When Americans talked or wrote about Kim Jong Il, we often tended to play up his eccentricities: his ridiculous sunglasses, his towering hair, his platform shoes, his interest in movies. The 24 hours since the announcement of Kim’s death have been no exception. Huffington Post quickly published a fashion retrospective on the dictator. (“Dark and oblong or silvery and square, Kim always had on a funky pair of specs.
One of the more dispiriting assaults on the written word in recent years was the advent of the "content farm," Web sites that spat out low-cost, high-volume copy written solely to manipulate Google's search algorithms to maximize "uniques" (i.e., readers) and thereby boost ad rates. Even journalism sites like the Huffington Post resorted to this trick ("What Time Does The Super Bowl Start?").
Yale Literature professor David Bromwich has a column in the Huffington Post that's primarily an attempt to push the meme "Bush-Obama Presidency." It does persuasively argue that President Obama has continued many of President Bush's policies in foreign affairs.
[Guest post by Nathan Pippenger] It’s not the worst thing Rick Perry has said in his young presidential campaign, but I did scratch my head after reading the governor’s recent comments on border security: I mean, we know that there are Predator drones being flown for practice every day because we’re seeing them, we’re preparing these young people to fly missions in these war zones that we have. But some of those, they have all the equipment, they’re obviously unarmed, they’ve got the downward-looking radar, they’ve got the ability to do night work and through clouds.
[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] Some may object to dedicating a post to a tweet, but an argument advanced recently by Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist who is ostensibly focused on “all things statistical,” is based on a wildly misleading interpretation of life expectancy statistics and presents a good opportunity to get into the actuarial weeds . Blow objects to President Obama’s proposal, reported in the Huffington Post, to raise the eligibility age for Medicare, and one reason is that, “Deal pushes Medicare to 67 blk men are out. 67 is blk mens' life expt” [sic].
[Guest post by Matthew Zeitlin] Ryan Grim has been doing a great job at the Huffington Post tracking how Senate Democrats are starting to consider the constitutional option when it comes to the debt ceiling. The constitutional option, what Chait calls the “Zeitlin Option,” is for Obama to instruct Treasury to ignore the debt ceiling and continue to honor the government’s obligations to creditors and to fund appropriations and entitlements, arguing that the debt ceiling is unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.
Are Democrats about to get behind more Medicare cuts, as part of a deal to reduce the deficit? Sam Stein of the Huffington Post says it’s a distinct possibility. The latest clue is a statement by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, made after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced he was withdrawing from the bipartisan debt ceiling talks: I think we should stay at the table. I think we should keep working, difficult as it is, and try to balance between Medicare cuts—additional Medicare cuts—so long as there is commensurate additional revenue.
The trumpets have sounded. Judgment Day is upon us. At least in theory. Harold Camping—an 89-year-old former civil engineer turned radio mogul who seems to command a number of followers—has predicted today, Saturday, May 21, as the day of the Rapture. And the media, as well as the people who consume it, have responded with barely contained glee. Yesterday, references to Judgment Day made up the entire top five of Google’s Hot Searches. At The Washington Post, a story about Family Radio—the Christian broadcast network that Camping owns—was the site’s most popular item.
The right-wing libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch have been the subject of enormous controversy recently. Liberals have fiercely attacked them, and conservative and libertarians have defended them with equal passion. Now we have Matthew Continetti of the Weekly Standard joining in with an 8,000 word cover story. Continetti is the author of “The Persecution Of Sarah Palin,” and in this piece he reprises his role as ghost author for a popular conservative victim-hero.
[Guest post by Noam Scheiber:] If you’ve spent much time talking to Treasury officials over the past two years, you’ve probably heard them joke that Gene Sperling, a counselor to Secretary Tim Geithner, is the department’s in-house populist. What makes this funny (insofar as wonk humor can be funny) is that Sperling isn’t exactly your classic pitch-fork wielder. He was director of Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council (NEC) in the late ‘90s, a period when the White House got pretty good marks for its understanding of business and the broader economy.