Political Animal

August 2013 Archives

August 31, 2013 5:33 PM Dempsey's billion dollar Syria answer and other evening headlines

*The New Yorker's John Cassidy dug up JSOC chair Martin Dempsey's Congressional testimony on the possibility of neutralizing Assad's chemical weapons arsenal. Dempsey said such an operation could cost “billions”...

By Samuel Knight

August 31, 2013 3:14 PM Obama to ask Congress for permission to bomb Syria - let the repulsive horse trading begin

President Obama announced today that he will ask Congress for its approval before directly intervening in the Syrian Civil War. In a brief Rose Garden speech with Vice President Biden...

By Samuel Knight

August 31, 2013 1:01 PM Defense industry lobbyists are terrible human beings and that's putting it mildly, Syria edition

In an article published by The Hill today, "defense" industry lobbyists have proven again why they're among the lowest lifeforms on the planet. A number of them (joined by think-tank...

By Samuel Knight

August 31, 2013 11:07 AM Obama's Syria scheme better prepare for the worst in Iraq

Much of the commentariat's speculation over the possible consequences of a U.S. attack on Syria is focused on how Assad might respond. What mustn't be discounted or marginalized in attempting...

By Samuel Knight

August 31, 2013 8:47 AM Putin skeptical of Syria weapons claims and other morning headlines

*Vladimir Putin broke his silence on the Ghouta crisis after UN weapons inspectors left the country today. Unsurprisingly, he isn't convinced that Assad's side has used chemical weapons, calling the...

By Samuel Knight

August 30, 2013 5:52 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

I hope we are not at war by the time I return on Monday to commemorate Labor Day. Yes, it would be nice to talk about labor on Labor Day,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 5:26 PM Do Oil Markets Know Something We Should Know?

You have probably heard that the threat of U.S. airstrikes on Syria caused a spike in global oil prices. You have have even heard that the spike subsided somewhat when...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 3:32 PM Eschewing the Gavel?

Nancy Pelosi has disputed a published interview in National Journal today in which she reportedly disclaimed any interest in being Speaker again ("No, that's not my thing; I did that")....

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 2:53 PM Guess Who's Not Coming To Dinner?

It's official: the occasional so-called Diners Club the White House has been convening with Senate Republicans to discuss "grand" or not-so-grand fiscal bargains has been disbanded, per this report from...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 1:55 PM Lunch Buffet

After registering my mixed feelings about the condition and future of college football yesterday, I proceeded to watch parts of two games. One, the South Carolina/North Carolina game, featured the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 1:15 PM Quinn's Collapse

It's increasingly likely that the last good day for Christine Quinn's mayoral campaign was Monday, when she received the last of her endorsements from New York's "big three" daily newspapers....

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 12:23 PM Is Larry Summers the New Susan Rice?

At Business Insider Josh Barro notes that it's only the White House's semi-public effort to convince unwilling critics Left and Right of the ontological necessity of appointing Larry Summers that...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 11:51 AM Let's Blame Jack Lew For the Demise of Immigration Reform

Earlier this month I speculated that the "defund Obamacare" furor might inadvertently help boost the slim prospects for enactment of immigration reform legislation by diverting grassroots conservative activist attentions from...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 11:03 AM A Side of Freedom Fries

It's ironic (or perhaps I should say C'est drole!) that the one international leader giving strong support to the idea of an American-led military strike on Syria today is the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 10:31 AM Economy Grows Quietly

As many Americans were away on vacation or readjusting to a new school year, and others were focused on events in Syria, a piece of genuinely good economics news seeped...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 9:50 AM Enforcing International Norms Without International Support

I'm generally willing to give President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt, particularly on national security issues. But it is difficult to look on the direction he has taken...

By Ed Kilgore

August 30, 2013 8:47 AM Dayight Video

On this day 50 years ago, the U.S.-Soviet "hotline" became operative. I guess it still is, but is it part of a Comcast Triple Play plan now? Anyway, on this...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 6:06 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Sure feels like a Friday, but nooooo. Here are some final items of the day: * Wow: Cameron loses vote in House of Commons on authorization for a military strike...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 5:35 PM Normal Lives Dominated By Student Loan Debt

At College Guide today, Daniel Luzer offers some needed perspective on how to look at the student loan crisis--or rather, the different ways you can look at it: If the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 5:08 PM A False Equivalency Fable

I don't quite know how to describe Jim VandeHei's new "Behind the Curtain" column at Politico without giving you a taste of its very strange texture: Imagine Dick Cheney in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 4:09 PM College Sports, Markets and "Exploitation"

Big-time college football is facing a lot of challenges at present as the 2013 season begins, some existential (brain-injury research suggesting the game itself could be too damaging for many...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 2:55 PM More on the Role of Confusion in the Fight Against Obamacare Implementation

As I and many others have written about in the past, a big part of the fight against Obamacare implementation involves the exploitation of public ignorance about the law's actual...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 1:52 PM Lunch Buffet

So college football returns in a few hours with North Carolina vs. South Carolina and Kent State vs. Liberty. More about footbaw later. * WaPo publishes partial expose of intelligence...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 1:04 PM Will Constitutional Conservatives Defy the Constitution?

In the last few years we've gotten used to a renaissance in secessionist and nullification rhetoric on the Right. But there is nothing quite like the current saga in Missouri,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 12:25 PM De Blasio, Sinclair and Kucinich

PA's great friend Rich Yeselson penned a Politico profile of New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio at a fortuitous moment, just after a new Quinnipiac poll showed his subject...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 11:54 AM Dubious Data Points For 2016

Taking advantage of a slow news week, Tom Edsall takes to the virtual pages of the New York Times' Opinionator blog today to assess Republican odds of regaining the White...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 10:31 AM The Flare-Up of a Preexisting Condition

TAP's Paul Waldman, whose views I esteem greatly, made an interesting confession yesterday: Back in what if memory serves was early 2011, I ran into a former Prospect writer and...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 9:52 AM War, Parliaments, and Coalition Politics

As we enter a period when military action against Syria could happen any time, the Obama administration is struggling to line up allies at home and abroad. Last night Slate's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 29, 2013 8:42 AM Daylight Video

Eight years ago today, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. So we'll have some "stormy" weather today, beginning with Public Enemy's reaction to Katrina and the government that initially did...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

It's been an emotional day, at least for this old cracker who remembers the "I Have a Dream" speech from childhood. Here are some news/views remainders: * WaPo's Milbank mulls...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 5:39 PM Quinn Needs Votes, Not Endorsements

Yesterday I mentioned New York mayoral candidate Christine Quinn's "trifecta" of big daily newspaper endorsements. But if the new Quinnipiac poll of the race is correct, she needs a lot...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 5:21 PM Wave of the Future?

If my take on Obama's speech today is right, and he was in part signaling that we may have reached the end of what this generation of politicians can accomplish...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 4:11 PM Obama and the Promised Land

Well, the president just finished his speech at the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington. Here's a rushed transcript. And here's the video: I don't get the sense...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 3:13 PM Conservative Jobs Plan in a Nutshell

As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech today, it's worth a glance at a very different man of the same last name whose primary service...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

At the 50th anniversary commemoration of the March on Washington at the National Mall today, President Obama is due to speak at approximately 3:15 EDT. You can watch a live...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 1:22 PM Racial Progress Through Reggae

The Wild Hare, in Chicago On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, I though I'd pass along a small story about the racial fears and animus that still...

