What Am

The House had all the drama on Thursday night, but the Senate was plenty busy, as well. Even as House Speaker John Boehner was trying (and ultimately failing) to rally fellow Republicans behind his debt ceiling bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was working on his proposal. Reid has the support of at least 50 senators already.

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Islamabad Boys

On August 26, 2008, Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, touched down for a secret meeting on an aircraft carrier stationed in the Indian Ocean. The topic: Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The summit had been arranged the previous month. Mullen had grown anxious about the rising danger from Pakistan’s tribal areas, which Islamic militants were using as a base from which to strike American troops in Afghanistan and to plot terrorist attacks against the United States. He flew to Islamabad to see the country’s army chief of staff, Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

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From The Guardian: The Vatican has lashed out at criticism over its handling of its paedophilia crisis by saying the Catholic church was "busy cleaning its own house" and that the problems with clerical sex abuse in other churches were as big, if not bigger.... The statement, read out by Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, defended its record by claiming that "available research" showed that only 1.5%-5% of Catholic clergy were involved in child sex abuse. Only?

As Noam and Mike pointed out in this week’s print magazine, the Clinton campaign relies heavily on what game theorists like to call “retaliatory escalation”—a.k.a. “club[bing] would-be attackers over the head with their own words.” Case in point: Yesterday, John Edwards slammed Clinton for coaching audience members at a Q&A, calling the tactic “what George Bush does.” The Clinton team responded, “What George Bush does is attack Democrats and divide the country … Sen. Edwards' campaign resembles that more and more every day.”   And it worked!

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Johnny Mercer, one of the master artisans of pre-rock popular music, was driving with some friends to the Newport Jazz Festival one summer in the early 1960s when a Chuck Berry song came on the radio. Mercer listened closely and grinned, as one of his car mates, the film-maker Jean Bach, recalls. Soon he was singing along, beaming. Mercer leaned his face into the rushing air and slapped out the beat of the song on the side of the car that Bach's husband had rented for the weekend--a big red convertible, ideally suited to the moment.

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Nazi Hunting

Buruma: Are there any fascists left in East Berlin?

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