Political Animal


March 19, 2013 5:24 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

By Ed Kilgore

In noting this is the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I discovered another March 19 anniversary: Nevada legalized gambling on this day in 1931. Lotta tumbling dice since then, eh?

Here are some final items from the news day:

* New Florida survey from PPP shows Rick Scott’s flip-flop on Medicaid hasn’t improved his popularity or his numbers against Charlie Crist.

* Predictably, assault weapons and ammo clip ban dropped from Senate gun bill, which will now focus on background checks.

* New British press laws, enacted in wake of phone-hacking scandal, include large libel fines that have newspapers and even bloggers jittery.

* Speaking of newspapers, the conservative tabloid the Washington Examiner announces it’s cutting back from daily to weekly publication amidst big staff layoffs.

* At Ten Miles Square, Mark Kleiman reviews the recent decline in U.S. incarceration levels, which had been increasing annually for more than 30 years.

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer reports the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging colleges to grant college credit for demonstrated skills and knowledge, an idea which Kevin Carey praised in the July/August issue of the Monthly.

And in non-political news:

* Methodist church in NC halts performance of marriages altogether until same-sex marriages become legal.

To close the day, here again are Jack Bruce and Robin Trower, this time performing “Lives of Clay” in 2009.


Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • T2 on March 19, 2013 6:18 PM:

    I'm always amazed at how a minority can rule a majority by just simply screaming louder. The NRA has the right guy in Wayne LaPierre, an apparent madman with mega-bucks behind him and a tiny amount of citizens convinced that they will need assault weapons to protect themselves from their fellow Americans. And they win.

  • cmdicely on March 19, 2013 6:41 PM:

    At College Guide, Daniel Luzer reports the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging colleges to grant college credit for demonstrated skills and knowledge, an idea which Kevin Carey praised in the July/August issue of the Monthly.

    The problem with this idea is that it is mislabelled. Granting college credit for demonstrated skills and knowledge is what traditional colleges do -- every course includes a number of different assessments of skill and knowledge, and performance on these is what determines grades and credit awarded.

    The proposal isn't to "grant college credit for demonstrated skills and knowledge", its to provide the option for students to take the assessments of skills and knowledge which provide the basis for granting credit in a format which does not assume that the students will also be recieving instruction from the college to acquire the skills and knowledge over the same time period as the assessments are taken.

    And, what is probably and, if so, problematically also meant is to, as part of that, reduce the depth and breadth of the assessments used, at least for those credit seekers (they aren't, in this role, "students") seeking to take the assessments without study at the institution.

  • Douglas6 on March 19, 2013 8:25 PM:

    Is it true that Sen. Reid could not even get 40 votes for the assault weapon ban?

  • Joe Friday on March 19, 2013 8:32 PM:

    Tonight's CBS EVENING NEWS had an interview with an ex-CIA officer, who claimed the invasion of Iraq could have been avoided, if only their secret plan to kill Saddam Hussein with bunker-busting bombs would have succeeded.

    Of course, this completely ignores the fact that the invasion of Iraq could have been avoided if the Bushies had not lied about Hussein being a threat in the first place.

  • Jose Hipants on March 20, 2013 2:39 AM:

    Thanks, Ed. You've set me off on Trower binge. Youtube has LOTS more.

  • MuddyLee on March 20, 2013 6:43 AM:

    Support public radio. Ten years ago, I heard plenty of reports on WFAE in Charlotte NC that questioned or criticized the Bush-Cheney justification for the Iraq Invasion. Some of these reports were on NPR programs like Fresh Air (Terry Gross), others were on lesser known programs or networks such as PRI. The nightly BBC radio broadcasts were very critical of the planned invasion for at least 2 months prior to March 2003. Of course, when I talked to people who listened to Fox News or who had voted for Bush-Cheney, they were convinced that EVERYBODY agreed that the Iraq invasion was both necessary and justified. A typical pro-invasion argument
    was "so you think you know more than the President?" or "people who opposed the Vietnam war can't look at war on terror logically". I frequently see bumper stickers that say "I don't trust the liberal media" - what they should say is "Don't trust the corporate media".

  • Fritz Strand on March 20, 2013 9:11 AM:

    What should be making us jittery is the lack of press coverage in this country of the damage Murdoch did to British culture and press and continues to do in this country. Until our MSM takes seriously that Murdoch has destroyed the political discourse in this country with FOX 'news' we are headed the exact same direction as the Brits.

    The methods he uses are different in each country but the goal is the same, influencing the politics in a country by poisoning the culture.

  • jkl; on March 20, 2013 9:22 AM:

    Smooth takedown of war apologists Luke Russert and Joey Scar at salon.com. Also, tone deaf of "Morning Joe" to have war mongerer in chief Dan Senor on today.
    All are doing "Bush's bidding."

    "....Scarborough also repeatedly interrupts Michael Isikoff, co-author of a very good book on how the Bush administration, abetted by the press, sold the war to Congress and the public, while Isikoff is in the middle of pointing out how the intelligence was never as clear-cut as many claimed it was. “We could all go back 10 years, and again I am not doing George W. Bush’s bidding here, but wasn’t the preponderance of the intelligence coming from the CIA, coming from our intel community, coming from intel communities across the globe, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Scarborough tells Isikoff in a statement that was phrased as a question but wasn’t intended to get an actual answer..."


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on March 20, 2013 10:26 AM:

    Re the Washington Examiner

    So I will no longer actively have to avoid accidentally picking it up instead of WashPo's MetroExpress on my way into the metro station every morning? Phew, I can save, like, 10 brain cells every morning. Though, fwiw, they did good local crime coverage... Bahhhh!!!!

  • jkl; on March 20, 2013 10:34 AM:

    Prosecutor Robert Jackson had these opening remarks at the Nuremberg 1945-46 trial of German leaders who started World War II:

    "These defendants were men of a station and rank which does not soil its own hands with blood. They were men who knew how to use lesser folk as tools. We want to reach the planners and designers, the inciters and leaders without whose evil architecture the world would not have been for so long scourged with the violence and lawlessness, and wracked with the agonies and convulsions, of this terrible war..."
    "...We have here the surviving top politicians, militarists, financiers, diplomats, administrators, and propagandists…who was responsible for these crimes if they were not?"