Politics

Is The “Dark-Money” Apocalypse Upon Us?

By on 9.24.14 | 2:28PM

There has been plenty of hang wringing on the Left lately about so-called "dark money," cash spent on political campaigns by undisclosed donors. Andy Kroll over at Mother Jones posted a piece a few days ago which breathlesly warns of "5 Signs the Dark-Money Apocalypse Is Upon Us." Most of the fuss centers around cash spent via 501(c)(4) and (c)(6) organizations. Donors to such outfits are not subject to the same disclosure laws as those who pony up directly to campaigns or to political action committees. To be sure, opinions vary as to whether obscure political giving should be considered kosher. But would you be shocked if I told you that the Left has taken to using "dark money" as a term of art to discourage donations to conservative charities?

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Media Matters

When Journalists Commit Domestic Violence

By 9.23.14

Lo and behold, it seems that the media itself has a domestic violence problem. Ten cases discovered at first Google. Which is twice as many, to be specific, as the five cases that have had the media in such a frenzy over domestic violence in the National Football League.

Where are these ten cases to be found? Two cases at ESPN, with the rest spread out over affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC and, yes, the New York Times. And there are others for television stations not affiliated with the major networks. With all this massive focus on what the Wall Street Journal calls “moral preening” in the media about domestic violence in the NFL — isn’t it a tad curious that the same “moral preening” is absent, that the camera never swings around to the media itself?

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Political Hay

Ask a Liberal: Who Lost Iraq?

By 9.18.14

Who lost Iraq? In so many words, that is now the increasingly potent counter to years of liberal charges that America’s problems in the world can be traced to the Bush-Cheney foreign policy — specifically the invasion of 2003. The question has now taken root, with “Iraq” serving as shorthand for everything from Iraq itself to ISIS, the Syrian mess, Benghazi, and more. Graphically illustrated by the beheadings of two American journalists, a British aid worker, ISIS armies causing chaos in the once-stabilized region. Not to mention the murder of a 19-year old New Jersey college student Brendan Tevlin by a self-professed jihadist, the arrest of a Yemeni store owner in New York who sought to fund ISIS, and the news that the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan has written to the head of ISIS asking to join.

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A Further Perspective

Will We Keep the First Amendment Safe From Harry Reid?

By 9.17.14

Nobody tell Harry Reid that a few clauses of Magna Carta are still in effect—he’ll want to repeal them next.

We’ve only got a few tatters left of our own counterpart to that document, and Reid just led a party of Democrats on a raid to destroy them. Our Bill of Rights came with ten amendments, but we’re down to one that’s reasonably intact—the First Amendment—and now the Democrats want that one, too.

OK, I’ll concede the Third Amendment’s in fine shape, but only because there are no armies of soldiers crashing into bedrooms uninvited, whatever Claire McCaskill might think. But otherwise, the First Amendment is just about all we have left of our republican experiment. The forces of control have taken the rest, even our property, which they loan back to us on certain conditions.

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Scandalabra

The Scandals Are Catching Up With Mary Landrieu

By 9.16.14

Over the weekend the latest in the rolling scandal surrounding Mary Landrieu’s practice of charging taxpayers for her campaign travel throughout Louisiana made its way into a sluggish and indifferent local media.

You would think the news that since 2000 Landrieu had spent some $34,000 on forty-three separate incidents of chartered travel to fundraisers and other campaign events, the result of an audit by the law firm of Perkins Coie into her Senate office books, would have exploded into Louisiana’s media. But Landrieu’s embarrassing and troubling disclosure was released—naturally!—on Friday afternoon. And by Sunday, no mention of the news had made the front pages of the newspapers in New Orleans, Shreveport, Lafayette or Lake Charles. So far it’s a blip on the state media’s radar, the fodder for Republican rhetorical attacks against Landrieu and not much more.

That may be the attitude of most of Louisiana’s media. It is not the thinking of the state’s voters.

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Mark Sanford Breaks It Off With Fiancée

By on 9.13.14 | 6:52PM

Well, that's no good. On Facebook, Sanford is blaming his legal troubles. When I say "blaming," I mean writing at the cringe-inducing length of well over two thousand words.

I remember when things were looking up for the old boy. Here, from Robert Stacy McCain, is the classic account of his comeback, which makes for better reading than Sanford's online tell-all.

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Saturday Caption 9/13/14

By on 9.13.14 | 10:10AM

Use all your skill and creativity to tell us in the comment section what these two gentlemen might be talking about.

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History

Was Washington a Better Place When Politicians Dueled?

By 9.12.14

What we now call “Washington, D.C.” or “the District of Columbia” was for much of its history known simply as “Washington” or “Washington City.” It was also for many years little more than a swamp, the home of pimps, corrupt cops, thugs, and many ugly buildings. In the following excerpt from Empire of Mud, his new book, J.D. Dickey explains the finer points of old Washington’s dueling culture:

The gentlemen of  Washington City did more than just attend balls, feast with abandon, raise funds for charity, and live in their elite cocoons. They had other concerns too—such as trying to kill each other. The code duello, an elaborate honor code, enabled a gentleman whose pride or dignity was impugned to murder his adversary freely, as long as he did so with the proper etiquette and ceremony.

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Political Hay

2014: A Wave Election or an Earthquake?

By 9.11.14

Will the 2014 election be a wave election? Or an earthquake election? And what’s the difference?

It was November, 1922. And the Republican Party had just gotten clobbered in that year’s congressional elections. The Harding-Coolidge administration, elected only two years earlier in a landslide, lost seventy-seven seats in the House and seven in the Senate. In short, the election was a disaster, the GOP the victim of what is frequently called today a “wave” election.

But it was a wave, not an earthquake. Waves can hit the beach with tremendous force — but they quickly recede without doing much damage. Not so with earthquakes, which tumble people out of bed, collapse buildings, bridges, highways, and leave an immutable trail of wreckage in their wake. What follows is a massive rebuilding and replacement of what once seemed solid as a rock.

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