Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

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.

Atta the Architect
September 08, 2009

In Slate, Daniel Brook kicks off a multi-part series on Mohamed Atta's strangely ignored master's thesis in urban planning from the Hamburg University of Technology. The thesis was about the Syrian city of Aleppo, and Atta's plan to strip one of its neighborhoods of Western influences.

Joe Says No
September 08, 2009

Good news: Joe Kennedy has decided not to run for Senate. Even if you put aside all the Chavez stuff, there was something profoundly undemocratic about the Kennedys treating that Senate seat as a family heirloom. As the Globe reports in its subhead, with Kennedy out of the picture, the "race is on." I'm still putting my money on Martha Coakley, especially if Lynch, Markey, and Capuano all run--thus making the women's vote that much more powerful in a Democratic primary.

September 01, 2009

Congressman John Murtha passed away today. Below, you'll find a recent magazine feature that we ran on him--and the town he represented for 36 years. One night last August, John Murtha, the U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania’s Twelfth Congressional District, paid a visit to the LBK Game Ranch, a private hunting camp in the hills above his home city of Johnstown. About 60 people had gathered in the ranch’s lodge--a luxury five-bedroom log cabin decorated with deer antlers and flat-screen televisions--to raise money for his 2008 campaign. There were two odd things about the event.

Last Post on Guns. Promise.
August 28, 2009

I've fallen victim to one of the classic blunders, right after never going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, which is: don't get into an argument with a libertarian about anything, really, but especially about guns.

His Father's Son
August 28, 2009

Of all the politicians I’ve encountered in the course of doing my job, there have been some that I’ve admired and some that I’ve loathed. But there’s only one politician I’ve ever pitied, and that’s Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy. I met Kennedy three summers ago when I was reporting a profile of Newt Gingrich and both politicians were giving speeches to a business conference in Newport, Rhode Island. Although I was there to hear Gingrich’s talk, it was Kennedy’s that made the bigger impression, if only because it was so bad.

The Return of the Duke
August 27, 2009

Marc Ambinder and others are reporting that Michael Dukakis is the most likely placeholder Senator should the Massachusetts legislature grant Deval Patrick the power to make a temporary appointment until a special election can be held for Ted Kennedy's seat. That makes sense to me. Ambinder, however, raises the possibility that Patrick might pick an up-and-coming Democratic pol for the job and thus give him or her a major leg up in the special election.

One More Round on Guns
August 27, 2009

Megan McArdle has responded to my earlier post criticizing her for her stand on guns at presidential events, although I think we may be talking past one another.

My Favorite Kennedy Reminiscence . . .
August 26, 2009

. . .  comes from "Steve in Chestnut Hill," who called in with this story to the Boston radio show "On Point": This is a day full of special memories for me. It happens, coincidentally, that exactly twelve years ago today, my late wife Francesca, who was a lifelong passionate supporter of Ted Kennedy, also died of brain cancer. And I remember the day we met Ted Kennedy. We had been working on his Senate campaign in the 80s and a party was given for the supporters. . . .

There Are Stupid Questions
August 26, 2009

Megan McArdle asks, "Are Guns at Protests Really Dangerous?" in order to argue that they aren't: I think carrying guns to protests is entirely counterproductive.  Indeed, I'm not sold on the general virtues of protesting, which worked for Gandhi and the civil rights marcher, but has a dismal track record on other concerns.  But I think people have a perfect right to do it, including with guns, though I also think the secret service is within its rights to ensure that they don't have a sight line on the president. But the hysteria about them has been even more ludicrous.  Numerous peo