The Washington Post

EVERY WEEK, thousands of Serbians bundle up in bed and flip on their televisions for their fix of “Evening with Ivan Ivanovic,” a cheesy “Late Show” knockoff complete with a live studio audience, a rock band, and an eager host clasping a coffee mug in front of a fake Belgrade skyline. One evening this spring, Ivanovic proudly announced that his guest would be the first American ever to appear on the show. With gusto, the band struck up a brassy rendition of “New York, New York” and Rudy Giuliani, wearing his familiar toothy grin, descended a bright, glowing staircase to wild cheers.

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Big Chief

Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} IN THE WEEKS BEFORE the Supreme Court decided the fate of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives became increasingly worried that Chief Justice John Roberts was about to lose his nerve.

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Are jobs requiring scientific knowledge scarce, relative to other fields?

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No state gives political analysts more headaches than North Carolina, a state that barely voted for Obama in 2008's clear national victory yet remains competitive in this year's much tighter race. Yesterday, the Washington Post reclassified North Carolina as leaning Romney; I disagree. Although most would concede that Romney has a slight but discernible advantage in the Tar Heel state, North Carolina is still a toss-up.

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Chuck Lane has a piece in The Washington Post suggesting that legal academics have vastly overestimated the strength of arguments defending the individual mandate’s constitutionality. According to Lane, opposition to the mandate is real, not politically-contrived, and it’s rooted in real concerns about the “the welfare state’s cost and intrusiveness.” To that end, he says this: "Much has been made of the fact that Republicans had no objection, constitutional or otherwise, when the individual mandate first surfaced.

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In 2008, Obama won North Carolina by less than 1 percent while winning by 7 percent nationally. After four years, Obama’s big national lead has vanished, but Obama and Romney are spending away in the populous and diverse mid-Atlantic state. According to the Washington Post’s ad-tracker, the two campaigns spent $1.7 million in North Carolina last week, similar to the other big battleground states like Florida ($1.8m), Ohio ($1.9m), and Virginia ($1.5m).

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As recently as a week ago, everybody watching the Supreme Court seemed convinced of one thing: The justices had made up their minds about the Affordable Care Act. They hadn’t issued a decision and, perhaps, they were fine-tuning the legal arguments they would make in their written opinions. But they knew how they were ruling. They just weren't telling anybody about it. Now a new rumor is making the rounds: Five justices have decided to invalidate the individual mandate but they have not settled on what else, if anything, to invalidate along with it. Does the story have any basis in fact?

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Ah, Watergate!

"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.

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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.

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With the financial balance of power shifting toward the Republicans, Democrats are understandably alarmed that a deluge of cash from outside groups and Wall Street could swamp Obama’s reelection efforts. As an initial step, the Obama campaign has concentrated their expenditures on a smaller number of swing states, ensuring that they at least remain competitive in the markets they consider most important. But when you concentrate resources, some areas end up short-changed, and the decision to narrow the playing field has left Obama without substantial purchases in several media markets.

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