News

More Articles

  • The Curse of ‘Twin Peaks’

    Twenty years after the David Lynch series debuted, ABC unveils ‘Happy Town.’ It looks familiar—and that’s not good.
  • Embarrassingly True Admission of the Day

    USA Today is reporting that the state of Arizona will need the federal government's help in order to enforce its newly passed and very controversial immigration law.  According to the paper, "Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, says federal assistance is 'critical' to what he describes as an unprecedented effort to prepare officers as soon as this summer to enforce the law, which gives local police authority to identify and arrest illegal immigrants."  ...
  • 'The Issue not the Bill'

    When I was a reporter in Kentucky years ago they had a standard saying in the legislature about a grandstanding member who'd be talking on the floor but not pushing for a vote: so and so "would rather have the issue than the bill."...
  • Why Insuring Young Adults Until They Turn 26 Is Good for the Rest of Us

    Good news from the White House. When the health-insurance overhaul passed Congress last month, it stipulated that instead of getting booted from their parents' health-care plans at the tender age of 19 or 22, qualifying young adults would now remain covered until 26. College students cheered; parents breathed a sigh of relief. The only problem? The new provision wasn't scheduled to kick in until September 23—meaning that millions of graduating millennials might have lost their insurance in the interim. Now, according White House health-reform chief Nancy-Ann DeParle, that's much less likely to happen. On April 19, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called on leading ...
  • Will the California Gay-Marriage Trial Ever Wrap Up?

    Ted Olson and David Boies’s  landmark trial to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage began in January with much fanfare. Perry v. Schwarzenegger was expected to last a few weeks, but here we are closing in on May. Perhaps one person just as frustrated with the slow progress as anyone is the judge himself, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who on Sunday issued a warning to Equality California and the ACLU to turn over documents requested by supporters of Proposition 8 (which banned gay marriage) or face a fine of $2,000 per day and be held in contempt of court. According to Lisa Keen of Keen News Service, who has loyally covered the trial long after national reporters left the scene: The order is a side issue in the landmark trial to challenge the constitutionality of California’s same-sex marriage ban. But that side issue has turned into a monumental struggle by pro-gay groups who opposed Proposition 8. The groups said they do not believe they should have to turn...
  • The Conservative Case Against Arizona's Immigration Law

    Conservative commentators, such as Bill Kristol and George Will, have generally rushed to the defense of Arizona's harsh new law to make local law-enforcement officers act as de facto border patrol. But Matt Lewis, a staunchly conservative but independent-minded and intellectually honest columnist at the Daily Caller, dares to dissent from the party line. Lewis supports stricter border control and does not worry about the illegal immigrants being subjected to requests for their documents since they are by definition breaking the law. But he does think that conservatives who claim to fear the expansion of government power ought not to cheer a law that allows, much less encourages, cops to harass law-abiding U.S. citizens who happen to be Hispanic. Illegals don’t advertise their immigration status publicly, and while...
  • Quote of the Day: Tim James

    "This is Alabama. We speak English. Learn it." —Tim James, a Republican candidate for governor of Alabama. James' campaign posted this ad on YouTube last week (with disabled comments, presumably to avoid any commentary in languages other than English), getting at the most important issues in his state, which has 11 percent unemployment and among the lowest educational attainment rates in the nation.
  • After Banking Reform, Energy Still Sits on Ice

    From sound policy to gimmicks. The prospect of an energy bill making its way to the floor of the Senate has gone from almost a sure thing to life support over the past two weeks as Democratic leaders have scrambled to fill in their calendar of legislative priorities. After health care, financial reform was the likely successor with energy presumed to follow, but the wild-card issue of immigration seemingly jumped the queue after party leaders did a calculus of what they needed to accomplish to fortify support before the November elections, and after Arizona's governor signed an immigration law last week that activists as well as some lawmakers think could unfairly lead to racial profiling....
  • Berlusconi's Coalition Faces Collapse

    Italy's government is again on the brink of collapse. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived sex scandals and corruption allegations for years, but now he faces an imminent threat from within his own ruling coalition. The leader's two strongest allies, Gianfranco Fini and Umberto Bossi, are in a power struggle and even they say the row will end the Berlusconi era.The internal feud became public drama last week during a live television program. Fini, who has always been loyal to Berlusconi and who cofounded the ruling House of Freedom political party with him, made a surprise announcement when he criticized the P.M.'s leadership and announced he would form a new political party, with an eye on the premiership. An irate Berlusconi responded by chiding Fini for exposing the party to "public mockery." The event devolved into a wild yelling match.The recent schism has left Italy's future up for grabs. The leftist opposition has no clear leader, so...
  • Zoonoses: When Animal Diseases Attack

