Timothy Noah

Many years ago, before she worked at the New York Times, I gave Jill Abramson what was possibly the worst career advice of her life. We were talking about people who were angling to become editor of the New York Times--I can't even remember who the contending parties were at that time--and I said: "Getting on the management track there is a terrible idea. All these people want to be the editor and only one of them can be. If you don't get the prize then you've wasted your life.

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Did you know that Ralph Nader is trying to draft Bill McKibben to run for president as a third-party candidate? Me neither, until I watched this Politico  video. I subsequently learned (by reading Eleanor Clift in the Daily Beast) that Nader's been pushing the idea since August. There's even a sad little Draft-McKibben Facebook page (only four "likes" at this writing). Nader is also trying to draft various other people into running, including Mike Bloomberg, which as the former occupant of this space points out doesn't make a whole lot of ideological sense.

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About Those Protests

Tim Noah gives his take.

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The Un-Believer

Is there anything Mitt Romney believes in? Tim Noah tried to find out.

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The Washington Post's "Reliable Source" gossip column today makes an educated guess that the restaurant where Iranian plotters planned to blow up the Saudi ambassador was Cafe Milano in Georgetown.

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The Palin Primary

Now that Chris Christie has plighted his troth to Mitt Romney, who will Sarah Palin endorse? According to The Hill, husband Todd has been fielding requests from the GOP presidential hopefuls. "I look forward to working with them in order to help them maybe articulate their message in more detail," La Palin said on Fox, "so we can make that best decision." Palin may find it difficult to locate a candidate she hasn't already insulted.

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 Why is Ben Nelson a Democrat? 

Republicans For Taxes

This has been said before but it cannot be said enough. Republican presidential candidates and Republican members of Congress are out of touch with Republican voters on the necessity of raising taxes to reduce the budget deficit. A Washington Post-Bloomberg News poll conducted Oct. 6-9 found that 68 percent of all voters and 54 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters favored raising taxes on incomes above $250,000 (i.e., the Obama plan) to tackle the deficit.

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In 1965, while Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant secretary of Labor, was assembling his study, The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, his researchers discovered something curious. Previously welfare caseloads had increased when unemployment went up and decreased when it went down. Now, however, the two indices were "disaggregated." Unemployment was going down but welfare caseloads were still going up. "The numbers went blooey on me," Moynihan told Nicholas Lemann, author of The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America.

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Last night there was a rule change in the U.S. Senate that Republicans wasted no time in branding a "nuclear option." The phrase "nuclear option" was coined by Sen. Trent Lott (R., Miss.) in 2003 to describe a parliamentary maneuver in which the Senate could eliminate or modify the filibuster by a simple majority vote. (Under the dread Rule 22, you need 67 votes to change existing filibuster rules.

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