By Paul Glastris

August 28, 2013 12:44 PM Equal Opportunity and Community Colleges

It's no secret that community colleges are particularly important to the educational and economic aspirations of minority Americans. According to a Pew study, as of 2010, 47% of less-than-four-year college...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 12:02 PM On The Decline of Bipartisan Support For Civil Rights

This afternoon, the president will give a speech at the Lincoln Memorial commemorating the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered from that same spot...

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

August 28, 2013 10:53 AM The Legacy of the March on Washington Through the Looking Glass

No one has a monopoly on interpretation of the 1963 March on Washington or its legacy, and there are obviously many valid perspectives from which to look at the current...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 9:51 AM No Real Freedom Without Jobs

It's often forgotten that the 1963 March on Washington was officially called the "March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom." As Harold Meyerson reminds us in a fine piece at...

By Ed Kilgore

August 28, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

Mahalia Jackson performs "How I Got Over" at the March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago today....

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I've just learned that the subject of (and chief performer in) our Daylight Video today, Abby Henderson, passed away this afternoon. RIP, and sympathies to her family and her many...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 4:49 PM Summers-Time, and the Livin' Ain't Easy

Today Ezra Klein reports that the likelihood of Larry Summers being appointed to chair the Fed is now reaching a peak despite a lot of early and often angry opposition...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 4:08 PM Quinn's Trifecta

If you've been watching the New York mayoral contest, you probably know that Christine Quinn, who has been struggling to hang onto a lead, managed to snag the endorsements (for...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 3:07 PM Doubling Down On Dumb Obamacare-for-Congress Policy

You have to figure that Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), plus Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) are not very popular on Capitol Hill today, particularly among congressional staff....

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

This could be the sparest news day of the summer, unless that would be Friday. If it means no fresh news of war or economic collapse, I'm fine with that....

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 1:40 PM The Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood

Most alert observers understand the strategic importance of the pledge made by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to provide up to $12 billion in military assistance to...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 1:01 PM Blowing Things Up For Humanitarian Purposes

As we wait to see if the United States is going to launch a serious military strike in Syria, Matt Yglesias offers this timely reminder that less lethal humanitarian efforts...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 11:49 AM "Your Nikki" Back With New Out-of-State Validators

By all accounts, SC Gov. Nikki Haley's big announcement that she's running for another term didn't exactly sizzle with electricity. According to Reuters, only 60 people showed up (some of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 11:08 AM College Rankings in Context

In case you missed it, Chris Hayes had a highly informative segment on All In last Friday night on Obama's college affordability initiative and the underlying cost spiral, which included...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 10:35 AM The Can Stops Here

The importance of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's letter to Congress yesterday on the breaching of the debt limit is that it moves up the anticipated date significantly, notes the Wall...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 9:43 AM Dysfunction Junction: Bay Area Community Colleges

As noted yesterday, one of the new features of this year's Washington Monthly College Guide is a ranking of the country's top 50 community colleges. But looking at some of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 27, 2013 8:42 AM Daylight Video

Today's Daylight Video is by special request of PA's good friend Blue Girl, and features her friend Abby Henderson, who is down to her last days in a five-year battle...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 6:11 PM Day's End and Night Watch

We published WaMo's "Best Bang for the Buck" rankings of colleges on Friday, but can now offer profiles of some of the "standout" schools. Check it out. Here are some...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 5:44 PM Votes For Women

Ninety-three years ago today, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women a right to vote in federal and in state elections was finally ratified. The amendment cleared Congress...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 5:05 PM Another Kind of Early Voting

Late-cycle party primaries were for many years common in the South, presumably a legacy of the Solid South days when Democratic primaries were "tantamount" to a general election and there...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 3:27 PM Iowa GOP Not Conservative Enough?

At the New York Times yesterday, Jonathan Martin wrote a catch-up piece for those who haven't been paying attention (or reading Political Animal) to the early 2016 GOP skirmishing over...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

It's natural when something like the Washington Monthly's 2013 College Guide comes out to just check and see how Alma Mater or your favorite football school did and leave it...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 1:33 PM It's All Very Simple

Like Jonathan Chait, I thought much of David Farenthold's big WaPo weekend piece on federal spending was "weirdly biased." Jon's right that it used "crude, badly deployed statistics" to convince...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 12:52 PM When Does the Awful Specter of ObamaCare Truly Appear?

One of the conceits behind the sputtering conservative drive to make a Final Apocalyptic Stand against ObamaCare in the appropriations process is that the new law becomes effective on October...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 11:42 AM TRAP Is Working

So the big switch in antichoice tactics to a combo platter of late-term abortion restrictions and TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) provisions allegedly justified by late-term abortions is having...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 10:58 AM Dr. Dumb-Down's Race Lecture

Over the weekend Gov. Bobby Jindal continued his campaign to translate his insights as the Smartest Guy In Every Room to the poor unwashed in overtly patronizing prose, just short...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 9:43 AM More Equal Than Others

If you haven't tuned out the "de-fund Obamacare" talk altogether, you may have heard that the self-appointed ringleader of the "shut 'er down" cult determined to force a government shutdown...

By Ed Kilgore

August 26, 2013 8:50 AM College Rankings That Aren't Ridiculous

Today the Washington Monthly releases its annual College Rankings. This is our answer to U.S. News & World Report, which relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of wealth, exclusivity,...

By Paul Glastris

August 26, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

In honor of the release of the 2013 College Rankings, here's "Golden Days" from the movie version of The Student Prince, with the voice of Mario Lanza....

By Ed Kilgore

August 25, 2013 4:30 PM Transgender 101

Last week's statement by Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning announcing that she is female and requesting that she be referred to using "the feminine pronoun" created a media firestorm. Sadly, many...

By Kathleen Geier

August 25, 2013 1:43 PM Barack Obama said he identified with the parents of Trayvon Martin. How dare he!

In a column that refines race-baiting concern-trolling to a high art, Kathleen Parker is clearly auditioning for the role of the most insensitive white woman this side of Paula Deen....

By Kathleen Geier

August 25, 2013 10:47 AM President Obama could do something that would help the economy, honor Dr. King's legacy, and improve the lives of millions of workers -- with the stroke of a pen

You know the drill -- we have a dysfunctional political system and a gridlocked Congress. The House is firmly in the grip of a band of Republican maniacs and the...

By Kathleen Geier

August 25, 2013 7:39 AM Justice Ginsburg grants NYT interview; slams court as "one of the most activist" in history

Today's New York Times features a very interesting interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Interviews with sitting justices are relatively rare, particularly ones in which a justice speaks...

By Kathleen Geier

August 24, 2013 12:58 PM The March on Washington was a march for "Jobs and Freedom"

Today in the nation's capital, thousands have gathered to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. There will be speeches, rallies, and other events. Another series of...

By Kathleen Geier

August 24, 2013 12:31 PM Jean Shepherd on the March on Washington

I'm working on a longish post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. While you're waiting for that, I thought I'd post links to Jean Shepherd's classic radio...

By Kathleen Geier

August 24, 2013 9:38 AM San Diego mayor and all-round creepy dude Bob Filner resigns

Various media outlets are reporting that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has finally agreed to resign effective August 30th. Eighteen women have accused Filner, a Democrat, of sexual harassment. Alas,...

By Kathleen Geier

August 24, 2013 7:55 AM Keep the gummint out of my Obamacare!

Via Krugman comes this gem, as reported by Jason Cherkis in the Huffington Post: A middle-aged man in a red golf shirt shuffles up to a small folding table with...

By Kathleen Geier

August 24, 2013 7:48 AM Programming note

Since we want the site to load faster on Monday, when the College Rankings go up, we're trying to reduce the number of videos on the home page. Therefore, I...