    Animal-based diseases account for 75 percent of newly emerging infections, including H1N1. Can health agencies work together to stop their spread?
  • Financial Reform Doesn't Get Cloture: What That Means

    The final vote tally this afternoon was 57 to 41, repudiation not of the Democrats' financial-reform package but of the period of debate that would precede an actual vote. This means that debate can extend endlessly, or until a collection of 60 members agree to cut it off. In reality, however, it just means that party leaders will return to negotiations to iron out several components of the legislation to craft it as bipartisan....
  • Quote of the Day: Tom Tancredo

    "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like [you] should be pulled over." —Tom Tancredo, former Colorado congressman and staunch immigration hawk, on how a new Arizona immigration law goes too far
  • Beijing Moves to Cool Housing Bubble

    If dramatic new measures to cool China's property markets are any indication, it seems that the top Communist Party brass in Beijing watch Charlie Rose, too. A little more than two weeks ago, well-known hedge-fund manager James Chanos went on the popular TV show and said that China was on a "treadmill to hell" thanks to the bubble brewing in its property markets. "They can't afford to get off this heroin of property development; it's the only thing that keeps the economic growth numbers going," said Chanos. While it's not the only thing, it's a pretty important thing. At least a tenth of China's GDP comes from real-estate investment, and by some more-liberal estimates, real-estate and construction-related activities represent 60 percent of GDP.Chanos, one of the first investors to see Enron coming, isn't the only one who's worried that Chinese property prices have been rising at their fastest rate in two years despite...
  • Financial Reform’s Day of Reckoning Might Not Be

    The politics of health care were easy. You were either for it or against it, and no one questioned the lines of disagreement. Financial reform is harder, and as the vote is called later today, no one knows exactly how things will shake out. This morning on Good Morning America, Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, said a deal is unlikely. If that happens, it could lead to an actual filibuster (although the Republicans would actually have to do it, and not just make threats). But despite Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s feverish efforts to hold his bloc of 41 together, Shelby also said that within several hours, leaders would “have the votes,” signaling the package would move ahead.The good folks at Talking Points Memo have devised five distinct scenarios we could see before the day is out. Perhaps the Republicans will blink first and give the green light for a vote (which will almost certainly pass). Or maybe the Dems will blink and stall...
  • Murdoch May Have Bet Wrong on British Elections

    Has Rupert Murdoch called Britain's May 6 elections wrong? The News Corp. tycoon is used to picking winners. After his purchase of The Times in 1981, he backed Conservatives Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and he had no qualms changing ideological horses in 1997 shortly before Tony Blair's Labour Party retook Parliament. Last year Murdoch's tabloid The Sun threw its weight behind David Cameron's -Tories. At the time, they enjoyed a double-digit lead over Labour, headed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the third-party Liberal Democrats were no more than a blip on the horizon.But now a surge in popularity has given the Lib Dems a boost, making a Tory victory less certain. Murdoch's detractors are overjoyed. "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election. You will," crowed Britain's Independent newspaper in an ad campaign last week. Infuriated, his son James stormed into the Independent's newsroom. "What are you f--king playing at...
  • McCain Descending

    First John McCain tells NEWSWEEK he's not a maverick (after his major campaign ad in 2008 was entitled "Maverick") and will refuse to cooperate with President Obama for the rest of the year. Now McCain is supporting the odious immigration bill that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is signing into law. This bill is a repudiation of everything McCain has stood for for 25 years. It actually legislates ethnic profiling against the 30 percent of Arizonans who are Hispanic. It allows the police to demand citizenship papers of any brown-skinned person they see and waives the need for a search warrant if police think illegals are inside a house. Of course the bill is actually terrible for police. It turns them into immigration agents who will have much less time to actually catch crooks, not to mention not leaving them any place to put the tens of thousands of illegals they round up. In the past McCain has tamped down anti-immigrant fever. He showed great leadership in pushing for comprehensive im...
  • White House Fires at ‘Unconscionable’ Insurers

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act made the practice of denying coverage for preexisting conditions illegal as soon as the Department of Health and Human Services begins to phase in the law. But until that happens, there’s public opinion to be won and lost.Having caught wind from a Reuters article that one Indiana-based insurer is not just denying but revoking coverage from women with breast cancer, the Obama administration decided to make an example out of someone and hit back at the company, called WellPoint, with a strongly worded letter from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Here’s an excerpt:"As you know, the practice described in this article will soon be illegal. The Affordable Care Act specifically prohibits insurance companies from rescinding policies, except in cases of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact."WellPoint should not wait to end the unconscionable practice of deliberately working to deny health insurance coverage to women...
  • Embarrassingly True Admission of the Day

