himself to Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) today on the House floor. In an earlier letter to his constituents, Goode attacked Ellison — the first Muslim elected to Congress — and warned “American citizens” to “wake up” or “there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office.” Watch it:
Harriet Miers, Bush’s failed Supreme Court nominee, has submitted her resignation as White House counsel. Here’s our video tribute, from back in the day of her Supreme Court nomination:
UPDATE: Miers pushed out?
The White House strongly hinted that White House Counsel Harriet Miers’s departure had been encouraged. She had a “series of conversations in recent days” with Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, Snow said, and “she made her decision yesterday,” i.e. Wednesday. People close to the White House say Bolten had hoped to make a change in the counsel’s office when he took over in the spring of 2006. Miers’s style didn’t mesh well with that of the crisply organized former investment banker, people who know them say.
The 110th Congress has officially elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Speaker of the House, making her the first woman in U.S. history to hold the position.
It is no surprise to hear that the U.S. health care system is in shambles. Health care costs are increasing faster than wages and nearly 47 million Americans — 8 million of whom are children — are uninsured. Millions more are underinsured.
Yet, we continue to spend more on health care per person than any other country, including countries that provide health care coverage to its entire citizenry. According to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2003 alone, health spending per person was at least 24 percent higher than that of Luxembourg (the second highest spending country) and over 90 percent higher than countries considered global competitors.
But our health care system spending is not buying us superior health:
– Americans on average die at a younger age compared to the average age of death of comparable nations. Japan has the highest life expectancy.
– The U.S. infant mortality rate is 6.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, while Japan and Sweden have rates below 3.5 deaths per 1,000 live births.
– The obesity rate among adults in the U.S. is 30.6 percent; the highest rate of developed countries. This rate is nearly 21 percent higher than the rate of the second highest country, Mexico.
Nor does it buy us better health care or more resources:
– About 70 percent of deaths and health costs in the U.S. are attributable to chronic disease, which are largely preventable. Yet, only half of recommended preventive services are provided to adults.
– The U.S. has fewer practicing physicians and nurses per 1,000 people than comparable countries.
With new policy leaders, the impetus for real health reform is now: we can afford to provide every American affordable health care that emphasizes prevention, while controlling costs and maintaining individuals’ choice of doctors and plans.
from his office in the Capitol, “and the Harlem heavyweight is moving into the prime digs today,” the New York Post reports. “Gilded letters were freshly painted atop the office door yesterday proclaiming ‘Ways and Means Committee’ – confirming that the office now belongs to Rangel, the House panel’s new chairman.”
offically becoming the nation’s second African-American elected governor. Patrick will “take the oath of office on a Bible given to John Quincy Adams by kidnapped Africans whom Adams helped free in the Amistad slave ship case he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841.”
In honor of the 150th birthday of Woodrow Wilson, John Ikenberry offers fourteen points about the man, his foreign policy, and his legacy. Point six is probably the most important:
Wilson’s vision embodied both impulses toward “liberal imperialism” (or, more politely, “liberal interventionism”) and “liberal internationalism” – an awkward and problematic duality that continues among liberals today.
The “liberal imperial” impulse was on display in Wilson’s earlier interventions in Mexico in 1914 and 1916. Wilson said that America’s deployment of force was to help Mexico “adjust her unruly household.” Regarding Latin America, Wilson said: “We are friends of constitutional government in America; we are more than its friends, we are its champions. I am going to teach the South American republics to elect good men.” Indeed, Wilson used military force in an attempt to teach Southern republics, intervening in Cuba, the Dominion Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
The “liberal internationalist” impulse was articulated later during the Great War in the Fourteen Points address and in proposals for collective security and the League of Nations. This sentiment was stated perhaps most clearly in the summer of 1918 as the war was reaching its climax. Wilson gave his July 4th address at Mount Vernon and described his vision of postwar order: “What see seek is the reign of law, based on the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.”
I think “liberal hawks” have been having a lot of trouble recognizing that George W. Bush perfectly authentically represents the first, imperialistic version of Wilson and Wilsonianism. It’s not a farce or a corruption of a perfect ideal. It just is the ideal and it happens to be a rather corrupt one. Then there’s this other, rather different set of Wilsonian ideas which I think are a good deal better. John Judis wrote a great book about this.
President Bush is widely expected to announce a plan next week to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by at least 20,000. Congress may not cooperate.
In an interview with Arianna Huffington, Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Committee, said he intends to block funding for any escalation plan. An excerpt:
When we asked about the likelihood of the president sending additional troops to Iraq, Murtha was adamant. “The only way you can have a troop surge,” he told us, “is to extend the tours of people whose tours have already been extended, or to send back people who have just gotten back home.” He explained at length how our military forces are already stretched to the breaking point, with our strategic reserve so depleted we are unprepared to face any additional threats to the country. So does that mean there will be no surge? Murtha offered us a “with Bush anything is possible” look, then said: “Money is the only way we can stop it for sure.”…
He says he wants to “fence the funding,” denying the president the resources to escalate the war, instead using the money to take care of the soldiers as we bring them home from Iraq “as soon as we can.”
A memo from the Center for American Progress, released December 27, recommends “an amendment on the supplemental funding bill that states that if the administration wants to increase the number of troops in Iraq above 150,000, it must provide a plan for their purpose and require an up or down vote on exceeding that number.”
Perhaps people are bored with this question, so I’ll put the main discussion below the fold, but Jacob Weisberg has an article out on the “Incompetence Dodge” issue in which he kindly links to the piece Sam and I wrote on this some time ago. As Weisberg says “What makes this backward-looking conversation more than academic is its implications for American foreign policy beyond Iraq.” He disagrees with my take on this, but it’s not really clear to me from his article why he disagrees with me other than that he seems to think that if he agrees with me that means he must be an “isolationist” and he doesn’t want to be an isolationist.
Since President Bush has been in office, North Korea has developed 10-11 bombs worth of plutonium, suitable for use in nuclear weapons, and conducted its first nuclear weapons test. All of the administration’s efforts to control North Korea’s nuclear program have failed.
Congress decided something had to be done. On Sept. 30, 2006, Congress passed the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, which required the President to appoint a Coordinator of Policy on North Korea to “provide policy direction and leadership for negotiations with North Korea relating to nuclear weapons.”
The 60 days were up on Dec. 16, 2006, which was 19 days ago. The situation in North Korea continues to deteriorate, but Bush still won’t act.