Partisanship And Activism On The Supreme Court
October 31, 2007
We have been engaged in a long-term study of judicial voting patterns, and we recently published an oped in the Los Angeles Times, in which we gave “awards” to Supreme Court justices, based on a statistical study of their votes. The Judicial Neutrality Award went to Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Judicial Restraint award went to Justice Stephen Breyer. The less coveted Partisan Voting Award went to Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Antonin Scalia received the Judicial Activism Award.
Obama And Entitlements
October 30, 2007
Barack Obama hasn't been getting much love from the liberal blogosphere for suggesting that Social Security poses a long-term fiscal problem for the federal government (see Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein, and Matt Stoller, among others). Obama's critics note, correctly, that it's Medicare, not Social Security, that's responsible for the bulk of the entitlement crunch we face (Jon Chait also made this point recently), and that the bulk of that problem is that health-care costs are rising rapidly.
Your Daily Dose Of Health Policy
October 08, 2007
Now that Hillary Clinton has followed John Edwards in endorsing an "individual mandate" model for universal health care, lots of people are asking questions about the model -- some good, some not so good. In Business Week, columnist Glen Whitman raises several objections. It's difficult to enforce a mandate that everybody buy insurance, he says; just look at how many people don't carry car insurance, which states supposedly require of all drivers.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Proposes Another Homeland For The Jews
October 07, 2007
At the Sixth Zionist Congress in Vienna in 1903, Theodor Herzl proposed that a Jewish homeland be established in Uganda, a reflection of the difficulties he was having persuading European statesman that it is Palestine where both physical and spiritual Zion actually resided. Despite the fact that he had actually received (tentative) support for Uganda from some of these same statesman, the Congress turned him down...flat. In any case, there were many proposals over the decades for a Jewish polity other than one in Palestine.
Obama @ Howard: Attack Is The New Black
September 28, 2007
Barack Obama's speech at Howard University this morning was full of explosive, rhythmic calls to action, striking a fine balance between sober convocation and straight stumping. The campaign touted it as a substantive rollout of Obama's criminal justice platform, while the theater of his presence clearly thrilled the audience of black students and faculty.
Separatism And The American Creed
August 25, 2007
About a decade ago, Arthur Schlesinger wrote a book titled The Disuniting of America. A highly respected liberal thinker and an eminence in the liberal political orbit, he had come out against an orthodoxy of the new liberalism. The orthodoxy, now more entrenched by habit than by conviction, was "multi-culturalism." No longer e pluribus unum. But "out of many, more." Popular though the book was and well-reviewed too, I'm afraid it was ignored in practice. The multi-culturalists won. Wherever one looked there was evidence of the erosion of national feeling.
August 06, 2007
'Take off your veil!" the Somali soldier shouted at the woman in the mostly empty street. Steadying his assault rifle with his right hand, he ripped away the woman's black niqab with his left. "Why are you coming so close to us? You have explosives?" He leveled the muzzle of his gun against the bridge of her nose. Her mouth, suddenly embarrassed and exposed, broke into a jester's forced grin. "I just want a juice," she pleaded. Except for a handful of armed soldiers, the only other person on the deserted street was a man selling mango juice from behind a table.
June 20, 2007
A story about the five year old son of a good friend. The son attends a Jewish day school so, in addition to puzzling out English words, he is puzzling out Hebrew words. My friend and his wife have a "Peace Now" poster in their house, emblazoned with the same phrase in Hebrew: Shalom Achshav. The child read, with only a bit of difficulty, the words, Shalom Achshav. "Daddy, I know what that means. It means 'Good-bye now'." Shalom means peace, hello, good-bye. But the child did get today's meaning perfectly: Peace Now, Good-bye now. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The College Cash Problem
June 08, 2007
Like healthcare, the cost of college tuition in America has been spiraling out of control in the past decade. And the current college loan scandal only makes that more evident. (My alma mater, Columbia -- which just happens to be at the center of said scandal -- costs around $45,000 for tuition and board; that's about $10,000 more than when I matriculated in 2000). It's terrible, first of all, to prey on financially uninformed young people. But even at good rates, the prospect of taking out tens, even hundreds of thousands in loans, particularly for undergraduate education, is terrifying.
Gaza Safer Under Occupation
June 06, 2007
The Palestinians are desperate. That's old news. Yes, of course, the occupation makes them desperate. But, hey, the occupation of Gaza was liquidated almost two years ago. Not a single Israeli soldier is in Gaza, except for the one captured last summer from over the Israeli border. According to an article by the very savvy Isabel Kershner in todays Times, even Mahmoud Abbas has averred that "the brink of civil war ...