Nationalists who seek to divide Scots depending on their voting intentions in next year’s independence referendum are on ‘dangerous territory’, according to the Scottish secretary Read more
Tag Archive for Politics
They’re often the targets of public ridicule and anger, but MPs appear to have found one place where their popularity is increasing – Twitter.
Family man Nick Clegg made a pitch for the female vote by insisting he cares more about his wife and children than his political career.
Britain accused of ‘valuing politics over justice’ as Alexander Litvinenko inquest set to be scrapped
The British government has been accused of valuing its relationship with the Russia over the need for justice after it emerged an inquest into the death of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko is set to be scrapped.
“The heart of the uprising,” “The symbol of a divided nation,” “the neo-cons’ worst nightmare”… These are just a few of several descriptions from over the last few weeks that have been used to frame Tahrir Square. Alongside the hundreds of media reporters and news correspondents, culture writers also jumped on the coverage bandwagon and began to ponder the role that the events would play in shaping the practices of Egypt’s contemporary artists. With a self-proclaimed expertise on all things Egyptian that would make the likes of New York Times’s Thomas Friedman seem humble, these cultural pundits sounded more like political analysts than art critics as they clashed and concurred on the state and fate of the arts in Egypt Read more
Because I am an evangelical Christian and the root of the word “evangelical” is found in the opening statement of Jesus in Luke 4, where Christ says he has come to bring “good news (the ‘evangel’) to the poor.” So to be an evangelical Christian is to try and bring good news to poor people.
Because some very bad news is happening to the poorest and most vulnerable people in Washington’s battle over the budget — both those at home and around the world.
Because budgets are moral documents — they reveal our priorities, who and what is important, and who and what are not. To address excessive deficits is also a moral issue — preventing our children and grandchildren from having crushing debt. But how you reduce a deficit is also a moral issue. We should reduce the deficit, but not at the expense of our poorest people.
Because it is simply wrong — morally and religiously — to focus our budget cuts on the people who are already hurting, and make them hurt more Read more
In a somewhat surprising result, the heavily-advertised action-fantasy Sucker Punch (teaser/trailer) did not top the box office this weekend, losing a close race to the lower-profile but popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules was number one for the weekend, with $24.4 million. The second film in the series comes just over a year after 20th Century Fox released the premiere entry (titled simply Diary of a Wimpy Kid) took the number-two slot with $22 million. With no massive Alice in Wonderland standing it is way this time, the further adventures of Zachery Gordon promoted itself to the top slot Read more
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar yesterday announced an enormous expansion in coal-mining that dwarfs the Obama administration’s clean energy initiatives — suggesting that President Obama’s response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster increasingly involves doubling down on other forms of dirty, unsafe energy.
A statement from Wild Earth Guardians, Sierra Club, and Defenders of Wildlife put the announcement in perspective:
In other words, despite his administration’s rhetorical embrace of clean energy, when push comes to shove, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels. It’s the same strategy BP, Chevron, and other major polluters use: tout modest environmental investments in multimillion dollar PR campaigns, while putting the real money into fossil fuel development.
President Obama seems to be rushing to make this embrace even tighter: in the last week, the administration announced four new permits for deepwater offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico — the same type of exploration that led to the BP oil spill disaster – even as a huge new oil sheen covers the Gulf of Mexico and inundates Louisiana beaches Read more
Last month I wrote a blog post about my lack of confidence in educational research, some of which strikes me as politicized. My basic point was that in some cases you could read only an author or think tank’s name and guess a study’s conclusions with a high degree of accuracy.
As you might imagine, the post created a stir. I had some stimulating conversations with Kevin Welner, a University of Colorado education professor and director of the National Education Policy Center, which I mentioned in my post. Our discussions were (to use diplomats’ language) frank and open and at their conclusion we decided this was an interesting enough topic to merit a broader conversation.
On Monday, we convened a group of nine people for a two-hour discussion about research, policy, politics and the media Read more
Let’s face it. At some point, we all get sick. And, sometimes lightning strikes and we, or our families, get sicker than we ever even wanted to imagine. Most people plan for healthy lives, try to eat healthy, and regularly pay insurance premiums Read more
For the second time in less than a year the Supreme Court has rejected a challenge brought by the RNC to the federal campaign finance laws and to past Supreme Court rulings.
