Is this the Change we were waiting for? Really? Even if you voted the other way in 2008, most of the country felt an energy early in 2009, fresh blood in the White House, a clean slate built on an historic choice who promised so much. Even skeptics were hopeful. No more. Just look, if you haven´t just eaten, at the sad spectacle unfolding in Washington these days on both sides -- starting at the top. As the world´s second oldest profession, politics has never been pretty.
More than a dozen House Republicans who want to drop attempts to undermine the health-care law and reopen the government are meeting among themselves and with House Speaker John Boehner -- and he’s listening. For the past few weeks, Boehner’s hand has been guided by a group of Tea Party-aligned Republican House members who’ve urged little compromise in their three-year drive to undo the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now, the agitation is coming from the other side of the caucus. A bipartisan group of about 40 House lawmakers are holding private talks to find a compromise
Historical revisionism is always in season and is generally a useful, or at least diverting, activity. But Nick Baumann’s effort, in Slate last week, to resuscitate the strategic reputation of Neville Chamberlain (British prime minister, 1937–40), on the 75th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, was a bridge too far in historical myth-making. It is correct that Britain and France could not go to war to prevent Germans in Czechoslovakia, especially concentrated in Sudetenland, from becoming Germans in fact; and that, as a practical matter, this meant conceding Sudetenland to Germany, as the Czechs could not deport a million Germans without justifying
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times. Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible
An iconic Philadelphia restaurant has been forced to close its doors and turn away booked parties because of the government shutdown. City Tavern at 3rd and Walnut Streets in the Old City section of the city has been told it must close until the U.S. Congress passes a spending bill. The restaurant, which opened for the first time in 1773 and was frequented by the nation´s founding fathers, sits inside Independence National Historical Park and the building is owned by the U.S. National Parks Service.
A key Iranian cyber war operative may have been killed in an “internal dispute,” cabinet minister and former Shin Bet intelligence chief Yaakov Peri said Thursday. Peri, the minister of science, was speaking on Israel Radio as Iran denied reports that Cyber War Headquarters commander Mojtaba Ahmadi, who was recently found dead northwest of Tehran, had been assassinated. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said he had died in a “horrific incident,” but ruled out assassination. “The main reason of the event and the motive of the attacker has not been specified,” added a Revolutionary Guards statement quoted by Reuters. On Wednesday, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper
I don’t often find myself agreeing with Thomas L. Friedman, but I’ve now discovered for myself that a New York Times column he wrote ten years ago, and that I remember reading at the time, was right on the money. “Poland,” he declared, “is the antidote to European anti-Americanism.” Noting that he had spent much of the previous two years being targeted by anti-Americanism in Western Europe and the Middle East, he’d spent three days in Poland “and got two years of anti-American bruises massaged out of me.” To his surprise, Poles “actually tell you they like America — without whispering.”
It’s called Washington Monument Syndrome. That’s shorthand for the way federal agencies react to any threat of budget cuts or a government shutdown: by closing down the most popular public services. No one has mastered this better than President Obama. Which explains the dramatic — and wholly unnecessary — confrontation Tuesday at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. Faced with signs saying the memorial was closed, war vets rightly pushed past makeshift gates and barricades to make their visit. That there were barricades at all underscores the phony politics at work.
“My staff has always said ‘don’t say this,’ but…” is a frightening disclaimer for the communications staffers of any member of Congress to hear. But it can be especially cringe inducing when the person reciting the line has a terrible habit of not only saying things over the warnings of his staff but also saying things he shouldn’t even have to be told not to say. (snip) One of Washington’s worst-kept secrets is that Reid’s attitude toward most people ranges from miserable on his best days to uncommonly vicious on his worst. When he describes members of the public as
It now appears a lease with the federal government is only as good as the President occupying the White House. From an 18th century living history farm in Virginia to campgrounds in Arizona, the federal government is forcing private operators close down simply because their facilities are on land owned by the federal government. The inconvenienced customers are being told this is part of the government shutdown even though prior shutdowns never affected these facilities. How stupid is this? These operations cost the federal government nothing to maintain and most often pay a percentage of their gross fees back to the
For the first time in almost two years, motorcycle-borne assassins appear to have murdered an Iranian official--this time, Mojtaba Ahmadi, the man reportedly responsible for Iran’s cyber-warfare headquarters. Whoever was responsible, and assuming that Ahmadi did indeed hold that position, this would be a new and dangerous escalation of hostilities. It comes at a highly sensitive moment in US-Iran diplomacy, just one week after the highest-level diplomatic context in years, and could empower hardliners within Iran who are searching for a pretext to close off President Hasan Rohani’s engagement with the West. Details remain murky. Some Iranian sources suggest that
Though he had high ambitions, there is a glaring reason why Edward Moore Kennedy did not have national appeal: he wore his liberalism on his sleeve. A hard-left statist from Massachusetts could sit in the U.S. Senate for decades, but the Oval Office aspirations of Teddy were just daydreams. Then came Barack Hussein Obama II. Though the press presented Barry as a post-partisan, god-like figure, in truth a radical statist to the left of Teddy arrived to occupy the White House in 2009. The country wasn´t ready for such an ideologue; otherwise, the candidate´s campaign and his media would not have
When Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) was asked on Wednesday whether he has read all 10,535 pages of final Obamacare that the administration has so for published in the Federal Register, he first gave a response that did not address the question. When Warner was asked the question a second time, he walked away without answering. CNSNews.com: “Sir, the administration has published 10,535 pages of final Obamacare regulations into the Federal Register. Have you read all 10,535 pages?” Sen. Warner: “I think we saw yesterday a lot of interest from the American people. And are there ways that we can make this law better?
