Sam Boyd

Sam Boyd is a former assistant web editor at the Prospect

Recent Articles

CASS SUNSTEIN'S CONSTITUTIONAL TIME MACHINE.

CASS SUNSTEIN'S CONSTITUTIONAL TIME MACHINE. In an excellent post today on The New Republic 's Open University blog, the ever-prolific Cass Sunstein skips around the recent past and future to remind us of just how much the Supreme Court has changed. First he goes back, then forward in time to point out how our view of the politics of the Court ignores just conservative today's court is by the standards of a few decades ago (the whole piece is worth reading): Imagine that by 2030, Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have both resigned, and their successors are much more liberal than anyone serving now on the Court -- far to the left of the Court's supposed liberal wing. The new justices believe that the death penalty is always unconstitutional. They argue that the Constitution creates a right to education and very possibly to welfare and housing as well. They think that affirmative action programs are fine, even if they operate as rigid quota systems. They are not merely...

MOVEON MOVED VOTERS.

MOVEON MOVED VOTERS. Joel Middleton and Donald Green from Yale have just come out with a paper (PDF) looking at the effect of MoveOn.org's GOTV canvassing operation in 2004. MoveOn organized its canvassing by precinct, so the paper compares turnout between voters living on one side of a street in a precinct that was canvassed and those living on the opposite side of the street in a precinct that was not canvassed. Overall, canvassing increased turnout by about 7 percent. The effect was constant across states, highly statistically significant, and, because of the study's design, hard to dispute. Apparently, previous literature tended to assume that GOTV was less effective in what they call "high salience" elections, but the 2004 election was about as high salience as it's possible for an election to be. As effective as MoveOn apparently was, it seems clear that Republican efforts were as successful if not more. That, along with the importance of the election, was why overall turnout...

THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD. The richest man in the world is no longer Bill Gates . Nor is it Warren Buffett or that guy who founded IKEA. The online Mexican business magazine Sentido Común is reporting (via the Guardian ) that a jump in the price of shares of Mexican businessman Carlos Slim 's America Movil telecom group makes him almost 10 billion dollars richer than Gates. Slim (whose full name is actually Carlos Slim Helú) surpassed Buffett, the longstanding second-richest man in the world, three months ago -- a development that was reported by Sentido Común several days before Fortune made the same change in its rankings. Sentido Común now estimates his net worth as $67.8 billion, which is equal to 8 percent of Mexico's GDP. According to a New York Times article Slim's fortune, which was estimated at $30-40 billion only 13 months ago, comes primarily from his near-monopoly on telephone service across Mexico, where prices for phone service are several times those in the United...

HEALTH CARE REFORM HEADS WEST.

HEALTH CARE REFORM HEADS WEST. If the Libby pardon has you down, here's a bit of good news. George Skelton reports in the LA Times that "the stars are in rare alignment this summer" for health care reform in California. Democrats in the state legislature have an ambitious plan (PDF) that would expand access to care, though without an individual mandate. Governor Schwarzenegger has his own, slightly more modest proposal, but he hasn't managed to even find anyone to introduce it in the legislature. Without his own plan, he is expected to support the Democratic proposal in order to keep his approval ratings high as memory of his recent global warming legislation fades (legislation he also was barely involved in crafting). The Democratic plan is a big step towards universal health care access in a state that contains one out of eight Americans. The plan requires insures to offer coverage to all individuals without preconditions and sets out a series of subsidies and employer mandates...

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