Via TPM Election Central, a new Rasmussen poll shows that the election of Barack Obama has had an immediate impact on many African-Americans’ views of America. The poll, taken two days after Obama was elected, found that “the percentage of black voters who view American society as fair and decent jumped 18 points to 42%.” The percentage saying that America is still unfair and discriminatory fell from 64 percent in early October to 46 percent today.
Yesterday, Meet The Press moderator Tom Brokaw asked Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) if a “massive overhaul of the American healthcare system” is possible “given the state of the economy.” Before Clyburn could answer, Brokaw’s other guest, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), injected that health care reform “is precisely what we should not be doing” and suggested that the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) “was one of the most divisive issues of the last Congress“:
SEN. MARTINEZ: Well, it, it just can’t be. I mean, this is precisely what we should not be doing. SCHIP was one of the most divisive issues of the last Congress, where there was no consensus, there was no common ground.
As Clyburn correctly pointed out, SCHIP is “not a divisive program.” In fact, before President Bush vetoed two separate bills that would have expanded children’s health insurance, Congress passed the program by overwhelming majorities. Also:
- 63% of voters favored expanding SCHIP to cover 4 million more uninsured children at a cost of $35 billion.
- 43 governors out of 50 supported SCHIP renewal.
- Key Senate Republicans blasted the president. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, criticized Bush for not understanding the bill, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) “vowed to override a Bush veto” and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) urged the president to support a bipartisan compromise on SCHIP.
Concerned that providing health insurance to children would divide the country, Martinez largely disregarded the 18.8 percent of Floridian children living without health insurance and voted against both SCHIP-expansion bills.
Today, Florida has “the second-highest percentage of uninsured children in the United States, and is third in the nation in its actual number of children who lack insurance.”
There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.
So begins an excellent review article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) by Thomas Peterson, William Connolley, and John Fleck. I had blogged on this when USA Today reported it but just realized I hadn’t blogged on the article itself.
The BAMS piece is easily the most thorough explanation and debunking of the issue I’ve seen in a scientific publication. Any progressive who is engaged in the climate change arena must be able to quickly and assuredly respond to this myth because it continues to live on thanks to the deniers’ and delayers’ clever strategy of ignoring the facts.
Heck even commenters on this blog keep defending the absurd line in Crichton’s novel State of Fear, when he has one of his fictional environmentalists say, “In the 1970′s all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming.”
The BAMS piece examines the scientific origins of the myth, the popular media of the 1970s who got the story slightly wrong, the deniers/delayers who perpetuate the myth today, and, most importantly, what real scientists actually said in real peer-reviewed journals at the time. Their literature survey, the most comprehensive ever done on the subject, found:
The survey identified only 7 articles indicating cooling compared to 44 indicating warming. Those seven cooling articles garnered just 12% of the citations.
Valerie Jarrett, transition co-chair for President-elect Barack Obama, announced that the Obama administration would create a White House chief of urban policy. Since there are “so many different agencies that really can impact urban America,” Jarrett said, “to have one person whose job it is to really pull all of that together, is really a critical position.” Few recent presidents have had an urban background, as the Washington Post noted: “To find a nominee with as strong a city pedigree as Obama’s, you have to go back to New York Gov. Al Smith, the Democratic candidate in 1928, or even further, to Grover Cleveland, who had been mayor of Buffalo.”
Ben Furnas runs the numbers on China’s huge stimulus package and concludes that an equivalent stimulus in a US-sized economy would need to be $2.4 trillion. That’s probably more than would be advisable for us, since we are actually in an objectively different situation facing less downside risk from slower growth and also a different fiscal situation that probably doesn’t allow us to spend nearly that much. Still, there’s a big gap between $2.4 trillion and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s proposal for a $160 billion stimulus package. Democrats need to think bigger.
I’m not sure I understand what leverage Joe Lieberman is supposed to have in his battle to save his committee chairmanship. The Democrats get to pick the committee chairs in virtue of having won a majority of Senate seats. Lieberman didn’t campaign for any Democratic Senate candidates but IIRC he did campaign alongside some GOP candidates. And, of course, he not only endorsed John McCain but he stood behind McCain applauding as McCain described standard-issue progressive economic policy as socialism. And as chair of the committee charged with government oversight, he declined to hold any oversight hearings. So Democrats might want to get rid of him. But Lieberman wants to stay:
Lieberman believes he should remain in the Democratic caucus because he helped give the party its majority in the past two years in the Senate, and because he has been “a very reliable Democratic vote” on most issues, except the war in Iraq, the aide said.
“Sen. Lieberman prefers to remain in the Democratic caucus,” the aide said. “However, he believes he should remain as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. … He thinks that political retribution should not go ahead of homeland security.” [...]
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has approached Lieberman about joining the Republican caucus, but Lieberman’s first preference is to remain a Democrat, according to the aide.
“He’s keeping all his options open,” the aide said. “He has made no decisions whatsoever. No one knows how this is going to be resolved.”
