June 20, 2012

The Rumors of Another Egyptian Revolution Are Greatly Exaggerated
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CAIRO, Egypt—On Wednesday night, thousands of demonstrators descended onto Tahrir Square to demand an end to military rule. It was the twentieth straight night of these protests, and the Muslim Brotherhood marked the occasion by calling on its hundreds of thousands of members nationwide to join an open-ended Tahrir Square sit-in and “complete the revolution.” But from my apartment in Mohandessin, a neighborhood just three miles northwest of downtown Cairo, I couldn’t hear a thing. The streets were calm, the cafes were open, and there was nothing in sight that resembled a revolution.

Ah, Watergate!
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"I AM AWARE," H. R. Haldeman writes, "that I there is a cult of people in this country who collect every scrap of information about Watergate because of its many fascinating mysteries." He's more than aware: his memoir. The Ends of Power, is a seething nest of almost every conceivable scrap of Watergate conspiracy theory developed to date. The Democratic Trap Theory, the CIA Trap Theory, the Blackmail Demand Theory: you name it, H. R. Bob buys it.

Is Obama Really Up By 13 Percent?
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This morning, Bloomberg News released a poll that sent Twitter into a frenzy, showing Obama up by 13 percentage points, 53-40. While these results might be promptly dispatched as an outlier, the Bloomberg poll was conducted by Ann Selzer & Co. of Iowa, an exceptionally well regarded pollster best known for conducting the famous Des Moines Register poll prior to the Iowa caucuses.

The Quarterfinals
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Czech Republic vs. Portugal I think Portugal wins. When your chances of winning are drastically reduced because Rosicky won’t be playing, you’re not that good of a team. No offense to Tomas. I’m an Arsenal fan and he’s been wonderful this season, almost as good as he was before the spate of injuries that befell him. But he’s nowhere near the main man. Portugal has been playing well. Second game: Germany vs. Greece Germany wins, but my heart is with the Greeks.

June 19, 2012

Cutting Taxes Increases Spending!
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The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has a fascinating post on the relationship between taxation and spending. It’s an article of faith among some conservatives that if you “starve the beast” that is federal spending by cutting taxes then spending will eventually have to come down. It’s been pointed out more than once that this hasn’t worked very well in the past. Cutting taxes without also cutting spending mainly has the long-term effect of increasing the deficit.

The Ballad of Chuck Schumer
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In the ongoing melodrama between Democrats and Wall Street, few characters are more compelling than Chuck Schumer. New York’s senior senator has a well-cultivated reputation as the financial world’s top wing man in Washington, at least among Democrats. But since he also hopes to lead his august chamber one day, he’s charted a more ecumenical path of late.

Why Isn't Romney Competing in Minnesota?
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With ad spending increasing each week, it's clear by now what the battleground states are—and it's clear that Minnesota isn't one of them. It may not be surprising that neither campaign has aired ads in the North Star State, as Minnesota is perhaps best known in politics as the state with the longest consecutive streak of voting for Democratic presidential candidates, having last voted Republican in 1972.

The Diversity of the White Working Class
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Are Republicans increasingly becoming the party of the white working class? So says Jonathan Haidt, but political scientist Larry Bartels offers up a convincing response: While the white working class has trended toward Republicans over the last few decades, the movement is exclusively a Southern phenomenon.

Do New Polls Show Obama Making Gains Among Latinos?
12:00 AM

In the aftermath of Obama’s decision to halt deportations and provide temporary work permits to certain young undocumented immigrants, Latino Decisions released a new poll on how Latinos in five battleground states are reacting to Obama’s move. Unsurprisingly, the poll found that Latinos support Obama’s move and are more enthusiastic about his presidency. A few hours later, PPP released a poll conducted on behalf of DailyKos/SEIU showing Obama up to 61 percent with Hispanics, compared to just 53 percent last week.

Biology for Liberals
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Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis's A Cooperative Species is an excellent primer on how biologists have sought to explain seemingly altruistic behavior