Political Animal

December 2013 Archives

December 31, 2013 3:03 PM Day's End and Holiday Watch

Don't know what sorts of wild revelry readers are planning for tonight, but I'm heading out for an Early Bird dinner at a nice restaurant with my in-laws, and then...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 2:19 PM Personal Favorites

When you write eleven or twelve posts a day (most days), it can all become a blur in retrospect. But when I sat down this morning to try to identify...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 1:18 PM Lunch Buffet

We'll be ending blogging a bit early today in recognition of New Year's Eve and its revels (or a last relaxed winter holiday eve for others), and hope you have...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 12:44 PM A Milestone on the Grim and Shameful Path to Closing Guantanamo

After 9/11 and the rapid invasion of Afghanistan, a bunch of people were semi-randomly rounded up and socked away in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Among their number were 22 ethnic Uighurs...

By Ryan Cooper

December 31, 2013 11:58 AM Pope Francis in Context

Since he's TIME's 2013 "Person of the Year" and all, Pope Francis is a worthy topic for year-end ruminations, and I've long figured it was a matter of time before...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 10:30 AM Environmentalism Translated Into VSPish

There have long been reports that much farmland in China is too poisoned to grow food—this WSJ report from earlier this year told the story of rice farmers who...

By Ryan Cooper

December 31, 2013 10:21 AM Really Understanding Health Care Policy

As someone who has tried very hard and only intermittently succeeded in keeping up with the deeper trends in health care policy, I've become an admirer of WaMo's own Phil...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 9:16 AM Welcome To the Roller Coaster

It's helpful to think of tomorrow not just as the beginning of a midterm election year, but as the starting point in a three-year cycle that is likely to feel...

By Ed Kilgore

December 31, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

Happy New Year's Eve, friends and neighbors. We'll be celebrating off and on all day, and also reminding you it's the very last chance to make a 2013 tax-deductible donation...

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 6:23 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I haven't seen the numbers yet, but like a child hoping for a pony, I'm optimistic this penultimate day of our annual fundraiser has been a success, with many of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 3:36 PM An Inequality Reading List

On doing some research for a thing on inequality, I've been surfing around and discovered a couple great published works that are worth your time: 1) The Price of Inequality,...

By Ryan Cooper

December 30, 2013 2:35 PM Financial Reform Doing Surprisingly Well

Readers of Haley Edwards' big piece on Dodd-Frank (by my lights the best piece of journalism in 2013) know the extent to which the financial reform deck is stacked against...

By Ryan Cooper

December 30, 2013 1:55 PM Lunch Buffet

We're enjoying some spectacular weather here on the Central Coast, but would trade a day of it for one good soaking rain to help restore the water tables. If current...

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 12:48 PM Private Industry Just Can't Handle Online Videogames

There have been a series of recent stories in the games industry highlighting private sector incompetence with online game development. Last year, the game company Blizzard fumbled the launch of...

By Ryan Cooper

December 30, 2013 12:05 PM The Taxman Cometh

I do not know, dear reader, if you are the kind of person who thinks about tax liabilities at year's end--and how to mitigate them with exclusions, deductions or credits....

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 11:00 AM The GOP's Insane Race Strategy

Over at TMS today, Harold Pollack highlights a stark paper from Perspectives on Politics. The Republican shameful record on minority voting during the 2012 election was a common story on...

By Ryan Cooper

December 30, 2013 10:49 AM Collateral Damage For Dan Snyder's View

The National Football League franchise in (or actually, near) Washington, DC finished its 2013 season with a disappointing 3-13 record yesterday, after a 20-6 loss to the New York Giants....

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 9:56 AM Here Come the Predictions

Today and tomorrow you will read a lot of 2013 wrap-ups and 2014 predictions. In the latter category, I'd say Chris Cillizza's piece today at WaPo's The Fix is pretty...

By Ed Kilgore

December 30, 2013 8:53 AM Daylight Video

We're down to the final two days of our 2013 fundraiser, and have a goodly way to go before meeting our goals. So we're kicking out the jams and enlisting...

By Ed Kilgore

December 29, 2013 10:13 PM Signing Off

If you enjoy reading the Washington Monthly and Ed Kilgore, in particular, please don't go for a free ride. You can make a tax-deductible contribution and help us keep the...

By Martin Longman

December 29, 2013 6:13 PM Why Is This In My New York Times?

Look, I admit that I don't place any importance on these things and, therefore, don't pay much attention to them, but I can't remember ever seeing a president and First...

By Martin Longman

December 29, 2013 2:32 PM Immutable Laws in American Politics

Frank Schaeffer is shrill, but I take his main point. I have often felt the same way. Yet, I have two problems with his diatribe. First, when you present the...

By Martin Longman

December 29, 2013 11:27 AM How to Grade the Red/Blue Divide in the States

Dan Balz has a nice article up at the Washington Post that takes a look at the difference between states that are governed by a Republican governor and legislature, and...

By Martin Longman

December 29, 2013 7:13 AM Odds & Ends

Distractify has a cool article up on the 38 most haunting abandoned places on Earth. They've found some spooky and strange stuff. For an above-ground bunker, this is pretty good,...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 5:46 PM On Bitcoin and Spin-Based Neuromorphic Microchips

A New York Times article on advances in neuromorphic processors piqued my interest and I wound up wanting to learn more about them. I found some very interesting articles in...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 2:35 PM Please Proceed, Republicans

Well, lookee here: Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context,...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 12:40 PM I Wish Vermont Every Success

In The Atlantic, Sean McElwee asks, "Can Vermont's Single-Payer System Fix What Ails American Healthcare?" I certainly hope so, because we haven't been doing too well. A 2012 Institute of...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 11:11 AM SeaTac Blow Still Vindicates Minimum Wage Hike

If you have been following the national effort to raise the minimum wage, you will be interested to see this: King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas issued a bittersweet...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 9:40 AM Redistricting Reform Should Be Priority Number One

I became political aware at a young age and took a keen interest in the 1980 Republican primaries when I was only nine and ten years old. I still have...

By Martin Longman

December 28, 2013 8:51 AM Odds & Ends

Fans of "autophysiopsychic music," which most of us call "jazz", are mourning the loss of Yusef Lateef. As a New York Giants fan, I agree with Antrel Rolle that "This...

By Martin Longman

December 27, 2013 5:01 PM Evening Linkapalooza

That's it for me today, as always folks, thanks for reading and commenting. Thanks to everyone who has contributed—and for those who haven't, it's not too late! Martin Longman will...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 4:13 PM Massachusetts and Vermont Are Doing Fine at Obamacare

Respecting my last post, former Romney chief strategist Stuart Stevens had this to say: Intent: POTUS said he wanted to model HC after Ma. Result? Ma. is now a mess...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 2:27 PM A Crummy Government IT Contractor Finally Gets Punished, a Little

The atrocious Healthcare.gov rollout inspired some digging into the foggy and often-dysfunctional government contracting and procurement process. Back in mid-November, Matt Yglesias noticed that the stock price of CGI Federal...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 2:03 PM Federal Court Rules NSA Surveillance Program Is Legal

If you remember, not long ago GW Bush-appointed judge Richard Leon ruled the NSA's phone metadata mass-collection program was illegal. Now we've got a completely contradictory ruling. Here's Adam Serwer:...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 1:22 PM Lunch Buffet

Here on the Central Coast, we are suddenly awash in tourists who are either day-trippers from inland California or vacationers doing the SF-to-LA rental car circuit. So that means crowded...

