David A.

Stories by David A. Graham

  • Rand Paul's Race Comments Roil Kentucky Contest

    Newly minted GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul has already stepped into his first crisis of the campaign, only one day after winning the Kentucky primary. Comments he made about federal civil-rights legislation and segregation during two interviews with national media outlets have earned Paul a barrage of criticism....
  • The Conservative Backlash Against Rand Paul

    On a rough night for conservatives, Rand Paul's victory in the Kentucky Senate primary was a rare bright spot. The opthalmologist and son of Rep. Ron Paul is one of the highest profile wins yet for the Tea Party, a constituency he trumpeted last night: "I have a message from the Tea Party. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back." Fox News's Sean Hannity, chatting with Sarah Palin, termed it a "Randslide." Of course, Paul's triumph is bad news for the GOP establishment. Mainstream pick Trey Grayson, who got walloped, was hand-chosen and backed by major establishment figures—from Mitch McConnell to Dick Cheney. ...
  • Will State Pension Funds Need a $1 Trillion Bailout?

    The federal government could face another economic disaster and massive bailouts within a decade if it doesn't force state pension funds to revamp their operations soon, an economist says. ...
  • Mark Souder's Loss Is Richard Blumenthal's Gain

    With two big scandals battling it out today, who's the biggest loser in today's news cycle? In one corner, there's Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut attorney general and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, who was revealed to have been exaggerating (at best) his military service record. In the other corner is Rep. Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana, a family-values politician who cheated on his wife with a staffer, and will resign effective Friday. Here's today's scorecard:...
  • Blanche Lincoln Turned Away From Polls

    Memo to Sen. Blanche Lincoln: In a close race, every vote counts. Make sure yours makes it into the tally. Talking Points Memo reports that Lincoln, who's trying to reach 50 percent in today's Arkansas Democratic primary to avoid a runoff with Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, has been turned away from the polls because she previously requested an absentee ballot. It was apparently a belt-and-suspenders move, just in case she couldn't be at home for the vote, and Lincoln's campaign says she never mailed the absentee ballot. Instead, she'll be filling out an absentee ballot.
  • Indiana Rep. Souder to Resign Due to Affair

    Rep. Mark Souder, an Indiana Republican, will resign this morning in Ft. Wayne, effective Friday, because of an affair with a female staffer. According to Politico, Souder told House Minority Leader John Boehner of the affair on Sunday. Fox News reports that Souder was absent from D.C. most of last week and missed several votes. "I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff," Souder said in a statement this morning. A former aide to Dan Coats, who is now running for Senate in Indiana, Souder has been elected to eight terms, coming to Congress in the 1994 Republican revolution. He has been reliably conservative, opposing abortion and emphasizing the importance of religion. But Souder was hammered in a tough primary over his votes for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the "Cash for Clunkers" program, although he ultimately won. Although few details are available so far, Souder's case seems...
  • How to Make an Obama Bush Scandal

    Everything that happens during Obama’s presidency seems to get termed his ‘Katrina’ or some other, usually inapt analogy. We explain the different approaches to naming an Obama Bush scandal, and how they might be applied in the future.
  • Surprise! 2009 Tax Bill Lowest in Nearly 60 Years

    Democratic leaders will no doubt be glad to see this report in this morning's USA Today. The paper ran the numbers, and by their calculations, Americans haven't seen such a low bill from the tax man since 1950. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 11 years before President Obama was born. Here's the key paragraph:...
  • Orrin Hatch's VAT Straw Man

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) takes on the tax system in a Politico op-ed published Friday. A lot of what Hatch says is likely to resonate on both sides of the aisle: he's concerned that large tax increases could trip up the fragile but improving economy, and he argues that federal tax code is simply far too complicated. The latter is a point about which there's been an even greater consensus for even longer than the former, and it's accepted by both liberals and conservatives. So far, so good. And then this:...
  • Gulf Oil Spill: Prognosis Looks Grim; Obama Speaks in Louisiana

    An already bad situation seems to be turning worse in the Gulf of Mexico. News over the weekend suggested the effects of the growing oil spill will be worse than expected, and the leak may not be stopped any time soon. BP officials said Monday they were preparing to install a shutoff valve on one of three leaks, while work to stop the others continues. ...
  • Unions, Activists Convene March on Wall Street

    One day after Republicans agreed to allow debate on financial regulatory reform—and two days after Goldman Sachs executives were pilloried on the Hill—protesters will try to bring their fight to New York this afternoon. In a rally organized by the AFL-CIO and activists, protesters will march on Wall Street itself. They're calling for "Wall Street accountability, the creation of good jobs now, and an end to predatory lending practices." ...
  • New Attention Being Paid to Bank of North Dakota

