Environment

Abortion Rights Opponents Get Their Day--and Maybe Their Way
November 07, 2009

Opponents of abortion rights won a significant political victory last night, making it more likely that millions of American women will no longer be able to purchase insurance that covers abortion services. At issue is what happens inside the new insurance exchanges, through which small businesses and people purchasing coverage on their own would shop for insurance. People purchasing coverage through the exchanges would be eligible for subsidies if their household incomes were below four times the poverty level.

Cap-And-Trade Politics: Carbon (Like Place) Matters!
November 06, 2009

Yesterday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to report out climate legislation, with ten Democrats voting yes, one Democrat (Montana’s Sen. Baucus) voting no, and all of the Republicans boycotting. If you look at the vote tally (using Project Vulcan data), you find that the states of senators voting "no" emitted 29.4 tonnes of carbon per capita, and the states of "yes" voters emitted 13.3 tonnes per capita, compared with a national average of 20.9 tonnes per capita. What do you think?

Obama's Anzio, Or Ben Nelson's?
November 06, 2009

Paul Krugman's column today is about how the stimulus was too small. I agree entirely. What I find puzzling is his apparent belief that the Obama administration is the primary culprit for this shortcoming. Here's Krugman: But while health care won’t be Mr. Obama’s Waterloo, economic policy is starting to look like his Anzio. ... President Obama came into office with a strong mandate and proclaimed the need to take bold action on the economy. His actual actions, however, were cautious rather than bold.

The Weekly Standard, Where It's Always Good News For Republicans
November 06, 2009

Matthew Continetti's editorial in last week's issue of the Weekly Standard--"The Inevitability Myth: Health care reform is not a fait accompli"--makes the case that, despite all evidence, health care reform may not be enacted after all. (Continetti does concede that "the chances of some sort of health bill passing, at some point, are by no means negligible." So he's telling us there's a chance.) This sort of argument is actually the signature style of the Standard. A magazine like National Review specializes in making the case for conservative ideas.

Yes We Can, Pinstripes Edition
November 05, 2009

Long-lost reader EC writes: In the past 40 years, the Yankees are undefeated in the World Series under Democratic presidents (1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009). But they've lost every World Series with a Republican in the White House (1976, 1981, 2001, 2003). More broadly, in their 40 World Series appearances, the Yankees are 20-3 during Democratic administrations, but only 7-10 with Republicans in charge, and haven't won the World Series under GOP rule in over half a century.

The Insider
November 05, 2009

In the wake of defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats and the Obama administration are being advised to move to the center. I think the Republicans are well advised to take that advice, but I am not sure about the Democrats, and I am not sure what the "center" means in this case.

The Dodgy Political Punditry of Moderate Dems
November 05, 2009

One of the most frustrating consequences of an Election Day like Tuesday is that it invariably (if fleetingly) transforms moderate politicians with no particular insight into the dynamics of public opinion into all-knowing sages. More to the point, it elevates their perfect-for-every-occasion view of politics, which says that if your party suffers a setback, the reason must be that it was too far to one side of the political spectrum, and so the answer is obviously to move back to the middle.

On Predicting the Future
November 04, 2009

I don't want to get too Noam-y here, but I love Dave Leonhardt's new column raising--if not quite endorsing--the possibility that current economic pessimism is overstated, and that another boom could be hiding around the corner. In particular I find this compelling: When Bill Clinton convened a conference in the dark economic days after his 1992 election, some of the country’s top economists flew to Little Rock, Ark., to share their vision for the future. As Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, likes to point out, they didn’t spend much time talking about the Internet.

Are Yesterday's Election Results Boosting the Market?
November 04, 2009

Apparently there’s a rumor making the rounds in some corners of Wall Street that yesterday’s election results are driving today’s stock market rally—the theory being that the results are a blow to Obama’s agenda, and stopping Obama is good for the market. (I just got a call from a producer at CNBC asking me what I thought about this). The reasons why this theory is utterly ludicrous are almost too numerous to catalogue, but let me give it a quick shot: First, as I write this (around 1:30 pm), the Dow is up about 100 points, or just over 1 percent.

Education Provides Political Spin of the Day
November 04, 2009

On Wednesday, exactly a year after he won the White House and a day after the Democrats lost high-profile gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, Obama will be in Madison, Wisconsin to promote his education agenda. It’s a smart move. The media spent Tuesday speculating about whether the governors’ races were referendums on Obama’s presidency and whether he’s delivered on the change he promised a year ago. It’s easy to point to health care or climate policy, currently mired in congressional partisan wrangling, as areas where change-making isn’t going so smoothly.

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