ways the US could lose are:

–A popular perception in the US that the war after the war is pointless, casualties and costs are too high, and nation building cannot succeed. So far, the Administration is preparing for such a defeat by underplaying the risks, issuing provocative and jingoistic speeches, and minimizing real-world costs and risks. The weakness of the Governing Council, a failure to convince the Iraqi’s that the US is committed to a true and early end to occupation, and a failure to communicate the scale and future impact of the US aid effort, currently increase the risks.


Grand strategy is the key to victory, and victory or defeat is tied as much to politics as to warfighting. This means the Bush Administration faces some hard choices. It seems very unlikely that the current level of fighting will be over before February at the earliest, and may well continue until June or longer. Some casualties and major incidents seem like to occur through the November 2004 election and may well go on as long as the US is in Iraq.

Any effort to “spin” these unpleasant realities out of existence is going to broaden the credibility problem the Administration has developed by underplaying the risks before, during, and immediately after the war. The sooner the Administration prepares the American people and its allies for a long period of low intensity conflict and continuing casualties, the better.

That’s what I’ve been trying to say for months, and that’s very much what I mean by ‘showing determination.’ Go read the whole article.

Calpundit on Terrorism

So Calpundit Kevin replied to my post on “sticking it out” below, and nailed me on one point that I thought I’d covered, but on rereading realized I truly hadn’t.

He interprets my post as suggesting that the reason to stay in Iraq was less to rebuild the country than to show determination. Note that I think that would be a silly damn thing to do, and a waste of lives and treasure (which I thought I’d pointed out with the Schaar quote) and wish I’d written more clearly to make that point. We’re there to remove an evil dictatorship and to prevent the resources of that country from being used against us, against the people of the region, and against the people of the country itself. I believe that doing this will ultimately have a positive effect on a broader conflict which I perceive we are in. I think that to succeed in either of those efforts, we will have to both be determined and show determination.What I mean by ‘determination’ isn’t so much in the day-to-day policy arena as in the overarching goals and in how we communicate those goals. A bit more Churchill and a bit less Hamlet, if that makes any sense. And my point in doing that is that I genuinely believe that we are in a dialog between peoples, a dialog that is in ideas and words as well as blood. The hope is that through handling one well, we won’t need to handle the other.

Speaking of which I went over to Calpundit’s comments section and walked away kind of depressed. It’s not that they don’t like me – hell, lots of people in the real world don’t like me, which tells me that I’m an actual person as opposed to a Beanie Baby – it’s that I really and truly just don’t get the worldview that they are speaking from. I spend a lot of time on the left side of the media and blog world, and am increasingly finding islands there where the words are English and yet I just don’t understand the concepts laid out in those words, and I’m finding that depressing and frustrating, given my goal of creating constructive dialog.

That’s my problem – I ought to be smart and flexible enough to understand arguments I may or may not agree with. And I need to do some work on that; there are too many people sharing a beliefset for there not to be an argument there, and I need to figure out what the hell those arguments are and what it is about them I object to so strongly.

Meanwhile I’m reading boatloads of energy papers, and will get around to writing something about it soon.

Dean “Fedayeen”…

…get a whole new meaning as loathsome columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall endorses Dean, and the official Dean blog is thrilled (as are his commenters).

If Dean takes this as a Sistah Souljah moment and bitch-slaps him tomorrow, it could be very good for his campaign. If not, buh-bye; if not in July 04, then in November.

(a tip of the Shoei to Instapundit)JK: Just got an email from reader Jake Ewing, with an update…

Anyone else find it curious that the Dean blog has…

1) Shut down comments on the Ted Rall post without explanation (I have *never* seen this happen on the Dean blog without it being announced)

2) Substantially changes the meaning of the intro statement, changing the word “explains” to “considers”: Ted Rall, in his Universal Press Syndicate column today, considers why so many third party voters are coming to Dean:

3) Deleted a key paragraph from Rall’s endorsement: “Maybe it’s premature to endorse Gov. Dean. But right now, given the information we have available, he’s the preferred candidate of us Anybody But Bushies.”

4) Summarily removed Rall’s name from the title.

