Michelle Cottle

The School-Speech Craziness Gets Crazier
September 04, 2009

Even as I blogged yesterday about conservatives' uproar over Obama's planned back-to-school speech, I was unaware of the actual level of paranoid nuttiness we are looking at. Today's NYT helpfully clarifies the situation, with its front-pager on how some school districts are under growing pressure by parents to let kids sit out the speech for fear that one glimpse of Obama will transform their budding Dittoheads into miniature Hugo Chavezes.

Cheating Husbands, Horny Tourists, and the Hunt for a New Messiah
September 03, 2009

The WaPo has a piece today about some jerkwad local DJ who punk'd the public by having an intern pose as an unfaithful husband and stand for several days on a busy thoroughfare wearing a homemade sandwich board reading, "I cheated. This is My Punishment." The faux story quickly went global via the web, and the DJ--who staged an exclusive interview with the "cheater"--later claimed the hoax was all part of some elaborate fact-checking test to see if real journalists would jump on the story. Yeah. Right.

Obama's Plot to Brainwash Your Children!
September 03, 2009

According to Politico, the Right is up in arms about President Obama's plans to deliver a back-to-school address to students next Tuesday at noon (EST). It seems many are convinced that this is a not-so-secret plot by POTUS to, as the head of the Florida GOP put it, "indoctrinate America's children to his socialist agenda." Radio gasbagger Tammy Bruce has gone so far as to encourage parents to keep their kids home that day. "Make September 8 Parentally Approved Skip Day. You are your child's moral tutor, not that shady lawyer from Chicago," she tweeted. This is disgraceful.

What Breed of Pack Rat Would You Be?
September 03, 2009

I have to get a copy of the new novel by E.L. Doctorow, which takes its inspiration from the lives of the eccentric Collyer brothers, Langley and Homer, who lived and died in an inherited New York brownstone that, by the end, the pathological pack rats had piled high with everything from old magazines to car parts. The men's hoarding, in fact, was central to their end, when, in 1947, a tunnel of junk collapsed on Langley, suffocating him and trapping poor, blind Homer, who starved to death. I've always been fascinated by people who compulsively collect things, especially as they grow old.

Kiss and Tell
September 03, 2009

  The May evening was lovely, and the couple couldn’t resist taking a stroll. Dinner had been quite the production--two hours at one of the city’s poshest restaurants. Now, both seemed in need of a little together-time before reentering the loud, bright chaos of kids, pet, and messages from the office. So, rather than head straight into the house, they drifted slowly down their driveway and out into the yard, arms brushing now and again with the easy intimacy of the long married. His collar was undone, and his hands were tucked casually into his pockets.

Anchors Away!
September 02, 2009

Good for Diane Sawyer. And good for Katie Couric for blazing this trail and taking all the abuse that the first solo female anchor was destined to take. Odds are, Sawyer won't face anywhere near the same scrunity--or abuse. Next step: Finding a woman to follow in Hillary's footsteps and finish cracking that glass ceiling.

Pizza Power Run Amok
September 02, 2009

There is much to be disturbed by in this Washington Monthly piece about the rise and fall of Ave Maria Law School, the brainchild of Domino's pizza billionaire and super-Catholic Tom Monaghan. But for some reason, the part that really creeps me out is the bit about how, when constructing his planned community of Ave Maria in Southwest Florida, Monaghan and his business partner convinced state legislators to tinker with the law so that the two men could permanently control the local government: In Florida, developers can petition to act as the local government for a number of years while a deve

The Hole Bob's In
September 02, 2009

As Robert McDonnell watches his gubernatorial campaign crash and burn, every excuse out of his mouth seems only to emphasize the mess he's in. His retrograde masters thesis having gotten him in trouble with the ladies of Virginia in particular, the candidate has launched a panicked defense along the lines of: 1. He doesn't believe much of that crap anymore. 2. It's an old paper--an "academic exercise" no less--that should be ignored in favor of his public record. 3. Even on those issues where he does still feel that way, he would respect existing law. 4.

Should Pols Be Judged By Student Writings?
September 01, 2009

There's a front-pager in today's WaPo about the political storm that has erupted in the Virginia governor's race thanks to the paper's Sunday report on Republican candidate Robert McDonnell's 1989 master's thesis from his studies in public policy and law at Regent University. Little wonder the thesis has become a hot topic: Outlining beliefs that would have made Regent founder Pat Robertson swoon with ecstasy, McDonnell makes clear his disgust with (among many, many other things) gays, working women, and "fornicators." (McDonnell disapproved of the Supreme Court's 1972 decision legalizing bir

In This Installment of Celebrity Justice
August 31, 2009

Celebrity worship is tiresome if largely benign. Celebrity justice, by contrast, is corrosive on any number of levels. Sadly, the case of R&B singer/woman beater Chris Brown increasingly looks like a nasty example of the latter. Sure, Brown got a few years probation and six months community service.