By Ed Kilgore

December 27, 2013 12:57 PM The Cruz Quintet

Those observers who think the big political story of 2013 is a "backlash" against the Tea Party might want to take notice of the Senate Republican challengers who want to...

By Ed Kilgore

December 27, 2013 12:25 PM Do I Hear a Thousand?

I'm happy to report that 361 good friends of the Washington Monthly have made donations to The Cause during our current fundraising drive. We thank you ever so much. But...

By Ed Kilgore

December 27, 2013 11:45 AM Thus Spake the Almighty Corporation

Just about everyone involved in politics is acutely aware of the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC, which held that an ancient ban on corporate campaign contributions violated...

By Ed Kilgore

December 27, 2013 10:37 AM Centrists Don't Care About Jobs

A couple days ago I wrote a piece for the Plum Line about how centrists have been rather wrong-footed by the new populist uprising in the form of Elizabeth Warren...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 9:44 AM The Decline of the American Justice System

Jed Rakoff, a former prosecutor, has an interesting piece in the NYRB about why there have been no prosecutions of financial industry employees over the systemic fraud surrounding the...

By Ryan Cooper

December 27, 2013 8:39 AM Daylight Video

118 years ago today, "Stagger Lee" Sheldon shot Billy Lyons in a St. Louis saloon, launching a legend that would inspire many musical recordings. Here's the most famous, Lloyd Price's...

By Ed Kilgore

December 26, 2013 5:58 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Between now and next Tuesday, I'll be occasionally offering some year-end observations about where U.S. politics seems to be heading as we steam towards a midterm election. I'd like to...

By Ed Kilgore

December 26, 2013 4:04 PM The Defeat-Resistant Tea Party

Regular readers know that I regularly mock the periodic announcements of the demise of radical conservatism, whether it's old-school "movement conservatism" or the Christian Right or the Tea Party or...

By Ed Kilgore

December 26, 2013 3:43 PM Profits that Have Nowhere to Go

Some of the more pernicious theorized effects of income inequality is just what happens to accumulated wealth at the top. (Apple's cash hoard is now something like $150 billion,...

By Ryan Cooper

December 26, 2013 3:08 PM Common (Health) Carriers

With all the talk about the immediate issues facing the health care system as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, it's easy to forget the great big long-term challenge of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 26, 2013 1:34 PM Lunch Buffet

We hope the new issue of WaMo will give you something nourishing to chew on in the week between the holidays. It offers a fresh reason for a year-end tax-deductible...

By Ed Kilgore

December 26, 2013 12:14 PM Car Privilege, as Enforced by the LAPD

This is quite a striking piece from the NYT: In a city of seemingly endless highways — with its daily parade of car accidents, frustrating traffic jams and aggressive drivers...

By Ryan Cooper

December 26, 2013 9:45 AM After Obamacare--Inside the Jan/Feb Issue of the Washington Monthly

Here are some of the stories you'll find in the new issue of the Washington Monthly, now online. After Obamacare When the drama over the botched rollout of the ACA's...

By Paul Glastris

December 26, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

It's Boxing Day in most British Commonwealth Nations, so here's Blink 182 performing "Boxing Day."...

By Ed Kilgore

December 25, 2013 5:11 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I hope everyone's enjoying a blessed holiday today, and I hope my fellow Christians are exhibiting the love and charity the Nativity made manifest. If you got some extra cash...

By Ed Kilgore

December 25, 2013 10:28 AM Holiday Open Thread

No politics for me today; just got home late last night after the traditional Four Family Christmases in Georgia, and will commemorate the Feast of the Nativity as quietly as...

By Ed Kilgore

December 25, 2013 9:02 AM Daylight Video

Merry Christmas!...

By Ed Kilgore

December 24, 2013 4:22 PM Christmas Eve Links

That's it for us this Christmas Eve lite blogging day, as always, thanks for reading and commenting. Here are some snippets for Santa to read on his iPad while zipping...

By Ryan Cooper

December 24, 2013 3:20 PM A Merrier Christmas For Liberal Christians

The Christmas celebration ought to be relatively free of politics, but we are in an era of politicized religion, and politics masquerading as religion, so some of it is inescapable....

By Ed Kilgore

December 24, 2013 10:50 AM The Real Problem with "Ubertarians"

Aaron Weiner had quite a social media get over this piece coining the phrase "Ubertarian," lampooning the deregulating, density and affordable housing advocates who just looove their black car...

By Ryan Cooper

December 24, 2013 10:24 AM A Merry Sherlock Mini-Episode Christmas

The BBC series Sherlock is the only TV series besides Good Eats that I have watched all the way through (mostly because there's only six episodes total). It's quite good....

By Ryan Cooper

December 24, 2013 9:07 AM Smartest Guy in the Primaries

In a bit of Christmas Eve merriment, I was amused to see this Politico report from Burgess Everett: It is “very obvious” that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will run for...

By Ed Kilgore

December 24, 2013 8:50 AM Morning Timelapse

Merry War on Christmas Eve, folks! As usual, we'll be on a Lite Holiday Blogging schedule today. City Lights from Colin Rich on Vimeo....

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 5:28 PM Evening Links

That's it for today, folks, pardon me running a bit late. See you tomorrow for some Christmas pre-gaming. It'll be lite blogging tomorrow, but you just might see a quick...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 4:36 PM Why the Monthly Deserves Your Support, In Three Amazing Words

Here they are: Haley Sweetland Edwards. This has been a banner year for our star reporter. She wrote three blockbuster pieces: "He Who Makes the Rules," on the guts of...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 3:28 PM Americans Surprisingly Supportive of Unemployment Insurance

Well, how else are we going to make budget headroom for tax cuts at the top? With conservatives' bitter hatred for any government spending on the lower 80 percent or...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 2:29 PM Red States and the Future of the Medicaid Expansion

Here at Political Animal Ed has been rather skeptical of the fate of the Medicaid expansion in Republican states. Some argue that the coalition of powerful and wealthy interest groups—doctors,...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 2:17 PM Story of the Day: Serwer on Sotomayor

A week ago a federal judge ruled that the NSA dragnet surveillance program of Americans' phone records was probably unconstitutional, which will almost certainly end up before the Supreme Court...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 12:44 PM Lunch Break

Merry War on Christmas, loyal Monthly readers! As you know, it's time for our annual fundraiser. Would you consider a small donation? Every little bit helps. 1. Today's the Obamacare...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 11:41 AM American Service Provision Is Extraordinarily Inefficient

It's commonplace on the left to worry about the extreme stinginess of the American safety net, and when you chart direct social insurance spending America does tend to come down...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 11:09 AM Most People Either Support Obamacare or Think It Doesn't Go Far Enough

Something Greg Sargent has been pointing out endlessly is the fact that people's attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act have been remarkably stable despite a deluge of apocalyptic media coverage....

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 9:57 AM The Rapid Decline of 60 Minutes

David Carr has a great piece today about the plummeting credibility of CBS's flagship program 60 Minutes. First there was Lara Logan's Benghazi faceplant. Then there was Charlie Rose's Jeff...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 8:45 AM Justine Sacco Sacked

It was about two and a half years ago that I finished up my Peace Corps service, got on a plane in Johannesburg and flew to Durango, Colorado, via stops...

