The group blog of The New Republic

July 21, 2013

Actor Bob Odenkirk graces the cover of the latest issue of The New Republic—not for an article about "Breaking Bad," the AMC show in which he plays sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, but to accompany Noam Scheiber's story, "The Last Days of Big Law."

July 20, 2013

In maybe the juiciest free agent signing since LeBron James bolted for Miami three years ago, it looks like Nate Silver, the political forecaster behind the FiveThirtyEight blog, is departing the New York Times after serving out his initial, three-year contract, and going to ESPN. According to (who else?) the Times, Silver will, presumably among other things, appear frequ

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July 19, 2013

That does it. With Rep. Peter King’s announcement that he’s interested in running for president in 2016, I want to enter for the record my unseemly, unabashed excitement for the 2016 Republican primaries.

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Last week, Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram spent four days in Washington, hustling for business—his second visit in less than six months. He delivered a keynote address at a U.S.-India Business Council summit. He met with his American counterpart Jack Lew, as well as Max Baucus (chairman of the Senate Finance Committee) and Mark Warner (co-chair of the Senate India Caucus). Then he schmoozed with various American investors.

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President Barack Obama just held a press conference—or rather gave a speech in the White House Press Room—devoted entirely to the Trayvon Martin verdict. It was an example of Obama at his best, with fine rhetoric and several moving moments. But the president also went slightly beyond other statements he has made about race, and he spoke with more passion than he has displayed in a long time. All in all, it was good rhetoric that seemed to recognize rhetoric was insufficient for the problems raised by the trial.

Obama began by discussing the verdict, before adding:

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I don’t usually take stances on people’s motives. I’m not a psychic and the evidence to back-up my suspicions is usually pretty poor. But in Pennsylvania, there’s not much question that the GOP’s newfound enthusiasm for stricter voting identification laws stems from the hope that they’ll deflate Democratic turnout. First, Pennsylvania’s Republican House Majority Leader said that voter ID would allow Romney to win Pennsylvania.

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In a dizzying reversal, Russian blogger and opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who was led out of court yesterday in handcuffs to start his five-year prison sentence, was freed today on bail after the prosecutor appealed the court's decision to arrest him, raising the question of—well, raising a whole lot of questions. 

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As if the news that a major American city is headed into bankruptcy isn’t bad enough, we now also must contend with an inevitable byproduct: inane, ungrounded commentary on Detroit’s decline. I make no claims to be the world’s greatest expert on the city, but I’ve done enough reporting in and about Detroit to have a rough sense of what people are getting wildly wrong.

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The implementation of Obamacare is an awfully difficult subject to cover. It requires following developments in Washington and in the 50 states, each with its own unique challenges and politics. It requires speaking with people in government and business, with insurers and employers and advocates, with the people who provide health care and, of course, with the people who use it. It’s a sufficiently difficult task that few writers have even tried to summarize it all in one place.

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On Thursday night, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean appeared at a closed-press grassroots fundraiser for Bill de Blasio, the New York City public advocate who is running for mayor.

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