Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

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

Do GOP Senators Dream of Electric Sheep?
August 25, 2009

At the risk of extending a ghoulish conversation, I think Noam might be overestimating the humanity of Republican Senators when he concludes that it was a tactical mistake for Ted Kennedy to try to guarantee that his seat isn’t vacant for any period of time should he die in office:   If Kennedy were to pass away in the next few months, the Senate math on any health care vote would almost certainly get easier, not harder.

Did Holder Have a Choice?
August 25, 2009

Marc Ambinder makes a smart point about Eric Holder's decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogators: There was so much information in the public domain--and so much information that would eventually be released--that the attorney general could no longer argue that no specific instances of lawbreaking had been brought to his attention.

Panetta's Kabuki?
August 24, 2009

ABC is reporting that Leon Panetta threatened to quit as CIA director: A "profanity-laced screaming match" at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC News.com.  A White House spokesman calls the report "inaccurate"; a CIA spokesman goes even further calling it "wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false." That said, don't these sorts of reports actually help Pan

From the Son of a Millworker . . .
August 24, 2009

. . . to the husband of a furniture-store owner. I'm not quite sure why, but this local TV news report on the opening of Elizabeth Edwards's new furniture store in Chapel Hill left me very depressed. I suppose part of my reaction stems from the steep decline of this family: two years ago they were making a legitimate and serious run at the White House; now they're hawking furniture--and having to deal with uncomfortable questions about extramarital affairs, illegitimate children, and grand jury investigations during what should be a ho-hum local news segment about a new business.

Is Obama Over?
August 23, 2009

I really hope Obama brought some books with him to Martha's Vineyard, because reading the newspaper is going to ruin his vacation. Over at Politico, M

Frances Townsend, Mind Reader
August 21, 2009

Frances Townsend, the former Homeland Security Adivser to the Bush administration, took to the airwaves this morning to dispute Tom Ridge's claim that some administration officials wanted to raise the terrorism threat level before the 2004 election for political reasons. Townsend: Not only do I not think that it – that politics played any part in it at all – it was never discussed.

Does the News Want To Be Free?
August 20, 2009

I don't agree with Paul Farhi's proposal that newspapers essentially shutter their websites and go print-only, but I don't think Ezra Klein makes the right critique of it when he writes: Farhi is saying that the media should make a decision to inform fewer people. To do its job -- if you understand its job as providing news rather making profits -- worse. But newspapers always, at some level, made the decision to inform fewer people--simply owing to the fact that, in order to read a newspaper, people had to plunk down some money for the privilege. Call it the original paywall.

Unintended Consequences
August 20, 2009

An interesting bit of legislative history in today's big Boston Globe scoop about Ted Kennedy's ongoing efforts to make sure that his seat doesn't remain vacant for any period of time should he be unable to complete his term: Massachusetts governors used to have the power to fill Senate vacancies, as happens in many other states, until the Legislature made the change five years ago. Democratic lawmakers, then as now in the majority, did not want to give Governor Mitt Romney the chance to fill Kerry’s seat with a Republican if Kerry won the presidency. I think there's a good lesson here abou