As the partial government shutdown enters its third day, many House Republicans are determined to keep fighting, even though they see no plausible way out of the current impasse, because they´ve come so far they cannot imagine backing down now. "I think there´s a sense that for us to do a clean CR now -- then what the hell was this about?" one Republican House member told me. "So I don´t think it´s going to end anytime soon." Wednesday was the best day in a while for Republicans, but not because of any progress they made toward their goal of defunding,
President Obama told CNBC’s John Harwood that while he’s been president, he’s “bent over backwards to work with the Republican party.” Obama boasted: During the course of my presidency, I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican party. I think I’m pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I’m too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely, I’m exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary. I am exasperated with the idea that, unless I say that, ‘Twenty million people, you can’t have health insurance,’ these folks will not reopen the government. That is irresponsible. The President asserted that he’s
Despite an emergency meeting at the White House, congressional leaders reported no progress late Wednesday on trying to reach a budget deal -- while over on Capitol Hill, tempers were flaring and lawmakers were melting down on the floor of the House. The top four congressional leaders took a stab, during an hour-long White House meeting, at negotiating with President Obama over the impasse. There was no breakthrough. House Speaker John Boehner emerged saying he had a "nice, polite conversation" but complaining that Obama would not budge off his demand that Congress pass a straight budget bill -- one that does not
Democrats, who have long posed as the party of peaceniks and doves, have been anything but during the great rhetorical war of 2013. In fact, the party of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter has been mad as hell as of late, leading an offensive of bombastic insults and rhetorical bullying that has dominated the government shutdown. It’s a perfect storm, with Democrats leading the pace. President Obama called Republicans “reckless and irresponsible,” casting the Grand Old Party in the role of villain. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, referred to Republicans as “anarchists,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California
After hearing five months of testimony in the complicated trial of the Jackson family versus AEG, the jury took just 13 hours to reach a verdict. At the beginning of the late afternoon proceeding, AEG’s attorney Marvin Putnam stood in front of the judge wearing a broad smile, rocking confidently on the balls of his feet as if he already knew what the verdict would be. AEG was found not liable—not negligent in the death of Michael Jackson. Thus ended a years-long legal battle between the entertainer’s last concert promoter and his family, who steadfastly believed that the company was complicit
WASHINGTON — It is the most thunderous proof of the Taranto Principle to date. I am speaking of the Senate’s rejection of the House of Representative’s proposal to delay the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act for a year, along with the federal subsidy for Congressional lawmakers and their staffs if and when these selfless public servants enter healthcare exchanges. You cannot have such subsidies and neither can I, but Congress and its aides can. The Senate will not even negotiate over it. The insightful James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal coined the Taranto Principle when he noticed
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is often the subject of debate — but now he’s the subject of an essay question that forces students in the schools he controls to rate his career. The question, part of new city-created exams being administered in public schools this fall, asks seventh-graders to read a recent speech made by Bloomberg and write about whether the mayor’s career has been defined by successes or failures. When alerted to the question by the Daily News, some teachers and parents were outraged and criticized the wisdom of having students grade the accomplishments of the very figure
Obamacare´s health exchanges opened to a world of glitches Tuesday, but even that´s not as bad as the scammers looking to steal individuals´ personal information by posing as exchange sign-up websites, according to UPI. Christopher Budd, threat communications manager at Trend Micro, an internet security company, said that a lack of a single website to sign up for the exchanges opens Americans up to scams. “The root problem is that the health insurance exchange isn’t made up of a single, authoritative site where people can go and register for coverage,” Budd said. “In addition to the federal site, people can apply for coverage
WASHINGTON — Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, charged with carrying out the April bombings at the Boston Marathon, disposed of key evidence after the attack by "discarding a remaining bomb detonator and smashing his cellphones," according to an internal memo approved by Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and made public Wednesday. The memo, written to the director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to justify the imposition of harsh detention restrictions on Tsarnaev, also said he and his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, "made additional bombs" after the lethal blasts and convinced others to "attempt to destroy evidence related to the attack." Dzhokhar Tsarnaev also told
Left-wing Politico, in its latest attempt to scuttle burgeoning Republican momentum on the government shutdown, has launched an all-out hit piece on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), completely with anonymous quotes from a Republican senator. The title: “Government shutdown 2013: Ted Cruz blasted by angry GOP colleagues.” The narrative over the past two days has shifted dramatically from the danger of a government shutdown to the Obama administration’s cynical manipulation of the shutdown, closing down war memorials to vets and insisting on zero negotiations. The continuing collapse of the Obamacare exchanges also provides a secondarily difficult front for the Obama media
The burgeoning natural gas revolution in the United States threatens the central economic strategy of Russia and leaves its autocratic leaders with few alternatives to combat anemic economic growth, one expert said Wednesday. Dr. Thane Gustafson, a political science at Georgetown University at Georgetown University and one of the world’s foremost experts on Russian energy, said the surge in U.S. natural gas production has undercut Russian gas exports to Europe and prompted executives to scuttle their plan for shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) to America. Additionally, Russia’s longtime reliance on traditional natural gas production methods involving dry storage, steel pipeline transport, and
Let´s not have any false equivalence. This shutdown is Republican-led or, more accurately, led by a faction of Republicans. The Peter Kings and John McCains didn´t want to link Obamacare to a continuing resolution to fund the government. House conservatives did. That doesn´t mean, however, that Democrats are entirely blameless. Part of the foundation for today´s paralyzed Congress came during the George W. Bush years, and it involved Harry Reid, now the Senate majority leader. In today´s Washington, Reid and Senate Democrats are apoplectic not only about the shutdown but about the unprecedented use of the filibuster being deployed by the