House Signals Readiness to Vote First
March 02, 2010

President Obama got a lot of attention for the letter he sent Congress on Tuesday. But a leader of the House Democrats made some news, too. The leader was Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, who was speaking at his weekly press conference. As Politico has reported, discussion turned to a key procedural dispute between the two chambers: Would the House vote on the Senate bill right away, or would it wait until the Senate had approved amendments to the bill? The House has been saying it wants the Senate to go first and, during the press conference, Hoyer reiterated that stance.

The Inkblot Test
March 01, 2010

An article that ran in Politico on Friday provided a Rorschach test for those of us following the health care reform debate. The story was about reform’s prospects following President Obama’s bipartisan meeting. And it dwelt, at length, with the situation in the House. In order to enact reform, as you probably know, the House will have to pass the Senate bill as written, as well as pass amendments that the Senate can consider through the budget reconciliation process.

Well, What I’ve Always Wanted to Do Is Direct
March 01, 2010

You’ve got to hand it to Bristol Palin: The gal is working overtime to turn those lemons into lemonade. A week or so before graduating high school last May, America’s favorite unwed teen mother signed on as an abstinence ambassador for the Candie’s Foundation (a perplexing development for those who recalled Bristol’s earlier proclamation that abstinence is “not realistic at all”). Four months later, young Bristol incorporated herself and launched a political p.r. and consulting shop named BSMP (short for Bristol Sheeran Marie Palin).

Obama to GOP: Fine, Let's Talk (Updated)
February 07, 2010

President Obama is making good on his pledge, first put forth in the State of the Union, to reach out to Republicans on health care reform. In a CBS News interview with Katie Couric that just aired, Obama announced that he's inviting Republican leaders to the White House this week to put their ideas on the table--and then holding a public forum to discuss them. White House officials say the forum will be February 25. The meeting will be open press, with C-Span (and, I presume, other networks) televising the whole thing.

For the Love of Culture
February 04, 2010

IN EARLY 2002, the filmmaker Grace Guggenheim--the daughter of the late Charles Guggenheim, one of America's greatest documentarians, and the sister of the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim, who made An Inconvenient Truth-decided to do something that might strike most of us as common sense. Her father had directed or produced more than a hundred documentaries. Some of these were quite famous (Nine from Little Rock). Some were well-known even if not known to be by him (Monument to a Dream, the film that plays at the St. Louis arch).

Advertorial Malfunction
February 01, 2010

God, I miss the good old days of the Super Bowl, when the hottest controversy was the post-game hand-wringing over how to spank CBS for subjecting America to Janet Jackson’s right boob. This year, the game-related hullabaloo centers not on the halftime spectacle but on the ads—specifically, a pro-life spot featuring the curious case of 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. As the story goes, Pam and Bob Tebow were serving as Baptist missionaries in the Philippines when Pam was pregnant with Tim, their fifth child.

There Can't Be A Conservative Jobs Bill
February 01, 2010

Republicans take great offense whenever anybody accuses them of favoring George W. Bush's policies or being the "Party of No." But it's hard to avoid that conclusion when they say things like this: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on "Late Edition" that as long as the legislation creates jobs, "we're willing to take a look at it." But he and other Republicans suggested that Democrats could improve economic recovery by dropping their healthcare overhaul and extending the tax cuts enacted under President George W.

CBS: Anti-Abortion Ads Yes, Gay Ads No
January 29, 2010

Per Andrew, it's pretty incredible that CBS, which is airing an anti-abortion ad, refuses to air this funny ad for a gay dating site: Just as people who supported segregation later came to be ashamed, CBS is going to be ashamed at some point in the future.

When Wehners (Counter)Attack
January 28, 2010

Peter Wehner, the former aide to Karl Rove and Minister of Propaganda for the Bush administration, likes a good feud as much as I do, and since I’ve been poking fun at him sporadically for months, I’ve been eagerly awaiting his response. It has finally arrived, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page, another favorite punching bag of mine, has deemed the occasion sufficiently exciting to warrant an extended editorial page excerpt.

Maybe I’m Getting Paranoid … About Obama
January 26, 2010

I've just read the transcript of the president's remarks about Haiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is.