University of Virginia

The Conservative Assault on Medicaid
March 10, 2011

The right wing’s attack on government insurance programs has taken a novel and brash twist: Conservatives have started arguing that people on Medicaid would be better off with no insurance whatsoever.

Why GOP Governors Should Love Medicaid
March 08, 2011

Republicans governors have spent a lot of time lately beating up on Medicaid--threatening to drop out of the program altogether or, at the very least, lobbying for more flexibility over how to manage the program within their states. Harold Pollack, writing for TNR, wonders whether they’ve thought through the implications for politics as well as policy:  Consider what would happen if Texas governor Rick Perry, who has mused about dropping Medicaid entirely, could do what he wanted. Talking about dropping Medicaid might attract attention for Perry’s new book.

DISPATCH: The Mysterious Evolution of Kandahar—And Its Insurgency
December 31, 2010

“The Taliban have already taken over in Kandahar! Come out onto the streets and see. There is no government there!” Or so Rangina Hamidi, the American-educated daughter of Kandahar’s mayor, Ghulum Hamidi, warned me in Kabul last month. Her remarks echoed a recent survey of 1,000 men in Kandahar and Helmand provinces. It found that 51 percent would prefer justice to be administered by the Taliban and 59 percent think the Taliban would do a better job of running the economy than the current Afghan government. Rangina gave me her father’s phone number, adding that he answers his own phone.

How The Religious Right Lost
December 20, 2010

As a complement to my thoughts about the total lack of passion from the right in the gays in the military battle, consider this interesting observation by Ross Douthat about how the rise of the religious right has burned itself out and fueled a backlash: In the last 50 years, the Christian churches have undergone what “American Grace” describes as a shock and two aftershocks. The initial earthquake was the cultural revolution of the 1960s, which undercut religious authority as it did all authority, while dealing a particular blow to Christian sexual ethics.

Man's Inhumanity To Mann
August 30, 2010

Of all the pet causes by climate skeptics, the obsession with Michael Mann has always struck me as one of the weirdest. Most of the broader public probably has no idea who Mann even is—he was one of the climatologists who created the "hockey stick" graph that used various bits of proxy data (such as tree-ring samples and ice-core measurements) to reconstruct global temperatures over the past 1,000 years. Mann and his co-authors found that the current spate of global warming is unprecedented during that time span.

Virginia's Climate-Science Witch Hunt Goes Too Far
May 07, 2010

The lead letter in Science this week is signed by 255 members of the National Academy of Sciences and begins: "We are deeply disturbed by the recent escalation of political assaults on scientists in general and on climate scientists in particular." They go on to explain that, yes, there are always uncertainties in any scientific enterprise, but at this point there's too much compelling evidence that humans are drastically warming the planet to wave away and dismiss.

Pass or Fail
March 15, 2010

In my new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, I argue that the current movement to fix schools will not improve American education. In fact, it may very well harm it. Today’s reformers--few of whom are educators--say that changes in incentives and sanctions and in the governance of schooling will lead to improved achievement. They believe that a stronger emphasis on testing and accountability and an expansion of privately managed charter schools will raise student performance.

Let Europe Mind Its Own Business. It Brings Nothing To The Table Save For Mischief.
February 12, 2010

Europe is a mess. Greece is the country on the continent closest to utter wreck. (And, if not for statements yesterday by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy, there would literally be no hope for a life raft anywhere near Athens soon. This morning's FT smothers even those wan hopes.) Spain, Portugal and Ireland are not far behind ... or under. Each of these countries has views on how Israel deals with the Palestinians, and they don't like it at all. Neither do the past and present "foreign ministers"—so to speak, but not exactly—of the European Union.

February 06, 2010

The Weekly Standard certainly knows how to attract readers. The magazine's new cover story, written by Charlotte Allen, is accompanied by a cover photo of a big-breasted woman in a red dress being approached from behind by a sleazy looking man. The cover text reads: "Thousands of years of human mating rituals are vanishing. Cro-Magnons are once again dragging their mates into their caves by their hair--and the women love every minute of it." Before metaphorically turning the page, I asked myself a question: How will Allen blame this state of affairs on the women's movement?

Half Tame
November 05, 2008

The time has come to take a fresh look at the achievement of Roger Shattuck, who died in 2005 at the age of eighty-two. From his first book, The Banquet Years, published exactly half a century ago, to his last major work, Forbidden Knowledge, Shattuck was one of America's most adventuresome students of modernity, at once a celebrant of some of the wildest reaches of artistic experiment and a critic of the twentieth century's dream of unlimited, ever- expanding horizons.