Law

Ok, Nidal Malik Hasan Is Not A Terrorist. He's A Banana ... Or A Monkey Wrench. So What!
November 10, 2009

By the way, I don't think I've written that Nidal Malik Hasan is a terrorist. But, believe me, it's not because I pondered the aptness of the word. It's enough for me that, having killed 13 people (and wounded 28 others) because of his religious beliefs--yes, his religious beliefs--and surely also his deranged mind, he is a mass murderer. And, please, none of this crap about "innocent until proven guilty." On the other hand, John Judis is very perturbed about the terrorist nomenclature. Jason Zengerle is less perturbed, and may even be ready to concede the point.

Abortion, Catholics, and the Health Care Bill
November 10, 2009

Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College. Just before the House of Representatives voted on the Stupak Amendment, designed to stop any public funding of insurance plans that cover abortion, the U. S. Conference on Catholic Bishops (USCCB) weighed in with its endorsement.

Should Obama Boost Jobs More Directly?
November 09, 2009

Via Matt Yglesias, I see that Alec MacGillis had an interesting piece on this question in yesterday's Washington Post. There are a variety of ways the administration could target employment directly, of course, from a WPA-style federal jobs program to tax credits that subsidize hiring. Zubin and Kevin Drum have pointed out some problems with proposals near the WPA end of the spectrum. A more feasible approach might be a policy the Germans put in place, which apparently happens on a smaller scale in a few U.S.

What To Do About Juvenile Sentencing
November 09, 2009

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.

The House Bill Is "Worse Than Nothing"? Really?
November 09, 2009

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.

It's the Building, Not the Blueprint, That Matters
November 08, 2009

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.

EXCLUSIVE: The Insurers' Latest Scare Campaign
November 06, 2009

A little less than a month ago, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association--the trade group representing state-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans--released a misleading study suggesting that health care reform would mean higher premiums for small businesses and individuals buying coverage on their own. The basis for the findings were calculations by the consulting firm, Oliver Wyman.

The Christian Right Meets Tea-Party Might
November 06, 2009

“We are turning to socialism and away from God!” Joseph Grab said as he stood amid the thousands who gathered on Capitol Hill today to attend Michele Bachmann’s “House Call” protest against the health care reform bill. Grab, a retired engineer from Hershey, Pennsylvania, was clutching a leather-bound King James in his hand and a green sign that simply said “Pray” in the other.

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.

Where Are You, California Republicans?
November 05, 2009

Just in case the California Legislature's passage of a landmark water bill earlier this week had convinced you that John Judis is wrong and that things are finally looking up for the Golden State, William Voegeli's essay in the current issue of City Journal might put things back in gloomy perspective.  Voegeli asks a worthwhile question: Given that the overall tax burden in California is fairly high relative to other states (with some complicating factors), why aren't public services like roads, schools, and police in California any better than in low-tax jurisdictions like Texas?  Voegeli's a

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