Saul Alinsky Secretly Controls Hillary Clinton, Too

Saul Alinsky is a real person who had a real intellectual influence on the young lives of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both of whom studied his advice for politically organizing the poor and marginal. But the Saul Alinsky who has registered in American politics is a shadowy bogeyman rather than an actual figure, whose name symbolizes a deeper belief on the right that Obama lies far outside the American historical tradition and has kept his true, radical motives almost completely hidden throughout his political career.

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And the Senator Who Called Kirsten Gillibrand Chubby Is ...

Or rather, was — Hawaii's late, one-armed senator Daniel Inouye.

The dirty old man whom New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says groped her while telling her, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby!” was apparently none other than Gillibrand's fellow Democrat, the highest-ranking Asian official in the U.S. ever, an army veteran, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, "according to people with knowledge of the incident," the New York Times reports. He died in 2012 at age 88.

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Leonardo DiCaprio, a Dinosaur, and Thousands of Others Showed Up for the NYC People's Climate March

At around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, thousands of people gathered at  Columbus Circle to begin the People's Climate March. As the name suggests, it was intended to be call for action on climate change, with similar demonstrations taking place in cities all over the world. (The events were scheduled to almost coincide with the United Nations climate summit meeting that begins on Tuesday.) Before the start of the New York City march, organizers — who include dozens of environmental and social justice groups, as well as some unions — said they were expecting about 100,000 participants. By Sunday afternoon, they said turnout had hit 310,000

Including a healthy sprinkling of celebrities. »

Have Republicans Finally Gone Too Far in Kansas?

Ten years ago, the progressive writer Thomas Frank wrote What’s the Matter With Kansas?, a runaway best seller, and a few months after its publication, when George W. Bush won reelection, the book seemed to explain what had happened. Frank set out to resolve the paradox that befuddled liberals: Why did so many white Americans of modest means in the heartland embrace a party in thrall to the ultrawealthy?

Frank audaciously proposed that Democrats address their catastrophic standing in Kansas, and places like it, not by moving toward the center but away from it, by embracing populist economics. Even more audaciously, he proposed that his stratagem might actually make the party competitive in a state Republicans always win by landslide margins.

Now, shockingly, Frank’s outlandishly hopeful vision stands on the verge of coming true. »

House Approves Obama’s Plan to Arm Syrian Rebels, Still Doesn’t Like It

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives approved President Obama's plan to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels to aid in the fight against ISIS, but don't let that fool you: Few lawmakers are enthusiastic about the plan. The 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq War was on many people's minds during the six hours of debate on Tuesday and Wednesday, and even some supporters questioned the plan. "It’s the best choice of worse options," said Representative James P. Moran, a Virginia Democrat. "It’s because there are no better alternatives and I don’t think it’s responsible to do nothing." The authorization will expire in mid-December, along with the routine spending bill it was attached to. The Senate is expected to approve the bill on Thursday.

Fresh Off of Saying ‘Shylock,’ Joe Biden Calls Asia the ‘Orient’ and Throws in Stereotype for Good Measure

Proving again that, yes, he is your accidentally racist grandma, Vice President Joe Biden continues to offend minority groups without malice. Biden already offended Jews this week — it's only Wednesday — when he referred to shady lenders as "Shylocks," but today's gaffe was truly prodigious, as he managed to combine an antiquated, other-izing term with a cultural stereotype.

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‘No Ground Troops’ in U.S. Fight Against ISIS Might Not Actually Mean No Ground Troops

In announcing an expanded offensive against Islamic State militants, President Obama has been firm and direct: “The notion that the United States should be putting boots on the ground, I think would be a profound mistake,” he's said. “And I want to be very clear and very explicit about that.”

The top U.S. general, not so much. “My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true,” General Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress on Tuesday. “But if it fails to be true, and if there are threats to the United States, then I, of course, would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of U.S. military ground forces.”

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Video of the day

Charlie Rangel Opens Debate With Fake Phone Call

Congressman Joe Garcia Picks Ear, Eats It on Live TV

Sarah Palin Thinks Chelsea’s Baby May Make Hillary ‘Open Her Eyes’ About Abortion

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In The Mag

Back on the Trail

When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.

By Jason Zengerle

Reading List

Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013

The Case for Deficit Optimism

For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.

By Ezra Klein
Salon Jan. 15, 2012

The NRA's Democratic Helpers

Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.

By Steve Kornacki

From the Archives

New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010

Boehner's Army

After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009

With Friends Like These

Obama drew progressive ire from day one.

By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008

Hiding In Plain Sight

How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.

By Jeff Coplon