Political Animal

September 2013 Archives

September 30, 2013 9:21 PM "They Have Lost Their Minds"

Unsurprisingly, the House passed John Boehner's Plan B-2 continuing resolution that included a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate plus the Vitter Amendment killing employer subsidies for...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 6:32 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I'll probably be back with another post tonight when the government shutdown goes from being a practical certainty to an accomplished fact. For now, here are some remainders of the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 5:44 PM Plan B-2

Pundits had been anticipating a "Plan C" from House Republicans this afternoon. Having lost their "Plan A" of a defunding Obamacare, and their "Plan B" of repealing the ACA's medical...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 5:08 PM Is Boehner Actually Bullet-Proof?

My esteemed friend Jonathan Bernstein offers an unusually provocative hypothesis over at TAP about John Boehner and his job security. He argues the Orange Man can actually remain as Speaker...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 4:35 PM Shutdown Time

There seems to be virtually no chance a government shutdown will be averted by midnight tonight. So it's time to start counting up the casualties, courtesy of Wonkblog's Brad Plumer:...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 3:30 PM Late Lunch Buffet

I'm in Georgia the next three days, and have just refreshed my memory of the 24-7 insanity of Atlanta traffic, which makes this Lunch Buffet regrettably late. Here are some...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 12:53 PM Un-Clean CR

The closest thing to a CW we have for how the immediate fiscal crisis will be resolved is that after one or two or three or five volleys back and...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 12:10 PM Wingnut Woodstock

Regular readers know my pretty straightforward theory of what's happened to the conservative movement and the Republican Party since 2008: the same old torch of resistance to the New Deal...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 11:44 AM Facts on the Ground

The other big thing that's happening tomorrow, of course, other than an increasingly certain federal government shutdown of uncertain duration, is the opening day for enrollment in the Affordable Care...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 10:16 AM No Fixes

According to virtually every source, once the Senate votes down the second House-passed continuing resolution (which includes a one-year delay in implementation of the remaining provisions of the Affordable Care...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 8:49 AM Field Test

We'll unfortunately have plenty of opportunity to talk about various aspects of the impending government shutdown in the course of this last day of the 2013 fiscal year. But let's...

By Ed Kilgore

September 30, 2013 8:03 AM Daylight Video

Well, today's musical theme is kinda obvious. Here's the Beach Boys performing "Shut Down" in 1964....

By Ed Kilgore

September 29, 2013 5:07 PM NYT report suggests medical device tax repeal can see shutdown avoided - Evening roundup

*New York Times reporting suggests that both sides might agree to a GOP face-saving medical device tax repeal to avoid a shutdown. *POLITICO is summing up House Republicans' and Ted...

By Samuel Knight

September 29, 2013 4:07 PM Could Congress jeopardize the Iran detente?

An article published in the Guaridan today indicates that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could, in fact, face a backlash at home, when he throws a tantrum in response to...

By Samuel Knight

September 29, 2013 2:07 PM Bizarre pseudo-fascist "Trucker Rally" coming to DC in October

Upon seeing the headline of a Robert McCartney column bemoaning the fact that DC government officials won't need to risk arrest to protest budgetary constraints imposed on the city by...

By Samuel Knight

September 29, 2013 11:55 AM Ted Cruz wrong, says Ted Cruz

In an interview with David Gregory this morning, Senator Ted Cruz cited numerous examples why his legislative strategy based around straw men reeks of badger excrement of the most pungent...

By Samuel Knight

September 29, 2013 9:45 AM Government employees to demand back pay if (when) shutdown happens - Sunday morning roundup

*Federal public sector unions will lobby the government for back pay if the government shuts down, saying they've seen their salaries contract enough under sequestration. According to The Hill, union...

By Samuel Knight

September 28, 2013 2:06 PM The Social Network, NSA style - Afternoon roundup

A new revelation in the deluge of stories exposing NSA surveillance of American citizens: Laura Poitras and James Risen are reporting that the NSA has been using its big data,...

By Samuel Knight

September 28, 2013 12:47 PM Likely frightened House GOP calls for yearlong Obamacare delay; shutdown imminent

Well, it looks like the Kamikaze Kaucus has come up with a debt ceiling “compromise” - if Democrats agree to delay Obamacare for a year and acquiesce to a repeal...

By Samuel Knight

September 28, 2013 10:59 AM FHA woes highlight shaky economy, the danger of Tea Party Chicken

Another reminder that the 2008 financial meltdown is still nipping at our heels: the Federal Housing Agency needs - and will receive - $1.7 billion bailout. It's the first lifeline...

By Samuel Knight

September 28, 2013 9:12 AM Time to brush up on the Food and Forage Act of 1861, everybody

The Atlantic's Andrew Cohen has penned an easy-to-read informative piece about the Antideficiency Act - the obscure legislation that permits government shutdowns. In addition to giving a historical perspective to...

By Samuel Knight

September 28, 2013 8:20 AM Hardliners throw shoes in Tehran, tantrums in Washington - Saturday news roundup

*After his historic conversation with President Obama, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was greeted by both supporters and protesters upon his return to Tehran. While hardliners threw shoes and eggs at...

By Samuel Knight

September 27, 2013 5:32 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Tomorrow afternoon I will join 92,745 close personal friends at the Georgia-LSU game in Athens. I heard a radio sportscaster today predict it would be a "perfect October-like day." The...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 4:54 PM Meanwhile, Back On Planet Earth

As House Republicans tried to figure out how many symbolic anti-spending gestures they could pull off before deciding whether or not to shut down the federal government and/or default on...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 3:17 PM Bray-y-y-ve New World

No sooner had I posted the previous item about Ted Cruz presuming to tell House Republicans to buck John Boehner's leadership on the fiscal tangle than I ran across this...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 2:47 PM Ted Cruz, House Whip

So you want to know how much John Boehner's authority has been eroded in the House? Check out this report from the Boswell of Republican ideological warfare, National Review's Robert...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

As indicated yesterday, I'm in EDT today. I knew I was back in the South when I saw a retail storefront sign reading: "Boots--Apparel--Fine Guns." Yessireebob. Here are some midday...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 1:13 PM Your All-Purpose Obamacare Refresher Course

If you've dealt with the ins and outs, the fine points, the agonies of state obstruction, the competing data, the cautious experiments, and of course the lies and smears, associated...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 12:31 PM Jesus the Supply-Sider

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise coming from the guy who has done the most to popularize the insipid "War on Christmas" meme. But it seems Bill O'Reilly has...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 11:39 AM The "Obamacare Exemption" Canard

Since it is, along with a medical device tax, the feature of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans are most likely to fight for in a continuing resolution, it's a...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 10:35 AM Standing and Falling

At a time when activists in both political parties--and observers in both the MSM and the blogosphere--are often tempted to treat "fighting" qualities as the only attributes worth having in...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 9:34 AM When You Are On Fire....

