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Mormons against the Donald

the economistMié, 23/03/2016 - 09:59

Outpost of common sense

THE Republican primary contest, for so long overcrowded, has been reduced to a single main contest: between Donald Trump and those trying to stop him bagging the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the party’s presidential nomination. Besides Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Mr Trump’s bruised but surviving competitors, his opponents include most elected Republicans, most conservative journalists, perhaps half of Republican voters—and on March 22nd the tycoon caused them further dismay by winning the Arizona primary. Its 58 delegates are a handsome prize and Mr Trump, having won the “winner-takes-all” state with 46% of its vote, got the lot.

With 739 delegates overall, he is the only candidate with a serious chance of securing the Republican nomination before the party’s convention in July. It looks awfully tight; a reckoning of his prospects in the states still to vote suggests he might just fall short. For that, his opponents can now thank Mr Cruz’s coterminous success in Utah, where the Texan senator won a massive 71% of the vote—the first statewide majority of the Republican...Continue reading

Little Sisters of the Poor take aim at Obamacare's contraceptive mandate

the economistMar, 22/03/2016 - 19:17

NO PIECE of modern legislation has spent as much time in the cross-hairs of Supreme Court litigation as the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health-care overhaul better known as Obamacare. The latest litigants aiming to take a bite out of the law are a coalition of religious non-profit organisations including Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who care for the impoverished elderly by running a few dozen nursing homes in several states. Other litigants include the University of Notre Dame, Catholic Charities and a host of religious hospitals, seminaries and colleges.

The lawsuit, known as Zubik v Burwell, will be argued on March 23rd in a special 90-minute hearing. It consolidates seven cases from around the country attacking the law’s requirement, as implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that employers offer no-cost birth control to female employees. The law originally released houses of worship from the so-called “contraceptive mandate” but did not exempt religiously affiliated organisations with broader missions and more religiously diverse staffs. When these non-profit groups griped about...Continue reading

Donald Trump reveals his isolationist foreign-policy instincts

the economistMar, 22/03/2016 - 11:28

CONVENTIONAL candidates for the American presidency signal how they might deal with the world in three main ways. First, they are expected to issue detailed foreign policies, though—in truth—few of these plans are robust enough to survive a brush with actual events. Next, by choosing advisers known for strong views or special expertise, candidates nod to their own priorities. The third signalling mechanism is the most nebulous but the most useful, and happens when contenders let slip some remark that betrays their deepest prejudices and gut instincts.

To date Donald Trump, an unconventional candidate, has come a long way without revealing very much at all about his worldview. He has offered such bumper sticker slogans as “Bomb the shit out of ISIS”, and dodged questions about his preferred sources of geopolitical advice, recently declaring: “I'm speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain.”

On March 21st, however, the real estate tycoon and Republican presidential frontrunner visited Washington, DC for a day of traditional foreign policy chin-stroking and speechifying. While in the capital Mr...Continue reading

BASICS

Tom PetersVie, 18/03/2016 - 21:47

Wee tweetstream last week: Profit is good stuff. But never forget it's DERIVATIVE. Horse that draws the cart is excellent work/fabulous people/great relationships. Don't get sucked into "scalable." First you need something fabulous/road-tested to scale. Don't get sucked in by "unicornism." Odds of becoming a unicorn same as winning the lottery. Just do great work. […]

The post BASICS appeared first on Tom Peters.

How the Republicans can stop someone like Trump getting this close again

the economistJue, 17/03/2016 - 21:13

AND then there were three. The winnowing of the Republican presidential field has not proceeded as anyone would have expected last summer. Now that Marco Rubio has suspended his campaign following his disastrous showing in his home state of Florida, all the pre-primary favourites, including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, have bowed out. Instead, the finalists are Donald Trump, a joke candidate turned dominant front-runner; Ted Cruz, the “most hated man in the Senate”; and John Kasich, a mild-mannered Midwestern governor who looked doomed (and probably still is) to a Jon Huntsman-style also-ran finish. It can be hard to see what, if anything, these candidates have in common. But upon further review, it is the yawning chasms between them that are the most revealing about the current state of the nomination process.

