Inkblot, RIP

A sad update to the story of Kevin Drum’s missing cat, which James Joyner wrote about Friday: I hate to write this post, but all of you have been part of Inkblot’s life for so long that I can hardly not do it. One of our neighbors saw the flyers we posted around the neighborhood […]

Inkblot, MIA

Kevin Drum has been writing about his cat, Inkblot, most every Friday for the last decade. Sadly, he’s been missing since Tuesday night.

Ron Paul Won’t Be The Nominee, Much Less President

Ron Paul is surging in Iowa. He’s in 3rd place in the national polls and has been for most of the race. He’s not Mitt Romney.

Romney Ad Misquotes Obama on Economy

Mitt Romney’s first television ad is built around a Barack Obama quote that has been cropped so that he’s saying the opposite of what he actually said.

When Is A $16 Muffin Not a $16 Muffin?

It turns out DOJ didn’t have $16 muffins after all–they were just charged $16 for each muffin.

Pennsylvania Ponders Bold Democrat-Screwing Electoral Plan

Republicans have a plan to wrest half of the Keystone State’s electors from Obama.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Did World War II teach us anything about spending-as-stimulus? Not really.

Trust vs. Outsourcing Judgment

Modern life requires us to put a high degree of trust in those to whom we delegate responsibility

The Last Chapter Problem

The last chapter of nonfiction books is almost always lousy. Here’s why.

Which Conservatives Are Worth Reading?

Paul Krugman admits that he doesn’t bother to read conservative commentary. Should he?

Julian Assange Charges and ‘Sex By Surprise’

Julian Assange is a loathsome human being. Is he also a rapist? Under Swedish law, maybe.

Cognitive Bias and the Pundit Class

Those of us who think we’re overreacting to terrorism should remember that we’re in a tiny minority.


The Chevy Volt’s $33,000 price tag makes its modest fuel savings hard to justify.

The Security State

The People In Charge telling us that something is Necessary For Our Own Good makes a large number of people accepting of the inconvenience, no matter how asinine or unsupported by evidence.

Politicians and the Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

To the extent that these faux debates are a measure of competence to hold the office in question, Sharron Reid’s holding her own against the veteran incumbent demonstrated that she was up to the task. Or, at least, as up to it as Reid.

Presidents Captive to National Security System

As much hubris as it takes to think you can be the Leader of the Free World, it takes even more to buck the advice of the Establishment.

American Taliban, Liberal Fascism, and Judging a Book By Its Title

Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas’ new book, AMERICAN TALIBAN: HOW WAR, SEX, SIN, AND POWER BIND JIHADISTS AND THE RADICAL RIGHT, continues a long tradition in political polemics.

Conservative Media Bias

Conservatives have long complained about liberal media bias. But conservative media seems to be much worse.

Waterboarding and ‘Torture’ in the American Media

Did the American media cover up torture by the Bush Administration?

Quote of the Day – California Politics Edition

California’s idea to have flashing ads on license plates may have some down side.

Regulating Banking Practices

It had to happen eventually, I guess:   Matt Yglesias is to my right on something.   While I was reasonably sympathetic to Kevin Drum‘s argument that banking and credit card policies which force low income customers to pay exorbitant fees that effectively subsidize wealthy ones, Yglesias is having none of it: I just don’t trust arguments […]

Free Checking and Rewards Programs: Poor Subsiziding the Rich?

Those of us who enjoy “free checking” from our banks are likely to stop doing so in the near future, as the government is outlawing overdraft fees that prop them up.    Felix Salmon thinks this a very good thing: Checking is never free, but in recent years banks have been able to conjure the illusion […]

Supreme Court Justices and ‘Balls and Strikes’

Kevin Drum subjects Chief Justice John Roberts’ claims during his confirmation hearings that he would merely “call balls and strikes” to some testing. But as fond as conservatives are of this kind of imagery, it’s mostly a myth. Recently the Constitutional Accountability Center took a look at Supreme Court rulings during the Roberts era, but […]

Facebook Privacy Tip

Kieran Healy and Kevin Drum point to the existence of a site that exposes just how public your “private” information on Facebook is.  Kevin: Making use of a public programming interface that Facebook released a few weeks ago, three programmers in San Francisco wrote Openbook, a website that searches Facebook profiles for — well, for […]

Organization Kids

In his most recent column, David Brooks laments the rise of Organization Kids, of whom he suggests Elena Kagan is an archetype: Kagan has many friends along the Acela corridor, thanks to her time at Hunter College High School, Princeton, Harvard and in Democratic administrations. So far, I haven’t met anybody who is not an […]

Mirandize Shahzad? Of Course!

