Unready for His Close-Up?
March 11, 2010

Allow me to posit a case study: Two high-ranking government officials are the subject of multiple newspaper and magazine profiles in the span of a few weeks. The first official resists the attention. He isn’t so much as quoted in any of the pieces, whose authors glumly note his lack of enthusiasm for their projects. By contrast, the second official goes out of his way to cooperate with the profile-writers. He submits to numerous, on-the-record interviews and mounts a detailed defense of his actions.

Are Insurance Companies the Problem?
March 09, 2010

The insurance industry is striking back. Attacked by the Democrats, harangued by activists, and reviled by the public, insurers have launched a major public relations campaign designed to make one simple point: It’s not their fault that American health care is so dysfunctional. The proof, according to the industry, is in the numbers: Their profits account for less than 1 percent of what America spends on health care in a given year. And you know what?

The Greatest Virtue of the Republican Budget Plan
March 09, 2010

This past Friday, without much fanfare, CBO submitted its analysis of President Obama’s proposed FY 2011 budget. The bottom line is worse than we thought. Despite sustained economic recovery, the budget deficit under the president’s proposal never falls below 4 percent of GDP over the next decade and rises to 5.6 percent by 2020. The aggregate deficit during that period is $9.761 trillion—close to $1 trillion each year on average. Not surprisingly, debt held by the public rises steadily and reaches 90 percent of GDP by 2020.

Your Iraqi Election Cheat Sheet
March 06, 2010

Sunday is election day in Iraq—the second national parliamentary vote since the American-led invasion in 2003. U.S. officials maintained this week that Obama’s plan to withdraw all American combat troops by September 1st is still on track, but that’s almost certainly untrue if the elections don’t go smoothly.

The FT’s Devastating Critique Of Itself
March 03, 2010

Yes, I’ve been harping on the FT’s coverage of Israel. Perhaps, you haven’t agreed with my complaints. Well, read what the paper has to say about the subject this morning. The column is by the historian Andrew Roberts, and it’s a must read. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

The Identities Of Wall Streeters Can Be Changed By Their Patterns Of Pay
March 01, 2010

An interesting op-ed, “It is time to treat Wall Street like Main Street,” appeared in Thursday’s Financial Times. Written by George Akerlof, a professor of economics at Berkeley and a Nobelist in 2001, and Rachel Kranton, a professor of economics at Duke, this little (but challenging) piece follows from their recent book Identity Economics, which I have not read and probably could not understand. The book itself follows from an essay, “Economics and Identity,” published by the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2000. I think I understand it. In any case, A. and K. are literate and funny.

The Dubai Cops Are So Terrific. So Why Is The Monaco Of The Middle East A Center For Smuggling, Killing, And All Kinds Of International Mayhem (Including The Evasion Of Sanctions)?
February 26, 2010

The local police have a pretty comprehensive surveillance capability. So don’t think that, if you’re crazy enough to retire to this economically troubled mini-state--still with large and now cheap villas (and even cheaper Asian labor)--you will have real privacy of any sort. Privacy in Dubai is reserved for Hamas and the vast network of Iranian arms traders, money launderers, and more ordinary gangsters. When the Dubai cops really want to, they can find out what they want—as you’ve seen with the otherwise highly successful Mossad operation.

Yes, The Mossad Did It.
February 24, 2010

The Mossad did it. And, as Carly Simon sang about James Bond, “nobody does it better.” This is not my line. But I wish I'd thought of it. Actually, like my friend who did, I believe that the Mossad is very pleased that every bloody Palestinian terrorist will now worry whether he will wake up from his nightly sleep or instead meet the virgins in the morning. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.

What the Republicans Don't Tell You
February 23, 2010

Who says the Republicans don’t have a health care plan? Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor reminded viewers that he and his colleagues introduced a proposal in July. Even better, he said, it would bring down insurance premiums. We have a better way... it's a plan that is focused very squarely on bringing down costs and health care costs for the American people.

Obama’s First Triumph In Syria: Ahmadinejad Will Make An Official Visit To Damascus
February 23, 2010

The news is reported by the Associated Press. It was announced by the Syrian state-run news agency. And confirmed by “Palestinian officials.” A’jad will meet with Bashar Assad, the object of President Obama’s courtship. The man whom Hillary last week basically called the military dictator of Iran will also confer with top guns from Hezbollah and Hamas. I’m sure that their topic will be the road to peace. Keep up with TNR on Facebook and Twitter.