Roman Polanski's Defenders
September 29, 2009

Roman Polanski, the brilliant director of Chinatown, was arrested by Swiss authorities over the weekend; he might be extradited to the United States soon. Polanski fled America after concern that he would face serious prison time over the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Alas, one gets the nasty feeling that many of the people rushing to his defense are doing so simply because he is a great artist. This feeling is strengthened when his supporters...admit to as much!

Survey Says! No Need to Wait for the Census
September 22, 2009

Almost since President Obama took office, there have been heated discussions over the 2010 census. Remember the kerfuffle over whether the White House would take direct control of administering the Census as an end-around then presumed Commerce secretary Republican Judd Gregg? Then there was the debate around “sampling” instigated by Republicans who believed that sampling for Census non respondents would inflate the counts in Democratic districts.

Larry Summers Blogs (!) About Innovation
September 21, 2009

Last month I wrote a piece noting (a la Paul Krugman) that it was tough to see where growth would come from absent some technological breakthrough that attracted a wave of business investment. I went on to argue (not a la Krugman) that the imperative for such a breakthrough was so strong we might want to consider something as crude as industrial policy to expedite the process. At the time, I conceded that the White House appeared to be thinking along similar lines, if not quite as ambitiously as I'd prefer.

Is the CBO Biased Against Health Care Reform?
September 17, 2009

A number of CBO-watchers were asking that question when the agency started scoring health care bills a few months back. As Washington and Lee law professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost put it in Politico: It is much easier to score costs than cost-savings. Legislation pending in both the House and Senate in fact includes state-of-the art proposals that many health policy experts do believe will result in real savings, as the CBO recognizes.

The Truth About Disabilities and Health Reform
September 14, 2009

Will people with disabilities suffer if health reform becomes reality? Sarah Palin famously made that case in August. And quite a few people seem to believe her. To get a more informed perspective on this, I sat down to speak with Lisa Iezzoni, MD. Iezzoni is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Institute for Health Policy.

Bring on the Two-Headed Monkey!
September 14, 2009

Quote of the day, via Politico: "It would fill a room," said event director Lisa De Pasquale. "But so would a two-headed monkey. There really are so many more important issues, and it's only a three-day conference."

Patients Without Borders
September 11, 2009

Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, is a bleak, dusty factory town across the border from El Paso, Texas. Long a nexus for drug runners vying for control of smuggling routes, it has earned a reputation for gunfights, abductions, and murdered women. In recent weeks, the violence fueled by drug cartels has spiked, and not for the first time. There have been beheadings, public shootouts, and murders of dealers, police, and bystanders. The U.S. Consulate has issued a travel advisory for the area.

Why Health Reform Matters: Some Personal Illustrations
September 09, 2009

Want a hint about what the president will say tonight? Check out the guest list for the First Lady's box, which the White House just published.

Death and Dailiness
September 05, 2009

The Baader Meinhof Complex Vitagraph Films Still Walking IFC Films From Germany comes a film about German terrorists. Fittingly stark and dynamic, it focuses on the Baader Meinhof group that flamed from about 1967 to 1977, and it offers its explanation of the group’s existence.

Panetta's Kabuki?
August 24, 2009

ABC is reporting that Leon Panetta threatened to quit as CIA director: A "profanity-laced screaming match" at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC  A White House spokesman calls the report "inaccurate"; a CIA spokesman goes even further calling it "wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false." That said, don't these sorts of reports actually help Pan