Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Putin's Steroids Take a Toll

Take a look Paul Krugman's column on the rapid deterioration of the Russian economy. The drop in oil prices has of course played a central role in Russia's woes. The sanctions regime stemming from the Ukraine crisis has played a major contributing role. What's interesting though is Paul's point that most countries would have a set of tools to grapple at least with the drop off in oil revenues. But Russian kleptocracy, ranging from oligarchs who stash their cash overseas to military adventurism in Ukraine and much more, have created a perfect storm for the Russian economy and put many or most of those tools off limits. Very interesting read.

The Insurrectionist at the 'Revolution'

Yesterday, Dylan Scott wrote this report on why police unions are lashing out against critics with an intensity we've not seen in years and perhaps never seen. Unions support their members when they're under attack or targets of criticism, which police very much are today. But the intensity, I believe, points to a fear that the sharply reduced crime rate in the country today may not sustain the relative freedom from criticism police officers enjoyed for much of latter part of the 20th century.

But it's been jarring to see some of the most vitriolic, almost insurrectionary talk come from the head of the police union here in New York City. A few days ago, Pat Lynch, head of the city's largest police union called on officers to request that Mayor de Blasio not attend their funerals if they are killed in the line of duty.

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Biggest Ever

The Sony hack appears to be the costliest in history. The embarrassment of Sony execs and the fact that the 'victim' is a movie, which may or may not have been a good one in the first place, may make it hard to take this incident seriously. But the idea of a foreign state - a hostile and vicious one at that - mounting a series of cyber attacks and terrorist threats to prevent the release of a movie in the US is deeply disturbing. Sony is just a company. And it was probably an easy decision in purely economic terms. But this shouldn't have been allowed to happen.


It's our favorite time of year -- the Golden Duke awards, when TPM honors the year's best purveyors of scandal, idiocy, and straight-up crazy. This is the eighth annual installment of the Golden Duke awards, named after Randy "Duke" Cunningham, the California Republican congressman who spent time in the clink after an unparalleled spree of flagrant sleaze and unbridled tawdriness.

You can check out last year's deserving winners here.

So without further ado, this year's categories are:

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Hostile Workplace

Rep. Blake "Blow-Me.org" Farenthold (R-TX) is getting sued for allegedly creating a hostile workplace for a former staffer. Who knew allegedly insinuating semen stains were on her skirt or communicating he had "wet dreams" about her might lead to this?