Lunch Buffet

Since I mentioned the anniversary of Che Guevara’s death and the strangely pervasive pop culture that’s grown up around his image (don’t see anyone wearing Nikolai Bukharin or Rosa Luxemburg T-shirts, do you?), thought I should link to Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s 2005 TNR piece on the genesis and growth of Che merchandising. Yeah, Vargas is a professional Che-hater, but his analysis of Guevara as a capitalist “brand” is fascinating.

Here are some midday news and views items for your consumption:

* Chuck Todd and company of NBC’s First Read interpret Paul Ryan’s WSJ op-ed as the first step towards a fiscal solution since it promotes measures Obama has in principle accepted as legitimate negotiating topics. Guess the impending debt limit breach is just a coincidence, eh?

* But Ryan himself makes it clear that when he talks about “entitlement reform,” he’s talking about Obamacare in addition to SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid.

* Meanwhile, Eric Cantor pens WaPo op-ed that treats debt limit increases as authorizing future spending like a budget, instead of paying for past spending as Obama accurately describes it.

* Eight Democratic congressmen arrested yesterday during pro-immigration-reform demonstration at Capitol. More about that later.

* Coburn calls for “managed catastrophe” in order to secure budget cuts. Great.

And in non-political news:

* TNR’s long-time movie critic Stanley Kauffmann dies at age of 97. Like many readers, I had no idea he was so very productively old.

As we take a brief lunch break, here’s some more Western bourgeois music about Latin American revolutionaries: Bruce Cockburn performing his gorgeous tune “Nicaragua” in 1986.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.