Is the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare that good for liberalism after all?
“SOME VICTORIES prepare the ground for more victories; others lay the basis for future defeats. The great question for liberals about the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is which kind of victory it is.
John Roberts’s decision to spare the ACA at least allows the president this fall to claim health reform as a major achievement. But the chief justice’s new limits on the scope of the Commerce clause and federal spending powers may put future reforms at risk of being struck down and require liberals to rethink their approach to national policy. Roberts’s opinion upholds conservative positions in nearly every respect except its conclusion, and it is especially worrisome in light of the readiness of the four right-wing dissenting justices to use the same arguments to overturn the ACA in its entirety. As long as the Court has a conservative majority, the threat of a judicial veto will now hang over a wide range of liberal initiatives, including many long believed to be moderate, incremental, and constitutionally secure.”
Paul Starr — “Between the Lines”
NCLB reveals the dysfunctions of the American public education system
Support for NCLB in Congress has collapsed; a vote today would probably yield as many “No” votes as there were “Yeas” in 2001. But because Congress circa 2012 is historically inept at passing important legislation, and the politics of school reform remain knotted in larger debates about federalism, unionism, and money, the next version of ESEA is four years overdue. So the Obama administration has used its regulatory discretion to reauthorize the law by fiat, exempting states that sign on to its agenda from the requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014.
As NCLB slowly dies from a combination of Congressional inattention, regulatory whittling, and the sheer weight of public rejection, it’s worth asking why so much of the optimism surrounding the law proved unfounded, and what those who still believe in federal intervention on behalf of disadvantaged students should do next.
What happens when a zen master visits Capitol Hill?
Lois Parshley tells the refreshing story of Thich Nhat Hanh’s recent visit to Washington, DC.
Can the revered Buddhist monk’s teachings actually heal Washington’s partisan differences, though?
“While Hanh was eager to help the congressional attendees take better care of themselves, he also had a message for them. American politics, he said, was profoundly lacking balance. ‘Congress is like a community of cells,’ he told them. ‘If the cells are not happy, the whole body won’t be.’ He counseled them to adopt a practice he calls ‘Beginning Anew.’ In his book Calming the Fearful Mind, Hanh explains that, at his monastery in France, the entire community gathers once a week in a circle around a vase of flowers. When someone wants to speak, they take the vase, and praise the person they are having trouble with before describing their problem. Everyone else just listens. It was hard to imagine Barney Frank and Allen West dissolving their differences over a vase of flowers, but Hanh seemed convinced that it could work. ‘If politicians could practice Beginning Anew,’ he noted, “space for truth and healing might open up.”
— Lois Parshley, “Peace Out: A Zen master comes to Capitol Hill.”
Is the Democratic love affair with Wall Street over?
Today, Jon Corzine, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, Democratic senator, and Democratic governor, testified before the House Agriculture committee about the collapse of MF Global and the disappearance of $1.2 billion in customer funds.
For more, read Timothy Noah’s blog post on what MF Global’s collapse means for the future of Democrats’ already tenuous relationship with Wall Street.
Photo courtesy of CNN Money.
What caused the super committee to fail?
The super committee emerged this afternoon to publicly declare their failure to reach a compromise on deficit reduction measures.
Does that mean, as TNR’s Tim Noah has been prognosticating for the last week, that the super committee must really be dead?
Read Tim Noah’s tick-tock of the super committee demise, here.
Photo courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor.
What’s behind Congress’s new proposal to censor the Internet?
And that can only mean a huge payday for lobbyists.
According to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the film, music and TV industries have spent more than $91 million on lobbying so far this year — an amount that puts them on pace to beat all of their previous spending records.
Is pizza a vegetable?
“In January the Agriculture department had this crazy idea to improve nutritional standards for federally-subsidized school lunches. It proposed limiting ‘starchy vegetables’ (read: fries) to one cup per week ‘to encourage students to try new vegetables.’ It also proposed changing the way schools met daily requirements for fruits and vegetables by limiting—not eliminating, merely limiting—the use of tomato paste (read: pizza) to meet that requirement.”
- Timothy Noah, “Saving School Pizza”
What is the single biggest factor behind why President Obama and the Democrats have not accomplished enough in the last three years? The filibuster.
“Use of the filibuster has become standard operating procedure in this Congress, so that it now takes 60 votes to conduct even routine business. It is not at all what the country’s founders intended when they set up the constitutions’ system of checks and balances.”
-Jonathan Cohn, “Now Fallows is Mad as Hell.”