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In August, I wrote about efforts to reform California's sentencing laws, which allow courts to condemn minors to life without parole. According to the Fair Sentencing For Youth Project, the United States has 2,503 juveniles--in California and a handful of other states--serving life sentences without the chance for rehabilitation, while the rest of the world has none. Today, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two juvenile sentencing cases out of Florida, both involving mentally impaired minors who were convicted of non-homicidal crimes and still given life without parole.

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Via Think Progress, Joe Liebeman was on Fox News Sunday this weekend, making filibuster threats again. LIEBERMAN: A public option plan is unnecessary. It has been put forward, I’m convinced, by people who really want the government to take over all of health insurance.

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Economists continue to debate whether the U.S. can rebalance its trade deficit and lead itself into recovery through exports, with skeptics’ doubts prompted anew by the fact that U.S. consumer spending explained the bulk of last week’s announced 3.5 percent third-quarter GDP rise. Given that, it’s worth asking: Does the U.S. have a national export strategy? Though it may come as a surprise, the answer is yes.

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I agree with Jason, it simply looks as though we're not getting anywhere with Tehran. This means Obama will have to make two momentous choices in the coming weeks. First, how many troops will he send to Afghanistan? Second, how long will he indulge Iranian stalling tactics before moving to a push for strict sanctions. On the Afghanistan decision, it appear that Obama is headed towards something on the order of 30,000+ troops. On Saturday the New York Times called this a "middle option." That's based on reports that Stanley McChrystal's request included an option for 80,000 more troops.

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Marcia Angell, M.D., is one of the nation's most well-respected experts on health care issues. And with good reason. A board-certified pathologist who also trained in internal medicine, she's a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School. Her writing credits include The Truth About Drug Companies and an award-winning article at TNR on the same subject.

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At the American Prospect and Feministing, Ann Friedman reminds us that the significance of the Stupak amendment goes way beyond the funding of abortion services for people who happen to buy coverage through the new insurance exchanges: On some level, I don't care about the nitty-gritty details of this amendment. This isn't just about how the money is allocated or what workarounds exist. This has me so incredibly infuriated because it further segregates abortion as something different, off the menu of regular health care.

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Make the Sell

WASHINGTON--Here's a story you may have missed because it flies in the face of the dreary conventional wisdom: When advocates of public programs take on the right-wing anti-government crowd directly, the government-haters lose. This is what happened in two statewide referendums last week that got buried under all of the attention paid to the governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey. In Maine, voters rejected a tax-limitation measure by a walloping 60 percent to 40 percent.

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One of the most revealing moments in Saturday's debate over health care reform was when Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York took the floor. Weiner is a rising star in the Democratic Party, having quickly established himself as an unusually engaging speaker. But, in this case, it was Weiner's effective use of a prop that stood apart. The prop was the handbook for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, or FEHBP--which is, very roughly speaking, a model for how a reformed health care system might work.

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In the few hours between landing after a swing through Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa and taking off again for Berlin, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found time on Friday to stop over in much friendlier territory: a subterranean banquet hall at Washington’s Reagan International Trade Center.

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It is just about 30 years since the wall around Iran went up. And it is a few days away from fully 20 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The Berliner Mauer had been up for more than a quarter century, and its surface facing east, grim gray, was a metaphor for life in the German Democratic Republic. On its western face graffiti evoked the freer spirit of the half-city whose heart had nonetheless been broken by the Soviet goose step that divided it. And the Cold War was won on the very day the authorities of the D.D.R.

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