Presumed Guilty
October 28, 2009

A few weeks ago, I posted a "Nightline" segment featuring an interview with John Jackson, the prosecutor in the death penalty case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Willingham, who was almost certainly innocent, was nonetheless found guilty and executed by the state of Texas in 2004. The basis for the conviction was evidence given by arson investigators that was subsequently shown to be entirely unscientific.

Dead Letter, Ctd.
October 08, 2009

For any interested in witnessing the willfully slipshod and malevolent manner in which the state of Texas applies the death penalty, "Nightline" has done a follow-up segment to David Grann's New Yorker piece on the wrongful execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Jones v. McCain
October 05, 2009

Jim Jones's stern words for General McChrystal on the Sunday shows have gotten plenty of attention, but less noticed were Jones's comments about John McCain, who'd accused Jones of not "want[ing] to alienate the left base of the Democrat Party” on Afghanistan: “Sen. McCain knows me very well,” Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “I worked for Senator McCain when he was a captain. I’ve known him for many, many years. And he knows that I don’t play politics with national – I don’t play politics.

California Redux?
October 01, 2009

When California's effort at health reform fell apart two years ago, Jordan Rau saw it first-hand, as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Now Rau is in Washington, following the reform debate for Kaiser Health News. And the plot line is starting to seem awfully familiar: In 2007, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed covering the state’s 6.5 million uninsured residents through a plan similar to the one Massachusetts had deployed the previous year.

Tim Geithner as Leading Economic Indicator
September 28, 2009

Or would that be a lagging indicator? Whatever the case, John Harwood reports in his NYT "Caucus" column that: [S]igns that economic growth is resuming have eased the sense of crisis surrounding Mr. Geithner’s work. The economic 'message' meetings in Mr.

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

The Chinese, Their Dollar Reserves, and Our Trade Scuffle
September 15, 2009

The good news is that the Chinese have decided to try to resolve the dispute between our two countries over their tire exports at the World Trade Organization, meaning "the disagreement may be containable," as the Journal puts it today.

Joe the Stand-up Comic?
September 15, 2009

Pinch yourself, Washingtonians. Looks like Joe "the plumber" Wurzelbacher, in addition to his post-campaign career as a foreign correspondent, pundit, author, motivational speaker, aspiring singer, and all-around philosopher, also harbors dreams of comedic greatness. At the very least, he is the very first name listed in the press release I just received touting this year's "star-studded line-up" for the 16th Annual Funniest Celebrity in Washington contest. (Sept. 30, 7 p.m. at the DC Improv) I ask you: Is there nothing that this Renaissance Man cannot do?

Remembering Eunice Kennedy Shriver
August 11, 2009

Decades ago, my brother-in-law Vincent participated in a local Special Olympic race. He took off at the starter’s gun, only to see a panicked fellow contestant overwhelmed by the moment, standing motionless at the starting line. Over the screaming protests of his own mother, he ran back to the starting line, took the girl’s hand, and the two ran hand-in-hand, to finish the race. Not every Special Olympic moment is as sweet. Twenty years later, I attended a Special Olympics soccer match. Someone blew a play, only to have a teammate deliver a scolding and a swift kick.

Certainly The Way To Go
July 30, 2009

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment.     Greg Mankiw writes that the gas tax is not an issue that divides liberals and conservatives, but rather one that divides political consultants and policy wonks.