Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

Fact-checking Michael Jordan
September 14, 2009

The best part of Michael Jordan's oddly vindictive but revealing induction speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame was his story about Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell: "I was in Chicago in 1994 and at this time I had no thoughts of coming back and playing the game of basketball," Jordan said. "Bryon Russell came over to me and said, 'Why'd you quit? You know I could guard you.’ When I did come back in 1995 and we played Utah in '96, I'm at the center circle and Bryon Russell is standing next to me.

The Obama-Clinton Lunch
September 14, 2009

Ben Smith points out that the New York restaurant where Obama lunched with Bill Clinton earlier today--Il Mulino--is the sort of over-the-top Italian place much more to Clinton's epicurean tastes than Obama's. All I can say for Obama is that he's lucky the lunch wasn't in D.C. Otherwise, Clinton might have dragged him to Filomena's, where he used to chow down with Helmut Kohl.

The Banality of Goldberg
September 14, 2009

Lest you think the 9/12 marchers were a bunch of crazies (as the photographic evidence certainly seems to suggest), Jonah Goldberg has this rebuttal: I've spent a chunk of time on planes over the last day and a half. I flew up to New York and back yesterday. I just got off a plane from DC to Seattle (I get on the Anchorage-bound flight in about an hour). Anyway, not surprisingly, I've been surrounded by folks who attended the rally on Saturday. (I was there, on the edge of it on Saturday as well). It's interesting to listen in on the conversations (I know, shame on me).

Will Steve Cohen Ever Become Entrenched?
September 14, 2009

I doubt it. But that's the price you pay, I guess, if you're a white guy representing a majority-black Congressional district--even if, as Cohen says of himself, he votes "like a 45-year-old black woman." That said, the black politician currently trying to unseat Cohen, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, looks like he might be taking the race-baiting to a whole new level (which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that Cohen's opponent in 2008 tried to link him to the KKK).

The Roots of Joe Wilson's Rage
September 11, 2009

Nicely explained by Lacy K. Ford, the chair of the University of South Carolina history department, on the NYT's Room for Debate blog. The rage of Wilson and other South Carolina Republicans is what happens when the majority party in a one-party state realizes it's the minority party in the rest of the nation: Republicans confident of their power at home suddenly grew very testy when confronted with impotence on the national stage. As the elections of 2008 swept large Democratic majorities into the U.S..

What Is Andy Card Thinking?
September 10, 2009

I'm baffled by Andy Card's stated desire to run for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. The chances of a Republican winning that race are slim; the chances of a Republican who's been a denizen of D.C. for two decades and who's presumably best known to Massachusetts voters as George W. Bush's chief of staff winning that race are none.

Little Shul on the Prairie?
September 10, 2009

Riffing on Norman Podhoretz's new book Why Are Jews Liberal?, Robert Stacy McCain offers these thoughts on what he calls the "town-and-country divide" in American politics: Think of Reagan, riding horses and clearning brush at his ranch -- it is an image that appeals to the "country" side of the town-and-country divide, embodying as it does the antique ideal of the American frontier homesteader. This "rugged individual" ideal, the self-sufficient property owner zealously guarding his freedom, is intrinsic to what American conservatism is all about, and it is an ideal quite alien to the urban l

Murtha's Good (or Bad) Company
September 09, 2009

The Center for Public Integrity has just put out a useful report showing that John Murtha's pattern of earmarking Pentagon dollars to defense contractors who give lots of money--or are represented by lobbyists who give lots of money--to his campaigns is pretty much par for the course on the defense appropriations subcommittee: Now, a computer analysis by the Center for Public Integrity has revealed that fully three-quarters of the subcommittee members have been involved in similar patterns of behavior — in circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest, involving former

Is Mark Foley Too Debased For A.M. Radio?
September 09, 2009

TPM's Eric Kleefeld reports that Mark Foley, the former Florida Congressman who resigned in 2006 over  lewd electronic messages he sent to teenage House pages, is re-entering public life, courtesy of a West Palm Beach A.M. radio station that has hired him to do a public affairs show.

Greatest Book Subtitle Ever?
September 08, 2009

It might just be the forthcoming Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman. According to The Hill, Frank admits in the book that his ultimate political ambition is to serve as HUD Secretary, which would make him America's only left-handed, gay, Jewish cabinet member.

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