By Kathleen Geier

August 23, 2013 6:16 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Sorry for the relatively light posting this afternoon, but I got embroiled in a complicated transcontinental effort to book someone late on an August Friday afternoon to appear on MSNBC...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 5:53 PM Triple Play

OMG. If this report from The Daily Mail is true, and this storyline is aired, heads will explode all over the conservative commentariat: 'Law & Order SVU' is tackling racial...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 4:22 PM Reducing Time Wasted in Law Schools

I don't know it is going to make headlines, but the president came up with a suggestion during his "college affordability" bus tour that I and many other law school...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 3:44 PM Remembering August 23, 1939

Choosing history's most momentous developments is tricky for all sorts of obvious reasons. But there is little doubt that the Hitler-Stalin Pact (more accurately the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact named for...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

So the techies are testing the impact of today's modest ration of music videos against a high-volume day, and we'll know more soon. Blog and learn. Here are some midday...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 12:58 PM Show Us a Bill

Via Brother Benen, we learn that one of the few undoubtedly sincere Republican supporters of an effort to repair the damage done to the Voting Rights Act by the U.S....

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 12:23 PM College Affordability and Maintenance of State Funding

Buried in the details of the president's college affordability initiative is a small but very important idea. Here's how WaPo's Dylan Matthews explains it based on a White House fact...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 11:41 AM Our Anti-Democratic Senate

Between now and November 4, 2014, you will read and hear many thousands of words about whether and why Republicans will win control of the United States Senate. There will...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 10:09 AM Marco Rubio's Slippery Slope

Looking through the initial Republican objections to the president's college cost initiative, I was amused to see this quote from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), via The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann: Senator...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 9:25 AM The Power of Information

Predictably, the president's proposal yesterday to develop measurements of college cost effectiveness, and then to link federal subsidies to performance, aroused immediate opposition from some college administrators and their lobbyists,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 23, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

On this day in 1927, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts executed the Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for murder, despite large holes in the evidence against them and world-wide...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 6:22 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Since I've temporarily suspended posting music videos here at PA, I'm happy to report that Tammy Booth has posted a bunch of Sacred Steel videos at the WaMo Facebook page....

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 5:57 PM The Conservative Case for Waste

In predicting that Republicans won't support the president's proposals for making colleges more accountable for the public subsidies they receive, Slate's Matt Yglesias touches on an important broader point: [T]he...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 5:25 PM Zombie Ideas From Bush's Brain

Like Kevin Drum, I glanced through Karl Rove's Wall Street Journal column on all the fine health care "ideas" the Republican Party has developed, and felt too tired to go...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 3:53 PM All Killings Are Tragedies, But Some Become Travesties

If you pay any attention to conservative news/views sites, you have probably heard a lot over the last couple of days about Chris Lane, an Australian baseball player who was...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 3:25 PM 2013 Bang-For-Buck College Rankings

As noted earlier, last year the Washington Monthly supplemented its famed College Rankings with a new measurement of a school's "bang for the buck," to "highlight those colleges that use...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

I've been advised that YouTube videos could create site instability over the next few days when we are loading some massive new data, so I'm suspending new music videos for...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 1:34 PM Filner To Resign

So for residents of San Diego, it seems the long municipal nightmare will soon be over: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has agreed to resign as part of a deal...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 1:10 PM Obama's Plan For Evaluating College's "Bang for the Buck"

So this segment of President Obama's speech today on college affordability is pretty exciting news for those of us at Washington Monthly, which has long pioneered ranking of colleges based...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 11:44 AM So What Happened on March 23, 2010?

In a brave effort to understand the "Defund Obamacare" campaign as something other than an expression of what I've called Nike Existentialism (Just Do It!), The Atlantic's Molly Ball interviewed...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 11:06 AM Who's Obsessed with Ted Cruz?

I laughed out loud when I saw this lede from National Review's Andrew Stiles: "The liberal media are obsessed with Texas' senator Ted Cruz." Aside from his own piece, there...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 10:07 AM Let's Hear It For the Zealots

It's one of those stories you read about and maybe write about but don't quite internalize as a serious possibility until it doesn't go away: the talk among Republican leaders...

By Ed Kilgore

August 22, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

In looking for Hawaiian steel guitar music yesterday, I accidentally reacquainted myself with one of its most fascinating spinoffs: the "Sacred Steel" tradition of African-American Pentecostal praise music. Here's Bishop...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 6:01 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Happy to have gotten through Hawaii Day without any Don Ho or Elvis. Here are some final items of the day: * Looks likeA Hosni Mubarak will leave prison only...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 5:35 PM The Short Memories of Louisiana Republicans

Via Brother Benen, here's a hilarious (or horrifying, depending on how you look at it) Public Policy Polling discovery from the Gret Stet of Looisiana: He may have been 3.5...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 5:02 PM SNAP Goes the Drug-Testing Argument

So when House Republicans get around this fall to legislation reauthorizing the SNAP (food stamp) program, which they'll have to do before getting to a conference committee with the Senate...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 4:45 PM Pawlenty Heavy

Politico's James Hohmann has penned an insider-y piece about the supposed 2016 presidential strategy of WI Gov. Scott Walker, who generally makes the second tier of potential candidates in early...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 2:56 PM Between Two Stools

House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte of VA is getting a lot of attention for his delphic utterances about immigration reform during the current recess. Greg Sargent has an excellent...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 1:56 PM Lunch Buffet

A nice morning with very little political news but still lots of interesting discussions. Plus Hawaiian music! Here are some midday news/views snacks served luau-style: * Bradley Manning sentenced by...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 1:01 PM Long Shots

Slate's Dave Weigel does some investigative reporting in the wake of interest in Ted Cruz's background as a champion college debater, and turns up these reminiscences: I talked to some...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 12:25 PM 50s Nostalgia

The Economist has touched off an interesting debate over memories and values with a survey of Americans asking "which decade of the 20th century would you most like to return?"...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 10:37 AM Emo-Progs and O-Bots

To show how remote I've been from the "Emo-Prog Versus O-Bot" war that Atrios and Kevin Drum have discussed in the last 24 hours, I wasn't familiar with either term,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 10:13 AM Morsi in Jail, Mubarak Out?

In some breaking news, an Egyptian appeals court has ordered the release from imprisonment of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, which could happen within the next few hours. Rod Nordland of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 9:38 AM Demythologizing Innovation

At TNR today, John Judis launches an attack on one of the reigning myths of conservative politics, the assumption that government interference in the economy is inhibiting the brilliant and...

By Ed Kilgore

August 21, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

Today is the 54th anniversary of Hawaii's admission to the Union as the 50th state. So we'll feature some Hawaiian music today, beginning with this brief demonstration of "slack-key" guitar...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Tomorrow is the 54th anniversary of Hawaii's admission to the Union as the 50th state. That should make for some fun music videos, eh? Here are some final items of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 5:50 PM One Solution To Blogger Burnout

The progressive blogosphere is--pun not intended--a-Twitter with the news of one of its most respected members, Grist's Dave Roberts, announcing he was taking a year off to avoid burnout. His...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 5:05 PM Parallel Universes

At Ten Miles Square today, Raymond Smith of the Progressive Policy Institute and Columbia University has an amusing take on the current New York City Democratic mayoral primary as exhibiting...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 3:46 PM Counting On False Equivalency

Nobody can accuse WaPo's Greg Sargent of failing to keep hope alive on the possibility that comprehensive immigration reform can see the light of day in this Congress. Greg has...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 3:09 PM Obama On Egypt Explained

The president has not gotten a lot of love from any direction in terms of his handling of the situation in Egypt. This very day, the New York Times' Roger...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 2:05 PM Lunch Buffet

One of my more memorable encounters with Trotskyists back in the day was when I tried to purchase a volume of Isaac Deutscher's famed biography of Trotsky from a Young...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 1:22 PM Impeachment Must Be For a Reason

Now that Ted Cruz has suggested that the only reason Republicans can't go right ahead and impeach Barack Obama is a lack of the requisite Senate votes, it's time to...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 12:58 PM What's the Rationale For Bad Election Administration?

