I’m quite looking forward to Hillary Clinton being president of the United States. I think she will probably run, I think she will probably win, and I think she’ll be at least a good and maybe a great president. What I’m not particularly looking forward to is the process by which she’ll have to get there. Just in the past few days here, Maureen Dowd and Richard Cohen have laid before us in the form of two recent and silly columns little reminders of the prejudice against Clinton within a certain slice of the liberal chattering class, a prejudice that will swell predictably as she passes the various posts that stand between her and the nomination and, finally, election. Fortunately, these chatterers are less and less relevant every election. Clinton should welcome their animus. It can only help her.” – Michael Tomasky


 

 

President Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Bill Cl...

President Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attending the Dinner Honoring the Nation’s Governors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Hillary 2016 Brings Back Boomer Clinton Rage

 

by Michael Tomasky Aug 14, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

 

I’m quite looking forward to Hillary Clinton being president of the United States. I think she will probably run, I think she will probably win, and I think she’ll be at least a good and maybe a great president. What I’m not particularly looking forward to is the process by which she’ll have to get there. Just in the past few days here, Maureen Dowd and Richard Cohen have laid before us in the form of two recent and silly columns little reminders of the prejudice against Clinton within a certain slice of the liberal chattering class, a prejudice that will swell predictably as she passes the various posts that stand between her and the nomination and, finally, election. Fortunately, these chatterers are less and less relevant every election. Clinton should welcome their animus. It can only help her.

 

Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauds international delegates, where she spoke at a women’s leadership symposium at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania on July 9, 2013. (Matt Rourke/AP)

 

I have observed many strange things in my years of tilling these fields, but surely nothing stranger than the way the arbiters of conventional wisdom in America have viewed the Clintons. It’s a deep and weird Baby Boomer psychodrama that I can summarize as follows: when the Clintons first hit the national scene, they were doing so at the same time that strivers of their generation were starting to displace the old graybeards in the news business. Tim Russert took over Meet the Press in 1991. Dowd got her column in 1995. The ’60s generation was taking over. Things were going to be different. Here was a cohort, after all, that grew up thinking that it could, and would, change the world. And now one of their own was president! We would witness the dawn of a new era of authenticity, to use a big ’60s word, and the Clintons would lead it.

 

Soon enough, though, the Boomer generation turned out to be no more authentic than any other—indeed quite less authentic, or at least less admirable, than the greatest generation, whom Tom Brokaw limned between hard covers the same year the world learned the name Monica Lewinsky. Though the Boomer journalists began to turn on the Clintons before the Lewinsky scandal, that really sealed it. Obviously, there were good reasons for any human being to consider what Bill Clinton did there to be unacceptable. But there was a self-regarding quality to many Boomer journalists’ scribblings (and on-air musings—the cable nets were taking off around this time) about the whole mess, as if the Clintons had somehow done this to them. Chris Matthews—oh, if you could have heard him in those days going on and on and on about the Clintons, and about Al Gore too (Matthews has even said that he voted for George W. Bush in 2000).

 

I served my time inside the walls of this abattoir as Hillary first sought her New York Senate seat in 1999 and 2000, a race I covered closely. My God, the hatred of Hillary one heard then! Especially among white Boomer women. At one event in early 2000, I ran into the journalist Jim Traub. We were chatting about this matter, and he said he’d spoken to a shrink friend of his who was aghast at the number of women who were plopping themselves down on his couch and—well, as Jim said to me: “Can you imagine, these women spending $165 an hour to talk about Hillary?”

 

Dowd and Cohen are here to remind us that the knives will once again be unsheathed.

