John Roberts picked up the votes of three Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee – Leahy (Vt.), Kohl (Wis.), and Feingold (Wis.), along with all of the Republicans, in the Committee’s 13-5 vote to send his nomination to the Senate floor. It seems very likely that the Committee’s vote will mirror what will happen on the Senate floor – slight more than half the Dems voting against, but a substantial minority voting for. Like I said, this strikes me as the worst possible strategy, one that seems calculated to send no message whatsoever, and to stake out no ground for the coming battle over Justice O’Connor’s seat. In related news, there is a palpable sense of desperation among some of those who have been heatedly urging the Senate Dems to do everything they can (including a filibuster) to prevent Roberts from becoming Chief Justice. Armando at Daily Kos has declared himself a failure and the Democratic party unsalvageable; People For the American Way declares the vote a "defeat for the Constitution and the country" and lambastes the Democrats who voted "yes"; and we can expect more of the same from NARAL and other loud anti-Roberts voices as the news of [...]
We’re very pleased to present the following lengthy interview with John McDonough, Executive Director of Health Care For All. John probably knows more about the issues involved in the ongoing health care debate than anyone in the Commonwealth. Here is his bio, cribbed from HCFA’s site:
John E. McDonough has been the Executive Director of Health Care for All, Massachusetts? leading consumer health advocacy organization, since May 2003. From 1998 through 2003, he was an Associate Professor at the Heller School of Brandeis University and a Senior Associate at its Schneider Institute for Health Policy. From 1985 to 1997, he served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on Health Care. In 1996, he led the successful campaign for passage of health access legislation to cover uninsured children, funded by new tobacco taxes, legislation which served as a model for the federal Children?s Health Insurance Program.
He currently teaches at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Boston University School of Public Health. His articles have appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs and other journals. He has written two books, Experiencing Politics: A Legislator?s Stories of Government and Health Care by the University of California Press and the Milbank Fund in 2000, and Interests, Ideas, and Deregulation: The Fate of Hospital Rate Setting by the University of Michigan Press in 1997. He received a doctorate in public health from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan in 1996 and a master?s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in 1990.
The full interview appears below. Unless you’re already a health care superstar, you will learn a lot by reading it. I know I did.
It’s (almost) official: Pope Benedict XVI is expected to sign a new rule prohibiting any homosexual, even a celibate one, from becoming a priest. The new rule supposedly will apply only to candidates, not to already-ordained priests. Also, the Vatican will be sending hundreds of "investigators" to American seminaries to ensure that there is no "evidence of homosexuality" at these institutions. Those "investigations" ought to be lots of fun for everyone involved. ["Cardinal Fang! Fetch ... the comfy chair!!"] And it ought to do wonders for the priest shortage. I’m afraid I don’t see the logic of this new policy – and I will readily admit that I know little about church doctrine, so perhaps readers who know more than I do can enlighten me. My question is this: let’s assume we have two individuals, both with straight A’s in their seminary classes, both fully willing and able to take a vow of chastity and to lead an entirely celibate life, one attracted to men, the other to women. Let’s further assume that neither has any sexual experience, since both have been determined to become priests since the age of 10. Since by hypothesis they will both successfully swear off [...]