Two prominent Republican Congressmen have come out against reading Miranda rights to American citizens suspected of terrorism. Congressional Republicans want to know whether the Pakistani-born American arrested in the Times Square car bombing plot was read his Miranda rights, with Sen. John McCain saying it would be a “serious mistake” if the suspect was reminded […]

Limbaugh: Obama Blew Up Oil Rigs?!

Via Kevin Drum and Ezra Klein, I see that yesterday Rush Limbaugh questioned the timing of the oil spill off the Louisiana coast.  His own rush transcript is titled “Regime SWAT Teams Sent to Gulf.” That would be the Obama regime, naturally.  He seems to be alleging that Obama sent SWAT teams to blow up […]

U.S. Government Weaning Us From Salt?

The Feds are telling going to limit the amount of salt that can be in processed foods, literally ranging from soup to nuts. The government intends to work with the food industry and health experts to reduce sodium gradually over a period of years to adjust the American palate to a less salty diet, according […]

Americans Giving Up Citizenship Over Taxes

A small but growing number of Americans are renouncing their citizenship because the tax burden outweighs their perceived benefit: According to government records, 502 expats renounced U.S. citizenship or permanent residency in the fourth quarter of 2009 — more than double the number of expatriations in all of 2008. And these figures don’t include the […]

Goldman Sachs Fraud Case

As readers are likely aware by now, Goldman Sachs was yesterday charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  I’ve resisted comment thus far, as I’ve been tied up with a minor crisis at work and don’t have any especial expertise in the vagaries of securities law, anyway.   But here’s what we know thus […]

The Recession Is Over, Right?

Bruce Bartlett is “astounded” that some financial journalists are taking the fact that the National Bureau of Economic Research hasn’t told us when the recession ended as an indication maybe the recession hasn’t actually ended. No, Bartlett explains, he is “100% certain that every member of the Business Cycle Dating Committee knows perfectly well that […]

Pseudo Experts

Jonathan Chait contends that “Real budget wonks who circulate among genuine experts often fail to understand the degree to which the public debate is driven by pure hacks.”  Further, “The same basic phenomenon can be seen is debates over climate change, supply-side economics, and other issues. You have a whole ideological movement that, to a […]

Coffee Conservatives

When I first read about the Coffee Party movement a few weeks back, it was a lark that started on Facebook to “promote civility and inclusiveness in political discourse, engage the government not as an enemy but as the collective will of the people, push leaders to enact the progressive change for which 52.9 percent […]

Obama Recess Appointments

In yet another way President Obama is like his immediate predecessor, he’s shamelessly abusing the recess appointment power to bypass Senate intransigence. President Obama, making a muscular show of his executive authority just one day after Congress left for spring recess, said Saturday that he would bypass the Senate and install 15 appointees, including a union […]

Cable News in Perspective

CJR Fellow Terry McDermott argues that Fox has “simply (and shamelessly) mastered the confines of cable.”   He blathers on and on and on before finally coming to an actual point: Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours […]

Roberts Retirement Rumors: Twitter Telephone

A well-known gossip rag circulated rumors that Chief Justice John Roberts would soon resign for “personal reasons.” While the story was soon retracted, it had already spread like wildfire thanks to Twitter, blogs, and other fast-moving media. Kevin Drum was rightly dubious of the rumor but, more to to point, “curious about is where something […]

