Race to the Bottom
February 08, 2012
Back in the 1940s, when there was no pretense of equality among the races and, instead, a benign acceptance—if not, among some, a certainty—that inequality was in fact the way things should be, my mother, then a college student, journeyed 200 miles from her family’s home in north Georgia, through the slash pines and wiregrass, to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in a settlement called Keysville.
The End of the Christian Right
January 17, 2012
Is the Christian Right still a power in American politics? The lavish coverage which its partisans and their favorite issues have received during the current Republican campaign certainly leave that impression. Yet all this attention is akin to the dazzling glow of a setting sun. In fact, the Christian Right is a fading force in American life, one which has little chance of achieving its cherished goals. Yes, pious conservatives earned the underfunded Rick Santorum a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses, and, last week, a large gathering of evangelical leaders nodded fervently in his direction.
Mississippi Has A New Voter ID Law. Does Voter Fraud Exist?
November 11, 2011
Lost amidst the streaming confetti that followed Tuesday’s big liberal victories in Mississippi and Ohio were two potentially disastrous voter referendum results. One was Ohio’s decision to “block” the American Care Act’s individual mandate, which my esteemed colleague explicated in great detail earlier this week. The other was Mississippi’s strict voter ID law, now the eighth of its kind in the country. The new law is simple: Except for some religious objectors and residents of state-run care facilities, voters will henceforth need to present government-issued photo IDs to place ballots.
Daily Deadline: Ohio, Mississippi and 2012
November 09, 2011
[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir] Tuesday was a good day for liberals – maybe the best in quite a while. In Ohio, voters decided to give public employee unions the bargaining rights that John Kasich and state Republicans had taken away. In Mississippi, voters rejected a ballot measure that would have declared conception the beginning of legal “personhood,” rendering illegal not just common IVF practices but also, potentially, many forms of birth control. The margins were strikingly lopsided.
Last Night's Bad News
November 09, 2011
There’s no denying that last night was a pretty good night for liberals across the country—in Mississippi, Maine, and especially in Ohio, where voters restored public-sector collective bargaining rights. That was perhaps the night’s most high-profile win, but it wasn’t all good news from the Buckeye State: While voters rejected a right-wing push against unions, they supported one against the Affordable Care Act. By a huge margin, Ohioans approved Issue 3, a symbolic, Tea-Party backed measure to amend the state constitution (and voice conservative protests against the individual mandate).
Election Day Primer
November 08, 2011
You might not know it from the sleepy diagonal avenues of Washington, DC, but today is election day in several places around the country. Here are the battles to watch: MISSISSIPPI Ballot Referenda Personhood At last, the famous “Personhood Amendment” comes to a vote. To recap: If the amendment gets a simple majority by voter referendum, the Mississippi state constitution is amended to define personhood at the moment of fertilization.
Daily Deadline: Mississippi v. Birth Control
October 26, 2011
[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir] When does life begin? Mississippi voters get to answer that question this fall, thanks to a ballot proposal that would define life as beginning at conception. It’s Initiative 26 in the November election. Proponents call it the “Personhood Amendment.” Yesterday I flagged an article by Michelle Goldberg, in the Daily Beast, pointing out one possible consequence of the law: The banning of many in vitro fertilization techniques. The measure could prohibit not only the destruction of unused embryos but also the freezing of them.
The Turnaround Men
October 26, 2011
Just after dawn on a cool morning in September 2008, two FBI agents and a police officer walked into the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas and took the security elevator up to the twenty-third floor, where they knocked on the door of a high-roller haven known as the Grand Lakeview Suite. A Minnesota businessman named Tom Petters answered wrapped in a bathrobe. After a moment’s hesitation, he invited them in.
Daily Deadline: Hammer Time
October 25, 2011
[with contributions from Matt O’Brien and Darius Tahir] If you’re an obsessive blog reader, then chances are good you’ve seen the viral campaign ad for Ed Lee, who’s running for reelection as mayor of San Francisco. But just in case some of you missed it, you can watch it above. A quick programming note: A feature deadline looms, so posting may be light for the next few days. Elsewhere: For the 99 percent: Greg Sargent teamed up with Citizens for Tax Justice to figure out how many people would pay the proposed millionaire surtax to finance infrastructure spending. The answer?
Newt’s Personal Hypocrisy on ‘Death Panels’
October 17, 2011
If Newt Gingrich holds to form in Tuesday night's GOP presidential primary debate in Nevada, he may well decide to answer a question on health care policy by invoking the threat of "death panels." He backed up Sarah Palin when she first tossed that rhetorical grenade against the Democrats' universal health care legislation in the summer of 2009 and he wielded the dread phrase again at the last debate in criticizing the new recommendations against routine testing for prostate cancer in older men. My colleague Jonathan Cohn did yeoman's work last week in rebutting Gingrich's specific attack on