It must be difficult to be a Democratic Member of Congress right now. You are perpetually on call to put out a fire your Republican colleagues are determined to set,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 27, 2013 8:40 AM Daylight Video

Looking for some dark, moody themes, I ran across this Compay Segundo performance of "Chan Chan."...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 5:57 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Getting ready for my second red-eye flight of the week, fortified with a heavy tome on the Croation Ustasa movement that conducted its very own genocide during World War II....

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 5:21 PM Another Country

Knowing that House Republicans are threatening to blow up the economy if Obama and congressional Democrats don't agree to implement Mitt Romney's economic agenda is less astonishing if you realize...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 4:27 PM Romney '13

Probably every progressive writer commenting on the whole defund/delay Obamacare crusade has made the point that Republicans seem to be determined to overturn the results of the presidential election we...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 3:55 PM What the Mandate Ultimately Means

Since we're talking about Republican demands for a delay in the Affordable Care Act's individual purchasing mandate today, it's useful to look at a reminder of what's at stake, via...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 3:28 PM Time For Another Look at the Hostage Boehner is Taking

I know we went through a lot of this back in 2011, the last time the debt limit was in play. But a very brief and direct refresher course is...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

Cheated on early lunch, chowing down on Spam brought back from vacation. Yes, I know.... But here are some midday snacks for your consumption. Some are even good for you:...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 1:33 PM No Wave Behind "Drill Baby Drill"

Since House Republicans are placing a bushel basket of goodies for the fossil fuel industry in their debt limit bill, it's important to deal with the planted axiom in some...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 1:04 PM Manchin Pre-Defected on Obamacare

Expect to hear cries of joy from Republicans, and probably toasts to his "statesmanship" from some MSM types, at Sen. Joe Manchin's statement today that he sees nothing particularly wrong...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 12:11 PM "No Negotiations on Debt Limit" Means What It Says

The good thing about the fiscal madness that's gripped the GOP is that it creates a good, clarifying moment for progressives. The president and congressional Democratic leaders have repeatedly announced...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 10:49 AM Equivalency Formula Works Wonders

In using rather extreme language (I suppose "an evil child's wish list for Santa" is kind of extreme) for Boehner's debt limit bill, I somehow failed to account for the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 10:02 AM The Devil's Christmas Tree

Expect to hear a great deal of cheerleading for a government shutdown from unusual quarters today. That's because House Speaker John Boehner is now beginning to implement his earlier and...

By Ed Kilgore

September 26, 2013 8:48 AM Daylight Video

After a brief look at the debt limit bill John Boehner is putting together to "save" America from a government shutdown, I feel it's a day for Music of the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 5:44 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Now that I've recovered from one red-eye flight, I have another one coming up tomorrow night. This time, I'll avoid the bulkhead seat underneath the bright TV monitor light and...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 5:03 PM Voting Down: Hooray!

At some point Republicans are going to figure out that it just doesn't sound very good when they express joy over people not voting. But that day hasn't arrived yet,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 4:54 PM Declinism Redux

Every time the United States must resort to diplomacy or international institutions or anything other than brawny and unilateral military action, we hear a chorus (usually from conservatives but sometimes...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 3:50 PM Clintonism and Obamaism

The relationship between the 42d and 44th presidents of the United States has gotten sufficiently cozy that no one saw anything surprising in this development, as reported by WaPo's Philip...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 2:30 PM Lunch Buffet

Being jet-lagged and all, I did not stay up to watch Ted Cruz last night (indeed, what little awake-time I had was devoted to watching the Dexter series closer I...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 1:46 PM Cruz the Vox Populi Jumps the Shark

Early today I commented on the curious nature of Ted Cruz's claims to speak for some sort of silent majority of Americans who want to repeal Obamacare but are being...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 1:21 PM Why and How To Talk About 2016 Early States

At Ten Mile Square our good friend Jonathan Bernstein makes a valiant if somewhat conflicted effort to lay out guidelines for responsible reporting of very early developments in the 2016...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 12:17 PM The New Obamacare Premium Estimates

Even as Ted Cruz was on the Senate floor pretending to speak for a silent majority of Americans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a batch...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 11:35 AM Obama's New Direction

From a variety of mostly-negative perspectives on how the president handled the Syria situation, a CW is beginning to develop that Obama has now found his footing in something approaching...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 11:10 AM The Ghost Caucus

While Ted Cruz has approximately zero chance of gaining sufficient Republican support to defeat a cloture motion later today that will set terms for debate on the House-passed continuing resolution...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 9:43 AM Keeping Up With the Pauls

So with a few respites Ted Cruz gabbed all night, mostly stimulating derisive comments about "faux-busters" and so on and so forth, insofar as the clock is already ticking down...

By Ed Kilgore

September 25, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

In honor of Ted Cruz' narcissistic White Night, here's the Velvet Underground performing "White Light, White Heat" in 1969....

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 5:35 PM Day's End and Night Watch

A blurry sort of day for me, but probably about what the mostly symbolic news justified. Maybe it will begin to come into better focus tomorrow. Here are a few...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 5:07 PM Bibi Wrestles With Himself

As though Barack Obama doesn't have enough on his plate in dealing with Syria, Iran and the U.S. Republican Party, he's scheduled to meet with another unfriendly force-to-be-reckoned-with next week:...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 4:09 PM Should We Be Terrified By Al-Shabaab?

If, like me, you are trying to catch up with information about the "Kenya Mall Massacre" that began on Saturday and apparently (according to Kenyan government sources) ended today, then...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 3:34 PM "I Bled Until Dead With Ted"

With a cloture vote pending in the Senate tomorrow that seems almost certain to pass, Ted Cruz and his lower-key sidekick Mike Lee are going for all the drama they...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 2:56 PM The Next War--Or the Next Peace?

I've written a fair amount about the Republicans who back military action against Syria in order to preserve the option of--and strengthen precedent for--a war with Iran. So heads must...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 2:21 PM Lunch Buffet

I got home this morning on a red-eye, and the name is appropriate after about two hours cumulative sleep. So I'll do my best today, and better tomorrow. Here are...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 12:32 PM Tail Wagging Dog

Pew has been covering the internal dynamics of the Republican fiscal circus pretty carefully, and now offers a new survey showing the polarization of the Tea Folk as against the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 10:19 AM Yo, Wall Street!

Even though, as Ezra Klein points out today, the differences in opinion between the two parties make a government shutdown or debt default more, not less, likely than they were...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 9:57 AM Target Missed

The crowning irony of the current fiscal mess is that the ostensible target of Republican shut-down-the-government, default-on-the-debt threats, the Affordable Care Act, is going to be implemented on schedule, with...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 8:42 AM Plus Ca Change

So I went away for a few days (thanks again to Martin Longman for his guest blogging!) and came back to exactly the same situation in Washington: a fiscal year-end...

