I love Matt Yglesias's response to Jon Kyl's suggestion that having the Senate work on December 27 would somehow be an insult to Christians: Yglesias proposes a Jews-only session on Christmas Day. Although note that Christmas happens to fall on a Saturday this year; I believe Joe Lieberman will only show up and vote on Shabbat if his vote is really necessary.
It’s always an exciting opportunity when the federal government can raise revenue and protect the environment while simultaneously increasing profits at private businesses. That’s why a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on waste from the energy production processes is encouraging, even if it’s irritating. When energy companies like Shell, BP and the hordes of other, smaller firms drill for oil and natural gas, some gas inevitably bubbles to the surface or seeps out through leaky pipes and ineffective storage systems. The companies burn off some of the bubbles.
Mitt Romney, as my colleague Jonathan Chait keeps pointing out, has a big problem as he pursues the 2012 Republican presidential nomination: His signature achievement as governor of Massachusetts was creating a universal health coverage scheme that looks a lot like the Affordable Care Act. In particular, the Massachusetts reforms include an individual mandate--a requirement that everybody get health insurance. The Affordable Care Act has one of those too.
Jonathan Chait and Ezra Klein both speculate today about the possibility of a GOP revolt against the tax cut deal, and tie it to economic growth and the presidential election (as Chait accurately characterizes my post yesterday, I made a wimpy "prediction" that the GOP might defect). I think they are both correct that it is in the interest of the Republican Party to have the economy tank over the next two years -- especially in 2012. However, I very much doubt that individual Republican pols will care about that. And I specifically include the presidential contenders. I'd be shocked if they
Source: Urban Institute The requirement that everybody buy health insurance remains unpopular and, based on Monday's court ruling in Virginia, it may be legally vulnerable, as well. But it's worth noting that the individual mandate, as it's known, seems to be working pretty well in the one state that already has it: Massachusetts. A new state survey conducted by the Urban Institute confirms what national surveys have already shown: Nearly everybody in Massachusetts now has health insurance.
Jamelle Bouie has been following judicial confirmations, and he has an excellent post up today criticizing the possible deal Harry Reid has been negotiating with the Republicans over the remaining judges. With good reason: the deal reportedly would allow confirmation of some—but not all—of the nominees who sailed through the Judiciary Committee with no opposition at all, while leaving the rest of them to rot, along with other nominees who had bipartisan (but not unanimous) support, not to mention the handful of actually controversial nominees. Bouie notes: Of course, if there's anyone to bla
A federal district judge in Virginia has become the first to rule that one key provision of the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. I haven't read the decision carefully. But it appears that the judge believes that the federal government cannot require that all Americans have health insurance. The government has argued that the constitution grants such authority via the power to tax and the power to regulate interstate commerce--an argument with which I, and quite a few legal experts, happen to agree. The judge, Henry E.
Mulling Obama’s tax deal with the Republicans, and the circumstances that led to it, I keep coming back to that very telling moment in last week’s presidential press conference—the part where Obama responded to liberal critics angry at him for giving so much ground. The essential problem with liberal critics, Obama suggested, was that they were “purists” more interested in symbolism than progress—that, in effect, they were letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
WASHINGTON—American decline is the specter haunting our politics. This could be President Obama's undoing—or it could provide him with the opportunity to revive his presidency. Fear of decline is an old American story. Declinism ran rampant in the late 1970s and early '80s.
Eight years ago, officials at Orlando International Airport first began testing the millimeter-wave body scanners that are currently at the center of a national uproar. The designers of the scanners at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offered U.S. officials a choice: naked machines or blob machines? The same researchers had developed both technologies, and both were equally effective at identifying contraband.