The definitive original posts is archived by Prof. Volokh. In addition, here’s the Feedster capture of the post:

Rall: Howard Dean for President
From: Blog for America – hide – show: all images links rss

Ted Rall, in his Universal Press Syndicate column today, explains why so many third party voters are coming to Dean: Howard Dean has the best chance to beat Bush.Brilliant, aggressive and moneyed… Dr. Dean has a corner on the single…

http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/002368.html – 41 words
similar posts – cached – translate – published 10 hours, 41 minutes ago

Looks Like Prosperity to Some

Every so often, you read some stuff, see some connections and get a post that just writes itself. I’ve said in the past that one of the most serious issues we face (and are primarily ignoring) these days is what Neil Stephenson summarized so pithily:

Once the Invisible Hand has taken all the historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity — y’know what? There’s only four things we do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode (software), and high-speed pizza delivery.

We face an outgoing tide, in which the prosperity which had once been concentrated here, and shared widely between the classes of capital and labor, is going out. Owners of capital can invest abroad, and can, if they are clever and lucky improve their situation. Owners of labor find themselves in increasingly direct competition with lower-cost labor abroad, or with less-skilled labor which can compete because machines and systems make their skills redundant.

Start here (note, intrusive registration required, use ‘laexaminer’/’laexaminer’), with an article in this morning’s L.A. Times about WalMart:

The Wal-Mart Supercenter, a pink stucco box twice as big as a Home Depot, combines a full-scale supermarket with the usual discount mega-store. For the 26-year-old Ferguson, the draw is simple.

“You can’t beat the prices,” said the hotel cashier, who makes $400 a week. “I come here because it’s cheap.”

Across town, another mother also is familiar with the Supercenter’s low prices. Kelly Gray, the chief breadwinner for five children, lost her job as a Raley’s grocery clerk last December after Wal-Mart expanded into the supermarket business here. California-based Raley’s closed all 18 of its stores in the area, laying off 1,400 workers.

Gray earned $14.68 an hour with a pension and family health insurance. Wal-Mart grocery workers typically make less than $9 an hour.

Calpundit also links to this story, and last night, had a guest post up from a grocery clerk union leader about the current strike, which concludes (I think these words are Kevin’s):

Here’s the key question: Would you rather that these 70,000 middle class jobs become poverty level jobs filled by workers who have to turn to the taxpayer for healthcare and food stamps? That’s what the companies are proposing because that’s what Wal-Mart has. The CEOs of these three companies are just trying to keep up with the Waltons. Their combined operating profits have gone up 91% in the past five years…but Wal-Mart’s have gone up even more. Good lord — when is enough enough? At what price profits???

It’s not just about grocery clerks. In another LA Times story today, we’ve got this:

BURLINGTON, Iowa — America used to need this town tucked into a crook of the Mississippi River.

The assembly lines in Burlington and other factory towns nearby built the products that kept the nation moving — school buses, car batteries, backhoes, tractor-trailers. Workers put in 60- and 70-hour weeks to meet demand.

The backhoes are produced in Mexico now, the batteries in Canada. Men and women who once defined themselves by what they built now support their families with unemployment checks.

“There’s not a market anymore for a guy who shows up for work and does his job well,” said Devan Rhum, 37, a former factory worker. “All of a sudden, we’ve got our hands out. It’s degrading.”

What’s it about? The Times story on Wal Mart says:

“We have split brains,” said Robert Reich, U.S. secretary of Labor under President Clinton and now a professor of economic and social policy at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. “Most of the time, the half of our brain that wants the best deal prevails.”

The connection may be lost on many, Reich said, but consumers’ addiction to low prices is accelerating a shift toward a two-tiered U.S. economy, with a shrinking middle class and a growing pool of low-wage workers.

“Wal-Mart’s prices may be lower,” he said, “but that’s small consolation to a lot of people who end up with less money to spend.”

Others insist there is a net benefit whenever consumers can get more for less. “If you have lower real prices, you’re saving money,” said Arthur Laffer, a key advisor to President Reagan who is now an economic consultant in San Diego. “The prices’ falling, in effect, raises the wages of everyone who buys their products.”

Yes, but…that works well for the first few companies; the companies make more money, and lowering the price of goods improves the overall standard of living while only impacting a few workers. But there is a tipping point, where suddenly the number of workers who have gone from the middle-class downward begin to impact the overall economy – and we’re not better off then. Calpundit says it well when he says:

So which is the better and more sustainable model? Increasing the overall affordability of goods by creating a larger class of people who can afford them? Or increasing the overall affordability of goods by squeezing the blue collar workers who make them and thus lowering prices?

Both models work, but one works by building up the working class and the other works by tearing it down. I’ll take Door #1.

