Environment

Putin's Game
October 27, 2009

After years of stalemate, negotiations over Iran's controversial nuclear development program seemed to progress last week when an Iranian delegation in Vienna agreed to the export and modification of its low-enriched uranium. The resulting optimism did not last. Officials in Tehran demurred, insisting that they needed more time to study the proposal and could not meet Friday's deadline to ratify the agreement. While Iran's stonewalling came as a disappointment to the United States, it did not come as a surprise.

If I Were Barack Obama, The People I’d Be Most Tee’d Off About Would Be J Street. And Maybe He is.
October 26, 2009

Now, everybody who reads me knows that I am not a big supporter of administration policy on the Middle East. But, then, I am not a big supporter of its foreign policy almost anywhere. No, let me correct that. Not "almost anywhere." But "anywhere." That said, I don't believe that President Obama is trying to weaken the United States or its allies.

White House Official Touts the Excise Tax, Still Fuzzy on Public Option
October 26, 2009

Is it curtains for the strong public option? Over the past week, the White House has taken a lot of heat for not going to bat for it, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly just decided that the Senate bill will include a watered-down proposal that would allow states to opt out of a national public plan.

Slideshow: Dick Cheney's Top Ten Most Combative Statements
October 26, 2009

Dick Cheney is not one to hold his fire. After leaving the White House, he's eschewed the low profile taken by past vice presidents in order to blast the Obama administration's national-security decisions frequently and openly. Click through this TNR slideshow to see the top ten most combative statements made by Cheney since January 20, 2009.

Is The Senate Climate Bill Really More Ambitious?
October 26, 2009

Over at Grist, Dave Roberts has a great post asking whether the Senate climate bill is really, as today's Post describes it, "more ambitious" than the Waxman-Markey legislation that passed the House back in June. It all depends. The Kerry-Boxer bill in the Senate does have slightly stricter near-term emission targets and scrutinizes carbon offsets more carefully (at least, the initial draft does—we'll see what happens after the full Senate gets its paws on the bill).

Senate Dems to Obama: Um, a Little Help Here?
October 26, 2009

After a weekend of furious activity, Democratic leaders in the Senate think they are close to getting the votes they need in order to pass an "opt-out" version of the public option. But they feel like President Obama could be doing more to help them, with one senior staffer telling TNR on Sunday that the leadership would like, but has yet to receive, a clear "signal" of support for their effort. The White House, for its part, says President Obama supports a strong public option, as he always has--and that, as one senior administration official puts it, the president will support the Senate le

The Race Man
October 26, 2009

Up from History: The Life of Booker T. Washington By Robert J. Norrell (Harvard University Press, 508 pp., $35)   I. Once the most famous and influential African American in the United States (and probably the world), Booker T. Washington has earned at best mixed reviews in the decades since his death in 1915. Black intellectuals and political activists, from W. E. B.

What Did Obama Tell Reid?
October 23, 2009

And I thought yesterday was crazy. Brian Beutler has sources telling him that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is close to rounding up 60 votes for an "opt-out" public option, but that the White House is trying to slam on the brakes. The main reason? Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, whose support the White House covets, is against the idea and prefers some sort of trigger. One source tells Beutler:  They're skeptical of opt out and are generally deferential to the Snowe strategy that involves the trigger...

From One Veep to Another
October 23, 2009

Biden was asked about Cheney--and his criticism of the Obama administration's Afghanistan policy review--during an interview with the press pool in Prague: Vpotus pushed back against former VP Cheney’s criticisms this week, saying it was “absolutely wrong” to say the Obama administration is dithering on Afghanistan and that the review left behind by the Bush-Cheney White House was “irrelevant.” At one point, he grew dismissive. Asked about Cheney’s criticism, he said: “Who cares what – ” and then stopped himself to find another way to put it.

What Did Bush Bequeath Obama in Afghanistan?
October 22, 2009

Dick Cheney says the Bush administration left the Obama administration with a plan (and a good one) for Afghanistan: The President’s chief of staff claimed that the Bush Administration hadn’t asked any tough questions about Afghanistan, and he complained that the Obama Administration had to start from scratch to put together a strategy.

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