Friday, March 22, 2013

Keep speaking up!

The volume of articles I've posted lately has gone down. But there have been some stories in the last week or so that I thought were important enough for me to spend some time researching and writing about because they weren't getting much attention. That means I've been off the bandwagon on the really big stories lately. But then I figure you get enough of those stories elsewhere.

This morning I found a few others writing about some of the things I've been spending my time talking about lately. So consider this a bit of an update.

First of all, Adam Serwer has written a great article about the case the racists are making against Thomas Perez - President Obama's nominee as Secretary of Labor. If you'll remember, I wrote about Perez's efforts to uphold the principle of "disparate impact" in cases of civil rights violations. Serwer points out why that principle is so important to maintain.
Civil rights advocates were worried that if this case reached the Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts, who as part of the Reagan Justice Department in the early 1980s, had opposed using a disparate impact standard to enforcing the Voting Rights Act, would have another chance to unravel another hard-won civil rights law...

The deal Perez helped cut likely prevented a landmark civil rights law from being struck down by the Roberts court. Perez's civil rights division later used this law to secure record financial settlements against banks that discriminated against minority borrowers during the financial crisis. And Republicans were very angry about it.
We don't know yet whether or not the Robert's Court will uphold the tenants of the Voting Rights Act. But because of what Perez did as head of DOJ's Civil Rights Division, the precedent for considering disparate impact is maintained. In addition, it has been used to settle discrimination cases on behalf of minority borrowers against banks.

It's clear to me that Thomas Perez has been fighting the good fight on our behalf at DOJ and now its time for us to inform ourselves and have his back in the battle for his confirmation as Secretary of Labor.

Secondly, the news about Obamacare's effectiveness is getting better and better - so much so that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius took to the op-eds to write about it.
...this progress has contributed to the slowest sustained growth in health spending in 50 years. National healthcare spending has now grown at historic lows for three consecutive years — and Medicare and Medicaid spending is growing even more slowly. In 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose by less than half of 1 percent, while Medicaid spending actually dropped by nearly 2 percent.

The healthcare law is demonstrating the right way to deal with rising costs. Instead of simply shifting the burden onto seniors and the needy, it’s bringing down costs across the system by improving care coordination and cutting waste. And it’s holding insurance companies accountable by limiting how much of your premium they can spend on marketing and overhead.
If you want a more wonky take on all this, Jared Bernstein has written a great article about it from an economists point of view.

My third story is mostly a bit about how fun and rewarding it can be to get noticed for taking the time to write about some of these things. Last weekend, Andrew Sullivan wrote a post linking to my article on the fact that the use of drones has actually come to pretty much of a standstill. Then yesterday, I noticed that Michael Crowley with TIME Swampland had linked to it as well (the first link in his third paragraph).
There have been some recent indications that the pace of drone strikes is slowing.
Yeah, its a bit of an ego boost to have your work noticed by the folks who are actually paid to do this. But putting that aside, those of you who have been reading here for awhile know that I've been passionate about this idea of actually ending the indefinite war for a long time now. For the most part, the signals the Obama administration has been sending out about doing so have been pretty much ignored. For a single blogger who does this kind of thing in her free time to have even this small impact on the conversation is about as rewarding as it gets.

So take notice all you folks out there. This new media offers us a chance to have our voices heard! Speak up and know that every little thing we contribute makes a difference if we keep at it.


  1. Yours is one of my favorite voices of reason. I try to spread your work around my little corner of the social networking world. Some of my friends are beginning to read Smartypants a bit too. Kudos for the recognition by the pros. Keep it up please!

  2. Richly deserved, not only for your research chops but your overall level-headedness and high quality writing skills. You are a jewel and we're lucky to have your voice.

    1. Reading your blog daily has made me smarter & more knowledgeable. The analysis & depth you provide is as good or better than the alleged pro's. But what really puts you in the rarified air is your humanity. It distinguishes you from all the other players in the blogosphere. You're the companion piece to the best of Obama and members of his administration. I guess this is a long-winded way of saying, "You're great!"

  3. That's alright. You do have a pretty good blog right here. Keep doing what you do.


  4. My day would not be complete without reading SmartyPants and then tweeting it! #KeepFightingTheGoodFight


    1. Here, here, I check in here 3-4 times a day and some time comment. I also, pass Smartypants stuff along to my FB people in hopes some of this sinks in.
      I love your work Smartypants. We are so fortunate to have you and TPV, TOD to go to. Steve Bennen is also very good.