Wednesday, May 25, 2005

American Idol

It was a tough call, but after seeing Carrie Underwood singing with Rascal Flats, I think she deserved to win American Idol. She was so natural on the big stage, and at the same time a sweet down-home all-American girl. Of course, Bo Bice was great as well, and I think in a short while they will both be as well known as Reuben Studdard and Clay Aiken (and to be honest, I can't recall whether it was Reuben or Clay who actually won a couple seasons ago). And I think there was a lot of great talent on that stage, as most all of the "top ten" are incredibly talented. Vonzell was totally awesome singing her number tonight - a phenomenal voice and she is so beautiful! We've seen some great performances this season from Anwar, Nikko, Anthony, Mikhaila, and Constantine too. But I do have to quibble with the judges' repeated comment that this is the best season they've had. I think they had an all-round strong final group this year, making it hard to winnow. But while there were many really good performances, I don't think that there were any truly awe-inspiring gobsmacking performances like we saw in the past seasons. Fantasia Barrino singing "Summertime" was absolutely galvanizing, and we didn't see its equal this season. Overall, we really enjoy the show, and think it's doing a great job of bringing attention to some great young talent across the country.

And, as a technologist, I have to say, it's quite impressive that the show drew 500 million votes this season. The spring 2003 Idol drew 24 million votes, with 2.5 million text messages sent on the final show alone. The 2004 Idol had 7.5 million text messages sent in its final show, with tens of millions of votes through the season. Sponsoring American Idol was a stroke of genius for ATT Wireless, since in 2003 (the first year they used text message voting), one third of the 2.5 million voters were using the text message feature for the first time. That was a heck of a lot better marketing than the $120M they dropped on their m-Life campaign. (Remember m-Life? Nobody else does either.) I'll be interested to hear the stats for Verizon Wireless this year.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

World War II Memorial

Last week, while on a business trip to Washington DC, I had my first chance to visit the most recent (and in some parts controversial) addition to the national mall, the World War II Memorial. When I had first heard about the proposed World War II Memorial, I was in the camp of those who were very concerned about the open spaces and vistas of the national mall being marred by some new memorial interposing itself between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool. Now that I've actually seen it, I'm relieved to see that the designers have done a great job of creating a worthwhile addition to the mall while also being sensitive not to disrupt the openness and vistas. President Lincoln's view toward the Washington Monument and the Capitol is not really obstructed at all, but rather nicely framed. And likewise from Washington's view looking back toward Lincoln. The new monument is a large open plaza rather than a single central object, with the only structures of any height being the semi-circles of pillars on either side of it, and the domed pavilions in the center of each semi-circle, all of which are in a tasteful scale that does not detract from the other monuments, nor impede the openness of the mall. As any good monument should, it offers a variety of points for contemplation on its theme, including various quotes about the war and the victory, and names of prominent battles (the two sides represent the Pacific and Atlantic theaters). There is the requisite symbolism: a field of 4000 gold stars behind a fountain representing the over 400,000 lives given in the cause, 56 pillars representing each state and territory with a bronze cord showing their bond of unity in the cause. The American eagle sculptures, wreaths and such, in a St. Gaudens-esque style, evoke both patriotism and a sense of that era. I think my personal favorite part was the bronze bas relief panels depicting scenes on both the war front and the "home front". I think it's a welcome addition. (Now, that's really it. Stop. Enough already! Put the Reagan monument somewhere else.)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Epiphany 23

May 23, 1982, toward the end of my sophomore year in college, is a day I celebrate as my epiphany, or as I sometimes call it, my "gay birthday". It was not so much a day that I suddenly had all the answers, but it was the day I started asking the right questions. The experience of that day (or night, rather) both disrupted and clarified the path my life would take, and for that experience as well as its consequences, I am truly grateful. (You can read the whole story here, on an old personal web site that's become a bit of a time-capsule of my life as of 1998.)

