Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

The Smartest Thing I've Read Today
September 16, 2009

Comes from the NYT's Mike Hale: The extended reaction to Mr. West’s deed certainly had something to do with a continuing national conversation about rudeness, whether to presidents, line judges or irritatingly successful country singers.

W's Unlikely Ally in Smack Talk
September 16, 2009

Yglesias, commenting on the Bush quotes in Matt Lattimer's GQ article, writes: I thought it was funny that George W. Bush referred to Barack Obama as “this cat” since that’s slang people haven’t used for decades. He really needs to better acquaint himself with the wit and wisdom of one Rasheed Wallace, who's been waging a brave battle to keep "cat" in the contemporary slang canon. (My favorite Rasheed usage--complaining, as usual, about the refs: "A lot of them cats are felonious, man.")

Jimmy Carter to the Rescue
September 16, 2009

Not. "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans." Carter's contention already CW among a certain segment of Americans (e.g. this Maureen Dowd column).

The Most Intriguing (and Probably Hopeless) Massachusetts Senate Candidate
September 15, 2009

A couple of significant developments in the race for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat. Steve Lynch, last seen getting booed off the stage at a Labor Day health-care rally, has decided not to run. Meanwhile, Alan Khazei, the founder of City Year, is getting closer and closer to announcing that he will run. In a field of candidates that's notable at this point mostly for who's not in it, Khazei is a welcome addition.

Stat of the Day
September 15, 2009

Joe Biden's making his third trip* of 2009 to Iraq. That's the same number of trips to Iraq Dick Cheney made in his eight years as vice president. *--One of Biden's Iraq trips was taken when he was veep-elect.

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..

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