It's hard to know what to say about State of the Union,
since the speech Tuesday was long on examples of the results of good
policy but short on the policy itself. ("As I understand it," offers Matt Yglesias, "gay soldiers will win
the future by riding high speed trains to salmon farms.") Here are a few
Yesterday, House Republicans passed a bill that, if enacted,
would repeal last year's health-care reform bill. It won't be enacted; it'll
never get past the Senate or the president. But the GOP took the House back in
part because of its promises to repeal reform, so a symbolic effort was
Good catch last week by Pat Garofalo: House
Speaker John Boehner wants to cut government spending, but it's still difficult
to get him to name any programs that should be slashed. This was a theme during
the campaign and the lame duck session that followed; it remains true now that
he's taken over the House.
When I was at Wheaton, a story (possibly apocryphal) circulated
about a student who had been expelled a couple years earlier for celebrating a
mock Eucharist on the quad, in which he faux-consecrated donuts and beer.
Today, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Rep.
John Boehner (R.-Ohio) as the Speaker of the House. That's a routine gig for a
Supreme Court chief justice, but yesterday's was unprecedented: on Boehner's
request, Roberts also swore in the new Speaker's staff.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has added several antigay
organizations to its list of hate groups, citing their "demonizing propaganda"
and "propagation of known falsehoods." SPLC Intelligence Project director Mark
Potok (whom Amy Frykholm interviewed for the Century a while back) and president Richard Cohen d
What do Melissa Rogers, Matthew and Nancy Sleeth, Jim Wallis and
Robert George have in common? I'd say not much, other than being Christians,
broadly right to center-left theologically, who have some degree of political
influence in one area or another.
The big political news this week is yesterday's deal
between the White House and Republican leaders: in exchange for extending the
Bush tax cuts for two years and relaxing the estate tax, Obama got a 13-month
extension of unemployment benefits, a one-year payroll tax decrease and some
additional tax c