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It's a big world out there, but Dylan Matthews is slightly taller than you'd expect him to be.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 24, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
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no doubt he stands on the shoulders of giants!

Posted by: bdballard | June 24, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Pls see my demands at the end of this re-post from today's wonkbook thread....


I would like to go on record as accusing the major news media, the WP included, for being complicit with BP to help them coverup many aspects of the Gulf Oil Disaster.

- There is proof that BP intimidates people trying to investigate the extent and nature of the spill. Why hasn't the major media covered this and demanded answers and access?

- BP has banned overflights of many areas, even areas away from oil rigs. Why hasn't the media banged fists on nightly shows demanding answers?

- BP has acted to inhibit genuine scientific research on the spill. Why no repeated demands on nightly TV for correction of this?

- BP is accused of collecting dead or injured animals and disposing of them in secret, perhaps even burning them alive. Why hasn't the media screamed for answers?

- Lesser known, alternative news sites have been on the top of many related stories and often reports on them weeks in advance of the mainstream media. For example, I knew there were concerns of a breach in the well casings somewhere deep below the seafloor long before any major news organization reported on it. I saw the videos of possible oil seepage through the seafloor weeks before any major news outlet reported them.

- How much big oil money has the major media received this year for advertisements or other sources of income? How much has the WP received?

- Isn't it a conflict of interest for any major news organization to receive advertisement income from any major corporation, especially when such ads do not appeal to consumers to buy a specific product? Relatedly, what percentage of news income derives from big oil or defense related sources?

- Do the board of directors for news corporations directly or indirectly link to people who run oil or defense companies? If so, in what percentage or how many?

- Too many reporters and journalists attend high profile social functions held by gvmt or the businesses they report on. The media, including the WP, has been as corrupted by gvmt and big businesses as the MMS was corrupted by big oil.

- Why does the media go bonkers over such stories as a boy in a helium balloon but won't get excited by the fact that BP is acting like an occupying force and holding the media at arm's length? Has the media even demanded a press conference from BP to have them answer tough questions?

- In essence, through greed or incompetence or both, the media HELPED push for the Iraq War and HELPED dishonest voices rule the health care debate and HELPED BP coverup the true extent and nature of the Gulf Oil Disaster.

I DEMAND ANSWERS about why the media themselves have failed to demand full access from day one and not reported on many of these issues and how much money you all earned this year from big oil and defense-related companies.

Posted by: Lomillialor | June 24, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

As an advocate for a strong Disclose Act and the Fair Elections Now Act, How much do we as a country spend on elections and lobbying, respectively? Can we further break out this information further between the source of the contribution (i.e., individual contributions, corporate spending, etc.) and the type of election be it at the federal or state level and whether it is a Senate, Presidential, House, or most shockingly Judicial seat? I'm worried the results will be rather shocking.

Posted by: MSPMatt | June 24, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Why are dispersants still allowed to be used in the Macondo disaster?

What benefits do they have to the clean up effort?

What are the ecological problems they cause and what difficulties do they cause to the ecosystem?

Have they ever been used in the millions of gallons?

Posted by: BobSanderson | June 24, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Just as a recap, what caused the sudden stock market collapse that took place a few weeks ago? Does the latest FinReg proposal provide a bastion against such collapse and a definite, documented, regulator-independent means of identifying causes of other sudden collapses?

Posted by: rmgregory | June 24, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

When different countries' health care systems are compared on outcomes - wait times in particular, how do researchers generally factor in care that is simply not available due to lack of coverage? How does one factor in infinite wait times, or do wait time averages only include patients who do eventually get seen?

Posted by: jeirvine | June 24, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

In his testimony to the Energy Committee, Tony Hayward admitted that the Blowoff Preventer (BOP) needed to be redesigned. In his written testimony, he presented this as his second conclusion.

The entire industry is using the present BOP technology in their exploratory drilling operations. How long will this redesign take and what are the implications on the moratorium if the industry no longer believes in the present BOP technology?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 24, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of out there, but here goes:
Some research has suggested that height has an impact on life outcomes, with taller people being happier, getting more promotions, etc than shorter people. Is there comparable research on the effects of names? That is, do people with simple/Anglo names do better than those with unusual, perhaps difficult to pronounce, names?