    Is it possible that Michael Steele has been suffering from Stockholm syndrome and is now coming out of it? How else to explain what he told students at DePaul University earlier this week?"The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don't walk away from parties, their parties walk away from them. For the last 40-plus years we had a 'Southern Strategy' that alienated many minority voters by focusing on the white male vote in the South."There is really only one response to this kind of admission from the head of the RNC: duh.
  • A New Twist in Politics: Bisexual Candidate Accused of Being Straight

    Last week State Rep. Babette Josephs of Philadelphia's 182nd Legislative District accused her leading political opponent, Gregg Kravitz, of faking his bisexuality. Why? Because Philadelphia's gay, lesbian, and transgender voters constitute a powerful voting bloc in the district, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Thomas Fitzgerald.According to Fitzgerald, Josephs told a crowd, "'I outed him as a straight person,' during a fund-raiser at the Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, as some in the audience gasped or laughed, 'and now he goes around telling people, quote, "I swing both ways." That's quite a respectful way to talk about sexuality. This guy's a gem.'" Kravitz, 29, has called Josephs's comments offensive. "That kind of taunting is going to make it more difficult for closeted members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves," Kravitz said. "It's damaging."In an int...
  • By The Numbers: The Clean Energy Race

    China passed America for the first time ever in terms of total investment in clean energy in 2009, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which expressed concern that U.S. investment efforts ranked only 11th among the 20 largest industrial nations as a percentage of GDP: $18.6BILLIONS invested by America, the second-highest amount globally $34.6BILLIONS invested by China, the highest amount globally 0.13PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by America, placing it 11th in relative rankings 0.39PERCENTAGE of GDP invested by China, placing it third in relative rankings
  • Earth Day Happy Hour: Biz Markie Edition

    We here at the Gaggle aren’t so steeped in politics that we don’t take notice of pop culture from time to time. So we took a long look—and you should, too—at this fantastic Earth Day remix from the folks at Repower America paying homage to hip-hop master DJ Biz Markie, featuring a cameo of the man himself. The message? Clean energy now, yo. (Our favorite part comes at 1:08)
  • Reid to Push Forward on Financial Overhaul

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday afternoon that he would invoke cloture for the financial-regulation bill. The Senate will move forward on the bill Monday.  ...
  • Obama Plays Populist

    There are those, like Ezra Klein, who think President Obama somehow wimped out in his speech at Cooper Union. But my take is different. ...
  • The Rime of the Ancient Stockbroker

    By Jerry Adler It is an ancient stockbrokerHe’s drinking Coke and Jacks.“Hey, I know you,” the banker said.“You worked at Goldman Sachs.“You swung a big one, so I heardWay back in the day.But here I came to watch the gameAnd now you’re in my way.”The stockbroker held up a handAnd ordered J&BHe fixed the banker with a stare“There was a bond,” quoth he.“Something called a CDOA total sack of doodyBut anyway, a Triple-AFrom S&P and Moody.”“I fear you, ancient stockbroker!I fear you’ll get me fired!You’re in the tank with Barney Frank.I think you might be wired.” “We flogged it up and down the StreetAnd lots of other placesAnd no one thought that what they’d boughtMight blow up in their faces.”“Chill out, ancient stockbroker!Get up off the floor!Why look’st thou so?” “That CDO—I sold to my brother-in-law! “And when the housing boom went bustI had nowhere to hide.Instead of a bow, the CDOAround my neck was tied.“Houses, houses everywhereAnd the market sure did stinkHouses, houses...
  • Secret Teenage Sex Codes Revealed!

    At least, that was the promise of a press release that landed in the NEWSWEEK inboxes this morning. "Secret texting codes: Are kids having sex and getting high under your nose?" asked the release. It's true: Under Your Nose has become a popular make out spot for today's youth. The solution, says this e-mail, is an interview with two authors willing to discuss both the perils of sexting and the value of good manners. The authors can also help parents decode the secret texting codes teens use to talk about sex, drugs, and, presumably, bad manners. To wit: LH6 . P911 . 8 . Al Capone . if your kids use secret texting codes like these, they just said "let's have sex (LH6)", "alert—parents coming into the room (P911)", "oral sex (8)" and "heroin (Al Capone)" Make no mistake: that would have been one hell of a text. But what's more shocking is the continued attempts to rend garments over sexting, or the assumption that...
  • Obama's Financial-Reform Speech to Be Lean, Mean

    Obama's coming north, and he's carrying a big stick: the president is expected to deliver a stern reprimand to the banking sector in his speech in New York Thursday, in the process excoriating some of his biggest financial backers, The Washington Post reports. Executives and employees from Goldman Sachs, the firm that will bear the brunt of Obama's finger-wagging, contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign in 2008. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told Bloomberg the president's speech will focus on pushing the financial-reform bill, which he advocates as the antidote to Wall Street's "failure of responsibility." "I believe in the power of the free market. But a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it," Obama will say, per excerpts released by the White House. His pitch: either Wall Street institutes and adheres to tough rules, or it risks dragging the country into a second...
  • How to Beat Republicans? Keep Slamming Them.

