September 22, 2008

Elitism Done (By The) Right
12:00 AM

It’s official: You’re allowed to disparage Sarah Palin because she “does not have a repertoire of historic patterns” or “the ability to engage in complex deliberations and feel which arguments have the most weight.” But it is absolutely forbidden to question her qualifications on the grounds that “she has never summered in Tuscany.”So declares David Brooks, the latest conservative to snipe at the GOP vice presidential nominee.

Grabbing The Third Rail Of Environmentalism
12:00 AM

As long as we're talking about meat consumption, I wanted to mention the (controversial) recommendation made a couple of weeks back by IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri, who suggested that everyone give up meat one day each week in an effort to curb the massive impact of livestock farming on global warming.

The Bailout And Oil
12:00 AM

Jad Mouawad reports: "Oil prices posted their biggest one-day gain on Monday, jumping more than $25 a barrel as investors dashed into commodities on concerns about the government’s plan to bail out the financial system." Weird. One guess is that news of the deficit-busting $700 billion bailout pushed down the dollar and raised the price of commodities. Doubtful a short spike puts added pressure on Congress to take up those energy bills, in any case. --Bradford Plumer

The Zillion Dollar Bailout
12:00 AM

Two old friends of mine are in the thick of the zillion dollar bailout. (That’s what it might come to.) But not on the side of the bankers.  They’re on the side of what you can clearly and cleanly call “the people.” One of them is Barney Frank whom I’ve known for probably more than forty years. He is now the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and a brainy and funny man he is.

Democrats Of Wasilla--unite!
12:00 AM

I'm in Anchorage tonight after spending the last week or so in Wasilla. Without stepping on the piece I'm supposed to write, I can relate one of the more amusing (and heartening) scenes I observed in Alaska. It took place Friday night at a meeting of the Mat-Su Valley (i.e., Wasilla area) Democratic Party--a group of folks who, in the last three-plus weeks, have become the most motivated voters on the planet.

September 21, 2008

Mccain V. Obama On "60 Minutes"
12:00 AM

An interesting contrast in styles tonight, one that might foreshadow Friday night's first debate. McCain, as he often is during sit-downs, was stiff and slightly uncomfortable-seeming. Obama was all winning smiles and effortless cool. But there was also a contrast in tone between the candidates, one whose winner is less obvious. McCain did an excellent job of presenting himself as a) outraged--"frankly enraged," as he put it--over the financial crisis and b) a man of action determined to shake up Washington. He made a populist denunciation of  "greed and access" on Wall Street and in DC.

Bailout For Thee, But Why Not For Me?
12:00 AM

I don't agree that George Bush is responsible for the entire financial calamity through which we are trying to make our ways. But never in our history -- and certainly not during the Great Depression when the conscientious Herbert Hoover was in the White House -- has there been a president so blithe as this one.  Has Bush asked from where the trillion dollar bailout will come and, moreover, how we will ever pay for our super-gargantuan debt?An interesting letter, "Dear Mr. Bernanke and Mr.

Obama's Early-voting Advantage
12:00 AM

For the record, I think early voting is a pretty lousy idea, at least when it starts more than a few days out. Campaigns are intricately-timed affairs--when run well, they have beginnings, middles, and ends, almost like a good narrative--and candidates can't possibly execute them effectively if they're ending at different times for different voters. Unfortunately, several states now let people vote weeks before Election Day.

September 20, 2008

Charlie Rangel's No Good Very Bad Year
12:00 AM

First, he backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary (and paid for it by being denied a speaking role at the Democratic convention.) Then the NYT did an investigative report on his four rent-stabilized apartments. Then it was discovered that Rangel had failed to pay taxes on $75,000 of rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. That led to a meeting with House Democratic leaders who pressured him to step down as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. And now Rangel's gone and called Sarah Palin "disabled," which has the flying monkeys all worked up.

September 19, 2008

Sarah Quaylin
12:00 AM

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I’ve gotten confused about all the reasons I’m supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his “celebrity.” But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The “celebrity” attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep.