Board to Death
November 10, 2009

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?

Explaining Job-Creation to the Small Business Lobby
October 07, 2009

There are a number of reasons to be wary of the job-creation tax credit now gaining traction in the White House and on the Hill--chiefly, that it would provide a windfall to companies that were about to hire people anyway.

Dead Wrong
Sarah Palin, meet Hippocrates.
September 02, 2009

As if you hadn’t heard, a gaggle of American conservatives is stridently charging that pending health care reform legislation will institute a mechanism for euthanizing selected members of the handicapped and elderly populations--that it would, in Sa

Mandatory Death Counseling--exposed!
August 13, 2009

Conservatives keep insisting that Obama and his allies want to force end-of-life planning on the elderly, so that it'll be easier to pull the plug on grandma when she gets sick. And the charge keeps sticking, even though the measure that conservatives are citing--section 1233 of the House health reform bill--does nothing of the sort. Well, it turns out there's one element of truth to the conservative charge after all. Somebody in Congress really did propose mandatory end-of-life counseling for Medicare beneficiaries. But it wasn't Obama or one of his allies.

Kill Health Reform, Save Granny, And Stop The Nazis
August 04, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals.   One of the abiding frustrations attending the campaign for health care reform is that the complexity of the subject enables opponents to, as Sarah Palin might put it, "make things up." Pro-reform folk have to work overtime to swat down claims that range from the deeply exaggerated to the completely fabricated, only to see their arguments treated as equivalent to conservative howlers in "he said, she said" media coverag

Prophet Motive
June 03, 2009

This year, Nouriel Roubini, the economist known to the general public as Dr. Doom, Prophet of the Financial Apocalypse, spent the early hours of Mardi Gras on the floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It was only 11 a.m., but the party was rollicking. Traders careened around the floor, hooting and honking, dressed as dragons and devils and convicts. Rock music roared overhead, and no one seemed to care that, by the bye, the market had tanked.

Indefinite Detention Center
November 13, 2008

The Associated Press reported Monday that advisors to President-Elect Barack Obama “are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials.” This likely signals a major policy shift in the detention and trial of “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo Bay. But the AP’s conclusion that the proposal “would make good on [Obama’s] promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison” is premature.

February 21, 2008

  The McCain campaign just sent out an email to supporters excoriating the New York Times for its "scurrilous attack against a great American hero." "Objective observers," the email says, "are viewing this article exactly as they should--as a sleazy smear attack from a liberal newspaper against the conservative Republican frontrunner." Listed among objective observers: "Washington attorney Bob Bennett, who was the Democrat counsel during the Keating investigation." No mention of the fact that Bob Bennett is actually McCain's lawyer, specifically hired to defend McCain against the NYT's allegat

Your Classy Bush Administration
October 04, 2007

Or: How the White House decides who gets jobs--from that great piece on torture in this morning's Times: Among his first tasks at the Justice Department was to find a trusted chief for the Office of Legal Counsel. First he informed Daniel Levin, the acting head who had backed Mr. Goldsmith's dissents and signed the new opinion renouncing torture, that he would not get the job. He encouraged Mr. Levin to take a position at the National Security Council, in effect sidelining him.Mr. Bradbury soon emerged as the presumed favorite. But White House officials, still smarting from Mr.

Reversal of Fortune
March 10, 2004

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge by the Boy Scouts of America to Connecticut's removal of the organization from a state-employee workplace charity drive. The Court's decision attracted little public notice, earning just a single paragraph in The New York Times and five in The Washington Post. But the Court's refusal to hear the case was more significant than the lack of media attention might suggest. Back in 2000, the Boy Scouts won a major victory when the High Court, in Boy Scouts of America v.