Posted by: scharch | June 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Several posts recently have been discussing state and local budgets. One point not mentioned were unfunded mandates. What is the cost to the states as a whole, and even better on a state by state breakdown, of unfunded federal mandates?

Posted by: chris_soule | June 24, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

There is a lot of talk in the news about new grads being unable to find jobs, but the unemployment rate for people with college degrees is relatively low. However, the unemployment rate for young people is rather high.

What is the unemployment rate for young people with college degrees? Also, is there a larger number of young college grads that are not in the labor force than normal years (ie in grad school or volunteering)?

Posted by: will12 | June 24, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Not sure this exactly fits, but Ezra has focused a fair amount of attention to the way that Senate rules allow minorities (and even individuals) to gum up the works. It's my understanding that one of the ways this is accompished is by placing holds with the understanding that any Senator can force days worth of debate on any minor topic or appointee, and the majority can't afford to spend so much time on everything.

Given this, why does the Senate ever take official recesses? Can't they take unoffical recesses and have 1 or 2 Senators hanging around to keep the doors oen and at least knock out a few weeks worth of required debate on selected issues/nominees, to clear out some of the holds? It's not a full solution, but every little bit helps.

Posted by: dt4211 | June 24, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

My questions are related to overtime pay.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1937 established the rules for overtime pay, including exemptions and salary caps. This was passed during the Great Depression as a means of encouraging higher employment. From an economics perspective, overtime pay is a penalty on any business that is understaffed. If asking employees to work more than 40 hours per week is more expensive, the employer will need to hire more employees. During a time of high unemployment, as we have today, there is an argument that the overtime rules should be strengthened to increase employment.

My questions are below:

1) Has the salary cap been updated since 1937? Currently it is somewhere around an anemic $23,000 per year. This salary is a little more than twice the absurdly low poverty threshold published by HHS (and realistically, much closer to the poverty line than the official threshold suggests). Is this the original amount from 1937? If this is the original cap, what would the salary be today, adjusted for inflation? If this is not the original cap, A) what was it and B) what would the original cap be today, adjusted for inflation?

2) Have any studies been done to project the effect on unemployment if the salary cap were higher than $23K?

3) Have any studies been done to project the effect on unemployment if the 2004 FairPay Act exemptions were rolled back?

Posted by: punditpending | June 24, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What percentage of the federal budget goes towards salaries and benefits? What if you exclude the postal service and DOD? What about state budgets?

Posted by: keir1 | June 24, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

first off Dylan you're not too short you're under-tall.

I'd like to see if there are any studies on paranoia and how economic conditions deteriorating affect increases in paranoia among Ezra's readers.

Posted by: visionbrkr | June 24, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse


Please do something -- anything -- on immigration. It's a top issue (in Arizona and, soon, in this fall's elections), and I doubt very many people on any side have much of a grasp of any real facts.


P.S. I'm of slightly more average height than many people expect.

Posted by: paul65 | June 24, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Dylan, at our weekly book group session the other day one member opined that Americans are the most generous people in the world, having in mind charitable contributions. I'm not so sure. Anything hard on this?

More specifically, how do Americans compare with the people of other countries as to charitable contributions, in total, per capita, in proportion to GDP or some other measure of wealth. And if possible, please break out contributions to churches, which, I think, are in large part payment of the cost of mutual member benefits, rather than "charity" which benefits the larger community.

A comparison of non-military foreign aid (international "charity," if you will) would also be interesting. And if you can, note aid which is truly disinterested from aid which is tied to purchasing donor goods.


Posted by: wintday | June 24, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

A little late coming, but i hope you'll consider this.

So, Ruy Teixeira's demographic study over at CAP portends to a pretty grim future for the GOP, with their constituencies shrinking while the Democrat's grow. The question is how have the predictions of major past demographic studies panned out? Specifically, I'm most interested in the predictions of the youth vote, since I imagine the trends of the youth vote in the 60s don't intuitively lead to the history of the 80s.

Posted by: weebot | June 24, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

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