Visual source: Newseum
Oh, by the way, you may have heard reports to the effect that Jon Huntsman is different. And he did indeed once say: “Conservation is conservative. I’m not ashamed to be a conservationist.” Never mind: he, too, has been assimilated by the anti-environmental Borg, denouncing the E.P.A.’s “regulatory reign of terror,” and predicting that the new rules will cause blackouts by next summer, which would be a neat trick considering that the rules won’t even have taken effect yet.
E. J. Dionne:
At a moment when the nation wonders whether politicians can agree on anything, here is something that unites the Republican presidential candidates — and all of them with President Obama: Everyone agrees that the 2012 election will be a turning point involving one of the most momentous choices in U.S. history. ...
Obama will thus be the conservative in 2012, in the truest sense of that word. He is the candidate defending the modestly redistributive and regulatory government the country has relied on since the New Deal, and that neither Ronald Reagan nor George W. Bush dismantled. The rhetoric of the 2012 Republicans suggests they want to go far beyond where Reagan or Bush ever went.
Hadley Freeman decides to look to the future rather than recap the past at year's end:
The Republicans ban women from having sex (except with them)
In 2011 America's right wing, and especially the Christian right wing, at last let slip what their problem is with contraception and abortion: it's not squeamishness, morality or a fondness for hanging outside Planned Parenthood clinics toting misspelt placards – they just don't like women having sex. At all. As Amanda Marcotte wrote this week, in 2011 the anti-choice movement "stopped trying so hard to manage mainstream perceptions of themselves as somehow just great lovers of fetal life, and are coming out with their anti-sex agenda". This was borne out in their frankly unhinged attacks on Planned Parenthood, the HPV vaccine, insurance coverage of contraception and, as I discussed last week, the puritanical mood they created that encouraged President Obama to restrict access to Plan B, or the morning-after pill, none of which have much to do with abortion and everything to do with women's temerity to have sex.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union twenty years ago, Western commentators have often celebrated it as though what disappeared from the world arena in December 1991 was the old Soviet Union, the USSR of Stalin and Brezhnev, rather than the reforming Soviet Union of perestroika. Moreover, discussion of its consequences has focused mostly on developments inside Russia. Equally important, however, have been the consequences for international relations, in particular lost alternatives for a truly new world order opened up by the end of the cold war. The breakup of the Soviet Union interrupted perestroika—an attempt to effect an evolutionary transition from totalitarianism to democracy in a vast country from 1985 to 1991. The achievements of perestroika were real and many. It brought freedom, including freedom of speech, assembly, religion and movement, as well as political pluralism and free elections. We started a transition to market economics. But we acted too late to reform the Communist Party and to transform the Soviet Union into a new, decentralized union of sovereign republics.
Contrary to what is sometimes asserted, the Soviet Union was not destroyed by any foreign power but as a result of internal developments. ...
Ken Blackwell proves to be as ridiculous as ever in his scattergun critique of President Obama.
Lee Evans needs our help. The Olympic Gold Medalist and political activist, who exploded all records in the 400 meters at the 1968 Olympics, has been hospitalized with an aggressive brain tumor. The prognosis for the 63-year-old Evans is not good. As his fellow 1968 Olympic activist John Carlos said in an e-mail, “All of our teammates want to go out and say some prayers. All there is left to do is pray.”
But the situation is made far worse by the fact that Lee Evans, after four decades teaching and coaching at schools ranging from the University of South Alabama to Nigeria, doesn’t have health insurance. This has meant, according to Lee’s sister, Rosemary, that he has been terribly mistreated during his hospitalization. Rosemary said to me, “I heard his doctor in the hall and I heard him say he wished [Lee] had been transferred somewhere else because he didn’t have insurance….
Anti-abortion lawmakers in South Dakota have been busy in the past few years passing bills that limit access to abortion, most of which end up in protracted legal battles. And all of that effort comes at a cost to taxpayers in the state: $750,000 in the first half of next year alone.
The state has also been in a lengthy legal battle over a 2005 law that required doctors to read women a specific script before performing an abortion. The script included a host of factually and legally questionable lines, which Planned Parenthood—the only abortion provider in the state—challenged in court. Part of the script was thrown out, but the case is back in the circuit court next month.
In order to foot the legal bills, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard 2012 budget proposal includes a little over $1 million for the "Extraordinary Litigation Fund," the Rapid City Journal reports.
Pat Buchanan carefully constructs his strawman and then plunges the torch deep:
How did America's Christians allow themselves to be dispossessed of a country their fathers had built for them?
Ed Quillen reminds us of a bit of history:
There are people who make serious money from whining about "The War on Christmas," and thus you can't expect them to announce that "Christmas won, and now it's time for us to take up honest work."
Instead, they'll continue to evoke images of an old-fashioned Currier & Ives country where Americans were united in celebrating Christmas. There was none of this "happy holidays" blasphemy, and if anyone had complained about a nativity scene on a courthouse lawn in those good old days, tar and feathers would have followed. ...
Of course, it's not that simple. It was once illegal to celebrate Christmas. That ban was not enacted by elitist secular lefties, but by the Puritans who ran the Massachusetts Colony from 1659 to 1681. The law declared that anyone caught "observing, by abstinence from labor, feasting or any other way any such days as Christmas day, shall pay for every such offense five shillings."