What is remarkable to me now is to look back over the 23 years since my epiphany and realize with some astonishment at how much the world has changed for gay people. 1982. We were just beginning to recognize the AIDS crisis. Sodomy was illegal in more than half the states. It would be nearly another decade before we'd have our first few tentative gay characters on TV. Remember the shockwaves of seeing two men seen in the same bed on Thirtysomething (1989), Abby and CJ's kiss on LA Law (1991), Roseanne's kiss, or Melrose Place's Matt having an almost-on-screen kiss (1997)? On screen, 1982 was the year of the movie Making Love. Remember that one? Don't worry, nobody else does either. Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, and Richard Gere all turned down the opportunity to play a young married doctor who finds himself having an affair with another man. In 1982, most gay people were legitimately closeted at work, for fear of losing their jobs. It wouldn't be until the early 1990s that a few radicals started to rock the workplace by seeking domestic partner benefits. And I can remember taking part in a 1992 discussion in Out/Look magazine on the topic of gay marriage, pro and con. At the time, those on both sides of that debate saw it as an abstract remote ideal that may or may not become a real option in our lifetimes.

Granted, we certainly have a ways to go, and the "backlash" of state marriage amendments is disheartening. But I can't help but feel great about the time I've lived in when I step back and look at the longer perspective.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Google Hit

It seems I've scored a hit on Google. In the past, whenever I've even missed a day or two of blogging, I've noticed the number of visitors to my blog declines. In recent weeks, I've had an average of less than 10 visitors to my blog per day. So this last week, while I was gone, I figured it would drop off altogether. Wrong. It was the usual handful of stalwarts in the beginning of the week, and then on Wednesday, I had over 60 people visit, and nearly as many on Thursday and Friday. I figured somebody must have linked one of my posts. So I looked at the "referring pages" to see where these visitors were coming from. Google! Nearly every one of them. It seems that whatever "secret sauce" it takes to rise to the top of Google's results pages, I inadvertently hit it. On Wednesday, I was at the top of the list for anyone querying on "filibuster history". The Google algorithm is intentionally mysterious, but some combination of keywords, content "relevance", links, "freshness", and who knows what else. Guess I did something right.

Granted, I've been ranting about the filibuster and supermajorities long enough, so it was good of Google to send inquirers my way. Still, it's an unexpected surprise to come back from a week away and find more visitors than I've had in a long time! Now, if only some of them are from "red states" and were swayed just a bit toward the sensible conclusion. It seems that Tuesday is "nuclear day", so if the issue reaches its critical mass, I pray that there are at least 6 GOP Senators who do the right thing.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Intermittent Blogging Ahead

I'm just running out the door for a business trip to the Washington DC area. Not sure what my Internet access will be, so blogging may be light this week. On the upside, I usually get some good book-reading done on the plane, so may have some book reviews soon. (Reading? Remember reading? Or, remember having time to read?)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

FILM: Ladies in Lavender

Ladies in Lavender was an exquisite movie, portraying how the lives of two old sisters in a Cornish fishing village are touched when a mysterious young man washes ashore in their cove. A fleeting extraordinary experience can make a profoundly beautiful impression on a life. Though we know such experiences are inevitably transient, we also inevitably want to hold on to them and make them last. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith masterfully enact the sisters, two characters with complex emotional lives hidden beneath their English surface, subtly revealed more through expressions and tone than what is actually spoken. Daniel Bruehl is credibly adorable as the mysterious young foreigner. The film is beautifully crafted by writer/director Charles Dance, with the study in character touchingly sketched, and with the townsfolk and scenery of Cornwall making a charming backdrop. And of course the music, featuring Joshua Bell's violin, with a touch of Cornish country pub music, is marvelous. The film, like the experience it portrays, is touching and beautiful.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Separation of Church and Members

Speaking of neoantidisestablishmentarianism, there's been buzz all week about the North Carolina Baptist church that voted 9 of its members out of the church because they didn't vote for President Bush. Apparently, at least 40 members of the East Waynesville Baptist Church, lead by their pastor, don't believe in separation of church and state, and moreover, do believe in separation of the church from its members who don't toe the favored political line. The pastor (who resigned after public pressure) claimed it was a misunderstanding, saying "No one has ever been voted from the membership of this church due to an individual's support or lack of support for a political party or candidate." And even other pastors in the area raised their eyebrows. "This is very disturbing," the Rev. Robert Prince III, who leads the congregation at the nearby First Baptist Church, said Saturday. "I've been a pastor for more than 25 years, and I have never seen church members voted out for something like this."

