Ryan

The first debate between two Catholics, and all we got was a lousy abortion question?

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My takeaway from the conventions? That it's remarkable just how much the "who's on whose side" question has become clarified since 2010.

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Elizabeth Warren has struggled to remind voters in Massachusetts that Scott Brown IS a Republican. Will Paul Ryan and Todd Akin help?

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I have a guest column at the Daily Beast about the Republican Party's self-destructive decision to support the Paul Ryan budget and, faced with the disastrous consequences, to dig in deeper. For an example of digging in deeper, check out Marc Thiessen's column today.

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The conservative movement is geared around endlessly pushing Republican politicians to take more right-wing positions, and to interpret any failure as the result of ideological or political faint-heartedness.

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&c

-- Jon Cohn on how the Ryan proposal will affect infrastructure. -- Brad Plumer asks: can anything be done about gas prices? -- Washington mayor Vince Gray makes corrupt cab deal.  

How will Republican support of House Chairman Paul Ryan's budget play in the 2012 elections? We got a sneak preview on Friday, when Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor and likely GOP presidential candidate, took some questions while visiting New Hampshire.  After Pawlenty indicated that he supported Ryan's budget generally, Igor Volsky of Think Progress asked whether he supported the proposed Medicare cuts specifically.  The full exchange, which you can watch above, went like this: PAWLENTY: I like Paul Ryan’s plan directionally.

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A big reason I worry about Obama’s plan to outline new principles on deficit reduction is that whatever he says is likely to become the left boundary of political debate. And Obama is simply not that far to the left, philosophically or temperamentally. In Wednesday's speech, Obama will probably call for restoring tax rates on the wealthy to what they were during the Clinton era, while controlling health care costs more aggressively via the mechanisms of the Affordable Care Act.

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House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has published his proposal for downsizing the federal government. In the hours and days to come, you're going to hear a lot of different numbers from his proposal. But let me draw your attention to a figure that's not in there: 32 million. Based on the available information, that's roughly the number of people likely to lose health insurance, relative to current law, if the budget were to become reality. The spending blueprint calls explicitly for repealing the Affordable Care Act.

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Even though I write about environmental issues a fair bit, I don't care much for nature, personally. Never go on strolls through the woods or hikes through the hills. The snippet of green space inside D.C. traffic circles is about as much as I can handle. But maybe that's a bad approach. According to a new series of studies, communing with nature has a whole heap of beneficial effects: Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

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