    It’s no secret on Capitol Hill that Democrats are on the defensive heading toward midterm elections that are considered a referendum on their majorities in Congress and their man in the White House. Part of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s job is to minimize losses however possible. With just over six months until the voting, Hoyer and colleagues are trying desperately to switch to offense, and keep Republicans from driving the conversation like they did on health care—a debate that almost proved crippling to his party’s survival.At a breakfast this morning in Washington hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Hoyer talked with reporters, taking time to slam Republicans at every turn. When asked to make an opening statement, Hoyer quipped that he’d be brief and try “not to filibuster the opportunity,” a clear jab at the filibustering party du jour.The slams continued. Taking a page from history, Hoyer noted that ...
  • Will Germany Exit the Euro Zone?

    When Greece first appeared to be on the brink of default, analysts looked for signs of a euro-zone breakup, as stronger countries like Germany balked on funneling their taxpayer euros to rescue dissolute southern economies. Now, as Europe inches toward a Greek bailout, that danger seems to be receding. But a new one's cropped up in its place. As some economists, including Morgan Stanley's Joachim Fels, now speculate, the bailout may actually raise the risk that Germany will decide to exit the euro zone to save its own neck. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing rising discontent at home, as voters remember the old pledges that Germans would never have to bail out profligate economies to the south. If Germany were to leave—perhaps along with economic allies such as the Netherlands, Finland, and possibly France—it would not only soothe domestic worries but also spare the mess of making struggling southern economies choose between default on the one hand and austerity...
  • With Justice Probe, Massa Saga Gets Messier

    Just when you thought the charges involving former Democratic congressman Eric Massa's alleged sexual misconduct couldn't get any more convoluted, new issues of possible financial fraud surfaced over the weekend, prompting the House ethics committee to take the unusual step of launching a full investigation even though Massa has resigned. As that news was being digested, documents obtained by The Washington Post reveal that FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are pursuing a separate public-corruption investigation into large payments, made shortly before Massa resigned, from his campaign fund to his chief of staff, and to renew the lease on the congressman's personal car.The involvement of the Justice Department underscored the seriousness of the allegations against Massa, and now potentially against his chief of staff, Joe Racalto.The notoriously press-shy ethics committee announced in a statement that it was establishing an investigative subcommittee to look into...
  • 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. ...
  • Georgia's Separate Peace

    Moscow and Tbilisi are still officially at war a year and a half after Russian troops rolled into the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and declared them independent. But quietly, with minimal fanfare on both sides, peace is breaking out. A crucial border crossing opened last month, direct flights have recommenced, and Russia has begun issuing more visas to Georgian nationals....
  • Could Charlie Crist in 2010 Be a Repeat of Joe Lieberman in 2006?

    As speculation that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will run for U.S. Senate as an independent reaches a fever pitch, it's worth revisiting Sen. Joe Lieberman's independent run in 2006. Consider the parallels. Back then, Lieberman was attacked by Democrats for embracing (allegedly kissing, actually) a Republican president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the Iraq War). In the current cycle, Crist has been attacked by Republicans for embracing (half-hugging, really) a Democratic president and enabling the most loathed element of that president's agenda (the stimulus package)....
  • The FDA and the Dilemma of Salt

    When I saw the Washington Post headline on my morning paper, top of the fold, saying the FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons, I knew that critics of the Obama administration would be crying "nanny state." Ingesting all the salt you want without the government telling you that it's bad for you is another of those freedoms that the tea-party crowd surely cherishes. But we could all throw out our salt shakers and we'd still be getting way too much salt in our diet. That’s because a huge amount of sodium is routinely pumped into processed food and restaurant meals, resulting in Americans consuming two to three times the recommended amount of between 1,500 and 2,300 milligrams a day set by the Institute of Medicine.  ...
  • Quote of the Day: Protecting Free Speech

    "The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it." —Chief Justice John Roberts writing for the majority in U.S. v. Stevens, which struck down a previous law banning animal-cruelty videos as unconstitutional.
  • 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.)...
  • Too Fat to Fight? Army Recruiters Discuss New Report

    Childhood obesity isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the military. But Mission: Readiness, a D.C.-based organization of retired generals, admirals, and civilian military leaders, is seriously worked up about the epidemic. In "Too Fat to Fight," a new report released on the Hill today, the group says more than 27 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24—that's more than 9 million young men and women—are too overweight to join the military. And it's calling on Congress to do something about it: to get junk food out of schools and to provide more-effective programs for kids to lose weight. "I was overwhelmed by the number," says Mission's Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, who retired from the U.S. Air Force last fall. "We need a force out there that's fit to fight." ...