Pope Francis issued a pretty stern statement Tuesday about capitalism’s less-redeeming features, but you might not’ve known that from the behavior of conservative American Catholics. Rather than pondering what the pope’s message means for their ideology, they were spending the day getting mad at President Obama. Why? Because he’s closing down the American embassy to the Vatican!
This seems weird: Instead of just, you know, pardoning a turkey at Thanksgiving, the White House is giving America two candidates for survival, birds that go by the charming names of “Caramel” and “Popcorn.” “Both turkeys will be pardoned, but only the American people will decide which bird takes the title.” America will decide which is which. So go vote!
Thanksgiving dinner chez Cheney could be an awkward affair this year.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughters are in a nasty public feud over same-sex marriage. Liz is out (pardon the pun) campaigning against the issue in her Wyoming Senate race. Mary, her kid sister, has a wife and two young children.
Talk about a tense turkeyfest.
This is our imagined scenario for Thursday: Read more »
Watching all the fuss and muss surrounding the launch of Obamacare these last few weeks, I’ve been struck by an unwelcome thought:
Maybe the Clintons were right.
The Clintons — Bill and Hillary both, back when Bill was president — emerged from the last fight for universal health care pretty wounded, politically. The Democrats lost control of Congress for the first time in a generation. The president was reduced to asserting his Constitutional relevance to the press. And the pair seemed to lose the courage of their liberal convictions.
The good news? “Gov. Tom Corbett’s hopes for a major legislative win came roaring back to life Tuesday, as the state House voted 104-95 to give key preliminary approval to a multi-pronged, $2.4 billion transportation funding program,” the Patriot-News reports. (We don’t care about Corbett’s hopes, but we do care about transportation funding.)
“But no one was lighting victory cigars Tuesday night. That’s because the House plan contains a key change that has not passed muster in the state Senate yet: a modest, albeit once-in-a-generation reform to Pennsylvania’s prevailing wage statute.The bill raises the cost threshold at which the law’s minimum wage requirements kick in for transportation construction projects from an outdated $25,000 at present, to $100,000 going forward.” The question is: Is that union-busting enough or too union-busting for the Senate to accept? We’ll find out soon.
CBS Philly reports: “‘SEPTA general manager Joe Casey today said he’s disappointed the transportation bill failed last night (see related story), and he says without that money you’ll see a slow dismantling of the SEPTA system: ‘It’s not immediately, but it’s a gradual reduction of service and dismantling the rail system as we know it — regional rails, trolley lines — it’s all the critical infrastructure, and that’s what we need the money for.’”
We Americans are a fairly history-minded people. No, we don’t always know our history as well as we should—but the history we do know often tends to act as a trump card in our current political debates. Think about it: There are few conversation stoppers quite so effective as: “You’re on the wrong side of history!”
This is unfortunate, because that attitude treats history as an inexorable force for good, rather than the product of millions of human choices about how to act, and millions more human choices about how to interpret all of those choices. History isn’t a train that we’re riding to some inevitable destination; it’s something we make together, every day.
Sometimes, we we even make choices that end up looking, well, wrong.
On the face of it, the Harrisburg Patriot & Union made the wrong choice back in 1863. The paper covered President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—now judged one of the most famous orations in the English language, and memorized by generations of schoolchildren—and gave it a thumbs-down.
NewsWorks writes that Allyson Schwartz, a Democratic hopeful for governor, is out trying to raise support for a statewide comprehesive transportation bill in Harrisburg. “Republicans have opposed the roughly $2 billion plan and its anticipated effect on motorists through potentially higher gas prices and increased license and registration fees,” the site reports. “Republican leaders have insisted it can only pass among their members if it includes changes to the state’s prevailing wage law to bring down union pay on smaller public works projects.”