A Different Slant on the First Amendment?

On Monday June 19, in the case of Matal v. Tam, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled yet again that the First Amendment trumps political correctness.

This time, though, the circumstances were a bit unusual. Simon Tam, an Asian-American musician, founded the first all-Asian-American dance-rock band. The band chose to call itself the “Slants” as a way of thumbing its nose at anti-Asian stereotypes and prejudices—such as slant eyes.

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Hunk hawks hideous health bill

If the human brain’s positive bias toward attractive people didn’t cue me to infer that Thune is a great guy, a real straight shooter, I’d be as outraged by the assault on Americans’ health that Thune and his co-conspirators are currently waging, and by the subversion of American democracy they’re using to ram it through, as I am when its public face is McConnell’s.

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One-stop shopping comes to American medicine

Congressional fireworks over health insurance legislation may ultimately seem a minor footnote compared to a subtle, but seismic shift toward something reformers have long yearned for–one-stop shopping.

The idea is to combine insurance, where the economic incentive is to spend as little as possible on care, with medicine, where money’s to be made by providing maximum treatments. One such iteration is a health maintenance organization, like Kaiser Permanente, which Washington has been relentlessly pushing a resisting system toward since the Nixon Administration.

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So…Where’s the pony?


Forget about the impeachment fantasies. But the Congress does have other tools. It can control the White House by limiting its powers, either by overtly taking back responsibilities it has delegated to the executive branch or by making spending decisions that limit options. We already know there will be no wall built on the border with Mexico unless Congress authorizes funding to pay for it. The President doesn’t always get what he wants. Recall the cliché– the President proposes, but the Congress disposes.

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Closing the Ring


If I felt a sense of accomplishment, I can only imagine how Wagner felt when he completed the work in 1874. He wrote the words and the score. It took him 26 years. For much of that time he endured poverty and neglect, illness and ridicule—with little help and little prospect that his masterpiece would ever be performed in its entirety. Continue reading Closing the Ring