Monday, July 26, 2004

Democratic convention is on!

So I'm way behind on the news cycle.  I've been working on a Sandy Berger cartoon.  By the time I get it done it's going to be such old news nobody is going to get it as news of the convention buries everything else.
On another front, go Teresa Heinz Kerry!  Unlike most politicians she really does say what she thinks.  Be warned: you question her about something she has said, well maybe you to will be told to shove it!
I'm sure that just like our esteemed VP, she felt much better after she said it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

What's up with Sandy Berger?

I've got to agree with Joshua Marshall (here and here) on about all his points regarding this Sandy Berger story.  My first reaction is: What was Berger thinking?  Second reaction: If he's been under criminal investigation since October why in the world would he think linking himself to Kerry's campaign was a good idea?

Hello!?!   You don't have to be a National Security Adviser to realize that when you take a step out of line vis-à-vis the hyper sensitive political wrangling over the 9/11 commission investigation you're going to have hell to pay. When did he think this was going to come out, after the election?


Friday, July 16, 2004

That Inscrutable Mr. Kaus

Mickey Kaus has an item posted yesterday criticizing an article by Barbara Ehrenreich.  An illustrative point Ehrenreich makes is a sitting duck for criticism, but Kaus could have done a lot better disputing her claims.  Instead he spouts out mostly drivel and chastises her for leaving out details while his counter points lack sufficient facts themselves.

The crux of the dispute is that Ms. Ehrenreich calculates "approximately" 2.3 blue-collar husbands would be required to lift a TANF (welfare) recipient out of poverty. Mr. Kaus isn't sure whether she is "joking" or up to her "old tricks".  (Here he blasts an article she wrote nearly twenty years ago. Even without reading her article it is obvious that Mr. Kaus has most likely taken a claim she made with a basis in fact and disputed it with a seemingly contradictory fact based on an entirely different population.)

I have confidence that Mr. Kaus is an intelligent person and could easily figure how she came up with the figure of 2.3. I believe he did and didn't like the fact that it wasn't too far off. (Incidentally I came up with 2.1 if the household includes two kids and 2.5 if there are three -- assuming the mother stays home with the kids and the husband(s) work minimum wage jobs full time.) So what does Kaus use to decide that the figure is a "joke"? He adds in government assistance!  Does he seriously think that lifting one's self out of poverty includes the earned income tax credit and food stamps?  Note to Mickey: If the value of your food stamps is what pushes your income over the poverty line you haven't lifted yourself out of poverty -- the government has.

From there Mr. Kaus actually does make some valid points.  Most blue-collar workers make more than minimum wage.  OK, I'll buy that.  But what percentage do make minimum wage?  What is the median wage for a blue-collar worker?  No answer. He provides a link, which will give you an average wage -- but that really doesn't help us. One of Ms. Ehrenreich's points is that just like everyone, TANF mothers tend to marry someone in the same socio-economic class as their own.  In the case of TANF mothers this would be a blue-collar worker.  I would actually go a step further here than Ms. Ehrenreich here.  We're probably not talking about unionized laborers working at automobile plants for reasonable wages.  We're talking about non-union service sector jobs which if not at the minimum wage are pretty darn close.
There is also the claim most wives work too.  And again, he supplies no substantiation.  This may be true as well, however, dual incomes product their own set of additional expenses.  In fact a minimum wage job could cost the family about as much as it brings in.  In other words that second income may technically move the family above the poverty line but functionally leave them in poverty.  Daycare expenses alone for an infant can completely wipe out the earnings of a full time minimum wage worker.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Welcome to  Let me tell you a little bit about what I want to do with this blog.  I'm going to post links to articles which I find of interest and or value, hopefully post some of my own thoughts and comments, and some original cartoons from time to time.  I hope you enjoy visiting!