In responding (somewhat charitably, as a matter of fact) to Republican complaints that they are being unfairly accused of racial animus in pushing, in every available circumstance, legislation and policies...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 11:57 AM Settling Old RINO Scores

With the news that Sen. Lamar Alexander has finally drawn a right-wing primary challenge next year, constitutional conservatives everywhere probably sighed with relief. This survivor from a different era of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 11:30 AM Tar Heel Blues

The myth of North Carolina as some sort of progressive southern oasis was always a bit overdone. It was in the Tar Heel State that I saw for the first...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 10:09 AM Why There Is No Obamacare "Replacement" Agenda

In some pretty classic news-the-listener-doesn't-want-to-use, Newt Gingrich told the Republican National Committee meeting in Boston this week that Republicans needed to get their act together and offer some kind of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 20, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

73 years ago today, former Soviet War Commissar and exiled communist heresiarch Leon Trotsky was murdered in Mexico City by a Stalinist agent. With apologies to any Trotskyist who might...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 6:29 PM Day's End and Night Watch

As August slows to a crawl, I'm looking at the calendar: two weeks until Labor Day; ten days until College Football season begins. Here are some final items of the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 5:58 PM The Religious Landscape of Congress

If you are interested in the intersecting topics of religion and politics, or just wonder what if anything your Member of Congress professes to believe about the ontological order of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 5:23 PM Treasure and Hearts

Greg Sargent skewers business lobbyists today for having bankrolled the rise of the Tea Party element of the Republican Party and now complaining about how loony and uncontrollable it is...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 3:46 PM The Warning From the California GOP

In the debate in Republican circles over the party's potential stake in supporting comprehensive immigration reform, there's one place where you don't hear much debate at all: here in California,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 3:23 PM The Race to Implement--Or Kill--Common Core Standards

I've argued off and on for a while that the steady and accelerating abandonment of standards-and-assessments-based education reform on the Right is one of the most under-reported stories of the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 1:54 PM Lunch Buffet

I stayed up a bit too late last night for a PDT blogger in order to watch Breaking Bad. But I saved Talking Bad for tonight. I'm sure someone has...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 1:15 PM The Undifferentiated Grey Mass

At Ten Miles Square, Keith Humphreys makes an important point in reacting to the discussion--here at PA and elsewhere--about the dynamics of the "senior vote:" [W]ith the senior population currently...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 12:46 PM Ted Cruz Tries To Quiet Birthers

It's so richly ironic that is must be noted briefly: the champion of the loud-and-proud Constitutional Conservative, take-no-prisoners, Obama-is-un-American wing of the conservative movement, Sen. Ted Cruz, felt constrained to...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 12:15 PM Obamacare and Big Lies

A lot of the "debate" over the Affordable Care Act is based on extraordinary fables spun by its opponents with greater or lesser consciousness of their mendacity. The all-time howler,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 10:49 AM In Defense of Presidential Campaign Mania

TAP's Paul Waldman has performed a major public service for us political writers--and particularly news-cycle political bloggers--in making the case for early and frequent coverage of presidential campaigns-- yea, even...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 9:43 AM Health Reform Made EZ

Since Republicans seem to be determined to re-litigate the entire debate over the Affordable Care Act of 2010, it's more helpful than ever for progressives to simplify why the core...

By Ed Kilgore

August 19, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

For no particular reason, here's "the uncrowned queen of the blues," Ida Cox, performing "Kentucky Blues."...

By Ed Kilgore

August 18, 2013 6:57 PM Saudis want U.S. to back Egypt crackdown - Sunday evening roundup

*The Egyptian coup government has been accused of killing demonstrators in custody. The Interior Ministry said 36 Brotherhood members died during an attempted prison breakout on Sunday near the capital,...

By Samuel Knight

August 18, 2013 3:10 PM A Facebook "Whitehat" hacker was kinda screwed over by the company, but at least he's not in jail

According to a Daily Dot post today, a benevolent hacker named Khalil Shreateh found a bug in Facebook's privacy settings, and informed the company about it in a rather unconventional...

By Samuel Knight

August 18, 2013 1:27 PM Two years on, Washington's "Syrian freedom fighters" must face the facts

With the world focused on Egypt, an important milestone in Middle Eastern relations is passing with little fanfare. Two years ago today, President Obama openly called for Bashar al-Assad's ouster...

By Samuel Knight

August 18, 2013 10:36 AM Lindsey Graham's uncharacteristically smart take on Egypt

Sen. Lindsey Graham was on "Face the Nation" this morning, where faced the nation and shocked it by showing uncharacteristic intelligence and compassion discussing the situation in Egypt. Describing the...

By Samuel Knight

August 18, 2013 9:31 AM Ayotte wants aid to flow to Egypt coup govt: Sunday morning round-up

*The Wall Street Journal just reported that EU officials said they plan on reviewing their ties with Egypt. They'll be discussing the status of aid to the “interim” government in...

By Samuel Knight

August 17, 2013 7:02 PM Bush officials to finally get comeuppance for Iraq? Saturday evening roundup

*Yes! Magazine reports that an Iraqi women is suing Bush officials in a U.S. court for that thing they did* (*ordering the invasion and effective destruction of her country). The...

By Samuel Knight

August 17, 2013 3:18 PM NSA "Nothing to see here, people" types thoroughly embarrassed again

Remember when Jeffrey Toobin ho-hummed over Edward Snowden's disclosures, and called him a “grandiose narcissist”? What, one wonders, did Snowden think the N.S.A. did? Any marginally attentive citizen, much less...

By Samuel Knight

August 17, 2013 12:53 PM The baby and the bathwater, MOOC edition

Michael Peters, a professor of education at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has a thorough criticism of Massive...

By Samuel Knight

August 17, 2013 11:17 AM Individual mandate suddenly a right: Saturday morning roundup

*In his weekly radio address this morning, President Obama offered a staunch defense of his healthcare plan -- one that might not sit well with the health insurance industry lobbyists...

By Samuel Knight

August 17, 2013 8:43 AM Clashes in Cairo continue

Clashes in Egypt are continuing as this is being written. “Democracy Now!” correspondent and Nation Institute fellow Sharif Kouddous is on the scene in Ramses Square in Cairo, where the...

By Samuel Knight

August 16, 2013 6:25 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Thanks to those who responded to my question about music videos. I'll treat it as a collective conditional endorsement, and yes, I'll try to transcend what one commenter described as...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 5:53 PM Future Entrepreneurs: White Punks On Dope

So here's some brain food to ponder going into the weekend. A new study by a professor at Berkeley and another at LSE of the demographics and personality traits of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 4:58 PM Watchdogs and Guard Dogs

On a day when WaPo is naturally absorbed with its own Snowden-assisted scoop on NSA violations of the guidelines under which they allegedly operate, Timothy Lee had the most compelling...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 3:19 PM Hey, Republicans! Obamacare Is Off the Table!

There's an increasingly obvious problem with the efforts of GOP congressional leaders to tamp down "base" support for a "defunding Obamacare" drive linked to a continuing resolution to keep the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

On an unusually active August Friday (so far), let's get right to the midday news and views: * Dylan Byers notes RNC ban on NBC/CNN sponsorship of GOP debates will...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 1:34 PM Sacred Bait and Celebrating Jihadis

With at least 50 more deaths in clashes following proclamation of a "Day of Rage" by besieged Islamist opponents of the Egyptian military regime, it's clear "stability" isn't returning to...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 1:13 PM Too Much Music?

