Amendments occupy a great deal of most legislators' time, particularly those lawmakers in the minority. Members of Congress do author major bills, but more commonly they make minor adjustments to the bigger bill.
I didn't know Michael Hastings very well, but one thing about him was always obvious - he was born to be in the news business, he loved it, he was made for it. He wrote about Iraq and Afghanistan as places he had always been destined to visit.
For the broadcast business to be successful, viewers need to be not merely interested in our political melodramas, they have to be in an absolute state about them - emotionally invested in the outcome and frightened not to watch what happens next.
By creating an urgent crisis that can only be solved by those fluent in a language too complex for ordinary people to understand, the Wall Street crowd has turned the vast majority of Americans into non-participants in their own political future.
George Bush and John Ashcroft were religious in a scary way, but the rational among us could always take heart that, deep down, the Bush administration was more cynical than messianic.
The print magazine and print journalism industry is obviously in a great deal of trouble, and one of the things that happened when this business started to give way to the Internet and to broadcast television is that a lot of organizations started cutting specifically investigative journalism and they also started cutting fact-checkers.
America's always had a real passion for lunatic movements. That's one of the things we're probably known for around the world, I would imagine.
You win the modern financial-regulation game by filing the most motions, attending the most hearings, giving the most money to the most politicians and, above all, by keeping at it, day after day, year after fiscal year, until stealing is legal again.
The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending - with the exception of the money spent on them.
Within the cult of Wall Street that forged Mitt Romney, making money justifies any behavior, no matter how venal.
What the mortgage bubble was all about was big banks like Goldman Sachs taking big bundles of subprime mortgages that were lent out largely to low-income, highly risky borrowers, and applying this kind of magic-pixie-dust math to these bundles of securities and slapping AAA ratings on them.
One of the great cliches of campaign journalism is the notion that American elections have long since ceased to be about issues and ideas.
America is a country that has been skating for ages on its unparalleled ability to look marvelous on the outside.
In the '50s and '60s, journalism wasn't a profession. It wasn't something you went to college for - it was really more of a trade. You had a lot of guys who came up working in newspapers at the copy desk, or delivery boys, and then they would somehow become reporters afterward and learn on the job.
I try to be outraged by things that other people are just very accepting of, as though they're normal and can't be changed. A lot of what I write about is, 'Hey, you know, this stuff is really awful, and it doesn't need to be, and that's why it's so offensive.' Things should be better.
I mean, people who say that the Tea Party isn't a grassroots movement, I think, are incorrect. I think in some respects, it is a grassroots movement.
The House Rules Committee is perhaps the free world's outstanding bureaucratic abomination - a tiny, airless closet deep in the labyrinth of the Capitol where some of the very meanest people on earth spend their days cleaning democracy like a fish.
Everything in America is so uniform. In Russia, everywhere you go is completely insane.
In a pure capitalist system, an institution as moronic and corrupt as Bank of America would be swiftly punished by the market - the executives would get to loot their own firms once, then they'd be looking for jobs again.
An unregulated derivatives market essentially gives Wall Street a way to place hidden taxes on everything in the world.
Creating legislation is a tough process. But watering down legislation? Strangling it with lawsuits and comment letters and blue-ribbon committees? Not so tough, it turns out.
What we Americans go through to pick a president is not only crazy and unnecessary but genuinely abusive. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent in a craven, cynical effort to stir up hatred and anger on both sides.
'Prop trading' is just a fancy term for banks gambling in the market for their own profit.
Once you give an NFL player permission to have thoughts, you invite all kinds of mischief.
I'm a product of an East Coast liberal arts educational system.
In modern American politics, being the right kind of ignorant and entertainingly crazy is like having a big right hand in boxing; you've always got a puncher's chance.
The national debt is totally unlike a family budget for about a gazillion reasons, not the least of which being that families cannot raise money by fiat or deflate the size of their debt unilaterally and that family members die instead of existing infinitely.
Over the years, many in the public have become numb to news of financial corruption, partly because too many of these stories involve banker-on-banker crime.
In America, it takes about two weeks in the limelight for the whole country to think you've been around for years.
We may be many things, we Americans, but we always get the job done.
The party in power almost always unapologetically engages in deficit spending, while the other party argues passionately against the evils of debt and deficits.
Private equity firms aren't necessarily evil by definition. There are many stories of successful turnarounds fueled by private equity, often involving multiple floundering businesses that are rolled into a single entity, eliminating duplicative overhead.
By incentivizing Wall Street players to sniff out inefficient or corrupt companies and bet against them, short-selling acts as a sort of policing system; legal short-sellers have been instrumental in helping expose firms like Enron and WorldCom.
The threat posed by Bank of America isn't just financial - it's a full-blown assault on the American dream. Where's the incentive to play fair and do well, when what we see rewarded at the highest levels of society is failure, stupidity, incompetence and meanness? If this is what winning in our system looks like, who doesn't want to be a loser?
The individual incentive not to commit crime on Wall Street now is almost zero.
It's not a stretch to say the whole financial industry revolves around the compass point of the absolutely safe AAA rating. But the financial crisis happened because AAA ratings stopped being something that had to be earned and turned into something that could be paid for.
Politics is about a lot more than winning and losing. I think politics at its best is about compromise, shades of grey and about issues.
In the years just after 9/11, even being breathed on by a suspected terrorist could land you in extralegal detention for the rest of your life.
John Boehner is the ultimate Beltway hack, a man whose unmatched and self-serving skill at political survival has made him, after two decades in Washington, the hairy blue mold on the American congressional sandwich.
If the law doesn't apply equally to everybody, then you don't really have a system of law.
This idea that you can't be an honest man and a Washington politician is a myth, a crock made up by sellouts and careerist hacks who don't stand for anything and are impatient with people who do. It's possible to do this job with honor and dignity.
Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game.
It's really interesting that we've had this great Tea Party movement that is all about restoring free market capitalist values, but what they completely fail to understand is that what we've got now is a situation where there is a small class of gigantic financial companies that have put themselves above capitalism.
To Wall Street, a firm like BP isn't just a profitable energy company with lots of assets like oil rigs and pipelines and gas stations - it's also a corporation that routinely borrows hundreds of millions of dollars to keep its business up and running.
'Nobody goes to jail.' This is the mantra of the financial-crisis era, one that saw virtually every major bank and financial company on Wall Street embroiled in obscene criminal scandals that impoverished millions and collectively destroyed hundreds of billions, in fact, trillions of dollars of the world's wealth - and nobody went to jail.
It obviously matters who gets to be president. And it's perfectly valid for us media types to advocate for the candidate we think is more qualified, based on our reporting. But the hype has gotten so out of control, it's become bigger than the presidency itself.
There are some who think that the government is limited in how many corruption cases it can bring against Wall Street, because juries can't understand the complexity of the financial schemes involved. But in 'U.S.A. v. Carollo,' that turned out not to be true.
America has two national budgets, one official, one unofficial.