The Conversation

White House to Woodward: You'll 'Regret' Challenging Us

Feb 27, 2013 4:32 PM PT

Bob Woodward has revealed that a "senior" White House official warned he would "regret challenging them" with a story about the origin of sequester. Given how Woodward earned his stripes as a reporter, the White House must have felt the issue was very important indeed.

Woodward revealed an email he received from the White House about his sequester story, which argued that the White House had originally proposed the plan and was moving the goal posts for political reasons. Video of an interview Woodward gave to Politico shows him making the claim. He apparently said the same thing on CNN a few hours later.

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Sequester

Sec. Duncan Does His Best Susan Rice Impersonation

Feb 27, 2013 2:29 PM PT

Secretary Duncan's statement about sequester on Sunday's Face the Nation is about as accurate as Susan Rice's explanation of the cause of the 9/11 attack on our Benghazi consulate. In both cases, their superiors at the White House, who sent them out to peddle bogus information, deserve most of the blame.

On Sunday, Sec. Duncan claimed, "There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall." Over at the Washington Post Karen Tumulty and Lyndsey Layton do a nice job puncturing this bit of White House hype:

When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

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Politics

Munchkin politics

Feb 27, 2013 2:03 PM PT

Moe Lane has an insightful and tremendously entertaining post which analyzes Barack Obama's style of governance in game-geek terms, comparing him to a power-gaming munchkin who focuses heavily on one skill (campaigning) and takes advantage of rules loopholes to win.

Another way to phrase this observation is that Obama is wholly focused on his "one big trick," which is building popular support.  He doesn't conduct full-spectrum governance, in which he handles the duties of his office, negotiates with both friendly and opposed congressional leadership, and uses the bully pulpit to keep the public on his side.  He's only got one strategy: pile up those opinion-poll numbers until opposition crumbles in fear.  He banks political capital without spending it (counting on a helpful media to keep him from having to spend it, because they never hold him accountable for anything) and then bullies the opposition with the huge balance in his political bank account.

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Has gay sex been subverted by gay marriage?

Feb 27, 2013 1:42 PM PT

My freshman class at Harvard was the first to be randomly assigned to upperclass dormitories ("houses"). The university did not like the fact that students, given the choice, self-segregated into different communities, and was particularly disturbed by the fact that many black students had chosen to live in the old Radcliffe houses, as far away from the Harvard campus as possible. So, in typical liberal style, it denied everyone the choice.

As a result, I found myself--to my great fortune--in Dunster House, a building with a rich intellectual, political, and arts tradition, with a unique layout that encouraged social life by routing foot traffic through an intimate common courtyard. Prior to randomization, Dunster was one of two houses with large numbers of gay and lesbian students. Adams House was the more flamboyant of the two, but Dunster had a larger gay community.

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Culture

Let's Us Two Men Have This Discussion About Women

Feb 27, 2013 1:31 PM PT

In response to Feminism and ideological evolution:

 

That's an intriguing notion, Ace. I suspect most feminists of the movement's early era would readily agree with your three-point summary of their ideas. So would a lot of average women who consider themselves loosely or actively feminist today. But the hard-core movement leaders would probably get angry at you for distilling it to those three logical elements.

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Entertainment

10-Part Miniseries 'The Bible' Premiers March 3 on The History Channel

Feb 27, 2013 1:08 PM PT

For two decades now, The History Channel, A&E, Discovery, and Biography have all done a notable job of exploring the Bible, specifically the gospels, through various documentaries. Though challenging at times, I've never found them disrespectful or dismissive. For that reason, and the fact that Mark Burnett is the creator (not The Creator), I'm pumped over the History Channel's upcoming 10-part miniseries "The Bible."

Burnett, who's most famous for creating reality series such as "Survivor" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is one terrific storyteller. To craft a compelling narrative out of "reality' is a genuine skill, and he's been at the top of his game for two decades now. I can't think of anyone more qualified to take Genesis, Revelations, everything in-between, and turn it into a manageable storyline.

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