Great stuff on TomPaine: Superpower on the wane, Taxing wealth to improve schools, Why more Democrats didn't oppose "tort reform," Filibustering

Superpower? Really?
Jonathan Schell
Our economy is in hock to China. Our military is overstretched in Iraq. Our reputation is lying in tatters in most world capitals. Jonathan Schell writes that when Bush went to Europe, America's inherent weakness was on display. But the implications of our agressive powerlessness are serious.  If the United States continues to spread dysfunction and call it democracy, Europe may take the mantle of leader of the free world.

Taxing For Success
Robert B. Reich
It's pretty obvious why Wellesley, Mass. has better public schools than Washington, D.C.: a higher property tax base. Our system for funding public schools skews things in favor of kids lucky enough to live in affluent districts with high property taxes. And unless the playing field is leveled, all the achievement testing in the world isn't going to help kids in poor districts succeed. Here, Robert Reich lays out his simple tax plan for change.

Class-Action Warfare
Stephanie Mencimer
The conventional wisdom about an "out of control" civil legal system doesn't stand up to scrutiny. President Bush's own Justice Department reports that lawsuit filings are on the decline and jury awards are down. And Republicans admit that tort reform is designed to weaken the Democratic Party's funding base. Given all this, why did 18 Democrats vote in favor of the class-action bill recently?

Nuking Free Speech
Robert Byrd
Senator Robert Byrd in famous for at least three things: highways in West Virginia, long speeches and his encyclopedic knowledge of the Senate. Now the senior senator takes a stand to defend one of the few remaining mechanisms for ensuring minority rights in our federal legislature: the filibuster. His is a passionate call. Will others stand with him?


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