Could The Oil Spill Make An Energy Bill Less Likely?
May 04, 2010

It's certainly possible. Back when Lindsey Graham was still negotiating over a climate and energy bill in the Senate, recall, there was a lot of talk about how expanded offshore drilling was going to be the thing that attracted Republican votes (as well as conservative Democrats like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu). True, new drilling might upset the liberal Dems, the thinking went, but surely they'd yield if that was the price that needed to be paid for a cap on carbon emissions and clean-energy investments. Well, maybe not.

A (Slightly) Optimistic Take On The Spill
May 04, 2010

The New York Times offers some reason to think that, at the very least, the Gulf oil spill might not turn into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history: But on Monday, the wind was pushing the slick in the opposite direction, away from the current. The worst effects of the spill have yet to be felt. And if efforts to contain the oil are even partly successful and the weather cooperates, the worst could be avoided. “Right now what people are fearing has not materialized,” said Edward B.

Who Pays For The Oil Cleanup?
May 03, 2010

So who pays for an oil-spill disaster like this one? Matthew Wald offers some context. Big, wealthy oil companies like BP are usually expected to pay to the cleanup costs themselves. But that still leaves the cost of all the indirect damage to fisheries and wildlife habitats in the area. In that case, under current law, an offshore rig operator is liable for up to $75 million in damages.

Carp, Carp, Carp
April 23, 2010

The great lakes are in danger of being overrun by an invasive species of Asian carp, gigantic eating machines which devour all the plankton and thereby kill off the local habitat. Great Lakes states have resorted to all kinds of highly expensive interventions, such as electric barriers, to stop the invasion. I've been wondering, why not just eat them? Well, others have thought of this as well. The problem is that people think of the Asian carp as a fish they wouldn't like to eat: In China and Vietnam, the carp have been farmed and considered delicacies for millennia.

Jindal's Louisiana Purchase
April 06, 2010

Via Thinkprogress, The Eunice News reports that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal persuaded Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, a Democrat, to join the healthcare lawsuit he had deemed frivolous by promising to spare his office from budget cuts: But his decision may not have been as willing as he attempted to make it appear. In a subsequent address to employees of his office, the Attorney General said the decision was made more out of the necessity of saving jobs in his agency than any real hope—or desire—of overturning the health care law. One employee said Caldwell, in a candid admission, cl

Is There Another Kind?
March 31, 2010

Politico reports: The Republican National Committee is planning a four-day fundraising convention in New Orleans in two weeks, hoping to use the same GOP talent to draw donors who are headed to Louisiana to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference... Southern Republican Leadership Conference... isn't that redundant?

The New Nullifiers
March 25, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how

What's the matter with Arkansas (and Idaho, and Oklahoma, and….)
March 17, 2010

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The New Deal was famously described as an arrangement whereby the South was forced against its will to accept billions of dollars every year. Something similar might be said of the current health reform. Washington is on pins and needles waiting to discern the votes of Blue Dog Representatives whose constituents have the most to gain from health reform.  I was reminded of this fact by Michael Tomasky's recent column.

Health Care And The 1994 Precedent
March 15, 2010

There has been a lot of argument over whether passing health care reform or letting it die would offer the most attractive strategy for Democrats.

What Failure Would Cost the Democrats
March 15, 2010

Disgruntled (if not former) Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen are the latest to join in offering advice to President Obama and Congressional Democrats to abandon their health reform quest before it causes catastrophic damage to the party.