The Sharpton Primary Begins, Too
January 28, 2007

1988 was not a good time at the Harvard Law School. Or, at least, it was not a congenial time for either professors or students. There were the "crits" (the critical legal theorists) and the more conventional legal types, and they were at each other over appointments, curriculum, admissions and the general atmosphere of the place. Race was a key issue but not the only one. Anyway, into this hothouse of learning and ideology came Barack Obama.

Well, At Least Bush Will Always Have Darryl Worley
January 26, 2007

Merle Haggard's already come out against the war in Iraq. Now it's Toby Keith's turn. From a Newsday profile of The Angry American: Keith doesn't support the Iraq war -- "Never did," he says -- and he favors setting a time limit on the occupation. He says he suspects civil war in Iraq is inevitable and predicts the Kurds will be the victors: "I promise you, they'll end up with it all." The article goes on to mention that Keith is buddies with Bill Richardson. I do think "How Do You Like Me Now" would make a pretty good theme song for Richardson's presidential campaign. --Jason Zengerle

In Today's Web Magazine
January 21, 2007

Peter Bergen says Al Qaeda is back, and it's stronger than ever; Peter Beinart thinks we should stop pretending Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki is our friend; Benjamin Wittes hopes Chief Justice John Roberts can make the other justices get along; Jonathan Chait wonders how soon freshman congressmen will get jaded; and David Kusnet previews tomorrow's State of the Union speech. --Adam B. Kushner

Political Respect And Political Charity
January 19, 2007

by Cass Sunstein A while back, there was some brief discussion here of the idea of political charity. Several people have responded that it might be better to speak of respect, not charity. It might be worthwhile to untangle the two ideas. The antonym of respect is disdain or (better) contempt; the antonym of charity is selfishness or (better) stinginess. It is much worse to be disrespectful than to be uncharitable. Politicians who show respect--Senator McCain is a good example--tend not to attack the competence, the motivations, or the defining commitments of those who disagree with him.

Legal Nonsense
January 16, 2007

The Washington Post editorial page, which championed the war in Iraq, gives top billing (upper-right hand of the page) to two former Justice Department officials from the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations who argue that it is unconstitutional for the Democrats to introduce a resolution condemning the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq. David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey don't just oppose the resolution; they oppose introducing it and taking a vote on it. Their argument consists of the kind of legal sleight-of-hand that has led many distrust Washington lawyers.

New Toy For A New Season
January 08, 2007

Check out the Center for Responsive Politics's newly-launched "Revolving Door" feature, which promises to reveal to you in all its details the path between the Capitol dome and K Street. You can type in names or government agencies and see who sent the most people to K Street, who on the Hill took the most K-Streeters back, etc. While not all of these are scandalous -- Cynthia Littlefield, who worked for FEMA, also lobbied for the Jesuits!

Schwarzenegger's Health-care Rhetoric
January 08, 2007

I'll be writing more about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal for universal health care, which he's unveiling as I type this and which--based on what I've been told by some of his advisors--is quite ambitious. In the meantime, though, I wanted to take note of the savvy rhetorical ploy Schwarzenegger is using. In his opening remarks, as in his publicity material, he's referring to the "hidden tax" all Californians pay. This tax is the money the state spends to take care of the uninsured in emergency rooms and at other safety net institutions.

Nuclear Near-misses
January 05, 2007

I must've missed it when it came out, but this story is more a little unsettling.

Teddy Kollek, R.i.p.
January 02, 2007

Teddy Kollek, who served as the mayor of Jerusalem for nearly three decades, died early this morning in the city that he loved and revived. I had written about him quite often over the years because his life touched mine, and in a significant way: Largely because it meant working with him, I accepted a post as chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation in the United States. My God, I served in that position for perhaps a dozen years, during which time I quarreled with many of his underlings but never with him. If anything gets me passed the gates of judgment it will be my labors in his vineyard.

Mccain Reloaded
December 26, 2006

Earlier this year, John McCain started prepping for his presidential run by hiring Terry Nelson as his national campaign manager. Nelson, recall, was deputy chief of staff for the Republican National Committee back in 2002-03, when the RNC was illegally jamming phone lines in New Hampshire to block Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts.