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Archive: March 2007

Ann Coulter Drops the F-Bomb

Wow! Ann Coulter called John Edwards a "faggot" at last week's Conservative Political Action Committe conference here in Washington, DC.

Of course, Coulter has said worse before. For example, she once confessed (to The New York Observer, subscription only) that "[m]y only regret with [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building." (Source: Media Matters.)

But, here she is on Edwards (courtesy of YouTube):

I'll be posting an update when Tony Snow or Vice President Cheney or Laura Bush distance themselves from Coulter's remarks.

UPDATE: Flash Player 9 for Linux

Back on November 22, 2006, I posted the news that Adobe had released a beta version of Flash Player 9 for Linux. Just a note now to pass on that Adobe has since posted a non-beta version.

The Adobe page includes two versions --an rpm file that worked perfectly on my Fedora Core 5 machines, and a tar file with an executable inside that worked perfectly on my Ubuntu-powered laptop. In either case, just follow the nice instructions provided by Adobe.

Some New Papers on Unions

My colleague, Ben Zipperer, and I have two new short pieces out on the tough times facing US unions.

At the end of January, CEPR ran a one-page comment on the most recent union membership numbers, which are published annually every January by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The big news was that, for the first time in U.S. history, union membership rates were lower in manufacturing than in the rest of the economy. Overall, union membership fell to 12.0 percent of the total workforce, and to just 7.4 percent of workers in the private sector.

And this week, CEPR released a short report on the continuing decline in African-American representation in unions, manufacturing, and auto manufacturing in particular. African-Americans are still about 30 percent more likely than other workers to be in a union. But, as recently as the early 1980s, blacks were 50 percent more likely to be in a union than the average worker.

Part of the explanation for the deterioration in black representation in unions is a big decline in the share of overall employment in the traditionally more unionized manufacturing sector. The simultaneous sharp decline since the early 1990s in the relative employment of blacks in manufacturing magnified the effect.

But, as Ben and I noted in a separate report released in early January (see my post from January 5, 2007), probably the most important reason for the decline in overall unionization rates is the sustained employer assault against unions, which President Reagan kicked off when he fired the air-traffic controllers in the early 1980s. The quickest way to make the point is to note that the unionization rate in the public sector has hardly changed since the late 1970s. Public-sector employers are (Reagan's action against the PATCO strikers aside) a lot more constrained than private-sector employers when it comes to the kinds of anti-union actions they can take.

The report on African-American union representation got a nice write-up in the Detroit News.