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PostPartisan: July 18, 2010 - July 24, 2010

Lady Gaga or Congress? The myth of approval ratings

By Alexandra Petri Only 11 percent of people have "a great deal" or "a lot" of confidence in Congress. Let's put that in perspective: More people approve of the way BP is handling the oil spill. Barely more, but that’s...

By Alexandra Petri  | July 23, 2010; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
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Friday political opinions quiz

Quiz time, people. Shirley Sherrod is on it. So is Rod Blagojevich, the Arizona immigration law and Sarah Palin. What’s a quiz without the Mama Grizzly in chief, right? So, if you think you really are smarter than a...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 23, 2010; 1:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
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It's time to fix the estate tax

It’s been said that only death and taxes are certain. But the “death tax” is anything but certain now. There’s no estate tax this year -- costing the Treasury billions -- because Congress allowed it to expire. With less...

By vanden Heuvel  | July 23, 2010; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
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After Shirley Sherrod, time for the slow blogging movement

Perhaps you’ve heard about the slow food movement? I’d like to propose its cyber-cousin: the slow blogging movement. Slow food is the response to fast food. It is about taking the time to savor rather than gulp, about celebrating...

By Ruth Marcus  | July 23, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
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Charlie Rangel: ethics violator

Well, it took 18 months, but the House ethics committee has concluded that Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), the one-time chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, violated ethics rules and would face a trial of sorts starting next week....

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 22, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
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Where will BP's photoshopped clean-up images stop?

By Alexandra Petri Maybe here. What's most disturbing about this is that the level of photo-retouching expertise demonstrated here is only slightly worse than in BP's actual altered images. And I did this in fifteen minutes, using Microsoft Paint. Here's...

By Alexandra Petri  | July 22, 2010; 4:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
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Democrats surrendering on climate change? [updated]

Update, 2:45 p.m.: Reid, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and White House energy chief Carol Browner just finished speaking at the Capitol. They all repeatedly insisted that they weren’t giving up on a comprehensive climate bill. Quite the opposite, they...

By Stephen Stromberg  | July 22, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
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Shirley Sherrod: 'Where are we headed?'

Talk about luck. When “Morning Joe” asked me yesterday to be onset at 30 Rock today, they didn’t tell me that Shirley Sherrod would be appearing. I wasn’t part of the crew that got to talk to her on...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 22, 2010; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
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Tom Vilsack's classy apology

I’ve got a pre-existing soft spot for Tom Vilsack, but I thought that was a model apology to the un-fired Shirley Sherrod. Apologizing is hard for all of us; even more so, it seems, for politicial types. So many...

By Ruth Marcus  | July 21, 2010; 9:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
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Shirley Sherrod and the White House's true colors

I suppose I came to the Shirley Sherrod episode the same way most people did. I heard a news snippet about an African American Agriculture Department official regaling an NAACP audience in Georgia with a story about how, when...

By Colbert King  | July 21, 2010; 6:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
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'A disservice was done' by Andrew Breitbart

There are no innocents in the Shirley Sherrod mess. You have an administration that pushed her to resign without due process. You have a civil rights organization that condemned her without hearing her side of the story. And you...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 21, 2010; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
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After Shirley Sherrod, who needs context?

By Alexandra Petri Until Shirley Sherrod, I didn’t realize you could go back more than twenty years, find a speech, edit it, and force people to leave their jobs! This prospect excites me. Maybe the Declaration of Independence should lose...

By Alexandra Petri  | July 21, 2010; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
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The news cycle has become the enemy of justice

A news cycle that operates at warp speed has become the enemy of simple justice. This has happened because politicians worry more about the next minute in that news cycle than basic fairness. And if the internet makes the...

By E.J. Dionne  | July 21, 2010; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
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Leader of the Not-Democrats Party

I was at a luncheon today with House Minority Leader John Boehner at which just about every question for the Ohio Republican started the same telling way: If you become speaker.... The striking thing about Boehner’s answers at the...

