To the frustration of many a cabinet secretary, the Obama administration is a little behind on its appointments. At this point—with only five weeks to go before the Senate breaks for recess—a little over half of the 514 positions that need filling have been filled. Some jobs are really important: The nominee for the Office of Legal Counsel has been held up for months. Obama’s choice for a USAID director came down just today. U.S. attorney nominations have slowed to a crawl. Other jobs?
If your image of Milwaukee is largely derived from Laverne and Shirley re-runs, think again.
Ezra Klein, channeling Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson: There is a simple explanation for why American health care costs so much more than health care in any other country: because we pay so much more for each unit of care.
Per today's Wall Street Journal, Chamber of Commerce CEO Ton Donohue, whose organization backs the idea that significant global warming "would, on balance, be beneficial to humans" because the number of cold-weather deaths it would eliminate is "several times larger than the increase in summertime heat stress-related [deaths]," had this to say about the group's position on the issue: Through a spokesman, Mr. Donohue declined to be interviewed for this article.
Something sure to get Simon Johnson's heart pumping: Via the Journal's Real Time Economics blog, I see that John Reed, the man who helped deliver the coup de grace to the Depression-era law against combining commercial banking with investment banking and insurance, now wants to bring it back.
As the front-page story in today's Times points out, the relationship between AIG and its longtime former CEO, Hank Greenberg, is getting more and more fascinating. On the one hand, Greenberg still owns a lot of stock in the company and is keen to see it become viable again. (I happened to speak with him a few weeks ago--I've got to make sure the conversation was on the record before providing more detail, but the short version is that his feelings on this point are pretty unambiguous.
If you've been following the trials of the auto industry this last year, then you already know GM's management team, led by former CEO Rick Wagoner, left a lot to be desired. But, even so, Wagoner comes off as unbelievably lame in Steve Rattner's account of his time as Obama's auto guru. To wit: At GM's Renaissance Center headquarters, the top brass were sequestered on the uppermost floor, behind locked and guarded glass doors.
Thursday October 8, 6:30 a.m., the phone rings. I pick up sleepily. "My family! My family! Magda … my family!" I hear sobbing and low, sad groans on the other end.
Political circumstances can change unexpectedly, of course, but at the moment the Democrats seem very likely to lose seats in the 2010 midterms, and possibly quite a few of them. What's a little harder to predict is what will happen in the 2010 Republican primaries, where the number of insurgent, tea-party-propelled challenges to establishment candidates continues to multiply.
Simon Johnson raises a fair question in response to this AP scoop about the bankers Tim Geithner was in touch with early in the Obama administration. Here's the AP: The calendars, obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act, offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the continued influence of three companies -- Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co.