Congressional Culpability & The U.s. Attorneys
March 20, 2007

by Stanley I. Kutler Congress is on the verge of rare bi-partisanship: the administration's calculated decision to rid its ranks of "disloyal" U.S. attorneys, who did their duty to enforce the law without political fear or favor, has roiled the blood of Democrats and Republicans alike. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez's days appear numbered; at the very least, his authority is severely diminished. Karl Rove, the architect of many Democratic defeats and Harriet Miers (alas!

The Survival Of The Fattest
March 19, 2007

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think By Brian Wansink (Bantam, 276 pp., $25) The idea of "the survival of the fittest" is one of the most powerful organizing principles in all of science. That simple idea, stated by Herbert Spencer on the basis of Charles Darwin's work and later endorsed by Darwin himself, captures the theory of evolution, the process of natural selection, and a host of associated notions. And yet the phrase can produce confusion.

Say Goodbye To "justice Gonzales"
March 14, 2007

In a (pretty feeble) defense of Alberto Gonzales, David Frum notes a fringe benefit for Democrats in the current US Attorney scandal: Even if he stays, Gonzales is probably toast as a Supreme Court nominee. Whereas until now he would've been a tough pick for many Democrats to oppose. --Michael Crowley

In Today's Web Magazine
March 14, 2007

Sam Tanenhaus describes how William F. Buckley turned against his own movement (and also discovers that Buckley turned David Brooks down for the editorship of the National Review because he wasn't "a believing Christian"); Tanenhaus also recommends essential books about American conservatism and chats with Isaac Chotiner about the future of the movement (we've got the audio); Cass R. Sunstein thinks the D.C.

You're Unbelievable
March 13, 2007

It was #1 Hack Harriet Miers who suggested firing U.S. attorneys in 2005 -- that is, firing all 93 of them. Imagine if this had come out with Miers as a sitting Supreme Court Justice. --Eve Fairbanks

Obama Isn't Going Out
March 08, 2007

Stop the presses! Barack Obama has committed parking violations! And he's been late in paying the fines! Today's Boston Globe reveals that Obama received 17 parking tickets in Cambridge between 1988 and 1990 while he was at Harvard Law School--and that he didn't get around to paying 15 of them until just a few weeks ago. As for the specific offenses, the Globe reports: Obama received the tickets between Oct. 5, 1988, and Jan.

The New Ethanol
March 05, 2007

As a follow-up to Jon Chait's excellent piece on card-check legislation, I see Mickey Kaus is suggesting that card-check will "cripple American capitalism." Kevin Drum mocks the argument, and I'd just add that card check isn't some brand new idea here. The practice was quite common during the late 1930s and 1940s, before Congress passed Taft-Hartley. The United States did okay for itself. Our neighbors up north, meanwhile, have had card check for a long while--in fact, most provinces still do--and they've survived just fine. Anyway, that's not the point of this post.

The Democracy Dodge
March 05, 2007

Brad rightly goes after Mickey Kaus's chicken little prognostications about the Employee Free Choice Act. I don't think Mickey needs to worry, though, since the bill won't pass the Senate, and, even if it does, President Bush will veto it. So rest, assured, Mickey, the economy is safe. Yet, hyperventilating aside, there is an important--and rather obvious--moral reason to oppose EFCA, which is simply that it would do away with the secret ballot for union elections.

Card Check, Continued
March 05, 2007

Okay... James Kirchick writes, "[Brad] does not seem to think that toadying up to organized labor is bad for the Democratic Party." But did I actually say this? No. All I said was that thanks to the newfound influence of Nevada in the primaries--plus the fact that even centrist groups like the DLC now support card check--Democratic candidates will face heavy internal pressure to back labor-friendly legislation. As for polls, I'm agnostic. Jamie cites a GOP pollster who found that 89 percent of workers like the current system.

Smallville, Part 2
February 26, 2007

The Washington Post ran a front page expose yesterday on Larry Small, the Smithsonian Secretary whose managerial missteps I document in this week's TNR. We already knew Small was known for his, er, creative accounting at the institution, but this article digs up some new dirt. Not only did Small use Smithsonian funds to pay for private jets, he also billed his employer almost $6,000 for his wife's 3-day trip to Cambodia. In honor of the happy couple, here's a photo from less scandal-ridden times: --Keelin McDonell