Like many, I find the whole blurring of religion and politics disturbing for political reasons. But I find something else very disturbing for religious reasons, and that's this whole notion of voting anybody out of their church. A Christian church should not be like some reality show where people get "voted off the island". But apparently, it is not at all unheard of for a self-righteous congregation to "disfellowship" some of its members when they don't meet the church's approval. I was appalled when I first heard of this practice. Isn't that the spiritual equivalent of throwing somebody out of a life raft? How can people call themselves Christian and do such a thing? (Perhaps they read the Gospels and thought that the Pharisees were the heroes of the story?)

Look again at the quotes above from those two pastors. While both of them claim to disapprove of a purely political ouster, they also both clearly suggest that there may be other legitimate reasons for voting someone out. I wonder, just what sort of reasons might there be for disfellowshipping someone? For true Christians, I don't think there are any. (Even if someone embezzled the church funds, well, just read Les Miserables to learn the appropriate Christian response to that.) There are at least 40 people in East Waynesville, and countless others like them all across the country, who need to do some serious soul-searching about what it really means to be a Christian. I suppose these people might think they're just trying to distance themselves from sin. But this is not to follow the example of Jesus, who consorted with tax collectors and prostitutes, and who taught that whatever you do to the least among us, you do to Him. So essentially, the so-called Christians who disfellowship anybody are throwing Jesus out of their church.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Filibuster history

Lee Harris, over at Tech Central Station, takes a fascinating look at the history of the filibuster. Apparently, in the early republic, the Vice-President, in his role as President of the Senate, had absolute discretion in allowing or closing off debate. He recounts an episode during the administration of John Quincy Adams in which a blustery Senator John Randolph was being indulged in long tirades against the administration by then-Vice-President John C. Calhoun. Calling this the "embryonic filibuster", Harris then traces its evolution through the establishment of senators' right to unrestrained debate on a matter at hand in 1872 (the real birth of the filibuster), and then the invention of cloture in 1917 in response to a "willful eleven" senators who refused to let President Wilson lead us into World War I. With that historical sketch, he then digs deeper into the historical political philosophy, the danger to a democracy of the "tyranny of the majority over a minority", and how consensus (or "concurrent majority" as Calhoun termed it) provides a vital brake against partisan majorities. He provides some keen insight into the inherent conflict between a stable union and partisan politics which thrives on divisive issues. This dovetails very nicely with the constitutional theories of Rappaport and McGinnis on supermajorities that I have plugged repeatedly. In their analysis, one of the conditions where a supermajority is most essential is in areas where partisanship is high.

In reading Harris' historical accounts, it's useful to keep in mind how the role of Vice-President has changed since the early days of the republic. Originally, the Vice-President functioned as a bit more of a balance because originally the Vice-President was generally not politically aligned with the President. Prior to Amendment XII of the Constitution, the Vice-President was the runner-up in the presidential election. Which is how you had Thomas Jefferson, the original Democratic-Republican, serving as Vice-President to John Adams, died in the wool Federalist. When Calhoun was Vice-President, the Federalists had collapsed, and everyone nominally belonged to the Democratic-Republican party, although there were factions and Calhoun was certainly not in John Quincy Adams' camp. Thus it makes sense that the filibuster didn't exist per se at the start of the republic, but became necessary as our present two-party system evolved. Harris sees the filibuster as just one tactic along an evolution of procedural brinksmanship, with each new "nuclear" threat serving to preserve consensus and balance. And he may not be exaggerating when he says that democracy hangs in the balance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sometimes Leo Durocher is Wrong

We were hooting and hollering this evening to see Joyce and Uchenna win the Amazing Race. They had been through some trying times prior to the race. Professionally, one had worked for Enron and the other for Global Crossing. (Double ouch!) Personally, they had been unsuccessfully trying to have a child, and had some rocky patches. But they wore their hearts on their sleeves, worked together and grew stronger through the race (an experience that can bring couples together, or tear them apart), played a clean game and treated all their other competitors with kindness and respect throughout. When other teams lost all their money, Uchenna and Joyce helped them out. When an older couple was struggling with a physical task, Uchenna gave them a hand and words of encouragement. In contrast, Rob and Amber were ruthless, stealing other team's taxis, lying, conning, and at one point driving right past another team who had overturned their car in the middle of the African desert and had an injured passenger. Thus, we relished watching them falter at the end and come in second place. Sometimes Leo Durocher is wrong, and the nice guys do finish first!

