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The House GOP leadership is supposed to prevent votes like today's.

House GOP pits Pentagon vs. poor

05/10/12 03:40PM

Even by the standards of House Republicans, this was a rather extraordinary vote.The House voted Thursday to override steep cuts to the Pentagon's budget mandated by last summer's debt deal and replace them with spending reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs.While doomed in the Senate and opposed by the White House, the legislation, which would reduce the deficit by $243 billion, is a Republican marker for post-election budget talks with the White House.Zero Democrats voted for the bill, and the proposal went too far for 16 House Republicans, who broke ranks and voted w read more

Forecast: Reign

05/10/12 03:19PM

So what's it like to be royalty? What are the special perks of the One Percent of the One Percenters? Well, if you're Prince Charles, who made a side trip to the BBC while he was in Scotland ---one gets to deliver the local weather forecast. Prepare yourself: there's likely to be a soaking rain in Aberdeenshire. More shockingly, though? Prince Charles is good at this, much more so than say, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, though to be fair, the Prince has yet to record anything approaching Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.Yet. read more

Christie plays games with health care 'exchanges'

Christie plays games with health care 'exchanges'

05/10/12 02:55PM

Those who've followed the health care fight closely have no doubt heard plenty about "exchanges." The idea is, the Affordable Care Act instructs states to establish networks of health care plans, from which uninsured families and small businesses will choose regulated plans at affordable prices. It's up to state legislatures to create these exchanges.For the right, this has created an apparent opportunity -- conservatives believe they can undercut "Obamacare" if they successfully push state policymakers not to create the exchanges. read more

Military personnel performing dentistry in rural Alabama.

Using the military to provide health services

05/10/12 01:29PM

The men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces are called upon to perform some pretty extraordinary tasks, including heroic health care services for injured troops in the field at in V.A. hospitals.What's less recognized is military personnel sometimes bring health care services to civilians in rural communities (thanks to reader R.M. for the tip).An Air Force dentist pulls teeth in the oil-stained garage where the town's fire truck normally parks. read more

One decision, many ripples

One decision, many ripples

05/10/12 12:42PM

After President Obama endorsed marriage equality yesterday, Howard Kurtz called it "a political earthquake that shakes the landscape." While, in a literal sense, this may have been one person expressing an opinion on one issue, Kurtz's assessment looks even more accurate now than it did 21 hours ago.The president's announcement has clearly caused a ripple on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers who may have been reluctant to speak out on the issue before have started to follow Obama's lead, and were House Republicans moved quickly to reaffirm support for the Defense of Marriage Act and prohibit same- read more

Thursday's campaign round-up

05/10/12 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:* A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney at the national level, 50% to 42%. read more

Lincoln analogies gone awry

05/10/12 11:17AM

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) spoke at a local Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner over the weekend, and thought it'd be a good idea to invoke the name of a famous Confederate military officer."As I close tonight," the Republican congressman said, "I want to remind you of the great farewell speech of Confederate General Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson -- when he bid farewell to his brigade, as he was elevated by Robert E. Lee -- and he said to his brigade that they would always be first in his heart. read more

Romney as a teenager, with his parents.

A 'vicious' incident from Romney's past

05/10/12 10:31AM

As a rule, I'm inclined to disregard entirely what politicians did as children. I don't care what candidates ate when they were six, or whom they dated, or what their grades were like in junior high. Such trivialities don't tell us anything important about the individuals or their character.But the Washington Post's Jason Horowitz reports today on a story from Mitt Romney's past that seems a little harder to dismiss out of hand. read more

The Obama campaign's homepage, as of this morning.

Going all in

05/10/12 09:19AM

Step One for President Obama was deciding whether to announce his support for marriage equality. Step Two for the president and his team was deciding what to do in the wake of Step One.In a way, this was a test unto itself: Obama was willing to take a bold stand on a controversial issue, but how forceful would he be in standing by the move? If the president and his campaign are worried about a possible backlash, would they downplay the announcement?Apparently not. read more

Jobless claims improve a little more

Jobless claims improve a little more

05/10/12 08:40AM

For much of April, initial unemployment claims were getting a little ugly, reaching heights unseen in months, and raising concerns anew about the relative health of the job market. Today's report from the Department of Labor, following last week's good news, is more encouraging.Though last week's figures were revised up a bit, the new numbers are still much lower than what we saw a month ago, and back to the level we saw in mid-March, which is near a four-year low.The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by a scant 1,000 last week to 367,000, the U.S. read more

Plenty of risk to go around

05/10/12 08:02AM

It's too soon to say with any certainty what the political/electoral consequences might be for President Obama now that he's expressed his support for marriage equality. It's safe to say he showed some strong leadership by taking this risk, but one can make equally compelling cases that the move will help, hurt, or have no effect on his standing.But the president isn't the only one facing some risks on the issue. What will his Republican challenger do in response to yesterday's announcement? read more