Over the course of the past three and a half decades, the Republican far right has resembled the successive generations of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, offering up politicians who act more and more inbred over time. Their stunted thinking frequently makes sense only within their own circles; their words and … More >
Donald Trump’s entrance into the presidential sweepstakes and substantial lead in the polls reminds me of the warnings issued 35 years ago in Bertram Gross’s widely read Friendly Fascism. Gross was concerned that the ever-closer integration of Big Business and Big Government could well lead to a new, kinder, gentler form of … More >
The 2016 election ambitions of the Koch brothers and what they represent on the Republican right wing, free-market absolutism, are nothing short of breathtaking. They feel within their grasp a historical opportunity they have been dreaming about for decades to turn back liberal institutions and customs. Things have lined up … More >
The military considers climate change to be a threat to national security. Naturally, that’s news that the House Republicans would like to suppress. Last week, they tried to do something about it with an appropriations rider. Luckily, the amendment is so poorly drafted that it would accomplish almost nothing.
The Washington Post had a story over the weekend about the concerted campaign by the fossil fuel industry to rollback state laws favoring renewable energy. This effort was also the subject of an editorial in the Sunday Times. So far, this effort hasn’t gained real legislative traction. The story attributes this … More >
Looking at three maps sheds some interesting light on the the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline’s geography resonates in an interesting way with political and demographic geography.
We can start with two maps that show the proposed route (on the left) and the dates in which counties reached … More >
Republicans have won a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology. Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards. This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy … More >
The most interesting thing about Chris Christie’s apology is that it was no apology.
An apology is a speech act – an utterance that is in some way world-changing. Apologies change the world by reversing the power of speaker and addressee: the speaker puts himself intentionally in a one-down position as … More >
In the short run, limiting the filibuster will strengthen the hands of environmental regulators. What about the long run effects?
The filibuster arguably served a useful function when it allowed the minority to block action in extraordinary cases where its views were especially intense. It became no longer tolerable when it … More >