In an effort to appease conservatives who are outraged over his consideration of a pro-choice running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called into Laura Ingraham’s radio show today. When Ingraham asked if there were “certain positions that are non-negotiable” for his vice presidential pick,” McCain refused to answer, claiming that it would send him down “a slippery slope.” Listen here:
But McCain has walked down that “slippery slope” before. In fact, when McCain raised the idea of a pro-choice running mate in an interview with the Weekly Standard last week, he seemingly ruled out any candidate who was “pro-gay rights.”
CAP takes a look at various “sharing” schemes — from bike sharing to car sharing to “slugging” to carpooling — that help improve the mix of available transportation options. Relatedly, Ryan Avent observes that electric cars will work best in some kind of shared/fleet model, since it will be much easier to provide juice to a modest number of shared depots than to every single parking space in a city.
After this ad I don’t think people can say that Barack Obama isn’t going after John McCain with some tough attacks.
Two items. One, Ali Frick has John McCain responding to a question about whether we need to reinstate the draft in order to meet his pledge to “follow bin Laden to the gates of hell” by saying “I don’t disagree with anything you said.” Previously, McCain has said we’d only need a draft in “all-out World War III” and that he agrees “to some extent” that we’re already in World War III.
Meanwhile, Matt Duss wonders why McCain won’t follow bin Laden into Pakistan where, unlike the gates of hell, he actually is. I, for one, would just settle for McCain getting some priorities straight. The point of the gates of hell line, after all, is to underscore how seriously McCain takes the al-Qaeda issue. But he’s also absolutely committed to an undefined goal of victory in Iraq. And he’s also absolutely committed to halting the Iranian nuclear program. And now he’s also absolutely committed to rolling back Russian influence. In the real world, you can’t accomplish anything unless you’re prepared to focus and set priorities.
The Commonwealth Fund released a new report today documenting the difficulty American families face in keeping up with the ever-growing costs of health care. In 2007, nearly 66 percent of Americans “were either uninsured for a time during the year, were under-insured, reported a problem paying medical bills, and/or said they did not get needed health care because of cost”:
- Since 2003, the “proportion of adults with high deductibles nearly doubled.”
- Half of adults with low income lacked coverage at some point during the year.
- 41 percent: of working age adults “reported a problem paying their medical bills”
- 33 percent: “spent 10 percent or more of their income on health insurance and health care, up from 21 percent in 2001″
The high costs of the current system ration care. The 47 million Americans without health insurance and the 25 million who don’t have enough insurance, lack access to needed services and are often forced to use expensive emergency care as a measure of last resort.
But in Massachusetts, health care reform is reducing the number of uninsured and increasing access to care.
According to new data released by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, “nearly three-quarters of previously uninsured Massachusetts residents now have medical coverage.” Half of the newly-insured “are enrolled in private health insurance and employer-sponsored plans” — coverage that does not cost the state money. Meanwhile, “the number of visits to hospitals and community health centers by the uninsured declined by 37 percent,” saving the state an estimated $68 million.
As Americans around the country are losing health coverage, Massachusetts residents are enjoying greater access and improved health outcomes. Opponents of comprehensive health reform should sit up and take notice.
Bush Claims He Worked ‘Closely’ With Vets Organizations On GI Bill; VFW Said It ‘Didn’t Have Much Input’
Earlier today, President Bush delivered his final speech as president to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and once again — like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) two days prior — tried to portray himself as a champion of the 21st century GI Bill. Bush said that his administration worked “closely and effectively” with the VFW. As an example, he cited the legislation:
BUSH: When the history of the last eight years is finally written, it will show how closely and effectively my administration and the VFW have worked together on behalf of America’s veterans. [...] Earlier this year, I was pleased to sign a piece of legislation that the VFW has long championed, a GI Bill for the 21st century.
Not only is Bush misleading the VFW about his support for the bill, but the VFW actually opposed a competing measure that Bush supported.
The Pentagon and the White House consistently resisted Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) strong bipartisan effort to pass the bill. They warned of the “harm” Webb’s bill would do to the military and objected to its generous education benefits to returning veterans.