I've been perusing the responses to the reader survey we've been promoting this week, and have noticed several people expressing the concern that PA is posting too many music videos...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 11:44 AM Controlling Debates

So the RNC has unanimously approved the rather juvenile resolution "punishing" NBC and CNN for planning programming about Hillary Clinton by banning them from hosting Republican presidential candidate debates in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 11:21 AM RIP Bert Lance

Bert Lance, an important figure in Georgia politics and government but mainly remembered elsewhere as a symbol of the fecklessness of the Carter administration, died yesterday at the age of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 10:35 AM Was Romney "Obviously" Racist?

In a remarkable acknowledgement of the need for damage control, GOP National Chairman Reince Priebus went off yesterday not only on Republican Rep. Steve King for his abrasive comments identifying...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 9:43 AM Beyond Oversight

It may be a while before we understand the implications of the latest revelations (harvested, to be clear, from leaks by Edward Snowden) in today's Washington Post about the National...

By Ed Kilgore

August 16, 2013 8:49 AM Daylight Video

39 years ago today, the Ramones had their first public performance at New York's CBGB's. Here they are performing "Blitzkrieg Bop" at the same venue a couple of years later....

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

It will be interesting to see if the disinterest Americans showed in the toppling of Morsi last month continues with the bloodshed we're seeing now. Hard to say; it is,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 5:49 PM Is Enlightenment Dawning on the GOP On Immigration?

Greg Sargent has an interesting post today on Steve King's bewilderment about the support he sees among Republicans for comprehensive immigration reform, based on "a spell" he perceives as having...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 5:03 PM Hanging Out

We've talked internally about doing some Google "Hangout" sessions here at PA. It's basically a way to livestream video discussions in a format that looks and feels a lot like...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 4:22 PM Ideology Is For Losers

The more you listen to Chris Christie, the more you have to wonder if he's the political equivalent of a catchy Top 40 song: sounds pretty good for a while,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 3:25 PM Heat-Seeking Missive

It takes a lot, believe me, to feel any sympathy for WaPo blogger Jennifer Rubin. But Lord have mercy, this passage from the advice offered at Washington City Paper by...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 2:21 PM Lunch Buffet

* Jerry Brown angers feminists and reproductive rights advocates with veto of bill allowing women to sell their eggs to researchers. * Bizarre hacking of WaPo site by Assad backers...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 1:07 PM Purple Georgia?

At TNR today, Nate Cohn weighs in with solid data in support of the proposition that Democrats looking for a red-state-breakthrough in 2014 might more profitably look at Georgia than...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 12:08 PM The Hastert Rule Writ Large

The twin axioms at the very heart of the Republican Party's current travails are (1) Republicans have failed in the past by listening to the siren songs of MSM respectability...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 11:12 AM A Little More Help From Our Friends

We've received well over 400 responses to the reader survey we posted on Tuesday, and are looking at them closely in terms of future decisions about PA and the rest...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 10:49 AM Watching With the Rest of the World

As the death toll in Egypt continues to rise, and Islamists who cannot overcome the violence of the military seek easier targets (like Coptic churches), the main official U.S. reaction...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 9:53 AM When Health Care Policy Isn't Complex

The most serious threat to the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act is probably its complexity. Yes, the basic idea of creating risk pools large enough to make universal...

By Ed Kilgore

August 15, 2013 8:37 AM Daylight Video

44 years ago today, the Woodstock Music Festival began with a performance of "Freedom" by Richie Havens. Here it is again:...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 5:24 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I have to admit I was at best an erratic consumer of Outlaw Country Music (I generally preferred the really old stuff, and also some of the California-based Bakersfield Sound),...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 4:40 PM "Nyet!" Said the Commissar

Many supporters of comprehensive immigration reform have been nursing a faint but very real hope (I expressed it myself last week) that conservatives wrangling with each other and their Members...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 3:32 PM The Double-Scoop of Ice Cream Next Week

Yesterday, after reading Robert Costa's detailed account of how John Boehner and Eric Cantor were slowly and patiently talking Republicans out of a suicide mission to shut down the federal...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 3:01 PM A Frustrating Mess

We've all heard, ad infinitum, the claim that the chronic and deepening public dissatisfaction with Congress is attributable to excessive partisanship--you know, the two parties' equally obdurate refusal to sit...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 1:43 PM Lunch Buffet

Those of you who are watching the events from Egypt on television should feel free to register impressions of what's going on in the comment thread. Even with live-blogs, it's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 1:15 PM Egypt Explodes Again

Here's a terse but alarming account from Reuters' Yasmine Saleh and Tom Finn of the latest events from Egypt: At least 95 Egyptians were killed on Wednesday after security forces...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 12:53 PM Farewell to the Fat Man

For anyone coming of age in the 1970s and 1980s, Jack Germond (who just died at the age of 85) was the embodiment of the old-school political journalist, mostly in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 12:11 PM Where the Action Is

This item from USAToday's Paul Singer must have come as rude news to some Beltway folks obsessed with the betting odds of a Republican takeover of the Senate next year:...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 11:21 AM First Glimpse of the Struggle for the Soul of the Democratic Party

I've been watching for signs of awareness across the center-left spectrum that once the war to keep Barack Obama in office and somewhat functional as president has run its course,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 10:27 AM Democrats and Mandatory Minimums

At Ten Miles Square today, Stanford University's Keith Humphreys reminds us that the mandatory minimum sentencing practices that Eric Holder is proposing to end-run or modify were not solely the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 9:34 AM Booker Cruises

So despite facing two veteran members of Congress and arousing a lot of protests from progressive activists, Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 14, 2013 8:51 AM Daylight Video

Tompall Glaser, one of the pioneers of Outlaw Country Music, died in Nashville yesterday at the age of 79. So we're going to be featuring some "outlaw" music today, beginning...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 6:07 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Have to admit I've been distracted today by the self-imposed task of listening to, selecting and posting keyboard-oriented songs today. But it's been fun, and I don't think we've missed...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 5:33 PM Child of the Revolution

Slate's Dave Weigel has been in Iowa the last few days talking to Republicans, and came away with a better-documented but similar case to the one I made by educated...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 4:49 PM Punish Obama, Pass His Top Legislative Priority

In his ever resourceful effort to find someone to convince conservative activists they shouldn't turn their backs on him for his sponsorship of comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. Marco Rubio has...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 4:09 PM A Halt in the Remorseless Consolidation of Airlines?

I noted briefly at Lunch Buffet that the Justice Department had filed suit to stop the proposed merger of U.S. Airways and American Airlines. Here's a more complete account from...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 3:21 PM Stop-and-Frisk Boomerang?

To the extent that New York's Democratic mayoral primary is revolving less and less around the psychodrama of Anthony Weiner, it's actually getting more interesting and unpredictable. And in a...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

On this day 52 years ago, construction began on the Berlin Wall. I thought about making it a music video theme, but figured I'd heard Pink Floyd's "The Wall" quite...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 1:19 PM Help!

Within the limits of our budget and our subsequently constrained technological capacities, we at the Washington Monthly actually do think a lot about how to improve this website and your...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 12:20 PM Voting Rights As a Voting Issue

It's being widely reported today that Hillary Clinton's speech to the American Bar Association meeting yesterday on voting rights is the first in a series of addresses on major issues...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 11:59 AM Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

In the wake of U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling that New York City's "stop-and-frisk" policy violates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 11:16 AM Will "The Base" Stand Down On De-Funding Obamacare?

