Is This What The Climate-Change Debate Has Come To?
February 10, 2011
Spend enough time listening to doubters and deniers of climate science speak, and you start to recognize certain familiar tics and tropes. There's the personal conversion story, for one. The skeptic explains how, once upon a time, he, too, blindly accepted everything climatologists have to say about how human activity is heating the planet.
The Grounds of Courage
January 13, 2011
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy By Eric Metaxas (Thomas Nelson, 591 pp., $29.99) Early in January 1939, the precocious German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, age thirty-two, learned that all males in his age cohort had been ordered to register with the military. A dedicated opponent of the Nazi regime, he might have responded by declaring himself a conscientious objector, but there were two problems with such a course of action.
‘Wastebook’ Is a Waste
December 21, 2010
There’s a reason politicians are always loath to cut government budgets: It typically means hacking away at programs people like, and painful cuts lead to scary headlines. In Arizona, the state legislature recently cut off organ transplants for Medicaid patients, and the press responded with tales about sick patients who could die as a result. Not pretty. That’s why, when House Republicans pledged this week to cut federal spending by some $88 billion when the budget comes up for renewal in March, they shied away from specifics.
Understanding a Mad, Mad Primary Season
September 15, 2010
Christine O’Donnell is not someone you’d expect to be a Republican nominee for a competitive U.S. Senate contest, particularly in the staid state of Delaware, and particularly as the choice of primary voters over Congressman Mike Castle, who up until yesterday had won twelve consecutive statewide races. O’Donnell is a recent newcomer to Delaware and, since arriving, has managed to get into trouble with her student loans, her taxes, her mortgage, and her job. She also unsuccessfully sued a conservative organization for gender discrimination.
Right-Wing Beauty Pageant Conspiracists Strike Back
May 18, 2010
Conservatives continue to seethe over the Miss USA triumph of Lebanese-American Rima Fakih: "Miss Hezbollah is now Miss USA," declared conservative radio talk show host Debbie Schlussel, saying that Fakih's relatives in Lebanon had ties to the terrorist organization based there.
Why Are Beauty Queens Conservative?
May 17, 2010
Daniel Pipes is grumbling that yet another Muslim has won a beauty pageant--whathappened to the cherished ideal of meritocracy in beauty pageants?--but he probably doesn't realize that yet another conservative has won a beauty pageant. Rimah Fakih of Dearborn, Michigan is, in addition to bring Arab American, a member of the "Free Enterprise Group" at UM-Dearborn. Meanwhile, National Review today has video of Miss Oklahoma endorsing Arizona's immigration laws. Other examples? Miss California Carrie Prejean was a forceful critic of gay marriage.
The Deficit Commission Lives!
April 17, 2010
When the Republicans used their appointments to the deficit commission to name hard-core right-wingers like Tom Coburn and Jeb Hensarling, everybody assumed that meant the commission would just deadlock. But the hard-core right-wingers are sounding... flexible: "Everything is on the table," said Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), one of six GOP lawmakers on the commission, when asked by The Hill whether he'd block any recommendation to raise taxes.
Calling The Reconciliation Bluff
March 23, 2010
It was pretty blindingly obvious that the Republican bluster about how the party planned to fight reconciliation tooth and nail, how it could strip out much or all of the language and bring the bill down, was bluster.
I noted in a previous post that wavering House members represent districts that have the most to gain from health reform. Thanks to my colleague Louis Woynarowski, we can see this in mapped form. He mapped uninsurance rates for every district represented by a wavering House member, as listed in FiredogLake's invaluable whip count. Each district is shaded to represent the percentage of nonelderly people who lack health coverage. The data comes from the Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, as reported by Genevieve Kinney and colleagues.
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.