Looking at Gadhadi

After Osama bin Laden was killed, I wrote a somewhat contrarian piece arguing that the government should release a photo of his body. I then went on NPR's On the Media to talk about it, alongside the New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch, who was rather contemptuous of my position (audio here, transcript here), but I stuck to it.

In Defense of Rachel Maddow

After Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, D.C., last year, Rachel Maddow convinced Stewart to sit down with her for over an hour to discuss politics and the media. She dedicated her entire show that night to the interview. I don't see how anyone could have come away from that interview thinking Maddow had not given serious thought to the state of the media today and her own role in it.

So you can imagine my astonishment when The New Republic listed Maddow on their list of Washington's 10 "over-rated thinkers." But sure enough, alongside Newt Gingrich and Ayn Rand, there she was:

Herman Cain's Racial Hucksterism

herman cain looks at the crowd

To the extent that Georgia businessman Herman Cain has an identifiable rhetorical style, it relies on the regular use of racially inflected humor, as The New York Times notes in this story on Cain’s tenuous position in the Republican nomination contest:

What Happens if Obama Can't Fill Judicial Vacancies?

The Washington Post’s Al Kamen gives a quick update on the pace of judicial confirmations in the Senate. In short, President Obama shouldn’t expect to fill many more vacancies on the federal bench:

Presidential election years are notoriously bad for nominees. For one thing, the Senate will probably meet fewer days in 2012, as it usually has in presidential election years. And the mood in Congress gets even testier, making what’s become a contentious process that much more partisan.

Leave Mitt Romney Alone!

Stand back, folks, while I defend Mitt Romney over the question of who cuts his lawn. Patrick has the details on the original case below, but here's the exchange between Romney and Rick Perry that happened during last night's debate:

What Will Happen with Black Turnout in 2012?

The thing to remember about Barack Obama’s support among black voters in the 2008 election is that it simply wasn’t as remarkable as it was presented. Obama won 95 percent of African American voters, which is not substantially higher than John Kerry’s 88 percent performance in 2004 and Al Gore’s 90 percent performance in 2000. In other words, African Americans are stalwarts of the Democratic Party, and routinely deliver huge margins to Democratic candidates in national, state, and local elections.

Majority of Americans Now Support Marijuana Legalization

Yesterday, Gallup reported that in its latest poll, support for legalization of marijuana has for the first time cracked 50 percent:

Gallup marijuana.jpg

Herman Cain Is Extremely Confused


(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

Dan Amira at New York has located some bizarre video of Herman Cain trying to explain his position on abortion on a television program a few months ago. To appreciate the muddled thinking, you just have to watch it:

Big Government, Getting Up In Your Business

Here's your daily dose of big government oppression:

WASHINGTON — Users of cellphones and other wireless devices who are nearing their monthly limit for voice, text or data services will receive alerts when they are in danger of being charged extra, under an agreement reached by carriers and the Federal Communications Commission...

The Action Against the LRA Does Not Increase Presidential Authority

David Dayen objects to the Obama administration's decision to send 100 American troops as part of an effort to hunt down war criminal Joseph Kony.

I Was Born in a Small Town ... but I Left

Over the weekend I had a piece in the Los Angeles Times arguing that there's something wrong with the fact that candidates who grew up in small towns tout their roots, but those who grew up in the cities or suburbs -- where most Americans actually live -- never do. Here's an excerpt:

Friday Weirdness

I'm not even sure what to say about this, from Jonathan Alter. Apparently, the hot rumor is that the Obama administration is considering having Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden switch jobs late in the 2012 campaign if things are looking dire:

Biden would reluctantly agree because his consolation prize is a job he can truthfully argue he has coveted for 20 years. It would leave him less humiliated than incumbent vice presidents like Henry Wallace, whom Franklin D. Roosevelt dumped from the ticket in favor of Harry Truman in 1944, and Nelson Rockefeller, booted by Gerald Ford to make room for Bob Dole in 1976.