chairman

Board to Death

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?

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Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank and chairman of the Institute of International Finance (an influential group, reflecting the interests of global finance in Washington) is opposed to breaking up big banks. According to the FT, he said, “The idea that we could run modern, sophisticated, prosperous economies with a population of mid-sized savings banks is totally misguided.” This is clever rhetoric--aiming to portray proponents of reform as populists with no notion of how a modern economy operates. But the problem is that some leading voices for breaking up banks come from peop

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Much is in question today as Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman Barbara Boxer tries to push ahead with work on climate-change legislation, with Republicans threatening a boycott of the markup.

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It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.

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The Fork in J Street

The self-declared mission of J Street, the dovish "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby that just concluded its first national conference this week, includes redefining the meaning of the term "pro-Israel." For too long, the organization's founders and supporters argue, right-wing elements in the Jewish community have abused the term to hijack the debate and tarnish mainstream, sensible advocates of a two-state solution. J Street's "pro-Israel" bona fides were questioned almost immediately after its launch, and with good reason.

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DC Public Schools Commissioner Michelle Rhee is the closest thing the education world has to a celebrity. (Education Next recently photoshoped an image of Rhee in medieval armor, under the heading "DC's Braveheart") Her take-no-prisoners approach to education reform, sometimes at the expense of tenured teachers, has won her much attention nationally--and many enemies here in the District.

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The middle can be an awkward place. NRO's Cliff May attended a RAND conference on Afghanistan and didn't like what he heard from the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman: I stayed on to hear Sen. Carl Levin. He argued that in Afghanistan a “change in strategy is essential and more important than force levels.” His implication: We can have a change in strategy without increasing force levels. The new strategy we’re talking about is COIN — counterinsurgency. It is a strategy that Senator Levin opposed in Iraq, a point he neglected to mention....

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Among the other important distinctions between the new House bill and what the Senate Finance Committee produced is the treatment of the pharmaceutical industry. The Senate Finance bill was true to the deal the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America struck with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, as first revealed by the New York Times and Huffington Post. PhRMA vowed to endorse reform and advertise on its behalf.

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... impersonate 'em! That, at least, seems to have been the Connecticut GOP's plan: Twitter, Inc., shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives. The Republican scheme was to send out posts under the Democrats' names mocking the liberal tax-and-spend bastards. "That's unfortunate," was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy's response when told of Twitter, Inc.'s decision.

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The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding hearings this week on the new chairman’s “mark” of the draft Senate climate and energy legislation released Friday night by committee chairman Barbara Boxer and Sen. John Kerry.

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