April 15, 2008


George W. Bush has many faults, but he deserves credit for this: The man knew how to sell a tax cut for the rich. In his 2000 campaign, he carted out families like Mark and Vicki Skiles of Pleasant Hill, Iowa, who Bush said would get $3000 from his plan. He even gave their kind a name--"tax families"--and after his first tax cut passed, hosted a "tax family reunion" on the White House lawn. Democrats complained--correctly--that the families disguised the Bush tax cuts' overall tilt to the wealthy. But the complaints were washed away by Bush's clever stagecraft.

Woe Is He
12:00 AM

Some liberal commentators have downplayed the effect of Barack Obama’s fundraising speech at a San Francisco fundraiser last week. But that’s wishful thinking. Along with the revelations about Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright, his remarks in San Francisco will haunt him not only in the upcoming primaries in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but also in the general election against John McCain, assuming he gets the Democratic nomination.

Frankly, It's Shameful
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--The Democratic presidential candidates are doing a splendid job helping John McCain get to the White House. Barack Obama violated two elementary rules of political campaigning. A candidate should never play the role of a political scientist or sociologist analyzing a key electoral swing group from afar, and should never dissect the motivations of less privileged people when talking to a group of privileged people. If Obama's comments about working-class voters had come from the mouth of anyone except a candidate, they might have seemed mildly controversial but broadly true.

It Depends What The Meaning Of "best" Is
12:00 AM

The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a case that asks whether the Clean Water Act requires power plants and manufacturers to adopt the best available technology, regardless of cost, for eliminating pollution from wastewater used to absorb heat from industrial processes, or whether companies are allowed to use a cost-benefit calculation in deciding whether to adopt these technologies.

April 14, 2008

Drug Sanity
12:00 AM

A different commander-in-chief will soon assume leadership of the War on Drugs. Let’s hope that a new leader will implement a new strategy, because for nearly a century now-- following the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914--America’s War on Drugs has been seen primarily as a criminal justice problem. And for nearly a century, we’ve seen this approach to fighting drugs fail and fail and then fail again. Almost nobody’s pleased with the results. So my question is: Why haven’t we been able to change course?

A Superpower On The Wane?
12:00 AM

Not only did the U.S. finish out of the medal chase in the latest global execution standings (we're a distant fifth, and the Supreme Court sure isn't helping us catch up), it now seems that our erstwhile dominance in the field of total carbon emissions has disappeared faster than, well, Arctic sea ice: China has already overtaken the US as the world's "biggest polluter", a report to be published next month says.

The Case For Waiting
12:00 AM

Brad poked at something interesting in this post and if I might, I'd like to expand on it just a bit. Last year, before the Democratic presidential candidates began arguing against each other's "theories of change," environmental groups were involved in a fight of their own about a similar idea. With a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a fiercely anti-environment president in the White House, how should they approach the climate legislation that they knew was coming down the pipeline?

Is Bush Ready To Take The Plunge?
12:00 AM

Well, this is unexpected. The front page of today's Washington Times says that Bush may reverse his stance on climate legislation—and soon: President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include. Specifics of the policy are still being fiercely debated, but Bush administration officials have told Republicans in Congress that they feel pressure to act now because they fear a coming regulatory nightmare. It would be the first time Mr.

Pastor Act Ii: Back In The Habit
12:00 AM

ABC News reports that Jeremiah Wright has broken his silence regarding his now-ubiquitous criticisms of America that landed Barack Obama in hot water about a month ago. The happening bears out the thesis of a psych-profile I wrote a few issues back, about why Wright can't bring himself to zip it. Relevant portions: Having lived for so long at the center of a world he built, Wright may simply not be used to restraining himself.

Hillary Clinton And The Feminist Reawakening
12:00 AM

Amanda Fortini has an interesting piece in New York magazine on the "feminist reawakening" that Senator Hillary Clinton's run for the White House has brought about. Here's the crux of her thesis: The women I interviewed who described a kind of conversion experience brought about by Clinton’s candidacy were professionals in their thirties, forties, and fifties, and a few in their twenties.