Sunday, May 08, 2005


All of the brainy kids in school knew the word "antidisestablishmentarianism", for no other reason than that at 28 letters long, it was one of the longest words in the dictionary, and we knew how to spell it (even if it was rather puffed up with standard prefixes and suffixes). The sole purpose of knowing that word was to be sesquipedantic (that's the "25-cent word" for those who like to show off their 25-cent words), though we may have had some dim awareness that it related to some 19th century English political philosophical dispute. Its meaning was one of those things that seem to live only in musty history textbooks but had no real bearing on our lives except insofar as it might appear on the AP History exam someday.

I have no idea what made me think of it today, but in a flash I realized that that once obscure philosophical debate has found new life here in 21st century America. It seems antidisestablishmentarianism has resurfaced and is frighteningly relevant. Of course, as with all reincarnations, the new form is not exactly the same as the old. To refresh the memories of those who have forgotten (and to inform those who never were precociously sesquipedantic children), antidisestablishmentarianism was coined in the context of a 19th century English debate about the separation of church and state. In England, there had been an "established church" for many centuries, intertwined with the government. Even today, there are bishops who are ex officio members of the House of Lords, and the state government is involved in the appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury (the highest ranking prelate in the Church of England). In 19th century England, in the political wake of the American and French revolutions and the philosophical wake of the Enlightenment, there were those who began to advocate for a separation of church and state ("disestablishment"), i.e., disestablishmentarians. And as every liberal impulse stimulates an equal and opposite conservative reaction, there arose "antidisestablishmentarians", who argued for the preservation of the established church. Though disestablishment eventually came about in Ireland and in Wales, there remains a formal established church in England and Scotland, although practically all of the more objectionable aspects have been eliminated and mostly what remains are quaint traditional trappings (like the Prime Minister proposing Archbishop nominees to the Queen).

So here we are in 21st century America, where everyone who went through American elementary school (whether they were sesquipedantic or not) knows that the United States has never had an established church, and that we believe in the separation of church and state as one of our founding principles. But lately, we have seen the rise of people who genuinely believe that we ought to be a Christian nation, and that there shouldn't be such a wall between church and state. (Andrew Sullivan has the goods here, here, and here.) Now one might say that these folks are "establishmentarians", since they are seeking to establish a church where there has been none. But one of the more alarming tactics of this pro-Christian-theocracy crowd is their revisionist history. They actually argue not only that the United States ought to be a Christian nation, but that it is and always has been. They reinvent American history such that separation of church and state is some radical left-wing propaganda that only gained any currency with the rise of "activist courts" (that's code for post-Roe-v.-Wade). Thus, in one of history's bizarre twists, it is their own belief in their revisionist history that makes it possible for antidisestablishmentarians to exist in a nation which has never had an established church to disestablish in the first place. I can only hope and pray (privately, thank you) that the future generations of brainy kids will enjoy the academic thrill of spelling neoantidisestablishmentarianism without any worry of being harmed by its effects.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Circuit Court Nominations: The Numbers

Blogger Gerry Daly has done yeoman's work sifting through the Congressional record to compile the statistics on Circuit Court judicial nominees since Truman (hat tip: Andrew Sullivan). It's amazing how even with good statistics, all sorts of people can draw all sorts of conclusions. (Read the comment trail on that post.) Some people are pouncing on this as proof that the Democrats really are being "unprecedented obstructionists". But Gerry draws a fair conclusion from his statistics, observing only that the process has become increasingly politicized since Reagan, with confirmation rates steadily decreasing with each successive president. A few interesting observations jumped out at me. One was that no nominations were ever rejected. None. They were always either withdrawn or "returned", where "returned" is the equivalent of a pocket veto, in which the nominee never got a floor vote (for various reasons, including never making it out of committee, having a "hold" placed on them, etc). Thus it seems the Senate machinations are such that nominees have never gotten an "up or down vote"; they either get an "up vote" or they don't get a vote at all. (The wisdom behind at least some of this bureaucracy is that it's better for a nominee to quietly languish in committee rather than have the president suffer the humiliation of an outright rejection.) So it's certainly well precedented that nominees don't all get an "up or down vote". The mechanisms may have changed over the years (anonymous holds, "home state" prerogative, filibuster), but the result is not new. The other thing that struck me was that there have always been some number of judicial nominees who were not confirmed. By these stats, it appears that every president save Carter has had at least 10% of their nominees returned. So it would seem that even in the best of times, no president is perfect and the Senate would not be doing its job to consent 100% of the time.

