LBO 131 out

Just out: Left Business Observer #131. Emailed to electronic subscribers, at the printer’s for the rest. contents banishing Marx • debt & the slump • explaining test scores • what the net is doing to us • inflation! • educating the masses • immigrants: not guilty • Scrooge goes Xmas shopping Tastes of each here. If you don’t subscribe yet, what’s wrong with you? Do it here! Find out why Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz looked up while reading a recent issue to decleare LBO full of “wonderful rants and some very interesting facts.”

Us on Progressive Radio

Matt Rothschild, editor of The Progressive, interviewed Liza & me when we were in Madison for his radio show. Here it is: Doug Henwood and Liza Featherstone | The Progressive

Sucky demo in NYC

This morning, New York City joined many other localities around the USA in mounting demonstrations in support of the Wisconsin workers. It was nothing like Madison, let me tell you. As I noted in one of my reports from Madison last week: A New Yorker couldn’t help but be struck by how there was no effort to keep people out of the Capitol—no metal detectors, no police lines, in fact only a handful of cops inside the building. Indeed, in New York City you can’t even get near City Hall any longer,… Read More

Everyday ideology

The spelling dictionary for Adobe’s Creative Suite 5 does not recognize the names “Marx” or “Engels.”


It’s widely believed on the American left that the Democrats have moved right and that the difference between the parties has nearly vanished. That’s a tempting POV, for sure. But it’s hard to reconcile with Congressional voting habits. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, both parties had liberal and conservative wings. Starting in the 1980s, they began to diverge, and now by one measure, they’ve never been so polarized. This is via ABC’s The Note: “In the long march toward a more parliamentary and partisan Washington, National Journal‘s 2010 congressional vote ratings mark… Read More

Andy Stern: I ran out of “Andy Stern ideas”

But he still thinks that it’s time to drop the class struggle unionism (where’s that, anyway?) and enter into partnerships with employers—employers who want to see unions disappear. What a sad and silly man. Ezra Klein – Andy Stern: ‘It may not end beautifully in Wisconsin.’ In the ’30s, people didn’t want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes and various other things. We had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. And there still obviously… Read More

StimPak still stimulating

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is out with its latest estimates of the effects of the stimulus package—officially the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA)—on employment and incomes. For the fourth quarter of 2010, the CBO estimates that ARRA: raised real GDP by 1.1–3.5% lowered the unemployment rate by 0.7–1.9 points increased the number of people employed by 1.3–3.5 million increased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by 1.8–5.0 million above what would have happened without ARRA These are substantial numbers. Take GDP. The midpoint of the estimate is 2.3%. Real GDP is… Read More

More bad news for the Koch-heads

A Gallup/USA Today national poll also shows strong support for collective bargaining rights for public sector workers: 61% of respondents would oppose a law in their state similar to the one proposed by Gov. Walker.  Who knew?

Wisconsin poll: encouraging

Ok, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is a Democratic firm, and they did the poll for the AFL-CIO, but still, they’re reputable and smart and their findings are a pleasant surprise: 41% of Wisconsin voters approve of Gov. Scott Walker, and 51% disapprove, a gap of –10. Strongly approve less strongly disapprove is even worse for Walker, at –12. Walker’s net favorable of –10 is exactly reversed for the legislature’s Dems, who are 10 points in the positive column. Unions are even better liked: 53% favorable, 31% unfavorable, for a net of +22. The Tea… Read More

More Wisconsin

Back in Brooklyn now, but I did want to tie up a few loose ends and post some pix from yesterday’s scene at the Wisconsin State Capitol. First, a couple of comments, then some pix. It looks like much of the Wisconsin budget shortfall came from some spending initiatives and tax breaks pushed through by Walker and the Republican-dominated legislature: an economic development fund, health savings accounts, and tax breaks for employers. In any case, what Walker sees as a $137 million deficit, and the state’s independent fiscal auditor sees as a $56… Read More

Wisconsin erupts

By some strange but excellent coincidence, our visit to Madison coincided with a tremendous series of demonstrations against Gov. Scott Walker’s plans to destroy public employee unions in the state, and no doubt inspire other governors to do the same. Wisconsin, it should be noted, was the first state to recognize the right of public employees to bargain collectively; Walker wants to make it a leader in reversing that history. Liza & I dropped by today’s protest at the state Capitol—one that we’re told was far larger than yesterday’s, which is said to… Read More

A visit to Madison

Liza, Ivan, and I will be traveling to Madison, for several talks at the University of Wisconsin. I’m talking Tuesday at 4; Liza, Wednesday at 4; both of us, Thursday at 12:20. Details: “The Crisis is Over: What Next?” (Doug Henwood) Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 4pm, 206 Ingraham Hall “Behind the Mirror: Focus Groups and What they Reveal” (Liza Featherstone) Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 4pm, 8417 Social Science Open Seminar for Students, Faculty, and Public Thursday, February 17, 2011, 12:20 pm, 8108 Social Science More: Politics in the Age of Scarcity | Havens… Read More

Chaos at KPFA

Having left behind the insanity at WBAI, where they’re now raising money off the loopy conspiracy documentary Zeitgeist (featuring, among others, the LaRouchie 9/11 conspiracist Webster Tarpley), I’m now confronted with the continuing chaos and decay at KPFA. The latest: newly installed station manager Amit Pendyal resigned because Pacifica executive director Arlene Engelhardt wouldn’t let him do his job. By all appearances, Engelhardt is in way over her head, and is acting like a tinpot dictator in the name of “grassroots” and “community”—which in practice means amateurish crap that no one wants to… Read More

Celebrating Reagan

If you’re sick of all the encomia to Ronnie on the 100th anniversary of his birth, check this out: It’s by the Swedish band Charta77. I recorded it ages ago from Pat Duncan’s old show on WFMU.

New radio product

Freshly posted to my radio archives: February 5, 2011 Lance Lochner, author of this NBER paper, on the social returns to education (lower crime, better health) • Vijay Prashad of Trinity College on the Egyptian revolution