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  • Quote of the Day: President Obama

    Today, after almost a century of trying; today, after over a year of debate; today, after all the votes have been tallied—health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America. — President Obama at the signing ceremony of health reform today. (Today's runner up here.)
  • Canada to Ann Coulter: Watch Your Mouth

    If there’s anyone who knows how to turn America’s freedom of speech laws into a payday, it’s Ann Coulter. The sometimes incendiary and always controversial conservative commentator has made millions on books and speeches that refer to liberalism as "a mental disorder" and progressives as "godless." But does her ability to incite at the expense of others end when she leaves the country? Apparently it does. This week, a group of conservative students invited Coulter to speak at the University of Ottawa in Canada, which has very different free-speech laws than its southern neighbor. To avoid potential problems (or even Coulter landing in jail), one of the campus’s top administrators sent Coulter a sharply worded yet perfectly polite letter. An excerpt:I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or "free speech") in a manner that is somewhat different than...
  • Exercise and Weight Loss: Abandon All Hope

    That sound you hear is another illusion shattering. The twin pillars of advice about maintaining a healthy weight, or losing enough weight to get back to where you should be, are diet and exercise, as Claudia Kalb ably explains in her article on childhood obesity. Well, the second pillar just toppled over and smashed itself to smithereens: a 13-year study of 34,079 middle-aged women by researchers at Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the only ones who avoided weight gain were those who exercised seven hours a week, not the 30 minutes, five-times-a-week goal that federal guidelines recommend....
  • The GOP's Last, Best Hope to Hobble Obamacare

    As I (and my fellow Gagglers) have written before—see here, here, and here—Republican efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's newly minted health-care reform law are almost certain to peter out as soon as the current political firestorm dies down. For now, the GOP has to make good on a full year of fear-mongering and act like the Bolshevik apocalypse is nigh. But the fact is, they'll simply never have the cojones to cancel tens of millions of new insurance policies, let alone have the 67 Senate votes necessary to override Obama's veto. Short term, the politics of repeal are fine and dandy. Long term, they're disastrous.But while the legislation as a whole is safe, individual elements may not be immune to challenges. In fact, there's one provision in particular that's on somewhat shaky legal ground, and which, for that reason, could very well become the emblematic focus of Republican opposition going forward, much like the public option before it. I...
  • Women Shouldn't Run Wall Street: Why a Role Reversal Won't Work

    This week’s New York magazine includes a piece called What If Women Ran Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar, analyzing testosterone’s effects on the male-dominated world of trading. It’s not an altogether new point. Our own Mary Carmichael talked about it a couple of years ago. And economists at Davos last year argued that the presence of more women on Wall Street might have averted the banking crisis. "Women are more cautious," Muhammad Yunus, the head of Grameen Bank, said at the time. "They wouldn't have taken the enormous types of risks that brought the system down."Kolhatkar’s piece is fresh in that it studies the impact of hormones like testosterone in a more thorough way than ever before, which, as XX Factor’s Hanna Rosin points out, "sure is satisfying":For one thing, the old idea of men and markets on the side of the rational and women on the side of emotionalism takes a blow. For another, testosterone seems to be the new cultural hormone,...
  • Biden's Big (Bleepin') Deal?

    Today was perhaps the most important single day in Barack Obama's presidency so far. Joe Biden agrees, but in less, ahem, diplomatic language. We're not entirely sure that he dropped the F bomb. It does sound like it. What we are sure of is that Biden knows how to liven up a party. (Spoiler alert: there's possibly a naughty word in the clip below.)
  • A Peek at Jonathan Alter's New Book on Obama's First Year

    Fellow Gaggler and esteemed NEWSWEEK columnist Jonathan Alter has been busily at work on a forthcoming book, and this weekend New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman provided a peek inside. The book, titled The Promise: President Obama, Year One, is a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the first 365 days of the Obama White House....
  • John Dingell's Journey

    President Obama's smile as he signed the health-care bill today reminded me of a private smile I saw Sunday night during the big vote—the historic vote—on the measure. Another man was smiling, because he saw the measure as the culmination not of a two-year crusade, but rather one that really had begun 53 years ago....
  • A Ticket for Rush?

