Killing Kazstner. Killing Who?
October 27, 2009

You probably don't know who Rudolf Kasztner was. But, actually, I've know about him since I was a teenager. Was he a Jewish hero? Or was he a traitor to the Jews? I can still hear the familiar piercing locutions of my parents' bad marriage, fought out over politics, Jewish politics, daily, unrelenting, almost viperous. My mother was for him, this Dr.

Peter Orszag Brings The Pain, Nerd-Style
October 26, 2009

Washington Post opinion page editor Fred Hiatt frets that health care reform will likely be counterproductive. Hiatt argues that Congress is afraid to do the two most potentially effective reforms, changing the tax treatment of health care and creating an independent panel to control Medicare spending: From the start, the Obama administration has said that health-care reform has to make health care both more accessible and less costly .

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.

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.

End State
October 26, 2009

California is a mess, but I love it all the same--especially the Bay Area, where I lived for 15 years. I went to Berkeley in 1962--a refugee from Amherst College, which at that time was dominated by frat boys with high SAT scores. I didn't go to Berkeley to go to school, but to be a bus ride away from North Beach and the Jazz Workshop. In a broader sense, I went to California for the same reason that other émigrés had been going since the 1840s. I was knocking on the Golden Door. Immigrants from Europe had come to America seeking happiness and a break with their unhappy pasts.

October 24, 2009

It's some 400 miles from Harvard Square to Capitol Hill, but when Rory Stewart made the trip last month, he chose an unlikely mode of transport: He took a plane. Stewart is an inveterate, epic walker. He spent part of this past summer strolling the 150 miles from Crieff to Penrith in his native Scotland. More impressively, in 2002, not long after he quit his job with the British Foreign Office, he walked across Afghanistan, a 600-mile jaunt that served as the basis for his best-selling book The Places In Between.

Tom Coburn: An Unwitting Cog of the Gay Agenda
October 23, 2009

I'm a bit late in getting to this, but I have to disagree with Suzy Khimm's take on GOP Senator Tom Coburn's co-authoring a piece for The Advocate with Christopher Barron, Chairman of GOProud. That organization was founded earlier this year (I wrote about it here) by a pair of disgruntled former employees of the Log Cabin Republicans, who argued that the flagship gay GOP organization had been hijacked by liberals.

What's the Cost of Graduating in 2009?
October 23, 2009

The OMB blog has an interesting item up about the effects of entering the labor market during a recession versus a tight labor market. On the one hand, there are the immediate effects you'd expect: lower wages and scarcer jobs. Per the item: "[A]ccording to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, less than 20 percent of the class of 2009 graduated from college with a job offer in hand, compared to 25 percent in the class of 2008 and more than 50 percent in the class of 2007." More interestingly, though, are the apparent longer-term effects.

Some Answers, More Questions, on Exec Pay
October 23, 2009

Yesterday I wondered about the long-term stock grants that pay czar Ken Feinberg is asking TARP recipients to give executives in lieu of cash salaries, which will fall sharply. The news reports said employees generally wouldn't be able to touch their stock grants for four years, but it wasn't clear if the employees would also forfeit their stock if they left sooner. For what it's worth, today's Wall Street Journal provides a little more detail on that question: The stock units, Mr.

The Pay Czar Strikes
October 22, 2009

So it really does sound like Ken Feinberg is on the right track. I like the idea of cutting cash salaries to under $500,000 for top executives and shifting compensation toward long-term stock grants, which the Journal says wouldn't be touch-able for at least four years (with the possible exception of companies that pay back their bailout money early). One question: What happens to the stock if the executive leaves the firm sooner? According to the Journal, Feinberg wants the long-term grants to start this year.