At least as Chuck Grassley defines it. From MSNBC's "First Read": Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley admitt[ed] that he probably wouldn’t vote for any type of bill -- even if he got everything he wanted in it. “I am negotiating for Republicans, and if I can’t get something that gets more than four Republicans, I am not a very good representative of my party,” he told one of us on MSNBC yesterday morning.
Check out James Parker's ode to the Orange Line which ran in yesterday's Globe. I agree with all of it. My only quibble: Why no mention of Ruggles? Is there any other subway stop in the U.S. with a name that rolls off the tongue with as much zest as Ruggles? --Jason Zengerle
Matt Yglesias is right that it would be absurd for the District of Columbia to build a new a stadium for the Redskins on the site where their old stadium, RFK, now sits. Since pro football stadiums go unused for most of the year, owing to the NFL's 16-game schedule, they don't help their surrounding neighborhoods in the same way baseball and basketball/hockey stadiums do. Better to do something else with the RFK site; Yglesias's sensible alternative plan for the site unexpectedly even includes a park! That said, I do think something was lost when the Redskins abandoned D.C.
The WaPo's Rajiv Chandrasekaran has a long article on the sacking of David McKiernan, formerly the top U.S. commander in Kabul. The main reason for McKiernan's removal, according to Chandrasekaran: The decision was not discussed at length within the White House but was endorsed by Obama.
Ten-year-old student reporter Damon Weaver asks it in his interview with Obama: Can you dunk? Obama's answer: Not anymore. I used to when I was young, but I'm almost 50 now, so, your legs are the first thing to go. It definitely beats the question about whether he smokes. P.S. Weaver's follow-up is also good: Would Obama be willing to play Dwyane Wade one-on-one? Obama kind of ducked that one. --Jason Zengerle
Maybe the most remarkable part of the story about Jim Webb's trip to Burma--the first member of Congress to visit there in over a decade--is that the American Embassy has no idea yet if he's actually met with the Burmese Prime Minister since, as the AP story puts it, "communications between Yangon and Naypyitaw were unreliable." More on the extreme strangeness of Naypitaw--which seems to be a cross between Brasilia and Pyongyang--can be read here. --Jason Zengerle
It's not all that surprising that Dick Cheney has bitter feelings about George W. Bush, but the WaPo's Barton Gellman has an article today that fleshes those feelings out a bit: Cheney's disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues.
Today's WSJ article about Obama's micromanaging of economic policy led me to fire up the Google and find Jim Fallows's classic Atlantic piece on Jimmy Carter from 1979. Here's the graf that forever cemented Carter's presidency as a cautionary tale of micromanagement: If there is any constant in the literature of presidential performance, it is that the President must husband his time.
A couple days ago I linked to Sarah Wang's account of her trip to North Korea. Ever since then I haven't been able to get the pictures Wang took out of my mind. The photos themselves are quite unremarkable. Taken on the sly--Wang's North Korean minders forbid photography, explaining, "Our people don't like to be photographed"--they show common street scenes: two schoolboys huddling under an umbrella, people going out during a break in the rain, someone riding his bike.
Niall Ferguson: President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky. I'm surprised Ferguson would write such a thing. I'm even more surprised his editor at the Financial Times didn't save him from himself. --Jason Zengerle