Reid Has the Votes, At Least Tonight
November 21, 2009
Tonight, at around 8 p.m., the Senate will vote on a "motion to proceed" with the debate over health care reform. To be clear, this isn't actually a vote on whether to pass health care reform--or even a vote on whether to hold such a vote. It's a vote on whether to begin talking about whether to have a vote on whether to pass health care reform. And yet the outcome is not a foregone conclusion.
BREAKING: House Passes Health Reform
November 07, 2009
At 11:14 p.m., the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 3962, the "Affordable Health Care for America" Act. Cheers erupted when the tally reached 218 votes, enough to pass the bill. The final count was 220 for, 215 against, with one Republican (Joseph Cao of Louisiana) joining the majority of Democrats. More soon.
Matters of Fact
October 24, 2009
In the mid-1950s, a photographer named Robert Frank, lately emigrated from Switzerland, drove around the United States to see and to join his new country. He shot pictures. The results, or his choices among them, were published in a book of eighty-three photos called The Americans, which was an immediate and lasting success. The book was not only a unique way for a newcomer to learn about his new home: in some ways it showed a social candor that was as yet unusual in photography.
Drunk with Power
October 02, 2009
In 2001, an entrepreneur named Tom Casten traveled down to southern Louisiana, near the small town of Franklin, with a clever idea. For decades, the area had sustained a pair of chemical plants that produced carbon black, a grimy powder used in printer ink and tire rubber. But the owner of one of the plants, Cabot Corporation, was struggling to compete against cheap tire imports from abroad, and desperately seeking ways to cut costs. That’s where Casten came in. He pointed out that the gas left over from the carbon-black process was just getting wasted--burned off and flared up into the sky.
State of Denial
September 26, 2009
Mitch Berger, a Washington-based lawyer, has a rare, incurable and very expensive-to-treat cancer. He is not fond of insurance companies. As Democrats scramble to assemble a health care reform package that a majority of the party can support, Republicans have agreed on what they claim is a quick and easy way to reduce health insurance costs. In delivering the Republican reply to the President’s recent joint-session speech, Charles Boustany of Louisiana offered the GOP plan, saying "Let's also talk about letting families and businesses buy insurance across state lines.
Economic Recovery? Not So Fast!
September 10, 2009
The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book, released yesterday, painted a cautiously optimistic portrait of the state of the nation’s economy. The New York Times, reporting on the Beige Book, heralded a “slow and still fragile recovery” that is “taking hold across the country.” But even if the data bear out this anecdotal assessment, don’t think that a robust recovery is going to appear in your metro area anytime soon. Here’s why: In many parts of the country there are few signs of recovery. Of the 12 Federal Reserve districts, only Dallas (covering Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico) re
Charles in Charge
September 09, 2009
Tonight the GOP response to Obama’s prime-time health care speech will be delivered by Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany, Jr., a little-known former heart surgeon who has been serving the state’s 7th district since 2005. Boustany is an interesting choice for the GOP considering the hype surrounding the speech and that the last rebuttal to the president came from high-profile 2012 contender Bobby Jindal. So who is he? Boustany, 53, was born in Lafayette, Louisiana to Lebanese immigrant grandparents and a Democrat father who served as Lafayette Parish coroner for 16 years.
Katrina: Four Years Later
August 29, 2009
Today marks the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall into Louisiana. It was one of the largest national disasters in the history of the United States, with an immediate death toll of nearly 2,000 and an estimate of more then $100 billion in damage. TNR writers attempted to chronicle the saga in all its complexity. At the time, Adam Kushner wrote longingly about the diaster devastating his home city. However, as Dante Ramos explained, there were already a wide range of problems facing New Orleans.
A Sweetheart Deal For Pharma--and Who Else?
August 06, 2009
Thanks to the New York Times, we now know the details of an agreement between the White House and the drug industry. And it's looking more like the sweetheart deal that cynics always said. Actually, it's thanks to Billy Tauzin--head of the drug industry lobby PhRMA--who spilled the bean during an on-the-record interview. Some quick background: Earlier in the summer, the White House made a big splash by announcing the drug industry had agreed to sign off on legislative changes that would cut its revenue stream by $80 billion.
"Now Don't You Let The Government Get A Hold Of My Medicare."
August 04, 2009
Arthur Laffer, Reagan economic advisor, co-author of Proposition 13, and creator of the Laffer Curve: An elderly Louisiana woman, 1994 (cf. The System by Haynes Johnson and David Broder, page 558) [Senator John Breaux] was walking through the New Orleans airport, returning home, when an elderly female constituent approached him. "Senator, Senator," she said, plucking emotionally at his sleeve.