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Neera Tanden, one of the Obama administration's top health care reform advisers, is leaving to become chief operating officer at the Center for American Progress (CAP), the liberal Washington think-tank with close ties to the Democratic establishment. Tanden, a longtime adviser to and confidante of Hillary Clinton, first joined the Obama team when he became the Democratic presidential nominee in the summer of 2008.
Poor Eric Holder. The fact is that he is none too smart ... and none too versed in constitutional issues. Although Ronald Reagan did appoint him Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia! Ah, those were the days when Republican presidents appointed Democrats to judicial office and Democratic presidents appointed Republicans to same. Actually, aside from his graduation from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, "second rate" is what comes to mind when you hear Holder's name. Hey, Janet Reno wasn't so brainy either. Holder's mental equipment matters now more than ever.
First, I'm back. And back from Rome, at that. I'm not sure that modern Romans actually appreciate the antiquity amidst which they live, an antiquity that goes back eight centuries before the birth of Christianity. Which means that the Etruscans, the Greeks, and the Jews were there before, well before the Romans.
As January comes to a close, it’s safe to say that it’s been a rough first year for the Obama administration. On the right, he is hammered for being a big government liberal, and on the left for being too cozy with big business and Wall Street (and don’t forget the two wars).
Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50) “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.
It's been a good week for Randi Weingarten. In a speech Tuesday morning at the National Press Club, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) voiced support for some major education reforms--most notably, tying students' test scores to teacher evaluations and making it easier to fire bad teachers.
BIGGEST TACTICAL BLUNDER: Pushing the Israeli-Arab peace process too hard. Obama took office looking for bold strokes at a time when peace seemed as far away as ever: Israel had just finished its punishing military campaign in Gaza last winter, and the Arab world was inflamed, and deeply uninterested in making offerings to Israel. Obama's squeeze on Israeli settlements, meanwhile, managed to a) tick off a backlash in Israel that enabled the Netanyahu government to stand its ground, without b) shaking loose meaningful Arab support.
Talk of bicycle infrastructure dominated last evening’s “Cities, Cycling, and the Future of Getting Around” forum last night at the Newseum. Heavily attended by members of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the event, sponsored by the National Association of City Transportation Officials and Brookings, featured comments from avid cyclist/author/Talking Heads musician David Byrne, Congressional Bike Caucus Chair Rep.
The day before President Obama spoke in Madison, Wisconsin, about the pressing need to improve America's teachers, a report was released on the same topic at a conference in Washington's swanky Capitol Hilton. The task force that wrote the report was chaired by Minnesota Governor (and rumored 2012 presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty and included such education policy heavyweights as New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee.