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Captain America vs. Tea Party

Captain America Tea Party Comic

Earlier this week, Warner Todd Huston called attention to a sequence in the current issue of Captain America in which the title hero and his on-again, off-again sidekick, The Falcon, lament the racist yahoos of the Tea Party movement.  Here’s the strip in question: Huston’s description: In issue number 602 of Captain America, a new […]

‘Little House’ Books a Collaborative Effort?


Those of us over a certain age recall the “Little House on the Prairie” television series and many of us read several of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books upon which it was loosely based. An interesting New Yorker profile by Judith Thurman examines the story behind the story. Wilder scholarship is a flourishing industry, particularly […]

Financing the Life of the Mind


Russell Jacoby laments that it has become almost impossible for intellectuals to sustain themselves without institutional backing: Yes, a few souls manage to hustle and do quite nicely, for instance, Christopher Hitchens. Yes, a few magazines like the “New Yorker” pay a living wage, but for most to survive, if not flourish, requires a working […]

Great Compromise Not So Great?


Matt Yglesias has discovered the facts that 1) each state gets two Senators and 2) some states are bigger than others, a condition that has obtained since the inception of our current system in 1789.  There was, as some may recall having read, this thing called the Great Compromise whereby delegates representing sovereign states under […]

Air Force One Flyover Frightens New Yorkers


An aircraft that would have been “Air Force One” except that President Obama wasn’t on board staged an ill-fated photo op in New York City yesterday morning. It was supposed to be a photo opportunity, a showcase of Air Force One alongside the sweep of New York City skyline. But as the low-flying Boeing 747 […]

Extreme Beer


Burkhard Bilger explores the rise of craft beers for The New Yorker. “When you’re trying to create new brewing techniques and beer styles, you have to have a certain recklessness,” Jim Koch, whose Boston Beer Company brews Samuel Adams, and who coined the term “extreme beer,” told me. “Sam has that. He’s fearless, but he’s […]

OTB Radio – Tonight at 7 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live tonight from 7-8 Eastern. Dave Schuler will be joining me tonight to talk about recent events in the news.  Possible topics include: The New Yorker cover flap McCain and Obama’s evolving Iraq and Afghanistan plans Freddie and Fannie bailout Alternative energy […]

Only Muslim Extremists Get Upset About Cartoons

Obama New Yorker Cover

Good line, purportedly from Jon Stewart: Obama is not upset about the cartoon that calls him a Muslim extremist. Who gets upset about cartoons? Muslim extremists. via Steve Garfield. See “New Yorker Obama Terrorist Cover” for background and commentary on the story. UPDATE:  Amusingly, I see via Memeorandum, the hubbub goes on.  Obama is continuing […]

Presidential Succession Crisis?

Harry Truman

Bruce Ackerman has read a novel and heard unsubstantiated rumors and from these concocted a Constitutional crisis which he’s convinced the folks at Slate to publish. New Yorker writer Jane Mayer’s new book, The Dark Side, opens with a shocker. Apparently sometime in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan issued a “secret executive order” that in […]

New Yorker Obama Terrorist Cover

New Yorker Obama Terrorist Cover

The liberal blogs are in a tizzy about the cover of the July 21 New Yorker, an illustration by Barry Blitt which shows the Obamas in terrorist outfits, doing a fist bump with a big portrait of Osama bin Laden over their mantle with an American flag burning in the fireplace: Given that this is […]

Subsidizing Home Ownership

Subsidizing Home Ownership

Ezra Klein jumps on a growing meme the home ownership isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and that the government should stop subsidizing it. He points to Paul Krugman, who argues in today’s NYT that it’s time to rethink our decades-long bipartisan consensus that home ownership should be encouraged. While everyone stresses the advantages […]

New York Recognizes Gay Marriage

Gay Wedding Cake

While gays still can’t marry in New York, marriages performed out-of-state will now be recognized when they come home. Same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere will be recognized in New York in response to a state court ruling this year, Gov. David Paterson’s spokeswoman said Wednesday. State agencies, including those governing insurance and health care, must […]

Rebuilding the Republican Brand

Fall of Conservatism New Yorker

It’s not exactly news that the Republican Party is in the doldrums at the moment. It lost control of both Houses of Congress in the 2006 elections, its president is at historic lows in the polls, it has lost a string of special elections and its incumbent Congressmen are retiring in droves, and the odds […]

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Charlton Heston Dead at 84

Hollywood legend and longtime NRA spokesman Charlton Heston had died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Robert W. Welkos and Susan King for the LAT: Charlton Heston, the Oscar-winning actor who achieved stardom playing larger-than-life figures including Moses, Michelangelo and Andrew Jackson and went on to become an unapologetic gun advocate and darling of […]

McCain and Giuliani GOP’s Best?

