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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Under the heading of what goes around comes around:

Here’s some satisfying news for disgraced pedophiles: After a robust career playing “candid camera” with sexual deviants, To Catch a Predatorhost Chris Hansen has apparently been caught making sweet extramarital deviance to a woman 21 years his junior.

The National Enquirerhas hidden camera footage of Hansen, 51, appearing to cheat on his wife with Kristyn Caddell (pictured at right), a 30-year-old Florida news reporter and former NBC intern. How the sexy sting went down:

Last weekend he was recorded taking Miss Caddell on a romantic dinner at the exclusive Ritz-Carlton hotel in Manalapan, before spending the night at her Palm Beach apartment.

Secret cameras filmed the couple as they arrived at the hotel for dinner and then drove back to her apartment—where the pair left, carrying luggage, at 8am the following day.

Hansen lives in Connecticut with his wife Mary, 53, but he has been spending more and more time in South Florida investigating the disappearance of James ‘Jimmy T’ Trindade—and allegedly sleeping with Miss Caddell.

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Here’s where my conservative friends are totally on target. Government agencies can’t do anything right. Take the FDA’s new cigarette disclaimers. Could they make smoking any more bad ass if they tried? Some kid illustrators weigh in on the new graphics:

Tim Jacobus, who illustrated the covers of the “Goosebumps” series for a decade, is an expert on freaking out twelve-year-olds, and he worries that these drawings might have the opposite effect. “The illustration style, there’s an appeal to that,” he told me. “Kids may be, like, ‘that’s kind of gruesome, but it’s cool, I’m going to hang on to this.’ ”

Gahan Wilson, who does his share of creepy illustrations, including for this magazine, says these drawings are “coddling” smokers. Wilson believes in the power of scary imagery (his rule of thumb: “if it scares you it’s going to scare them”), but, as a former smoker, thinks the F.D.A.’s warnings would be more effective as straight text. “The extreme thing” to do, he says, would be to write, in the style of a poison warning, “Caution: contents will cause cancer,” and leave off the drawings. “Words are much more to the point,” he says.

Andrew Sullivan explains why he doesn’t think today’s conservatives are not very…um…conservative:

The core reason I became a conservative was government over-reach in my native land – try a 98 percent top tax rate and direct government ownership of entire industries and nearly every hospital. I thought this violated a core fact about human nature: that collectivism fails to generate the dynamism that individual freedom and ownership do.

But as I studied political philosophy more deeply, the core argument for conservatism was indeed that it was truer to humankind’s crooked timber; that it was more closely tethered to earth rather  than heaven; that it accepted the nature of fallen man and did not try to permanently correct it, but to mitigate  our worst instincts and encourage the best, with as light a touch as possible. Religion was for bishops, not presidents. Utopias were for liberals; progress was not inevitable; history did not lead in one obvious direction; we are all limited by epistemological failure and cultural bias.

So on taxes today, a conservative would ask: what have we learned about the impact of lower rates over the last two decades – now the lowest as a percentage of GDP since the 1950s? In healthcare, what have we learned about the largely private system the GOP wants to preserve? A conservative would look at home and abroad for empirical answers, acknowledging no ultimate solution but the need for constant reform because society is always changing. On gay rights, a classic social change, he’d ask what a society should do in integrating the emergence of so many openly gay people, couples and families. On foreign policy, he’d move on a case by case basis, not by way of a “doctrine.”

On these terms, today’s GOP could not be less conservative. I’d insist it’s less conservative than Obama.

Apparently, bird-flipping bad boy Rick Perry has gotten religion. Or maybe he is just hoping to increase his political capital with the Religious Right in anticipation of a presidential bid. Not to suggest a politician would be that cynical and  calculating, but courting the born-again wing of the GOP certainly helped our last Texas Governor trade up to an oval-shaped office. The details:

Texas governor and potential presidential candidate Rick Perry is organizing a national prayer rally.

The day-long prayer and fasting event, called “The Response,” is scheduled for Aug. 6 in Houston, Texas.

Gov. Perry said Americans must call on Jesus to guide them through the “unprecedented struggles” the nation is facing.

“Right now, America is in crisis. We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism and a multitude of natural disasters,” Perry said on the event’s website.

“Some problems are beyond our power to solve… this historic hour demands a historic response,” he said.

Governors across the country are invited to participate in the prayer rally.

Some have criticized the event saying Perry shouldn’t use his office to promote a religious gathering.

The prayer rally will be held at Reliant Stadium.

You can’t be an evangelical without having a testimony. Jim Gilliam has his. It comes with all the essentials: new life from a stranger’s death, wonder-working blood and a life-giving community. His religion? The Internet. His God? Why, you and me, of course.

This week marks the ten-year birthday of the Bush tax cuts.Ten years ago we had a giant surplus, nobody talking about raising debt ceilings. And those tax cuts were going to create jobs, grow the economy. One problem. None of that happened. Annie Lowery of Slate explains.

The Bush tax cuts were followed by low GDP growth, negative median wage growth, and little job growth. Even before the Great Recession, growth in the Bush business cycle was the weakest since World War II. And the cuts cost about $2.6 trillion between 2001 and 2010, accordingto the Economic Policy Institute—adding to a debt future generations of taxpayers will pay for, plus interest.

By Bush’s own metrics, then, the tax cuts were a failure. But perhaps that is because Bush chose such absurd metrics and made such silly promises about tax cuts’ economic omnipotence in the first place. To state the obvious, tax cuts are not magic. They can help a strong economy get stronger or help a weak economy pick up some steam. They also have a direct impact on the government budget. But they cannot goose employers into adding millions of jobs, pay for themselves, and arrest the growth of government, all while delivering everyone cupcakes. So perhaps the best we can say about the Bush tax cuts is that they did exactly what we should have expected them to do.

Politicians, you do know Twitter is on the Internet. Right? But what do you expect, the guy’s last name is Weiner.

Kevorkian checks out. Death by natural causes? How positively old school.

John Edwards has been indicted. But according to the former trial lawyer he broke no law. Right. Except the ones that say thou shalt not commit adultery, covet or bare false witness. Yet he still looks like a Boy Scout.