By Ryan Cooper

December 23, 2013 8:37 AM Morning Video

Morning folks! Ryan back again today. Here's friend of the blog Aaron Carroll with a short video blowing up some holiday myths:...

By Ryan Cooper

December 22, 2013 11:50 PM Help this chihuahua brave the Chicago winter by donating to the Washington Monthly!

Here's the background: Monty -- seen in the photos above and below -- is my adorable 4-year old chihuahua mix. He's a rescue dog I adopted from an animal...

By Kathleen Geier

December 22, 2013 7:52 PM My R. Kelly problem, and yours; or why R. Kelly is in the same moral category as Roman Polanski

The saddest fact I've learned is: Nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody. They have any complaint about the way they are treated: They are "bitches,...

By Kathleen Geier

December 22, 2013 4:45 PM Women, want to lean in? Consider joining a union!

One of the most popular books of the year was Sheryl Sandberg's career guide for women, Lean In (I reviewed it here). Sandberg's book consists of highly individualistic advice, and...

By Kathleen Geier

December 22, 2013 1:00 PM Slate.com's Josh Levin has published the most fascinating true crime read of the year -- and it has an important public policy twist

Remember Ronald Reagan and his tall tales about "welfare queens"? Reagan despised public assistance for the needy, and he loved to tell outrageous stories about people who were allegedly abusing...

By Kathleen Geier

December 22, 2013 10:16 AM Making college work for low-income students: an important item on the economic equality agenda

I wanted to share this interview that went up on YouTube earlier this week, between Washington Monthly's editor in chief Paul Glastris and Diana Natalicio, president of the University of...

By Kathleen Geier

December 22, 2013 9:07 AM Morning video: Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland in The Nutcracker

Over the years, I've seen many incarnations of The Nutcracker, and I'm more than passing fond of quite a few of them. The Balanchine Nutcracker performed by the New York...

By Kathleen Geier

December 21, 2013 4:47 PM The New York Times and the ACA: the yuppie whine-athon continues

I see the New York Times has published yet another article about very privileged people whining about the ACA. In this case, said article features a couple making $100,000 a...

By Kathleen Geier

December 21, 2013 3:08 PM Your mandatory Duck Dynasty update

The Entertainment Weekly website is reporting that, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch who recently stirred controversy by making racist and homophobic remarks,...

By Kathleen Geier

December 21, 2013 1:17 PM Today's reason to contribute to the fundraiser: we're so good we (literally) make other publications jealous

As regular readers know, we are continuing our annual, end-of-year fundraiser. Here is today's reason to contribute: we're so good that we make our journalistic competitors jealous -- literally. This...

By Kathleen Geier

December 21, 2013 11:26 AM Deserving vs. undeserving poor -- for the love of God, here we go again

The New York Times' Timothy Egan has a good op-ed about a pernicious idea that's recently made a roaring return into the national discourse: the distinction between the "deserving" vs....

By Kathleen Geier

December 21, 2013 9:56 AM Morning video: how the Sex Pisols saved Christmas -- by standing in solidarity with striking workers

"Heartwarming" and "family-friendly" are two concepts that don't generally appear in the same sentence -- or even in the same mental/cultural universe -- as the Sex Pistols. Readers, I am...

By Kathleen Geier

December 20, 2013 5:28 PM Evening Linkapalooza

That's it for today, folks. I'll be back for most of next week, but Kathleen Geier will be taking over for the weekend. I hope everyone is having a good...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 4:27 PM Liberal Economic Policy Is Popular

How can we figure out what people think? There are, like, millions of them! Contra Sam Youngman, going out and talking to Real Americans at random is not an inherently...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 2:38 PM Paul Ryan Gets Another Inexplicable Pundit Tongue Bath

Paul Ryan's ability to play the more gullible of the DC pundit class like a particularly well-greased harpsichord continues to amaze. Jonathan Chait wrote on this tendency at length in...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 2:04 PM Fighting the Good Fight

As you've no doubt aware, we're having our annual fundraiser. Personally, the Monthly has been extraordinarily generous to me, both in giving me opportunities to write (and be edited, an...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 1:50 PM Today's Top-Down Class Warfare, in Four Infuriating Examples

Yesterday budget agreement for next year just passed Congress, and it doesn't have an extension of unemployment insurance. Senate Dems will take up the extension after the break, but it...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 12:22 PM Lunch Links

Pardon me folks, while I scarf down a quick meal. It's been a good year here at the Monthly, and I hope you'll consider a tax-deductible donation before year's end....

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 11:23 AM Time for Obama to Go Big on Pardons

Yesterday, President Obama commuted the sentences of eight people who had been sentenced under the old crack cocaine sentencing regime, and pardoned 13 more who had already been released, a...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 10:24 AM Senate Hardliners and Iran

Senator Menendez's new sanctions bill is finally getting some pushback from other Senate Dems: In a remarkable rebuke to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), 10 other Senate...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 9:52 AM Stop and Frisk Is Everywhere

Today we've got a sneak peek of our new issue (which will be coming out December 26th). It's a really great piece by Charles Epp and Steven Maynard-Moody, about how...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 9:04 AM The Austerity Cultural Conspiracy

Paul Krugman laid out a remarkable fact a couple days ago: government spending is shrinking faster than at any time since the post-WWII demobilization. This would notable in and of...

By Ryan Cooper

December 20, 2013 8:59 AM Morning Jams

Morning folks! Here's a laid-back mix for a gray but warm DC morning:...

By Ryan Cooper

December 19, 2013 7:29 PM Day's End and Night Watch

As you might have guessed, the absence of mid-afternoon posts was due to logistics--insufficient layover time in Phoenix, and then the decision to write a pretty long post about Sam...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 6:52 PM Sammy Youngman's Epiphany

On a snowy weekend this month (Oh my God!) ten years ago in Manchester, NH, I first encountered a young political reporter for InsideNH Politics named Sam (or as everyone...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 2:45 PM Messina Really Gets Around

Seems like just yesterday when some of us were kvetching about former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina following the pound to Britain to advise the Conservative Party. Now it seems...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 1:43 PM Lunch Buffet

I'm about to head to the airport for a flight to Atlanta via Phoenix (from which I will do the Day's End post), and can only wish internet services were...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 1:25 PM Trust the Docs, Except When You Don't

I didn't really plan on writing about John McCain's "new" Obamacare alternative proposal, since it's just a variation on every other Republican alternative dating back to McCain's own in 2008....

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 12:29 PM Pope Erick Speaks

I normally wouldn't comment on the Duck Dynasty brouhaha, in which the poor "victims of political correctness" are again whining about the consequences of expressing their bigotry, presumably by force....

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 10:46 AM Weekend Blogging's Dynamic Duo

I noted yesterday that our weekend blogging was an unusual and valuable feature, not to mention essential to the survival of your weekday blogger. We've experimented with and benefitted from...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 10:28 AM Aging Disgracefully Well

I somehow missed that yesterday was Keith Richards' 70th birthday. Well, he's the ultimate role model for all those hoping they can outlive the actuarial predictions their behavior has invited....

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 9:57 AM Budget Deal Finally Passes Senate

It didn't make big headlines in this morning's newspapers, and its Democratic co-author is already backing away from its provisions affecting military pensions, but in any event, the Murray-Ryan budget...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 9:25 AM Schweitzer's Wayback Machine

Speaking of the Clintons, the former Secretary of State's ears might have been burning yesterday when former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer traveled to Iowa and made news by suggesting Democrats...