Mr Rubio was an on-and-off Continue reading

Barack Obama nominates Merrick Garland to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat

the economistMié, 16/03/2016 - 20:57

ON MARCH 16th, in a move that may test the mettle of recalcitrant Senate Republicans, Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a widely respected and politically moderate judge, to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. Mr Obama presented Mr Garland as a “serious man and exemplary judge” who is “uniquely prepared” for the job. He is one of “America’s sharpest legal minds...who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence”, the president said. The nominee, who has been vetted but passed over for the Supreme Court bench by Mr Obama twice before, said that his nomination was, next to his engagement to his wife, “the greatest honour of my life”.  

According to expert court-watcher Tom Goldstein, Mr Garland is a choice “from Hollywood central casting”. He earned undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard, worked as a clerk for Judge Henry Friendly and Justice William Brennan, was made partner in an elite law firm in a blazing four years and, during a mid-1990s stint in the Justice Department, was involved in prosecuting the Unabomber and the masterminds of the...Continue reading

A refreshing break from ideology at the Supreme Court

the economistMié, 16/03/2016 - 15:59

IN THE wake of Justice Scalia's death last month, America's Senate finds itself embroiled in a debate over the nature of its constitutional duty to provide “advice and consent” on Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace him. But as a spotlight is trained on the judiciary as a central issue in the presidential campaign, the eight sitting justices are keeping their heads down and quietly doing their jobs.

In the past two weeks, we have seen several signs that the Supreme Court may be keen to tamp down the blaring partisanship that has been casting a cloud over its work. First was a nearly-unanimous order blocking a 5th-circuit court decision that would have radically curtailed abortion access in Louisiana. Next was a unanimous back-of-the-hand summary reversal of an Alabama Supreme Court decision rejecting a gay parent’s adoption. And in a 6-2 decision issued last week, an ideological hodgepodge of justices coalesced around a ruling that will lengthen the prison sentence of a...Continue reading

A big night for Trump, Clinton and Kasich is Rubio’s last

the economistMié, 16/03/2016 - 08:10

VOTER turnout in Illinois appeared to have beaten the record set in the primary elections of 2008, when Barack Obama, who had adopted Chicago as his hometown, and Hillary Clinton, who was born in Chicago, were opponents on the Democratic Party’s ballot. In other election years both parties had pretty much settled on their candidate by the time Illinois—as well as Ohio, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and the Northern Mariana Islands’ commonwealth—got to vote. This time was different, because voters realised how much was at stake. The vote on March 15th would determine whether Donald Trump could be stopped as Republican nominee and whether it would make sense for his rivals, John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, and Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, to stay in the race. It was also to decide whether another insurgent, Bernie Sanders, has a realistic chance to wrest the Democratic crown from Mrs Clinton. 

In the course of the evening it became clear that one of the most controversial candidates for the presidency in Republican history will probably be the party’s nominee. Mr Trump won Florida, which netted him 99...Continue reading

The depressing spectacle of Donald Trump’s rallies

the economistLun, 14/03/2016 - 07:45

IT MUST be painful for President Barack Obama to see some of the worst incidents of racial tensions and violence of his presidency erupt during its last few months. On March 12th, in offering his assessment of the violent clashes between supporters of Donald Trump and protesters, the president struck a sombre tone. Those who aspire to be our leaders should be trying to bring us together, speak out against violence and reject efforts to spread fear, he said at a fundraiser in Dallas. “And if they refuse to do that, they don’t deserve our support.”

Mr Obama didn’t mention Mr Trump by name. He didn’t have to. The day before his speech in Dallas, the increasingly ugly violence at Trump rallies induced a paroxysm in Chicago, the president’s adopted hometown. Mr Trump was scheduled to speak at the nearly 10,000-seat pavilion of University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), which has a racially diverse student body and is located on the ethnically mixed west side of a city that is a Democratic stronghold. He never showed up in the lion’s den, deeply disappointing thousands of his red-capped supporters, who had queued for hours to hear him...Continue reading

PODIUM BANGERS

Tom PetersSáb, 12/03/2016 - 15:14

I BANG (!!!!!!!!) EIGHT BOOKS (heavy load!) ON THE PODIUM DURING MY SPEECHES. They fall into two categories: The first set of four makes it clear that there is more to life than the giant firms the “gurus” focus on (I’m often guilty). There are a ton of excellent/amazing/super-cool mid-sized businesses out there to emulate. […]

The post PODIUM BANGERS appeared first on Tom Peters.

