And

The internet is expanding! Here's who's trying to cash in.

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In the popular imagination of large portions of the pundit class, Rick Perry is not only a popular Republican governor of Texas, but a legendary campaigner the likes of which the nation hasn’t seen for years. Here is a man, we’ve been told, who has never lost a single race, a person whose personal charm and keen political instincts had proven, time and again, irresistible to voters. But, a closer look at his history on the stump reveals that, while it’s true that Perry is undefeated in electoral contests, his mythic reputation isn’t entirely earned.

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Mean Regression

The last few months of 2010 have been illuminating when it comes to the priorities of the Republican Party. By jumping at the Obama-McConnell tax deal, Republicans underscored the fact that protecting the marginal tax rates of high earners—not reducing the federal deficit, and not even denying Obama legislative success—is their party’s primary focus at the federal level. It says something that most conservatives who opposed the tax deal did so on the grounds that it was not permanent, or that it did not completely eliminate the estate tax.

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No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.

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Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.

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This one comes via a friend's aunt in Arkansas who describes it as circulating among "little old ladies, who attend Baptist churches weekly and voted for Bush TWICE": Subject: LET ME SEE IF I HAVE THIS STRAIGHT: HIS FATHER WAS A KENYAN, MUSLEM, BLACK-...

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Paint It Black

Robert L. Johnson came to the Bush administration's attention when it needed him most. The cause of the White House's duress was an annoyingly munificent collection of millionaires, headed by Bill Gates Sr., who had banded together to oppose President Bush's plan to abolish the estate tax. In newspaper ads and press conferences, they held forth on the obligation of the wealthy to give back to society. So effectively did they seize the moral high ground that even the most fervent opponents of the estate tax resigned themselves to it.

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