Nashville Nation
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, 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.

Small Ball
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.

Steele Cage
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.

Planet Worth
December 11, 2009

Of all the different industry groups scrambling to shape climate policy in Washington--from electric utilities to Detroit automakers--one stands out as a bit unexpected: Wall Street. Financial giants like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have enlisted, all told, more than 100 lobbyists to roam the Capitol and influence the debate over how to curb greenhouse gases. There’s a reason for that: Any cap-and-trade bill that puts a limit on emissions and allows polluters to buy and sell permits will create a vast carbon market.

Science 0, Politics 1
December 03, 2009

After nearly three days of deliberation, the Senate finally cast its first vote to pass the Mikulski amendment to provide for women’s preventative services. The amendment, which passed 61-39, would prohibit insurance companies from charging co-pays for a range of women’s preventative services as decided by an HHS agency. While the unamended reform bill would have covered most preventative services with little to no cost-sharing, it wouldn’t have necessarily included some services specific to women.

Baltimore Bets on Port Privatization
December 03, 2009

Frank Sobotka never delivered on his dredging in Season 2 of The Wire, but it appears like Baltimore is finally one step closer to getting a much improved Port of Baltimore. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced last week that the state signed an agreement with Port America to operate the port for 50 years. The deal is contingent on Port America, the nation’s largest port operator, to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the facility.