The Supreme Court delivers a win for gay adoption

the economistVie, 11/03/2016 - 20:10

MOST front-page Supreme Court stories involve fraught cases, closely divided votes and biting dissents. But the justices achieve unanimity much more often than they find themselves split 5-4 (or this spring, with their depleted bench, 4-4) and occasionally those unanimous rulings are big news. Such is the case with V.L. v E.L., an interstate dispute involving a row between two women who were sweethearts for nearly 17 years and co-parents for 13 years before their falling out in 2011. In an unsigned 6-page “per curiam” ruling this week, the Supreme Court, without dissent, upbraided the Alabama Supreme Court for failing to honour a neighbour state’s adoption order that gave V.L. and E.L. joint custody of their children 9 years ago.  

Here are the facts. E.L. and V.L. began a relationship in 1995; E.L. gave birth to a child in 2002 and to twins in 2004. Three years later, V.L. legally adopted the children during the couple’s brief...Continue reading

Louisiana's new governor tries to narrow the budget shortfall

the economistVie, 11/03/2016 - 15:44

THE POLITICS surrounding Louisiana’s deepening budget crisis might be entertaining if the situation wasn’t so dire. The state has a cash shortfall of nearly $1 billion that must be made up in just a few months, with an even bigger deficit looming in 2017. And it mostly falls to Louisiana’s newly minted governor, John Bel Edwards—a Democrat in one of America’s reddest states—to fix it.

When Mr Edwards won in a surprise landslide in November it was the first time since 2003 a Democrat had claimed the state’s top office. Some saw the result—in which Mr Edwards, a little-known state representative, crushed the Republican senator David Vitter—as a sign that the political pendulum in Louisiana was swinging leftward. It seems more likely, however, that the vote was simply a repudiation of the unpopular Mr Vitter.

But if Mr Edwards was lucky at the polls, he didn’t exactly win the lottery. Louisiana’s budget was in such rotten shape that he had almost no choice but to begin proposing new taxes as soon as he had taken the oath of office in January. He complained, with good reason, that the...Continue reading

The Republicans broke form to affect civility

the economistVie, 11/03/2016 - 08:02

FISTICUFFS? Mooning? A hand-measuring contest? Had Thursday’s Republican debate at the University of Miami followed the tonal trajectory of the previous 11, who knows what depths of taste and egomania it might have fathomed. But, from the candidates’ opening statements, in which Donald Trump went after Hillary Clinton, eschewing his attacks on Lyin’ Ted [Cruz] and Little Marco [Rubio]—epithets that remained unspoken throughout the evening—the atmosphere was different. Next came reasonably serious discussions of trade and visa policy. Perhaps concerned for her channel’s ratings, CNN’s moderator asked Mr Cruz:  “Did you just compare Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton?” “I’ll let Donald speak for himself,” Mr Cruz tamely replied.  “I cannot believe how civil it’s been up here,” Mr Trump observed.

Neither could anyone else. It felt as if, between the candidates, there must have been some sort of deal, to use Mr Trump’s favourite expression. (A word cloud of the evening might reveal that his top usages were “deal” and “many”, the latter with reference to his Israeli friends, his Cuban friends, and...Continue reading

A last-ditch attack

the economistJue, 10/03/2016 - 20:02

ANTI-TRUMP groups are spending millions on negative advertising ahead of key primaries on Tuesday

Bernie Sanders and Univision force Hillary Clinton to the left

the economistJue, 10/03/2016 - 08:51

IF ANY moderate Republicans appalled by Donald Trump tuned in to the Democratic presidential debate held in Miami on March 9th, what they heard cannot have made it easier for them to consider lending their vote—for one election at least—to Hillary Clinton. From the start Mrs Clinton was under pressure to tack to the left and woo her party’s core supporters in this, her last scheduled TV debate with her populist rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. On some big questions, and especially on immigration, she gave in to that pressure and staked out radical positions which she can expect to see played in Republican attack ads again and again, once the general election is under way.

Some of the pressure on Mrs Clinton was exerted by recent events. Just 24 hours earlier she had suffered a surprise defeat in Michigan’s presidential primary election, with Mr Sanders notably buoyed by support from voters who told exit polls that they think free trade costs America jobs. Though the former first lady, senator and secretary of state is still on course to be her party’s nominee, her underwhelming performance in a big, Midwestern rustbelt...Continue reading

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