By John Ballard
Mondays are typically not very interesting news days. Sunday's talking heads already had their time in the spotlight and the week's red meat is still being packaged. But today I came across two links worth checking out. Both are from the NY Times. Reader comments make them into very long reads, but both are substantive and not to be skipped.
?Policy and the Personal is Krugman's column. Mark Thoma sez it's worth reading and he's correct. This week's focus on Romney's business backstory is more than old-fashioned political nit-picking. As Krugman points out it goes to the core issue of this presidential campaign, the rich versus everybody else.
Thus the entirely true charge that Mr. Romney wants to slash historically low tax rates on the rich even further dovetails perfectly with his own record of extraordinary tax avoidance - so extraordinary that he's evidently afraid to let voters see his tax returns from before 2010. The equally true charge that he's pushing policies that would benefit the rich at the expense of ordinary working Americans meshes with Bain's record of earning big profits even when workers suffered - a record so stark that Mr. Romney is attempting to distance himself from part of it by insisting that he had nothing to do with Bain's operations after 1999, even though the company continued to list him as C.E.O. and sole owner until 2002. And so on.
The point is that talking about Mr. Romney's personal history isn't a diversion from substantive policy discussion. On the contrary, in a political and media environment strongly biased against substance, talking about Bain and offshore accounts is the only way to bring the real policy issues into focus. And we should applaud, not condemn, the Obama campaign for standing up to the tut-tutters.
?Vast F.D.A. Effort Tracked E-Mails of Its Scientists was picked up at The Agonist. (Good catch, Steve.) Again, the reader comments may be more stimulating reading than the article.
This is how Big Brother regards whistle-blowers, whoever they are. And anybody who doesn't think whistle-blowers are important needs to do more reading about the back-story of the scandal at Penn State.
[I'm in trouble for time this morning or I would post a tickler or two. I thought a part-time job in retirement would be good for me, but it's cutting in on my reading and blogging time. I may need to quit work altogether and spend the rest of my life hunched over a keyboard. But I know if I let myself do that it would ultimately shorten my life. So I keep going...]