 

That was then. Ever since, Clinton has of course served a very successful stint as a senator from New York, successful enough that when she sought reelection in 2006, the Republicans had no one of importance to run against her. (I remember well their blood vows to make sure she was a one-termer.) She then became the secretary of State, and an excellent one, forging major diplomatic breakthroughs with Russia (since rescinded by Putin, not her fault) and other triumphs like the Libya coalition. In between, she ran a not-very-good presidential campaign, it is true. But there’s very little room to doubt the proposition that someone who has been both a senator and a secretary of State, and has to boot lived in the White House for eight years and seen daily what it’s like to have that job, is amply prepared to be the president, and is not remotely the same person she was in 1999.

 

The world has moved on from those tremulous Boomer anxieties. Well, most of the world has. But Dowd and Cohen are here to remind us that the knives will once again be unsheathed. Dowd’s column was notable only for the fact that she found the flimsiest pretense possible for printing the name Gennifer Flowers, and Cohen is in a lather because Clinton doesn’t have a message yet (of course, if she did, he’d be writing about how having one so early openly showed Clinton’s breathtaking chutzpah). Of Matthews, though, we must say that he has moved on: he has understood, to his great credit, from very early on how lunatic and dangerous today’s Republican Party has become, and he’s changed his tune accordingly.

 

Matthews’s change is important. Back in the 1990s, there seemed to many people to be little truly at stake in our politics. The Cold War was won. The parties disagreed, of course, and money was rotting the system, yes. But the corrosive effects of both polarization and legal corruption were nothing compared to today. And one of our two major parties hadn’t yet lost its collective mind. This was the historical era when many center-liberals decided it was cooler to bash liberalism than conservatism—when Slate was born, for example, specializing as it did (and still does a bit, but not nearly as much) in producing the “counter-intuitive” “liberal” take on something like why Charles Murray might be right about IQ after all.

 

That era is pretty close to dead, thankfully. But in a certain kind of pundit, Hillary Clinton will always inspire the same kind of reaction she did two decades ago. It will make for tedious reading, but it will end up helping Clinton, this superficial japery, because the rest of the country understands that the stakes are too high now, and any journalism that doesn’t sink its teeth into that problem will just look silly. And the curse of the Boomer psychodrama about the Clintons will be canceled for lack of interest.

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/14/hillary-2016-brings-back-boomer-clinton-rage.html

 

Why does the U.S. lag behind our peers when it comes to educating our students? Dana Goldstein on a new book that looks at school systems across the globe to come away with a startling conclusion: they value the intellect more than we do.


by Dana GoldsteinAug 9, 2013 4:45 am EDT

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Julia Sweeney/Teach for America, via AP

For all our national hand-wringing about standardized testing and teacher tenure, many of us immersed in the American education debate can’t escape the nagging suspicion that something else—something cultural, something nearly intangible—is holding back our school system. In 1962, historian Richard Hofstadter famously dubbed it “anti-intellectualism in American life.”

Julia Sweeney/Teach for America, via AP
“A host of educational problems has arisen from indifference,” he wrote, “underpaid teachers, overcrowded classrooms, double-schedule schools, broken-down school buildings, inadequate facilities and a number of other failings that come from something else—the cult of athleticism, marching bands, high-school drum majorettes, ethnic ghetto schools, de-intellectualized curricula, the failure to educate in serious subjects, the neglect of academically gifted children.”

Article continueshttp://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/09/why-the-world-is-smarter-than-us.html

What Links the Neo-Confederate Virginia Flaggers, Barack Obama & Race?


Just south of Richmond, Va., on Interstate 95, a small group of neo-Confederates have leased a patch of land, where they’ll erect a 50-foot pole and fly the Confederate battle flag, all day, every day. On their website, the “Virginia Flaggers” say  the flag will “serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond”—the former home of the Confederate States of America—and “remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage.”

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A confederate flag is held by an attendee of the 63rd Annual Shad Planking political rally in Wakefield, Va. (Tom Williams/Roll Call, via Getty)

It’s hard to imagine a more self-refuting phrase. The Confederacy was a government founded on the preservation and expansion of slavery and white supremacy. “Our new government,” explained Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens, in an 1861 speech, “is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.” There’s no question we should remember the Confederate assault on human freedom, but it’s immoral to say we should honor it.

