NDN Blog

Rallying the Democratic Base

The Post today covers the slow downfall of Republican incumbents in the Northeast, a sign for optimism for Democrats this fall. Says Rep. Jim Gerlach of suburban Philadelphia of his party's predicament:

"It is a combination of things, from the war in Iraq to gas prices to what they are experiencing in their local areas."

A multitude of issues, all seeming to make the R into a scarlet letter, like Michael Steele suggested. It also curiously coincides with some observations made by NPI Fellow Ruy Teixiera in his study of exurbia. Things are certainly changing, just how much we'll find out in November.

Telephia Study: 34.6 Million Users Browsed Web on Mobile Phones in June 2006

As cross posted in a tech blog I run called mobile democracy, new data is out today from research company Telephia shows that today, over 81% of Internet users have phones capable of browsing the web using the latest Web mobile standards . And that currently about 34.6 million users browsed the web in June using mobile phones.

Read their press release from Telephia research here, but some here are some highlights…

The most popular sites browsed over phones are as you might expect (weather, mail, search and local info)…but also news with CNN being the 8th most popular mobile site seeing almost 2.8 million mobile users in June.

Top Mobile Websites for June 2006 (U.S.)

Mobile Website Unique Audience (000) Reach of Subscribers

1. Yahoo! Mail 6,531 3.0%
2. The Weather Channel
(Weather.com) 5,827 2.7%
3. ESPN 5,345 2.5%
4. Google Search 4,356 2.0%
5. MSN Hotmail 3,441 1.6%
6. MapQuest 3,067 1.4%
7. AOL Mail 2,907 1.4%
8. CNN 2,799 1.3%
9. Yahoo! Weather 2,740 1.3%
10. Yahoo! Search 2,531 1.2%
Source: Telephia Mobile Internet Report, June 2006

The release also says:

‘As xHTML-MP support becomes more widespread, mobile consumers will have greater access to richer presentation of content on their phones,’ added Brenner.”


Liberal Bloggers Are Closet New Dems. Discuss.

TNR's Noam Schreiber's can't exactly be accused of trying to build bridges between his magazine and its blogging critics. His latest collumn accuses Lamont supporters and associated bloggers of being - gasp! - secrret New Democrats. Schreiber is a talented writer, and his case is worth reading, especially for the links to research by PEW looking at self-identified political tribes within the two parties:

An interesting thing happened between 1999 and 2005, when Pew conducted another detailed analysis of the electorate: The New Democrats had entirely disappeared as a group while the liberals had doubled in size. The strong implication was that the New Democrats had been driven into the liberal camp by the extremism of the Bush administration. .... Of course, there are other reasons affluent Democrats might have moved leftward on economics in recent years. Certainly the consequences of globalization--outsourcing, the decline of traditional pensions, et cetera--have raised voters' economic anxieties. But, as a group, the former New Democrats tend to be more insulated from these trends than most. They are, by and large, still society's success stories. As such, they generally benefit from a smaller and leaner (though nonetheless active) government, which suggests to me that Bush is behind most of the group's leftward drift.

Schreiber's ultimatel conclusion is, it seems to me, less good. He seems unable to avoid taking a rather odd pot-shot at Libertarians (via, predictably, a Daily Kos post.) Instead, what seems to me to follow from his piece is much more interesting. Kos and his allies, as exemplified in Crashing the Gates, always have shown a pragmatic, heterodox "winning is what matters" streak, contrary to many of their more orthodox liberal followers. This pragmatic approach to politics used to be wholly owned by the centrist Dems. Thus, is it too much of a stretch to say that while moderate "New Democrat" politics has been on the backfoot in oppostion, that the Lamont-ites might find it more palatable as a governing philosophy when the Dems return to power?

Ahmadinejad's Blog: More "Death to the Infidels," Less "CT-Sen"

Looking for a blog that talks about what you can do to help wipe Israel off the map?  Need more information on Iran's "civilian nuclear energy program"?  Or maybe you are just looking for some nostalgic tales of the glory days of the Islamic Revolution.  Well look no further, because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched his own blog.

The first post clocked in at over 2000 words, but President Ahmadinejad said that "With hope in God, I intend to wholeheartedly complete my talk in future with allotted 15 minutes."  I left a comment saying that in the next post he should just give us his quick take on the days top stories published in the government-controlled press.  At least it wouldn't be another politician complaining about how his message is filtered by the media.  And if President Ahmadinejad can't bring more brevity to www.ahmadinejad.ir I think it would be appropriate for the UN Security Council to impose some kind of sanctions.  After all, it is up to the civilized world to make sure a powerful weapon like a blog is not abused by a madman. 

NDN in the News

Simon was quoted in Dan Balz's interesting take on the Lieberman race, in Saturday's Post.

Simon Rosenberg, founder of the Democratic group NDN that has sought to be a bridge between centrist Democrats and the more liberal world of bloggers and Internet activists, said: "Lieberman's calculation here that there is a revulsion against Washington is not correct. There's revulsion at Republican governance."

Immigration Reform: Not Dead?

