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The High Line New York City Millennium Park Chicago Citygarden St. Louis A common plaint of contemporary social criticism is that American society has become more an archipelago than a nation, increasingly balkanized into ethnic, class, faith, and interest groups whose members rarely interact meaningfully with people whose affiliations they do not in large measure share. The pervasiveness of this phenomenon of American selfaggregation can be debated, but its existence is pretty plain.

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Among the many distinctions David Axelrod has achieved in his career, there is one that requires special elaboration: He is, it turns out, one of the few customers to have ever run a tab at Manny’s, the Chicago cafeteria and deli. This is not because the odd knish ($4.25) or side of potato chips ($0.75) threatened to leave him cash-poor. It is, rather, because Axelrod has long styled himself someone who accumulates wisdom at places regular people frequent, not the lacquered haunts of downtown Washington. What the Oval Room is to Beltway consultant-dom, Manny’s is to Axelrod.

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Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.

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UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh cited this post in calling Jonathan Chait "a hate merchant." The conservative movement has spent the last 20 months sowing hysteria about President Obama's agenda. The most respectable Republicans call the president a socialist, a radical, a threat to freedom. The less respectable Republicans, many of them highly influential, call him an alien, a sympathizer of radical Islam, a conscious enemy of the United States who is trying to wreck the economy.

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It's been a good year for climate skeptics. Not, mind you, because they've been vindicated at all on the merits. Quite the opposite: 2010 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, Arctic sea ice continues to thin out, heat waves have been torching Russia, and nearly one-fifth of Pakistan has been submerged underwater. The science on global warming is still overwhelming. But politically, skepticism is at its zenith. Consider: During the sweatiest U.S.

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I think it's safe to say that President Obama has given up on bipartisanship, at least for the foreseeable future. The White House just released prepared text of his economic speech to the City Club of Cleveland. A few weeks ago, House Minority Leader John Boehner gave a speech there, outlining his economic agenda (or, at least, what he claimed to be an economic agenda).

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Health care reform repeal activist Michael Tanner complains that none of the Democrats who voted against the Affordable Care Act have signed on to repeal. Meanwhile, Republicans are decidedly lukewarm: Among the six Republicans who have not signed either discharge petition are senatorial candidates Mark Kirk in Illinois and Mike Castle in Delaware.

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In the gay marriage debate, President Obama says that he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. But has this always been his view?

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Late last month, Gallup released fresh state-by-state numbers on the electorate’s ideological and partisan identification. These numbers provide both an X-ray of the structure of political competition and a roadmap for November. To grasp the underlying story, I divided each list into a top and bottom 15 and a middle 20—from most to least conservative and from most to least Republican—and then arrayed them in a three by three grid.

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What is there to say, except George Carlin’s seven dirty words? The Blago jury’s inability to progress beyond agreement on two counts in 13 days makes the whole lot of them seem like they’re two sandwiches shy of a picnic. In addition to having gotten precious little done, they haven’t even considered the wire fraud counts—the crux of the government’s case. To put it another way, the tapes played for the jury (out of 500 available hours of wiretaps) have not been discussed!

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