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The Notion

  • February 7, 2006

    McCain vs. Obama

    In case you weren't paying attention, since yesterday there's been a very public war of words between the Senate's two most hyped members, Barack Obama and John McCain, over lobbying reform.

    Rather then tell the entire backstory, which you can read here and here, I'll make three points.

    1. McCain's lobbying reform bill is incredibly weak compared to the Democrats "Honest Leadership Act." That's why only two Senate Democrats, Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson, have signed on.

    Ari Berman

  • February 7, 2006

    Christians Dodge Spears

    NBC has abandoned, in the words of the American Family Association website , its plans to "Attack Christians with Spears." Britney Spears, that is.

    The pop sensation turned trailer trash baby momma was to guest star in an upcoming episode of Will and Grace as a Christian conservative with a cooking show on which she made "Cruci-fixins." (No question that Will and Grace has seen better days, but you have to admit it's not a bad pun.) She'll still be on the show, but the offending material has been written out of the script.

    NBC had previously been in hot water with angry Christian viewers over The Book of Daniel which portrayed a doubting Episcopalian minister. The show only ever made it three episodes before the network yanked it.

    Christine Smallwood

  • February 7, 2006

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  • February 6, 2006

    Boehner’s Broken Promises

    In his victory over Roy Blunt to replace Tom DeLay as House Majority Leader, John Boehner ran as the reformer. This weekend he hit the Sunday talk shows to explain just which reforms he had in mind.

    Banning earmarks, as he promised to do during his campaign? "I don't know that it's appropriate to eliminate all of them," he told Tim Russert.

    Banning privately-funded travel, as suggested by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert? "I've got my doubts about that."

    Ari Berman

  • February 6, 2006

    Texas Judge Denounces New Bankruptcy Law

    I received this email from my colleague Doug Henwood last week:

    A bankruptcy judge in Texas, by all accounts a sober and respected fellow, wrote the attached opinion, denouncing the new bankruptcy law. As he puts it: Congress wasn't interested in theopinions of any experts in the field, because it had its own agenda, "to make more money off the backs of consumers." He also says that to call the Act a "consumer protection" Act is the "grossest ofmisnomers," and declared that "no rational human being could make a cogent argument" in the law's favor. Wow. Check it out.

    Katrina vanden Heuvel

  • February 6, 2006

    Arnie’s Favorite Double Dipper

    To some California conservatives, she's no less than Satan. To Governor Schwarzenegger, she's his Chief of Staff and his favorite Democrat. To some reformers, she's the embodiment of a double dippin' conflict of interest.

    Susan Kennedy is also a former top aide to Arnold's predecessor Gray Davis, a former director of the state's National Abortion Rights Action League and she's a high-profile lesbian who invited scads of pols to her 1999 commitment ceremony.

    Whatever one thinks of Schwarzenegger, putting Kennedy in charge of his staff and now sending her out in public as his most aggressive campaigner for re-election has thrown everyone off-kilter. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, there will be a move at this month's state GOP convention by Republicans who despise Kennedy to withhold endorsement of Schwarzenegger. It's an unlikely bet but still sure to be messy.

    Marc Cooper

  • February 5, 2006

    Detroit: Super Bowl City on the Brink

    Must read article--by The Nation's very own sportswriter Dave Zirin--about the bacchanalia atmosphere of the Super Bowl set against the ravaged backdrop of America's most impoverished city, Detroit. Read Zirin before and after Sunday's Super Bowl. And instead of betting on the big game, give--as he suggests--to the Detroit Rescue Mission. (Give even if you bet.)

    Katrina vanden Heuvel