A Health Reform Critic Flunks Math
October 21, 2010

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen takes to the Wall Street Journal editorial page on Thursday to attack health care reform. Bredesen has been critical of the Affordable Care Act for a while. This latest missive suggests that the law is a bad deal because it gives employers incentive to drop health insurance coverage. It’s a claim a lot of critics are making, particularly after reports that some employers might be scaling back coverage in anticipation of reform. But those reports have mostly turned out to be false or misleading.

How Performance Pay Works
October 05, 2010

Recently, Vanderbilt studied the effect of teacher bonus pay in Tennessee. It found that awarding bonuses to teachers who produce high results did not improve performance. Opponents of performance pay have been crowing that this shows performance pay doesn't work -- teachers, they say, are already doing their best, so you can't wring better results out of them by dangling bonuses. Of course, the point of performance pay isn't to wring better results out of the same teaching pool. It's to change the composition of the teaching pool.

Does Christine O'Donnell Think Dinosaur Bones Are Fake?
September 15, 2010

Yesterday I noted that only one Republican running for a Senate seat this year believed in climate change. That was Delaware's Mike Castle, who got ousted in his state's primary last night by Christine O'Donnell. And what's O'Donnell's deal? Well, she doesn't believe in the greenhouse effect. But she also doesn't believe in evolution.

Another Spending Showdown
August 04, 2010

With the national debt posing a fundamental threat to America's way of life, as so many Tea Parties have explained, another Obama initiative is being held up by Republicans due to concerns about big spending: Obama has pledged to spend $80 billion over a decade to modernize the nuclear weapons complex, roughly a $10 billion increase in funding.

The Stupidity of Liberal Apathy
July 29, 2010

Activists at last week’s Netroots Nation talked about disappointment and disillusionment. The polls show a slow, steady decline in support for the president among Democrats. Neither sample captures perfectly the state of the liberal mind this summer, but you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to see that President Obama, and the Democrats, are losing the love of their base. It’s a somewhat predictable decline, given lofty expectations for the Obama presidency and the stubbornly slow recovery.

Obama’s Education Agenda Isn’t Anti-Minority
July 28, 2010

When President Obama speaks to the National Urban League on Thursday about education reform, he’ll be on the defensive. On Monday, the league and six other civil rights groups—including the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Rainbow Push Coalition—released a document outlining what they see as the most pressing priorities for U.S. public schools. In it, the groups issue strident criticisms of some of Obama’s key reform efforts. Their chief complaint? That Obama’s could further disadvantage minority students.

The Coming Coal Shutdown
July 26, 2010

Enviro-types don't have much to be cheery about these days. Climate legislation has sputtered out. Jay Rockefeller is trying to delay the federal government's ability to rein in greenhouse gases. And the party of climate denialism is poised to grab a bunch of seats in Congress next year. So that means carbon emissions are just going to keep rising without end, right? Well, not necessarily.

The Games Continue: Soccer for the Next Generation of Americans
July 13, 2010

The United States may have missed its chance to play Spain in the World Cup final Sunday (and the Netherlands in the semifinal, and Uruguay in the quarterfinal), but similar battles take place every day on American turf, where the world meets for pick-up soccer games. There’s weekdays outside an MIT building in Cambridge, weekend mornings behind the White House, and barefoot on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. There are, in fact, times when the U.S.

Why Democratic Governors Are (Rightly) Scared of Obama's Stance on Immigration
July 12, 2010

The New York Times reported today that Democratic governors are worried the White House's decision to sue Arizona over its controversial new immigration law could threaten their already-vulnerable party in November's elections. "It is such a toxic subject," Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said of immigration, which is emerging as a key issue in this year's mid-terms. So what do the numbers show? Since Arizona passed its law in April, polls have consistently found that a majority of Americans support it.

Recession 101
July 09, 2010

[Guest Post by John B. Judis] Want to make me happy? Read carefully James Galbraith’s essay, “Scare the Hell out of Bankers,”  on our web site.  And read it all the way through because the argument isn’t clear until the end.  It’s one of the best things I’ve read on the role of finance in the recession and the recovery. It goes beyond the debates liberals had 18 months ago about finance.  First, on the question of nationalization of the banks. At the time, some of us held out for nationalization of the big banks as the only way to forestall a depression.