Superficially, it looks like America’s CEOs are doing pretty well: “At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found.”
But the real lucky duckies are here:
The highest-paid U.S. hedge fund managers at some of the biggest and best-performing funds got slightly over $ 22 billion in pay last year, the New York Times reported, citing an annual ranking by AR Magazine.
Welcome to the recovery!
Jon Chait had a post the other day arguing that John Boehner has no choice, if he knows what’s good for him, but to shut down the government.
Basically, Boehner is in a tough spot. (No, don’t feel sorry for him. It’s what he gets for being where he is.) He has to try to appeal to independents and moderates if he wants to maintain/maximize the GOP’s electoral prospects for 2012, which means compromising with Democrats on the budget, but he also has to try to appeal to the Tea Party wing of the GOP, a significant part of its right-wing base, if he wants to avoid a full-scale rebellion against his leadership (which could also harm the party’s electoral prospects), which means refusing to compromise and allowing for, if not encouraging, a government shutdown:
What is the downside to a shutdown? Republicans get less popular, have a lower chance to win the presidency in 2012, and maybe a higher chance of losing the House as well. What is the downside to cutting a deal? GOP backbenchers revolt against Boehner and depose him as Speaker of the House.
If I’m Boehner, I’m more worried about the guns pointed at my back then the guns pointed at my face. A shutdown increases the small chance that he goes from Speaker to Minority Leader in 2013, but a deal increases the chance that he goes from Speaker to (R-OH) in 2011. The right-wingers do not trust Boehner, and he has very little slack. He also lived through a series of purges and attempted purges in the late 1990s, always taking the form of purists complaining that the leadership had gone soft.
Boehner’s top priority is probably staving off internal revolt. That means shutting down the government.
In other words, if he puts his own personal/political self-interest first, he’ll appease the Tea Party. That may be so, and he may well do that, but the question isn’t just what Boehner will do but what the Tea Party will do to him. And it may not matter what he does — or, at least, what he does just may not be good enough. The Tea Party already has a bull’s-eye on his head:
The tea partyers who helped drive GOP gains in the last election are rallying in the city they love to hate Thursday, urging Republican House leaders – Speaker John Boehner above all – to resist the drive toward compromise in the protracted fight over the federal budget. Even, they say, if that means Congress fails to do its most important job: pay for the government.
And if Boehner opts instead to agree to a deal with President Barack Obama?
“You’re going to see massive amounts of (GOP) primaries” in next year’s election, said Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots. If the Ohio Republican strikes a budget deal that doesn’t cut spending enough, Meckler said Wednesday, “he is going to face a primary challenge.”
Boehner, like the rest of the party leadership, has been appeasing the Tea Party all along. But he’s also, to his credit, something of a realist in terms of what is and is not doable in Congress:
“We control one half of one third of the government here in Washington,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly briefing. “We can’t impose our will on the Senate. All we can do is to fight for all of the spending cuts that we can get an agreement to.”
He’s right, but that isn’t going to cut it with the Tea Party. The threats may be enough to keep Boehner from compromising too easily, but compromise he must if he is to avoid a repeat of the Gingrich fiasco of the ’90s, when Republicans shut down the government, took most of the blame, and paid for it at the polls. All of this proves once again that the purists in the Tea Party have no clue about governance and are holding the GOP, and its leaders, to impossible standards. And, ultimately, the party will pay for it.
What the Teabaggers think they can gain from this isn’t clear, but it seems that they’d rather be “right” (in their own minds) than win. So far, since the emergence of the Tea Party as a major force, Republicans have been more than willing to kowtow to its demands. Indeed, the GOP has fully embraced the Tea Party, and the two have more or less merged into one (though, of course, the Tea Party has always been heavily Republican and decidedly right-wing in its ideology). But how long will that last? At what point will Republicans, who, after all, have elections to win if they actually want to accomplish anything significant, shed this albatross that is clearly bringing them down?
