Is Obama Really Up By 13 Percent?
June 20, 2012

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.

Fiona Apple's Eccentricities, Roald Dahl's Genius, and the Age of Twitter Diplomacy: Today's TNR Reader
June 19, 2012

Editor’s Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! How strange is Fiona Apple? One magazine writer's quest to find out.  NY Mag| 29 min (7,349 words) Sentenced to life in prison, Jon Yount became a gifted jailhouse lawyer and a crusader for prisoner rights.

Dear James Taranto
June 06, 2012

James Taranto, in his Wall Street Journal "Best of the Web" feature, is taunting me for not replying to his tweet quoting with approval an African American minister (one who supports Sen. Scott Brown's re-election) making what Taranto obviously believes to be a devastating critique of Brown's opponent, Elizabeth Warren. To wit: “Affirmative action—that issue becomes important because it points to who you are,” added the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the TenPoint Coalition, who pointed to an assertion that she is 1/32 Cherokee.

On The Hilarity Of Keith Judd, Federal Inmate
May 09, 2012

You could practically hear the guffaws emanating from Twitter last night over the 41 percent vote share that Keith Judd, a federal inmate in Texas, managed to win in the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia. And sure, there’s humor to be had in an incarcerated man winning a bunch of counties against the incumbent president of the United States. But was this outcome necessarily as telling and disastrous for Obama as the twitterati snark was making it out to be? Not exactly. As is so often the case, the punditocracy was willfully ignoring regional context.

How the Obama Administration’s Narrative About Chen Guangcheng Unraveled, One Tweet at a Time
May 04, 2012

When Chen Guangcheng departed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday with apparent guarantees that he would lead a safe and productive life in his native land, it seemed that a major international crisis had been averted. In a startlingly short period of time, American and Chinese officials had hammered out an agreement that seemed to protect Chen, while preserving the bilateral relationship.

The Paul Ryan Higher Education Cuts That No One Is Talking About
April 27, 2012

When Representative Paul Ryan released his proposed federal budget for 2013, among the first provisions to attract the attention of critics was its choice not to renew the current interest rate of loans for low-income college students.

April 20, 2012

Did you know this blog had an RSS feed? Me neither! If you squint at this blog's Ben Shahn-esque logo (not the one on the home page, but the one on the blog itself) you will find, in the top left corner, an RSS logo that looks like an orange dreidel. Here it is magnified 1000 times (or thereabouts): Click on that and it will take you to my RSS feed. The URL is: feed://  While I'm sharing such personal info, my Twitter feed is timothynoah1. My Facebook page is here. My author Web page is The "Articles" section now has an RSS feed to my blog!

The War on [Insert Noun]: The Uses and Misuses of Martial Rhetoric
April 19, 2012

In case you weren’t convinced that we’ve reached the campaign’s silly season, the War on Dogs has arrived to erase all doubt. It started with Democrats poking fun at Mitt Romney’s dog-on-car incident. The Daily Caller retaliated earlier this week with a post “uncovering” the “shocking” “news” that Barack Obama once ate dog meat as a child (an event he had mentioned in his memoir). The battle moved to a new front when Romney advisor Eric Fehrnstrom alluded on Twitter to Obama’s dog-eating. And thus began the War on Dogs, just the latest of the innumerable wars waged this election cycle.

How a New Clip of Anne Frank’s Life Brings Us Closer To Her Death
April 18, 2012

The video lasts all of twenty seconds. We see the doorway of a nondescript apartment building, several stories high, and neighbors above peering curiously down. A newlywed couple proceed down the steps: The groom wears a top hat and formal suit, the bride carries a lavish bouquet. The camera pans up, and there she is, leaning out of a second-floor balcony, instantly recognizable. It’s Anne Frank: Her mop of thick dark hair, her angular features. She looks down at the bride and groom—she turns her head to call to someone inside—she looks out again.

Does Media Cynicism Matter? A Retort
April 16, 2012

Congratulations to Elspeth Reeve who, writing at Atlantic Online, became, as far as I can tell, the first person to lampoon my upset over the false outrage that blew up around Democratic talking head Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney having never "worked a day in her life." Writing with a wizened cynicism impressive for her relative youth, Reeve argues that, contra my lament about days lost to inanity, the explosions of faux umbrage and Twitter-fed media hysteria around episodes like the daylong outbreak of the Mommy Wars come at little cost.