By Ed Kilgore

September 24, 2013 8:00 AM Daylight Video

44 years ago today, the Chicago Seven (originally Eight, until Bobby Seale secured a separate trial) went on trial in the coda of the events of the previous summer in...

By Ed Kilgore

September 23, 2013 11:48 PM Now, That's Conceited

I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey where "Yale Sucks" t-shirts were ubiquitous precisely because there was no argument that Harvard was the country's premier university and the only debate...

By Martin Longman

September 23, 2013 6:01 PM Snooping on Associated Press Yields Results

Okay, so not only was John Brennan not the source of the leaks about the Yemeni attempt to bring down an airplane last year, but an ex-FBI agent interested in...

By Martin Longman

September 23, 2013 3:46 PM Government By Kludge

While reading Steven Teles's long tome on kludgeocracy in National Affairs, I was reminded of what a Philadelphia congressman once told me in confidence. He told me that he favored...

By Martin Longman

September 23, 2013 12:41 PM When Will Boehner Cave?

Jonathan Bernstein, at The American Prospect, tries to game out how the politics will unfold after a hypothetical government shutdown, but he ultimately decides that a shutdown is unlikely. Because...

By Martin Longman

September 23, 2013 10:39 AM Long Week Has Potential to Reshuffle Congress

As we embark on a week of shutdown/debt ceiling negotiations, it is helpful to read Paul Kane's roadmap in the Washington Post. He has Harry Reid passing the Senate's version...

By Martin Longman

September 23, 2013 8:24 AM The Bloom Is Off the Rose

On the one hand, Javier Hernandez's piece on Bill de Blasio in the New York Times appears to be factual. On the other hand, it reads like a real hatchet...

By Martin Longman

September 22, 2013 4:30 PM Reading for Sunday

John Keats's "To Autumn."

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 22, 2013 4:00 PM The Weird, Weird World of Parliamentary Politics

A briefing on today's parliamentary election in Germany.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 22, 2013 2:37 PM Sheriff Yellen

What would Janet Yellen be able to accomplish as Fed chair?

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 22, 2013 12:36 PM Four Years Closer

President Obama's policy toward Iran is looking pretty good.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 22, 2013 11:16 AM Money Doesn't Talk, It Rambles Incoherently

Conservative donors expose the ideological divisions among Republicans.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 22, 2013 9:12 AM Good Morning, Acalpulco

Political corruption will make it harder for developing countries to cope with global warming.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 21, 2013 3:46 PM A Case Study

Do D.C. laws on wine, beer, and liquor lead to lower prices, or do they discourage competition?

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 21, 2013 2:25 PM It's Hard to Argue with the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency's new rules for power plants may be strictly symbolic, but they are still important.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 21, 2013 12:25 PM This Time, the House G.O.P. Really Has Gone Nuts

Republicans aren't even offering to negotiate.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 21, 2013 10:45 AM "The Sweetest Person I've Ever Known"

Could anything have prevented Aaron Alexis from buying a shotgun?

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 21, 2013 8:20 AM Good Morning

The world is full of misery for many people, but that's why we do politics.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 20, 2013 5:40 PM Weekend Watch

I know that Ed always leaves you with some music on Friday afternoons. Have you ever heard of Cambodian surfer music? Apparently, it was a big thing in the 1960's....

By Martin Longman

September 20, 2013 3:55 PM You Call This Winning?

Somehow, the following remark from Aqua Buddha seems apropos. “Does anybody remember Charlie Sheen when he was kind of going crazy…And he was going around, jumping around saying ‘Winning, winning,...

By Martin Longman

September 20, 2013 1:22 PM Can a Discharge Petition Get Us Immigration Reform?

Back in July, Steve Benen noted that Nancy Pelosi had discussed the potential for using a discharge petition to force a vote on comprehensive immigration reform in the House of...

By Martin Longman

September 20, 2013 11:12 AM Senate Support for Dumbest Idea is Weak

As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) discovered back in July, even a government shutdown will not prevent the implementation of ObamaCare. The Democratic Policy & Communications Center has compiled a list...

By Martin Longman

September 20, 2013 9:24 AM Why Cruz Can't Filibuster the CR

Byron York has taken it upon himself to break the news to the Republican base that there will be no filibuster of the Continuing Resolution. He has his facts mainly...

By Martin Longman

September 20, 2013 7:33 AM A Lifeline for Boehner?

Noam Scheiber has been providing solid prognostication on the budget/debt ceiling fiasco and he is perturbed to discover a possible kink in his analysis. Might the administration offer John Boehner...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 7:03 PM They Keep Breaking Stuff

Back in July, when the Farm Bill imploded, I wrote about the historical compact between urban and rural pols that arose in the late 1930's and had sustained both agricultural...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 4:21 PM de Blasio Looks to Snap Dems Losing Streak

According to the latest Quinnipiac poll, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is poised to win the mayoral contest in a blowout and give the Democratic Party control...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 2:18 PM This Doesn't Seem Right

I wonder what Jack Abramoff thinks about Tom DeLay winning his appeal of his 2010 conviction for money laundering. No one can say that The Hammer wasn't inconvenienced during all...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 11:45 AM A Less Political Pope

Whenever Pope Francis I speaks publicly, I begin to worry about Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online's The Corner. When I read that the pope had said "that the...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 10:19 AM Maybe It's Not Quite Nihilism

I wish I felt comfortable saying, "No, Donny, these men are nihilists, there's nothing to be afraid of," but their blithe willingness to mess with the debt ceiling and our...

By Martin Longman

September 19, 2013 8:27 AM And So They Stumble Forward

Jonathan Weisman leads off with the Grey Lady's coverage of the Tan Man. After three years of cajoling, finessing and occasionally strong-arming his fitful conservative majority, Speaker John A. Boehner...

By Martin Longman

September 18, 2013 6:43 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I'm blogging from SFO and getting ready for a few days of not writing about, reading about, or if possible even thinking about politics. I'm taking along a book about...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 4:40 PM While We're At It, Let's Go Ahead and Authorize the Next War!

Sometimes Sen. Lindsey Graham does weird stuff before you can facetiously suggest he might do it. He's thinking well beyond the use of force against Syria, per this report from...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 3:41 PM Choice of Priorities

Just ran across this item from TPM's Catherine Thompson: Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) on Wednesday defended a tweet he posted in the wake of the Washington, DC Navy Yard shooting...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 3:22 PM Prophecy Confirmed

If you read my SPOILER ALERT WORLD EXCLUSIVE MUST CREDIT POLITICAL ANIMAL post earlier today, you'd be ahead of readers of the speediest congressional news site, The Hill, on the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 3:06 PM Fed Postpones "Tapering"

In what was apparently a big surprise, the Federal Reserve Board announced after its Open Market Committee meeting today that it would postpone "tapering"--a gradual reduction in bond-buying designed to...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

I'm about to head off on a brief birthday-centered vacation this afternoon, but we have a very special Guest Blogger signed up to sub for me tomorrow, Friday and Monday....

