Josh Patashnik

Not Good For Romney

Mike Huckabee and John McCain were both pretty impressive in tonight's CNN/YouTube debate, but it was fairly clear who the loser was: Mitt Romney. I thought he looked bad almost every time he opened his mouth.

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Lott's Legacy

From today's Washington Post story on Trent Lott's impending resignation: Lott's departure from Capitol Hill in the coming weeks after 34 years in Congress--16 in the House, 18 in the Senate--is further evidence that bonhomie and cross-party negotiating are losing their currency, even in the backslapping Senate. With the Senate populated by a record number of former House members, the rules of the Old Boys' Club are giving way to the partisan trench warfare and party-line votes that prevail in the House.

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Sneak Preview [Adam Nagourney, The New York Times]: "The 12 months leading to Mr. Giuliani’s departure [from the 2000 Senate race] are as instructive today as they were riveting then: a blistering year of mental gamesmanship, piercing attacks, contrasts in personalities and positions, and blunders, played out by two outsize political figures in a super-heated atmosphere. Bill Hits the Trail [Jennifer Jacobs, Des Moines Register]: "Former President Clinton laid it on thick Tuesday with statements of loyalty and admiration for his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton. ...

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In Defense Of Gerson

I'm not sure what puts me more at odds with the overwhelming force of bipartisan opinion: the fact that I thought Lions for Lambs had a number of redeeming qualities, or the fact that I tend to enjoy Michael Gerson's Washington Post columns.

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The New York Times reports today on the growing popularity among drought-plagued cities of recycling wastewater into potable water--a process which, though it still tends to provoke a visceral reaction of "eewwww!", is becoming increasingly recognized as an important component in adapting to drier conditions in the South and Southwest. It's worth emphasizing, though, that this isn't all that different from what happens already.

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I'm sure many--if not most--Plank readers have spent the four days since Thanksgiving saying to themselves, "My friend/relative/significant other is a huge Mitt Romney supporter, but I just can't think of what to get him/her this holiday season." Well, worry no more! In an email entitled "The UltiMITT Holiday" (yes, apparently they've hired Kathryn Jean Lopez to write their fundraising email subject lines), the Romney campaign presents their holiday gift packages.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Foreign Policy gives us a list of five reasons why we should all be thankful--and The New York Times provides a useful reminder to overeaters: Although your stomach may feel as if it will burst, gastric rupture is extremely rare, notes Dr. William Goldberg, a New York emergency room physician whose book Why Do Men Have Nipples? explores the issue. --Josh Patashnik

Dc Gun Case Tea Leaves

Scott Lemieux and Jack Balkin have two early takes on the Supreme Court's decision to hear the challenge to the District of Columbia's gun ban.

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Stem-cell Gloating

You'd think today's great news that scientists have found a way to turn skin cells into stem cells without destroying human embryos would be an occasion for burying the hatchet, if you will, and moving beyond the heated debates that have surrounded the issue for much of the past decade. As it turns out, though, quite a few social conservatives seem to be taking it as an occasion for proclaiming that their moral views have prevailed, and making outlandish predictions that soon nearly everyone will come to admit how deeply wrong it was to destroy embryos for the sake of research.

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