But while shame is appropriate for the Virginia Flaggers, it’s also true that there’s nothing interesting about Confederate sympathizers—they’re a mainstay of American life. Just last month, we learned that a vocal neo-Confederate ran “new media” for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and ghost-wrote his first book.

What’s interesting is what the group said on Independence Day: “God bless America…and God bless those who have the courage to stand in the face of tyranny…whether it be in 1776…1861…or 2013!”

It’s hard to read this as anything other than a reference to President Obama, whose loudest opposition comes from Tea Party groups that routinely describe him as a “tyrant” who threatens American freedom. The point isn’t to compare Tea Party groups to Confederate sympathizers but is something to keep in mind when noting, as The New York Times’ Ross Douthat did earlier this week, racial polarization in the electorate. Arguing against claims that Republicans are mostly to blame for the highly racialized voting of the 2012 election, when whites pulled the lever overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, Douthat writes that “racial bias alone can’t explain why the president went from losing non-college-educated white voters by only 18 points in 2008 to being 40 points underwater with that same demographic today.”

Article continues: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/08/what-links-the-neo-confederate-virginia-flaggers-barack-obama-race.html

No problem has been more insoluble for Barack Obama than closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. But last week there seemed—outwardly at least—to be signs of progress. – By Daniel Klaidman, Newsweek


Ever since President Obama vowed to tackle the Guantánamo challenge in a major national security policy address in May, numerous staffers have been tasked with working on the project.

Ever since President Obama vowed to tackle the Guantánamo challenge in a major national security policy address in May, numerous staffers have been tasked with working on the project.

On July 24, the Senate held its first hearing on the matter since the earliest days of the Obama presidency, and Democratic senators addressed the issue with a passion and urgency that in recent years had given way to fatalism and resignation. Earlier that day, the White House had delivered a two-page plan to Congress explaining how it intended to close the facility. That alone seemed like a significant break from Obama’s first bid to shut Gitmo, back in 2009. At the time, lawmakers complained bitterly that the administration was failing to energetically engage them on the issue. Now even some Republicans were sensing momentum—and showing a willingness to work with the White House. John McCain, who recently traveled to Gitmo with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, praised the administration’s renewed efforts on the issue. “The difference between 2009 and 2013 is the administration now has a plan,” he exulted in an interview with Bloomberg’s Al Hunt.

Article continues:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/07/31/president-obama-s-secret-gitmo-plan.html

A Record 21.6 Million Millennials Live With Mom and Dad



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By Kelli B. Grant   Aug 2, 2013 1:05 PM EDT

More than a third of American millennials are living at home with their parents, according to a Pew Research Center study released Thursday.

When the recession began in 2007, 32 percent or 18.5 million of millennials—defined as 18- to 31-year-olds—had not left the nest. Today, it is 36 percent, or 21.6 million.

According to Pew’s analysis of Census Bureau data, the number of millennials still living at home is the highest percentage in four decades.

A driving factor: declining employment. Last year just 63 percent of young adults in that age group were employed, down from 70 percent in 2007.

“You’re much less likely to be living with your mom and/or dad if you have a job, and job holding still hasn’t picked up,” said Richard Fry, a senior research associate with Pew Research Center.

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Another interesting finding in the study is the gender difference. Men are more likely to hang at home than women: 40 percent to 32 percent.

It costs a little less than $300,000 to raise a child to age 17, according to Department of Agriculture figures. And maybe another $160,000 to put him through college. But as the Pew study reveals, more families are finding the big bills don’t stop once kids reach adulthood.

Today’s offspring who fail to launch have become a major financial-planning issue, said certified financial planner Lynn Ballou, a managing partner at Ballou Plum Wealth Advisors in Lafayette, California.

