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Tab dump

1) The future-bailouts-of-America club.

2) Center for American Progress president John Podesta thinks the American system of governance "sucks."

3) People trust government more when the economy is good, and less when the economy is bad.

4) The 43 most romantically appealing American presidents -- in order.

5) I'll be on Olbermann tonight.

Recipe of the day: Last night, I made spaghetti with shelled English peas, torn mint, a lot of pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, and a few tablespoons of butter. Cook the peas and put them in an ice bath, cook the pasta, combine the ingredients along with a cup or so of the pasta water, and serve. Delicious.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 15, 2010; 6:32 PM ET
 
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Comments

blech. hate peas. can't imagine ruining a pasta with them -- that said, minus the peas, it's roman spaghetti with pecorino and pepper (caccio e ?) and that sounds delicious.

Posted by: howardclh | February 15, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The pasta sounds nice. Chilis and mint are a classic Italian pairing, and adding some heat may have been good too.

Posted by: jaymcdonough | February 15, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

An idea on the fillibuster:
Today I was thinking about how the Republicans have paid almost no political price at all despite holding up lots of legislation in the Senate. But at the same time Senator Shelby caught a lot of backlash over his decision to hold Obama's nominess. How is it that one form of obstruction is easy for Republicans but the other was costly for Shelby? One reason is that the Shelby holds were transparently corrupt; that is they were for an earmark. But the other pertains to the nature of the fillibuster; and it's something that could possibly be changed.

Senators don't actually vote to fillibuster, rather they don't vote for cloture. The effect of this is that witholding a cloture vote has the effect of being in favor of a fillibuster. So senators don't have stick their neck out and affirmatively file for a fillibuster the way that Shelby had to affirmatively hold the nominees.

What should have been learned this week is that the political cost of a "hold" filed by one senator is much greater than the political cost of simply not voting for cloture.

Why not reform the fillibuster so that it takes 40 senators to "pass" a fillibuster and require that the fillibuster be renewed every 12 hours or so? Maybe then it could be argued that a senator is voting to "block" a vote.

What would this do? Well, would Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, or Susan Collins be interested in actually casting a vote to block center-left reforms that are popular in their states? Maybe they wouldn't care but they would have to think a whole lot harder about it than they do now.

One of the many problems with the fillibuster is that it's very hard to explain. The majority leader moves for cloture which is an end to debate and then that vote takes 60 and then the senate votes and then you only need 51. Make it more simple. You need 40 votes to "hold" or fillibuster legislation and you need to renew that vote on some regular increment. That way someone who's doing a "hold" needs a damn good reason. If Shelby's conduct is any indication, even very conservative senators are not interested in being seen an obstructionist.

The fillibuser is not going anywhere, nor is the Senate, nor are our national problems. The conversation about how to get rid of the fillibuster or get rid of the Senate that is going on amongst the progressive DC elites is a huge waste of time. The proper question is how do you make the fillibuster politically costly. I have heard no one talking about this which is incredible. This shouldn't be rocket science, it's the part of politics that involves educating the public and mass communication of messages that are relevant to the political state of the country. Why are the Democrats so bad at this?

Posted by: phillycomment | February 15, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you ever post your media engagements? I'd like to see them, but I always forget to go and track them down.

Posted by: thescuspeaks | February 15, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Seems sort of vain, for something.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | February 15, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm amused by this sudden rediscovery of butter among foodies.

It's always been the magic ingredient, but people pretended they were too good for it for a long time.

Posted by: dal20402 | February 15, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Peas? wtf Ezra Klein. Where's the italian sausage and mushrooms?

Posted by: zeppelin003 | February 15, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

-Toles should research the DEM'S 1974 ERISA law and it's fallout for patient care----

i.e., ERISA allows and encourages denial of legitimate health care and disability claims for employees of self funded employer health plans---- this affects 60 million employees . See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ERISA#Health_benefit_plans

And the DEMS have done little to make ERISA'S torture of the sick and disabled "better" in 35 years!!!!!

Toles and Ezra are fools, if they believe Toles' cartoon characters represent the complex messages to politicians from disaffected citizens of any party, DEM, GOP or IND.

-----Yes,these are citizens who are disgusted with the payoffs and "legal corruption" of this President and Congress by special interests, but this is just part of their dissatisfaction.