By Ed Kilgore

December 19, 2013 8:48 AM Daylight Video

Fifteen years ago today, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton. Still hard to believe it happened, or that two years after that we had a presidential election decided...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 5:10 PM Day's End and Night Watch

As an indication of how cloistered I am here at my blogging station, it wasn't until today that I realized a major wildfire has been blazing just down the Pacific...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 4:58 PM What Obamacare Death Spiral?

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act have been terrified for months now that a combination of a botched online enrollment system, terrible press, and Republican sabotage could send the individual...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 4:36 PM Rolling Back A Century

I was looking around Google today to see if Ted Cruz had ever come forth with the Obamacare Replacement proposal that was supposed to be imminent back in November, when...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 3:13 PM Counter-Revolution for the Hell of It?

With the failure of the GOP's government shutdown/debt default gambit this fall, and then the explosion of irrational exuberance among conservatives about Obamacare's challenges and the president's lower approval ratings...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 2:56 PM Tapering Arrives

So far markets haven't much responded to the long-dreaded announcement by the Federal Reserve Board today that it plans to "taper" stimulative bond-purchasing in January. It is, to be sure,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 2:32 PM Lunch Buffet

One of the unusual things about Political Animal is that we don't "go dark" on weekends, and we've found some great talent to chip in and provide a change of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 1:09 PM Yesterday's News?

As TPM's Dylan Scott reports, there's a new wave of consolidation going on in the conservative blogosphere that could have a significant effect on its content and coordination: Salem Communications,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 12:56 PM Real Life

One of the 2013's big education policy stories was the president's proposal to involve the federal government in the delicate process of measuring the value added by colleges in determining...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 12:08 PM Against the New Scarlet Letter

Over at The Plum Line yesterday, our own Ryan Cooper was a bit underwhelmed by some new legislation introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren: Today, Elizabeth Warren is introducing a bill...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 11:25 AM A Closer Look At Those Falling Into the Wingnut Hole

Yesterday the Kaiser Family Foundation released some badly needed data on the characteristics of Americans who fallen into what I've dubbed the "wingnut hole," and that others just call the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 9:57 AM Boehner's New Enemies

I've spent quite a bit of time mocking the extraordinary Beltway joy over House Speaker John Boehner's rebuke to "outside" conservative groups, as representing the millionth decisive setback for the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 18, 2013 8:51 AM Daylight Video

Just felt like listening to some Ry Cooder this morning. Here he is performing "The Very Thing That Makes Her Rich" in Santa Cruz, circa 1987....

By Ed Kilgore

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

Finally got a new mini washer/dryer today. It's gonna be like a laundromat here tonight, without the quarters. Speaking of quarters, please consider taking that coin jar to the bank...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 5:35 PM Poll Numbers That Do and Don't Matter

Ezra Klein offers a closer look at today's new ABC/WaPo poll, and notes two bright signs for Democrats amidst the gloom: There is some good news in the poll for...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 4:51 PM The Jerry Brown Model

In a half-in-jest article, the L.A. Times' Mark Barabak reports that CA Gov. Jerry Brown hasn't "ruled out" a 2016 presidential run. He hasn't ruled it in, either, of course....

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 3:59 PM The Obama = Bush Meme

One of the easy-breezy memes that have been circulating in Washington the last few months has been that Barack Obama's second term is a lot like George W. Bush's. The...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 2:13 PM Regular Folks

Before I could get around to it, Paul Waldman of TAP said everything that ought to be said about the convention of expecting politicians to show they're just regular folks...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

As part of an annual self-evaluation, I've been trying to figure out what my professional peer group does and does not do as compared to the offerings here at PA....

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 1:09 PM How Republicans Will Make Commitment-Shy Men Come Around

In my post yesterday about Ross Douthat's "daughter theory" of how upscale folk might be weened from liberalism, I observed there wasn't much about the Republican agenda that seemed design...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 12:20 PM College Presidents Are Not (By and Large) Poor People

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a long list ranking the nation's private college presidents by total compensation. Numero uno is Robert Zimmer of the University of Chicago, who...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 10:55 AM The Budget Deal Creaks Through the Senate

Remember last week, when the "civil war" within the Republican Party came to an end with the decisive tongue-lashing John "Ulysses S." Boehner gave to outside conservative groups, which sent...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 10:24 AM Can the Right Unite in '16?

I'm reasonably sure one of the big political stories of the 2016 presidential cycle is going to be an effort by movement conservative opinion-leaders to unite early around a candidate...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 9:58 AM The "I Hate Everything" Vote

There's a new ABC-WaPo poll out showing about what you'd expect: the president's job approval rating is at 43%, about what it was last month but way down from a...

By Ed Kilgore

December 17, 2013 7:33 AM Daylight Video

Having spent three recent weeks in Atlanta, and returning there for Christmas, the music of my salad days has come flooding back to my memory banks. Here's the forgotten but...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 5:49 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Real shame that after contributing ground cover to the sparse yard adjoining our apartment, have to wait til tomorrow for landlord to finally replace broken-down washer-dryer in order to get...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 5:16 PM NSA Loses One In the Courts

After years of winning court tests of its surveillance activities, the National Security Agency lost a big one today, per this report from Politico's Josh Gerstein: A federal judge ruled...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 4:54 PM Populism, Centrism and Shifting Ground

After my post last week suggesting that Jon Cowan's and Jim Kessler's much-discussed Wall Street Journal op-ed dissing "populism" should not be accepted as some sort of unified manifesto for...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 3:32 PM Same Old Song

One of the hallmarks of a rigid political ideology is that its prescriptions do not change with changing circumstances. That is particularly true of conservative economic prescriptions; conservative heretic Josh...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 1:10 PM Lunch Buffet

After I decided to feature Dvorak this morning, it suddenly hit me that I bought a copy of a performance of the New World Symphony on 8-track way back in...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 1:05 PM Douthat's Daughter Theory

Ross Douthat penned a clever column yesterday cobbling together some polling data and popular culture references in order to appeal to one of the great conservative memes: that upscale liberals...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 12:24 PM Why Chris Christie Might Want to Think About Skipping Iowa

The Des Moines Register put out a poll of favorability ratings for potential 2016 presidential candidates over the weekend, and there were some findings not terribly compatible with the popular...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 12:01 PM None Quite Like Him

Over the weekend Kathleen Geier offered a typically clear-eyed tribute to two film icons who passed away, Joan Fontaine and Peter O'Toole. I do want to add my own brief...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 10:44 AM 40 Years Later

At a time when American politics can sometimes seem a sad and stagnant game, interesting things are happening elsewhere--most recently in Chile, where the 40th anniversary of the U.S.-backed military...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 9:32 AM The Scapegoat

I'm betting this quote from National Journal's Sam Baker is the best line about Obamacare you'll read for quite some time: The Affordable Care Act has become the go-to scapegoat...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 9:02 AM See You In Hell, Granny-Starver

Before the lusty cheers from Beltway pundits celebrating the end of the Tea Party and all that other right-wing unpleasantness had entirely faded from the air, we learned from the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 16, 2013 8:26 AM Daylight Video

120 years ago today, Dvorak's New World Symphony debuted in New York. Here's the Vienna Philharmonic performing the "Largo" from this remarkable work....