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 1:07 PM In Your Face, Rick

Today's feel-good read comes from none other than Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who takes to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to trash-talk Rick Perry, who has spent inordinate...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 12:29 PM VA Republicans May Have Screwed the Pooch With Cooch

When I expressed shock yesterday that WaPo's Jennifer Rubin was more or less writing off Ken Cuccinelli's odds of winning the Virginia governor's race, I hadn't been watching the race...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 11:26 AM Big Reveal Today On Obamacare Replacement!

Ooooh the mystery and drama of it all is consuming me: While the House GOP continues to grapple with how to defund or delay Obamacare in a continuing resolution or...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 10:37 AM Defiant Democrats In Disarray

Republicans may be having their problems right now, what with John Boehner being forced to adopt a strategy he clearly doesn't like for navigating the fiscal shoals just ahead. But...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 9:25 AM Boehner Gives In

I wouldn't go so far as Kevin Drum and call this a decision to "commit party suicide." But without question, John Boehner's surrender to the "defund Obamacare" agitation in terms...

By Ed Kilgore

September 18, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

The New York Times was born on this day in 1851. So we'll have some songs about newspapers today, beginning with Smog's 1997 tune "The Morning Paper."...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 6:02 PM Day's End and Night Watch

'Twasn't a very newsy news day, but it did get somewhat noisy. Here are some remainders: * Jennifer Rubin, of all people, pens post entitled "Cuccinelli is losing" and doubts...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 5:20 PM Overwhelming Support For Getting Played by Putin

There's a new WaPo/ABC poll out this afternoon focused on Syria which gives Obama relatively low marks on that issue but much better marks overall on national security and his...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 5:03 PM Home Health Care Workers Get a Wage Safety Net

It's often said the executive branch has little power to do anything about economic inequality or conditions of life for the working poor. That wasn't true today, when the Labor...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 4:54 PM Trust

There's a new Gallup survey out showing that Republicans have retaken an advantage over Democrats in questions about the party trusted most to manage the economy and protect national security....

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 4:40 PM Evasion or Opportunism?

Since I often cite Bill Galston and Elaine Kamarck's 1989 essay "The Politics of Evasion" as a key document in the "struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party" that...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 2:15 PM Lunch Buffet

As the details trickle out about Aaron Alexis, the paradoxes continue to mount: a "calm" Buddhist who was rarely seen without a pistol in his belt; a "sweet guy" who...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 1:43 PM Sentencing Reform: Getting From Here to There

As noted here on several occasions, the country could be on the brink of a historic bipartisan reconsideration of federal drug and sentencing policies that haven't worked and are wreaking...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 12:20 PM Daley Hangs It Up

I don't know about you, but I never though I'd hear a member of the Daley family of Chicago say this about politics (in abruptly announcing his withdrawal from the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 12:11 PM Constitution Day

I didn't mention during the Daylight Video that this is Constitution Day, commemorating the signature of that document in 1787, mainly because there's just not a lot of Constitution-oriented music...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 11:09 AM No Time For Tofu

Inside the House GOP, there does not seem to be any progress being made towards breaking down the resistance of conservatives determined to block any continuing appropriations resolution that does...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 10:10 AM How Many More Times? Probably Many More Times

As our understanding (if that word doesn't overstate what we can ever comprehend of such events) of yesterday's shootings at the Washington Navy Yard improves, we're seeing a depressingly familiar...

By Ed Kilgore

September 17, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

A famous bit of broadcast television occurred on this day in 1967, as The Who's Keith Moon blew up his drum kit live on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour....

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 6:11 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Washington Navy Yard shooting spree now claims 13 victims, including a shooter, identified as Aaron Alexis, believed to be a military contract employee based in Texas. The hunt is still...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 5:44 PM Bad Craziness in the Iowa GOP

When I was reading Blue Girl's account of the Harkin Steak Fry this morning, I couldn't help but contrast that with the bad craziness that seems to have seized the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 4:54 PM Are Global College Ratings Around the Corner?

A fixation on the U.S. News college rankings and challengers like WaMo's can create the false impression that comparative evaluation of higher education institutions is primarily an American game, and...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 3:46 PM 'Twas a Famous Victory

As noted on Friday, Tom Corbett's expected announcement this afternoon that Pennsylvania would sorta kinda with a waiver accept vast federal funds for expanding something like Medicaid eligibility means that...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

Confusion still reigns over Washington Navy Yard shootings. Police say seven are dead, including one shooter, but two other reported shooters have yet to be found. No word yet on...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 1:25 PM ObamaCare Defunders/Delayers Cruising For Bruising

As we drift towards an increasingly likely government shutdown (to be followed quite possibly by another debt default crisis generated by the same people) triggered by Republican demands that the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 11:42 AM The Kerry Boom

Long held in contempt by big chunks of the political cognoscenti, and exposed to ridicule during the last week for "stumbling" into a Russian diplomatic initiative over Syria, Secretary of...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 10:49 AM Blue Girl's Steak Fry Live Report

So here's our annual report from our friend Blue Girl from that important annual event in Iowa, Tom Harkin's Steak Fry. This year Joe Biden was the featured speaker, though...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 10:25 AM Donkey Peace Pact in New York

So it seems NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has stepped in to broker a "unity event" in New York this morning where former Comptroller Bill Thompson will quit the mayor's race...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 9:58 AM Active Shooter in the Navy Yard

We don't yet know much in the way of details, but it seems there is an active shooter situation at Washington D.C.'s Navy Yard: Several people were injured in a...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 9:43 AM Summers Comes To an End

Kathleen Geier reported (and celebrated) the news here yesterday afternoon, but it's worth another moment to contemplate the withdrawal of Larry Summers from consideration for chairmanship of the Federal Reserve...

By Ed Kilgore

September 16, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

73 years ago today , America's first peacetime military draft was initiated when FDR signed the Burke-Wadsworth Act, fourteen months before U.S. entry into World War II. So we'll features...

By Ed Kilgore

September 15, 2013 4:57 PM Summers is out . . .

And there was jubilation throughout the land! Well, in my apartment, anyway. Story here. I did not see this coming. I assumed that Larry, and the White House, would hold...

By Kathleen Geier

September 15, 2013 2:18 PM The kids are (mostly) alright: politics and the Millennials

Though at this point it's a little old, in internet time, I felt compelled to weigh in on Peter Beinart's long Daily Beast piece on what he calls the "New...

By Kathleen Geier

September 15, 2013 11:46 AM Labor unions are essential -- and also in deep decline. Could a new model for unions bring labor back?

