The bomber carried balloons. They were silver and purple, and when he stepped inside the parking garage, they flitted and danced around his head—obscuring his face, as well as his intentions. It was October 2008, just after 4:30 on a Wednesday afternoon, and the workers in the office tower above the garage in suburban St. Louis were still at their desks. Only surveillance cameras saw the man with the balloons as he hurriedly walked to the parking space marked “654,” knelt down, and placed a wicker basket next to the driver’s side door of a late model Acura TL.
Earlier this month, a new conservative economic think tank called e21 sent a letter to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The missive bore a heavy gloss of intellectualism. Its topic was the Fed’s “large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called ‘quantitative easing’),” and it carried the signatures of numerous academics and professional economists, all of whom listed their various books (The Ascent of Money), past governmental jobs (Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors; Director, Congressional Budget Office), and current institutional affiliations (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia).
There are still two weeks left until the midterm elections, but it’s not too early to declare a winner in the contest for the most despicable political ad of this campaign season. On Friday night, Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, released a 30-second spot questioning the Christian faith of his Republican opponent Rand Paul. Conway’s ad focused on two episodes from Paul’s days as a college student in the early 1980s.
Early last week, Alvin Greene paid a visit to the studios of WBT Radio in Charlotte. Ostensibly, he was there to drum up support for his campaign to unseat South Carolina Senator Jim Demint. But, as is always the case with Greene, politics quickly gave way to farce. For two hours, he offered up his daffy policy proposals (like selling action figures of himself to end the recession) and fumblingly dodged embarrassing questions about his involuntary discharge from the military and his recent indictment for allegedly showing pornography to a University of South Carolina coed.
For a few hours last week, Eric Holder could breathe a sigh of relief. Finally, it wasn’t the attorney general but another African American government official whom right-wingers were smearing with allegations of reverse racism. But Andrew Breitbart and other conservative troublemakers’ efforts to turn Shirley Sherrod into Angela Davis proved so ludicrously unfair that they only wound up enhancing Sherrod’s reputation; even long-time conservative commentator Peggy Noonan is now holding up the once-obscure Department of Agriculture official as an icon of racial reconciliation.
In 1984, Ron Paul ran for the United States Senate. It was an audacious gamble. Paul, who represented Texas’s twenty-second congressional district, had to give up his safe House seat to compete in the state’s Republican Senate primary.
Mike Krzyzewski likes to boast that he’s “a leader who happens to coach basketball.” But it may be more accurate to say that he’s a corporate pitchman who happens to be a leader who happens to coach basketball. Turn on your television, especially in March, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Coach K hawking everything from State Farm insurance polices to Chevrolet cars to the Guitar Hero videogame to DePuy artificial hips (of which he has two).
If you’re a journalist, chances are you’ve had some pretty low moments in the last few years, as your industry has imploded all around you. But, in your darkest hours, you were always able to console yourself with one thought: At least I’m not Tucker Carlson. Just consider his bad run. It started in October 2004, when Jon Stewart went on CNN’s “Crossfire,” co-hosted by Carlson, and accused the show of “hurting America,” while making fun of Carlson’s trademark bow tie and calling him a “dick”--all to the laughter and applause of the studio audience.
By last summer, it was obvious that John Murtha did not have much time left in Congress. This was partly due to the efforts of Washington ethics cops and Western Pennsylvania Republicans, both of whom had spent the past few years working feverishly, through either judicial or electoral means, to remove him from office. But more than that, there was the simple matter of Murtha’s health.