I certainly agree that these statistics demonstrate an increasing politicization of the judicial nomination process over the last several presidents. To my mind, that is all the more reason that an explicit supermajority rule ought to be established for these nominations. It is precisely where partisanship is most strident that a supermajority mechanism is needed the most.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Reality Round-Up

Though I've gone through years of my life without paying much attention to TV, our home does have a few favorite shows lately, including some reality TV. Our favorite reality show is the Amazing Race, which is probably the only reality show that I would have the faintest desire to actually be on. All that world travel to such interesting places, challenges of navigation, communication, brains, and brawn -- sign me up! This season we were glad to see Meredith and Gretchen make it to the top four. At their age, they are inspirational for that. Now we're cheering for Joyce and Uchenna, who are the nicest couple. And we want to see Rob and Amber go down - they're the most devious couple and we'd love to see what goes around come around to them. As for Ron and Kelly, well if they end up stumbling into an ill-advised wedding, Ron should take a cue from that girl in Georgia and stage his own kidnapping.

Then there's our second favorite reality show, American Idol. The show really does attract some great talent, and it's (mostly) a pleasure to watch them especially in the final weeks. (Well, okay, there's also a schadenfreude kind of pleasure to be had from watching some of the more pathetic performances in the early weeks.) Not sure what's up with the voting lately. It's amazing to me that Scott lasted this long and that Anthony is still there, while Anwar and Constantine are gone. I think when you get this far in the finals, it's more about who does a better job of telemarketing as much as singing. (Remember Jasmine Trias? I mean she was good, but not top three good, not better than Latoya London good. But she had the whole state of Hawaii working the phones for her. And on some level, both in the contest and in real life, that's what counts.) My money's on Bo, but I'm not giving any long odds.

Oh, and I'm glad that Fox has finally stopped that nasty disrespectful habit of cutting off the dismissed contestant's farewell song.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Swan Terrine, Viking Law, and Conflicts of Interest

In one of the more amusing and unusual stories heard on the radio recently, it seems that Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the Master of the Queen's Music, may be facing charges for eating swan meat. The facts of the case are not in dispute. A wild swan flew into power lines near Sir Peter's Orckney Island home and was electrocuted. Sir Peter reported the finding to the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, and was advised merely to dispose of the carcass. His chosen method of disposal included making a terrine of the breast and leg meat. What is complicated is the law. Under a 12th century English law, all swans in the realm are property of the Queen, and no one else is allowed the delicacy. However, precedent holds that the law does not apply on the island of Orckney, where an even older Norse Viking law makes swans the property of the people. Under the more modern 1981 Wildlife and Conservation Act, it is clearly illegal to take a swan that you have killed, but it seems that one could take a swan that was already dead when you found it. The law makes cautious allowances for unintentional acts. For example, if you were driving along and accidentally struck a pheasant with your car and killed it, it would be illegal for you to take it. However, it would be legal for the car behind you to take it. (If only the scientists at our NIH were quite so attuned to conflicts of interest.) The local police are apparently taking the matter quite seriously, unlike Sir Peter, who is musing about whether his royal position will require he be sent to the Tower of London for the crime, and wondering what sort of music a prison experience might inspire. Me, I'm curious what the meat tastes like. It's said to be dark and rich, and has been compared to pheasant, venison, and even fish. (I've tried whale meat, but I've never tried swan.)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Glamor, Glitz, and GLAAD

