A camera-mobbed Rupert Murdoch walked into yesterday morning’s hearing a Bond villain, an evil overlord, an all-seeing eye. He walked out of it a pied, deflated, piteous figurehead, with the committee apologizing to him, comforting him, and praising his “guts and leadership.” The Murdochs’ theme wasn’t denial, nor was it really apology. It was innocence through ignorance, victory through stupidity. While Rupert languished, his son James dodged.
The New Nullification: GOP v. Obama Nominees
July 19, 2011
Elizabeth Warren won’t get a chance to run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but Richard Cordray may. And perhaps that's good news. Warren, the Harvard Law Professor and champion of consumer interests, may run for the U.S. Senate, seeking the seat Ted Kennedy once occupied and that Republican Scott Brown now does. Although a first-time candidate, she could be formidable. As for Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, he was the first state official to sue a mortgage servicer over foreclosure fraud.
Attention Conservatives: Yes, Medicaid Works
July 07, 2011
My latest column for Kaiser Health News: Are you better off with Medicaid than if you had no insurance at all? The answer seems like a no-brainer: Of course you are. But, for the last few months, a cadre of conservative writers and intellectuals has argued that the program doesn't actually help beneficiaries and may actually hurt them. To prove their point, they've cited a handful of studies in which Medicaid recipients ended up in worse health than people with no coverage whatsoever.
Why is the IMF Chief Almost Always French?
July 05, 2011
When Christine Lagarde was named the new IMF managing director last Tuesday, the announcement came as little surprise to many of those who had been paying attention to the selection process. Lagarde had long been considered the front-runner in the race to replace the embattled Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who, of course, stepped down in May following accusations of sexual assault.
June 09, 2011
On March 29, 1989, at a time when many of his fellow first-year law students were beginning to prepare for the spring semester’s looming examinations, Barack Obama paid a visit to the office of eminent constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. Obama had not dropped by to brush up for a test. In fact, he had yet even to enroll in an introductory constitutional law course, a gratification Harvard Law School denies its students until the second year of study. Obama’s call was purely extracurricular: He wanted to discuss Tribe’s academic writings.
May 28, 2011
On Tuesday, Representative Patrick McHenry called Elizabeth Warren a liar. Twice. As Obama’s advisor for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren has grown accustomed to conservative ire. But this grew personal. First, while chairing a House subcommittee hearing, the North Carolina Republican accused Warren of misleading testimony. Then, after she testified, she asked to be excused for another meeting, which she claimed to have previously discussed with the congressman’s staff.
Wowy, zowy, Obama is doing his own thinking on the Middle East and here’s the even worse news: He’s taking advice from Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria. These pathetic tidings about the inner Barack Obama, who puts his very own twist on all things, particularly Arab and Muslim matters, and the other Barack Obama, who needs counsel from two political therapists, famous and even clever but not especially deep, come from the subtle and highly reliable journalist Mark Landler in The New York Times. These tidbits are not contradictory.
The Donald's Bizarre Obsession with College Admissions
April 28, 2011
[Guest post by James Downie] Clearly in need of a new way to make headlines and send his TV ratings further into the tank, Donald Trump has now shifted his aim to Obama's college credentials: Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended.
April 18, 2011
On January 22, the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, I attended a summit called We the Corporations v. We the People, sponsored by the Coffee Party, a network of liberals, leftists and progressives. The summit was designed to rally support for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United by declaring that corporations are not entitled to the constitutional protections of natural persons.
April 07, 2011
In 1903, when the Fisk Generating Station in Chicago had its first steam engine turbine installed, engineers hailed the new coal-fired power plant as a marvel—“a monster in its day,” as one magazine put it. But, over the years, the boxy red-brick structure has become, in the eyes of many locals, a monster of a different sort.