--And it isn't just the back room deals, it is the hubris shown by the "front room" deals--like Obama's deal with PhRMA, where these politicians feel no shame about selling out the middle class and the elderly for political gain,

--- it is that insular hubris of the politicians that make citizens cynical, resulting that intelligent citizens prefer gridlock to more bad legislation like ERISA.

And the major objection against HCR for many citizens is what is in the bills--THE SUBSTANCE !!!!

And if the DEMS pass this expensive, unpopular ineffectual mess called HCR,

---which simply moves the health care pain around--- by taking health care resources from one fragile group, the sick and the old---to give to another fragile group, the poor and the sick-------- through cuts to Medicare ----funds that go directly to insurance and drug companies CEO'S yacht funds.

---- IF DEMS PASS THIS AWFUL HCR-----all 3 branches will be GOP by 2012.

REMEMBER ERISA, DON'T ASSUME DEMS CHANGE BAD LEGISLATION !!!!

Posted by: johnowl | February 15, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

I do not subscribe in any way to the proposition that George H.W. Bush (#13) was sexier than Andrew Jackson (#25). Eww.

Posted by: JJenkins2 | February 15, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, congrats on your new Newsweek gig!

Posted by: Isa8686 | February 15, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Harding and Cleveland are unfairly ranked low on the sexiness scale, yet were also known for having sex scandals the bedeviled them (Cleveland had a child out of wedlock, Harding had a mistress while he was president. Apparently there were trysts in white house closets). William Henry Harrison was a hard-cider-drinking war hero, which gives him a lot more sexy-points than he was awarded.

Posted by: tyromania | February 15, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The ranking of TR as number one is very clever. "If he slept with your girlfriend, you'd be flattered.." Actually, that was true of JFK -- men were flattered to be cuckolded by him. JFK needs to be returned to #1. Nixon at the bottom is just silly. I was surprised they (or you) did not put W at the bottom.

Posted by: truck1 | February 16, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Podesta's narrative regarding the Clinton presidency is jaded. I agree that Clinton was a good president. But Clinton was a moderate, not a progressive. He had to govern with the GOP from 1994 onward. He passed welfare reform. He passed multiple free-trade agreements. He balanced the budget. Average American welfare did improve while he was president. (Granted, many of his achievements were the result of the smoke and mirrors growth of the dot com bubble.)

America is a centrist to right of center country. Podesta's comments display the same kind of tone-deaf sentiments typical of progressives.

Americans instinctively know that what we need is a growing economy. And they also instinctively know that real economic growth can only come from the private sector.

It's remarkable really how many of the hopes and aspirations of this administration require a growing economy on the one hand while, on the other hand, burdening the private sector with massive regulatory and financial hurdles.

Steve

Posted by: FatTriplet3 | February 16, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

If you ever have kids, for about 18 years you're going to have to stop eating like you do.

"What's for dinner?"

"Peas and spaghetti!"

The response will not be positive.

Posted by: ostap666 | February 16, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm with JJenkins. I would have put GW somewhere below Coolidge, for sure.

Posted by: slag | February 16, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, I'm a bit concerned. A few TABLESPOONS of butter? Of COURSE it was delicious! Also, a bit lacking in protein. You should get maybe forty grams of protein a day at least, and a bunch more if you're working out and intending to gain muscle mass. The protein should be spaced through the day - about a deck of cards amount of quality protein each meal, not one big steak for dinner. We don't want to be losing muscle mass while clogging our arteries now do we? If you eat like that all the time no amount of universal health care will keep you from high blood pressure and heart attacks and strokes when you get a bit older, while simultaneously losing your hotness along the way. That would be tragic indeed.

Posted by: emjayay | February 16, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

OK, it's possible that all that butter won't clog your arteries, but it does pack a lot of calories. Anyway, do have some brocolli or spinach or something.

Posted by: emjayay | February 16, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The other night I had to cook for myself and was contemplating a frozen pizza or take out and ran across your link for the spaghetti with cheese and pepper. Since I had the ingredients, I thought why not? It was fantastic. I shared it with my kids also. Thanks for the link.

Posted by: JoyP | February 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Also, regarding the protein. There is a pasta out there (Ronzoni or Barilla?) that has protein in it. I use it all the time and it tastes great.

Posted by: JoyP | February 16, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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