The thousands of reporters who departed the nation’s capital to cover the Republican National Convention in Florida have done an admirable job covering an important political event. But a big story taking place in the national media’s own backyard, one arguably even more important than the convention, slipped by almost entirely unnoticed: the federal court case pitting South Carolina against the Department of Justice over the state’s controversial Voter ID law.
With its 80-foot-high smokestack columns towering over a four-acre site whose only representation of its subject would be a statue showing him as a barefoot boy, the current design for the proposed Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial in Washington, D.C. manages to be both bombastic and silly. It’s easy to imagine tourists mistaking the memorial as a spectacularly misconceived tribute to Huckleberry Finn. Which is why it’s entirely appropriate that a dispute has broken out over it.
For some of us at TNR, the most surprising aspect of yesterday’s Great Internet Blackout wasn’t the crushing recognition of just how often we head to Wikipedia—it was noticing the strange political bedfellows forged by SOPA, the House's Stop Internet Piracy Act, and its Senate analogue PIPA. In this hyper-partisan political climate, seeing Michele Bachmann on the same page as Nancy Pelosi, and Rupert Murdoch agree with avowed-liberal Patrick Leahy was unusual (and somewhat refreshing).
When President Obama took office, most environmental activists assumed that their cause would still meet resistance in Washington DC—they just assumed it would be located in Congress. But according to activists, a chief opponent of environmental causes has turned out to be within the White House itself: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). A division of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), OIRA has always had the power to review the economic impact of virtually any new federal regulation.
In a speech before Parliament last month, British Prime Minister David Cameron posed a rhetorical question as he harangued the opposition Labour Party: “Is there a single other mainstream party anywhere in Europe who thinks the answer to the debt problem is more spending and more borrowing?” Cameron was meaning to taunt Europe’s Social Democratic parties, rubbing in the fact that they lack the power to implement the types of programs they’d prefer.
The 99 percenters who have been occupying (sorry, Occupying) Washington, D.C. for the past month are as insistently “horizontal” in their approach to democracy—no hierarchies, no leaders—as their comrades in other cities across the country. But there was also a brief and instructive moment when the protesters here seemed willing to shelve their anarchism for the sake of a (sort-of) celebrity.
Speaking at a health care reform rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, in July 2009, President Obama declared that the worst of the recession was over. “We have stopped the free-fall. The market is up and the financial system is no longer on the verge of collapse,” he said proudly. A year or so later, with midterm elections looming and an electorate that is as fearful and angry as any in memory, the stock market has risen, but even a breath of bad news can send it tumbling. As dismal as housing prices continue to be, they have yet to hit bottom in some places.
I don’t agree with Paul Krugman about everything. But I do agree with him about this: It’s economically stupid and morally wrong to tolerate high unemployment for an extended period if there’s anything we could responsibly do to avoid it. Current prospects are gloomy. Long-term unemployment is at a post-Depression high, and recovery will be painfully slow. It took a little more than two years to regain the jobs lost during the 1981-82 recession, about two and a half years after the 1990-1991 recession, and more than three and a half years after the 2001 recession.
Noah Kristula-Green has a piece about the growing influence of Rand on the right: [P]rominent national conservatives have overcome their repugnance for Rand’s militant atheism to endorse her vision – and her politics. The Wall Street Journal declared in an Op-Ed by Stephen Moore—its senior economics writer—in January 2009 that Rand’s work had moved “From Fiction to Fact.” Rush Limbaugh gave monologues that quoted Rand and called her “Brilliant.” Among politicians, Ron Paul has described Atlas Shrugged as “telling the truth.” Amity Shlaes tried to map the characters of Atlas Shrugged onto the
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