Stop me if you've heard this one: Harvard professor goes to Washington and becomes a policy wonk. Harvard professor is nominated for a top agency position. Harvard professor becomes conservative bogeyman. Harvard professor returns to Massachusetts and runs for office.
Elizabeth Warren? Nope, Donald Berwick. The Boston Globereported on Wednesday that the former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is mulling a run for governor when term-limited Democrat Deval Patrick retires in 2014:
Berwick ran the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is one of the nation’s leading experts on health cost and quality. Obama installed him using a recess appointment in 2010, but Berwick resigned in late 2011 when Republicans made clear they would strongly oppose his confirmation. At the time, the height of the national debate over Obama’s health care overhaul, Republicans accused Berwick of wanting to ration services, a charge he called a mischaracterization.
Berwick, a Newton pediatrician and longtime Harvard faculty member whose wife is the chairwoman of the department of public utilities in the administration of Governor Deval Patrick, said he has been contemplating a run for the past two or three months, meeting with 40 or 50 people, including political veterans and consultants. He did not give a time frame for a final decision, but said it would be soon, after he meets with more people.
If Republicans thought blocking their appointments would keep Berwick and Warren out of public policy, they may have miscalculated.
In November of 2011, the South Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) to ask him to denounce Pamela Geller, a blogger and friend of West's whose writing on Islam has been classified as "hate speech" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Instead, West, a notorious critic of Islam, wrote back with the one-word response you see above: "Nuts!"—a reference to Americans General Anthony McAuliffe's message to the Germans at Bastogne.
The Miami New-Timescalled the letter "the dumbest thing ever written on congressional stationery," which is something we can debate, but it's almost certainly the most Allen West thing ever written on congressional stationary.
So now that CAIR's biggest antagonist has been forced into early retirement (effective last week), how is the organization coping? By putting the letter on eBay, apparently:
Up for Auction is one of the shortest Congressional Letters ever written in US History! This is the ORIGINAL LETTER on Official US Congressional Stationary signed by Allen West himself!This item has something for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a die-hard member of the Tea Party, Democratic Party, or protect the Civil Rights of Americans; this item is perfect for your collection.
Tea Party- This letter is signed by your fearless Rock Star! If you win this auction you will have signed documented proof that Allen West stood up in the face of your “EVIL” to protect the US (A "Judeo-Christian" Nation) from the Muslims. Your collection can’t go without this item.
Members of the Democratic Party- This letter represents the accomplishment of Democratic Party’s victory over Allen West. Allen West’s firebrand of politics often came with blanket insults towards Democrats with no regard of Congressional Fellowship or Respect. Vice-President Biden recently thanked Murphy at a rooftop party for running and defeating Allen West...
Protectors of Civil Rights- As you are well aware Allen West represented the antithesis of equality and fair treatment of ALL AMERICANS. If you were not part of his narrative or didn't agree with him you were a threat to our “Gene Pool”. J Bid on this letter today as a sign of your commitment to protect ALL Americans Civil Rights. If you win this Auction you will have a little piece of US History and proof that Equality is not negotiable !
The letter is currently going for $1,575. Bidding ends January 17. Steadfast and Loyal.
Private security firm Securitas touts the effectiveness of Segway guards in educational settings.
At a no-questions press conference in late December following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre announced a bold new multibillion-dollar proposal to end school shootings: Put an armed security guard or police officer in every school in the country. LaPierre commissioned a special task force to develop the plan, and deputized Asa Hutchinson, a former Republican congressman from Arkansas and director of the Drug Enforcement Agency under President George W. Bush, to head the effort.
But there's something the LaPierre didn't mention: Hutchinson sits on the board of directors of Pinkerton Government Services, a subsidiary of one of the nation's largest private security contractors, Securitas. And if the NRA's—and Hutchinson's—proposals are enacted into law, Securitas, a firm Hutchinson once lobbied for in Washington, could stand to score big.
On Wednesday, Rep. Peter King lost it. Infuriated by a last-minute decision by House speaker John Boehner to kill a disaster relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy, the New York Republican spent the last day of the 112th Congress mulling the moral decline of the GOP. "I can't imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country," he said in a floor speech. In King's telling, Boehner's decision was a "a cruel knife in the back." Later in the day, New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie also wondered what had come of his party, calling the decision "callous" and "disgusting," and adding: "This used to be something that was not political."
But King and Christie shouldn't be surprised. Boehner's stonewalling on disaster relief, far from a clean break with tradition, has become characteristic of how the currently deficit-obsessed GOP does business. Here's a refresher:
Over the last four years, a die-hard cadre of activists and their allies in Congress have dragged the Republican party into a fever swamp of Islamophobia and barely-concealed anti-Muslim bigotry. In their paranoid scenario, Islamic Shariah law is creeping into American courts; the Department of Justice has come under the sway of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the president’s engagement ring includes secret writing that indicates Muslim loyalties.
But after a November election that saw three of the party's loudest voices on "creeping Shariah" defeated—and the GOP presidential nominee ignore the issue entirely—the anti-Islam movement within the Republican party may have peaked. Wary of further alienating a once-promising conservative constituency, mainstream Republican leaders have sought, publicly and behind closed doors, to distance themselves from the loudest of the Muslim-bashers in their midst.