But look. Lieberman can’t swing control to the GOP. And presumably Lieberman isn’t going to adopt liberal views on foreign policy to make Democrats happy and keep his seat. Is he saying that if Democrats decide to put a more loyal partisan in charge of the committee he’ll disavow his previous views on domestic issues and become an opponent of Roe v. Wade and a climate change denier? It’s in his power to make that threat, I suppose, but if he wants to make it he ought to say so plainly and squarely for everyone to hear — that would be a pretty dishonorable kind of threat to make. But if that’s not what he’s saying, then he ought to be asking for forgiveness not “keeping all his options open.”
As it stands, Lieberman seems to be saying that he deserves to stay in charge of the committee in virtue of his moderately progressive domestic views, but that continuing to hold those views is contingent on him getting favors from the Democratic leadership.
Our guest blogger is Peter Juul, research associate at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
In a short piece for his website critiquing the two main competing ideas for President-elect Obama’s future Iraq policy –- the Center for a New American Security’s ‘conditional engagement‘ strategy and CAP’s own Strategic Reset strategy -– the normally astute Reidar Visser makes two critical errors. While we largely agree with his critique of the CNAS strategy, Visser subtly misreads CAP’s strategy while proposing a course of his own that does little to remedy the deficiencies of those he critiques.
First, Visser argues that CAP’s recommendation to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq as rapidly as possible is based on a possibly mistaken premise: that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will only make compromises if it no longer can rely on the United States to shield it from the consequences of its actions. But our proposed strategy is not premised on using withdrawal as “leverage” against Maliki; it is rather premised on withdrawal changing the political incentives for Iraqi political actors. Whether or not Iraqis act on these changed incentives is left up to the Iraqis themselves. Rather than presenting a substantive criticism of the logic of CAP’s strategy, Visser relies on the prediction that Maliki will not change his overall behavior. While this continuation is possible, it is beside the point -– as we point out in our recent report on Iraq’s political transition, the United States needs to recognize its limited leverage and accept suboptimal outcomes. We argue that changing Iraqi political leaders’ incentives through the withdrawal of U.S. troops stands the best chance of the remaining bad policy options of leading to broad political accommodation in Iraq.
Second, Visser argues for “singling out the 2009 parliamentary elections as the key to reform and Iraq’s last chance to repair itself.” This advice ignores the failures of 2005, when the Bush administration based its Iraq policy on the premise that elections would serve as a panacea to the country’s violent power struggle. He further advocates that the United States somehow ensure free and fair elections by maintaining a large troop presence in Iraq. Again, if the United States could not accomplish free and fair elections in 2005 with equal numbers of troops, how will things go any different this time? Additionally, Visser posits that ensuring free and fair elections will somehow make the United States “quite immune against accusations of meddling in Iraqi affairs” when ensuring free and fair elections is precisely meddling in Iraqi affairs!
Moreover, Visser ignores his earlier critique of CAP’s strategy that Maliki has consolidated enough of a power base to resist reform. If Maliki indeed has consolidated such as base, will he not also be in a position to win even “free and fair” elections? In the end, Visser’s own recommendation to stick around Iraq just a bit longer -– echoed by so many in the Washington establishment -– suffers from the same problems he identifies with CAP’s strategy, only it provides no incentives whatsoever for Iraqi politicians to campaign or act on accommodationist platforms. It is no more than another attempt to “find the pony” in Iraq.
Good posts a near chart of what’s happened in the first 100 days of various administrations.
President-elect Barack Obama and President Bush met in the Oval Office for over an hour today, and Obama received his first look at the Situation Room. In a statement, Obama-Biden transition spokesperson Stephanie Cutter said that “they had a productive and friendly meeting,” including “a broad discussion about the importance of working together throughout the transition of government in light of the nation’s many critical economic and security challenges.”
The AP reports on the post-meeting events: “The president later escorted his successor to his limousine. Obama’s wife was leaving separately after her discussions with Laura Bush. None of the four spoke to reporters.” Full statement below: Read more
After controversy erupted over Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) largely unauthorized spending spree, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) announced that she would no longer be wearing the expensive clothing: “Those clothes, they are not my property. … I’m not taking them with me.”
Palin, however, did take some clothes with her. The Republican party is planning to dispatch a lawyer to Alaska to “inventory and retrieve the clothes still in her possession.” According to Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, the governor spent the weekend separating out the GOP-bought clothes, including underwear for her daughters:
Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, said his daughter spent the day Saturday trying to figure out what belongs to the RNC.
“She was just frantically…trying to sort stuff out,” Heath said. “That’s the problem, you know, the kids lose underwear, and everything has to be accounted for.
“Nothing goes right back to normal,” he said.
Reports initially revealed that the RNC spent $150,000 on clothes for Palin from high-end stores. More recently, however, it has come out that after campaign aide Nicolle Wallace told Palin to “buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist,” the governor “began buying for herself and her family.” In the end, she spent “‘tens of thousands’ more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost.”
While there was considerable attention given to the clothes bought for Todd Palin, there have been fewer mentions of what was bought for their daughters. (At one point a picture emerged of Piper Palin carrying an expensive designer handbag, although it was later called out as possibly being a fake.)
One top McCain aide justified the Palin shopping spree by saying that someone needed to “spruce her up for national television.” It’s unclear how purchasing undergarments for her children fits into this goal. Inquiries by ThinkProgress to the RNC have not yet been returned.