• French Roast

    I have to back soon-to-be colleague Matt up: when he took Kate and I to the French Roast for bistro fare at 3 in the morning, I found nothing rancid about it. Matt's horrified reaction, however, to my mixing of avocado and burger, would've made you think I was ordering poison. Nevertheless, no one, least of all myself, exhibited any gastrointestinal discomfort from the food nor the combinations we made of it.
  • Nicely Turned

    Give it up for Marshall Whittman, this paragraph is really very clever: The Moose can hardly contain his glee over tomorrow night's exchange of vows between Tom DeLay and the conservative movement. After cohabitating for years, the relationship between their sleazy leader and the movement becomes official. The Moose understands that the happy couple is registered at "Sweatshops R Us" in the Northern Marianas. After the ceremony, they will be off on their honeymoon tour of Indian gaming facilities along with a junket to St. Andrew's in Scotland for a round of golf. All expenses paid for by the Abramoff Express Card (Don't leave the House without it!).
  • A Day In The Life

    Bad, bad precedents : A bankruptcy judge last night approved United Airlines' request to terminate its pension plans, clearing the way for the largest corporate pension default in history and setting the stage for a possible strike by the airline's flight attendants. The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will take over the airline's $645 million in pension payments and receive in exchange up to $1.5 billion in securities in the reorganized airline. ... United's parent, UAL Corp., has been in bankruptcy protection since December 2002, and United executives have said the airline would have difficulty emerging unless it was able to eliminate its employee pensions. The decision means that employees could lose between 20 and 50 percent of the value of their pensions, according to estimates by labor leaders. ... No airline labor group has ever gone on strike while its carrier was in bankruptcy. By eliminating the pensions, United has in effect nullified part of the workers' contract,...
  • Allen and the Theocrats

    Rob Garver's piece in the American Prospect examining George Allen's pre-presidential embrace of Pat Robertson doesn't go far enough, I think. Allen isn't some moderate do-gooder bowing to the realities of the Republican party and forcing himself to slobber on some theocrat's rings, he's been playing this game for a long, long, time. His ascendence to the governor's house in Virginia was wholly and totally a function of his ability to unite the state's CHristian Right around him rather than another candidate. Since then, he's always remembered to dance with them that brought him, and Pat's going to be no different. If Mark Warner (VA's current governor) steps up to the plate and challenges Allen's seat in 2006, George is going to have a very, very tough race on his hands. Winning that race will require evermore religious mobilization, evermore evangelical volunteers, and evermore pandering to the hard right. So don't blame Allen for bear-hugging Robertson and don't be surprised when...
  • Where's Sam Brownback When You Need Him?

    The U.N. Relief Director has hit the newspapers in an effort to drum up some political pressure for American help on African crises. Apparently, our compassionate conservatism is not quite being compassionate enough. I've excerpted a portion of his interview after the jump, you really need to read it to understand how bad things are getting (not to mention why putting the Ten Commandments in schools won't save us, and may in fact bring about some of the worst horrors on memory). Unfortunately, his interview also shows his problem. From what he's saying, there's currently an urgent humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Chad, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Togo, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda, among others. Think about that -- a pressing crisis in at least 14 countries. The world is remarkably slow, inept, and reluctant to deliver aid and avert catastrophes, so what do you think our chances are of responding effectively 14 times...
  • Tafted

    Political Wire reports that Bob Taft has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation . His approval rating is 19% , which is remarkably, terribly awful for a governor in a state where he has no major scandal, no major initiatives, no major...anything. He's crossed the boundary from nonentity to nega-entity. The fact is that Taft is just...well, a pointless politician, if such a construction makes sense. He's a conglomeration of three branches of Ohio Republicans - the religious, the economic, and the gun. The problem is, he's not really motivated by any one of those branches. If the Republican majority is held together by skillful interweaving of seemingly disparate goals without their subsequent accomplishment, Taft's leadership is viewing that network, the power it holds and its ability to accept failure through ideological eyes...and then heading off to the can to finish up the latest James Patterson novel. For four years.
  • You Read, I Work

    Campus Progress just posted an article of mine exploring those home-schooled, deeply religious youngsters who keep getting publishing contracts and syndication deals despite a lack of noticeable talent (save maybe Ben Ferguson, who seems reasonably on top of things). I'm pretty happy with the piece, which also covers Michelle Malkin, Ward Connerly, and all the other conservatives who get trotted out in front of the cameras when their skin tone is needed to to sell a policy. Go read it. Speaking of talentless youngsters getting ahead in life, this morning, The American Prospect offered, and I accepted, their fellowship position. There's no doubt that the main reason I got the job was this blog and all you folks who read it. So thanks very, very much. It's a hell of a birthday present. (and come out to the bar tonight! Details below!) (and read my CP piece ! It's got a money back guarantee!)
  • Blog Night at the Bar

    For LA readers, Jesse and I will be hanging at Maloney's in Westwood tonight, starting at about 9. C'mon down if you're interested. The address is: 1000 Gayley Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90024 You can find a map here . E-mail me if you have any questions.
  • Fila-Bust-A-Bus

    Bill Frist is setting up to use the nuclear option on Priscilla Owen, according to the Washington Times . The entire judicial nomination fight is an example of insider politics taking over real-world consideration - Democrats haven't paid for opposition to or obstruction of judicial nominees, largely because the nominees held back are in positions that have little to no direct relevance to most Americans' political understanding. They're not high-profile in a publicity sense, and after they're confirmed, they're about as likely to be seen on TV again as Cop Rock . Frist, on the other hand, is playing really bad politics to attempt to score a much, much larger pragmatic victory - but this handful of judges isn't permanent, even if the appointments are lifelong, nor are they the sole determinant of federal interpretation of law. For what he gets, the seventh-grade-civics realization that Republicans just killed some old and not-really-understood portion of the government doesn't quite...
  • First DeLay, Now Ney

    So it looks like Tom DeLay may just be the first scalp Jack Abramoff can hang on his jail cell's wall. According to the Prospect , Bob Ney was on the take as well. Interesting stuff. If the Republicans were smart, they'd create the toughest, sharpest-toothed Ethics Committee the House has ever seen and turn the suckers loose on anyone with a whiff of scandal. Because if Ney goes the way of DeLay, the media is going to smell blood in the water, and soon enough everyone's lobbyist ties and shadowy junkets are going to be front page news. Republicans, were they smart, could kick out DeLay, get their new majority leader to go on a public offensive against corruption, make sacrificial lambs out of a few Republicans (promised golden parachutes in return for their complicity, of course), and clo0se the whole thing down. As it is, the scandal's simply widening... Props, by the way, to the DLC's Marshall Whittman, who, months ago, said the Abramoff scandals had the potential to bring all these...