Slacker Friday


We've got a new Think Again column called "The Boys in the Bubble," and it's here. I'll be on a panel Saturday at Royce Hall at the LA Times Book Festival at 2:30 p.m. (on the UCLA campus) with Arianna Huffington, David Frum, and Dan Schnur, and I'll be signing books at the Nation's booth before the panel at 12:30.

Name: Rich Siegel
Hometown: Northbrook IL

The phrase of the day is "closing the deal." Barack Obama was unable to close the deal in Pennsylvania, a state where he started at a 20 point deficit, and which had arguably the worst demographics for him of any state in the country.

Now that Hillary Clinton has the momentum, the tide has turned. Will she be able to close the deal in North Carolina, a state where she starts with a 20 point deficit, and which has similarly horrible demographics for her?

Name: Stephen Carver
Hometown: Los Angeles

It's nice to see The Peter Principle at work within our military system. The Iraq War has been a debacle by any reasonable standards, the "surge" has not achieved any of its stated goals, and General Petraeus gets a promotion.

Then again, it worked for W, too.

Name: Mark Bagby
Hometown: Bakersfield, CA

I have a sneaking suspicion that Gibson has pushed the $200,000 to $250,000 area as a middle class income because he'd been informed of what John McCain's tax return would show as income. It smacks of GOP games in terms of showing what a nice, middle class guy John McCain is, unlike the wealthy author Barack Obama and the Clintons. Apparently Gibson and the GOP think we really are that dumb.

Name: Merrill R. Frank
Hometown: Jackson Heights, NYC


The starting salary for a NYPD officer as a recruit is $25,100 annually while they are in the academy for 6 months. Their pay jumps to $32,800 after graduation and peaks at $59,588 after seven years.

Not great salary for the folks who have done a lot to keep this city safe since 9/11. And definitely not the beneficiaries of a capital gains tax reduction or most Bush policies. According to this piece, the low pay scale has enticed other cities to step up recruitment efforts with far higher pay scales, though not nearly close to his married couple's example of $200K. Basically we hire and train them until they find greener pastures. How does someone from the so-called party of "Law and Order," let's milk 9/11 as a campaign strategy explain this or I guess Larry would just refer to it a Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage free-trade act for cops.

Name: Rajesh
Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ

It's pretty ironic that the folks (Larry Kudlow, David Brooks, Dorothy Rabinowitz, John Fund etc.) that are valiantly challenging the tax hikes for the overwhelming number of academics that earn $200,000+ are the same ones that are against the teachers union (you know, the ones who want to increase teachers' salaries) and are the same ones that want to actively promote the message that academia is filled with anti-American loonies who need to be purged.

Having it every way possible -- that's the conservative spirit! Bravo.

Name: Phil Schumacher
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD

I wanted to thank you for your posting on Adm. Fallon's resignation. It was the best post I have read as to the need for civilian oversight of the military -- even when we may agree with the opposing view being expressed. Sometimes in our opposition to what the President is doing, there are certain lines that should not be crossed. The admiral crossed that line.

I believe this is also a reminder to all of us not to expect some intervention from above to prevent another war or stop Bush. It is going to take the active participation of the citizenry. The excuse that someone else will save us is dangerous to democracy, because it can lead to hero worhsip and all of its toxic side effects.

Thank you LTC Bateman for your discussion.

Name: John D
Hometown: Kinnelon, NJ

Let's not forget what happened to the late, great Col. David Hackworth, who until his death was the most decorated living US soldier. A CO in the field, when questioned about the potential success of that effort, he spoke the truth about Vietnam and look what that earned him. Nevertheless, a Col. Hackworth-type speaking out about Iraq FROM Iraq would be refreshing.

Name: Derek Lessing
Hometown: Philly

Military officers who speak out against an administration that wants to start foolhardy wars are trying to fix a problem that's ultimately caused by us voters. We put Bush into office and then re-elected him. Moreover, we put the Congressmen and -women into office who rolled over and gave Bush the green light to invade Iraq, and who now can't be bothered to exercise their power of the purse in an attempt to bring this Iraq fiasco to an end.

Elections are important. If we want to keep the officers who have derailed their careers (Shinseki, Fallon) due to speaking honestly in public, then we need to elect better bosses for them.

Name: Jim
Hometown: Swanzey, NH

I agree with the LTC. Military men are able to speak out, but they must resign or retire if they wish to do so publicly. If we as citizens don't like that, our obligation is to become involved in insuring that our civilian leadership is competent and appreciative of those who serve instead of callous, craven, and vainglorious.

Name: Geraldo
Hometown: Winnipeg

Shorter LTC Bateman: "We were just following orders, your honor."

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