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A Train Wreck of an Article

John McCain has a lot of reasons to thank the New York Times these days. Besides for the infamous He-May-Be-Screwing-A-Lobbyist Article, which ironically has helped McCain shore up the Republican base and raise a ton of money, the folks on the editorial side of the paper are also lobbing him softballs.

Politics

Primary Metaphors

The generally weird primary season has been especially screwy this time around. First, Hillary Clinton pulled off an improbable upset in New Hampshire. Now, with Mitt Romney's recent Michigan win, it's possible the Republican nomination might not be sealed until March. Such wackiness seems to have made our pundits a little loopy, and the off-the-wall metaphors have started to pour in. (Ann Quinlan of the Fort Worth Business Press was among the first, describing the Iowa caucuses as "evening coffee klatches with a serving of trigonometry.") Here are a few of our favorites:

Politics

Time for a Kucinich!

And the unanimous winner in the Iowa caucuses is … change! Nearly every major candidate cited "change" as the dominant force in Iowa and the press followed suit. While change as a concept is politically neutral and entirely inevitable, it is being invoked as a specific set of undefined values, and referred to as if it were a candidate itself. In fact, if you were to replace the word "change" with the name of a lower-tier candidate—say, Dennis Kucinich—you'd get an interesting view of caucus night in Iowa.

Politics

Feeling Their Oats

We can be thankful that the new year will bring us the election of a brand new president, but that day is still a good 10 months away. In the meantime, we've got months of discussion about the political "horse race" ahead of us, wherein the media tells us far more about candidates' polling numbers and momentum than anything resembling their platforms and plans. That seems to suit our current crop of candidates just fine—the equine metaphors have been flying for the last few months. One particular come-from-behind horse-of-the-people has been invoked in reference to no fewer than five very different candidates:

Politics

Be Patriotic. It's the Law.

Last week, the Thai parliament started discussions on a proposed new law that would require drivers to stop and observe the national anthem when it is played twice a day. While it's a rather eccentric and impractical way to try to boost national pride, the bill is certainly not the only unconventional example of forced patriotism in recent years. Please remove your hat and put your hand over your heart, as Gelf reviews some of the odder cases.

Media

Dealing with Colbert '08

Like President Bush at last year's White House Correspondents Dinner, the press seems unsure of what to make of Stephen Colbert (or whether he's speaking truth to power). Last night on his show, Colbert announced he would seek the office of the Presidency (of South Carolina). Though Colbert's persona is a fictional construct, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post reports that Colbert will actually file the papers to run in each party's South Carolina primary. Still, there is some understandable confusion in determining just how to cover the announcement of a candidate whose fictional alter ego is running for president under his real name. Here's how some media outlets tried:

Politics

Blogging for Condi

Dipnote, the new blog for the U.S. Department of State, has been criticized by bloggers, including Foreign Policy, for containing posts that read like they're written by a State Department spokesperson (because, of course, they are). It's also been mocked for its admittedly wonky, vaguely vulgar-sounding name, which makes us think of…a nice, curvy, b-flat covered in fondue. Maybe. But because we like the idea of the vast, opaque State Department communicating directly with the masses, we've come up with some ideas for a reader-friendly name change:

Politics

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Politics

Stupid Senate Resolutions

This month, just an hour after President Bush denounced a MoveOn.org ad that criticized General David Petraeus, the Senate voted to condemn any "personal attacks" on Petraeus. And while some politicians voted against the resolution—Barack Obama called it "a stunt designed only to score cheap political points"—the reality is that symbolic bills are a staple of modern American politics. A quick glance at Gov Track, a Senate-resolution index site, finds no fewer than 150 bills this year that were simply meant to congratulate or recognize such groups as the Mount Union College Purple Raiders, "Memphis-originating soul music," and the entire city of New Milford, Connecticut.

Law

Is Ladies' Night Legal?

In June, Manhattan attorney Roy Den Hollander filed a federal lawsuit against a variety of New York nightclubs arguing that "Ladies' Nights" violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. This case is the latest in a string of lawsuits raising the question of whether businesses should be able to charge gender-specific admission or prices. Is it paternalistic or anti-capitalistic to set legal guidelines dictating identical prices for the genders, especially when there is unequal demand for certain services? Gelf checks the precedents to see if sex-based rates are Kool and the Gang.

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