Editors' Blog

Trouble In The House

The House is voting right now on a temporary funding bill for DHS that will avoid a shutdown tonight and extend this whole temper tantrum on immigration for another three weeks -- but the vote is surprisingly tight. The consensus was Boehner had enough votes to get this through without Democratic help. Democratic leadership was actively whipping against it. But Boehner may now need Democrats to get this through. It's very close. Stay tuned.

Late Update: It failed. Amazing, really. Not surprising with this clown show. But still amazing.

"I Have Been - And Shall Always Be - Your Friend"

Leonard Nimoy died today. You've already heard this. We each have people that when we hear about their passing, it hits us with special force, because of a special mix of things unique to yourself and to that other person. For me, Nimoy is one of those people. As a fan from early boyhood, if you were a Trek fan and a Spock fan, if you got to know more about who Nimoy was, he was exactly who you would have wanted him to be. That is a very, very special thing.

He will be missed. A lot has gone out.

Nope. Not Ready.

Last weekend I noted that the Rudy Giuliani flare up had revealed some critical ways in which Scott Walker may simply not be ready for the big leagues of a national campaign. In brief, a series of entirely avoidable, unforced errors during a period in the campaign that lacks even a chunk of the intensity that a presidential candidate faces when the game really gets underway. None of those missteps in themselves will end up hurting Walker. But they point to shortcomings as a candidate that could sink him later. Now we have another example, just a week later.

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Can An Israeli Government End the Occupation?

There is an important piece published yesterday in the left-leaning pro-peace Israeli website +972. It goes to a central, underlying issue in the upcoming Israeli elections: the role of the Arab parties in Israeli politics and specifically their role - or lack of a role - in Israeli coalitions.

It's important to start with some basic background. And this will be a thumbnail history. So I'll leave out a lot of nuance and detail but hopefully leave no major errors. Israel's Arab minority has always had the vote. And there are minorities within the minority - particularly the Druze community - who play an outsized role in the country's politics and military relative to their numbers. But they're the exception. In the early years of Israel's history, many Israeli Arabs voted for different Zionist parties or Arab parties that had various forms of alignment with major Jewish parties. That has changed over the years - in part because the Arab minority has become more assertive in pressing for its rights within the country.

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Why Abstain From Sex in 2015 NYC?

Aurin Squire has a fascinating piece up at The Slice today about his experience being gay, black, progressive, young...and celibate. By choice. He takes you through his journey from bedhopping in New York City; to a morning, 3 months into abstaining, when he woke up laughing with joy; to the moment when a Buddhist nun told him he might be taking it too far.

Check out the piece here, then join us at 2 pm for a livechat with Aurin and Josh.

Jaw Dropping

We reported earlier that Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich died today of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Schweich was considered a leading candidate to run for governor.

Now the editorial page editor of the St Louis Post-Dispatch, Tony Messenger, has come forward to say that in the days leading up to Schweich's suicide he had confided to Messenger that he was planning to reveal that the head of the state Republican party was leading a whispering campaign suggesting that Schweich was in fact a Jew.

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Join Me to Talk to Aurin Squire

I'm going to be leading a live chat with Aurin Squire on tomorrow at 2 PM at The Hive (sub req). Aurin has written a number of pieces for us in the last few months. This piece on black and hispanic police officers in the post-Ferguson era, this piece on the hidden women of Black History of Month and just this last week this piece on the end of black respectability politics.

Get your questions in now and join us on Friday at 2 PM.

Kerry's Clean Hit

There's some important background on this new intrusion of the Iraq War into the current debate about Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli election. It's true that like a number of Senate Democrats, John Kerry voted for the Iraq War resolution in late 2002. That was due to a mix of belief in national unity, political cowardice and a credulous assumption that President Bush was actually on the level when he said he needed the authorization to wage war to avoid it, to get inspectors back into Iraq. It was or should have been clear that this was not true, that inspectors and Weapons of Mass Destruction were not the goal that made the threat of war necessary. They were cudgels and covers to help make the war a fait accompli.

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Quote of the Day

Kerry: "The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq under George W. Bush. We all know what happened with that decision."

Israel Election Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on the Israeli election.

As I've noted earlier, not long after the election was called and the Labor Party announced a union with Tzipi Livni as the 'Zionist Camp', the Zionist Camp moved into a thin but durable lead over Netanyahu's Likud party. That changed last month - seemingly tied to a flare up of violence in the north, though many also pointed to a listless Labor/Zionist Camp campaign. But over the last week or so there seems to have been a shift back to the Zionist Camp.

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