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This Is a Must Read

Amidst all of the coverage of Pope Francis' visit to the US this week I want to particularly call your attention to this piece by novelist and columnist James Carroll. It's about another time a Pope, Paul VI, addressed the United Nations. That was in 1965, almost exactly fifty years ago. That moment half a century ago has deep parallels to today and it also opened a breach between Carroll and his father - one, a young man studying for the priesthood and another, a top Pentagon general, who had himself once studied for the priesthood. Definitely give this a read.

There's a second part of publishing this piece for me personally, which is not connected to the piece itself but my own relationship to the author. I would be remiss if I didn't mention it. Like one billiard ball hitting another at a certain angle and in so doing shifting its own trajectory, we all have certain people in our lives who we encounter and, through the encounter, the trajectory of our own lives changes. For me, Jim is one of those people.

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Slouching Toward A Shutdown

With less than a week to go before the end of the fiscal year deadline, here's the latest on the shutdown prospects, including this observation from budget expert Stan Collender: “Boehner may need to allow a shutdown to occur for a few days to give the Freedom Caucus a victory before he can work with Dems on a clean CR."

Introducing the Unicornstitution

Seeing so many stories like this one I've become increasingly convinced of the existence and the importance of what I will call the Unicornstitution. Related but by no means synonymous with the US constitution, the Unicornstitution exists as a sort of ersatz Platonic ideal form of the Constitution which exists in the ether and is ready at hand to give a big thumbs up and attaboy and 'you go girl' to whatever crazy bullshit thing you already decided to do, especially if you're really angry and stupid and fundamentally see life in America as as matter of other undeserving people taking away your stuff and your not being able to do anything about it.

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Stop the Presses! What's a Server?

As I've said before, I'm something of a Hillary Agnostic. There's no question that the email story has done her a great deal of harm, regardless of the merits of the story itself. But it's worth stopping now and then and taking a look at just how nonsensical most of the coverage of the story is at this point. Beside the point that the relevant Inspector General has said that none of the stuff the DC press corps has been hyperventilating about can, by definition, have violated any law, you also have stories like this new one today from Bloomberg.

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Prime Drive Update

Thanks to everyone who signed up for Prime in the first 24 hours of our drive. We've got a long way to go. But we're making great progress. TPM needs you. You get a bunch of great features and enhancements with Prime (more on that here.) But the biggest and best reason is that TPM needs your support to thrive and be the best it can be. You can read my full pitch here and just click here to sign up. It's just $50 a year or $4.99 a month. I know it's easy to think, 'Sounds great. I'll do it when I have a moment.' But if you can please take a moment, right now, to join us we'll appreciate it no end.

Not Getting Much Attention

Remember that crazy Fox News segment earlier this year on so-called Muslim "no-go zones"? A UK regulator has now ruled that it was "materially misleading" and that Fox is in violation of the country's broadcast standards. That might explain why Fox scrambled at the time to apologize repeatedly for the segment. But the UK regulator said the apologies were basically too little too late.