Jason Zengerle
Senior Editor

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

How Did Obama Get Caught Flat-footed?
August 19, 2009

A lot of the handwringing over Obama's bungling of health care reminds me of all the handwringing a year ago this time over his bungling of the campaign. In other words, I think it's overwrought if not completely wrong.

The Game
August 19, 2009

From the NY Observer Jason Horowitz's profile of a trio of New York Democratic consultants, one of whom is Josh Isay: Mr. Isay, a former chief of staff to Mr. Schumer, runs Knickerbocker SKD, which he founded in 2002 and made a fortune from after scoring Mr. Bloomberg as a client. They also have counted among their clients Mr. Stringer; District Attorney Robert Morgenthau; a handful of City Council candidates; and unions, including the powerful 1199 SEIU. Mr. Isay did campaign mail for Barack Obama in New Hampshire and North Carolina during the general election.

Our Dumb Country
August 19, 2009

Via Ben Smith, Public Policy Polling has a new poll out about Americans' opinions about whether or not Obama was born in the U.S. and discovers that it's actually a very difficult to get an accurate measure, since, as the pollsters write, there are at least some people who correctly believe that Obama was born in Hawaii, but who don't consider Hawaii to be part of the United States. You read that right- 6% of poll respondents think that Hawaii is not part of the country and 4% are unsure. --Jason Zengerle

Finally, An Appropriate Use of Twitter!
August 19, 2009

Tweets from a 28-year-old guy who lives with his 73-year-old dad and "just write[s] down shit that he says." Brilliant! (H/t E.H.)