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Budget 2011: Creating Quality Places
February 03, 2010

For many, what makes a neighborhood or a community a great place to live is a mix of people, activities, and physical forms. Quality places are those neighborhoods and communities that have a range of housing types, so that people who live in small households or on tight budgets aren’t excluded; many transportation options, so that cars are a convenience, but not a necessity; and houses, stores, and offices interspersed and within easy reach of each other, again so that daily life doesn’t require getting behind the wheel.  Public policies, from local decisions about zoning codes to national

High Speed Rail Dollars Flow--But Not to the Desert
January 29, 2010

With much excitement across the country, this week marked the true beginning of America’s recommitment to passenger rail service.  Eight billion dollars in stimulus funding was doled out to 31 states in every region of the country.  Those investments ranged from a massive down payment on true high-speed rail in Florida to planning grants in Kansas. However, conspicuously absent were concrete investments in the Intermountain West.  Specifically, the peanut-butter spreading missed two of the country’s 10 most traveled air corridors: Los Angeles-Las Vegas and Los Angeles-Phoenix.

The Speech of His Life. Again.
January 27, 2010

A little less than two years ago, Barack Obama faced a dire threat to his presidential candidacy: The publication of explosive comments by his former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Obama responded with what many people considered the speech of his life. Today Obama faces a dire threat to his presidency: A political backlash threatening to destroy his signature domestic policy initiative and, more broadly, his entire governing agenda. Can he give the speech of his political life--again? I hope he can.

Is Obama Really Breaking up the Banks?
January 27, 2010

Noam Scheiber: Obama's tough new approach to Wall Street is ... a lot like the old one.

George Bernard Shaw Arrives in America
January 25, 2010

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Fresh on the Trail
January 23, 2010

The senate special election in Massachusetts was, for reasons that have been articulated on this site and others, a complete disaster. The Coakley campaign was hopelessly inept. The White House didn’t step in until too late. An insurgent tea party fringe was too much to beat back. It was also, however, the first electoral test of the operation that’s designed, in part, to overcome these sorts of situations: Organizing for America, the skeleton of Barack Obama’s campaign apparatus that morphed into the Democratic National Committee’s grassroots arm.

The Disaster Pool
January 19, 2010

Anderson Cooper was one of the first reporters to arrive in Haiti after last week’s massive earthquake. According to a Los Angeles Times account, the CNN personality raced to the airport upon hearing the news and caught the last flight out of New York. Unfortunately, the flight he caught deposited him in the Dominican Republic, not Haiti. That forced him to catch a lift the following morning on a government helicopter, which nearly collided with a plane in the congested skies above Port-au-Prince. As it happens, though, Cooper’s epic journey to Haiti was fairly typical among journalists.

Obama Administration Gets Social With the Flu
January 17, 2010

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the administration's new initiative to combat the flu on Whitehouse.gov this weekend. The administration hopes to encourage vaccination through an innovative viral Facebook application, I'm a Flu Fighter!, which lets people tell their friends they got the flu shot and challenges them to do the same. The app was developed by Ben Reis of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, director of the HealthySocial project, which aims to leverage social media to spread positive health behaviors.

Double Down
January 15, 2010

Otherwise-obscure central bankers spent an unprecedented amount of time in the global limelight last year. As the crisis brought down not only banking behemoths, but also macroeconomic axioms, the expansionary measures enacted by the Fed’s Ben Bernanke, the European Central Bank’s Jean-Claude Trichet, and the Bank of England’s Mervyn King have been credited, at least for now, with preventing a second coming of the Great Depression.

Steele Cage
January 15, 2010

Last weekend began with Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, clinging to his job primarily via implicit racial blackmail. Steele’s tenure has consisted of a string of gaffes and managerial blunders, but Republicans had concluded that his color made him un-fireable.

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