So the big buzz in Washington today is that House Republican leaders have turned the corner in tamping down sentiment for a suicidal drive to shut down the federal government...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 9:52 AM What Holder's New Policy Actually Accomplishes

Like a lot of observers, I probably wasn't too precise yesterday in explaining what Attorney General Eric Holder actually did in the Justice Department policy change he announced yesterday in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 13, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

For no particular reasons other than fun value, I'm going to post videos today from songs with great (or maybe just memorable) keyboard parts. So let's kick it off with...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Night Watch

So to those of you who watched it, what did you think of Breaking Bad last night? I think the words "tread lightly" have never been dropped more heavily. Here...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 5:50 PM Labor Prodigals

The imperiled state of the U.S. labor movement is such that it's easy for people outside it to forget there remains a spirited competition within its ranks between the AFL-CIO...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 5:26 PM The Jeremiah of Ames

Aficionados will tell you that the podium at Christian Right confabs are often crowded with politicians blowing dog whistles and dancing on the precipice of theocratic extremism. But because participants...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 3:27 PM Not Exactly a Bullet

Via Kevin Drum, I noticed an L.A. Times update on the latest delay in the construction schedule for the California "bullet train" project, supposedly kick-started by the award of federal...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 3:19 PM Gingrich's Revisionist History of His Own Self

Newt Gingrich has often relied on short memories of his political career (as I can attest from the shocked reaction I got in 2011 when writing about his well-known history...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 2:05 PM Lunch Buffet

I had the pleasure of seeing Warren Zevon perform in late 1987 at Atlanta's Fox Theater just after his return from a long bout with substance abuse. He had become...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 12:53 PM Stop Me Before I Kill Government Again

Happy as I am that a bipartisan convergence on sentencing reform just possibly could be in the works, it can't obscure the more immediate spectacle of Republicans simultaneously trying to...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 12:20 PM Sentencing Reform Breakthrough?

Today in a speech to an ABA conference in San Francisco, Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to lay out an executive and legislative agenda for sentencing reform, aimed at...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 11:06 AM Clown Show

If you haven't heard about the "rodeo clown" incident from the Missouri State Fair over the weekend, here's a brief summary from a St. Louis TV station: The Facebook post...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 10:35 AM The Final Indignity

So Anthony Weiner's mayor campaign has just put up its first actual television ad, and it's being interpreted (at least by CNN's Kevin Liptak) as a gesture of denial: Anthony...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 9:43 AM Sunny, Optimistic Rage

After Ted Cruz' first appearance in Iowa last month, I was intrigued by a reference to him as a potential GOP "unity candidate" by Craig Robinson, the influential and not...

By Ed Kilgore

August 12, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

In connection with the anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall, I ran across a reference to the song below, and decided to devote today's music videos to the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 11, 2013 3:38 PM An important new paper shows us what's driving economic inequality -- and how we can stop it

Earlier, today, in my Larry Summers post, I wrote this: Given what we know about the relationship between the growth in economic inequality and rents accruing to finance professionals (of...

By Kathleen Geier

August 11, 2013 11:09 AM What people don't know about health insurance: the answers may surprise you

This week at Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff reported on a fascinating study that shows that Americans are surprisingly ignorant about health insurance basics. The study, conducted by a Carnegie Mellon University...

By Kathleen Geier

August 11, 2013 9:47 AM Must-read of the day: New York Times report on Larry "Conflict of Interest" Summers

Today's New York Times features a a very disturbing article by Louise Story and Annie Lowrey about the walking conflict of interest that is Larry Summers. Lots of great stuff...

By Kathleen Geier

August 11, 2013 8:50 AM Morning music: New Jersey's unsung punk band, Detention

To me, one of the great things about punk rock is that punk didn't have to be great to be good. Punk democratized rock at a time when it was...

By Kathleen Geier

August 10, 2013 5:11 PM The best news of the week: early "lost" Orson Welles film found!

By far the most thrilling news I've heard this week was Dave Kehr's report in the New York Times that an early film directed by and starring Orson Welles, long...

By Kathleen Geier

August 10, 2013 3:38 PM No, Walmart doesn't create jobs

Because it's a such a slow news day, and because the DC big box living wage bill is still in the news, I thought I'd write about the Walmart piece...

By Kathleen Geier

August 10, 2013 12:31 PM What's different about today's conservatives?

When people, usually liberals, compare today's conservatives unfavorably to conservatives of previous generations, I often get annoyed. Viewing today's conservatives through the misty water-covered memories of the past, observers today...

By Kathleen Geier

August 10, 2013 10:03 AM The right's latest candidate for history's greatest monster: Jeff Spicoli

To the surprise of no one, Fox News has been a gleeful participant in the latest demented wingnut crusade: eviscerating food stamps. Only Fox isn't merely broadcasting endlessly repeating rounds...

By Kathleen Geier

August 10, 2013 8:38 AM Morning music: the harmonies of the Beach Boys, visualized

If you put a gun to my head and asked me to name my favorite album of all time (although: why in the world would you do that?), there's a...

By Kathleen Geier

August 09, 2013 5:39 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Augusts aren't as barren for political writers as they used to be, but then if you were a political writer back in the day, you were probably one of the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 4:49 PM You're Fired....Now, Let's Talk About Layoffs

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong may have set a new benchmark for managerial imperiousness today during a staff meeting/press conference to announce plans for downsizing the company's struggling Patch affiliate...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 4:22 PM Trying to Keep Up

I don't have a transcript just yet, but the president's remarks on NSA surveillance practices at a press conference this afternoon have the sound of someone trying to keep up...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 3:55 PM Guns, Freedom and Coal

I was leaning over the computer struggling to keep my eyes open on this August Friday afternoon, when I ran across Alec MacGillis' piece at TNR on Mitch McConnell's new...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 2:32 PM Why President Obama's Plan to Replace Fannie and Freddie Will Fail

After President Obama's big housing policy speech, folks have been taking a hard look at the proposal to end Fannie and Freddie. This All In segment captured the basics fairly well,...

By Ryan Cooper

August 09, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

Hope you are enjoying the guitar extravaganza along with the posts today. I would draw particular attention, because it's not all that famous, to the 1971 Larry Coryell performance that...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 1:32 PM Border Backfire

It's not often you read something related to the turgid and eternal debate over immigration policy and say: Ah-hah! But that was my reaction to Ezra Klein's account of the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 12:57 PM Killing the Golden Goose?

The question that kept occurring to me while watching the bizarre saga surrounding Iowa state senator Kent Sorenson this week was this: Why would anybody bother shaking down presidential candidates...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 11:57 AM Still Point in a Turning World

If the LibPops are having a bit of trouble gaining acceptance of their rebranding project for conservatism, the pol with whom they appear to have a tactical alliance is having...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 11:10 AM Libertarianism That Is Popular

It's a Friday in August, with not a whole lot of news going on, so let's indulge in another round of that fun game: "What is Libertarian Populism?" I've offered...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 9:43 AM Health Reform Manana

Now here's some exciting news, via Roll Call's Emma Dumain: House Republicans have held 40 votes to repeal Obamacare, but their promise to come up with legislation to replace it...

By Ed Kilgore

August 09, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

76 years ago tomorrow, the first electric guitar patent was awarded to the Electro String Instrument Corporation. So let's have some ax music. Here's Stevie Ray Vaughan covering Hendrix's "Little...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 6:25 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Afraid we didn't have much in the way of news hooks today for talking about the Nixon Resignation. But those of us over a certain age certainly remember it. Like...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 5:29 PM Old Folks Turning Away From GOP For Real?

