Archive

  • FROM STENOGRAPHY TO...

    FROM STENOGRAPHY TO TELEPATHY. I'm sorry, but this Michael Crowley thing that got cited earlier simply won't do. It's a perfect example of why Spencer The Apostate won't be attending the annual Stephen Glass Birthday Soiree at Chez Peretz this year. We have mind-reading. We have body-language interpretation. I guess we can count ourselves lucky that Crowley misplaced his Magic 8-Ball. If I turned in a piece of copy that repeatedly used the phases "one imagines," "definitely seemed," or "promise to be" as promicuously as Crowley does here, my editor would chain me to a radiator for a week, especially if my final paragraph, the one containing the actual news, pretty much made the rest of the post look like 10 pounds of nothing in an eight-pound bag. Good Lord, Nancy Pelosi was elected unanimously by her caucus even though most of them knew at the time they were going to vote against her choice for Majority Leader. How can she recover? Well, she can start by not caring how the various...
  • CURSES! Well,...

    CURSES! Well, this is certainly alarming, isn't it ? Personally, I'd have just settled for rolling back some of the tax cuts. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • BUT DO THEY...

    BUT DO THEY HAVE REFRESHING BOTTLES OF COCA-COLA? On saving the polar bears with floating platforms, Bill comments : This just illustrates the problem of ignorant political pundits offering opinions about scientific issues. They think the solutions are so simple. The loss of polar ice has nothing to do with polar bears drowning. The bears are not stupid. They simply won't venture off land into the ocean. Polar ice is necessary to prevent starvation. Polar bears live mainly by killing and eating seals. A polar bear can't just swim around in the ocean like a killer whale trying to catch a seal. They catch seals by patiently wait ing for hours or days next to an air hole in the ice and grabbing a seal when it comes up for air. The sheet ice confines the seals to limited locations and air holes that they have to frequent in order to keep the hole from freezing over. Without sheet ice, polar bears will starve. Floating platforms have nothing to do with the real problem. The more you know...
  • ART IMITATES LIFE....

    ART IMITATES LIFE. A few days back, we had a lengthy disquisition on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip -- most notably, on creator Aaron Sorkin 's apparently incurable tin ear for both political argument and the way actual human beings speak to each other. This was prompted by last Sunday's episode, which featured not only a numbnutted subplot about gay marriage, but also some red-state wisdom from John Goodman as a judge in the town of Pahrump, Nevada, who cautions the Hollyweird liberals not to take him and his town for hayseeds and rubes. Well, I am not prepared to argue that Sorkin understated things greatly. - Charles P. Pierce
  • TIME DELAY. ...

    TIME DELAY. Regarding Hoyer 's win, it's worth noting that Tom DeLay beat Newt Gingrich 's preferred candidate for Majority Whip in 1994. So this isn't the first time a Minority Leader has presided over a historic victory but failed to totally consolidate power. --Ezra Klein
  • THE OTHER WAR.

    THE OTHER WAR. There's been lots of coverage about John Abizaid's recent statements to Congress; not so much about the comments of Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples , Director of the DIA: In Afghanistan the Taliban-led insurgency, aided by al-Qaida, is incapable of directly threatening the central government and expanding its resilient support networks and areas of influence beyond strongholds in the Pashtun south and east as long as international force levels are sustained at current levels. Nonetheless, DIA judges that, despite having absorbed heavy combat losses in 2006, the insurgency has strengthened its capabilities and influence with its core base of Pashtun communities. Violence this year is likely to be twice as high as the violence level seen in 2005. Insurgents have significantly increased their use of suicide operations. If a sustained international military and Afghan security presence throughout the volatile Pashtun south and east is not established alongside credible civil...
  • I POUR A 40 FOR MY HOMIES...

    I POUR A 40 FOR MY HOMIES... One thing to note on the death of Milton Friedman : It means that, in the same year, both he and John Kenneth Galbraith have died. They were -- easily -- the two most influential, publicly-accessible, politically-oriented economists of the 20th century. Who takes their place? --Ezra Klein
  • MILTON FRIEDMAN, RIP.

    MILTON FRIEDMAN, RIP. The Nobel Prize-winning economist and ardent advocate of unfettered markets died today at the ripe old age at 94. I can't say that I agreed with his cold economic philosophy (expressed most succintly in Capitalism and Freedom ), but I respected his intellect and influence. --Blake Hounshell
  • THE 50 STATE...

    THE 50 STATE STRATEGY. I'm very committed to the James-Carville- is-a-wanker interpretation of his current assault on Howard Dean . But I think folks need a bit more precision in discussing what's at issue here. The 2006 election, as Matt likes to point out, wasn't a test of the 50 State Strategy. It was nearer to Chris Bower 's 435 race concept, where every seat is challenged. The 50 State Strategy relies on funding state parties to put down infrastructure and staff to create long-term change. It simply couldn't have worked yet, not in any meaningful way. That's a feature, not a bug. It's an actual long-term vision, not a next-election gambit. Insofar as Carville is attacking Dean, it's a question of resources: Dean both didn't raise as much as some Democrats thought possible and didn't devote as much to 2006 as some -- like Rahm -- thought necessary. There's an argument to be had there. But it's a different one. The conversation going on now obscures this. David Sirota , for...
  • HOYER WINS.

    HOYER WINS. 149-86. This was all in all a pretty bizarre screw-up on Pelosi 's part, but the saving grace of this leadership fight is how quickly it all happened, without dragging on for too many more days or weeks. It's still very early for the incoming majority. Time to kiss, make up, move on. Sidenote: Truly, is there a more bombastic congressman than Jim Moran ? UPDATE: See more from Mike Crowley , who certainly sees no silver lining for Pelosi in this whole thing. --Sam Rosenfeld

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