Parents already have a tendency to sacrifice their own retirement planning and other savings to send their children to college, banking on them to find good jobs at graduation.

“Come to find out, your grad is unemployable and can’t even find a job at Starbucks,” said Ballou, who estimates that a third of her clients are providing some financial support to an adult child.

Unexpected expenses to care for adult children can force parents to make severe cuts in their own spending, delay retirement or dip into savings.

But parents shouldn’t feel obligated to continue providing the same support as they might for a teenager.

“They could be there forever if you don’t charge them some rent and make them do some chores,” said certified financial planner Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network. Adult children who can’t find a job outside the home should be asked to contribute with jobs around the house, she said.

If there’s good news, it’s that boomerang babies aren’t entirely those who can’t afford to live on their own. By Pew’s estimates, one third to one half of those young adults living with Mom and Dad are college students who spend most of the year on campus and come home for breaks. (Whew.)

College graduates are also less likely than less-educated counterparts to live at home, particularly after they turn 25, Fry said.

Parents of children college-aged and younger may find it’s prudent to beef up their emergency fund from the recommended six months’ worth of living expenses up to 12 months, just in case.

“From where we’re sitting, it could be a good decade to work this out,” said Ballou. “Hope for the best and plan for the worst. Assume your child is going to not launch until they’re in their late 20s.”

Even when the job market picks up, however, parents may find they need to put off remodeling Junior’s room into a home office.

“It’s not just the poor economy,” Fry said. “There indeed may be less stigma among young adults about living at home. Even when the economy fully recovers, the tendency may be to live at home longer.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/02/a-record-21-6-million-millennials-live-with-mom-and-dad.html

Thanks to an outdated law, anything stored online for more than 180 days doesn’t get the protections of the Fourth Amendment. Congress has the chance to fix the problem, but will it?


Why Congress Should Pass the ECPA Amendment Act
by Ben Jacobs Jul 30, 2013 3:06 PM EDT

Is Congress about to pass the first significant privacy-protection legislation since 9/11?

Right now if you store any information in “the cloud” for longer than 180 days, the government does not need a warrant to search it, only a subpoena, which does not require judicial approval. This means all those emails in your inbox from last year, the Google Docs that you’ve been working on for a while, and everything you have saved in your Dropbox are essentially not covered by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

How this is possible? It’s because when the law governing this, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), was written in 1986, five years before Tim Berners-Lee had even invented the Internet, and has not been updated since. It was written at a time when no one ever conceived that email or data would be stored online; after all you had to connect via a dial-up modem to get information displayed in one of 16 colors available on your computer monitor. If information was left online for an extended period, it had likely been forgotten or abandoned. But today, the ECPA allows that, in theory, law enforcement need not go through a judge in order to go through your inbox.

The disconnect between statute books and modern life has led to a bipartisan push to update the law. The ECPA Amendment Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), would extend the warrant requirement to communications stored online for more than 180 days. The bill is not perceived to be terribly controversial—after all, as one Senate aide points out, it is not intended to radically change the law, but simply to restore the balance that Congress originally intended when it passed ECPA in 1986.

Article continues http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/30/why-congress-should-pass-the-ecpa-amendment-act.html

When middle-aged libido meets a whiff of power, chaos strikes our political process. Tina Brown on why Anthony Weiner and his ilk need to stop thinking with their genitals.


End the Damn Dickmanship! by Tina BrownJul 29, 2013 4:45 am EDT

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Mayorial candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin, campaigning on July 14 in New York City. (Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News via Getty)

Carlos Danger was one blockbuster sequel that hasn’t been welcomed (except by all of us in the news biz). “Maybe we should take another look at Christine Quinn” is the unilateral embarrassed mumble from New Yorkers I have talked to in the last three days. Not because anyone is especially blown away by the speaker of the City Council’s caustic mediocrity, but because at least we would be safe from her private parts flying around the Internet.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/29/tina-brown-end-the-damn-dickmanship.html