Jonathan Chait

Woman Punches Bear In Face
September 01, 2011

So the Palin thing didn't completely work out, but I expect the Republican presidential candidate to give this Alaska woman a call: A 22-year-old Alaska woman said on Wednesday she punched a black bear in the face to save her small dog from being carried off and possibly eaten. Juneau resident Brooke Collins said she hit the bear Sunday night to save the life of her dachshund, Fudge. She said she discovered the bear crouched down, clutching Fudge in its paws and biting the back of the dog's neck. "It had her kind of like when they eat salmon," Collins said Wednesday. "I was freaking out.

Is Mitt Romney Good At Politics?
September 01, 2011

Jonathan Last argues no. He tallies up Romney's mixed record of winning elections in Massachusetts with his poor record during the 2008 primaries, and concludes: I’d argue that his electoral prospects are even worse than they look from his won-loss record. Here’s why: (1) Romney made his political career out of his “close” 17-point loss to Ted Kennedy. But keep in mind that to only lose by 17, he spent $7M of his own money.

&c
August 31, 2011

 -- Maybe one reason Jewish Republicans like Romney is that he too is a religious minority.  -- The truth behind the "CEOs who make more than their  companies pay taxes" study. -- Our heroic ambassador to Syria.  -- The kerfuffle over the timing of Obama's job speech is almost a parody of the pathologies of political discourse. 

Life In Ohio, A Continuing Series
August 31, 2011

I feel that Hamilton, Ohio has been the home of numerous incidents like this: A repeat public indecency offender has been arrested for allegedly engaging in "sexual activity" with a pink inflatable swimming pool raft, according to Hamilton police. Edwin Charles Tobergta, 32, was arrested at his Harmon Avenue home early Sunday after he was spotted in the act in an alley in the 1800 block of Howell Avenue behind a residence, a police report shows. A male witness, who owns the raft and lives in the home near the alley, told Hamilton Police Officer William Thacker he shouted at the suspect to stop

Rick Perry Embraces New Deal Revisionism
August 31, 2011

Rick Perry, in his anti-Obama spiel, drops in some interesting New Deal revisionism: “What’s dumb is to oversee an economy that has lost that many millions of jobs, to put unemployment numbers that over his four years will stay probably at 9 percent, to downgrade the credit of this good country, to put fiscal policies in place that were a disaster back in the '30s and to try them again in the 2000s,” Perry said on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

Lesson For Stimulus Critics: Employment Is Fungible
August 31, 2011

The right-wing Mercatus Center has a new gotcha study about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It finds that not all the workers hired by firms that received stimulus funds were unemployed: Hiring isn’t the same as net job creation. In our survey, just 42.1 percent of the workers hired at ARRA-receiving organizations after January 31, 2009, were unemployed at the time they were hired (Appendix C). More were hired directly from other organizations (47.3 percent of post-ARRA workers), while a handful came from school (6.5%) or from outside the labor force (4.1%)(Figure 2).

The Balanced Budget Scam
August 31, 2011

The 1997 Balanced Budget Act is one of the great propaganda coups in the history of American governance. It is remembered today fondly by right and left as the hallmark of a bygone era of bipartisan cooperation, when the two parties came together in the spirit of shared sacrifice in order to secure a balanced budget. Here's Matthew Yglesias noting how the law "managed to raise revenue." Here are conservatives like Keith Hennessey and Paul Ryan holding it up as a case of the government cutting taxes and balancing the budget. What really happened in 1997?

&c
August 30, 2011

-- “it's like Bridges of Madison County meets Copland.” Gawker on Bill O'Reilly, his wife, and the police. -- Perry panic takes over liberaldom.  -- This says something about Canada. Not sure what. And this says something else entirely.  -- Conservatives and “experts.”

Does Rick Perry Have It In The Bag?
August 30, 2011

John Ellis thinks so: Once Labor Day has passed, there will be five debates, in quick succession, on the GOP presidential candidates' calendars.  These will be important tests for Perry.  If at the end of two or three, it's clear that he's every bit the equal of Mitt Romney on matters of policy and politics, then the Perry juggernaut becomes all but unstoppable.  Romney's "I'm the only electable one" argument will vanish and the party's base will nominate one of their own.  If Perry stumbles badly in the debates, Romney's campaign gets a second wind. Knowing that the only things standing betw

Rick Perry's Real Science Problem
August 30, 2011

Rich Lowry's defense of Rick Perry seems to badly miss the point: In no sense that the ordinary person would understand the term is Rick Perry “anti-science.” He hasn’t criticized the scientific method, or sent the Texas Rangers to chase out from the state anyone in a white lab coat. In fact, the opposite.

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