June 25, 2008
Roughly a decade ago, when Ed Rendell was the mayor of Philadelphia, he made a controversial decision to appear with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan at a rally. Farrakhan was in town in the aftermath of an assault by a gang of whites on an African American woman and her son and nephew in a notoriously gritty and racist part of the city. Many politicians, especially Jewish ones, would have kept far away from the incendiary Farrakhan. Portions of Rendell's liberal base were outraged. Protesters marched outside his home.
Intern or Die
Beware the intern you just sent on a coffee run. And not just because she may use the yellow sweetener instead of the pink. No, beware the intern because as easy as it is to punk her around now, this pleasure, like smoking or drinking, is likely to come back to bite you later, when she rises to a position of power. Which is quite likely, as one of the fundamental truths about post-millennial working life is this: Ex-interns run the show. And like many banal workforce realities, this one’s pernicious. The field of journalism offers a prime example of the power of the internship.
Four out of Nine Ain't Bad
Though this court term hasn't been disastrous (so far), these are not particularly happy days for the Supreme Court’s left-leaning justices. On most of the big issues--abortion, school segregation, capital punishment, voting rights--Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens are routinely outvoted by the Court’s conservative majority. When they do win, their victories are condemned as “judicial activism” by right-wing critics.
Idov: Scenes from the Libertarian Party's tragicomic demise.
Among the four teams that advanced to this week's semifinal round of the Euro 2008 soccer tournament, three aren't particularly portentous. No one is surprised to see pre-tournament favorite Germany still alive. Nor is it particularly shocking that talent-rich Spain has survived, although most expected the team to uphold the time-honored Spanish tradition of flaming out in the quarterfinals.
There are certain streaks that have become etched in American lore: Joe DiMaggio's 56 straight games with a hit, UCLA's 88-game unbeaten run in men's basketball. Slightly less famous, but still impressive, is this feat: Between April 12 and May 24 of last year, John McCain missed 46 consecutive votes in the U.S. Senate. In fact, McCain missed more than half of all Senate votes last year, enough to disqualify him from the infamous National Journal rankings that purported to find Barack Obama the most liberal senator. Now, we understand that McCain had elsewhere to be.
Show Bush Some Birthday Lovin'
RNC Chairman Mike Duncan has just drawn to my attention to the fact that our fearless president has a birthday coming up. (Bush turns 62 on July 6, for those keeping track.) Unsurprisingly, the good chariman feels that the most appropriate way for all of us to celebrate this joyous event is to donate $62 (or however much we can spare--$100? $1,000? $2,000?) to the great GOP electoral cause and then add our names to the "virtual birthday eCard" that the RNC has so thoughtfully put together for the POTUS: Thank you for your service and dedication to our country.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with Bush at the White House yesterday--the third major Vietnamese leader to be received by the U.S. since diplomatic relations were normalized between the two countries in 1995. Though the Congressional Caucus on Vietnam called for the White House to address Vietnam's poor human rights record, economic cooperation came first on the administration’s agenda. Why? Because while bilateral trade is booming between the two countries, the U.S. remains far behind China in terms of its economic and diplomatic leverage in the region.
While I was hunting down video links for my item about vice presidential candidates and their great moments in campaign debates, I stumbled across the clip below, which is from the 1992 campaign. It doesn't feature the veep candidates, though. It showcases Bill Clinton going up against George H.W. Bush in what would become an iconic moment of that campaign. For those who don't remember, this was second of the three presidential debates that year. It was a town hall-style event, with audience members asking questions.
Climb Aboard The Bush Bus!
Walking past the AFL-CIO building on the way to work yesterday, I couldn't help but notice a gaggle of union-supporters and other passers-by crowded around a massive tour bus plastered with pictures of President Bush. Organized by Americans United for Change (AUC), the "Bush Legacy Bus" turned out to be an enormous bio-fuel-powered mobile museum set to tour the country for the next several months and showcase an exhibit on the missteps and abuses of the Bush administration.