The resident faculty left a photo of two hands with index fingers up and thumbs out. We think it was a clue. (More)

First our thanks to last week’s writers:

On Monday, you shared your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week, addisnana celebrated The Community of Campers in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan found the EPA Cleaning Up Air Around AZ Parks in Our Earth.

On Tuesday, Winning Progressive asked What Is Romney Hiding in His Offshore Accounts, Tax Returns, and $100 Million IRA? in Morning Feature, addisnana shared Volunteers Rock! in Furthermore!, readers helped write Tuesday’s Tale: The gPhone in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan brought us research on Climate Change Mitigation in Our Earth.

On Wednesday, Winning Progressive warned that The Lie of Voter Fraud Hits Minnesota in Morning Feature, the Squirrel pondered Race, Class, and Demographics in Furthermore!, addisnana wondered about a chipmunk’s Reincarnation? in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan found a New Species Named After Bob Marley in Our Earth.

On Thursday, we began celebrating non-existence by revealing the 2012 Bippies with The Ads in Morning Feature, triciawyse shared Fursdai Furries in Midday Matinee, and Winning Progressive asked Just How “Blind” is Romney’s Blind Trust? in Evening Focus.

On Friday, we continued revealing the 2012 Bippies with Movies and TV Series in Morning Feature, triciawyse brought us Frieday Critters in Midday Matinee, and winterbanyan reported on DOE: New Project for Natural Gas Vehicles in Our Earth.

On the weekend, we finished revealing the 2012 Bippies with Political Columns in Saturday’s Morning Feature, Ms. Crissie was asked about Deconstructing Government? in Sunday’s Morning Feature, Winning Progressive shared Weekend Reading in Furthermore!, we chuckled at Silly Sunday: Bain of Our Existence in Evening Focus, and winterbanyan brought our weekly Eco News Roundup in Our Earth.

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

That leaves only the curious photo left outside the mail room by the resident faculty as they made their way from the wine cellar library where they spent the weekend drinking thinking on our motto of Magis vinum, magis verum (“More wine, more truth”) to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference.

The photo showed two hands, palms facing the camera, index fingers raised and thumbs extended outwards. Chef made that gesture, and the Professor of Astrology Janitor immediately began folding a sheet of paper into a small triangle. “Hold them still,” he said, positioning the paper with one point on the table and holding it with the top of his finger.

“Hold what still?” she asked.

“The goal posts,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said, flicking the paper with his free hand. The triangle arced across the table and between her raised index fingers.

“Three points!” he said, making the same gesture with his own hands. “Now your turn.”

“This isn’t helping us to decipher the resident faculty’s clue,” your lowly mail room clerk noted.

Regardless, Chef teed up the paper triangle and gave it a flick. Alas, her flicking hand was tipped to the side and the paper flew wide. “Finally!” the Professor of Astrology Janitor rejoiced. “A game I can win! I’m not a total loser!”

“We never thought you were,” Chef reassured him.

“We’re still no nearer to deciphering the resident faculty’s clue,” your lowly mail room clerk noted.

“Actually … we are,” the Squirrel texted on his Blewberry. “That hand with palm facing away, index finger raised, and thumb out is not just half of a table football goal post. It’s also the American Sign Language sign for the letter L, and a common colloquial gesture for ‘Loser.'”

We conceded the point, but noted that the photo had two such symbols, albeit with one of them backward.

“I’m working on that,” the Squirrel texted, tapping away at his Blewberry. “Ahh, here we go. I bet the resident faculty plan to discuss Dean Baker’s book The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive.”

“Okay, spill,” Chef said. “There’s no way you got that from the photo.”

The Squirrel shrugged. “Well, I may have checked the resident faculty’s eReader library last night and saw they got this as a free download. I may also have downloaded it to my Blewberry. Check out the synopsis.”

Progressives need a fundamentally new approach to politics. They have been losing not just because conservatives have so much more money and power, but also because they have accepted the conservatives’ framing of political debates. They have accepted a framing where conservatives want market outcomes whereas liberals want the government to intervene to bring about outcomes that they consider fair.

This is not true. Conservatives rely on the government all the time, most importantly in structuring the market in ways that ensure that income flows upwards. The framing that conservatives like the market while liberals like the government puts liberals in the position of seeming to want to tax the winners to help the losers.

This “loser liberalism” is bad policy and horrible politics. Progressives would be better off fighting battles over the structure of markets so that they don’t redistribute income upward. This book describes some of the key areas where progressives can focus their efforts in restructuring market so that more income flows to the bulk of the working population rather than just a small elite.

“That sounds like a good read,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said.

“It does,” Chef agreed. “Now put those goal posts back up. I need to practice.”


Happy Monday!