By Ed Kilgore

December 15, 2013 9:09 PM R.I.P. Joan Fontaine and Peter O'Toole

We lost two great acting talents today. Peter O'Toole, who was 81, and Joan Fontaine, who was 96. I always feel melancholy at the passing of figures like these two....

By Kathleen Geier

December 15, 2013 4:54 PM Please contribute to our fundraiser

As regular readers know, we're currently running our annual online fundraiser. We only do this once a year, so if you wish to contribute, now's the time. There are many...

By Kathleen Geier

December 15, 2013 2:55 PM Study: how the filibuster has created economic inequality

In my post yesterday about economic inequality, I emphasized the political economy aspects of inequality -- how extreme economic inequality creates a dysfunctional democracy that caters to the interests of...

By Kathleen Geier

December 15, 2013 12:43 PM What social science says about the impact of unemployment on well-being: it's even worse than you thought

While reading this odd and meandering New York Times op-ed this morning, I stumbled upon a link to a fascinating study from last year on the impact of unemployment on...

By Kathleen Geier

December 15, 2013 9:17 AM Morning music: Beyonce's brand-new feminist anthem

A few days ago, Beyonce, without previous warning, dropped a brand new album called Beyonce. I haven't heard the whole thing yet, but word is that it is strongly feminist-themed....

By Kathleen Geier

December 14, 2013 3:33 PM President Obama and Paul Krugman are right: economic inequality is a "defining issue of our time"

Actually, I would argue, as President Obama did last week, that economic inequality is the defining issue of our time. But in a blog post today, Krugman characterized it as...

By Kathleen Geier

December 14, 2013 2:58 PM It's that time of year again! Please give if you can

Yes, it's that time again! The Monthly is currently hosting its annual, end-of-the-year fundraiser. We’re asking you, the readers, to pitch in and give what you can to support the...

By Kathleen Geier

December 14, 2013 1:23 PM More troubles for HealthCare.gov

Wonkblog's Sarah Kliff is reporting yet another serious problem with the troubled HealthCare.gov site. The site failed to transmit data from enrollees to health insurers. As a result, thousands of...

By Kathleen Geier

December 14, 2013 10:53 AM Will a New Jersey traffic congestion scandal doom Chris Christie's presidential ambitions?

I've been watching with fascination a situation unfolding in my ancestral homeland of New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie has found himself embroiled in a growing controversy involving traffic congestion on...

By Kathleen Geier

December 14, 2013 8:52 AM Morning video: Sam Seder on the War on Christmas

It's December, and you know what that means -- the War on Christmas is back! To celebrate, I'm posting this great clip from 2005, in which Sam Seder went on...

By Kathleen Geier

December 13, 2013 5:35 PM Day's End and Weekend Watch

It hasn't been an extremely abundant political news week unless you think the mini-budget deal was epochal or that John Boehner's denunciation of Heritage Action has banished conservative extremism forever....

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 5:08 PM The "Enthusiasm Gap" For 2014

Maybe I've missed an earlier survey, but today's from Pew/USAT is the first I've seen this cycle measuring partisan "enthusiasm" about voting in 2014 (there's also a test of "optimism,"...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 4:24 PM Number 25

This morning the Daily Beast published an article by Brandy Zadrozny reporting that there have been a total of 24 school shootings claiming 17 lives since Newtown. Well, today brought...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 4:04 PM The Specter of the Lecherous Black Man

At MoJo today, David Corn addresses a conservative meme about Barack Obama that has suddenly emerged from the fringe venues of those who will quite literally accept any attribution of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

Congratulations to Haley Sweetland Edwards, whose much-praised article about Dodd-Frank implementation, "He Who Make the Rules," has won a "Best of 2013" award from Longform.org. Please help keep this kind...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 1:23 PM It's Ain't the Steak, It's the Sizzle

If you want another sign that the divisions affecting the Republican Party are about everything other than ideology, note the line Chris Christie--presumably the "pragmatic" savior of the GOP from...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 12:57 PM Entitlement Reform: The Dog That Didn't Bark

In the context of a column labeling the Murray-Ryan budget deal as an unambiguous win for Democrats (I'd be inclined to agree if it weren't for the expiration of UI...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 11:57 AM Ready For An Election Year--and the Fallout

The legacy of the first session of the 113d Congress is sufficiently bad to make this Political Animal eager to cover campaigns rather than feckless policymaking. But the thing about...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 11:03 AM What Hasn't Happened This Week in Washington

As Washington celebrates a bipartisan budget deal and imagines that John Boehner is finally putting the Tea Folk in their place by giving them a tongue-lashing they'll never forget (I'm...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 10:46 AM Return of Huck?

The timing is interesting: a day after Mike Huckabee shut down his daily radio show, subsequent to a "consensus decision" he and Cumulus Media Network had made, Jonathan Martin of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 9:41 AM Murray-Ryan Budget Advances

So by a larger-than-expected 332-94 margin, the House passed the Murray-Ryan budget deal last night, with only 32 Democrats and 62 Republicans dissenting. You kinda have to dig to find...

By Ed Kilgore

December 13, 2013 8:53 AM Daylight Video

On this day in 2000--sigh--Al Gore conceded the presidential election to George W. Bush after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down the recount in Florida. That day Gore was serenaded...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 5:44 PM Day's End and Night Watch

As I run through the aggregators looking for Day's End stuff, I see pieces about the raging, the irrepressible, the apocalyptic "civil war" tearing the GOP apart multiplying like topsy....

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 5:12 PM Beyond Hypocrisy on Health Care

If you're not a deep and regular reader of health policy wonkery, I very strongly recommend an Ezra Klein post today that succinctly spells out the extent to which opportunistic...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 4:54 PM The Disappearance of Marco Rubio

Anyone who's really been paying attention during 2013 has probably noticed the rather abrupt "course correction" undertaken by one-time Tea Party (and also MSM) heart-throb Marco Rubio. His conservative street...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 4:14 PM Jesus, Santa Claus, and Race

It's probably appropriate that an anchor on the media network which annually gives us the maddening agitprop over the "War On Christmas" has kicked up a stir by insisting that...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 3:22 PM Nobody Here But Us Conservatives

Speaker John Boehner's serial criticisms (yesterday in an NBC interview, today in a press conference) of conservative "outside groups" and their harassment of his own self and of House Republicans...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

Tried to blog from a dentist's chair about an hour ago (my appointment went kinda long and kinda bad) while waiting for novocaine to kick in, but fortunately Ryan stepped...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 1:28 PM Before You Ask....

The Obama administration extended health care coverage under the temporary Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP), the federal high-risk pool set up to provide transition insurance to those closed out of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 11:56 AM Keeping the Eye on the Confirmation Ball

Over at the Plum Line today I've got a post arguing that while Senate Dems' new persistence on getting nominations through is laudable, they shouldn't hesitate to further streamline the...

By Ryan Cooper

December 12, 2013 10:50 AM Hold the Cheers

Even as they were being toasted for pulling off a legislative masterstroke in beating back conservative opposition to the Murray-Ryan budget deal, House GOP leaders stepped on a garden rake...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 10:17 AM The Volker Rule and Making Washington Work

Three and a half years after the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill passed in the summer of 2010, the long-awaited Volcker Rule, restricting banks' ability to gamble with taxpayer-insured money, has...

