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  • Rand Paul Fires Back: He's Being 'Trashed Up and Down' by 'Democratic Talking Points'

    Rand Paul is making the rounds of talk shows trying to dial back the media storm over his Civil Rights Act PR fiasco, and even dad Ron Paul has weighed in to defend him, arguing that liberals are jealous of his son’s political future. On Thursday Rand Paul told CNN he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, despite earlier saying he had misgivings about extending a ban on discrimination to private businesses. This morning he told George Stephanopoulos that the criticism over his comments were just "Democratic talking points" and “red herrings” by opponents trying to “trash” his campaign. “"When does my honeymoon period start? I had a big victory,” he complained to Stephanopoulos. He's even added another talking point to the media frenzy, criticizing President Obama's handling of the BP oil spill. "What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' " Paul told Stephanopoulos....
  • MMS: Sorry About That 'Drill, Baby, Drill' Cake

    Humor in the workplace can be fun. But this morning, when The New York Times reported that a reception in Alaska at the regional office of the Minerals Management Service—the agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling—included a cake with the words "Drill, Baby, Drill," not many people were laughing. Feeling the heat, John Goll, the director of MMS's Alaska office, sent around this apology, obtained by NEWSWEEK, to all agency staff: ...
  • Financial Reform—With a Giant Hole

    When is a bill like a doughnut? When it has a huge hole in the center of it, one that is so critical to the success or failure of the bill that it becomes the legislation's defining characteristic. That appears to be the problem with the financial-reform bill that finally cleared "cloture"—closing off debate as it goes to a final vote—Thursday on a 60 to 40 vote that included three Republicans: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe from Maine, and Massachusetts's newly minted senator, Scott Brown. ...
  • Arne Duncan Dodges Standardized Test Question

    Secretary Arne Duncan went on CNN this morning to promote the Department of Education's newly expanded Teacher Incentive Fund, which will award $437 million in grants to educators who markedly improve student performance. The measuring stick? According to an official DOE press release, the proposed incentive plans must "use fair and transparent evaluations based on multiple measures including student growth." ...
  • Rand Paul Feeds Suspicions About Tea Party Racism

    Try as it might, the Tea Party just can't shake the accusations of racism. As I wrote in an article last month, recent polling seemed to confirm many people's darkest suspicions about the movement—that it was motivated not just by antipathy toward big government but also by racial animus. When confronted with such allegations, Tea Partiers offer a standard response: any evidence of racist sentiment can be chalked up to a tiny minority, and hey, what group doesn't have a freaky fringe? ...
  • What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball?

    In John Stossel's appearance on Fox News, he argues that the part of the Civil Rights Act governing private enterprises should be repealed, allowing businesses to discriminate against anyone they want. Stossel, in the typical reductio ad absurdum fashion of a zealous ideologue, demands to know if we care so much about our namby-pamby commitment to letting black people eat at restaurants, whether we are going to have the courage of our convictions and also make a black student association let in white students, or outlaw discrimination against mustachioed news anchors. ...
  • 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....
  • Rand Paul and D. W. Griffith

    If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor. ...
  • Rand Paul Comes out Against Repealing the Civil Rights Act

    Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul has issued a statement clarifying his comments on the Civil Rights Act. In it, he says, "I support the Civil Rights Act because I overwhelmingly agree with the intent of the legislation."  ...
  • Newsverse: Welcome to the Club, Rand Paul

    "At one time people used to think of golf, and golf courses, and golf clubs as being exclusive. But I think in recent years, now you see a lot of people playing golf ... I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that, in the sense that he's brought golf to a lot of the cities." —Republican senatorial nominee from Kentucky Rand Paul, on why it wasn't inconsistent with his populist message to hold his victory party at a country club. ...
  • The Difference Between Rand Paul's Libertarianism and Traditional Segregationism

    When I saw Mr. Conservative, a documentary about former Arizona senator and 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, I was shocked to learn that he was half Jewish. I knew that Goldwater had, unlike the overwhelming majority of Jewish people, opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. How could a Jew, a fellow minority, oppose civil rights? And how could a bunch of presumably bigoted segregationists—not known for their love of the Chosen People—vote for him? ...
  • The Salahis: Masters of Deniable Publicity

    There was a seismic shock that circulated the White House press corps this morning after ABC reported that former party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi were stopped by a Secret Service officer for running a red light and trying to turn into a blocked-off entrance last night outside the executive mansion, which was hosting its first state dinner since The Incident. ...
  • Jones and Panetta Gave Pakistani Leaders Details on Shahzad's Relationship with Pakistani Taliban, Pressed for Crackdown in Waziristan

