From June, 2014

Not Classy. Not Classy At All.

My move to new digs last week prevented me from providing commentary on last week’s Republican primaries. After the ouster of Eric Cantor, I imagine that many Tea Party types were confident that they would rack up more victories against Republicans they perceived as unfaithful to The Cause. So much for that notion. The Tea Party’s biggest loss came in Mississippi, where candidate Chris McDaniel failed to beat out incumbent Thad Cochran in the Republican senatorial primary. McDaniel has not only refused to concede to Cochran, he’s also decided to mount the most desperate of challenges to Cochran’s victory: Following his…

This Is What Integrity Looks Like

Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone like Johnnie Walters were in charge of the Internal Revenue Service these past several years? Johnnie M. Walters, a commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service under President Richard M. Nixon who left office after refusing to prosecute people on Nixon’s notorious “enemies list,” died on Tuesday at his home in Greenville, S.C. He was 94. His son Hilton confirmed the death. Nixon had fired his first I.R.S. commissioner, Randolph W. Thrower, for resisting White House pressure to punish political opponents. Mr. Thrower, who served from 1969 to 1971, died at 100 in March. Mr. Walters represented the Middle American…

What We Learn from Today’s Supreme Court Rulings

The Supreme Court handed down two important decisions today. Both were rightly decided, in my view. The first was Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. Eugene Volokh has a very good rundown of the case here. Note the following from his post: . . . The owners of Hobby Lobby sincerely believe that it’s wrong for them to buy their employees insurance plans that they see as supporting abortion. They have no objection to contraception as such, but they view contraceptives that prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg as tantamount to abortion drugs. The government acknowledges that its regulations require businesses…

When Will Hillary Clinton Recover Her Political Footing?

Around the 12th of Never. Maybe. If she’s lucky: Hillary Clinton is facing a backlash over her paid speeches, with students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas calling on her to reject the $225,000 that the school is paying her family charity, and Republicans saying her lucrative engagements demonstrate that she is removed from everyday voters. Mrs. Clinton, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, has been giving a mix of paid and free speeches since leaving the State Departmentearly last year. She collected $300,000 for a speech at UCLAin March, a spokesman for the school said Friday, adding that the money…

Attention: The Scott Walker Non-Scandal Is Even Less of a Non-Scandal

Scott Walker’s political foes rejoiced recently in reports that the Wisconsin governor (and possible Republican presidential candidate) might be the target of a criminal investigation. Eric Lach faithfully recites the claim, and there are others, of course who repeated the story that Walker was/is in some kind of political trouble. Oops! Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was not a target of a criminal investigation into illegal campaign coordination that was halted earlier this year, according to an attorney for the special prosecutor overseeing the case. Randall D. Crocker, who is representing special prosecutor Francis Schmitz, also said Thursday that court filings released last week merely…

Attention: The IRS Scandal Is Still a Scandal

I continue to be trapped in The Hellish Process That Is Moving, so blogging has been lighter than I have wanted it to be. I am hopelessly behind in some of the stories that I have wanted to write about, which is why I haven’t written recently about how the IRS scandal has gone from bad to worse. So, let me mention in this post the fact that the IRS scandal has gone from bad to worse. Anyone not living under a rock now knows that Lois Lerner and Friends have conveniently lost a bunch of e-mails. And yes, the IRS…

Charter Schools Work

Behold some very useful evidence: Two of the nation’s leading economists and education scholars—Harvard University’s Richard Murnane and University of California-Irvine’s Greg Duncan—showcase the UChicago Charter School North Kenwood/Oakland Campus in their most recent book, Restoring Opportunity: The Crisis of Inequality and the Challenge for American Education, in which they highlight the nation’s most promising educational solutions. Duncan and Murnane lay out America’s educational challenges in a context where growing income inequality has severely diminished the life opportunities of children born into poverty. The authors then analyze three initiatives around the country that are producing real and replicable results: Boston’s preschools, New York City’s…

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Gene Nichol

I was of the understanding that being paid a boatload of money while doing very little work is wrong. That it contributes to income inequality. That it’s cronyism run amok. That we are all supposed to be concerned and upset when lavish sums of money are given to the undeserving. Apparently, I was wrong: A controversial, outspoken law professor who frequently bashes Republicans and specializes in poverty issues as a self-proclaimed champion of the poor earns $205,400 per year – for teaching one class per semester. The University of North Carolina School of Law pays Professor Gene Nichol $205,400 annually…

Quote of the Day

Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently. Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography. It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway. In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in…

Some Sanity in New York

The nanny-state suffers a blow: The Bloomberg big-soda ban is officially dead. The state’s highest court on Thursday refused to reinstate New York City’s controversial limits on sales of jumbo sugary drinks, exhausting the city’s final appeal and dashing the hopes of health advocates who have urged state and local governments to curb the consumption of drinks and foods linked to obesity. In a 20-page opinion, Judge Eugene F. Pigott Jr. of the New York State Court of Appeals wrote that the city’s Board of Health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal, which was championed…