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Thomas Paine
Portrait by Auguste Millière

The Age of Paine

“That filthy little atheist,” as Thomas Paine was called by Theodore Roosevelt, has few monuments dedicated to his memory. Building a bronze and marble monument to Paine will never revive the republic, but his words still carry an electric current of freedom. His intellectual and political energy is always available for rediscovery.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE


Warming Up a New Politics?

That some highly vulnerable Democrats in the House were willing to face tens of thousands of dollars worth of Republican attack ads as the price of supporting a bill to curb global warming is the untold story of what, so far, is the year’s most dramatic legislative showdown.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Family Values

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Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


Iraq Has Another One of Its Famous Turning Points

As the media trumpets sound for the pullback of American troops from urban areas in Iraq, the essential lesson of our involvement must be recalled: Nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley, pool

Foreclosure Fiasco

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Alternative Lifestyle

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Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



Illustration from Flickr / CJ Sorg and South Carolina Governor's Office

Governor Goes Missing

South Carolina governor and anti-stimulus crusader Mark Sanford has vanished. Sanford gave his staff and security team the slip four days ago and managed to miss Father’s Day without alarming his wife, who also doesn’t know where he is. “He was writing something and wanted some space to get away from the kids,” she explained to AP.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / denn

California Attacks Budget Crisis With Make-Believe

Unable to agree whether to raise taxes or cut spending, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state’s lawmakers will instead rely on time travel. Sacramento hopes to “save” somewhere around $10 billion by shifting costs to next year’s budget and resorting to other accounting tricks.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher

Bill Maher: ‘Democrats Are the New Republicans’

Last week Bill Maher took on the president. This week, the “Real Time” host accuses the Democrats of selling out their principles to hedge funds and polluters: ” ... over the last 30-odd years, Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital.”

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
senate.gov

Health Care Fail

By one estimate, Sen. Max Baucus gets about $1,500 a day from the health industry. Who put this man in charge of health care reform? The senator’s latest innovation in compromise is to slash proposed insurance subsidies in a bid to get Republicans on board. And forget about a government-run insurance program.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


The AMA’s Unhealthy Obsession

The real question is not what the AMA will support or whether the attitudes of the AMA have changed, but why anyone would still heed its policy prescriptions. Very few national organizations have been so wrong for so long about the matters most salient to their own members.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Bipartisanship of Fools

Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective?

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

At the moment, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats glum because of a Congressional Budget Office analysis—based on an incomplete and early draft of what is likely to be the most liberal-leaning health care proposal to emerge from the Senate—that shows the measure just won’t get the job done.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Guns and the Link We Won’t Admit

There are without a doubt links among the extremists who have opened fire in this spring of slaughter, but we tend to ignore the most obvious point: We have decided to let just about anyone have a gun.

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 READ MORE


The Lesser of Two Spuds

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Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE    


Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Identity Dance

I can’t help noting that in the Sotomayor drama, the charge of “identity politics” is leveled at relative newcomers. For that matter, identity itself seems to be exclusively a matter of race, gender and minority status.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Vern

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Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE    



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Whither the Sacred Campaign Promise?

Historically, Americans generally held campaign promises sacred. Just ask the first President Bush. But now behavior by President Obama suggests a systemic assault on the campaign promise is under way.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


What Rhetoric Won’t Cure

The murder of Dr. George Tiller cannot be smoothed over with a speech. This is the lesson the Obama administration must learn from it.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Ronald Reagan
Reagan Library

Reagan Didn’t Do It

It would be nice to blame Ronald Reagan for the economic meltdown, as Paul Krugman did recently, but the facts don’t support it. Unfortunately, the real villains are closer at hand.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE



gov.ca.gov

Democrats Aren’t Buying What Schwarzenegger’s Cutting

As if delivering the tagline of his latest movie, California’s governor announced to the state Legislature Tuesday that the “day of reckoning is here.” But Democrats are fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to cut funding for schools, the poor and sick children while refusing to raise taxes.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform’s Pulse Is Fading

So it’s health care overhaul this year—or bust. If this is the bet, right now I’d put my money on bust.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE



reformation-lutheran.org

Abortion Doctor Murdered in Church

Dr. George Tiller was volunteering at his Kansas church Sunday when a gunman shot him dead. Republicans in Congress recently made a villain of Tiller when they stalled the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Hung Up on Race

