Quick Hits

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A few miscellaneous late-night hits:

  • Mark Kleiman on a new bit of Heritage Foundation claptrap on drug policy: “What’s really scary is that the people running Heritage think they can produce this kind of crap and get away with it. It wouldn’t have been hard to run a draft report past any of a dozen actual experts hostile to cannabis legalization and have them spot the howlers.”
  • Josh Gerstein and Scott Wong on the spectacle of lefties blaming lefties because the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell didn’t get a single Republican vote: “The high-profile collapse of what would have been a landmark bill triggered a round of second-guessing and recriminations from repeal proponents. Their main targets: President Barack Obama, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and leaders of gay rights organizations who have helped set strategy for repeal efforts.”
  • Howard Kurtz on why NYT economics reporter Peter Goodman is jumping ship for the Huffington Post: ” ‘With the dysfunctional political system, old conventional notions of fairness make it hard to tell readers directly what’s going on. This is a chance for me to explore solutions in my economic reporting.’….While he was happy at the newspaper, he says, he found he was engaged in ‘almost a process of laundering my own views, through the tried-and-true technique of dinging someone at some think tank to say what you want to tell the reader.’ “
  • Nick Anderson on a new study showing that paying teachers bonuses doesn’t magically turn them into better teachers: “The study suggests that teachers already were working so hard that the lure of extra money failed to induce them to intensify their effort or change methods of instruction….On the whole, researchers found no significant difference between the results from classes led by teachers who received bonuses and those led by teachers who did not.”
  • Peter Baker on the West Wing sniping over Afghanistan revealed in Bob Woodward’s latest book: “Although the internal divisions described have become public, the book suggests that they were even more intense and disparate than previously known and offers new details. Mr. Biden called Mr. Holbrooke ‘the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met.’ A variety of administration officials expressed scorn for James L. Jones, the retired Marine general who is national security adviser, while he referred to some of the president’s other aides as ‘the water bugs’ or ‘the Politburo.’….Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas E. Donilon, who would be a ‘disaster.’…Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was overall commander for the Middle East until becoming the Afghanistan commander this summer, told a senior aide that he disliked talking with David M. Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, because he was ‘a complete spin doctor.’ General Petraeus was effectively banned by the administration from the Sunday talk shows but worked private channels with Congress and the news media.”
  • Paloma Esquivel on today’s arrest of the administrators and councilmembers of the city of Bell who had been covertly paying each other millions of dollars for the past decade: “Among residents, many of whom rose up in angry protest amid revelations about a huge salary and loan scandal, there was a sense of celebration and relief….They were ebullient, shouting ‘si, se pudo!‘ (yes, we did!) amid cheers. One man used a bullhorn to broadcast the Queen song ‘Another One Bites the Dust.’ Another held up a cardboard sign with illustrations of City Council members looking like movie mobsters in dark overcoats and fedoras. ‘Stealing us blind since day one!’ it read.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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