    You might remember Rush Limbaugh’s highly publicized promise that if health-care reform became law, he’d move out of the country. “I don't know. I'll just tell you this, if this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented—I am leaving the country. I'll go to Costa Rica,” he told his audience on March 9....
  • Prof. Gingrich’s Faulty History Lesson

    One of the strangest, and yet most predictable, comments about the passage of health care came from former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich told The Washington Post that Obama, by pushing for health care, "will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years" by pushing through Great Society programs. ...
  • AIPAC's Week on the Hill: Problems With Its Three Talking Points

    With its all-star speakers out of the way, the American Israel Political Affairs Committee will shift its attention to the other goal its annual policy conference: unleashing upon Congress the persuasive firepower of its some 7,000 participants. Starting Tuesday morning, pro-Israel activists are hitting the Hill, holding about 500 meetings to lobby members of Congress and their aides on keeping the special relationship as special as possible.It's standard fare in Washington for pro-Israel groups to flex their muscles on the Hill in order to constrain White House efforts to pressure Israel. Given the tensions surrounding last week's very public spat over new settlements planned for disputed East Jerusalem, there's extra oomph behind that push this year. AIPAC, of course, just slammed the Obama administration in a press release last week over its handling of the settlements issue; the group has been trying since last year to get Congress behind an aggressive unilateral...
  • In Google-China Fight, an Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object

    China's decision today to block access to Google's search sites represents a dramatic, but perhaps inevitable, escalation in the conflict between the open search service and the closed government. (UPDATE 12:35 p.m.: Google spokesperson Christine Chen said in an email to NEWSWEEK that while the full site is not currently blocked, "certain sensitive queries" are. The special status page that Google set up to monitor the China situation will be updated soon, Chen said.)...
  • How a Routine Warning to Ship Captains Became a Worldwide Terror Alert

    By Mark Hosenball and Daniel StoneSometimes there may be less than meets the eye to a terrorist threat reported in the media. The latest example: a series of seemingly alarming reports regarding a U.S. intelligence warning of possible Al Qaeda attacks on ships near the coast of Yemen.The matter first came to the attention of Declassified on Monday morning when we saw and heard a report broadcast on CNN—complete with an on-screen map—about a government warning of forthcoming terror attacks against ships near Yemen. "A warning for U.S. ships off the coast of Yemen," CNN's anchor intoned: "Al Qaeda may be planning an attack. The U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence says it could be like the USS Cole incident. Small boats stuffed with explosives coming up to a military ship. You may remember that." Only at the end of the report was this caveat added:  "There have been no specific threats at this point.” On its face, such a report would seem highly...
  • Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 12: Romney's Perplexing Response to Obamacare

     For a little while there, Mitt Romney was beginning to act like a humanoid. In order to position himself as the "grown-up" 2012 alternative to the rabble-rousing right-wing fringe (see: Palin, Sarah), the former Massachusetts governor has spent the past few months shedding the ill-fitting, hardcore conservatism of his 2008 run and staking out reasonable positions on a number of important issues. He has admitted, for example, that the Democratic stimulus package "will accelerate" America's economic recovery. He has defended the necessity of the TARP program. He has even called global warming a "real and present danger." As the Boston Phoenix's David S. Bernstein puts it, "Which is why I was somewhat surprised when Romney's aggressive statement on the passage of Obamacare landed in my inbox around 10 a.m. this morning. Highlights:America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power. President Obama has betrayed his oath to the...
  • 'Baby Killer' Heckler Was Rep. Randy Neugebauer

    We’re just learning that it was Texas GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer who shouted “baby killer” at Rep. Bart Stupak on the House floor last night. The moment came close to 11 p.m. while Stupak denounced a GOP motion to weaken the health-care-reform package after it already passed. Under mounting pressure for someone to come forward, Neugebauer made an apology a few minutes ago, and offered a clarification. He says he called a baby killer, not Stupak himself, even though that’s how it sounded. In the apology, Neugebauer said he was “heart broken” by the passage of the bill, and deeply resentful that his comments were misconstrued.Neugebauer (pronounced new-guh-bow-er) is a three-term congressman who comes from a fiercely red district in the Texas panhandle, where he’s not expected to face a serious challenger this November. That means he probably won’t be punished for the remark by his constituents, many of whom probably agree with his angry sentiment (albeit perhaps not the heckle itself...
  • Hillary Takes Frank Tone in Speech to Israel Lobby