Along those lines, this week’s Business Week has a great article (subscribers only) on the decline of economic mobility. Because it’s protected, I’ll quote pretty extensively. (By the way, Business Week has taken over from Forbes as my favorite iconoclastic business magazine, and I’d encourage people to subscribe.)

The result has been an erosion of one of America’s most cherished values: giving its people the ability to move up the economic ladder over their lifetimes. Historically, most Americans, even low-skilled ones, were able to find poorly paid janitorial or factory jobs, then gradually climb into the middle class as they gained experience and moved up the wage curve. But the number of workers progressing upward began to slip in the 1970s, when the post-World War II productivity boom ran out of steam. Upward mobility diminished even more in the 1980s as globalization and technology slammed blue-collar wages.

MANY EXPERTS expected the trend to reverse as productivity rebounded during the heated economy of the 1990s. Certainly, there were plenty of gains. The long decline in pay rates turned around as supertight labor markets raised the wages of almost everyone. College enrollment boomed, too, and home ownership shot up, extending the American dream to more families. Low interest rates and higher wages allowed even those on the bottom to benefit. There was even a slight decline in the ranks of the very poorest families, as measured by asset wealth — those with a net worth of less than $5,000 — according to a study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff.

But new research suggests that, surprisingly, the best economy in 30 years did little to get America’s vaunted upward mobility back on track. The new studies, which follow individuals and families over many years, paint a paradoxical picture: Even as the U.S. economy was bursting with wealth in the 1990s, minting dot-com millionaires by the thousands, conventional companies were cutting the middle out of career ladders, leaving fewer people able to better their economic position over the decade.

During the 1990s, relative mobility — that is, the share of Americans changing income quintiles in any direction, up or down — slipped by two percentage points, to 62%, according to an analysis of decade-long income trends through 2001 by Jonathan D. Fisher and David S. Johnson, two economists at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While two points may not sound like much, it’s bad news given how much progress might have been made amid explosive growth. Essentially, says University of Chicago economics professor and Nobel laureate James J. Heckman, “the big finding in recent years is that the notion of America being a highly mobile society isn’t as true as it used to be.”

In fact, according to a study by two Federal Reserve Bank of Boston economists that analyzed families’ incomes over three decades, the number of people who stayed stuck in the same income bracket — be it at the bottom or at the top — over the course of a decade actually increased in the 1990s. So, though the boom lifted pay rates for janitors and clerks by as much as 5% to 10% in the late 1990s, more of them remained janitors or clerks; fewer worked their way into better-paying positions. Imelda Roman, for one, makes about $30,000 a year as a counselor at a Milwaukee nonprofit — barely more than the $27,000 or so, after inflation adjustments, that the 33-year-old single mom earned as a school-bus driver more than 10 years ago. Says Roman, who hopes to return to college to improve her prospects: “It’s hard to find a job with a career ladder these days, and a B.A. would be an edge.”

What Roman faces is an economy that is slowly stratifying along class lines. Today, upward mobility is determined increasingly by a college degree that’s attainable mostly by those whose parents already have money or education. “It’s clear that unless you go to college, you can’t achieve a high trajectory in life. Education is the key to success in America today,” says Aramark Corp. CEO Joseph Neubauer. He gives scholarship money to hundreds of disadvantaged kids every year through the Horatio Alger Assn., a group of successful Americans who try to help others make it, too.

In turn, the lack of mobility for those who don’t or can’t get a degree is putting a lid on the intergenerational progress that has long been a mainstay of the American experience. Last year, Wichita State University sociology professor David W. Wright and two colleagues updated a classic 1978 study that looked at how sons fared according to the social and economic class of their fathers. Defining class by a mix of education, income, and occupation, they found that sons from the bottom three-quarters of the socioeconomic scale were less likely to move up in the 1990s than in the 1960s. Just 10% of sons whose fathers were in the bottom quarter had made it to the top quarter by 1998, the authors found. By contrast, 23% of lower-class sons had done so by 1973, according to the earlier study. Similarly, only 51% of sons whose fathers belonged to the second-highest quarter equaled or surpassed the economic standing of their parents in the 1990s. In the 1960s, 63% did.

