Khalid Sheikh Mohammed not coming to NYC

The White House signals tactical retreat. Bloomberg’s reversal of support was said to have been crucial, but what it comes down to is massive backlash and genuine anxiety about November 2010. Picture black-and-white footage of the 9/11 mastermind being led through the streets of Manhattan on endless replay in GOP attack ads.

Money, Politics, and Citizens United

I spent this past week complaining about government dysfunction — so I’d be remiss not to mention the Citizens United ruling. Of the many bad things that happened last week Citizens United is probably the most significant. The ruling will make our government worse. How much worse? It’s not clear — some argue that risk-averse … Read more

Scott Brown Endorses Health Care Reform

Coakley’s loss was a lot of things — but a repudiation of Obama’s health care reform it was not. Massachusetts is an odd state to be signing the death sentence for Obama’s health care reform because Massachusetts actually enjoys a universal health care program that’s very similar to the one in congress today. And Scott … Read more

The Question Everyone’s Asking

(Other than “what’s going to happen to Conan?”) Following revelations that the underwear bomber was fitted in Yemen, everyone is (or should be) asking: what is going on over there? The answer turns out to be… quite a bit. So Yemen is finally front and center on the radar for the U.S. counterterrorism effort. Not … Read more

The Pathos of Helplessness

James Fallows makes a lot of good points in his long Atlantic article, “How American Can Rise Again.” I’ll highlight just one. Let’s call it “the pathos of helplessness”: The full details are beyond us here, but the crucial point is that in principle, the United States itself has the power to correct what is … Read more

Obama’s Shrewd Bank Tax

The tea-party movement has always contained potentially contradictory strains of populism and libertarianism. Back when we were bailing out the big banks, these strands coincided: conservatives could say, look, Obama is giving your money away to Wall Street fat cats and he’s interfering in the free market. But now that Obama is proposing to recoup … Read more

When will white people stop writing articles like this?

If you’ve seen Avatar and haven’t yet read Annalee Newitz’s article “When will white people stop making movies like this?” then you’re missing out. Avatar — putatively anti-racist, seemingly simple and beautiful and extraordinarily entertaining — is in fact, she argues, mired with subtle racial biases and white ethnocentrism. She writes: These are movies about … Read more