    Under that pretense, Clinton’s speech may be remembered as the most consequential thus far in her tenure as secretary of state. After decades of slow progress on Israeli-Palestinian relations in such a volatile region of the world, her point was framed as a turning point, as if to say that piecemeal negotiations were no longer good enough. For the preservation of all parties in the region, leaders would have to come to the table in good faith. What’s more, she said, Israel would have to take initiative first.For its moments of rebuke, the speech was also empathetic. Considering threats to Israel from its many sides, Clinton made clear that the U.S. would stand to protect the Jewish state. To that line, and several others, Clinton received a standing ovation. One of the biggest applause lines was the announcement that President Obama will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tomorrow at the White House, a sign that the administration is taking Israel's situation ...
  • The Politics of Repealing Health-Care Reform

    Last night, many Republicans privately think they were handed a gift: a bloody piece of prime rib to stoke unrest in their base. Between now and November, conservatives will grouse shrilly about the coming evil of reform. We’ll hear how it will ruin the country, and bring forth the dreaded socialization of our hospitals and care providers. Medicare will be cut, the elderly uncared for. Premiums will skyrocket. But as far as Democrats are concerned, that’s OK. Why? Because now that health care has passed, Democrats have a chance to expose the lies. Before, it was straw man against straw man, Republican claims against Democrats’. Now, it’s straw man against lived reality. Democrats finally have a chance to prove half truths and misleading claims wrong, not just argue that they are and point to a giant stack of paper as evidence.Just a few hours after the House passed historic health-care-reform legislation, Sen. John McCain vowed, on Good Morning America, that he’d fight to repeal the...
  • How the Real Deal Went Down

    At 11:30 on Friday night, March 19, Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin stormed out of the speaker's conference room, as desperate aides to Nancy Pelosi pleaded with him to stay and not blow up the health-care bill. Talks on the critical fine print of the bill had so broken down that the American Medical Association was threatening to withdraw its support, a move that would have likely doomed the measure. Kind was part of the Quality Care Coalition, a group of 30 Democratic members from states in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest who were more pivotal to the outcome of the health-care bill in the House than Bart Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats.Stupak had lost his leverage after he insulted nuns on television and, lacking the support of the Catholic Hospital Association and other Catholic groups, found that the backing of the bishops was no longer enough to give him much clout. Several of his pro-life colleagues—like Rep. Marcy Kaptur—had already announced their support for the...
  • The Last House Vote Is Just the Beginning of Reconciliation

    Nancy Pelosi pulled it off: she got 219 House Democrats to pass the Senate's health-care-reform bill and, with the stroke of President Obama's pen, health care-reform will move from bill to law.Except, not quite. While the House vote is a giant step forward—without it, health-care reform would be dead—it is by no means the last vote. The Senate still has one more task ahead of it: passing the reconciliation sidecar that the House also passed tonight with 220 votes. Without it, the Senate bill—the one that they passed eons ago in December—would remain the law of the land.Without the reconciliation sidecar, you have a markedly different piece of legislation, particularly in terms of affordability. The sidecar has a number of really significant changes to the Senate bill that put the bill somewhere in between the two bodies’ proposals. It’s a bill that has a smaller price tag than the Senate bill—$875 billion over 10 years, compared with $940 billion from the Senate—but...
  • Obama Strikes Classy Tone on Most Important Night of His Presidency So Far

    President Obama could have been smug. The bill that makes his most prized policy priority a reality, the culmination of more than a year’s work, is making its way to his desk to be signed into law. At the same time he is steadily cutting a path into the history books as the man who presided over the most substantial expansion of social programs since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiatives of the 1960s. Had he failed, his political obituary would have been written 10,000 times over this week. But he didn’t. He could have been gleeful, obnoxiously joyous about this enormous victory. But he wasn’t. He soberly reminded the nation what was at stake tonight. And behind him, Joe Biden fought back tears.Tonight, the president said, “The U.S. Congress finally declared that America’s workers, and American families and America’s small businesses deserve the security of knowing that here in this country neither illness nor accident should endanger the dreams they’ve worked a lifetime to...
  • Stupak's Last Stand

    Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak arguably saved health-care reform, agreeing to sign on to the bill and defend his decision on the House floor, in the face of jeers from Republican opponents and a heckler who seemed to have called him "baby killer."...
  • Health-Care Reform's Winners and Losers