In Cao v. FEC, the Supreme Court yesterday denied a certiorari petition to review the case and left standing a decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the federal limits on the amount that a political party can spend in coordination with a candidate.
In doing so, the Court left standing the Supreme Court’s decision in the Colorado Republican II case (2001) that upheld the constitutionality of coordinated party spending limits.
Last June in RNC v FEC, the Court summarily affirmed a decision by a three-judge federal district court panel that upheld the constitutionality of the ban on unlimited, soft money contributions to political parties. The soft money ban is the main provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold law.
In doing so, the Court left standing the Supreme Court decision in the McConnell case (2003) that upheld the constitutionality of the soft money ban.
These two decisions by the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of important federal campaign finance laws followed the disastrous Court decision in the Citizens United case in January 2010 that struck down the long-standing ban on corporate expenditures in federal campaigns Read more
A couple of weekends ago, I found myself chatting with a local parent who was born and raised in Europe. Once we exchanged information about our careers, the conversation naturally turned to education, and recent news coverage of education issues:
“I have to say, I find this really strange. I feel sorry for you, those of you who work as teachers. Everything is about conflict, and cutting things Read more
All this week I’ve resisted putting something terrible into words.
All this week I’ve been wondering why the Jerusalem burial ceremony for Ruth and Udi Fogel, their infant daughter Hadas and their two small sons Yoav and Elad, seemed so much like a funeral for the State of Israel itself.
What was the meaning of this funeral, and of the monstrous crime of slaughtering a lovely young family in its sleep? For the religious right, it seemed to be saying: This is what you can expect, now and forever, over and again, until the Messiah comes to put an end to this unbearable, unextinguished anguish.
For the rest of us, it seemed to be saying, if possible, something even worse:
This is exactly what you can expect. This is your future. An endless procession of killings and escalation and enmity and settlement and condemnation and heartbreak and no negotiations and a broken Jewish people and no compromise and more settlement and a shattered Judaism, until the day that a vote is taken and the Palestinians are more numerous than we, and the flag which is based on the prayer shawl and the Shield of David is pulled down for the last time.
For years now, and especially over the last decade, the adults on both sides have made children into legitimate targets. And now we, the adults on both sides, have made slain children into legitimate tools — for incitement, for escalation, for the production of more deaths of the innocent and the defenseless.
The length of this unbearable week, the Fogel family has been all but forgotten in the welter of uses that have been made of them, polemic, political, personal Read more
As a former presidential appointee to the National Council of the National Endowment for the Arts, it was with particular concern that I learned of ex Governor Sarah Palin’s ‘trashing’ of both the National Endowments of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Her position went beyond the bounds of reasoned debate. To question whether the government should or should not fund these institutions is a legitimate issue of of civil discussion. But to refer to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as ‘frivolous’ institutions becomes a reflection on her wisdom and character.
Unquestionably the teaching and the support of the humanities and the arts has diminished in our progressively technologically demanding world. And it shows Read more
Last week, the New York Times concluded a story about the day on Wall Street with an interesting – and telling – dichotomy about the cause of skyrocketing gas prices:
Even as American oil supplies remained secure and ample – even as domestic oil production is at its highest level since 2003 – the price of crude in the commodities market is spiking ever upward. The price of gasoline has gone up more than 40 cents over the past three weeks nationally, and it continues to trend higher. Tom Kloza, head of the Oil Price Information Service, said that not only could gas prices continue to rise, but if unrest continues in the Middle East, the cost per gallon could spike to $5 or more.
While that fear is real, it relies on false causation. The two leading exporters of oil to the United States aren’t even in the Middle East; they are Canada and Mexico Read more
On Friday, facing criticism of his energy policies against claims that he has caused prices to rise by having clamped down on domestic production of oil, President Obama sought to reassure the public that global oil supplies were adequate (NYTimes “Energy Policy Defended as Prices Rise” 03.11.11). He pointedly emphasized that supplies were sufficient to offset current political instability in the Middle East.
In the same breath he also ruled out any immediate release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). Integral to that statement, to that decision, President Obama revealed a dangerous lack of understanding of how oil markets currently function. Yes, there is adequate supply Read more
This morning my dear friend Marianne Williamson asked me what I thought we could be doing in order to respond to what’s going on in Wisconsin.