Moreover, the Bush administration wasn’t working very close with the VFW on the bill as Bush suggested. The VFW endorsed Webb’s proposal in June 2007, and continued to press for the bill this year, rejecting the White House’s concerns. In fact, the VFW said they “didn’t have much input” on the competing proposal Bush (and McCain) supported and called it “very partisan.”
The AP has released a “pre-convention package” with lists of “25 Things About Obama” and “25 Things About McCain.” Number two on the McCain list is a tidbit from Cindy McCain: Her husband gets annoyed by her interest in technology. Via Politico’s Playbook:
His wife says her obsession with electronic gadgets and technology is one of his pet peeves.
So not only does Cindy have to help McCain send e-mails, but he resents the fact that she takes an interest in e-mail in the first place. Even in his own demographic — white, college-educated men over 65 — McCain is an outlier. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately three-quarters of this group use the Internet. More on McCain’s disastrous tech policies here.
The Christian Zionist influence on American — and, I suppose, Israeli — policy continues to be terrifying. Here, for example, Tim McGirk reports for Time on Mike Huckabee:
A trip to Israel does no harm to his standing with American Jews; they are traditionally wary of the Christian right, but might overlook Huckabee’s Bible Belt beliefs on education and abortion because of his backing for Israel. A guest of the Jerusalem Reclamation Project, which aims to move thousands of Jewish families deep into the Arab neighborhoods of this divided city, the ex-Arkansas governor told reporters that he supported Israel’s control over all Jerusalem. Jerusalem was a beacon to the Judaism, Christianity and Islam, he said, “but you can’t have two governments overseeing the same real estate.”
The guitar-playing ex-governor went far beyond the White House view on the conflict, which calls for separate Israeli and Palestinian states. “From the security standpoint, the Israeli state should include the West Bank,” Huckabee said, referring to the territory that is a cornerstone of an eventual Palestinian nation. Huckabee claimed that his views supporting an Israel that expands beyond its pre-1967 borders, were based on “common sense” rather than his own religious beliefs.”Would I tolerate this in my own neighborhood? No,” he said. Many Christian evangelicals believe that it is part of Biblical prophecy that Jews should return to occupy all of their ancient homeland.
Now clearly a certain number of American Jews are already conservative Republicans. But the majority are liberal Democrats who are unlikely to support any aspect of Huckabee’s Christianity-fueled approach to domestic politics. But what’s more, I dare say that few Jews who actually care about Israel’s future are going to embrace this vision. To achieve long-term security, Israel needs a viable peace deal with its neighbors, and that’s never going to happen if Huckabee’s proposals are adopted. And that’s to say nothing of the appalling human rights implications for the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the McCain campaign is now slamming Barack Obama over the fact that one of his informal advisers went to Syria and told the Syrians they should make some concessions now if they want to be able to secure a durable deal under the next administration. And, yes, if you go wildly out of your way to portray what happened, you can spin this as an attack on Obama.
The New York Times runs an interesting article about a handful of firms considering moving toward a system of greater transparency about salary practices. Frustratingly, however, the articles gets through many, many, many words of discussion about the “don’t ask your coworkers what they make” convention that attributes the convention solely to American middle-class values. It seems to me, however, that there’s no way of understanding this phenomenon without recognizing that its traditionally been considered to be in the bosses interest to keep workers in the dark about salary scales. After all, management knows perfectly well what everyone’s earning. And management also has some sense of what everyone is worth. And management wouldn’t pay people more than management thought they were worth, but management would gladly pay someone less. If people learn what their colleagues make — especially those in comparable positions — they may get a sense of how much management actually thinks they’re worth.
That can lead to demands for salary increases as people push their compensation right up to the margin of what an employer is willing to pay. And worse, these kind of conversations can lead to really subversive activity like a desire to bargain collectively. But luckily enough, it’s impolite to do this:
“It’s a very American, very middle-class phenomenon,” said Ed Lawler, the director of the Center for Effective Organizations at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, who has studied salary transparency since 1962. “The way we were raised is that it was bad taste to talk about how much you make.”
A very American phenomenon and a very useful coincidence.