    It doesn't take a rocket scientist—or even an alleged expert such as this reporter—to see that the big political winner in tonight's House vote is the president of the United States. After more than a year of fitful but increasingly focused effort, Barack Obama is able to claim victory in an effort that he had made the emblem and focus of his entire presidency. In some ways, the win was a negative one: the humiliation of a defeat would have made him look powerless and inept. And in Washington, appearances beget reality. But, hey, as teams in the NCAA basketball tournament can tell you, a win is a win.The list of winners and losers only begins with the president. Here is my sense of who they are, in both political and real-life terms.WINNERSObama: He staked everything on this and, like the long-distance runners from his father's homeland, he made it (barely) across the finish line.Nancy Pelosi: They said she knows how to count votes, and she does. They can't stand...
  • Democrats Pass Health Care by Slim 219–212 Margin

    After more than a year of debate, the House passed a health-care-reform package late Sunday night that will be sent to the president for him to sign into law. The winning margin was bigger than many on the Hill had expected, three votes over the 216 threshold. But what was entirely predictable was the way the vote broke down: on partisan lines. No Republican voted for the bill. All but 34 Democrats voted yes. In a last attempt, House Minority Leader John Boehner made a fiery address laden with rhetorical questions and aimed at Democrats. "Can you say you read the whole bill?" he shouted. Hell no, you can't!" Order had to be called twice during the speech. At the end of his remarks, he called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to order a roll call vote. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), who was standing in for Pelosi, politely declined to answer. When Pelosi took her turn to speak, she addressed many of Boehner's points, and won just as many jeers from the other side. She cited...
  • Meanwhile . . . Outside the Building

    I'm sitting in the House Press Gallery writing a piece for NEWSWEEK. It's almost 10 p.m. and the House is moving toward a vote. On the plaza below, outside the Capitol, I can hear the remnants of a raucous tea-party crowd. They are chanting "Nancy! Nancy!" and "Kill the bill!" They just sang "God Bless America." I've been around a while, and don't remember a crowd of foes trying to shout down a bill from outside as the vote approached. Maybe it's happened. Though the voices are faint, they're worth noting—and remembering. And the GOP runs the risk of being portrayed as the only friends of the insurance business—and the insurers are as unpopular as Congress is.
  • Scene on the Hill: A Sense of Awe or Dread

    It's fair to say that history is being made in the Capitol, which is why, even though it is Sunday night—when this place normally is empty—the halls are alive with people, cameras, floodlights, and a sense of awe or dread.The Democrats are nervous but also almost blasé—maybe a show of confidence designed to erase their own private doubts. I happened to be standing in the corridor outside the Democratic cloakroom when Rep. Bill Delahunt—white-haired, soon to retire, and as genial and canny a member as there is—emerged happily munching on a Reese's peanut-butter Klondike bar. He had a broad smile on his face."This is healthy!" he declared. "This is my idea of health care!"He's a yes vote.In the same corridor I bumped into an excited Alexandra Pelosi, the filmmaker who is also the youngest daughter of the Speaker. She said that she had been out to dinner with her mother—who was trying to go out incognito. They were recognized, and shouted at. One of...
  • Executive Order Wins With Stupak, Loses With Anti-Abortion-Rights Groups

      Moments ago, Rep. Bart Stupak signed on to support health-care reform after the president issued an executive order, reiterating that the bill would not allow for public funding of abortion. That won over Stupak and many others who oppose abortion, but has done little to sway groups that oppose abortion rights. National Right to Life, Americans United for Life, the Family Research Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List have all come out against the executive-order strategy. Three of Stupak’s anti-abortion-rights colleagues, Dan Lipinski, Jerry Costello, and Gene Taylor, still oppose the bill, according to the National Review Online. These groups have regularly blasted the Senate's Nelson language as an "accounting gimmick" that would not actually prevent federal funding of abortion. I should note here that numerous fact-checks by both news organizations and nonpartisan watchdogs have been explicit that this is not the case: the Senate bill would not allow for fede...
  • Why the 'Louisiana Purchase' Isn't a Dirty Backroom Deal

    Sweetheart deals and backroom brokering have become rallying points for opponents of health-care reform. Republicans have been bashing Democrats about these deals for weeks. Its been effective, bolstering notions of rotten, dysfunctional governance in the minds of voters. And there are few things voters respond more negatively to than process stories about how bills become laws. But, as Rep. Anthony Weiner indignantly pointed out on last week, that's just how legislating works in this town. Weiner is only partly right. There are agreements, like the infamous Cornhusker Kickback, that are beyond the pale. That was a blatant payoff for Ben Nelson in Nebraska, and it was too much for even voters in his state, the ones likely to benefit, to stomach. But the so-called Louisiana Purchase is a different creature. It's part of the legislating process that Weiner referred to. Yes, it results as additional $300 million for Louisiana. Yes, the senator who pushed for it, Mary...
  • 11th-Hour Watch: All Eyes on Stupak

