Last week, President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. and Iran had reached a framework for a historic nuclear agreement. Standing in the White House Rose Garden, Obama stressed that the tentative deal is America's best option and that it is "not based on trust." But his attempt to reassure the public has had limited success.
An Economist/YouGov poll conducted this past weekend found that while Americans support the nuclear negotiations, they still distrust Iran and many doubt that any good outcome will be reached.
Sixty-one percent -- including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents -- back negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.
It has been falsely predicted many times in the last year, but now it seems to be true: The federal investigation into the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge appears to be coming to a head, with an announcement of indictments as early as next week.
In recent weeks, people close to the case say, federal investigators have interviewed members of the Borough Council in Fort Lee, N.J., the town gridlocked when its three lanes accessing the bridge were narrowed to one for several days in September 2013 — a move at first bewildering, and later revealed to be the result of orders from aides and allies of Gov. Chris Christie.
The interviews were said to be largely perfunctory, the kind of t-crossing that investigators would do before wrapping up.
What hasn't been falsely predicted is that Chris Christie is burnt toast.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Rick Brattin, a young Republican state representative in Missouri, has come up with an innovative new way to humiliate the poor in his state. Call it the surf-and-turf law.
Brattin has introduced House Bill 813, making it illegal for food-stamp recipients to use their benefits “to purchase cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak.”
“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs” with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards, the legislator explained, according to The Post’s Roberto A. Ferdman. “When I can’t afford it on my pay, I don’t want people on the taxpayer’s dime to afford those kinds of foods either.”
Never mind that few can afford filet mignon on a less-than-$7/day food-stamp allotment; they’re more likely to be buying chuck steak or canned tuna. This is less about public policy than about demeaning public-benefit recipients.
Sometimes these laws are cast as protection for the poor, ensuring that aid is steered in ways that will help them the most. Other times they're framed as protection for the taxpayer, who shouldn't be asked to help people who will squander the money on vices anyway.
But the logic behind the proposals is problematic in at least three, really big ways.
First read Kurt Eichenwald
, then read Kurt Eichenwald
My wife is an internist. My brother is a pediatrician at a major academic institution. So was my father. My best friend is a surgeon. I regularly see an internist for my medical care, and I like her very much. I also should mention that this article is an opinion column.
And it is my opinion that the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has hidden managerial incompetence for years while its officers showered themselves with cash despite their financial ineptitude and the untold damage they have inflicted on the health care system.
That unnecessary first paragraph is necessary because ABIM apparently considers itself the enemy of doctors, since it believes a journalist with ties to physicians (me) must be biased against the organization. I found that out when I recently wrote about a group of nationally renowned physicians who revolted against the ABIM, which certifies doctors as meeting certain medical standards. The roots of the uprising trace to January 2014, when ABIM attempted to expand its program for recertifying doctors, adding boatloads of requirements and fees to be paid by physicians. As a result, the prominent group of doctors formed a competing certification organization, while condemning ABIM’s recertification program as an expensive waste of time that hasn’t been shown to improve medical knowledge or the quality of health care.
The trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has never really been about his guilt; his own lead defense lawyer told the jury on the first day that "it was him." The bigger question has been whether Tsarnaev deserves to die for it.
The jury that convicted him Wednesday will begin to consider that matter next week, when the penalty phase is expected to begin.
The seven women and five men took less than two days to find Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts against him. That may seem like they are prepared to sentence him to death as well. The government has said it plans to call about a dozen victims.
"Convicting on 30 charges signals to me that the jury — again, we don't know — signals that the jury might not be so hesitant to vote for the death penalty," Northeastern University School of Law Professor Daniel Medwed told NBC News.
But there other factors that could play in Tsarnaev's favor.
One is Massachusetts itself. The state is historically opposed to capital punishment; it last executed someone in 1947, and in 1984 the state abolished the death penalty. Polls in 2013 and this year found that more Bostonians favor a sentence of life without parole for Tsarnaev, rather than death.
By comparison, the country as a whole is split the other way, with 47 percent of Americans preferring death for Tsarnaev and 42 percent favoring life without parole, according to an NBC News poll.