He has succeeded in the sort of environment least conducive to producing a candidate capable of winning a national majority. Over the past few decades, Walker's home turf of metropolitan Milwaukee has developed into the most bitterly divided political ground in the country—"the most polarized part of a polarized state in a polarized nation," as a recent series by Craig Gilbert in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it.Wisconsin's governor will be announcing his intention to run for President of the United States in any... day... now. Last summer, TNR published a lengthy profile of his politics and persona: The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker. [more inside]
Thanks to a quirk of twentieth-century history, the region encompasses a heavily Democratic and African American urban center, and suburbs that are far more uniformly white and Republican than those in any other Northern city, with a moat of resentment running between the two zones. As a result, the area has given rise to some of the most worrisome trends in American political life in supercharged form: profound racial inequality, extreme political segregation, a parallel-universe news media. These trends predate Walker, but they have enabled his ascent, and his tenure in government has only served to intensify them. Anyone who believes that he is the Republican to save his party—let alone win a presidential election—needs to understand the toxic and ruptured landscape he will leave behind.
An interview with the man who banned in Boston, circa 1930. The New Republic is republishing a haul of classics from its archives in celebration of its 100th anniversary. In honor of banned books week, today's selection is a brief interview/profile of one of the U.S. Customs officials in charge of clearing books for circulation circa 1930. [more inside]
"On Monday, veteran Washington Post editor and New Yorker contributor Marc Fisher published a deeply reported, scrupulous Columbia Journalism Review cover story on how the Internet’s metabolism and economy [including instant-headline video start-up NowThisNews], which places a premium on being first to a story and on attracting clicks, has led to compromises when it comes to the whole accuracy thing. As if on cue, a fun news story has been making the rounds in the past few days: A survey found that 11 percent of Americans believe that "HTML" is a sexually transmitted disease. Other findings included that 20 percent believe a "motherboard" is a cruise-ship deck and 15 percent believe "software" is a type of clothing. The survey itself... may not exist." -- TNR on the Circular Fact Checking ecosystem of online news reporting.
Happyism: The Creepy New Economics of Pleasure. Economist Dierdre McCloskey, in the New Republic, digs into the mathematical underpinnings of the scientific study of happiness. Executive summary: she doesn't like what she finds.
"Former Harvard student Adam Wheeler was indicted [yesterday] on multiple counts of identity fraud and larceny. According to the Boston Globe, Wheeler allegedly built a 'fraudulent life history that led to his admission to Harvard, and for using forged academic materials from Harvard when he applied for the prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.'"* In his transfer student application to Harvard "...Wheeler claimed he got a perfect score on the SAT, straight A's at prestigious prep school Phillips Academy Andover and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...In reality, he had never attended either school..."* He has plead not guilty to the charges. [more inside]
In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections.- Going Under by Jason Zengerle of The New Republic [print version] is heartbreaking article about the high rates of drug addiction among anesthesiologists. It tells the story of Brent Cambron and his spiral into addiction. His live was also sensitively chronicled in The Boston Globe by Keith O'Brien in Something, anything to stop the pain [print version]. [more inside]
The Plank started it, using a NY Times piece on MyDD.com founder Jerome Armstrong's recent settlement with the SEC to impune Daily Kos's integrety with accusations of graft and extortion, revealing a secret liberal-blog mailing list. Kos counterattacks. TNR expands their assault. David Brooks piles on. Kos's allies respond. TNR retracts (somewhat), and brings up another skeleton in Jerome's closet. Finally, the adults weigh in.
"It would be best if the arrest or killing of [Osama bin Laden] were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July." During the first three days of the Democratic National Convention, the Bush administration offers The July Surprise.
The New Republic. . . is one of multiple sources featuring variations on Bush-hating in recent weeks. What's up with the sudden currency of the phrase?
Can Mercenaries Protect Hamid Karzai? The US govt is hiring private mercenaries to do it's dirty work overseas. In short, by hiring private military contractors such as DynCorp, the U.S. government has found an effective way to conduct foreign policy by proxy and in secret. These proxies cannot be monitored, are effectively immune from all criminal sanctions, and are dangerously hard to control since they answer to corporate bosses, not military brass. (easy registration required)
The Christian Right and Israel is the topic of this interesting article from the editor of The New Republic, who sees the Christian conservatives' interest in Israel as less than persuasive, as it relies on Biblical legitimacy and not Democratic legitimacy. From the article: "for Christian conservatives like Armey and Parshall, Israel's interests cannot be defined pragmatically, because Israel's primary function is to clarify a larger worldview. Whether or not most evangelicals truly believe Israel's wars will usher in the Messianic Age, they are theologically conditioned to see its struggle as Manichaean".
New World Order? As Israel and India form a new friendship, it seems that Israel's arch enemy, Arafat, is forming alliance with China, India's arch enemy. Apologizes for linking to DrudgeReport for the Arafat story, but that's all I could find.
So far, G-Dubya's first 100 or so days in office have been a media party. (What happened to all that liberal media bias Rush Limbaugh was talking about, anyway?) Is it time for the hangover? Reporters are starting to realize that a photo-op at alternative fuels production facilities can't hide the fact that he's paying off his energy business cronies, that different skin colors and genders among Appeals Court nominees doesn't necessarily equal "diversity", and that Bush is generally not walking the walk for all his "compassionate Conservative" talk.