    As my colleague Sarah Kliff noted yesterday, much of the last-minute scrambling before tonight’s health-care vote is centered around the office of Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak and his band of anti-abortion rights Democrats. Stupak started with a dozen lawmakers on his side, but has since lost four to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Last night the remaining eight were summoned to the White House for discussions with administration lawyers about language to bring Stupak’s bloc into the fold to reach the 216-vote threshold.There aren’t many legislative ways to get around Stupak’s opposition to the bill, especially not reconciliation in the Senate. But Stupak’s main request of the president was for him to stipulate that federal funds wouldn’t be used for abortions through executive order, which would supplement the full bill. The White House says no deal was reached last night, but a source close to Stupak tells me the congressman is “on the verge” of an agreement this afternoon.That would...
  • After Spending Eight Years And $6 Billion in U.S. Cash, Afghan Police Training Program Is Still A Mess

    Building a strong national police force is a cornerstone of the Obama Administration’s effort to stabilize Afghanistan and create a permanent security structure to maintain civil order in the country. But according to a joint investigation by NEWSWEEK and the public interest journalism group ProPublica, after spending more than $6 billion in tax dollars over the last eight years trying to establish an Afghan police force, the U.S. government has little to show for its investment. The administration’s top policy honcho for the region, Richard Holbrooke, has publicly called the existing Afghan police “an inadequate organization, riddled with corruption.” When the Obama Administration reviewed Afghanistan policy last year, “this issue received more attention than any other except for the question of U.S. troop levels,” Holbrooke told NEWSWEEK. “We drilled down deeply into this.”The administration is still coming to grips with the seriousness of the problem. As our cover story reports,...
  • Stupak Brought Down By Congressional Maneuver?

    Fifteen hours in the health care reform debate is beginning to feel like a lifetime. Last night, doom-and-gloom seemed eminent for abortion rights supporters, filing out of Pelosi's office 'livid' and Bart Stupak planning a press conference for the next morning. All signs pointed towards Stupak's restrictive abortion language making a come back. But the sun rose on a completely different set of tea leaves: Stupak's press conference postponed indefinitely and abortion-rights supporters on the Hill in a much better mood, saying Stupak's language would not come to the floor.How to explain the quick rise and fall of Stupak's attempted amendment? There's definitely the outrage from abortion rights supporters playing a role. And our 24-hour news cycle, where the negotiations played out real time on Twitter, upped the drama and urgency. But I think, in at least some part, this could have to do with a much less scintillating explanation, procedural...
  • Last-Minute Abortion Deal in the Works?

    Yesterday, I predicted the abortion issue would end as the epic battle that never was. In the appropriately unpredictable nature of the abortion issue in health-care reform, turns out I could be completely wrong. From what I can gather, there is some deal currently in the works with Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and a few of his colleagues, who are indeed holding the line on their abortion language. Here’s what we know, via Jeffrey Young and Molly Hooper over at The Hill: a number of abortion-rights supporters have been shuffling in and out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office. Young caught Diana DeGette, a strong supporter of abortion rights who has played a role in the negotiations over the health-care language, on her way out of Pelosi's office; she told him she was not "happy." Stupak told Hooper (who had spotted him and Pelosi talking a little earlier) that the Democrats "don't have the votes, or they wouldn't be talking to me." Adding to the...
  • Health Care Isn’t the Only Thing Your House Member Will Be Voting on This Weekend

    Now that the leaders on the Hill have scheduled the big health-care vote for this Sunday, they also had to find a way to keep the members around on Friday night and Saturday. We wouldn’t want members of Congress to attempt an escape back to their far-flung districts, where they might get cold feet when they face down their enraged hometown constituents. Or maybe get trapped in a Colorado snowstorm.What better way to keep ’em down on the farm than to schedule a pile of votes on such important bills as one that will “revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station.” Or one that recognizes “the 50th anniversary of the historic dive to the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest point in the world’s oceans, on January 23, 1960.”If that’s not enough to keep you around, how will you explain missing the H.Con.Res. 244: “Expressing support for the designation of March 20 as a National Day of Recognition for Long-Term Care...
  • Why Immigration Reform Crept Back Into the News This Week

    Yesterday, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham presented a blueprint for a potential immigration-reform package. It was one of several instances this week in which members of Congress or of the Obama administration raised the profile of this supremely divisive issue—just as the push for health-care reform reaches its climax. As my fellow Gaggler Katie noted last week, the timing is more than a little odd. So what gives?...
  • Will Obamacare Destroy the Democrats?

