Dave Zirin says his experience of the Baltimore unrest has taken some of the luster off his love for the HBO drama The Wire. Why? "I am now seeing what the The Wire was missing, despite its much lauded, painstaking verisimilitude: the voices of people organizing together for change," which absence renders the show's pessimism "childish." I love The Wire myself, and while every work of art has its flaws, and you love works of art largely because of what you see of yourself in them anyway, Mr. Zirin is dead-on. Read the whole thing, and maybe one day HBO will give us a series about the struggles of community organizers.
Dean Baker catches USA Today distorting the facts in an unabashed pro-"free" trade piece. Long story short: USA Today talks "manufacturing output" as if our government doesn't count parts made overseas as part of "output" here, plus they don't adjust for inflation, just like the oldheads who whinge on about how they made $2/hour in 1969 and it never hurt them none. Also, "manufacturing output" sure isn't the same as "manufacturing jobs."
FAIR catches Chuck Todd utterly failing to mention Bernie Sanders on Meet the Press the same day he mentioned a dozen other Presidential candidates, and Mr. Todd responds -- by saying that he had him on eight months ago (or approximately eight months before he declared his candidacy), and that he's mentioned him on the show's website, when we all know that websites are where big news corporations push coverage they don't want on the TV. I'm so glad I didn't take that bet that he'd show any humility at all in his response to criticism. Working in the "liberal" media means never having to admit you're wrong, after all.
ProPublica reports that the more traditional colleges and universities have joined the fight against Obama Administration proposals that would make for-profit colleges adhere to stricter rules or lose federal funding. Yes, it's hard to believe, since, as the author says, "the higher education establishment has viewed the for-profit education business" like "the cousin with the rap sheet who seeks a cut of the family inheritance." I wouldn't count out the possibility that these "traditional" venues of learning might want to become more like "the cousin with the rap sheet" themselves. Still, it's quite anti-intellectual to come down on the side of less accountability for how our government spends our money.
Finally, in a burst of honesty I hadn't expected, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he'd like to institute "right-to-work" laws at the federal level. And he pretends there's some irony in being a small-government guy but wanting big government intervention here, as if anything a government does is automatically anti-freedom. Of course, the "opportunity" he's talking about unleashing here is the "opportunity" to make less money at your job, and for your non-union workers to enjoy union benefits without paying for them. The best thing that could happen now is for him to say he was taken out of context when questioned about it, which, given the eventuality that he'll have to please moderate voters, is not outside the realm of possibility.