Murtha's Good (or Bad) Company
September 09, 2009

The Center for Public Integrity has just put out a useful report showing that John Murtha's pattern of earmarking Pentagon dollars to defense contractors who give lots of money--or are represented by lobbyists who give lots of money--to his campaigns is pretty much par for the course on the defense appropriations subcommittee: Now, a computer analysis by the Center for Public Integrity has revealed that fully three-quarters of the subcommittee members have been involved in similar patterns of behavior — in circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest, involving former

Is Mark Foley Too Debased For A.M. Radio?
September 09, 2009

TPM's Eric Kleefeld reports that Mark Foley, the former Florida Congressman who resigned in 2006 over  lewd electronic messages he sent to teenage House pages, is re-entering public life, courtesy of a West Palm Beach A.M. radio station that has hired him to do a public affairs show.

Greatest Book Subtitle Ever?
September 08, 2009

It might just be the forthcoming Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman. According to The Hill, Frank admits in the book that his ultimate political ambition is to serve as HUD Secretary, which would make him America's only left-handed, gay, Jewish cabinet member.

Eastern Promises
September 04, 2009

In June, when four Uighur detainees at Guantánamo were released to Bermuda, the media’s portrayal of their story served as both distraction and palliative: Articles in many papers were written as though the United States had rescued members of an oppressed minority in China and delivered them to a tropical paradise.

On Jim Traficant's Hair, and Character
September 03, 2009

When former Democratic Rep. Jim Traficant was released from prison yesterday after 7 years behind bars, the AP reported that he "had his famously wild hair pulled back." Well, yes and no. The piled-high pompadour that had long been the congressman's calling card--the technical term for the style was, I believe, the "artichoke," and Traficant often joked that he trimmed it with a "weed-whacker"--was famous and wild, but it was not in fact his hair.

Chavez's Friend in Massachusetts
September 01, 2009

Speculation as to who will succeed Ted Kennedy is proceeding apace, with his nephew, former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, the likely frontrunner in the January 19 special election. The eldest son of Robert Kennedy, Joe held the House seat once occupied by his uncle John and House Speaker Tip O’Neill, representing Boston from 1987 until 1999. If he does run, Kennedy would start with a financial disadvantage.

TNR Slideshow: Barney Frank's 5 Best Pugnacious Moments
August 19, 2009

A new video is making the internet rounds. In it, Congressman Barney Frank rails against a town hall constituent who has just called Obama's health reforms a 'Nazi policy.' "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Frank asks. "Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table." It's not the first time Frank has poured scorn on an opponent. Click through this TNR video slideshow to see the congressman's top five pugnacious moments. --Noah Kristula-Green

Who's Behind That Obama-as-Hitler Sign? Lyndon Larouche
August 12, 2009

Right-wing protesters aren't the only ones likening Democrats to Nazis for supporting Obamacare. As Josh Marshall notes, a group of LaRouche supporters joined the conservative hecklers who shouted down Representative McGovern last week in Massachusetts, reportedly comparing the congressman to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. In fact, the LaRouchies have dubbed their entire campaign, "Stop Obama's Nazi Health Plan," and they have played a central role in disrupting town hall meetings across the country.

Failure of Leadership
August 10, 2009

Last week, the White House released a list of recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor that the United States government can afford a civilian. Among the 16 awardees are truly great figures: breast cancer philanthropist Nancy Goodman Brinker, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, and Sidney Poitier, the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Why The Prefab Right-wing Mobs Won't Work
August 08, 2009

I think this Times story illustrates the reason nicely: That same day in Romulus, Mich., Representative John D. Dingell, a long-serving Democrat, was shouted down at a health care meeting by a rowdy crowd of foes of health care overhaul, many crying, “Shame on you!” A similar scene unfolded in Denver on Thursday when Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California visited a clinic for the homeless there. In a statement Friday, Mr. Dingell, 83, deplored those trying to “demagogue the discussion,” but said he would not be deterred.