    So here we are. The hour is upon us. The end is nigh. After more than a year of haggling, it looks the House will vote Sunday on a revised version of the Senate health-care-reform bill, and Pelosi and Co. will probably—not definitely, but probably—have the 216 votes they need to pass it.  ...
  • The 'Doc Fix' Memo Is a Hoax! Unless It Isn't!

    Earlier today, Politico posted what looked like a heck of a scoop: a supposedly leaked memo saying that Democrats were planning to try to permanently repeal the massive Medicare payment cut that reliably gets delayed every year, but only after getting health-care reform passed. The idea that Democrats might try to get rid of the pay cut wasn’t all that surprising. Nobody thinks the cut, as currently formulated, is a great idea. What was so incendiary was the language in the memo, which suggested that Dems were effectively trying to sneak a costly provision into health-care reform without anyone noticing: The inclusion of a full SGR repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality … As most health staff knows, Leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians [sic] support for a full SGR repeal later this spring. However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time, lest I [sic]...
  • 'Pro-Life' or 'Anti-Abortion Rights'? Journalists, Abortion, and Why Word Choice Matters

    In addition to attempting to decipher the many twists and turns that are the Stupak saga, one of the biggest challenges in covering abortion in health-care reform has been finding the best words to describe those who support or oppose abortion rights. NPR’s omsbudsman Alicia Shepard has an interesting, inside look at how her news organization has dealt with the issue—and, in the process, disappointed listeners. From Shepard: Martha Hamilton winces when she hears an NPR correspondent describe politicians who oppose abortion as "pro-life." "I am a 'pro-life' voter," said Hamilton, of Washington, D.C. "For instance, I would vote for someone opposed to the death penalty over someone in favor of it. However, 'opposed to the death penalty' would be a better, more accurate description of my position. Pretty sure I'm not who [the correspondent] is talking about."NPR may be alone among major news organizations in how it identifies people...
  • Bad News: Health-Care Wars Have Just Begun

    I hate to say this, but the health-care debate has only just begun. You'd think, as Barack Obama told us the other week, that everything that could be said has been said—and that everyone has had a chance to say it. White House aides dream of a time when they can "pivot" and move on to other, less nettlesome topics....
  • Palin's TV Show: Another Reason She Won't Run in 2012

    I've argued before that I don't think Sarah Palin really wants to be president, regardless of the desires of her most ardent supporters. She doesn't appear to enjoy the actual process of governing. When she resigned the governorship of Alaska, she didn't even stick out her term as most retiring governors, like Tim Pawlenty, do. She quit and left as soon as she could. As Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe explore in their biography, Sarah from Alaska, Palin is extremely thin-skinned when it comes to media criticism. She's already a magnet for harsh scrutiny by reporters, and she must know that the tendency to critique her every move would intensify dramatically should she seek the highest office in the land. From what I've gleaned about Palin, both on the campaign trail and beyond, that would be a nightmare for her....
  • UPDATED: Lt. Dan Choi to See Judge Today, One Day After Handcuffing Himself to the White House Gate

    UPDATE 2:40 P.M.: Choi told the judge, "Your honor, I plead not guilty, am not ashamed and am not finished." The cuffs and chains around his waist have been removed. While walking out, Choi said, "I feel dignified . . . to wear the chain others have been wearing but can't see." UPDATE 2:35 P.M.: Pietrangelo told the judge he won't pay the fine and let this go. Instead, he will plead not guilty and take his case to trial. Choi walked into the courthouse with handcuffs on and a chain around his waist, wearing camouflage.  Lt. Dan Choi is expected to appear in D.C. Superior Court today, one day after handcuffing himself along with Capt. Jim Pietrangelo to the White House gate to draw attention to the fight to repeal "don’t ask, don’t tell." Both men are openly gay and are involved in legal fights with the Department of Defense over efforts to discharge them for homosexuality. ...
  • How Health Care Is Hurting the Chances for an Energy Bill

    There are plenty of ways that partisan maneuvering over the past year has eroded trust on Capitol Hill. Each party has squarely opposed the other, almost unanimously. But there are signs that the heightened tension over health care could spread to other issues, including an energy measure that was once touted as possibly being a bipartisan effort....