Archive

  • GREAT LEDERS. ...

    GREAT LEDERS. One of the little biographical secrets that I keep from most of my friends is that I actually went to journalism school. The very first week, they taught us how to write a lead. (This was the first course in the four-year curriculum of How To Write Badly.) Anyway, I can tell you as someone whose family spent several thousands of dollars to teach him that this right here is one of the great leads of all time. UPDATE : Bert Sugar , wherever you are, please forgive me for failing to see the similarities between this lede, and the famous one written by John Lardner concerning the untimely death by lead poisoning of a prominent fighter: "Stanley Ketchel was shot in the back by the common-law husband of the woman who was cooking his breakfast." -- Charles P. Pierce
  • CHENEY SPEAK, YOU...

    CHENEY SPEAK, YOU LISTEN. The Washington Examiner’s Bill Sammon provides some fascinating details from an exclusive interview he conducted on Air Force Two with Vice President Dick Cheney . Cheney predicts the Republicans will hold both chambers of Congress, says Dennis Hastert is a “great Speaker” who should not step down, and claims that Republicans don’t fear potential congressional investigations should Democrats taken control of one or both houses of Congress. The response by liberals and Democrats to these predictions should be nothing short of utter glee. After all, Cheney is perhaps the most over-rated, tin-eared, bumbler-disguised-as-peerless manager in the history of modern governance, as Josh Marshall explained long ago in his chronicle of the “myth” of competence surrounding Cheney. Sammon also reports that, “As for national security, Cheney rejected the notion that Democrats will win the argument if they decouple the Iraq war from the broader war on terror. ‘They are...
  • A MILLION LITTLE PIECES.

    A MILLION LITTLE PIECES. The Hill has a slew of story-advancing short pieces on Foleygate today: A report on the truly severe rifts emerging within the House GOP leadership; a story documenting a push by Deborah Pryce , a member of that leadership team who's also facing a serious reelection fight, for a new angle of the scandal to be investigated; an account of everyone's favorite backbench GOP attack dog Patrick McHenry 's demands for, er, Democratic leaders to come clean about being behind this scandal; and the revelation that, lo and behold, a GOP aide really was the source of the leaked emails. (To be fair, however, this person says that he or she was not the source of the far-more-lurid IMs.) --Sam Rosenfeld
  • WON'T LAST THE...

    WON'T LAST THE DAY. That's what Bay Buchanan was saying yesterday afternoon on CNN about the fate of House Speaker Dennis Hastert in response to the latest development in the Mark Foley scandal -- the one in which Kirk Fordham , Foley's former chief of staff, claims he brought, three years ago , Foley 's predatory behavior with pages to the attention of staffers in the speaker's office. (Bay's literal prediction has been proven wrong, of course, but it's early yet.) All this comes on the heels of calls by prominent right-wingers, most notably New Right Founding Father Richard Viguerie , for Hastert to step down. As per Tuesday's prediction by Brother Rosenfeld that Rep. Tom Reynolds , chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, could be next in line after Hastert to take a fall, of course the office that Fordham moved to after he left Foley's staff was none other than Chairman Reynolds'. --Adele M. Stan
  • Fed Talk: Warning on Housing Market Assessments

    Every news article that reports on Fed Chairman Benjamin Bernanke's assessment of the housing market should include a warning notice. Alan Greenspan has publicly stated that he deliberately chose to not to talk about the stock bubble while it was inflating, even though he recognized the bubble, because he thought it was inapproprate for the Fed to try to influence the course of the bubble. If Mr. Bernanke has the same view of the Fed's responsibilities as Alan Greenspan, this means that he would not say that he believed there to be a housing bubble, even if in fact did believe that there was a housing bubble. This means that, whether or not Mr. Bernanke's believes there is a housing bubble, he will say that he sees no serious risk of major price declines in housing prices. Reporters should inform readers of this possibility when reporting Mr. Bernanke's public statements on the housing market. --Dean Baker
  • FOR THEM BEFORE...

    FOR THEM BEFORE HE WAS AGAINST THEM. The National Labor Relations Board, currently stacked with anti-worker Bush appointees, ruled today that about 8 million workers are actually of supervisor status, and thus cannot form unions. Charming. Exactly one month ago, Bush spoke at a union's Center for Maritime Training and Education, saying : Michael, I didn't realize how strong your facility -- facilities are here. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a fantastic facility. It speaks to your leadership, and the leadership and the importance of your union. And so, here on Labor Day, I say to the union members who are here, happy Labor Day, and thanks for supporting leadership that is progressive, smart, capable, and has your best interests at heart. Think Bush qualifies? A comprehensive rundown of the atrocious new rules can be found here . -- Ezra Klein
  • THE REAL CULPRIT.

    THE REAL CULPRIT. I'm truly going to miss the old girl when she loses by a couple of miles in November. Perhaps in gratitude to Mark Foley for declining to run for the Senate, thereby enabling her to put together the most singular combination of incompetence and public nutbaggery in the history of American electoral politics, Katherine Harris cuts right to the heart of the ongoing scandal -- if you're keeping score at home, the Republican leadership of the House knew nothing of any of this, but the omnipotent Democratic leadership sat on this information until just the right moment. Katie, you've been a joy. Some day, I'll figure out how you beat the rap in Salem. --Charles P. Pierce
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CONFOUND IT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CONFOUND IT. You knew it was coming: Paul Berman rejoins Eric Alterman 's rejoinder to his essay on I.F. Stone . What is the proper way to assess Soviet Communism's influence on the American left? What does Berman think a midcentury American Menshevik has to teach American liberals about current Iran policy? All this and more get discussed -- Berman on Alterman on Berman on McPherson on Stone. --The Editors
  • WEBCAMERON. Wrist-deep in...

    WEBCAMERON. Wrist-deep in a sink full of dirty dishes, discussing his vision for a better country while continuously fighting off interruptions from his kid -- this is how Britain�s boyish new Conservative Leader David Cameron chose to appear in a new behind-the-scenes website launched this week. Cameron, who spoke today at his party�s conference and is profiled glowingly in this morning�s Times , is already a political phenomenon across the pond. WebCameron 's mix of aggressive informality and smart technology adds to the intrigue. Cameron does the dishes. Cameron discusses a speech he gave minutes previously. Cameron taps away at a laptop, while the camera pans in to reveal he is actually writing his own blog . The site�s creators clearly believe that the only production values that can inspire trust among cynical voters are no production values at all. Few politicians here in America have yet managed this trick of conveying a strong personal touch through new media. (I'd say John...
  • COMMAS.

    COMMAS. Once again, the president has been gifted with a new turn of phrase and he's taking it on the road with him. On Tuesday, talking about the war in Iraq, he told an audience in California: You know, it must seem like an eternity to you, when you think about those elections last December. It certainly does to me, in some ways. Ultimately, when this chapter of history will be written, however, it's going to be a comma. The Iraqis voted for freedom -- comma -- and the United States of America understood that Iraq was the central front in the war on terror and helped this young democracy flourish... Not surprisingly, the president got the grammar wrong. A comma is incorrectly used when the word "and" is used to join equal and coordinate elements of the same sentence. You don't need a comma before "and" in that sentence. Occasionally, however, you do need a comma before "and." Usually, that is what is called the "serial comma," which is back in vogue with grammarians (as it should be...

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