Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann

Senior Editor

Nick is based in our DC bureau, where he covers national politics and civil liberties issues. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, the Washington Monthly, and Commonweal. Email tips and insights to nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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What's The Problem With Conservative Columnists?

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 11:45 AM EDT

kristol.jpg

"Many of them lie in print," says New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal, speaking to the Guardian about U2 frontman Bono joining the Times' op-ed page.

Hey, Andrew? Isn't it your job to make sure the columnists you publish don't "lie in print"? Or do you just believe that the facts have a liberal bias and allowing conservative columnists to lie is your misguided attempt at "balance"?

In not-unrelated news, Bill Kristol will be on the Daily Show Thursday night.

(h/t Brian Beutler)

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Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.): Palin's Not Ready

| Mon Oct. 27, 2008 1:18 PM EDT

In an interview with his home-state paper, the Omaha World-Herald, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), says Sarah Palin "doesn't have any foreign policy credentials.":

You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything.... I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia.' ... That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.... [I]n a world that is so complicated, so interconnected and so combustible, you really got to have some people in charge that have some sense of the bigger scope of the world. ... I think that's just a requirement.

Hagel, who is retiring, is perhaps the most outspoken Republican critic of the Iraq war in Congress. Hagel traveled with Barack Obama and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) when Obama visited Iraq earlier this year. And Hagel's wife, Lilibet Hagel, endorsed Obama earlier this month. Now the Senator himself has become the most prominent Republican critic of Sarah Palin, his own party's VP pick. Could a formal endorsement of Obama be coming before the election?

Oversight of Hedge Funds/Top Dem Donors Postponed Until After Election

| Tue Oct. 14, 2008 11:33 AM EDT

On Friday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced that a hearing scheduled for Thursday, October 16 on the role of hedge funds in the current financial crisis would be postponed until after the election. The committee, chaired by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), says the postponement is to "accommodate the schedules of witnesses." Fine. But several of the hedge fund execs asked to testify at the hearing are big Dem donors who the party might not want to embarrass before the election. And by big Dem donors, I mean BIG Dem donors. Here are the numbers for the 2008 election cycle (excluding 527 contributions):

  • John A. Paulson, President, Paulson & Co., Inc: $86,974, $43,400 of that to Democrats
  • George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management, LLC : $111,190, $110,150 of that to Democrats
  • Philip A. Falcone, Senior Managing Director, Harbinger Capital Partners: $0
  • James Simons, President, Renaissance Technologies, LLC: $117,050, $105,050 of it to Democrats (only $2,000 to Republicans—the rest went to a PAC.
  • Kenneth C. Griffin, Chief Executive Officer and President, Citadel Investment Group: $70,100, $60,750 of it to Democrats

That's $385,314 worth of 2008 election cycle donations from five witnesses (one of whom didn't give anything). $319,350 of it, or 82.9 percent, went to Democrats.

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