Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Which was your favorite government shutdown? Let me know by the comments email under the TPM Logo.

Haven't seen a pope-induced regime change like this since JP2 hit Poland.

While there are certainly internecine and factional rivalries in the Democratic party, it's all but impossible to imagine the outpouring of celebration, schadenfreude and smackdowning that is greeting the retirement of Speaker John Boehner. Even a kind word on the day of his retirement appears beyond the ability of most of those he led. Yes, there's been base clamoring against Nancy Pelosi and even more at certain times with Harry Reid. But it simply doesn't compare to the angry joy we're seeing now toward a quarter-century member of the House. The only analogue I can think of is the enmity that grew toward Joe Lieberman. But of course, by that time he wasn't even a Democrat anymore, let alone one of the party's top leaders.

Of course, it is of a piece with Boehner's tenure - a largely reviled and half-effective, never-ending and seldom-lauded effort to keep half his caucus from carrying through with the latest ridiculously self-defeating and often country-damaging gambit. Boehner's whole Speakership was, in a real sense, a permanent exercise in indignity. So the ending is not surprising.

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It's serendipitous because our current top story about prisoner-gerrymandering to oust a black member of Congress just landed this afternoon. But today's live chat in The Hive (sub req), with Eli Hager of the Marshall Project, delves further into the core issues here which are both mass incarceration and the perverse incentives created by the privatization of the prison system - which is inextricably tied to evolution of mass incarceration over the last 35 years. Check out the conversation. Fascinating stuff.

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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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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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