By Ruth Marcus  | July 21, 2010; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
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Shirley Sherrod: in her own words

Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia director of Rural Development for the agriculture department, deserved better. A conservative blogger took a snippet from a 43-minute speech she gave to the NAACP’s Freedom Forum banquet in March to paint her as a...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 21, 2010; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
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The firing of Shirley Sherrod -- and the cowardice of Tom Vilsack

From everything I’ve read, I’m told that the firing of Shirley Sherrod, the once and probably future Agriculture Department official in Georgia, is about race or dishonest journalism or the vagaries of the 24-hour, incessant news cycle. Permit me...

By Richard Cohen  | July 21, 2010; 9:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (410)
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Is Harry Reid 'cynical' on energy? Is the GOP? Both?

Can Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pass a big energy and climate bill before the end of the year, let alone before the Senate’s August recess? Increasingly, senators and Hill staffers say no, and they’re wondering why he would...

By Stephen Stromberg  | July 21, 2010; 6:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
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Shirley Sherrod: Sacrificial lamb on the altar of race

As teachable moments in the minefield of race in America go, the case of Shirley Sherrod is a big one. When I first saw the video clip this morning, I was astonished. There was a black agriculture department official,...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 20, 2010; 6:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
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Clashing views, votes on Kagan

She’s a liar, a political hack and unprepared. Reduced to the most basic elements, that's essentially what Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s vote this morning. Take, for example,...

By Eva Rodriguez  | July 20, 2010; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
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Cuban dissidents don't want sanctions lifted

Those who argue that Western democracies should lift sanctions on Cuba often claim that even the island’s dissidents favor the move. So it was interesting to see the statement issued Monday by ten of the 11 political prisoners who...

By Jackson Diehl  | July 20, 2010; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
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Is it Bush's oil spill or Obama's? Yes.

In a House hearing this morning on offshore drilling, Democrats and Republicans each attempted to implicate the other party’s leaders in the Deepwater Horizon spill. Democrats faulted Dick Cheney and his secretive energy task force, which the former vice...

By Stephen Stromberg  | July 20, 2010; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
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Shirley Sherrod: Racist or scapegoat?

Were the administration and the NAACP too hasty in their reactions to Shirley Sherrod, the Department of Agriculture employee who resigned (i.e., was fired) for allegedly racist comments? A video clip posted online Monday shows Sherrod delivering a speech...

By Eva Rodriguez  | July 20, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (97)
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Who will join Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus?

The fallout begins. On Friday, I noted that Rep. Michele Bachmann’s decision to form a Tea Party Caucus in the House would put her GOP colleagues in a tough position. Many Republicans would like the Tea Party to rally...

By E.J. Dionne  | July 20, 2010; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
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'What if the Tea Party was Black?'

Now that the NAACP has us debating race and racism within the Tea Party movement, this is a perfect opportunity for everyone to do an honest read of an essay by Tim Wise. The official title of Wise’s piece...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 20, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
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Refudiate: Sarah Palin's new political language

By Alexandra Petri Refudiate: (verb) a word Sarah Palin just coined on Twitter. Meaning: something "peaceful muslims" should "pls" do. Use in a sentence: "Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout...

By Alexandra Petri  | July 19, 2010; 2:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (306)
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Alvin Greene's catechism of political cliche

By Alexandra Petri The Irish writer Brian O’Nolan said that a cliché “is a phrase that has become fossilized, its component words deprived of their intrinsic light and meaning by incessant usage… A sociological commentary could be compiled from these...

By Alexandra Petri  | July 19, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
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President Obama sounds like candidate Obama on unemployment

President Obama unveiled a different kind of Rose Garden strategy moments ago. He took to the famed West Wing spot to hammer congressional Republicans over their obstruction of legislation that would extend unemployment insurance for millions of Americans. He’s...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 19, 2010; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (59)
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What are Republicans afraid of?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and I are in complete agreement. Republicans should not simply ride a wave of voter anger and discontent without offering an alternative vision in the hope that it crashes them into the offices of...

By Jonathan Capehart  | July 19, 2010; 6:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
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