The Power of O
October 01, 2009

Yet one more reason Obama shouldn't go to Copenhagen to lobby for the Olympics: Chicago doesn't need him, since, judging from this report, it looks like Oprah's got things under control: ``Everyone is mesmerized by Oprah,'' said Charmaine Crooks, an Olympian and former International Olympic Committee member from Canada. One of those taking a picture of Chicago's queen - of talk - was Maria Celeste Pedroso, secretary to the leader of Rio 2016 bid chairman Carlos Nuzman. ``So they love Oprah in Rio, too?'' Pedroso was asked. ``Like all the world,'' she said, with a smile. Is all of this starting

Kerry on Afghanistan: "Test every assumption and examine every option."
September 28, 2009

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman is sounding ever-more skeptical about a big escalation in Afghanistan. I do wonder a little why, as SFRC chair, he didn't start asking the questions and testing the assumptions for the past eight months. (Maybe he would say the tainted election changed everything.) Regardless, keep an eye on Kerry. I'd be surprised to see him take a position at odds with whatever Obama does, but it's possible.

The Magic Seat
September 28, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Fall River, my hometown in Massachusetts, has been a bastion of devotion to the Kennedy family since John F. Kennedy's 1952 Senate race. We were so faithful that the turnout slogan in my dear city could well have been: "Vote for the Kennedy of your choice, but vote." It's like that in a lot of places around the state. A factory worker with no political credentials got elected state treasurer in 1954 just because his name happened to be John F. Kennedy.

Hawk Down
September 24, 2009

With the 2008 presidential campaign in full swing two summers ago, Joe Biden, then making his own bid for the White House, ridiculed Barack Obama on a momentous issue: Afghanistan. The occasion was an August 2007 speech by Obama outlining his plans to fight Al Qaeda, which included sending an influx of American troops and aid to the country. Later that day, Biden issued a snarky press release gloating about his own extensive record of pushing similar policies, and which cast Obama as a naïve newcomer.

Will Democrats Be the Party of Reform, or Just the Party of More?
September 23, 2009

Of the more than 500 amendments offered to Senator Max Baucus's "chairman's mark," one of the most important is surely Senator Ron Wyden's proposal to allow everyone access to the plans offered in health insurance exchanges. Under his plan, employers offering group health coverage would have two options. They could choose to offer their workers two or more plans, at least one of which would have premiums no higher than those of the most affordable high-quality plans in their area.

Mike Ross, Real Estate Maven
September 22, 2009

A good ProPublica investigative article on Blue Dog Democrat Mike Ross's business dealings with a pharmacy chain: Ross sold the real estate in Prescott, Ark., to USA Drug for $420,000 -- an eye-popping number for real estate in the tiny train and lumber town about 100 miles southwest of Little Rock. "You can buy half the town for $420,000," said Adam Guthrie, chairman of the county Board of Equalization and the only licensed real estate appraiser in Prescott. But the $420,000 was just the beginning of what Ross and his pharmacist wife, Holly, made from the sale of Holly's Health Mart.

What Will Bernanke Do With His Second Term?
September 20, 2009

Ben Bernanke has a great opportunity to lead the reform of our financial system. His standing in Washington and on Wall Street is at an all-time high, as a result of his bailout/rescue efforts. He is about to be reappointed with acclaim for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. And he has a lot to answer for. Look, for example, at his speech of May 17, 2007, which discusses some of the problems in the subprime market and contains the memorable line: “Importantly, we see no serious broader spillover to banks or thift institutions from problems in the subprime ma

Madison Weeps
September 19, 2009

"Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction," James Madison wrote in Federalist Number 10. "The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice." Consider us alarmed. Our sense of alarm has been growing for some time. From the moment Barack Obama entered the White House, the Republican Party has cast itself as the Party of No.

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.

Max Baucus Wants to Save You Money
September 16, 2009

I just wanted to elaborate on an excellent point Jonathan made over at The Treatment earlier today: In fact, one virtue of the Baucus bill--perhaps its chief virtue--is that it won't create red ink. On the contrary, projections suggest the combination of savings and revenues will pay for every dime of the program, as President Obama likes to put it, and actually start to generate small surpluses by the time the ten-year window is over. It's also supposed to save money after that period, actually curbing our medical expenditures. Indeed.