McCain and Giuliani GOP's Best?

Collapsed I-35 Bridge Rated Deficient Years Ago, Mirrors National Problem

Minneapolis Highway Bridge Collapses Photo 3

The span of I-35 bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last night was rated structurally deficient two years ago, Dan Browning reports in the Star Tribune. The highway bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi River on Wednesday was rated as “structurally deficient” two years ago and possibly in need of replacement. That rating was contained in […]

H.R. McMaster Passed Over – Reverse Peter Principle?


The legendary Colonel H.R. McMaster has been passed over, for a second time, for promotion to flag rank. Matt Bennett, a VP at the liberal Third Way sees this is a “corollary to the Peter Principle: genuinely gifted and brilliant public servants who are kept far below the level to which they should ascend.” He, […]

Meghan O’Rourke Envy


The fine folks at Gawker have a longish essay trying to figure out “Why People Hate Meghan O’Rourke.” Or, more precisely, why they find it annoying that an attractive young Yale graduate who has had prestigious writing gigs at The New Yorker, Paris Review, and Slate is getting her first book of poetry feted in […]

Netroots The Left’s New Machine


Jonathan Chait has a longish cover piece in TNR entitled, “The Left’s New Machine: How the netroots became the most important mass movement in U.S. politics.” What particularly struck me was this: The most significant fact of American political life over the last three decades is that there is a conservative movement and there has […]

New Republic Goes Canadian, Bi-Weekly


The New Republic has been bought out by a Canadian company and will be relaunched in a bi-weekly, glossier format. The New Republic, the thinning left-leaning weekly magazine whose circulation has plunged in the era of the Web, is overhauling itself with a new configuration of owners, who are investing in a new look for […]

Executive Pay Realities


Tyler Cowen discovers this factoid in a report by a self-described Strategy Center for Progressives: The top 50 companies alone have a market capitalization approaching $5 trillion. Limiting CEO pay, as some neopopulists propose would have little to no impact on overall wages or compensation. If every penny of the $14.4 billion earned by the […]

How Rudy Giuliani Can Sell Himself to Conservatives


YahooNews is running an evergreen piece by AP’s Liz Sidoti examining Rudy Giuliani’s strengths and weaknesses in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. It’s a solid assessment. Before Sept. 11, Giuliani was known as the hard-charging prosecutor-turned-politician who cleaned up Times Square, led the city out of fiscal despair and brought Republican rule back […]

Jimmy Buffett at 60


Slate music critic Jody Rosen sums up the career of Jimmy Buffett, who turned 60! this past Christmas: Buffett is one of the music business’ singular success stories. He has parlayed an unlikely subject—getting shitfaced while cruising the Gulf Coast in your power boat, basically—into a multimillion-dollar industry, a perennial place on Forbes‘ list of […]

Media Aren’t the Enemy in Iraq


Neocon extraordinaire Max Boot hammers hard the notion that defeatist reporting from a hostile media is to blame for our problems in Iraq: Whatever the shortcomings of some reporting, there has been a lot of first-rate coverage by a heroic corps of correspondents that has persevered in the face of terrible danger. (At least 109 […]

New Yorker for President?


Outgoing New York governor George Pataki is visiting New Hampshire and Iowa and otherwise “weighing his options” vis-a-vis a 2008 presidential bid (via Taegan Goddard). With Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, and Michael Bloomberg already leaning toward running, it would be one crowded field of New Yorkers vying for the White House. I guess they figure […]

Democratic Sincerity on Gay Marriage


In the wake of yesterday’s New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, the heat is likely to be turned up further on Democrats’ efforts to distance themselves from the same-sex marriage issue. An inadvertent case in point: David Greenberg’s attempt to show that Democrats aren’t really that pro-gay-marriage after all at Open University, complaining about a New […]

Dining With Christopher Hitchens


Ezra Klein recounts a passage from the a profile of Christopher Hitchens in the current New Yorker wherein wherein our hero goes off on an expletive-laced tirade at a dinner party against guests who demurred from his description of Howard Dean as “a raving, sinister, demagogic nutbag.” No mention in the excerpt as to whether […]

Reassessing Lacrossegate


Widely-respected legal writer Stuart Taylor takes to the pages of Slate to thoroughly evicerate a rather pathetic effort by the New York Times to rehabilitate the efforts of Durham’s Keystone Kops and bumbling DA Mike Nifong in the interminable Duke lacrosse investigation. Quoth Taylor: Like the headline, the piece cultivates a meretricious appearance of balance. […]