President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court is a proud and accomplished Latina. This fact apparently drives some prominent Republicans to a state resembling incoherent, sputtering rage.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Big Tent

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Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


A Justice for Us All

President Obama’s nominee said she hopes Americans “will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” Ordinary people have had a difficult time of it before the current Supreme Court.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sotomayor Is No Leftist

Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / ProgressOhio

Beware the Bad-Faith Reformer

Uplifting as it was to see insurance executives, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospital officials and doctors gather at the White House on May 11, pledging cooperation toward health care reform, nothing they said or did was inconsistent with precisely the opposite objective.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


book cover

Lou Cannon on Ronald Reagan

The debate over our 40th president’s role in ending the Cold War continues with the publication of James Mann’s “The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan.”

Posted on May 1, 2009 READ MORE


The End of the Middle Class as We Know It

This is how it ends. Or at least, this is how the latest, sad chapter in a story that has been ending for three decades is written.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Breakup

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Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Arlen Specter on Switching

The Pennsylvanian is only the 21st active senator in U.S. history to switch parties. Here is what he had to say about his change of loyalties.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sebelius at Last

Just in time for swine flu, the Senate has confirmed Barack Obama’s pick to head the massive Health and Human Services Department, Kathleen Sebelius. Democrats were able to use the health scare to shake the upper chamber out of abortion-obsessed confirmation gridlock.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


Specter Comes Full Circle

When Arlen Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney in 1965, he proudly proclaimed himself a “Kennedy Democrat,” but said he was running as a Republican to take on what he saw as the corruption of the city’s then-legendary Democratic machine. Forty-four years later, Arlen Specter has come full circle.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Svadilfari / Senate.gov

Senate Shake-Up: Specter Goes Blue

Arlen Specter was always too moderate for this crop of Republicans, but his surprise decision to become a Democrat has more to do with the likelihood of losing a GOP primary battle than ideological differences. Specter’s move should give the Democrats the 60 votes they need in the Senate, assuming Norm Coleman ever gives up the ghost In Minnesota.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Enough With This ‘100 Days’ Nonsense

On what basis have the cable channels decided that President Obama’s first hundred days are the most important thing to happen in the history of the world? As in the case of FDR before him, much has happened in the beginning of the president’s first term—and there is much more to come.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / be_khe

U.S. Declares Swine Flu Emergency

The administration is taking the threat of swine flu seriously, as congressional Republicans’ main interest in the health arena seems to be roping the president’s nominee to head Health and Human Services into an abortion fight. The Centers for Disease Control and the Homeland Security Department issued an emergency declaration Sunday, while the World Health Organization and governments around the globe scrambled to confront the potential crisis.

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher on GOP Drama

The “Real Time” host marvels at Republican rage in the era of Obama: “The conservative base these days is absolutely apoplectic because ... well, nobody knows.”

Posted on Apr 26, 2009 READ MORE


News Flash: Populism Is Popular

Both parties are suddenly listening to “the people” instead of the Establishment. They know the political class, however offended, can no longer stop a voter backlash.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Thinking About Yesterday’s Health Care Debate

Because of the defeat of health care reform in 1994, there will be a temptation to treat every dispute as the first step toward the collapse of the process, ignoring the fact that times and minds change.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



White House / National Archives

Reagan and Nixon Greeted Despots, Too

Few aspects of American politics are as ridiculous and dangerous as the right-wing urge to substitute macho posturing for foreign policy.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Committee OKs Sebelius Over Republican Objections

President Obama presided over his first formal Cabinet meeting Monday with a rather important chair left empty. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s pick to head the $750 billion Health and Human Services Department and spearhead his ambitious health care reform initiatives, has finally made it out of hearings and should be approved by the end of the week.

Posted on Apr 21, 2009 READ MORE


Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

Ten years after the Columbine massacre, our president stood in Mexico, where assault rifles from the U.S. are used to murder police officers, and said the American gun lobby is just too strong for him push a rational gun regulation through Congress. How sad.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE


Armey’s Tea Party Army

At the apex of the tea party movement is FreedomWorks, headed by former Rep. Dick Armey. His past career should be instructive to any starry-eyed citizens who believe that they have at last found the true right-wing revolutionary path.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi’s Balancing Act

By comparison with her recent predecessors, she’s a strong speaker of the House. She has far more control than the previous Democratic speaker had, despite having to contend with a more conservative GOP and an ideologically diverse pack of Democrats.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


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