Pence-Hutchison might sound like a character from a British colonial novel, but the Washington post thinks it might just be the last, best hope for Immigration reform.

Pence-Hutchison concentrates on benchmarks tied to resources and capabilities: hiring more agents, increasing detention capacity and making certain that employers poised to hire immigrant workers have a reliable system (secure identification cards, accurate databases) to verify eligibility. Postponing the rest of reform for two years while these goals are met isn't ideal, but it's a reasonable compromise.

The as-yet-unwritten proposals from this Texan / Indianan Senatorial Team is
gathering a moderate head of steam. But, intriguingly, there still seems to be little agreement amongst conservatives about its merits. The American Spectator, for instance, seems to like the smell of it. The National Review doesn't: they "aren’t persuaded that the country needs a guest-worker program to begin with." If the President's backers can't figure out which strip of reform they like, the likelyhood of compromise is greatly lessened. And, in the end, it is the GOP who lose most if no reform is passed. Perhaps they haven't figured that one out yet?



Outsourcing Fails to Destroy America Shock

If the past is any guide to the present, then scaremongering over outsourcing will increase as we get closer to the November elections. As polling day approaches, any candidate seeking a few extra votes is more likely to throw their lot in with Pat Buchanan, Lou Dobbs, Lyndon LaRouche and the wild-eyed hairy man on the street corner in predicting the swift economic collapse of the American economy due to foreign competition. All the more reason, then, to read this sane, interesting article by Daniel Gross in the sunday Times business section. Gross uses the story of Greg Manciw's public defenestration two years ago,

Economists have also found that jobs or sectors susceptible to outsourcing aren’t disappearing. Quite the opposite.... in recent years there has been greater job insecurity in the tradable job categories. But they [Economists] also concluded that jobs in those industries paid higher wages, and that tradable industries had grown faster than nontradable industries. “That could mean that this is our competitive advantage,” Mr. Jensen says. “In other words, what the U.S. does well is the highly skilled, higher-paid jobs within those tradable services.”

Look out for that one on the stump in the fall. You might be looking for a while.

Mobile Blogging

In another sign that world s of blogging and mobile media continue to merge, TypePad, one of the largest commercial blog hosts, just announced TypePad mobile. This is an application that runs on your mobile phone enabling an easier and quicker experience of posting blog entries, and uploading pictures directly from your mobile phone to your Typepad hosted blog.

Where a number of other blog solutions have supported web based mobile blog posting, this is one of the more advanced blogging native software applications that runs directly on your smartphone. Details and pictures over here...

-- Tim

New Dem Foreign Policy Shop Opens

As things go from bad to ouch in the middle east, Democrats need another conflicting opinion on security issues like a, well, a high profile infighting senate contest. But that, according to the WSJ's excellent Washington Wire, is what we have.

As divided Democrats reacted to the U.K. terrorist plot, a new voice was emerging, pitched somewhere between those pushing for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and those who advocate staying the course. The National Security Network, aimed at gathering the best progressive ideas on national security and providing a counter to the firepower of conservative think tanks, will officially open for business in September.

The group, which doesn't have a website as yet, kicks off at the end of the summer. It is lead by Rand Beers. Beers, in addition to being part of a teaching double act with Dick Clarke at the Kennedy School, advised the Kerry campaign on foreign policy. Which, upon reflection, might be why that "between those pushing for immediate withdrawal from Iraq and those who advocate staying the course" angle is so eerily familiar...........

Why Immigrants Boost American Jobs

NDN’s Globalization Initiative and our Hispanic Strategy Centre tend to roam in different parts of the forest. But we join in our interest in story’s like this morning’s Post piece saying that immigrants don’t destroy American jobs. Why is this news? Apocalyptic visions of House Republicans certainly has more to do with it than any earth shattering economic revelation. It is worth restating, nevertheless, that there is no reason in theory to think that immigrants “take American jobs.” (See the “Lump of Labor fallacy for more on this.) In fact, there are some reasons to think that immigrants can increase employment. A recent study of immigrant workers in North Carolina found that Latino immigrants did cost $100m more in services than they paid in taxes, something which shouldn’t really be too surprising given the profile of public assistance users generally. But the same group contributed nearly $10 bn – yes, ten billion – in spending, or approximately 90,000 extra jobs.

Wages are a thornier issue. In theory, low skilled immigrants lower the wages of low skilled Americans, for instance high school dropouts or illiterate adults. Whether they do or not is hotly contested in academic literature. But the wider point is that the type of wage stagnation discussed in Rob and Simon's NDN memo earlier this month has, say most economists, almost nothing to do with immigration levels. (Most agree that this is a long-term term trend born of changing returns to skills, new technologies and patterns of trade.) The best overview i've seen of all of this is the excellent Economist Economics Focus for the pros and cons. But note in particular the final line:

None of these studies is decisive, but taken together they suggest that immigration, in the long run, has had only a small negative effect on the pay of America's least skilled and even that is arguable. If Congress wants to reduce wage inequality, building border walls is a bad way of going about it.

Nicely said. I wonder if anyone is listening?

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