Via Mark Thoma's invaluable site Economist's View comes this very interesting piece. It's a transcript of economist Joseph Stiglitz's recent address to the AFL-CIO convention. The language is wonderfully clear...

By Kathleen Geier

September 15, 2013 10:21 AM Do you know what the minimum wage for tipped workers is? Try $2.13 an hour.

Today's New York Times contains an excellent editorial that calls for a raise in the minimum wage for tipped workers. That wage now stands at a shockingly low $2.13 an...

By Kathleen Geier

September 15, 2013 8:24 AM Morning music: bidding a fond farewell to Breaking Bad

It's hard to believe, but in just two weeks Breaking Bad will be history. I haven't been quite so high on the show as some -- though it's a fine...

By Kathleen Geier

September 14, 2013 3:11 PM Early childhood education for at-risk kids: a powerful tool to fight economic inequality

In many ways, we do education backwards in this country. We skimp and shortchange the poor children who need education the most, while at the same we lavish public moneys...

By Kathleen Geier

September 14, 2013 11:52 AM Syria and the return of the liberal hawks

The New York Times is reporting that diplomacy has averted the possibility of military action in Syria, at least for the foreseeable future: The United States and Russia reached a...

By Kathleen Geier

September 14, 2013 10:59 AM The Walmart liberals

As Ed Kilgore reported earlier, this week Washington, DC's Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed an anti-Walmart big box living wage bill. I've written about the bill before, here and here. It's...

By Kathleen Geier

September 14, 2013 9:44 AM Slate writer denies water is wet, sky is blue, pope is Catholic

Well, not really. But Slate.com really has gotten over-the-top #slatepich-y lately. I thought the site reached its nadir when it came out against cute kittens last month. But it turns...

By Kathleen Geier

September 14, 2013 8:08 AM Morning music: The Replacements

The great band of the 80s, for me, will always be The Replacements. This summer, the Mats have reunited for their first shows in over 20 years, and they'll be...

By Kathleen Geier

September 13, 2013 5:20 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

Getting ready for a quiet weekend of reading and writing (yeah, a real change of pace) and probably a bit of beer and football (of a detached nature, since it's...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 4:44 PM Wheeling Out "The Ad"

I'm currently working on a review of three books about the 2012 presidential campaign, so last year (and the long run-up to last year) is very much on my mind....

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 4:31 PM McCain's Shocking Talk of Retirement

I know it's a slow-news Friday afternoon and all, but it's still a bit bizarre that this seems to be breaking news: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) hinted that he might...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 4:13 PM Ends and Means

My quick reaction yesterday to Peter Beinart's sprawling essay predicting a generational "challenge from the left" to a Clintonian ascendancy in the Democratic Party didn't much do it justice, though...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 2:09 PM Lunch Buffet

Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, and since sundown in the East may arrive soon after I finish blogging today, let me wish my Jewish friends an easy fast....

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 1:39 PM Is Rand Paul "Winning" on Foreign Policy?

McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed has a triumphalist article up today claiming that Sen. Rand Paul has leapt from his old man's gadfly position on national security and foreign policy to...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 12:32 PM The New Normal, Part I: Schools

Despite the sentiment in and around the Federal Reserve Board suggesting the economic recovery is now rolling along at a sufficient pace to make it necessary to "tap the brakes"...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 11:54 AM When Wonks Become Commissars

Want to know how the Heritage Foundation drifted from being the original source of the central idea behind the Affordable Care Act to a gang of thugs demanding that Republican...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 10:58 AM Tom Corbett Wants You To Know He's Reforming Entitlements, Not Accepting Obamacare!

So there's considerable satisfaction among supporters of health care reform today at the news that embattled PA Governor Tom Corbett is reversing field and preparing to announce next week a...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 9:34 AM Throw Him an Anvil, Not A Life Preserver

If you read Jonathan Weisman's piece in the New York Times today about the status of fiscal talks in Washington, you hear throughout an implicit cry for help from John...

By Ed Kilgore

September 13, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

Since it's Friday the 13th and all, let's have some music about superstition. Here's Howlin' Wolf with a much-covered classic....

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 6:16 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Egads, have a bad case of mental indigestion from speed-reading (and then speed-writing about) Beinart's vast essay so late in the afternoon. Here are some final items of the day:...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 5:49 PM Beinart's Dagwood

Well, it's official, and just about on time. At the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart has published the first full-scale prophecy of an imminent Struggle for the Soul of the Democratic...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 5:01 PM 'Scuse Me, While I Kick the Sky

As a follow-on to my morning post on Congress getting back to its boring old routine work after a week of excitement over Syria, I love this quote from a...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 4:33 PM The Other Iraq Precedents

Most Americans would agree that the debate over what to do about Syria is haunted by the specter of the Iraq War and both its intended and unintended consequences. And...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 4:09 PM The "Merit Aid" Fiasco

Back in the 1970s, private university tuitions were vastly lower (even taking inflation into account) than they are today and needs-based financial aid at those schools was plentiful. And so,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 2:30 PM Lunch Buffet

I've been having some weird computer/browser issues this morning, so please bear with a somewhat erratic posting schedule til it's all worked out. Here are some midday snacky-snacky treats: *...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 1:32 PM Gray Vetoes D.C. "Living Wage" Bill In (Temporary?) Victory for WalMart

Here's some breaking news on the D.C. front with national implications (per WaPo's Mike DeBonis): District Mayor Vincent C. Gray vetoed legislation Thursday that would force the city’s largest retailers...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 12:56 PM Think Tank Icarus

Today's big cautionary tale involves a young woman named Elizabeth O'Bagy, who, it seems, committed three extremely common crimes in the strange world of D.C. think tanks: she padded her...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 11:56 AM The Master

There is a comforting consistency--you know, verification that there is a predictable world out there where Russian presidents don't pen New York Times op-eds undermining their own diplomatic efforts--in finding...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 11:15 AM Putin's Dicta

I've thought about this half the night and all this morning, and still can't figure out why Vladimir Putin chose to combine his potentially salvific private diplomacy aimed at preventing...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 10:20 AM Now Back To Your Previously Scheduled Dysfunction

As we all seek to figure out what exactly is going on in the public and private "negotiations" involving Russia, Syria and the United States, one thing is sure: Congress...

