The Gray Princess: Once again the Internet empowers the little guy with a blog to take on entrenched citadels of previously unchecked power! In this case, the little guy is the General Motors Corporation. I'm not saying GM has effectively used its web site to make the NYT letters editors look like self-protective twits of the sort you might expect would wind up editing the New York Times letters section.But I'm not saying they haven't! ... Does NYT Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins really object to the use of the word "rubbish"? She never seemed like the delicate type. Does Thomas Friedman (to whose column GM was objecting) need that kind of insulation? Who checks his mattresses for peas? ... P.S.: It's not as if GM's letter was so devastating, or raised annoying factual claims that demanded a response. ... 5:44 P.M.
David Mastio has a good idea for New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. ... 12:52 P.M.
Is McCain Blowing It, Part III: Pat Buchanan says yes! He would. But it's a tightly-argued column. 12:23 P.M.
The Last Hundred Days ... : The New York Times on the successful Senate filibuster of a bill to fully repeal the estate tax ("GOP Fails in Attempt ..."):
Republicans are now debating whether to give up on their goal and attack Democrats in the coming midterm elections as obstructionists on a measure that they say has considerable support, or settle for a bipartisan measure that would stop short of eliminating the tax entirely.
Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, said he would continue to meet with Senate leaders and crucial Democrats to discuss options for compromise. But there were few signs on Thursday of any new deal.
There often aren't signs of a deal until there's a deal! Read the NYT story yourself and see if you don't agree that the array of forces points to some sort of partial repeal deal. Specifically, 1) Republicans would like to take some legislative accomplishments to the voters. 2) They know they'll be weaker in the next Congress than they are in this one. ...
P.S.: A recent Kyl partial-repeal proposal, the Times says, "failed to win over more than two or three Democrats." Hmm. Isn't that close to being all Kyl needs? The Senate was only three votes short of cloture on full repeal, remember, though some of those may have been posturing votes that would evaporate if they really mattered. ...
Update: According to BNA Daily Tax Report [$] Sen. Kyl's GOP compromise estate tax proposal would exempt $10 million per couple and tax the rest at 15 percent, eventually rising to 30 percent. The Dem proposal would exempt $7 million and tax the rest at "increasing increments topping out at 35 percent." ... $10M vs. $7M, 30 % vs. 35%. Do those sound like incommensurable difference of principle to you, or the sort of routine numerical haggling that negotiators could clean up while waiting for change at the soda machine? ... Suggestion: $8 million and 32%. There, we've done it! ... [Thanks to reader R.] 3:05 A.M.
"Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems": Cocooning-- nobody does it better! Adam "Caterpillar" Nagourney triumphantly returns to regain his title as the best at his profession--the profession of telling gullible Democrats that this time they really have the Republicans on the run! [Nagourney's piece seemed on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-handiish. What, exactly, did he miss?--ed
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.