Despite living in Los Angeles for most of our adult lives, neither my husband nor I had ever been to one of those glamorous Hollywood award events like the Academy Awards or the Golden Globes, so when we had an opportunity to attend the GLAAD Media Awards last Saturday courtesy of a friend's friend's corporate sponsor, we jumped at the chance. GLAAD, an organization chartered to promote the fair and inclusive representation of lesbians and gay men in the media, has grown to the point where their annual awards show (actually divided between LA, New York, and San Francisco for the various media, with LA of course being film and television) is a big-time star-studded gala, like a gay version of the Oscars. Like the Oscars, it's in the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. The evening was as fabulous as we'd hoped. It was black-tie optional, and most of the men were in tuxes and the women in gorgeous gowns, although all sorts of fashion statements could be seen. The awards show itself was quite enjoyable. Margaret Cho opened the show and was as funny as ever. (We didn't see them, but apparently the Fred Phelps gang were outside with their usual "God Hates Fags" protest signs. Of them, Margaret Cho said, "You know, I really wish Jesus would come back. He'd come back and see those people and say 'This is NOT what I meant!'") There were a number of fun presenters, including Desperate Housewives Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman (who staged a dramatic kiss), Jason Alexander flanked by two hot actresses from "The L Word" (and was a good sport about it), Brendan Fraser (who introduced a feature award to Bill Condon), John Stamos (who had been called "hot" by Carson Kressley of Queer Eye, and also by Jason Alexander, and gamely replied "I'm flattered, Carson, but I think Kyan is more my type"), Garry Marshall (who had a great routine about the "gay lingo" he was trying to learn), several of the Queer As Folk boys and girls, and my personal favorite, Jennifer Coolidge who was as funny as ever. (Loved her in Testosterone. And every time she's on "Joey", I'm like "turn up the volume, now's the really good part!") The finale of the award show was Liza Minelli, who graciously received the Vanguard award and sang a number. After the award show there was a VIP dinner (with actually pretty good food) and a live auction with some fun items, including a walk-on part on Desperate Housewives that went for $20K.

This was the 20th anniversary of GLAAD's founding back in 1985 to protest the New York Post's appalling coverage of the AIDS crisis. There were some retrospectives offered during the evening, and it is truly remarkable to reflect on how much things have changed for lesbians and gay men in the last 20 years. While I am not entirely comfortable with some of GLAAD's tactics (I'd prefer to see "bad speech" countered with better speech rather than suppression), it's clear to me that the progress of the last two decades is due to increased gay visibility, both on a personal level and in the media. Our biggest enemy is ignorance, and the way to fight it is with truth, personally, in print, and on the screen and stage.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Indexable Irony

Last week President Bush discussed a new Social Security reform proposal known as "progressive indexing", an innovative twist on an older proposal to replace the current wage-indexing with price-indexing. A little historical digression to help translate from the wonkese: It used to be that Social Security benefits were a set amount fixed in the law, and every few years Congress would have to amend the law to increase the benefit, to adjust it for increased cost of living. As one can imagine, there was much politics involved in bringing home that bacon term after term. About 20 years ago, Congress had the notion to include an automatic increase in the Social Security benefits determination, so that they wouldn't have to keep revisiting the issue every year and debating it. That automatic increase was tied ("indexed") to wage increases. Since historically wages have risen faster than prices (due to increases in productivity), the wage-indexed increases go beyond inflation and provide increased benefits to each successive annual cohort of retirees. Some have proposed reigning in the system by making the automatic increases pegged to prices rather than wages, which by itself may be sufficient to salvage the system. But others have cautioned that the differential between wage-indexing and price-indexing will grow without bound over time, so that over a long period, the Social Security benefit will replace substantially less of pre-retirement income. The innovative wrinkle suggested by Richard Pozen, and embraced by the President last week, offers a hybrid of the two, with wage-indexing for low-income earners progressively blending to pure price-indexing for high-income earners.

The ironic thing is that recently we've been in a bit of an economic eddy where prices have actually been increasing faster than wages. Looking at the recent CPI-U index, it increased 0.4% in February and 0.6% in March with a 4.3% annualized inflation rate based on the first quarter of 2005. Looking at average hourly earnings, on the other hand, they increased an anemic 0.06% in February and 0.25% in March with a 2.3% annualized increase in the first quarter. I'm not sure how long such a state of affairs would or could continue, but I certainly found it ironic that just as proposals are being made based on an assumption of wages increasing faster than prices, that assumption is upside-down, making "progressive" indexing actually regressive.