It may not happen soon, not with all the mutual co-opting that has taken place so far and will the enormous enthusiasm the Teabaggers have brought to the GOP, stirring up a party that seemed catatonic after the ‘08 election. The Tea Party is just too influential a part of the GOP right now, and that isn’t about to change. But I’m just not sure the relationship is tenable, not with the Tea Party threatening any Republican who deviates even slightly from its right-wing orthodoxy, even solid conservatives like Orrin Hatch and successful leaders like John Boehner.
It would probably take another massive defeat or two for Republicans to get the message and run the other way, but, with the party purging itself of insufficiently conservative members and the Tea Party leading primary challenges against those who deviate from its extremism, it is likely that the GOP will nominate more and more unelectable candidates, increasing the likelihood of just such a defeat.
Not that I object to the GOP nominating unelectable candidates. I’m all for it! So let’s all enjoy this while we can.
(Cross-posted from The Reaction.)
BCS task force will decide Fiesta Bowl future
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In this video, William Shatner walks us through a world of silica, transistors, and microprocessors.
Back in 1976, microprocessors had a maximum of 8.5K transistors for 64bits of memory. The Queen of England sent her first email, and Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I.
And a post-Star Trek but pre-TJ Hooker William Shatner made this film for AT&T about the future of microprocessors.
The chips were tiny at that time, to be sure, but paltry in terms of memory by today’s standards. Yet Moore’s Law had already been in effect for 11 years by this point, enough time to see that the future was going to be full of miniscule, powerful machines, even they weren’t the predicted picturephones. Today’s “microworld” is still getting smaller all the time.
This version of the film was slightly revised in 1980.
Apparently, the phone will turn into something like a computer within his generation’s lifetime.
via Jonah Goldberg, who thinks the sequence at the 11 minute mark will make you “really feel old.” Too late for that.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s (D) successful clash with his own party over the state’s budget – one where he made significant cuts while holding the line on taxes – is quickly moving him up the ranks of Democrats to watch. At a time when many Republican and Democratic governors alike have seen their popularity erode after making painful budget cuts, Cuomo’s approval is still sky-high.
Cuomo has succeeded by taking a different ideological tack than his famously liberal father (former Gov. Mario Cuomo), and pursuing a centrist approach to governance. It’s a path that could lead him to national attention in the future, Republican and Democratic strategists agree.
“So far, he’s on a very good path,” said long-time GOP strategist Ed Rollins. He added that Cuomo is “far and away the most significant Democrat in the country except the president” when it comes to politics.
He’s managed the remarkable feat of uniting Democrats and conservatives, in a state known for its endless political gridlock. New York Conservative Party chairman Mike Long is a fan of his budget. He’s won support from Republican party officeholders, past and present. Even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has declared Cuomo one of his “favorite” governors in a recent address.
According to the latest Siena College poll, Cuomo’s favorability rating is at 69 percent with more than two-thirds of Republicans and more than half of conservatives giving him high marks, according to pollster Steven Greenberg. The poll shows that 72 percent of those surveyed say they “trust” Cuomo to handle the budget more than either of the state legislature’s chamber leaders.
TAPPER: So going forward, once the U.S. has fully pulled back to this support role and the civilian protection and no-fly, how many ships, planes and service members will we have — approximately will we have committed to this effort?…
Earlier this month, The Newspaper Guild-CWA (TNG-CWA), called on the unpaid writers at The Huffington Post to withhold their work in support of a strike launched by Visual Art Source in response to the company’s practice of using unpaid labor.
In an open letter today to publisher Arianna Huffington, TNG President Bernie Lunzer wrote that when Huffington Post spokesman Mario Ruiz was asked about TNG’s action, he said, “We stand squarely behind The Newspaper Guild’s mission of ensuring that media professionals receive fair compensation.”