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

December 12, 2013 9:43 AM Fruits of the Budget Deal

It's looking more and more like the Murray-Ryan budget deal is going to get through the House today, in part because most if not all Democrats will vote for it,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 12, 2013 8:53 AM Daylight Video

On this day in 1970, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles achieved their first #1 hit with this song:...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 5:52 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I don't expect anyone in most of the country to feel any sympathy, but the nightly temperatures here on the Central Coast since I returned have been in the 30s,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 5:12 PM Hot Air For the Holidays

I'd say the one political fact we can all agree on is that the American people (and this time the situation justifies that vast collective attribution) are pretty thoroughly sick...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 4:45 PM In Republican Battle With Primary "Chaos," Chaos Still Winning

CNN's Peter Hamby does some good reporting in a piece on various Republican discussions about the 2016 presidential nominating process. But the natural tendency of a reporter to overhype the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 3:11 PM Santa Clause

If you've read a description of the Murray-Ryan budget deal, you probably noticed that a fairly sizable change in the pension contribution requirements for federal employees applied only to new...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 2:21 PM Lunch Buffet

Sorry for a slight delay in posts, but am trying to secure a replacement for a busted and ancient washer/dryer. Kinda missing the comfort of clean, dry clothes, and laundromat...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 1:33 PM Ike's Not Coming Back

To some readers I probably seem like an obsessive crank on the subject of the internal dynamics of the Republican Party, but it's a subject the MSM and some progressives...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 12:29 PM Ain't Easy Being Reasonable

In thinking of reasons I can offer readers for contributing to the continued existence of the Washington Monthly and Political Animal, it's occurred to me that we have the handicap...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 12:02 PM Who are the Centrists?

Last week, when I was more than a bit distracted, a big brouhaha broke out over a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jon Cowen and Jim Kessler of the Third...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 10:39 AM The "Civil War" Over How To Demonize Obamacare

One of my main themes since joining PA has been to point out the extent to which contemporary Republican divisions typically reflect arguments over strategy and tactics, even as the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 9:58 AM The Budget Deal

As has been expected since the weekend, Patty Murray and Paul Ryan have come up with a budget deal that bipartisan congressional leaders (and the White House) will now try...

By Ed Kilgore

December 11, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

On this day in 1941, Germany declared war on the United States. This ended the period of British isolation on the Western Front memorialized by a song from The Kinks,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 5:59 PM Day's End and Night Watch

Just realized that pretty soon (December 28, to be exact), I'll be coming up on the second anniversary of my first PA post (a substitute gig for Steven Benen, and...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 5:29 PM Two Polls, Two Narratives

If you wonder how and why political people cherry-pick public opinion surveys to reinforce their "narratives" of what's actually happening, there's an excellent example today. The GOP line is that...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 4:45 PM Farewell To Medicaid As We've Known It?

Via Greg Sargent, we learn today that Iowa could soon join the ranks of states agreeing to expand Medicaid coverage in exchange for a waiver from HHS allow it to...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 4:27 PM South African Skeletons

It happened gradually, but Republicans associated with the fight against civil rights in the South have pretty much died off (which is very helpful to the revisionist effort to pretend...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 2:06 PM Lunch Buffet

I've probably told this story before, but about a quarter century ago I was asked to define myself ideologically in a job interview, and I responded without thinking about it...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 1:42 PM The Persistent Temptation of Insurance Exchanges

Brother Benen notes today a few examples of Republicans allowing as how there are good if limited features of the Affordable Care Act, including state-run insurance exchanges: Yesterday, Sen. Ron...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 12:14 PM All This And More

So, Political Animal readers, why should you go to the cost and trouble of supporting the continuation of this blog? There are plenty of other outlets for news and views,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 11:44 AM The Compact of 2012

In a burgeoning debate over whether Barack Obama is "finished" as a president able to work his will on the country, Ezra Klein makes an important point about the frustrations...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 10:55 AM Another Primary Challenge Emerges

A lot of folks thought Sen. John Cornyn had dodged a primary bullet when "historian" David Barton took a pass on challenging the senior senator from Texas. But at the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 10:20 AM Beyond Formal Equality

Nelson Mandela died when I was dealing with my own family's mourning, but the memorial service being held in South Africa today is but a bare tribute to his remarkable...

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 9:43 AM Insurance Is Redistribution

Everybody's talking this morning, as they should, about Jonathan Cohn's article at TNR explaining exactly who benefits from and who pays for the improvements made in the Affordable Care Act....

By Ed Kilgore

December 10, 2013 8:43 AM Daylight Video

Otis Redding died in a plane crash in Wisconsin on this day in 1967. Here he is performing his version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 6:11 PM Day's End and Night Watch

If you're in the portions of Megalopolis suffering through winter storms, stay home if you can and stay warm at any event. And if you have any new spare time...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 5:49 PM Defund Obamacare Or Accept Amnesty!

Conservative activists are struggling a bit to come up with a united front against an impending budget deal between Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray and her House counterpart Paul...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 5:17 PM Expensive Gaffe

Self-funded "outsider" Republicans running for major offices are often aligned with the Tea Folk, sometimes out of personal conviction, sometimes because it's easy for them to strike poses without the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 3:23 PM Something In the Water

Since I was traveling over most of the weekend, I just now got around to reading Martin Longman's fine post here at PA puncturing Sarah Palin's ludicrous efforts to make...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 2:14 PM Lunch Buffet

I'm back in the saddle again, more or less, but I hope the effort made by WaMo to keep Political Animal rolling along during my family medical emergency will convince...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 1:23 PM This Year's Sacrifice

So it appears a budget "deal" that raises appropriations above sequester levels and avoids another government shutdown will involve sacrificing the Democratic priority of extending unemployment benefits for the long-term...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 1:04 PM 2013's Least Surprising Headline

Here it is, from today's Politico: No soul-searching for Virginia GOP after losses James Hohmann's piece under the headline quotes Virginia Republicans intoning the eternal chant of factors other than...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 10:35 AM The Wingnut Hole Gets Real

It didn't get much national attention when it was being created by 25 states that rejected the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, but the gap swallowing up people too poor...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 9:52 AM A Disservice

If Rand Paul would just come out and say (as his muse Ayn Rand would not have hesitated to do) the long-term unemployed are worthless people the Almighty Market has...

By Ed Kilgore

December 09, 2013 8:55 AM Keeping the Pressure on a Do-Nothing Congress, With Your Help

The least productive Congress in history has only four scheduled work days left in 2013 before members head home. But the political news never stops, and neither does the Washington...

By Paul Glastris

December 09, 2013 8:44 AM Daylight Video

Happy Birthday to my wife, Dawn, who keeps me alive....

By Ed Kilgore

December 08, 2013 8:39 PM Apparently, You Can't Get Fired For This

I can kind of see why the former ombudsman for the Washington Post, Patrick Pexton, advised Jeff Bezos to fire Jennifer Rubin. Among his criticisms were these: Rubin was the...

By Martin Longman

December 08, 2013 4:47 PM Virginia GOP Not Exactly Learning From Their Mistakes

Virginia Republicans gathered this weekend at the Homestead resort in Hot Springs to discuss their recent losses in races for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. Among the things they...

By Martin Longman

December 08, 2013 12:29 PM Is Rand Paul Making Excuses?

I feel like standards are getting lower and lower for what kind of behavior is disqualifying for a politician seeking election or reelection. Certainly, it used to be the case...