The first thing that came to my mind was, “Friend a teacher.” Why not go onto Facebook, look for a teacher in Wisconsin and friend him or her? Reach out to them in solidarity and say, “You are not alone. We will not allow some three-month governor to blame years of poor budget choices on YOU, and try to balance the budget on your salary. We respect your right to collectively bargain and will not sit idly by while that precious right is stolen from you. What you do is far more valuable to this society than what many politicians do.”
And then it occurred to me — this isn’t just about teachers Read more
Come on now: Let’s take a breath and put this NPR fracas into perspective.
Just as public radio struggles against yet another assault from the its long-time nemesis — the right-wing machine that would thrill if our sole sources of information were Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and ads paid for by the Koch Brothers — it walks into a trap perpetrated by one of the sleaziest operatives ever to climb out of a sewer.
First, in the interest of full disclosure: While not presently committing journalism on public television, the two of us have been colleagues on PBS for almost 40 years (although never for NPR). We’ve lived through every one of the fierce and often unscrupulous efforts by the right to shut down both public television and radio. Our work has sometimes been the explicit bull’s eye on the dartboard, as conservative ideologues sought to extinguish the independent reporting and analysis they find so threatening to their phobic worldview.
We have come to believe, as so many others have, that only the creation of a substantial trust fund for public media will free it from the whims and biases of the politicians, including Democratic politicians (yes, after one of our documentaries tracking President Clinton’s scandalous fund-raising in the mid-90s, the knives were sharpened on the other side of the aisle).
Richard Nixon was the first who tried to shut down public broadcasting, strangling and diverting funding, attacking alleged bias and even placing public broadcasters Sander Vanocur and Robert MacNeil on his legendary enemies list. Nixon didn’t succeed, and ironically his downfall was brought about, in part, by public television’s nighttime rebroadcasts of the Senate Watergate hearings, exposing his crimes and misdemeanors to a wider, primetime audience.
Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich tried to gut public broadcasting, too, and the George W Read more
On Monday, the Tennessee legislature voted along party lines to join an interstate compact intended to exempt the state from having to follow the national healthcare law. The state’s Republican governor is likely to sign the bill, and at least nine other states are considering similar action. Unfortunately for them, however, no interstate compact is going to free the states from the healthcare law.
And, remarkably, proponents of the interstate compacts–essentially contracts between two or more states–are unwittingly helping President Obama’s efforts to defend the law in court.
Interstate compacts are just the latest in a growing line of futile efforts to overturn President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. In January, House Republicans voted to repeal the law, although they knew President Obama would veto any such effort Read more
Our program for Thursday, March 10th is a repeat of my October 2010 interview with David Broder, who died Wednesday at age 81 in Arlington, Virginia. A Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist for the Washington Post, David was the first interview guest when our program debuted on October 4, 2004. He gave The Bob Edwards Show instant credibility. Our conversations continued each week until David became ill in December Read more
There has been a strange lull in the healthcare discussion in this country. Certainly the events in the Middle East and the recent good jobs report have taken the news spotlight off of healthcare reform. While the debate over repealing healthcare reform is far from over, the news has definitely moved on to other topics.
Then on Saturday, the New York Times published an article on rising healthcare premiums across the country and the shock that many Americans are experiencing when they see their monthly premiums go up 20% or more Read more
The war on working Americans continues at the gas pump, and House Speaker John Boehner is now on the front lines, protecting his Wall Street backers and buddies. As part of our week-long series in conjunction with The Nation magazine, we explained Monday night how Wall Street speculators are jacking up the price of your food and gas and getting rich off it.
Speaker Boehner is blocking Democratic efforts to fund the enforcement needed to rein in Wall Street speculators. And his blog now has the following explanation for high gas prices:
We’ve been telling you all along the right wing would try to pin this on the president.
And sure enough, last Thursday, Fox News came out calling for an end to the gas tax. Neil Cavuto introduced a guest he said was calling for the gas tax to be eliminated.
But the guest said that cutting the gas tax would do little good — because prices would just rise again to fill the vacuum Read more
Rango is the very definition of an odd-duck. It is a gorgeously-animated little fable that works both as an homage to westerns (spaghetti or otherwise) and film noir, as well as a thoughtful and spiritual hero’s journey. It may not be a prototypical talking animal cartoon, and it keeps its emotionalism in check for most of the running time, but the picture remains an aloof and endlessly imaginative piece of art cleverly disguised as throwaway pop-entertainment. As a piece of political fiction, it shows us yet again how warped our discourse has become Read more