National Review warns against "talking loosely" of impeachment and adds "the overwhelming likelihood at this point is that Barack Obama will leave office on January 20, 2017." (My italics.)
Hume's phrase was that talk of impeachment is "way premature."
The warnings are prudent and right. Yet the more I hear these warnings, the less reassured I feel. What is being heard by Hume and the editors of National Review that makes their warnings necessary in the first place?
The Washington Post's Greg Sargent has a major scoop that Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid is seriously thinking about ending the filibuster on executive and judicial branch nominations. Given Reid's history of crying wolf, I'll believe it when I see it, but the idea isn't all that bad.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
First, the details. Republicans have been successfully using the threat of filibuster to make it incredibly difficult for the Obama White House to appoint judges to circuit courts, political staffer positions at executive agencies, and - to an extent - chill the administration's decisions for cabinet picks.
There are three big appointments coming up this summer: heads for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Labor. Republicans are likely to go to the mat to stall these picks, and Reid has now laid out a red line of his own. If these picks are filibustered, he'll revisit the nuclear option that allows him to proceed to a vote with a simple majority.
I think this column, written last summer by Peter Worthington, summarizes so much of my late father-in-law's approach to life.
One of the rarest and most useful assets for a "leader" is the ability to think "outside the box," as they say.
I interpret this to mean the ability to stretch beyond conventional thinking, and break new ground that isn't necessarily involved in a person's training. "Outside the box" thinking is useful in various aspects of life, but especially in war, in the military, in politics, perhaps in business and certainly in professional sports.
My father revered "outside the box" thinking, and as someone who stayed in the army after the First World War, one of his preferred rants was that "high rank in the military tends to turn brain into bone."
This is a little surprising. President Jimmy Carter is on record opposing the legalization of marijuana. Full details below, courtesy of Smart Approaches to Marijuana:
(Atlanta, GA) - President Jimmy Carter, at a meeting that included state legislators and regulators from Colorado and Washington, as well as most of the states targeted for legalization in 2016, and attended by the nation's premier public health scientists like former White House Deputy Drug Czar Thomas McLellan, announced that despite mischaracterizations, he "opposed the legalization of marijuana" and predicted the experiments in Washington and Colorado would go badly. He also said that he didn't believe in imprisoning users of marijuana, but favored SAM's approach of arrests with treatment referral and health assessments.
President Carter has been falsely characterized as supporting legalization by pro-marijuana lobbyists nationwide. Today, he set the record straight:
"I do not favor legalization. We must do everything we can to discourage marijuana use, as we do now with tobacco and excessive drinking," President Carter told the crowd. "We have to prevent making marijuana smoking from becoming attractive to young people, which is, I'm sure, what the producers of marijuana....are going to try and do."
I too would love to one day drown government in a bathtub, but while unemployment is still over seven percent, let's hold off on cutting aid to society's most vulnerable.
As The American Prospect's Monica Potts reports, cutting the budget for food stamps puts already at risk families in a terrible position:
I spoke with Christie Irizarry, 22-year-old mother in Camden, New Jersey, who volunteers for Witnesses to Hunger, an advocacy organization affiliated with the Center for Hunger Free Communities. Christie works at Popeye’s Chicken part-time, and her manager won’t increase her hours. In fact, no one at the restaurant is getting the hours they want, but the manager keeps hiring part-time workers. Like most part-time workers, her hours are unpredictable, which makes childcare a challenge for her four-year old daughter.
For a long time I've propounded the theory that the main thing wrong with the economics of American health care is that insurers are too weak. Somebody has to discipline providers. They have amply proven they will not discipline themselves. It's unrealistic to expect patients to apply the discipline. I'd prefer not to have government do it. That leaves the insurers.
David McNew/Getty Images
That's an unpopular view, because insurers themselves are unpopular. It's the insurers who deny people coverage for pre-existing conditions or apply lifetime coverage limits. But why do they do it? They do it because they confront costs they have no power to control. Lacking sufficient market power to discipline providers, they instead turn their power against their members - patients.
Think of healthcare economics as a three-party negotiation: patients-insurers-providers. (Providers here means not doctors and nurses, but the larger hospital corporations that increasingly employ those doctors and nurses.) Right now, the market empowers them in roughly this order: providers are strongest, patients are weakest, insurers are in between - and so generally prefer squeezing their patients to tussling with the providers.
A couple of disclaimers here. The Toronto Star is a paper notoriously hostile to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. The video in question comes from unreliable sources. Etcetera and etcetera. Caveat lector.
Now to the shocker:
A cellphone video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine is being shopped around Toronto by a group of Somali men involved in the drug trade.
The most interesting part of Politico's report that a House immigration bill will be here soon is that it will be a comprehensive bill.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
With the exception of whether immigrants on provisional status would qualify for ObamaCare, the House will be eschewing the piecemeal process.
This is a departure from earlier reports, and leaves me scratching my head a bit. I anticipate a far nastier fight over this bill in the House than in the Senate, and while Harry Reid wants the House to do a comprehensive bill, piecemeal legislation would probably have a better chance at passage.
Socialism has caused a shortage of toilet paper in Venezuela, and the Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann says it like it is:
While the government prefers to blame shadowy political enemies for the shortages -- according to the AP, Commerce Secretary Alejandro Fleming said the toilet paper crisis was the result of "excessive demand" sparked by "a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country -- the explanation is much more straightforward.
In 2003, then President Hugo Chavez slammed currency controls into place to prevent money from fleeing the country while government seized land and corporate assets. Those rules have made it harder to buy imports. Meanwhile, price caps meant to make basic staples affordable to the poor are so low that, for many products, they don't pay for the cost of production.
Nobody's going to make toilet paper if they'll lose money selling it.
The comments section is once again open. Apologies on the downtime.
Noah Millman with a very interesting liberal perspective on immigration and wages over at The American Conservative. Best passage:
[I]f we’re going to argue that mass immigration isn’t going to create a fiscal problem so long as we don’t allow class divisions to deepen and fester, then shouldn’t we be doing something to make sure class divisions don’t deepen and fester? Like, make sure wages, even for relatively low-skill manual labor, are high enough to allow a semblance of a middle class existence? If you believe that low IQs are partly caused by growing up poor, then isn’t a low-wage policy even more pernicious than it would otherwise appear, as it hobbles a substantial portion of the next generation as well? Wouldn’t a low-wage policy wind up making it seem like Richwine was right after all?