James Downie

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-- As Steven Benen puts it, "Try to contain your surprise": News Corporation gives $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. -- Roger Simon has some fun with the idea of "Obama the one-term president." -- Robert Walker suggests climate advocates can learn from the NRA. -- Jonathan Bernstein reluctantly talks about Cordoba House.

The Taxman Cometh

Last week, USA Today published a story about all the "ordinary folks" who might get hit with the estate tax. A $1 million exemption would affect a lot of families that are well out of Steinbrenner's league. "You take a home, an IRA or 401(k) retirement account, some other savings and you get to $1 million pretty easily," says Richard Behrendt, senior estate planner for Robert W. Baird and a former IRS attorney. Families who live in areas with high property values are particularly vulnerable, says Clint Stretch, tax principal for Deloitte Tax who lives outside Washington, D.C.

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--New York Magazine profiles John McCain --Ezra Klein on how the Democrats could improve the economy quickly --Marc Ambinder tries to figure out what exactly Sarah Palin is up to

[Guest post by James Downie] Jon has blogged at length about pundits trying to come up with other reasons besides the economy for Obama's decline, but, unfortunately, the trope shows no signs of dying. Look at First Read's reasons why the GOP could take back the House: The facts are the facts: The Cook Political Report identifies 64 Democratic-held seats as either “Lean” or “Toss-up” races, and Republicans would need to win a majority of them (39) to win control of the House.

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Best Goal: By miles (which, ironically, seemed like the distance the ball traveled), Giovanni van Bronckhorst against Uruguay. Simply unstoppable. Most important goal (to Americans): Landon Donovan against Algeria, of course. To prove that soccer is now "mainstream," all you have to do is look at the many sports columnists (Bill Simmons, most notably), in their obligatory Lebron articles, using Donovan's goal as an example of what sports can be.

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Remember the Age

[Guest post by James Downie] David Brooks's latest science column takes on the great "Internet vs. Books" debate: The Internet-versus-books debate is conducted on the supposition that the medium is the message. But sometimes the medium is just the medium. What matters is the way people think about themselves while engaged in the two activities. A person who becomes a citizen of the literary world enters a hierarchical universe.

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--Bob Bennett thinks Harry Reid will win out in Nevada. --Conflict of interest news: Chamber of Commerce renting to Fox News --What would voters change about the Constitution? --David Frum on the potential of Mike Huckabee 2012, and Huckabee's response

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--Stephen Moore wants to finance tax cuts for the rich with tax hikes for the poor. --Sharron Angle is having a bad day. A very bad day. --Why saying Washington shouldn't help the states "is like refusing to put the fire out in a burning building until it’s brought fully up to code." --Paul Krugman: "how much can the Fed help?

[Guest post by James Downie] A few days ago, the New York Times ran a profile of Scott Nicholson, "24, a graduate of Colgate University, winner of a dean’s award for academic excellence," and a man without a job.  The daily routine seldom varied. Mr. Nicholson, 24...spent his mornings searching corporate Web sites for suitable job openings...Over the last five months, only one job materialized. After several interviews, the Hanover Insurance Group in nearby Worcester offered to hire him as an associate claims adjuster, at $40,000 a year. But even before the formal offer, Mr.

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When Landon Donovan finally slammed the Jabulani into the net, 91 minutes after the kickoff, there was one part of me that wondered “Will it count? Will it count?” And not, Alex, because I think there’s been a massive anti-American conspiracy, but simply because the refs in this group stage have been terrible. Contrary to popular prognostication, Koman Coulibaly, according to FIFA's official report, called back Edu’s goal for a foul not by Bocanegra, but by Edu (who didn’t commit a foul); there's a reason FIFA gave Coulibaly a "poor" rating and dropped him for the second round.

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