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It Doesn’t Matter Whose Idea The Sequester Was


Once again, politicians in Washington are engaging in irrelevant partisan battles rather than trying to solve the nation’s problems.

OTB Caption Contest Winners


The Quark Side Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Obama Rejects Sequester Scalpel for Meat Cleaver


Ezra Klein notes a “weird” twist in the sequester stand-off: On the sequester, the Republicans want to give the White House the chance to use a scalpel rather than a meat cleaver. And the White House is saying, basically, no thanks. Meanwhile, Republicans badly want to means-test Medicare — but they never seem to talk […]

Bradley Manning Pleads Guilty


Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to 10 charges stemming from turning classified documents over to WikiLeaks.

David Foster Wallace Course Syllabi


In “‘I Urge You to Drop E67-02’: Course Syllabi by Famous Authors,” Emily Temple collects actual syllabi for college literature courses taught by David Foster Wallace, Katie Roiphe, Zadie Smith, and others.

Fourth Quarter GDP Turns Barely Positive


Last month, the initial release of fourth quarter GDP showed the economy shrinking by .1% during the final three months of the year. As I noted at the time, it’s likely that this number would change as the figure is revised over the following two months.  Today, the first revision was released and, while GDP […]

Bob Woodward’s ‘White House Threatened Me’ Grandstanding


Bob Woodward once again has Washington abuzz with a White House scoop. This one is BS.

Washington More Worried About The Sequester Than The American People


Sean Sullivan and Aaron Blake note that, despite the constant fearmongering that has been coming out of Washington about the sequester, the American people don’t really seem to be all that worried: In Washington, Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over how best to avert sequestration. In the rest of the country, a remarkably high percentage of […]

Senate Confirms Jack Lew As New Treasury Secretary


Late yesterday, Jack Lew was confirmed as the new Treasury Secretary by a comfortable margin: The Senate confirmed Jack Lew as Treasury secretary Wednesday, giving him broad responsibilities over the U.S. economy just as the country faces potentially severe budget cuts, a still-tepid recovery and an overhaul of financial regulations that remains incomplete. After being grilled […]

OTB Caption Contest


Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM

Republican Brand Still Damaged, Little Hope Of Repair Coming Soon


The GOP’s public image continues to be bad and there seems to be little sign that they’re doing anything to change that.

Coffee Makes You Smart, Sexy


Coffee makes you smarter, burns fat, and is good for your liver.

Conservative News Consumers Again Surprised By Obvious


The Hagel confirmation, like Obama’s election, was big news to some avid news consumers.

Pluto’s Newly Discovered Moon May Be Named Vulcan, Thanks To Capt. Kirk


Two new moons were recently discovered orbiting Pluto, the planet that isn’t a planet anymore, and one of them may end up being named Vulcan thanks to William Shatner: An online vote to name Pluto’s two newest, itty-bitty moons is over. And No. 1 is Vulcan, a name suggested by actor William Shatner, who played Capt. […]

Yahoo Bans Telework


Marissa Meyer, the new CEO of Yahoo, wants her company’s employees to come into the office from now on: SAN FRANCISCO — Corporate America’s most famous working mother has banned her employees from working at home. Now the backlash is threatening to overshadow the progress she has made turning around Yahoo Inc. Marissa Mayer, one […]

New Jersey Lawmakers Legalize Online Gambling


New Jersey is just a Governor’s signature away from becoming the third state in the country to legalize online betting: TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey legislators gave final approval Tuesday to a bill legalizing gambling over the Internet, sending it to Gov. Chris Christie, who has indicated he will sign it quickly. The state […]

Jerry Seinfeld Explains Joke Writing


Jokes aren’t funny if you have to explain them. Explaining how the joke got written can be marginally funny.

Obama Unloads Immigration Detention Centers Ahead of Sequester


Hundreds of illegal immigrants have been released from detention ahead of possible budget cuts.

Chuck Hagel Confirmed As Defense Secretary


After surviving a cloture vote, it was clear that Chuck Hagel’s nomination for be the next Secretary of Defense would pass the actual nomination vote easily. This afternoon, that’s what happened and, not surprisingly, it was one of the closer votes for a Cabinet nomination we’ve seen in recent years: Chuck Hagel won confirmation Tuesday […]

Republicans Not Giving Up On Electoral College Allocation Schemes


Republicans at the state level are still trying to cook the books in the Electoral College

CPAC Snubs Chris Christie

Chris Christie 3

CPAC’s organizers have decided not to invite the most popular Governor in the country.

Jack Lew’s Bonus


There’s an innocent explanation for giving a huge bonus to a financial exec going into government. And it still stinks.

Hagel Nomination Passes Cloture


Senate Republicans succeeded in stopping Chuck Hagel’s nomination just under two weeks ago, but when the Senate voted on cloture today, it wasn’t even close: The Senate voted 71-27 on Tuesday to end debate on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to become secretary of Defense, ending a Republican rearguard campaign that forced Democrats to fight for every […]

When Can Government Force You to Violate Religious Beliefs?


A federal judge poses an interesting question in a case over Obama’s contraceptive mandate.