By Ed Kilgore

September 12, 2013 8:42 AM Daylight Video

As we all try to cope with the spectacle of Vladimir Putin penning a New York Times op-ed appealing to the American people over Barack Obama's head, and the return,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 6:29 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Well, nothing like a good jeremiad to end the day, so if you missed it, do read my post on "losers." Here are some final items of the day: *...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 5:53 PM Losers

If readers will forgive me a brief tirade on a pet peeve of mine, let me begin with this tweet from The Donald today: I would like to extend my...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 5:17 PM Exhibition Games

In a Wasson/Hooper article in The Hill discussing the House GOP leadership's strategy on appropriations (they've now delayed by a week a vote on a "clean"--sic!--CR accompanied by an Obamacare...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 4:10 PM Skills Credentials That Make Work Pay

In all the discussions of college quality and affordability, the issue lurking just in the background is the persistent disconnect between formal higher education and the skills actually needed in...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 3:27 PM Let's See Some Movement on Sentencing Reform

It's now been nearly a month since Attorney General Eric Holder proposed a batch of sentencing reform initiatives. Some were of the sort that can be implemented by federal prosecutors,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

Sorry for the erratic blogging schedule this morning, but we had a WaMo staff meeting I had to attend by phone. I may have been the only participant distracted by...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 1:25 PM De Blasio's Broad Base

As noted earlier, we probably won't know for a few days whether Bill de Blasio has won the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York or will face Bill Thompson...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 12:53 PM Conservatives Go All Nanny-State-y On Food Stamps

Speaking of Mike Bloomberg, nothing gets a good old-fashioned conservative going quite like being told what he or she can eat, drink, smoke, or say (at least when it comes...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 12:06 PM Recoveries Are Not For Poor People

If, as I sometimes argue, the contemporary conservative movement is determined to take America back to the Roaring Twenties, or at least the period prior to the enactment of hte...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 11:17 AM Perfect Landscape For the Bad Guys

It will be all too easy for pundits to personalize last night's scattered election returns as "Mike Bloomberg's very bad day." After all, the candidate most identified with demands for...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 9:34 AM Obama's Semi-Moot "War Speech"

The President last night made a remarkably brief and direct speech last night making the case for a use-of-force resolution in Congress that he probably won't get, may not need,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 11, 2013 8:39 AM Daylight Video

It's twelve years since you-know-what. Seems like yesterday, or a lifetime ago; it's hard to say. We'll feature some music about 9/11 today. Here's Living Colour with "Flying."...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 6:29 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Well, it should be an interesting evening. I'll try to give my impressions of Obama's speech and the reaction first thing tomorrow, and may engage in the Twitter fun tonight...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 5:35 PM Turnaround on Syria?

Gee, and I thought maybe I was being too optimistic or naive in thinking the French-Russian diplomatic initiative might change the terrible dynamics of Obama's Syria initiative. But here's Ezra...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 4:30 PM The Foreign Student Boom--And a Backlash

Among the coping mechanisms used by public colleges and universities with declining support from state legislatures is to boost the number of students paying hefty out-of-state tuitions. But that can...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 3:55 PM Where's My War?

Last week I predicted that a lot of conservatives would wind up opposing the president's request for a use-of-force resolution aimed at limited objectives based on a revival of the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 3:22 PM The Grand Case Against Obamacare

You'd think with the resources he commands as de facto leader of the conservative movement at the Heritage Foundation, rightwing warhorse Jim DeMint would be able to come up with...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

Wonder if the Vegas bookies are taking odds on "Brilliant Peace Breakthrough Versus Rolled by Putin and Assad" for administration's diplomatic manuevering on Syria. Amazing how confident some folk are...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 1:22 PM The Dirty CR

So even as the rest of us are still trying to digest Eric Cantor's new "defund Obamacare" appropriations proposal, the conservative activists who are its intended audience are already denouncing...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 12:20 PM Potato Chips and Gummy Bears For Dinner

I don't have a whole lot to add to a post today from The Atlantic's John Tierney about this year's U.S. News & World Report's college rankings, which have just...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 11:44 AM Three Paths Ahead on Syria

If, as appears increasingly likely, there is an extended international debate--quite possibly at the United Nations Security Council--over an effort to remove or supervise the Assad regime's chemical weapons, then...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 10:44 AM New York: Maybe Not As Predictable As You Think

So if you are an omnivorous political junkie who likes election-night drama, or just someone looking for an excuse to ignore the president's Syria speech tonight, you should read Nate...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 9:34 AM War of Peace

It's unlikely anyone in the foreign policy or national security leadership of the Obama administration got a whole lot of sleep last night. With the ground beneath its Syria policy...

By Ed Kilgore

September 10, 2013 8:26 AM Daylight Video

On this day in 1991, Nirvana released "Smells Like Teen Spirit," and the iconic Generation X musical group went national. Here they are performing it at the Paramount Theater in...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 6:39 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Since it transpired over the weekend, allow me a brief "woof" of happiness at the 41-30 victory of the Georgia Bulldogs over the South Carolina Gamecocks. Here are some remainders...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 5:59 PM What Obama Risks Politically In Syria Vote

Even if it turns out the Obama administration didn't produce or luck into a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis that results in the surrender of chemical warfare without U.S....

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 4:30 PM Disarming Zimmerman

The odds continue to rise that George Zimmerman is neither a level-headed neighborhood watch activist nor a scapegoat for liberal/black racists. One might think after his escape from legal consequences...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 4:10 PM Excuses

While appearing on KCRW's To the Point a bit earlier today, I was asked about the impact of the Syria situation on all the other stuff Congress is supposed to...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 3:14 PM The Game-Changer?

There's no way to know at this point if John Kerry's "offhand" suggestion that U.S. military strikes on Syria might be avoided if Assad gives up his chemical weapon stockpiles...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 2:12 PM Lunch Buffet

There will be a brief pause in blogging this afternoon as I appear on KCRW's fine public radio show To the Point, hosted by the best in the business, Warren...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 1:34 PM Preventable Casualties

While we are proud at WaMo to offer each year a quantitative approach to evaluating colleges that seeks to focus on what schools are actually offering students and society in...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 12:35 PM Sam's Club Republicanism Down Under

On occasion I have noted that the main problem with the "Sam's Club Republicanism" of very prominent "reformish conservatives" Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam is that Republican politicians don't support...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 11:38 AM Keep Your Foreign Policy Crisis Out of My Benghazi!

There is an anniversary haunting the debate in Washington over potential military action against the Assad regime in Syria. No, it's not the twelfth anniversary of the September 11, 2011...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 10:54 AM Real Republicans Don't Do Diplomacy

The well-sourced Robert Costa of National Review goes deep today in an analysis of the leading figures in the battle for House Republican votes for and against a use-of-force resolution...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 9:34 AM The Dreaded Linkage Appears

With most observers being exceptionally pessimistic about the president's ability to secure a majority in the House for a use-of-force resolution authorizing a strike on Syria, we are seeing the...

By Ed Kilgore

September 09, 2013 8:39 AM Daylight Video

On this day 150 years ago, Union troops captured Chattanooga, Tennessee. So let's feature some music from people born in that city, beginning with Bessie Smith, performing "Nobody Knows You...

By Ed Kilgore

September 08, 2013 3:25 PM Readings for Sunday

It's been a pleasure to blog for all of you this weekend. Before I go, let me give you a few suggestions on how you might spend your afternoon: The...

