Keeping Tally in the House
March 05, 2010
News on health care reform will increasingly be about individual members, as President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi try to accumulate the 216--er, now 217--votes House Democrats need to pass the Senate bill. The widely held assumption among insiders is that the Democrats can count upon about 200 "yes" votes right now, or maybe a few more. There are, meanwhile, somewhere between 30 and 40 House Democratic votes up for grabs. Thursday brought several developments.
The Black Caucus And Corporate Money
February 15, 2010
Sunday's New York Times had a terrific investigative story about the Congressional Black Caucus's use of creative fundraising tactics to soak up corporate cash: From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network.
February 05, 2010
Our political debates, our public discourse—on current economic and domestic issues—too often bear little or no relation to the actual problems the United States faces. What is at stake in our economic decisions today is not some grand warfare of rival ideologies which will sweep the country with passion, but the practical management of a modern economy.
February 05, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 3:28 p.m. Among the convention’s several last-minute saves—opening the conference to media, replacing one speaker who fell ill and another who dropped last minute—was bringing on Andrew Breitbart. Convention spokesman Mark Skoda knew the conservative media mogul through their mutual friend Mike Flynn, who manages the Breitbart site BigGovernment.com, and when Marsha Blackburn and Michele Bachmann backed out, Breitbart swooped in to help. At first, Breitbart himself was just supposed to introduce Sarah Palin. But to no one’s surprise, really, his portfolio grew.
The Quiet Revolution
February 01, 2010
Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.
January 19, 2010
In early December, the White House announced four finalists for the president’s Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award--a competition that plumbed the depths of the federal bureaucracy for ideas on how the government could save money. One finalist proposed streamlining the way the Forest Service forwards campground fees to the government. Another suggested that the Social Security Administration allow people to book appointments online rather than only by phone.
January 15, 2010
Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.
Eric Cantor Is Almost Being Honest
January 14, 2010
Politico has the House GOP plan: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of 10 leaders who attended a strategy session in Annapolis, Md., this week, said the party will attack Democrats relentlessly for the stimulus, health care and cap-and-trade bills.
Andy Stern Is Not Happy
December 17, 2009
Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, just put out a statement on health care reform. There are few players in the health care debate whose judgment I respect more than his. And he is not happy with what's transpired in the last week. I wonder if the White House understands the very serious problem emerging on its left. Keep in mind that insiders won't be able to dismiss Stern the way they do Howard Dean. Stern is seasoned. He is shrewd. And he has serious clout. I'll have more to say soon.
Why Are The Himalayas Melting? Blame Soot.
December 16, 2009
One of the biggest unpleasant climate shocks in recent years has been the discovery that the Himalayas are heating up much faster than the global average—a trend that most climate models had failed to predict, and something that's difficult to explain by pointing to greenhouse gases alone. And it's a critical issue, seeing as how Himalaya's glaciers provide water for more than 500 million people in countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and they're expected to shrivel away by 2035 or so.