That’s the pattern Michael A. McLimans and his family follows. Now 33, with two young children, the New Holland (Pa.) resident has spent the past decade working at pizza chains such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut (YUM ). He made it to assistant manager but found that he could earn more, $9 to $12 an hour with tips, as a delivery driver. He and his wife, a hotel receptionist, pull down about $40,000 a year — far from the $60,000 Michael’s father, David I. McLimans, earns as a veteran steelworker. “I save every dime I can so my kids can go to college, which neither of us can afford to do,” says Michael.

This matters a lot. Social and economic mobility is the key to American success, politically, economically, and socially.

I cited this post in the Bellona Times a long time ago:

Midway through my much-aided private college education, the Reagan administration started making Academe a gated community. The results were apparent by the time I graduated, but I always figured, well, at least the state university systems are available.

Talking to younger folks, though, I’ve hit plenty of anecdotal evidence that even state universities are now available only to those lower-class compeers who are willing to assume crippling — I mean, legs-chainsawed-off crippling — debt while simultaneously working like a dog and trying to study full-time. And reports like “Losing Ground” and “Unequal Opportunity” provide the stats: college has become an impossible choice for many Americans, no matter how many sacrifices they’re willing to make.

In response, I said:

Social mobility. It is the magic glue that holds us together; it is the sense of possibility that each of us holds in our hearts, if not for ourselves, than for our children.

And one of the consequences of SkyBox Liberalism is not only the ossification of class…you in your courtside chair, Mr. Nicholson, and then the neat hierarchy of wealth and fame leading upward to the corporate SkyBoxes that make this all possible, and above them, the proles in the nosebleed seats, kept in their place by the minimum-wage guards who keep everyone in their appropriate section…but the obvious “flaunt it, baby” statement of your gracious wave to the fans sitting in the rafters.

Why should you care? You should care for a lot of reasons.

First, because the dynamic of Creative Destruction that keeps our economy strong is dying, replaced by Adam Bellow’s genteel world of nepotism and privilege. That’s not a good thing. Our economy is stronger than that of Europe and Japan because outsiders with energy and ideas can still build companies; that’s harder to do in an economically and socially stratified environment.

But most importantly, because it erodes the connections that tie us together as Americans.

The other [justification for managing the increasing concentration of wealth and power] is very practical and cold-hearted, and is something I hope to convince you to take seriously; to have the kind of political organization we have…where we grant legitimacy to an abstract body of laws and procedure…there needs to be a rough equality of power.

There will never be a true equality of power; every effort to make it so has collapsed into madness (The Terror, Pol Pot). But one unique feature of the American system – and one of the keys to it’s greatness is the ability of the small to stand up to the strong. This is important for many reasons; one of the most important is that it ties the small and powerless to the system with ties of legitimacy.

When I try and bring up these issues. I’m sometimes accused of trying to post-facto, justify the New Deal and Great Society and all of the baggage that came with them. I think that those who make those accusations operate from the mistaken assumption that the generalized prosperity and unity that we enjoyed from the 50’s to the 70’s was somehow a norm, and that we should take that as a baseline. It wasn’t, and we shouldn’t.

The New Deal was (rightly or not) conceived as a way to ameliorate conditions for the poor enough to stave off a possible socialist revolution (or a national socialist one…), and the Great Society was developed in response to Harrington’s “Other America” of malnourished kids.

We face new challenges today, and we need to try and imagine and build responses to them; some of those may look like large government programs and some may not. But we have to somehow face these challenges, or we’ll all wind up living in Neil Stephenson’s book.

JK Udate: This is funny – the next logical step in offshore outsourcing?

Pundit vs. Pundit (Prohias)

Calpundit busts Instapundit:

ANALOGIES….Just a note to my conservative brethren: any chance we can stop working our way through the microfilm archives of 1946 newspapers? If the analogy of Iraq to Vietnam is strained, the analogy to World War II is simply rubbish. There is literally nothing in common between the two.


Actually, Kevin, I’ve gotta disagree here. There is a core lesson that we can take from the WWII papers, that the kinds of things we need to accomplish in Iraq take time. Even in the far more Western and ‘organized’ environment of post-war Germany and France, things looked challenging for the first year or so. Even in the highly hierarchical society of Japan, there was violence and chaos for a period of time.

Those are important lessons, and we’re right to be confronted with what the news and commentary of the time were saying to help us put our current situation into perspective.

While I do think that Bush’s team booted the postwar planning (simply by not having the resources, propaganda, and staffing prepared), I also think that the anti-war crowd, once they didn’t get their way, have been far over the top in claiming ‘failure’ prematurely. And history exists exactly to help us make those kinds of judgments.