By Martin Longman

December 08, 2013 11:04 AM You Can Get Fired For That

This kind of stuff makes me weary: Michael Griffin taught French and Spanish at Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for twelve years. During that entire time, he’s been...

By Martin Longman

December 08, 2013 9:16 AM In Colorado, Same As It Ever Was

In the 2010 election cycle, there were some high-profile examples of the Republican Party nominating candidates who were not preferred by the party establishment who then went on to lose...

By Martin Longman

December 07, 2013 5:56 PM Enough Already

Here's what I don't understand. Does anyone seriously think that people are saving enough for retirement? Moreover, no one makes any money off their money anymore. If you want to...

By Martin Longman

December 07, 2013 3:00 PM History Palinized

If you could turn stupid into a fuel, you could use Sarah Palin to leave the Solar System. Her appearance at Liberty University set a new standard for idiocy in...

By Martin Longman

December 07, 2013 12:24 PM Lipstick on a Pig

When someone asks you if a victim of rape should be compelled by the state to carry a resulting pregnancy to term, it is not a gaffe if you reply...

By Martin Longman

December 07, 2013 9:41 AM Don't Revive the Filibuster

I don't like any of Jonathan Bernstein's proposals to revive the filibuster for judicial nominees. I'm sympathetic to his motivation, as lifetime appointments are a big deal, and I can...

By Martin Longman

December 07, 2013 8:47 AM Word Association

Let's play a game. I'll name a year, and you name the first two ideas/concepts that come into your head. Are you ready? Here we go… 2000- 1. Butterfly ballot,...

By Martin Longman

December 06, 2013 5:32 PM Happy Hour Roundup

That's it from me, folks, as always, thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you'll forgive a washed-up Peace Corps volunteer a bit of indulgence on a Friday. Here are...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 4:14 PM Post-Mandela South Africa

This will be my last post on South Africa, I promise. But one can't assess the legacy of Mandela without looking at the struggles the nation has gone through...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 2:49 PM Mississippi's Thad Cochran to Run for a Seventh Term

There was some question about whether the aging senator was up for another term. But the Times has the goods: While Mr. Cochran, who turns 76 on Saturday, has the...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 2:20 PM For Most of His Life, Nelson Mandela Was an Enemy of the American State

Zack Beauchamp and Igor Volsky have a nice piece looking at longstanding political opposition to Mandela and the ANC on the right, from William F. Buckley (who worked as a...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 1:09 PM Lunch Links

Pardon me while I rustle up some grub. In the meantime, here is some assorted stuff from across the web. 1. Great listicle of Mandela quotes you probably won't be...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 12:38 PM US Facing a Critical Shortage of Elder Statesmen

Senator Frank Church holds up a CIA dart gun during the Church Committee hearings When the government messes up, the first action taken by Congress or the White House is...

By Haley Sweetland Edwards

December 06, 2013 11:38 AM Recovery Still Moving Sideways

The latest economic numbers are out, showing the economy gained 203,000 jobs last month, and revising previous estimates somewhat. Unemployment was down to 7.0 percent. Kevin Drum updates his usual...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 10:47 AM Katie Couric Flushes Her Reputation Down the Toilet

Katie Couric, as a former evening news anchor, had been polishing her image as a more serious, respectable journalist for quite some time. All of that is gone now, with...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 10:10 AM Rick Santorum, Africanist

Mainstream media appropriating Mandela as a nice fuzzy uncontroversial touchstone is one thing. But this is something else entirely (h/t Adam Peck): Here's the relevant quote: Nelson Mandela...was fighting against...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 9:06 AM Mandela Was No Care Bear

Watching CNN last night it was clear that media culture is busily appropriating and sanctifying the Mandela legacy in much the same way it did with Martin Luther King, glossing...

By Ryan Cooper

December 06, 2013 8:04 AM Morning Rugby

I lived in South Africa for two years, so I hope folks don't mind if I get a little nostalgic about Mzanzi today. Here's the famous 1995 Rugby World Cup...

By Ryan Cooper

December 05, 2013 5:26 PM Day'a End and Night Watch

Closing down a bit early today as I make a last few rounds of family visits and calls. But next week I'll have the opportunity for, and may need the...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 3:50 PM Rand Paul Pulls Out His Dog-Eared Playbook

Sen. Rand Paul decamped in Detroit today to open a new GOP office (good luck with that), and while he was at it, pulled out his thin, dog-eared playbook of...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 3:19 PM The Political Economy of Density

Freddie de Boer had a pretty good comment on my last post arguing that Econ 101 is not enough when it comes to density and affordable housing: I do...

By Ryan Cooper

December 05, 2013 2:30 PM Lunch Buffet

Belated thanks to those of you who offered such kind thoughts about my father's death and my brief tribute to him yesterday. His memorial service is tomorrow, and Ryan will...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 1:42 PM The Endless Echoes of the Lost Cause

At New York yesterday, Jonathan Chait wrote a meditation on the persistence of racism after watching the acclaimed movie 12 Years a Slave. His main point is that the system...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 11:59 AM Sick People and the Innocent Insurance Companies They Defraud

Being here in Georgia for a while has made me more acutely aware than before of the particularly exotic and uninhibited brand of Republican officeholders this state now breeds. Sure,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 10:59 AM The Damage Long Forgotten

A brief passage at the end of a piece by Roll Call's Meredith Shiner about the budget negotiations going on between Patty Murray and Paul Ryan got to the underlying...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 10:04 AM The Lost Constituency For Fighting Inequality

As alluded to in the last post, and as pretty much everyone knows who's being honest about it, a crucial factor in the success or failure of conservative backlash against...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 9:20 AM Inequality and Self-Righteousness

Here's a passage from the president's speech at CAP yesterday, which was a bit of a watershed, consolidating his varying perspectives on inequality and government's role in the economy: [W]e...

By Ed Kilgore

December 05, 2013 8:00 AM Daylight Video

This song has been occasionally popping into my head the last couple of weeks: Queen, before they became pop monsters, performing "Father to Son" in 1974, about the same time...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 5:49 PM Day's End and Night Watch

I'm writing this post in one of those massive Atlanta rush hour traffic jams I escaped by moving away nearly two decades ago (only to fall prey to Washington's equally...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 5:30 PM Obamacare As a Culture-War Issue

Salon's Brian Beutler, who has been covering the war on the Affordable Care Act with great skill, offers some perspective today on parallels between the Right's Obamacare obsession and earlier...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 3:43 PM The Ghost of Curtis LeMay

A lot of Members of Congress who are complaining about the Iran nuclear "first step" agreement, or about alleged "appeasement" of Tehran generally, get all euphemistic about their alternative strategy,...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 2:56 PM Top Ten Shocking Reasons For Getting Bored With Listicles and Viral Videos

As regular readers know, we here at PA don't pretend to be on the cutting edge of any technique to maximize readership, other than frequent and reasonably cogent content. We're...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 2:36 PM Hardly a Distraction

Plum Line's Greg Sargent put it all better than I could: The speech on inequality that President Obama delivered just now will mostly pass unnoticed by the political world, with...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 1:57 PM Lunch Buffet

Blogging may continue to be a bit erratic today and tomorrow due to the usual chores associated with a memorial service (which will be Friday; Ryan and company will again...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 1:31 PM The Awful Specter of Perry '16

It's been apparent for a good while (certainly after he decided not to run for another term as governor) that Rick Perry's planning another presidential run. At the Daily Beast...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 1:01 PM The DC Height Act: An Apology and a Clarification

An occupational hazard of sometimes having to write 10-12 blog posts in one day, on short notice, is that sometimes I miss the mark. (Try it sometime, at the end...