A couple of weeks ago, I tried to draw attention to a Charlie Cook column (based on Democracy Corps data) suggesting that a very big political development might be occurring...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 4:59 PM Lest We Forget....

Ezra Klein offers a sobering reminder of why it matters that the United States and Russia are squabbling, above and beyond the fate of Syria or of Edward Snowden, with...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 4:36 PM Primary Purges in '14

When you think about Members of Congress who might be vulnerable to a primary loss in 2014, it's natural to think first of candidates for a Great RINO Hunt: "Establishment...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 3:44 PM Christy Less Toasty Than Rudy

In TAP today, Jonathan Bernstein pens a strong response to glib identifications of Chris Christie's 2016 presidential prospects with those of Rudy Giuliani's in 2008. Since I did a recent...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

I need to apologize to Politico's Darren Samuelsohn for calling him "Drew Samuelson" (an actual person, but not the right person) in yesterday's Lunch Buffet. It's been corrected, but here's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 1:07 PM Smart Guy Making a Stupid Argument

Time's Alex Altman snagged a rare MSM interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, much of it absorbed by Cruz complaining about MSM/liberal stereotypes of conservatives as stupid, evil or crazy. There's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 11:28 AM Could the "Defund Obamacare" Furor Help Pass Immigration Reform?

While we are talking about the endgame of this year's immigration reform fight, there's one particularly ironic contingency that should be kept in the back of one's mind: what if...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 11:15 AM Immigration Reform Movement's Plan B

At National Journal Fawn Johnson offers an interesting peek behind the wall of unity disguising immigration reform advocates have built in favor of the Senate-passed Gang of Eight legislation, where...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 10:43 AM Picking A Losing Battle To Win the War

There's a fascinating column penned by Craig Shirley (one of the keepers of the Gipper's flame) and Newt Gingrich up at cnn.com that analogizes the recent state of the Republican...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 9:29 AM Middle Class Blues

Bill Galston has penned an interesting compilation of statistics on the status of the American middle class at the Wall Street Journal. But this is the one graph you really...

By Ed Kilgore

August 08, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

Thirty-nine years ago today, Richard Nixon resigned as president of the United States. So we'll have some Nixon music today, beginning with Howlin' Wolf's performance of "Watergate Blues."...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 5:30 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I appreciate all y'all indulging my Guadalcanal Diary fetish today. I've always thought this all-but-forgotten band deserved at least a fraction of the success of their Athens/Atlanta contemporaries, R.E.M. (both,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 4:40 PM James Inhofe and the Power of Inertia

There's exciting news from Tulsa today: Senator Jim Inhofe is all in. “I am announcing I’m running for re-election to the United States Senate” Inhofe announced exclusively on KRMG Wednesday...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 3:46 PM Santorum and the Working Class

In an analysis of Rick Santorum's past and future aspirations to become president of the United States, Slate's Dave Weigel makes an important point about the "blue collar outreach" pretensions...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 3:08 PM WaPo's Glory Days

Amidst all the talk about the Washington Post's immediate future after its sale by the Graham family to Jeff Bezos, we thought it would be interesting to republish Tim Noah's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 2:31 PM We're Looking for Fall Interns

The Washington Monthly is looking for bright and motivated interns for our D.C. offices beginning in the next few weeks. It’s not a paid internship, alas, but the interns get...

By Paul Glastris

August 07, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

Gotta say, the quantity of writing about the WaPo sale--particularly at WaPo--is pretty astounding. Don't know if it's the slow news day or some editorial effort to show the paper's...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 12:50 PM The Western Drought

Thanks to a lot of wet weather in the East this summer, many readers may not be aware that big chunks of the west are going through another serious drought....

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 12:11 PM Will A Miniseries Be Good For HRC?

In the furor over Reince Priebus' demands that CNN and NBC cancel special programming about Hillary Clinton or lose their right to host Republican candidate debates in 2016, few people...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 11:10 AM Demon-Possessed

I normally wouldn't post about the following on grounds of (a) taste and (b) relevance, but what they hay, it's an excruciatingly slow news day in August, and it does...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 10:37 AM Obama and The Cult of Homeownership

President Obama's speech on housing policy in Arizona late yesterday didn't make a lot of news, although it was another installment in his series of Big Economic Speeches. Yes, he...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 9:43 AM Who Cares About Primary Season Debates?

I haven't written about the essentially silly story of RNC Chairman Reince Priebus threatening to ban NBC and CNN as hosts of 2016 presidential nominating contest debates unless they drop...

By Ed Kilgore

August 07, 2013 8:42 AM Daylight Video

71 years ago today, Marines landed on Guadalcanal Island, in the first U.S. offensive in the Pacific theater of World War II. So I just can't help but post some...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 6:39 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Well, the news just seemed to die late in the day, but there are a few remainder items: * Latest NRA project: defending use of lead in ammo against regulatory...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 5:57 PM No Sign of Republican Support for "Fix" of Obamacare For Church-Sponsored Health Plans

Back in June Anne Kim and I reported on an effort by Sens. Mark Pryor and Chris Coons to "fix" an unintended problem with implementation of the Affordable Care Act...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 5:26 PM Pushing Away White Democrats

Ross Douthat has tried his hand at an evaluation of the lengthy debate ensuing from Sean Trende's "missing white voter" hypothesis about 2012, and after dismissing misunderstandings about Trende's prescriptions...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 4:36 PM Is Paul Ryan the Best You Can Do?

I've long been amused that Rep. Paul Ryan has a rep in Republican circles for being an anti-poverty specialist, and/or the successor to Jack Kemp as an "empowerment conservative" with...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 4:27 PM Nunn of the Above

Public Policy Polling has the first survey out of the U.S. Senate race in my home state of Georgia after Democrat Michelle Nunn's announcement of candidacy (disclaimer: I'm a longtime...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

The Hiroshima anniversary is probably a much bigger deal to those of us who remember the moments when a global thermonuclear war seemed all too plausible. To this day, I...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 1:15 PM Oh, Yeah, There's This Other Stuff About Obamacare

I was reading a piece at CNNMoney about Obamacare implementation by Tami Luhby, and had to laugh bitterly at how the story was put together. The headline was "Where Obamacare...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 12:11 PM When You Can't Trust a Trusty

In the exceptionally important bipartisan task of keeping the Republican Party within shouting distance of the empirical world of facts and data, a particular challenge has been to convince GOPers...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 11:33 AM Larry Summers: Can the Man Play Baseball?

I haven't participated in the remarkably heated war of words over the identity of the next chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, partly because what I know about monetary policy...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 11:01 AM The 2015 FAMiLY LEADER Straw Poll: Cutting Out the Middleman

A key part of the nifty money-influence-and-attention game that the conservative activists of Iowa play with their control over a key choke-point in the presidential nominating process is the Ames...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 9:39 AM A Newspaper In Every Package

The announcement of the sale of the Washington Post to Jeff Bezos is the undisputed top news story among Washingtonians today. And it's interesting (and probably a good sign) that...

By Ed Kilgore

August 06, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

It's the 68th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, so we'll be featuring music about or inspired by the prospect of nuclear war, which we've lived with ever since....

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 6:25 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Guess I'd better wrap up blogging, though I'd prefer an evening shift to my impending dental appointment. Here are some final items of the day: * Ramesh Ponnuru argues it...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 5:17 PM WaPo Sold

In an almost entirely unanticipated (at least by us mere consumers of the paper) development, the Graham family has sold the Washington Post to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos....

