defeet.JPGHello, everyone!  PW here, stepping in tonight for TRex, who is taking a much-deserved vacation.  Give him a big psychic birthday hug, 'kay?

Goodness Gracious, losing elections really seems to send conservatives and Republicans into Bonkersville, doesn't it?  (And it's not a hangover from '06, either — the Republicans are getting their butts kicked so far in this year's special elections; they've lost three seats to Democrats, whereas no Democratic seat has gone to a Republican.) As much as my feet may still be suffering the aftereffects of camping near a swamp right after a big rainfall and correspondingly big mosquito hatch (no, cotton socks soaked in Deep Woods Off don't do diddly to keep out the suckers), these poor persons seem to be suffering the tortures of the damned in comparison, to judge from current events.

First, courtesy of TNR's Jonthan Chait, we find out that the conservatives' chief think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, has decided that democracy sucks and dictatorships are where it's at

 …[AEI economist Kevin] Hassett points out that, over the last decade and a half, free-market dictatorships had faster economic growth than free-market democracies. The obvious explanation would be that dictatorships tend to be poorer countries (e.g., China) that can grow more quickly by catching up with modern technology. But Hassett offers up a different interpretation: Unlike democracies, dictatorships "are not hamstrung by the preferences of voters for, say, a pervasive welfare state." In other words, while Western democracies are held back by voters–with their pesky demands that citizens get health care and old people not be left to starve in the streets–autocracies march nobly toward a free-market paradise.

Lovely, eh?  It gets better: 

In addition to Hassett's odd defense of dictatorships, the current issue defends CEO pay, expresses skepticism about global warming, and denounces corporate democracy. University of Chicago economists Gary Becker (a Nobel Prizewinner) and Kevin Murphy contribute an essay titled "The Upside of Income Inequality." The upside I was expecting them to emphasize was that people with large incomes get very, very rich. But I guess that part was taken as a given. Becker and Murphy instead argue inequality has grown because "the labor market is placing a greater emphasis on education." Education makes people more productive; ergo, inequality is good.

It's true that the gap between college-educated and non-college- educated workers has grown. But the big rise in inequality is not between workers with degrees and workers without. It's between the top 1 percent and everybody else. Wouldn't raising taxes a bit on the top 1 percent help alleviate inequality? Becker and Murphy reply that, while a fairer tax code "may sound sensible, it is not," because it would amount to "a tax on going to college." So, if we raise the top tax rate, then 18-year-olds will choose to become convenience store clerks rather than go to college and run the small risk that they'll one day get so rich that they could face a slightly higher marginal tax rate?

Meanwhile, over in the Arrested Development subdivision of Wingnutville, we find the somewhat tetched Boston Herald city editor and conblogger Jules Crittenden exercising a strange and unhealthy fascinationrepeatedly — with Taylor Marsh and with Taylor Marsh's gazongas.  

Good Lord, was Jules a bottle baby?  Is he suffering from Wingnut Mammary Deprivation Disorder?  Is it because this is as close as he's ever going to get to willing sexual congress with anything other than his right hand?  

Consider this:  In order to find the shots he talks about, he has to find Taylor's blog, click on her bio, scroll down, then click a graphic, then scroll down again. That's an awful lotta work just to get a glimpse of somebody's mams, don't you think? (Oh, yes:  Crittenden isn't the right-wing Herald's only problem.  Like most wingnut media organs, they are steeped to the gills in Clinton Derangement Syndrome, to the point of utter inanity.)

Tsk, tsk, tsk.