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John Oliver remakes American history in his book of lies [Video]

“There is absolutely nothing more fun than lying confidently about human history,” says John Oliver. So the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” decided to produce a short Web exclusive about all the things that didn’t happen in history he wish were true.  [...]

Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Goodbye, Dr. Sacks

Oliver Sacks died yesterday. He was a brilliant man, a neurologist who was intrigued by how the brain worked on every level. He was uncommonly insightful, deeply thoughtful, invariably kind. He was a fine writer, and very skillful at relaying a highly complex and difficult subject in a wa [...]

Silent Reading Doesn’t Exist

Just as Laurence Sterne’s white page invites the reader to pause, to take refuge from the narrator’s words in what might seem an eddy of silence, doesn’t every space on a page of writing offer an exit, or even an escape, from the author’s voice? But we do not seek refuge in silence when w [...]

Federal workers on track to get 1.3 percent pay hike in January

Federal employees are on track for a 1.3 percent pay raise in January, following a decision by President Obama to set that figure by default if Congress continues to follow its strategy of action by inaction on the raise. A letter sent to Congress Friday stating that intent is a routi [...]

H&R Block Lobbied to Make Tax Forms Harder for Low-Income People to Fill Out

In late July, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a 2016 federal agency funding bill that came with instructions to the Internal Revenue Service to vastly expand the paperwork for the Earned Income Tax Credit. This buried provision adds a layer of red tape for which the tax-prepa [...]

Ohio Abortion Bill Could Force Kasich to Take an Uncomfortable Public Stance

Ohio, a state often considered ground zero for anti-abortion legislation, finds itself at the center of the latest reproductive rights controversy—one that could force its governor, Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, to take an uncomfortably public stance. A bill approve [...]

Cruz’s claim that Obama administration policy led to release of ‘104,000 violent criminal aliens’

“Once we’ve secured the border, once we’ve proven we can do this, once we’ve stopped the Obama administration’s policy of releasing 104,000 violent criminal illegal aliens in one year.”  — Sen. Ted Cruz, interview on Fox News, Aug. 25, 2015 A reader asked us to investigate this  [...]

Open thread for night owls: ‘Contrarian’ climate studies are the product of identifiable errors

A group of researchers set themselves to the task of determining why, although nearly all scientific studies confirm that climate change is indeed happening and that human activity is the prime driver of that change, there continue to be studies purporting to demonstrate the opposite. P [...]

Apple has never allowed ad-blocking software on the iPhone or iPad. This is one among many reasons that I ditched both. Not because I hate  [...]

Straight outta physics

It’s a good thing nukes are really hard to make. If they could be fabricated as easily as mustard gas or gunpowder, we would be in a world of trouble, literally and figuratively. And there’s another reason it’s such a good thing. The process of 1) refining enough materia [...]

The Rehabilitationists

In November 2013, a who’s who of America’s conservative legal establishment descended on the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., for an annual meeting of the Federalist Society, the most influential conservative legal organization in the country. Current presidential candidates Scott Wal [...]

Unicornomics

Unveiling the Congressional Budget Office’s latest long-term forecast this week, new CBO Director Keith Hall made an unremarkable statement. “The evidence,” Hall explained, “is that tax cuts do not pay for themselves.” For the overwhelming majority of econom [...]

The End of Silly Season is in Sight

I got a bit of a chuckle this week when Kevin Drum wrote: TGIAS: Finally, August is Almost Over. Those who have been suggesting that Trump-mania is at least in part fueled by the fact that there hasn’t been much else to talk about are not completely wrong. But silly season is about  [...]

Immigration is all the GOP has and Donald Trump is the canary in the coal mine

Does the Republican establishment really want Donald Trump to get out of the presidential race? Do party leaders want him to tone it down? On the contrary, there seems to be some unanticipated genius in Trump’s method. He is the canary in the GOP coal mine, warning us of the party& [...]

Confusing Thoughtfulness With Cowardice

Recently Ryan Cooper wrote this: Of all the powers of the presidency, the pardon is perhaps the most absolute. The president can pardon anyone for any or no reason, with an exception in the case of impeachment (so he may not pardon himself). It provides a kind of emergency valve for the c [...]

‘My body, my choice’ is not true for women in poverty, in federal employment, or in the military

“My body, my choice” is a privilege for those whose insurance provides coverage for abortions (assuming that their employers don’t object), or who can afford to pay the expense out of pocket. That privilege doesn’t extend to women who receive Medicare or Children& [...]

One of the ways our new breed of “data journalists” tries to sell their wares is via headlines that say, “This Chart Expl [...]

Jorge Ramos: Donald Trump is ‘dangerous’

Univision news anchor Jorge Ramos called Donald Trump, a top Republican presidential candidate, “dangerous” in an interview Sunday on ABC News’s “This Week.” When questioned by guest host Martha Raddatz about his public tangle with Trump at a news confere [...]

A newly displaced centrist Republican’s guide to third parties

‘Merica! Watching the GOP’s three-ring nomination circus has been entertaining and terrifying at the same time. We have witnessed what were once considered fringe positions be embraced by many mainstream Republicans. Because of this, one has to assume that there are good man [...]

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich: Donald Trump could be GOP nominee

In a roundtable discussion with political reporters and analysts on ABC’s “This Week,” former House speaker Newt Gingrich said what others may be thinking. Gingrich told guest host Martha Raddatz that Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman, real estate mogul and nov [...]