Isaac Chotiner

The New Republic's Alec MacGillis offers up various reasons why immigration reform has a better chance of passing in the next year than conventional wisdom currently holds. I appreciate his optimism, but immigration is doomed—at least until after the midterm elections.

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Ever since the disastrous launch of the federal Obamacare website, conservatives have been calling for the head of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services.  Representative Bill Johnson, Republican of Ohio, answered "absolutely" after being asked whether Sebelius should get "canned." Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor of Virgina who thinks he's a gynecologist,

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Last week, I saw 12 Years a Slave and thought it was absolutely superb. For this reason, and because it concerns arguably the most important aspect of American history, I have been seeking out commentary about the film. What I have found instead is a bunch of  hand-wringing about whether the movie should have even been made.

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The New York Times, which apparently believes rich people do not have a loud enough voice in American society, decided on Tuesday to devote a front-page story to the different ways in which politicians court them. Specifically, the article detailed how Team Clinton is adept at personalizing its interactions with donors, while Barack Obama is cool and detached at fundraisers.

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In a big piece for The Washington Post, Paul Farhi has done his best to profile D.C. super-lawyer Lanny Davis. I say "done his best" because trying to keep abreast of Davis's absurdity and dishonesty is a job for a team of professionals rather than a single man (I speak from experience).

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In The New York Times Book Review this Sunday, Jennifer Szalai and Mohsin Hamid tackled the following question: 'Where is the Great American Novel by a Woman?' As Szalai writes:

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The latest Stallone/Schwarzenegger action flick, unimaginatively titled Escape Plan, seems intent on reminding people that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger still exist. With the exception of The Expendables and its sequel, which both limped to good international box office totals, Stallone hasn’t been in a hit movie in two decades. Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t had anything resembling a blockbuster (minus the third Terminator film) since 1996’s Eraser. The good old days were a long time ago.

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In Tuesday's paper, New York Times reporters Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer have a story on the female senators who have tried to find a debt-ceiling bargain. They include Susan Collins, Barbara Mikulski, Kelly Ayotte, and Lisa Murkowski. I don't envy hard news reporters who can almost never express their opinions, but that is no excuse for their decision to slobber all over the subjects of their story. To wit:

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Jonathan Chait, in a blog post for New York magazine, tries to swat down allegations that Democrats are currently demanding their own debt-ceiling ransom.

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In their conversation about Episode 3 of Homeland, New Republic Senior Editor Isaac Chotiner and former CIA man Robert Baer discuss the way the Agency exerts psychological control over its agents, and whether the show is becoming more like "Breaking Bad."Isaac Chotiner: Did you notice that this episode had a lot of spy-movie clichés? The first was the guy waking up in bed not knowing where he is. I suppose I should ask whether that has ever happened to you.

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