By Ryan Cooper

December 04, 2013 11:02 AM God Only Knows

The highly endangered Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) has a new holiday-timed ad up that's raising eyebrows in Arkansas. KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports Note the key line:...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 9:41 AM R.I.P.

Before returning to political writing today (and thanks so much to Ryan Cooper for filling in with very little notice), I do feel the need to tell you a bit...

By Ed Kilgore

December 04, 2013 8:03 AM Daylight Video

Just because: here's the Agnus Dei from Mozart's Requiem, as performed by the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir in 1991....

By Ed Kilgore

December 03, 2013 5:37 PM Evening Links

That's it for me for today, folks. Ed should be back on a limited basis tomorrow. I hope loyal Political Animal readers are keeping him and his family in their...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 4:42 PM The UK Parliament May Have Overreached on Alan Rusbridger

Today Alan Rusbridger reported before the UK’s Home Affairs Select Committee to defend his newspaper’s right to publish leaked documents from Edward Snowden, and to deny that the paper had...

By Rachel Cohen

December 03, 2013 4:08 PM Immigration Reform Still up to John Boehner Alone

Like that Boris the Blade in Snatch, immigration reform is the policy that is almost certainly not going to make it through Congress, but keeps staggering on despite a tremendous...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 2:37 PM The American Bubble Machine and Negative Interest Rates

Better get used to these, kid. Speaking of the American economy's propensity to create bubbles, another way to consider the situation is to think of savings like any other commodity....

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 1:34 PM Facebook and the Virality Virus

We here at Monthly HQ have never quite mastered the art of viral content. (As in, we're so far from the cutting edge don't even bother to try.) Everyone knows...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 12:27 PM Afternoon Linkapalooza

Pardon me a moment folks while I gasp for air and choke down some grub. In the meantime here are some interesting clips from here and there: 1. Alan Rusbringer,...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 11:05 AM The Shampoo Economy and Monetary Policy

Since the 2008 financial crisis, a strong minority of commentators have held that Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke were to blame for leaving interest rates low and thereby stoking...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 10:34 AM Release the OLC Platinum Memos!

During the debt ceiling crisis, I was a strong proponent of the platinum coin option, where the government would use its seigniorage power to fund daily operation until more...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 9:43 AM It's Cool, Not Like Unemployed People Needed That Money Anyway

One of the few things keeping this tottering recovery on its feet has been "automatic stabilizers," things like food stamps and unemployment benefits which automatically distribute purchasing power downward when...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 9:43 AM Who Are the DC Height Act Supporters?

There was a hearing yesterday on the DC Height Act on the DC city council. Here's something strange out from the Roll Call writeup: In contrast to Gray’s recommendation...

By Ryan Cooper

December 03, 2013 8:38 AM Daylight Video

For my father, who passed away yesterday afternoon, here's one of his favorite musicians performing one of his favorite songs....

By Ed Kilgore

December 02, 2013 5:33 PM The Iran-US Conflict and the Evolution of the Nation-State

Via the White House Flickr The Kuwaiti site Al-Jarida reported earlier today that President Obama was making plans to visit Iran, which would be the first visit of a sitting...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 4:40 PM Lively Experiment, Unlively Journalism

So in holiday news, RI Gov. Linc Chafee, beset with protests by people (probably including some Bill O'Reilly viewers) unhappy with his and his immediate predecessors' designation of an official...

By Ed Kilgore

December 02, 2013 3:38 PM The Republican Anti-Obamacare Purity Cult

Sahil Kapur at TPM has a fine report today looking at how hatred of Obamacare has become such an ideé fixe in the Republican party that even the mildest possible...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 2:50 PM Are Senate Dems Trying to Scuttle the Iran Deal?

For at least five years, my foreign policy nightmare has been the United States blundering into yet another pointless bloody catastrophe in the Middle East, this time in Iran. The...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 1:14 PM The Wages Are Too Damn Low

As I mentioned in the lunch link roundup, increasing the minimum wage is all the rage in lefty precincts today. DC is considering a raise, and Democrats generally are smelling...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 12:52 PM Afternoon Linkapalooza

Pardon me for a moment while I go scrape together some leftovers. In the meantime, here are some things to keep you occupied: 1. Congressional dysfunction has left a massive...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 11:42 AM Republicans May Come to Regret the SCOTUS Birth Control Case

Loyal Monthly readers probably know that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear another challenge to Obamacare, this time to the so-called contraception mandate. The ACA requires a certain...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 10:19 AM Against "Panic of the Day" Science Reporting

Tom Philpott, a food and agriculture journalist for Mother Jones, writes up a new study on arsenic in wine and beer: For people who drink 2.5 beers for glasses of...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 9:43 AM Is Healthcare.gov Working?

Word is the panicked round-the-clock work on the Obamacare website has begun to pay off. Website uptime, not counting scheduled maintenance, is now about 90 percent. It's far from the...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 9:11 AM Amazon Force One

Last night, during a worshipful 60 minutes segment with Charlie Rose, Jeff Bezos unveiled a new Amazon shipping plan: short-range delivery drones. Here's the idea: Immediately several objections spring to...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 9:02 AM Morning Jams

Good morning folks, Ryan Cooper here this morning, filling in for Ed while he takes care of family business. Here's Alpines with "The Vigour:"...

By Ryan Cooper

December 02, 2013 8:38 AM Note to readers: visit my new blog on economic inequality

Before I abandon ship, I wanted to let readers know about a new project of mine. This week, I will be starting a new personal blog about economic inequality. It's...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 8:44 PM Ross Douthat struggles manfully to reconcile conservativism with Pope Francis's teachings on economic inequality. The results? Not pretty.

It's Sunday, and Ross Douthat has written another typical Ross Douthat column. On the surface, it seems to be all smarmy reasonableness. But that's only on the surface. If you...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 4:00 PM Coming soon: a $12 (or more) minimum wage?

With Republicans in firm control of the House of Representatives, there doesn't seem to be much hope for any kind of a progressive agenda getting through Congress these days. But...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 1:52 PM Bernie Sanders for president?

Today's Washington Post has an article about growing economic populism within the Democratic Party. It can be felt in everything from the movement to increase Social Security benefits, rather than...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 10:37 AM Economics students are being miseducated about the way the economy really works. Mike Konczal has an intriguing proposal about how to fix that.

Yesterday over at WonkBlog, Mike Konczal wrote about an issue that's long been a problem in the field of economics: the systematic miseducation of economics students. Most introductory economics classes...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 8:30 AM In praise of viciousness: the case for negative reviews. Plus: links to ten twelve classic hatchet jobs!

This weekend's New York Times features a not-terribly-clever op-ed by Bob Garfield that purports to support the recent decision by BuzzFeed.com banning negative book reviews. However, if you read it...

By Kathleen Geier

December 01, 2013 7:52 AM Morning music: Merle Haggard sings a holiday song for hard times

"If We Make It Through December" by the great Merle Haggard was first released during the recession of 1973, and since then has become a holiday classic. It injects a...

By Kathleen Geier

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