We invite you to demonstrate this commitment by sitting down with the Guild to begin a dialog about the future of journalism. We would like to discuss the values that we share, and build upon them to meet the rapid changes and demands taking place in the industry. Like you, we believe that for journalism to survive it must adapt to the digital age.
New technology should not make a worker’s paycheck obsolete.
You have championed the plight of workers in this country, which is why we are calling on you to demonstrate that commitment by meeting with us.
Click here for the full letter and here for background on the dispute from TNG. Click here to visit the Facebook “Hey Arianna, Can You Spare a Dime” by Guild Freelancers/ California Media Workers Guild.
Welcome back to Hotline Sort. All eyes are on Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who is set to make an announcement on the 2012 Senate race in Florida. Meanwhile, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) gets grilled and nationwide Census figures show a booming Hispanic population. Here’s today’s rundown:
6) Under a new bill sent to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) on Thursday, laws will no longer will include terms such as ” idiot,” “lunatic,” “mentally retarded” and “handicapped.” But sponsors of the legislation hesitated when it came to changing one law that forbids issuing marriage licenses when the applicants appear to be “drunk, insane or an imbecile.”
5) Doug Hampton, a former aide to Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) who implicated himself in wrongdoing in an effort to bring Ensign down for having an affair with his wife, has been charged with violating a law that forbids senior Senate staffers from lobbying the Senate for a year after they leave.
4) Congressional Republicans are sharply divided over how to critique America’s military efforts in Libya. As President Obama‘s handling of the situation continues to be watched closely, varying reactions from Capitol Hill Republicans and from potential Republican presidential candidates illustrates how difficult it is to form a consensus view, even within a party, on this issue.
3) Berkley sat down with Jon Ralston on “Face to Face” Thursday. She didn’t disclose whether she is running or not, but the transcript is worth a read, and the decision-making process has clearly been on Berkley’s mind for a while.
Quote of the interview: “Jon, you know, I feel like I have been pregnant now for 15 months,” Berkley told Ralston.
It’ll come as no surprise to anyone to learn that the recent bleak labor market has led to a decline in the labor force participation rate. But Catherine Rampell finds a new study out from the Congressional Budget Office (PDF) that predicts this is actually a long-term trend:
The report observes that the participation rate peaked at about 67 percent during the late 1990s and in 2000, since that’s when baby boomers were in their prime working-age years of 25 to 54. Women had also been entering the labor force at a rapid clip. But since then the share of women who choose to work has fallen. In fact, it’s now at the lowest level in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile baby boomers are reaching retirement age and dropping out of the labor force. Additionally, the share of people under age 25 who are working or looking for work has also fallen.
This logic seems a bit questionable to me. In the late 1990s we had a tight labor market. That was reflected in growing wages, and the growing wages reflected themselves in a growing labor force participation rate. In the aughts expansion, we didn’t get to the part of the business cycle where wages go up. What’s more, we never re-reached the previous peak of labor force participation. To me those sound like two ways of saying the same thing—weak labor market—not we had weak wage growth due to a weak labor market and this just happened to coincide with women and young people losing interest in work.
Kings Hopeful, Wherever Future Lies
With a record of 17-52, it's been a long season for the Sacramento Kings. With Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson stating he believes the team is in their "final season in Sacramento after 26 years," it is a sad end to the team's time …
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New York Daily News
After blowout, Vols' Pearl faces uncertain future
CHARLOTTE — A season filled with tumult ended miserably for Tennessee and coach Bruce Pearl on Friday when eighth seed Michigan ran the No. 9 Volunteers right out of Time Warner Cable Arena, 75-45 in the NCAA men's West …
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Vols Are Gone; Pearl Is Left Waiting
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Santiago, Chile (CNN) – President Barack Obama repeated Monday that Moammar Gadhafi “needs to go,” but he acknowledged the Libyan dictator may remain in power for some time because the allied military mission in North Africa has a more narrow mandate of just protecting innocent civilians.
“Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Colonel Gadhafi’s people,” Obama said at a news conference here.