Mississippi Is For . . . Education?
December 02, 2008

Marc Ambinder reports that of the six people Obama's considering for secretary of education, two are from Mississippi--Ray Mabus and Ronnie Musgrove. Which made me wonder: Education? Mississippi? Really? Sure enough, this report card that was put together in 2007 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center for American Progress ranked Mississippi second-to-last, above only D.C., when it came to education. So what gives? Is there something positive going on in public education in Mississippi that would result in two people from its state being finalists for Secretary of Education?

Kmiec To The Vatican?
November 24, 2008

Michael Sean Winters has an interesting post up arguing for Doug Kmiec as Obama's ambassador to the Holy See. Kmiec, a professor at Pepperdine University, was a senior official in the Reagan and Bush justice departments and has strong pro-life credentials. He was also, as it happens, a vocal Obama supporter who wrote a book about why even conservative, pro-life Catholics could embrace him. P.S. Winters also has an intriguing pick for secretary of labor. --Noam Scheiber

Health Care To The Max: Baucus Plan Out (updated)
November 12, 2008

As reported in this week's edition, Max Baucus and his staff at the Senate Finance Committee have been working on health care reform since the beginning of summer. Today, he will publish a preliminary outline of what he has in mind. Afterwards, he plans to resume discussions with Senator Ted Kennedy and his staff at the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. They still hope to produce one joint bill, although--as Ezra Klein noted--tensions over committee turf may get in the way. What will Baucus propose?

Obama Channels Michael Pollan
October 23, 2008

You don't see this everyday. Obama chats with Time's Joe Klein and serves up some critical thinking on food policy, laying out the web of incentives and subsidies that distort our agricultural system: I was just reading an article in The New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector.

Run Like It's 1932
October 10, 2008

WASHINGTON--Hope versus fear, new versus old: Barack Obama and John McCain have placed their bets. These are the terms on which the 2008 presidential campaign will be decided. That's why it's unfair for political bystanders to attack Obama and McCain for offering few specifics as to how they'd fix an ailing economy.

Michael Lind On How America Will Change
October 08, 2008

In an effort to start making sense of what is an indisputably confusing situation, we asked some of the most thoughtful people we know the question: How will America change as a result of the economic downturn? Here's Michael Lind, Whitehead Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation and director of its American Infrastructure Initiative. The effects of the greatest financial crisis since the Depression are only now beginning to be felt. By the time the crisis has run its course, a decade or more from now, the U.S.

Mccain: I'm Not Raising Taxes. I'm Cutting Medicare!
October 06, 2008

Barack Obama says John McCain would raise people's taxes by changing the way the IRS looks at health insurance. McCain says he wouldn't. Who's right? Quite possibly McCain. But only because he's decided to slash Medicare and Medicaid instead. Laura Meckler, who is one of the sharpest and most reliable policy reporters around, has the full story in today's Wall Street Journal. To review: The essence of McCain's health care plan is to change the tax treatment of health benefits they get from employers.

Putting On Ayers
October 04, 2008

Richard Stern is a novelist and emeritus professor of English at the University of Chicago. The political word today is that the Republicans will return to personal attacks on Obama and Biden to draw attention away from McCain's erratic performance during the days before the passage of the Great Rescue/Bailout/U.S.-as-Sweden bill. We are supposedly to hear again about the Reverend Wright, the unreverend Tony Lezko, and William Ayers, the unrepentent Weatherman. Of these three Chicagoans, I know only the last.

Detroit Gets A Bailout, Too
September 24, 2008

It's stunning that $25 billion is no longer considered a lot of money for Congress to fork over to corporate America, but the House just approved $25 billion worth of low-interest loans to Ford, GM, and Chrysler, along with some of their suppliers. Okay, in fairness, this had been authorized in last year's energy bill, but, it's still noteworthy that there aren't many strings attached to the loans.

Hey, Big Spender!
September 18, 2008

And now, for something new, John McCain is attacking Barack Obama over his big-spending ways: The text of this new advertisement, for those who don't want to sit through the cilp, goes like this: When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork. And, we would pay--painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that?  I have no idea whether this is an actual television advertisement