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 4:27 PM A Challenge to Religious Stereotypes

In his latest column, E.J. Dionne draws attention to a new PRRI/Brookings study of religious, political and economic policy views and their intersection, which includes a new survey typology of...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 3:33 PM Going Ideological in New Jersey

With New Jersey voters going to the polls for a special Senate primary a week from tomorrow, one of Corey Booker's two Congress-critter opponents for the Democratic nomination, Rush Holt,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 2:24 PM Lunch Buffet

As hinted earlier, I had a bad and relatively sleepless night, for no particular reason. So we're catching up with the schedule a bit late, no thanks to a news...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 1:40 PM The Case For Jim Messina, Global Hired Gun--and a Rebuttal

In another look-back to last week's blogging, you may recall that I wasn't exactly jazzed by former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina's decision to go to work for the British...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 12:58 PM Despicable Mitch In Action

Last week I suggested that Mitch McConnell's biggest political asset was harnessed to his biggest vulnerability: his mastery of the dark arts of negative campaigning has made him less than...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 12:39 PM The Fiscal Con

It's a pretty well-known phenomenon that a majority of Americans tend dislike government spending in the abstract, but resist efforts to reduce it once they are concrete. Similarly, a majority...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 10:45 AM The Slow-Motion Fiscal Riot

Thanks to the lack of meaningful progress on appropriations or a budgetary "grand bargain" so far this year, it's become customary to assume that in the short period between the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 10:22 AM The Recess Playground

In theory, congressional recesses are "working vacations" in which Members return home to meet with constituents, get in touch with the popular mood, and recharge their batteries for a productive...

By Ed Kilgore

August 05, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

Ran across this 1971 performance of "Tomorrow Will Not Be Your Day" by Taj Mahal with Jesse Ed Davis, and it has enough energy to wake me up after a...

By Ed Kilgore

August 04, 2013 2:03 PM Readings for Sunday

Selections from this weekend's journalism.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 04, 2013 1:14 PM I Don't Care Who Replaces Bernanke, I'm Pessimistic

To what degree are the economy's problems amenable to monetary policy?

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 04, 2013 10:44 AM A Close Look at a Few Ideas for Surveillance Reform

Quite a few different proposals have been offered for reforming the U.S. security apparatus, but not all of them are likely to be effective.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 04, 2013 10:15 AM Some Context for CNN's Shocking Report on Benghazi

CNN thinks the CIA might have been smuggling out of Libya, hence Benghazi.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 04, 2013 9:00 AM Good Afternoon, Foreign Service

U.S. embassies across the Muslim world are closed today.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 3:43 PM This Week in Intelligence

This past week was a busy one in the world of national security.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 2:36 PM The NRA Walks Away From a Fight

The NRA mysteriously remained neutral on Todd Jones's nomination to lead ATF.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 12:47 PM Yale Issues Report on "Nonconsensual Sex"

Yale avoid using the word "rape" in its annual reports.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 11:41 AM Second-Guessing the Surveillance State

More speculation this week on the potential scope of the government's digital intelligence operations.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 10:39 AM Don't Even Think About Trying to Watch CBS This Weekend

Time Warner Cable uses its monopoly power to prevent its subscribers from watching CBS.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 03, 2013 9:00 AM Good Morning, Europe

The collapse of the European economy might have finally stopped.

By Max Ehrenfreund

August 02, 2013 6:20 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Hard to believe it's already August, and though I know there will be a bit of a slough in supply of and demand for political news, it won't be dead...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 5:35 PM No "Solidarity" For Jim Messina

An odd piece of news arriving today is that Jim Messina, officially Barack Obama's 2012 campaign manager, is going to be joining the campaign apparatus of the British Conservative Party,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 5:15 PM Mitch McConnell's Back

Greg Sargent notes today that three highly influential "constitutional conservatives" in the Senate, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson, have gone out of their way to pass up opportunities...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 4:03 PM The Revolutionary Police Chief

As regular readers know, nothing much makes me angrier than "defenders of the Constitution" who claim the right to stockpile arms in case they decide (and only they, of course,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 2:29 PM Lunch Buffet

Sorry for the delay, but I got kinda wrapped up in deconstructing yet another David Brooks column (somebody's got to do it), and then the iMac had an atypical but...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 1:43 PM Alert!

I really have no idea what this is really about, but it sounds pretty serious: A State Department travel alert Friday said al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 1:22 PM What Neocon Revival?

It's a bit startling to see the New York Times' David Brooks pen a column headlined "The Neocon Revival," which speaks confidently about "neoconservatism" as an internally consistent perspective on...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 11:44 AM Tax Reform Not On the Way Real Soon

Back before "de-funding Obamacare" became the favorite right-wing goal in the annual ritual of hostage-taking over the debt limit and/or the ability of the federal government to operate, and before...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 10:31 AM The Next Nuclear Tripwire?

So with the "deal" to allow an up-or-down vote on seven specific executive-branch confirmations having run its course successfully (though not without a near disaster on Labor Secretary Tom Perez...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 9:07 AM A Status Quo Jobs Report

The BLS' Jobs Report for July was somewhat less positive than generally expected, but great news for people who like their economic recovery very slow and very steady. Net new...

By Ed Kilgore

August 02, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

Thirty years ago today, James Jamerson, bass player for the legendary Motown studio group The Funk Brothers, died of pneumonia at the age of 47. He was posthumously inducted into...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 5:58 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Thinking about war off and on all day is good for the soul, bad for the concentration. But there turned out to be some random news items of interest along...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 5:25 PM 'Twas a Famous Victory

One of the reasons the human race keeps engaging in avoidable warfare is that in our understandable desire to honor those who made terrible sacrifices on behalf of their nation,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 4:30 PM Our White Heritage

Back when I was in college, the big campus group at Georgia State University, a large commuter school in Atlanta, was the Young Socialist Alliance, the youth wing of the...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 3:50 PM Could We Get Two Consecutive Days of Good Economic News?

When I saw the headline--"Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Lowest Level in Five Years"--I thought, Uh-Oh; if unemployment drops, "investors" will fear the end of the Fed's bond-buying program,...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 2:59 PM The Awesome Weight of Governing

In tut-tutting over the chaos surrounding the THUD appropriations bill, and House GOP fiscal strategy generally, John Boehner had this to say, per a report from The Hill's Russell Berman:...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

To follow up on two posts from this morning, Mitch McConnell did indeed succeed in maintaining a filibuster of the THUD appropriations bill, to the greater glory of his "clout."...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 1:31 PM Letting the Dead Bury the Dead

We're all used to litigation involving efforts by religious institutions and individuals to exempt themselves from "secular" obligations like non-discrimination or giving employees access to contraceptives. But a ruling today...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 12:39 PM Jerry Brown's Golden Years

One 2014 political contest on which there isn't any buzz at all is right here in California. If Jerry Brown runs for a fourth (non-consecutive) term, on the fortieth anniversary...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 11:48 AM Despicable Mitch

As noted in the last post, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been snuggling up to his junior Senate colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, whose career he tried very hard...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 11:03 AM The Few, the Proud, the Frightened, Stand With Rand on Aid to Egypt

Yesterday wasn't the best day for Rand Paul's efforts to transform himself from a less cranky version of his old man into a power broker and potential presidential candidate in...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 10:02 AM From the Oracular to the Vernacular

So the THUD (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development) appropriations bill for FY 2014 was yanked from the House floor yesterday, leaving the programs and services funded through that bill probably...

By Ed Kilgore

August 01, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

World War I, the "war to end all war," broke out on this day 99 years ago. So we're going to feature some anti-war music today. Let's start with Black...

By Ed Kilgore

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