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 08, 2013 2:58 PM Surveillance and Arrogance

You thought you were living in a democracy, but the National Security Agency disagrees.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 08, 2013 1:43 PM Putting the Accuser on Trial

A case at the Naval Academy illustrates the military's problems with sexual violence.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 08, 2013 11:45 AM S&P Had This Planned from the Start!

Ironies abound in the rating agency's latest defense against the federal government's fraud lawsuit.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 08, 2013 10:27 AM It's the Economy, Mate

Australia's election challenges conventional wisdom on the importance of the economy to voters.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 08, 2013 9:00 AM Oyasumi

Tokyo will host the Olympics in 2020.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 07, 2013 4:03 PM Drinks and a Movie

The politics of dating.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 07, 2013 2:19 PM Thinking More Than One Move Ahead

A few possible scenarios following U.S. intervention in Syria.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 07, 2013 12:15 PM Flouting International Norms in Kenya

Parliamentarians in Nairobi want Kenya to be the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 07, 2013 10:29 AM Weighing Risk Against Risk

The Syrian crisis and global warming pose a similar intellectual challenge.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 07, 2013 8:58 AM Buenos días

Congress will not be able to vote on Syria and on immigration reform this year.

By Max Ehrenfreund

September 06, 2013 7:29 PM Evening Linkapalooza

Things went a little late today with a post on Syria that got rather clotted on the way out the door. But tomorrow Max Ehrenfreund will be at the helm...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 5:49 PM Why the New Encryption Story Was Worth Printing

Kevin Drum is displeased with the big new NSA scoops, writing a post entitled "Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10": Nonetheless, this is truly...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 4:10 PM Let's Not Bomb Syria

According to John Kerry, the case for bombing the Syrian regime is to keep Assad from using chemical weapons again. Similarly, I hear from a lot of liberals is that...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 3:47 PM The House Whip Effort on Syria Is Going Badly for the President

According to the Washington Post, there are already over 217 votes in the "no" or "leaning no" camp. That's not final by any means, but it's an indication of how...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 2:14 PM The Revolutionary Mindset

As a former resident of rural Colorado, I've been watching with avid interest the effort of a bunch of tiny rural counties to secede from the state to form "North...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 12:37 PM The NSA Is Mostly Not Breaking Encryption, They're "Cheating"

The NSA's National Security Operations Center, via Like many people, on first blush I thought the new NSA story partly involved actual cracking of the mathematical methods that people use...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 12:13 PM Lunch Links

There's an important point to be made about the NSA story, coming after the break. In the meantime here are some snippets from around the web. 1. Absolutely lovely piece...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 11:29 AM NSA Encryption Story Roundup

In case you missed it, yesterday there was a blockbuster co-reported story from the Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica. The nickel summary: The National Security Agency is winning its...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 10:48 AM John Kerry and Chuck Hagel Both Voted for the Iraq Invasion

I linked to the Chris Hayes interview of John Kerry earlier, but Marcy Wheeler points out a part I had missed. It starts at about 8:10: Visit NBCNews.com for breaking...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 9:45 AM Yet Another Weak Jobs Report Shows the Need for Additional Fed Tools

The jobs numbers for August are out, and at +169k jobs and 7.4% unemployment they're weak at best. It's yet another tepid, slight improvement that makes no progress whatsoever in...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 8:55 AM Syria Roundup

Things aren't looking great for the White House's effort to get Congressional approval to strike Syria—at Wonkbook, here's the headline: "If the House voted on Syria today, Obama would ‘lose...

By Ryan Cooper

September 06, 2013 8:47 AM Morning Jams

Good morning from beautiful Cortez, Colorado! Here is Queens of the Stone age on Letterman with "Sat by the Ocean," off their excellent album Like Clockwork:...

By Ryan Cooper

September 05, 2013 6:34 PM Day's End and Night Watch

As noted earlier, I'm traveling to a wedding event, and will take a vacation day tomorrow. Ryan Cooper will be at the wheel of PA tomorrow, and then Max Ehrenfreund...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 5:57 PM Obama's Bad Timing

I'd say the New York Times' Charles Blow comes up with the understated Quote of the Day: This is a particularly bad time to sell the American people a war,...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 5:21 PM The Antichoice Pincer Movement

In the background of all the state legislative activity on abortion in the last few years has been a specter: the inevitability of a major review of constitutional precedents by...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 4:31 PM More On Obama's College Ratings Initiative

When the president announced his initiative to begin evaluating colleges on the basis of affordability and the value they offer students, there were a lot of details "to be determined."...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 2:27 PM Gibberish Translator

Since we are all in Foreign Policy Hell this week, some of us may be struggling to reacquire the language and B.S-detector skills so commonly honed to a fine edge...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 1:16 PM Lunch Buffet

The air is filled as we speak with very different assessments of how the use-of-force resolution campaign is faring in Congress. Maybe we can sort those out a bit later....

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 12:58 PM What's Boehner's Path To Retirement?

Jonathan Chait leaps upon reports that John Boehner actually plans to retire after next year's midterms to suggest that all sorts of wonderful things might be accomplished between now and...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 12:17 PM Mitt the Prophet

In preparation for a review on 2012 campaign books for the Monthly, I've been reading Jonathan Alter's fine book The Center Holds this week, and have been marveling anew at...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 11:54 AM Rand Paul's "Bible-Thumping" Nothing New

At TNR, Julia Ioffe does an admirable job of cataloguing Sen. Rand Paul's many shout-outs to Christian sectarian interests in promoting his non-interventionist views on the Middle East. It didn't...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 10:31 AM Obama's "Political Capital"

An even hoarier meme than the no-win-war complaint is naturally emerging in Washington as everyone recalibrates his or her assumptions about how the year will end: Obama's limited "political capital"...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 9:25 AM Return of the "No-Win War" Meme

This morning's news is full of storm warnings for the president's effort to secure a congressional authorization to use force against Syria. An Allen-Sherman report in Politico today suggests that...

By Ed Kilgore

September 05, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

On this day 49 years ago, the British Invasion took a very different turn when The Animals hit number one with the American folk standard "House of the Rising Sun....

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 6:35 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I'm now traveling cross-country to attend a wedding, and am thus away from the iMac and relying on an increasingly obsolete HP laptop. So please forgive the occasional burst of...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 5:51 PM A Center-Left Disaster Down Under

Some of you may remember the brouhaha Down Under in June when Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was ejected from office in favor of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd. What makes...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 5:30 PM The Best Community Colleges and The Keys to Their Success

As noted earlier, WaMo's College Guide this year again features a ranking of the best 50 community colleges. These rankings are based on data of teaching practices and outcomes that...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 4:13 PM Tag-Teaming Obamacare Obstruction

As the October 1 date that begins the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period for health care exchanges approaches, the coordinated federal-state nature of GOP efforts to obstruct implementation of...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 2:53 PM Use of Force Resolution Slides Out of Committee On Slippery Slope

So after a morning of utter confusion, a use-of-force resolution was reported positively from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 10-7 vote with one "present" (Ed Markey). Three Republicans--ranking...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 1:15 PM Lunch Buffet

Never thought I'd be posting on September 4 on everything but fiscal issues. Here are some midday news/views snacks: * Rumsfeld refers to Obama as "so-called commander-in-chief" in supporting use-of-force...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 12:34 PM Halfway Between Total War and Isolationism

You may recall that last month Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was asked about his foreign policy philosophy and positioned himself as standing half-way between John McCain and Rand Paul....