Nope, Nobody Resells Tracfones for Money


The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association are just making this all up. DALLAS — People who buy prepaid cell phones in bulk to resell for profit are raising terrorism suspicions for law enforcement officials and causing big problems for wireless providers. “Very simply, what’s going on here is you can buy a prepaid phone in […]

Middle Class Disappearing in Major Cities


A few “superstar cities” are thriving but strangely have virtually no resident middle class, according to a recent Brookings study covered in today’s NYT. SOME big American cities are flourishing as at no time in recent memory. Places like New York and San Francisco appear to be richer and more dazzling than ever: crime remains […]

The Daily Hysteria: Haynes Is A “War Criminal”

Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan declared Fourth Circuit nominee Jim Haynes a “war criminal” that “was instrumental in the endorsement and enabling of torture” when he was “general counsel for president Bush.” Today, Scott Johnson has posted a rebuttal to Sullivan’s now typical hyperbole, with the aid of John Yoo, at Power Line. “Money quote” from Yoo: […]

Reporters and Bloggers: Synergies and Divergencies


Robert Worth had a piece in yesterday’s NYT noting that the proliferation of online information has driven a cottage industry of online experts who journalists must rely on. Journalists in Iraq are far too busy with the perils of on-the-ground reporting to sit at screens for hours browsing for terrorist Internet traffic. That is why […]

Gay Ads in Straight Places


Jeff Harrell points to the an image from Apple Computers’ new ad campaign: He and I have the same immediate reaction: Two gay guys holding hands. He reads some age issues into it that wouldn’t otherwise have occured to me. His friend in the advertising industry thinks he’s reading too much into it. I don’t […]

Abolishing the Electoral College by Stealth


A group called Campaign for the National Popular Vote has been pushing a plan to essentially do away with the Electoral College without amending the Constitution. I read about it in The New Yorker a while back and it’s apparently gaining some steam. Basically, they want the president to be the winner of the most […]

Nuking Iran, Redux


Sy Hersh’s New Yorker article claiming that the Bush administration is seriously planning a limited nuclear strike on Iran has spawned several reaction pieces from the mainstream press as well as dozens of blog posts. Most of the early press pieces were merely “reports” based entirely on the Hersh piece, with this AFP story typical. […]

Administration Gearing Up for Regime Change in Iran?

Sy Hersh claims in a long New Yorker piece that the United States is on the path to war with Iran to stop them from acquiring nuclear weapons. The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for […]

Rudy Giuliani Enjoying Presidential Guessing Game


Howard Fineman believes that, “Rudy Giuliani may or may not run for president. But he’s having a heavenly time thinking about it.” All of which makes Rudy Giuliani’s intentions pivotal—”maybe the most important chess piece on the table right now,” said a GOP strategist close to McCain, who declined to discuss a potential rival on […]

Atlantic Monthly Names James Bennet Editor


Atlantic Monthly has named James Bennet, the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, as its new top editor. After a lengthy search, The Atlantic Monthly today named a new editor — James Bennet, a reporter for The New York Times, who will be following a long line of storied editors from James Russell Lowell and […]

David Lat the New Wonkette?

Peter Lattman at WSJ’s Law Blog reports that David Lat is replacing Ana Marie Cox at Wonkette. Here’s the latest buzz: Queen of the blogosphere Ana Marie Cox is said to be handing over the reins at her spicy political blog Wonkette. David Lat, the federal prosecutor who revealed himself to the New Yorker magazine […]

Craig Murray’s British Torture Memos

Craig Murray, formerly the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, has copies of two documents showing that the Blair Government knowingly allowed “extraordinary rendition” and willingly used intelligence gathered through torture by the Uzbekis. The first document contains the text of several telegrams that Craig Murray sent back to London from 2002 to 2004, warning that the […]

Woody Allen Admits Making Mediocre and Miserable Films

Woody Allen told a BBC interviewer that he makes mediocre films that nobody comes to see despite critical acclaim. In his trademark pessimistic style, US cinema legend Woody Allen said he is a “mediocre” director of “miserable work”. “I’ve disappointed myself most of the time,” the New Yorker told BBC television, rejecting claims he is […]

Bush Allowed Warrantless Phone Surveillance After 9/11


The New York Times reports, over national security objections by the administration, illegally leaked information by officials of the National Security Agency that President Bush authorized warrantless domestic spying in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the […]

Dog Poop Economics


Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt apply Freakonomics to the problem of uncollected dog poop, which some critics will likely find quite appropriate. Dog-Waste Management (NYT | RSS) Most of the animal dung produced in today’s New York comes from our dogs. (Estimates of the dog population vary widely, but one million is a good guess.) […]