The Plank

What The Military Really Thinks
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September 13, 2007 The Plank

Via Swampland, there's an extremely interesting new study out from the Center for Responsive Politics, suggesting a fairly dramatic shift in political contributions by members of the military away from the GOP and toward Democrats:

Carrying Pictures Of Chairman Mao
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September 13, 2007 The Plank

Across the Universe, director Julie Taymor's new 60s-era musical featuring songs by the Beatles, opens with two examples: First, "Girl"--you know the one, with the chorus of "ah, girl," followed by the ostentatious sound of toking--sung quietly by a boy on a beach; and next, "Helter Skelter," screeched over a montage of footage from Vietnam and civil rights demonstrations. It's an apt summary of the film to follow.

Energy Bill Looks Dead
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September 13, 2007 The Plank

The New York Times reports today that it's looking less and less likely that Congress will pass an energy bill this year. Members of the conference committee tasked with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill probably won't be appointed until October, and filibuster and veto threats still loom.

Word To The Wise (or, How I Made The No-fly List)
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September 13, 2007 The Plank

If the motorcade of a presidential candidate under Secret Service protection should zip past you on the highway, do not trail it to the next campaign stop. Uniformed men will be waiting to question you at your destination.

Still, I don't think it was entirely fair of the state trooper to say he could have written me "about five" tickets.

--Michael Crowley

Quote Of The Day
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September 13, 2007 The Plank

"Oh, I like Senator Clinton, but she's just got too much baggage. We got so many damn rednecks in this country--they wouldn't vote for a woman if she was the Pope!" --A sixtyish woman emerging from an Obama event in Anamosa, Iowa.

This supports my earlier hunch that Democratic voters have become less concerned about Hillary's war position than about her electability. Of course, it also completely fails to account for Obama's race.

--Michael Crowley

If Only
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September 12, 2007 The Plank

A major world leader--the aggressively nationalistic spoiled scion of a famous political family, who has thrown his own ruling party into disarray and whose approval ratings have dipped below 30 percent amid accusations of corruption and after presiding over a cabinet full of embarrassingly incompetent hacks--has finally decided to resign today. No, not that one.

--Josh Patashnik

Sacrifices
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September 12, 2007 The Plank

A few weeks ago, on August 19, seven active duty soldiers wrote a controversial op-ed in the New York Times, entitled "The War As We Saw It," that took issue with reports of American gains in Iraq. Two of those soldiers, Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance T. Gray, are now dead, killed in a vehicle accident in Baghdad that also claimed the lives of five other soldiers.

Benchmarks
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September 12, 2007 The Plank

Per Mike, Obama's in Iowa today delivering a speech that he hopes will change the dynamic of the race. And boy does he need to do that. From this morning's Hotline Wake-Up Call, here are some poll numbers:

Dogs And Cats, Living Together...mass Hysteria!
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September 12, 2007 The Plank

Pop quiz -- what Euro-loving, Bush-bashing, ultra-liberal wacko said the following:

"...the truth is that the best national health-insurance programs do not bear out the horror stories that conservatives like to tell about them."

Michael Moore? Paul Krugman? Ezra Klein? Me?

Er, no. Those words came from conservative journalist Ramesh Ponnuru, writing in the latest issue of National Review.

This Week's Sign Of The Apocalypse
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September 12, 2007 The Plank

From an email I just received promoting Digger Phelps's new book, Undertaker's Son: Life Lessons from a Coach:

Head basketball coach of Notre Dame at age 29, a position he held for more than two decades with a 100 percent graduation rate, Richard "Digger" Phelps was an attention-getting figure in The White House's anti-drug program, part-time ambassador, is an adored ESPN commentator, and a possible Presidential candidate. [Emphasis added.]

Nooooooo!

--Jason Zengerle

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