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 11:57 AM McCain Defecting on Syria?

Even as the Menendez-Corker version of a use-of-force resolution on Syria seems to have shored up a majority on the Senate Armed Services Committee, an important warhawk, John McCain, has...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 11:03 AM Bay Area Bust

When the September/October issue of the Washington Monthly was released last month, I drew attention to an important piece by Haley Sweetlands Edwards that was written in conjunction with WaMo's...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 10:34 AM Is Corporate America Actually Losing Influence in the GOP?

As part of the puzzlement of the chattering classes over the likely demise (for this Congress, at least) of comprehensive immigration reform legislation strongly favored by business interests, various observers...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 9:20 AM Obama's Glass Half Full on Syria

The mood in Congress regarding the administration's demand for a use of force resolution to enable a punitive attack on Syria improved overnight with the emergence of a new draft...

By Ed Kilgore

September 04, 2013 8:30 AM Daylight Video

Sorry, country-music haterz, but I've decided on a second day of featuring the Bakersfield Sound. Here's Dwight Yoakum and Buck Owens performing "Streets of Bakersfield," a good catchy wake-up song....

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 6:02 PM Day's End and Night Watch

So the latest college football polls are out, and my Georgia Bulldogs are far and away the highest ranked 0-1 team in the country. Here are some final items of...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 5:17 PM De Blasio's Perfect Timing

With just a week to go until New York City's mayoral primary, Bill de Blasio seems to be peaking at the perfect time, according to the latest Quinnipiac survey, which...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 4:40 PM Rick Perry's Fine Mind For Business

Nestled in a TPM story on a battle between Rick Perry and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon about the former's efforts to "poach" businesses from the latter's state is this fine...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 3:09 PM Free Vote

Amidst the united front displayed by Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner and Eric Cantor this morning in backing a prospective use-of-force resolution on Syria, there is this important cautionary note from...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 2:45 PM Venus and Mars

There's a new Pew survey out on Syria policy, with the headline being that pluralities of Americans across all sorts of political and demographic lines currently oppose military strikes. But...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 2:00 PM Lunch Buffet

It's been an all-Syria morning, but a few other news items are emerging beneath the drama. Here are some midday bites: * Bezos announces intention to create a "new golden...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 12:58 PM Boehner & Cantor Back Syria Strike

In breaking news, John Boehner and Eric Cantor have announced they support Obama's call for a military strike against Syria and expect to vote "yea" on a reasonably limited use-of-force...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 12:35 PM A Menu of Bad Options, and the Folly of Worrying About "Looking Weak"

In trying to sort out my own views on the Syria situation, I ran across this post from Paul Waldman at TAP, and am happy to report that he says...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 10:58 AM The Road To War With Iran Runs Through Syria

The administration has now put itself into a position where it must convince Republicans to place their hatred and contempt for the president in abeyance just long enough to give...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 10:13 AM Fun Month

When Congress scurried off for its August Recess, it was assumed it would not reconvene until a week from now, at which point it would have nine official working days...

By Ed Kilgore

September 03, 2013 8:48 AM Higher Education's New Caste System: An Event Based on the Washington Monthly's 2013 College Guide and Rankings

Last month, Barack Obama proposed that the federal government create a new rating system for the nation’s colleges based on affordability and student success, rather than prestige and exclusivity. The...

By Paul Glastris

September 03, 2013 8:35 AM Daylight Video

Now that Labor Day's over, the real season of hard and often unrecognized work begins. Here's Merle Haggard performing "Working Man Blues."...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 5:01 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Respecting our Holiday Blogging Schedule--even bloggers should have some time off for Labor Day--I'm going to wrap it up with some remains of the day: * Obama reportedly to meet...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 4:30 PM Insincere Symbolism

Regardless of one's position on a hypothetical U.S. military strike on Syria, it's rather important to recognize that a lot of the highfalutin talk about Obama setting some terrible or...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 12:47 PM Another Capital Day

Don't want to indulge in any--God forbid!--class warfare, but this passage from a post by economist Nancy Folbre at the New York Times' Economix blog is worth repeating and pondering:...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 12:15 PM The Right's Race to the Bottom Illustrated

So are you among those who doubt that the Republican Party and the conservative movement have been radicalized in recent years? Check out this passage from Ronald Reagan's famous "Statue...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 11:35 AM Making the Case and Accepting the Verdict

Having misstepped by threatening imminent military action against the Assad government in Syria without making a compelling public case or building the requisite domestic or international support, the president took...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 10:35 AM Labor Day

It's unfortunate that this year's Labor Day has been overshadowed in American politics and news coverage by a foreign policy crisis, since we really need every opportunity we can get...

By Ed Kilgore

September 02, 2013 9:10 AM Daylight Video

Happy Labor Day 2013. Let's start with a labor classic, "Bread and Roses," performed by Bobbie McGhee....

By Ed Kilgore

September 01, 2013 5:49 PM Harkin unimpressed by the case for intervention, Morsi facing criminal charges - The evening news round-up, MENA crisis edition

Jim Naureckas at FAIR tries to poke holes in the Obama administration's claims to have “no doubt” Assad used nerve agents in Ghouta. Of the most compelling of his points...

By Samuel Knight

September 01, 2013 4:24 PM A Great Recession surprise: a decline in homelessness

Amid a lackluster labor market, and a widening gap between rich and poor over the span of his administration (which, to be fair, inherited an absolute train wreck of an...

By Samuel Knight

September 01, 2013 1:43 PM Pouring flammable tea on the Rim Fire

Since it's rise, driven by the largesse of callous oligarchs, one can't help but think of the “some men just want to watch the world burn” line from The Dark...

By Samuel Knight

September 01, 2013 11:10 AM John Kerry's credibility problem

On ABC's “This Week,” John Kerry inadvertently highlighted the problem with the Obama administration's decision to hinge the case for attacking Syria on American credibility - it's already in short...

By Samuel Knight

September 01, 2013 9:52 AM Approval or not, here we come? Sunday morning round-up

*As Glenn Greenwald pointed out: lost amid the praise for President Obama for doing what the Constitution asks of him is the fact that it might not ultimately matter. As...

By Samuel Knight

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