    During a two-day visit to Pakistan, White House National Security Adviser James Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta gave senior Pakistani officials a "thorough debriefing" on what the U.S. government has learned about what is now believed to be a highly significant connection between the Pakistani Taliban movement, known as the TTP, and Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American now under arrest for attempting to attack New York's Times Square, according to two Obama administration officials who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information. Although the fact that the Pakistanis were briefed on the Shahzad case was publicly acknowledged by both nations and reported by the Associated Press, the details of what was discussed have not been previously reported. ...
  • Intelligence Czar Dennis Blair to Leave

    update: Dennis Blair's resignation as Director of National Intelligence was announced shortly after the item below was posted. "It is with deep regret that I informed the President today that I will step down as Director of National Intelligence effective Friday, May 28th," Blair wrote in a statement, which can be read in full here. ...
  • EPA Tells BP to Use Less-Toxic Dispersants

    Today, the EPA  directed BP to choose a less-toxic (but equally effective) dispersant for use in combating both the oil slick on the surface and the oil plume gushing from the broken riser on the sea floor.  More than 600,000 gallons of dispersant, a chemical solution that breaks the oil down into finer droplets that degrade more easily, have been applied on the surface, and another 55,000 gallons have been applied underwater.  These amounts are unprecedented—far more than has ever been applied to U.S. waters before.  It’s generally agreed upon that dispersants are toxic, but many argue that using them is better than not using them, since the toxicity of the undispersed oil can be greater.  Scientists have been debating many sides of the dispersant issue—including whether their benefit outweighs their risks in this case, whether it’s safe to use them in the deep sea at the source of the leak, and whether a better (less toxic and of equal or greater...
  • Everything is OK, Just Don't Lie About it

    The scandal surrounding Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's apparent misrepresentation of his military record has me feeling nostalgic for the Good Old Days in politics. Everything was so simple back in that innocent time of the early 1990s. Back then, politicians got in trouble for getting caught doing bad things, like dodging the draft, smoking pot when they were in college, or cheating on their spouses.
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    The Rorschach Test

    In the days leading up to Tuesday's electoral extravaganza--which featured heated Senate primaries in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania, plus a bellwether special election in the Keystone State's 12th District--the national political press struggled to find a fitting name for the event. "Turbulent Tuesday" was Politico's pick. "Incumbent Armageddon" was The Fix's.  For awhile, I stayed out of the debate. But now that the results have finally come rolling in, I feel confident that there's only one phrase that accurately captures what happened at the polls today: The Rorschach Test.  That's right: the old psychological evaluation that involves showing inkblots to subjects and asking them to describe what they're looking at. In this case, the inkblots were the day's marquee election contests--and the subjects were political partisans on both the right and the left. Everyone sees what he wants to see. Conservatives will be...
  • Is Pennsylvania an Outlier, or are Things Looking up for Democrats?

    Pennsylvania is supposed to be a swing state, one of the Big Three along with Ohio and Florida that dominates election nights. It has been leaning bluer in recent years: It went Democratic in 2000 and 2004, sent conservative Republican Senator Rick Santorum packing in 2006, and 2008 saw a massive switch to the Democrats in party registration, partly to participate in the party's exciting presidential primary. 2009 saw another blow to the state GOP: fearing an intra-party challenge from the vociferously conservative Pat Toomey, Republican Senator Arlen Specter switched over to the Democrats' side. But, in a year that's supposed to be terrible for Democrats, the state's leftward drift was supposed to stop. Rep. Joe Sestak's challenge to Specter from the left was supposed to be doomed by Specter's support from Washington and greater name recognition. Meanwhile, legendary Democratic Rep. John Murtha recently passed away. Murtha represented the sort of...
  • tease-mark-critz-PA-wide

    How Mark Critz Won: Following Dems Playbook

    All day long, bullish Democrats built expectations for victory in Tuesday’s special election to replace the late representative John Murtha in Pennsylvania, e-mailing taunting quotes from political observers: “Republicans have no excuse to lose this race,” Charlie Cook wrote in his famous political report.
  • Should Sex Offenders Be Jailed Indefinitely?

    On Monday, the Supreme Court released two important decisions about the prison system: one ruling that juveniles can’t receive life sentences for crimes other than murder and another that the federal government is allowed to hold sex offenders in custody indefinitely, even after they have completed their sentences.