    As Washington tries to regulate Wall Street's newfangled derivatives, government officials in at least a dozen states are mulling a more old-school response to the financial crisis: 100 percent state-run banks. Since 1919, North Dakota has operated the nation's only depository of this kind, a genuinely socialist enterprise that spins tax revenues into loans for in-state farmers, students, and small-business owners. Unlike other banks, the Bank of North Dakota (BND) plows about half its profits into the state budget and takes cues from the governor, who acts as chairman, and a seven-member advisory board that the governor appoints.In normal times, such a bank might not be politically palatable. Now, however, it's emerging as an attractive model for lawmakers—in large part because North -Dakota flourished during the recession, with the nation's lowest unemployment rate (about 4 percent) and one of the largest budget surpluses (more than$1 billion). Some of the state's well-being is...
  • What Obama's Cooper Union Audience Says About Financial Regulation

    There's a sense that political momentum has shifted in favor of financial reform. For example, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has backed off earlier statements he made about starting over from scratch, and a derivatives-regulation measure even won the vote of one Republican, Iowa's Chuck Grassley, in committee yesterday....
  • Flights Resume From European Airports

    After days of paralysis, European airlines are back up and flying today. But although that news will hearten travelers who have spent days sleeping in concourses, experts warn that it will take weeks for the situation to get back to normal and all flights to be running on time. ...
  • Kal Penn, Actor and Obama Administration Official, Mugged in D.C.

    He escaped angry New Jersey cops and Guantánamo Bay, but Kal Penn was no match for the nation's capital. Gossip site TMZ reports that the actor-turned-political operative was mugged last night walking home in Washington, D.C. A robber apparently took Penn's "wallet and other personal property" at gunpoint around 1:20 a.m. That's no laughing matter—although there is a certain irony in the fact that the costar of the marijuana-fixated Harold and Kumar films had his 4/20 marred by the incident. (Also, plenty of other wags are taking their best shots.)...
  • Gates Memo: Reaction Roundup

    A hot New York Times scoop on U.S. policy has dispelled much of the warm, fuzzy feeling brought on by last week's nuclear summit in Washington. The paper reported Sunday on the existence of a memo that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in January, stating that government simply doesn't have a viable long-term plan for dealing with Iran's nuclear program. One official told reporters that the memo was "a wake-up call." Gates is trying to cool off the heated response to the article, insisting that the Times missed the context of the memo: "The memo was not intended as a 'wake up call' or received as such by the President's national security team. Rather, it presented a number of questions and proposals intended to contribute to an orderly and timely decision making process."...
  • Survey: Despite Knowing the Risks, Young Adults Are Reckless About Online Security

    Ah, the folly of youth. According to a new survey that looks at young adults and their understanding of Internet security, an overwhelming majority of people between 18 and 27 are aware of the dangers of not protecting data but don't do much to deal with it. At least 73 percent say they're worried about online fraud or identity theft, but 71 percent of those surveyed say they're not especially careful about policing their financial data, social networking accounts, and other passwords. "The irony is that the most tech-savvy generation is the one playing Russian roulette—the one that knows the risk, but still does the risky behavior," says Sam Curry, chief technology officer at RSA, an IT security firm that sponsored the survey....
  • Obama's Visitation Rights Order: A Turning Point on Gay Rights?

    The White House caught pretty much everyone off guard last night with an executive order intended to ensure visitation rights for gay couples in hospitals. The order asks Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, to allow people both to visit their partners and make medical decisions for them. Hospitals that don't comply stand to lose federal funding. Wrote Obama: ...
  • Arizona's Aggressive Stand on Immigration

    With immigration reform stalled in Washington, states have taken to passing their own border-related laws. But few have been as strict as the one OK'd last week by Arizona's state Senate. The bill, which is expected to be signed by the governor, requires police to investigate anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" may be in the country illegally—a measure that proponents claim will enhance public safety, making it easier for the feds to deport violent criminals before they strike.But based on the results of a similar national program, the opposite may be true. Since 2006 almost $184 million has been spent on 287(g), a federal-state alliance that turns local police officers into deputized immigration agents—empowered (but not required) to check the status of anyone suspected of a crime. The goal: weed out "dangerous criminal aliens." But last year the leaders of more than 50 urban police departments attacked the program as counterproductive, saying it foils real police work by...