Georgetown

John J. Mearsheimer, who is co-author (with Stephen Walt) of The Israel Lobby, a who’s who they’d rather have called The Jewish Lobby, has finally come clean and done a morphology of American Jewry, splitting it into two schools each personified by perhaps a dozen individual Jews. The first he calls “righteous Jews.” This list includes Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, a certified nutcase named Philip Weiss, and other more-or-less unknowns—Naomi Klein, for example.

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The debate over the use of budget reconciliation to pass relatively small changes to a health care reform is an unusual one. Republicans keep charging that it's unprecedented. Experts on Congressional procedure keep debunking them. Here's an NPR story quoting Georgetown's Sara Rosenbaum explaining that reconciliation has been used repeatedly for health care changes.

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You’d have to be pretty cold-hearted to think somebody should go without insurance just because she has a kid with asthma, was born with diabetes, or survived a bout of breast cancer--just three of the conditions that today would render an individual “uninsurable” in the eyes of the industry. To fix this problem, President Obama and the Democrats would prohibit insurers from denying coverage, or even charging higher rates, to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

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The latest potential Republican presidential contender is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. I wrote about Daniels back when he ran the Office of Management and Budget under George W. Bush, where his task was to use pseudo-populist demagoguery to deflect from the administration's disastrous fiscal record: The man Bush has deputized to explain this state of affairs to the American public is Mitchell G. Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget. One of Daniels's favorite techniques is to preface his views on macroeconomic policy by pointing out that he is a country bumpkin.

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Bodacious? Xtremely!

On night one of the Conservative Political Action Conference, as George Will entertained GOP mucketymucks in the Marriott Wardman’s cavernous banquet hall, the next generation of Republicans was downstairs, in the basement, enjoying something more hip. Or, at least, Stephen Baldwin’s idea of hip.   “I know you don’t hear the word gnarly too much in conservative circles, but you’re gonna start hearing it in the future!” the 44-year-old ex-actor told a crowd of about 200 assembled youths.

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Some place in the prints this morning, I saw President Obama characterized as bi-racial. It led me to thinking about the way we read men and women with different proportions of blackness in them. Pretty much up to now, it was the Nuremberg Law model: a little bit of Jewish blood, you're Jewish … a little bit of black blood, you're black. A few weeks ago, in an extraordinary piece, John McWhorter parsed the meaning of "African-American" and found it utterly useless or, worse yet, a lie. "Black" is less and less a scientific category and becoming less and less a sociological category, as well.

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Post Apocalypse

On July 2 of last year, Politico broke a startling story: The Washington Post was planning to host off-the-record salons at which sponsors would pay to mingle with D.C. eminences and Post writers. The dinners--the first of which had been advertised in Post fliers as an “exclusive opportunity to participate in the health-care reform debate among the select few who will actually get it done”--were to take place at the home of Katharine Weymouth, the Post’s publisher. Weymouth, granddaughter of legendary Post owner Katharine Graham, had only been on the job for a year and a half.

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Brittle Activists

WASHINGTON -- The nation owes a substantial debt to Justice Samuel Alito for his display of unhappiness over President Obama's criticisms of the Supreme Court's recent legislation -- excuse me, decision -- opening our electoral system to a new torrent of corporate money. Alito's inability to restrain himself during the State of the Union address brought to wide attention a truth that too many have tried to ignore: The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected bra

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Hacker: Pass the Bill

Add one more voice to the chorus calling upon Democrats to pass health care reform, even if it means having the House quickly pass the Senate bill and then amending it later. It's the voice of Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker, champion of the public plan and frequent contributor to The Treatment. Writing alongside Georgetown Professor (and TNR alum) Daniel Hopkins in the Washington Post, he argues Forget the question of whether a Republican Senate victory in Massachusetts spells the end of health reform. It doesn't--unless Democrats let it.

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The New York Times gave about six inches to Bibi Netanyahu's speech at the General Assembly, and this in an article he shared with Hugo Chavez who spoke for four times the duration allowed by the rules. This is a habit among tyrants, and Chavez is no exception. The same Times page carried a 24-inch piece about Gadhafi, not on his filibuster at the U.N. (which it covered more than amply on Thursday), but dealing with the dictator's appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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