The Penalty Box
October 19, 2009

Peter Harbage is a Washington DC-based health policy analyst who worked with both Senator John Edwards and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on their individual mandate proposals. He has also worked at both the Center for American Progress and the New America Foundation. With the release of the Congressional Budget Office report on the Senate Finance health bill, there has been significant concern about how health reform may not cover all of the uninsured.  From leaders in the progressive movement (read Jon's list of top health reform issues) to Karen Ignagni's October 11 cover memo on the infam

Truther Consequences
October 07, 2009

Alex Jones is a husky man with short sandy hair, weary eyes, baby cheeks, and the kind of deep, gravelly voice made for horror-movie trailers. And it’s horror he has in mind. "Your New World Order will fall!" he screams through a megaphone at the shiny façade of a nondescript office building. "Humanity will defeat you!" A syndicated radio host, filmmaker, and all-around countercultural icon based in Austin, Texas, Jones has long been one of the country’s most significant purveyors of paranoia.

Right Said Fed
September 25, 2009

Of all the exhibits at the Congressional Black Caucus’s annual conference, which started Wednesday and will run into the weekend, the one I least expected was tucked in the back corner, behind rows of booths hawking Coca Cola and wood carvings, silk suits and ornate hats, and a cornucopia of Obama kitsch. The booth promoted the Federal Reserve. When I first saw it, I thought it might be a part of Ben Bernanke’s recent charm offensive, an effort to demystify the central bank and ease fears about its reach into the financial markets over the past year.

Have the Ratings Agencies Taken Enough Flak?
September 24, 2009

You read something like this and you kinda maybe start to think the ratings agencies are, if far from blameless, then perhaps a necessary evil. But then you go and read something like this piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal and you're embarrassed for having entertained the thought. Per the Journal: Despite months of regulatory scrutiny and some internal changes at the firms, a recently departed Moody's Corp. analyst says inflated ratings are still being issued.

Irving Kristol's Other Journey
September 19, 2009

Irving Kristol, who died on Friday at the age of 89, was often called the godfather of neoconservatism. And so he was, along with Norman Podhoretz, who has actually done far more to set the (foreign-policy focused) agenda and (insistently combative) tone of recent neocon thinking and writing. Kristol's impact was felt earlier, as he led a group of moderately liberal academics and intellectuals on a rightward migration across the political spectrum during the 1970 and '80s. It's an important story that's been told countless times.

This Giant Isn't Sleeping
September 17, 2009

It’s now widely believed that the global recession is coming to an end, but the path out has been far from typical: This time around, China, not the U.S. has led the global recovery. With its $600 billion stimulus package and with banks lending with abandon, China has become the engine of global manufacturing and industrial activity.

A Nation of Commentators
August 07, 2009

  “For two thousand years,” wrote Harold Rosenberg, “the main energies of Jewish communities have gone into the mass production of intellectuals.” For Rosenberg, the art critic who belonged to the receding constellation of writers known as the New York Intellectuals, such a claim was something between a boast and a self-justification. The New York Intellectuals were mainly second-generation Americans, whose self-sacrificing immigrant parents won them the opportunities America offered to newcomers, including Jews.

Obama And The Future Of Iraq
August 03, 2009

A recent dispatch from Iraq by The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller articulated something that has been true for several months now: America has moved on from the Iraq War. Much of the 2008 election was organized around that conflict. Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in large measure by deriding the judgment she showed in supporting the 2003 Iraq war resolution. And John McCain's public embrace of George W. Bush's policies may have doomed his campaign from the start. Few things seemed to exhilarate Obama's supporters more than his firm call for "an end" to the Iraq war.

Top Down
April 15, 2009

A new theory of the AIG catastrophe.

For Love Of Screwing Romney
February 05, 2008

An ABC analyst just asked Mike Huckabee if the campaign "got too acrimonious" during an interview. "Oh, I think you're going to see one of the most civil campaigns you've seen in a long time," he responded--all the while smirking like he just ate the canary. --Barron YoungSmith