Atlantic Redesign: The Medium is the Message

Since hiring Andrew Sullivan and a slew of other already-established bloggers a couple years back, the Atlantic Monthly website has gone through quite a few design changes.  But last week’s total reorganization of the site into a series of channels, subsuming all the blogs except Andrew’s into what amounts to collections of links to archives, […]

Stimulus, Recovery, and Fallacies

NYT economic columnist David Leonhardt argues that the Obama economic stimulus package has “had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.”  Kevin Drum agrees and presents a chart by Organizing for America (aka, Obama’s campaign PAC) to argue that “We still have a […]

CEOs Ask Congress to Stop Begging for Money

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision freeing up corporate spending on politics will have, as Kevin Drum has noted, quite a few unintended consequences, including driving up the cost of television advertising. But there will be negative consequences, too, for the very corporations who are the presumed beneficiaries of the ruling. And some of them are already […]

USA Parliamentary Democracy?

National Journal‘s Ron Brownstein sees the recent bout of gridlock in the United States as a sign of a more fundamental shift in how our government operates. Obama’s first year demonstrated once again that in this deeply polarized political era, big legislative crusades aimed at big national problems produce only big political headaches. President George […]

Most Influential Person of the Decade

The Washington Post has been having one of those silly polls the last several days, asking “Which of these nominees had the greatest influence in shaping the past decade, either by changing how we live or by making the greatest impact on our culture?” Kevin Drum can’t believe they didn’t include Alan Greenspan, which is […]

Why Raising Tax Revenue is Hard

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon contends that our tax system encourages income inequality because it generates more revenue for the treasury. [W]hen you have a progressive tax system, especially when there are surcharges on people making seven-figure incomes, you also have a system where for any given level of national income, the greater the inequality, the […]

Paradox of Choice Paradoxically Untrue

Tyler Cowen dubs the paradox of choice — the idea that people become unhappy when given too many choices — “one of the most overrated and incorrectly cited results in the social sciences.”  He cites Tim Harford‘s recent piece in FT describing research on the subject: Is more choice better? Ten years ago the answer […]

Health Care: Better, Faster, Cheaper!

In a much discussed post, Ezra Klein produced a series of graphs showing that Americans pay more for office visits, scans and imaging, drugs, and other aspects of health care — often, far more — than is the case in Canada or Western Europe. There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs […]

White House Opaque Transparency

Yesterday afternoon, in a bit of faux transparency like you’ve never seen before, the administration released the names of everyone who has toured the White House from Obama’s inauguration through the end of July.  This, after various Freedom of Information Act requests to determine whether, say, William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright have stopped by. A […]

Schwarzenegger’s Veto Sudoku

A minor buzz was generated yesterday by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto message to the state assembly: It seems that, if one ignores the first two and last two paragraphs, there’s a hidden message spelled out by the first letter of the remaining sentences. If that’s too complicated, Kevin Drum has a version with the […]

Lies, Damned Lies, and Health Care Polls

Ezra Klein points to a new ABC/WaPo poll showing a solid majority support “a law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, either getting it from work, buying it on their own, or through eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid.” Further, the same poll finds a third of those who oppose would switch sides “if […]

Regulating Loud Commercials

Peter Suderman and Berin Szoka provide sane, libertarian arguments against the Nanny State regulating the volume of television commercials.  While they both find the longstanding practice where the ads are several decibels higher than the surrounding programming annoying, they nonetheless argue that it’s not a matter where government should intervene. Says Suderman, It’s easy enough […]

Stimulus Spending Doesn’t Work – Tax Cuts Do

Via Jonathan Adler, I see that world-renowned economist Robert Barro and his student, Charles Redlick, takes to WSJ to summarize their research report showing that stimulus spending doesn’t work. Oddly, take cuts do. The bottom line is this: The available empirical evidence does not support the idea that spending multipliers typically exceed one, and thus […]

Evolution of Blogging

Scott Payne has an interesting interview with Kevin Drum on the evolution of the blogosphere since the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth circa 2002.    I joined the fray about six months later and think he’s dead on. A couple of excerpts: But the political blogosphere did have a bit more of a clubby feel […]

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