Fifteen Things Political Junkies Should Be Thankful For
November 24, 2011
Politics is a serious business. Despite the best efforts of some, it’s not a form of reality television. Instead, it’s the way that we distribute the costs and benefits of our collective life; it’s an opportunity to express and fight for our deepest values in the view of our fellow-citizens; and it’s … uh … what was that third thing? Oops. I’m sorry; I know that particular joke has long since passed its sell-by date.
Very, Very Bad Words
October 31, 2011
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] It has always been a question of earth-shattering importance: are newspaper Ombudsmen terrible because the job is a hopeless one, or are they terrible because newspapers make wretched hires? As urgent as this matter remains, one thing can be agreed upon at once: even those who believe the former must concede that the major papers have done an abysmal job of filling these positions. I’m a little late coming to this, but a few weeks ago, Patrick Pexton, The Washington Post’s Ombudsman, wrote a column about the use of bad words in the paper.
Frank Kameny never thought he would live to see what happened on April 23, 2009. Over five decades earlier, in December of 1957, Kameny was fired from his job at the Army Map Service. Two years earlier, he had been arrested in a police sting at a San Francisco men’s room, a routine incident in an era when local authorities devoted significant resources in the entrapment of homosexuals.
Five Analysts Interpret Dick Cheney’s Bizarre Italian Dream
August 29, 2011
Last week, as morsels of former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir began to go public, The New York Times published an odd revelation: After undergoing heart surgery in 2010, Cheney had “a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.” Lacking any additional context, the scene seemed rather opaque. What could it possibly mean? I decided to call up some psychoanalysts and dream experts for their interpretations.
Even Dick Cheney's Dog Is Prone To Unprovoked Attacks
August 26, 2011
Among the head-bursting revelations in Dick Cheney’s new book is the news that the former Vice President’s Labrador Retriever, Dave, once got into big trouble for an unprovoked attack. The incident in question took place at Camp David, where the canine companions of the president and vice president were accompanying their masters on retreat.
August 25, 2011
-- A depressing preview of Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech tomorrow. -- Tweets outrace quakes. -- Dick Cheney and spontaneous combustion. -- Rick Perry: progressive education hero.
Dick Cheney's New Book And Spontaneous Human Combustion
August 24, 2011
Dick Cheney, seemingly unsatisfied with his post-White House career of Finally Leaving Everybody Alone, is releasing a memoir next week—and he’s promising big things. “There are gonna be heads exploding all over Washington,” Cheney told NBC. (It’s unclear whether Cheney is referring to the stir caused by the book’s release, or whether he in fact is planning to detonate the heads of his enemies.) Cheney’s prediction brings to mind the old belief in “spontaneous human combustion”—that the human body could suddenly burst into flames.
Hot Republican-On-Republican Action
July 27, 2011
The internecine fighting among conservatives over the Boehner plan has much of the same ideological and stylistic feel of a late 1960's feud pitting left-wing factions that favor immediate violence against those seeking more time to radicalize the masses. The less-extreme faction clearly has the better of the argument, yet the overwhelming impression is the sheer fanaticism of the whole political subculture.
The Kochs And The Marketplace Of Ideas
May 10, 2011
The dismissal of the Koch brothers' absurd lawsuit against a satirist (who had created a fake news release purporting to be from the Kochs, endorsing legislation to fight climate change) highlights once more a defining aspect of their personality: they really don't like criticism. The mini-industry of conservatives and libertarians that has sprung up to defend the Kochs (against, to be sure, a mini industry of liberals assailing them) tells a story of the Kochs as shy, retiring intellectuals yearning only for high-level philosophical discussion in the free marketplace of ideas.
The Lessons of Cairo
February 10, 2011
The spread of democracy around the world is a natural American aspiration, but sometimes the sincerity of that aspiration is tested by the disruptions of democratization. The astonishing events in Egypt are such a test. They are so thrilling in their purpose and so unclear in their outcome. They provoke exhilaration and anxiety. But they demonstrate to a new generation that the democratic longing is itself one of history’s most powerful causes.