Topless Taxes, Really
February 14, 2007
A proposed bill in the Texas legislature known as the "Topless Tax" would tax patrons a $5 cover charge to enter strip clubs. The cover charge would then go directly into sexual-assault prevention and counseling services. This makes a certain amount of sense to me. Just as sin taxes on cigarettes end up funding everything from health care programs to education spending, taxing strip-club patrons to support worthy state mandates like assault prevention has a certain symmetry to it. Taxing the sex trade is as natural as taxing casinos and booze.
February 12, 2007
IN THE SUMMER of 2004, when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked John Kerry with a series of ads challenging his service in Vietnam, the hapless candidate had a defender across the aisle: John McCain. Shortly after the ads hit the airwaves, the Arizona senator called the smear campaign “dishonest and dishonorable” and urged President Bush to condemn it.
The Big Test
January 15, 2007
Damon Linker's 2007 article looks into the religious implications of a Romney presidency.
January 10, 2007
It was predictable. That even the faculty, or a large portion of it, at Southern Methodist University in Dallas would have qualms about having the George W. Bush Presidential Library on campus. It was obvious. Now, SMU has not actually been designated as the querulous host. Baylor University in Waco and the University of Texas, not in Austin, God forbid, but Irving are also in the running. Or maybe trying to escape. Ralph Blumenthal spins out the somewhat intricate tale in today's Times, "Faculty at S.M.U.
December 12, 2006
This is really, really disturbing: Silvestre Reyes, soon to be the next House Intelligence Committee chair, flubbed a foreign policy quiz from Congressional Quarterly ... and flubbed it badly: Is al Qaeda a Sunni organization, or Shi'ite? The question proved nettlesome for Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, incoming Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. "Predominantly -- probably Shi'ite," he said.
November 20, 2006
Redemptions: The Last Battle of the Civil War By Nicholas Lemann (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 257 pp., $24) Colfax, Louisiana was scarcely a town in 1873. It was more a collection of buildings on a plantation owned by William Calhoun. As much as any site in the former Confederate South, however, Colfax came to embody the complex political dynamics of Reconstruction, and the troubling relation of terror and democracy in the history of the United States. Lying in the heart of the state's lush Red River Valley, Colfax was the newly designated seat of the newly created Grant Parish, carved out
November 13, 2006
In the olden days of politics, electoral wipe outs were great spectacles to behold. When Democrats or Republicans slipped on the political banana peel, they would tumble, arms flailing like Chevy Chase, into congressional defeat. In the 1894 election, Democrats squandered 125 seats; in 1922, Republicans endured a loss of 77seats. This year, for the first time in over a decade, there's talk of a wipeout.
October 30, 2006
Last September, Hurricane Katrina revealed a Bush administration studded through and through with hacks. These cronies exhibited the quality made infamous by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Michael Brown: a loyalty to party and president that could overcome the kinds of issues that would give lesser governments pause, such as insufficient experience or a sketchy diploma.
Against the veto.
October 09, 2006
This summer, President Bush issued a veto for the first time. The occasion: a bill--passed by wide but not veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate-- that would have expanded federal funding of stem-cell research. Following Bush's announcement, liberals, predictably, denounced his move as a capitulation to the religious right, while conservatives, just as predictably, lauded his commitment to the sanctity of life.
September 11, 2006
Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic