The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Jonathan Cohn www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMeryl Streep Jon Cohn is too modest to plug his own appearance last night on the Colbert Show, so I'll do it for him. The health care debate in this country has become completely screwball. To the right wing and their covert allies in the insurance industry, it's about death panels. To the Washington Post editorial page, it is entirely about how big the deficit will be in 2015.
This is not the first time I’ve had my doubts about Clive Crook as an economics columnist. I had a debate with Crook in 1997 about the benefits of economic globalization. I had misgivings; Crook did not. “Growing economic interdependence,” he wrote, “is on balance an enormously good thing.” Four months later, the Asian financial crisis hit. And look at the world economy today, plagued by currency imbalances and excess capacity in key industries. Now Crook, who is a featured columnist for The Financial Times, is back at it again. He is advising American President Barack Obama to raise taxes.
I finally have a friend in high places. Last week, President Barack Obama announced that he is appointing Ruth Goldway, who has served on the Postal Regulatory Commission since 1998, to be its chair. And I have to say that it’s a good appointment. Ruth, known years ago as the mayor of the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, has been a voice for reform on the commission.
Excellent story in the Washington Post today about an experiment in Harlem to create not just an alternative schools, but an alternative community around the schools, and it seems to be working. It bears out the view that the problems in schools that cater to kids from foster homes or low income homes with single mothers can't be solved simply by getting better principals or teachers. The Obama administration has put money in its budget to try to replicate the Promise Academies elsewhere. --John B. Judis
I’m fed up with the anguished deliberations about whether former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who served 21 months in jail for promoting dog-fighting and killing, should be allowed to play pro football again. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has spent his adulthood as a pro football front office guy, is going to judge whether Vick is morally fit to put on a helmet and pads and risk life and limb before thousands of screaming fans. I don’t condone breeding dogs to kill each other.
Why care about what happens in Iran? There's the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the region--and of Israel initiating a war with Iran to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. There's also Iran's major role in Iraq and somewhat less important but still significant role in Afghanistan. Iran could be a force for stability or instability in the most volatile region in the world stretching from Israel and Lebanon on the west to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east.
How many times have you heard that the key to reviving the economy is fixing the banks? The thinking usually goes: If the banks are fixed--if bad loans are taken are taken off the books, and if regulations are put in place to prevent risky new loans--then they will resume lending to consumers who will buy cars and homes, and to businesses that will invest in plants and hire new workers. That's probably why Washington has spent the last six months proposing bank reforms, but not worrying about whether the first stimulus adopted is going to be sufficient. In my opinion, that's a mistake.
Our country’s unemployment rate, which has risen every month this year, now stands well above the worst case scenario of the Treasury Department’s stress tests. Yet we are inundated each month with reports that, in spite of a rising rate of unemployment, the slump has "bottomed out” or is even over.
No one who has written about Kansas politics can be unfamiliar with Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated Sunday as he was entering the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Tiller has been the target of the state’s right-wing Republicans for two decades. He was also the focus of the fanatical anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, founded by Randall Terry, which is now headquartered in Wichita.
As Barack Obama ponders who to appoint to the Supreme Court, recent polls from Pew and Gallup are showing that Americans have become less supportive of abortion rights. In the Gallup poll, more Americans chose to call themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice"--by 51 to 42 percent. That's the first time pro-lifers have outpolled pro-choicers since Gallup began asking this in 1995.The political reaction to these results has been predictable.