Poll: Republicans Would Get Blame For Sequester Cuts


According to a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll, voters say that Republicans would get the majority of the blame if Congress is unable to reach a deal to avert te sequestration cuts: More continue to say Republicans in Congress (45%), rather than President Obama (32%), would be more to blame if an agreement to prevent […]

In Case you were Wondering What to Call Benedict XVI


Via the BBC:  Benedict XVI to be known as ‘pope emeritus’ Benedict XVI will be known as "pope emeritus" and will retain the honorific "His Holiness" after he abdicates on Thursday, Vatican official say. He will also continue to be known by his papal title of Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to Josef Ratzinger. Other […]

Excuse me, What? (Headlines you don’t Expect Edition)


Via the BBC:  Basketball player Dennis Rodman visits North Korea. Also, today’s oddly amusing sentence of the day:  “North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, who oversaw the country’s recent nuclear test, is known to be a basketball fan.”

One Metric of the Size of Government


Looking at civilian employment in the executive branch since 1940.

OTB Caption Contest Winners


The Three senors Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dead At 96

C. Everett Koop,who served as Surgeon General under both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, has died: HANOVER, N.H. — C. Everett Koop, who raised the profile of the nation’s surgeon general by speaking frankly about AIDS and the dangers of smoking, has died in New Hampshire. He was 96. An assistant at Koop’s Dartmouth […]

Questions For Opponents Of The Sequester


Reason’s Nick Gillespie has a few questions for the people who want to rollback the impending sequestration cuts: 1. Under what sort of math do you figure that cutting $44 billion or $85 billion from a total tab of $3.6 trillion is anything more than a rounding error? Half of the cuts are slated for defense […]

Census to Stop Counting Negroes


In a bold move, the Census Bureau has removed “Negro” from its racial categories.

Drink More Wine: It’s Science


A diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and wine is good for your heart.

DC Politics and the Myth of Scheming


The Chinese are hacking Washington institutions to unearth the secret plan under which the town operates.

Detroit Named Most Miserable City In The U.S.


Forbes has named Detroit the most miserable city in the country: Forbes put Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on its cover in 2011 for a story with the optimistic headline: “City of Hope.” The premise was that the city had hit rock bottom and was poised for a turnaround. “Right now, it’s all about survival,” Bing told Forbes. Two […]

Sherlock Holmes Is Public Domain–Or Is It?


“Who owns Sherlock Holmes?” The answer is . . . complicated.

Emory President Extols 3/5 Compromise


Emory’s James Wagner sees the 3/5 Compromise as the price for achieving a more perfect union.

Bloomberg Big Soda Ban Dumber Than We Thought


The Big Gulp ban won’t ban Big Gulps. But it’ll ban 2-liter Cokes with your pizza and pitchers at Chuck E. Cheese.

OTB Caption Contest


Time for the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM

Boehner May Not Have The Votes To Replace The Sequester


Roll Call reports that Speaker John Boehner may not have sufficient support in his own conference to pass a bill that would replace the sequester: Speaker John A. Boehner’s decision to wait on the Senate before taking up a sequester replacement bill may be more tied to his own difficulties getting the votes for one than to […]

Karzai Orders US Special Forces Out Of Province

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered U.S. Special Forces to leave an Afghan province that has been the site of heavy insurgent activity: The Afghan president has ordered US special forces to leave Wardak province within two weeks. The decision was being taken due to allegations of disappearances and torture by Afghans considered to be […]

The Truth About Those “Devastating” Sequester Cuts


To listen to President Obama, and even many Republicans, the budget cuts set to go into effect later this week will devastate a wide swath of America. However, Veronique de Rugy takes a look at the cuts and finds very little evidence for the assertion that these cuts are as damaging as we’re being led […]

So You Want To Be Pope


This video explains just what you have to do: H/T: Andrew Sullivan

The Sequester, Moving Goalposts, and the 2012 Elections


Ezra Klein argues that the voters already decided how the sequestration fight should play out.

Die Hard’s Enduring Appeal


An excellent essay by Adam Sternbergh “On the Enduring Appeal of ‘Die Hard.'”

Let Them Eat Horse


Via the BBC:  Give horsemeat-tainted food to poor – German minister Germany’s development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor. Dirk Niebel said he supported the proposal by a member of the governing CDU party, and concluded: "We can’t just throw away good food." On the one hand, if […]

Trying to Understand Benghazi!

Clinton Testifies On Benghazi Attack

A theory on why Benghazi will not die as a political issue.

Joe Biden’s Shotgun Advice Likely Against Delaware Law


In a speech earlier this week, Vice-President Biden said that had given his wife some self-defense advice: WASHINGTON–Vice President Joe Biden’s weapon of choice for personal protection: a shotgun, he said yesterday during a forum on gun violence hosted by Facebook and Parents Magazine. “Buy a shotgun. Buy a shotgun,” he said. Biden also smacked […]

Guns to Protect us from Sharia


Silly things members of Congress say (plus musings on authoritarianism).

Sequester Bad For Page Views

Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins notes that the sequester doesn’t seem to be drawing the attention of the public: Not since Mitt Romney ran for president has a national political story so failed to capture the imagination — and page views — of the public as the so-called “sequester,” a set of mandatory cuts dangling like some ghastly metaphor or […]

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