December 09, 2008

Washington's Most Powerful Neighborhoods?
12:00 AM

It's no secret that Barack Obama has promised change in Washington. This week, Michelle Cottle reports on an unusual aspect of this change-to-be: the city's notoriously status-conscious social scene, which has already begun to rearrange itself around the incoming president. (Michael Schaffer notes that even the Obamas' choice of grade school has the capitol's elite atwitter.) But what about the center of the Washington ruling class throughout the Bush years--McLean, Virginia?

December 08, 2008

Free Speech
12:00 AM

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Academic Senate is calling for an independent investigation into the UNL administration’s recent decision to disinvite Bill Ayers. In doing so, the senate aims to develop a set of guidelines to determine how and when to cancel speaking invitations in the future. While some may wonder why anyone would still care about the former co-founder of the Weather Underground, this continuing controversy underscores how profoundly confused those within the academy--and those outside of it--are about the concept of academic freedom.

Write Now
12:00 AM

Barack Obama sounds like he wants to reach back to the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration to jump start the economy with an economic stimulus proposal featuring infrastructure repair.

Money For Detroit--and A Czar To Hand It Out
12:00 AM

By late Monday night, a rescue for the nation's ailing automakers was looking a lot more likely. Democratic House leaders released the draft of a new plan and White House officials, though raising some objections, indicated that agreement on a package was close. Senate Democrats remained nervous that they might not yet have the votes in their chamber, where it would take 60 votes to break a Republican filibuster.

Fellow Conservatives: Obama May Not Have Been Born In The United States. So What?
12:00 AM

David Horowitz has a short piece at Politico today on the matter of those people still peddling the conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in Hawaii, and that his birth certificate claiming as such is a fake. Horowitz warns his fellow conservatives (and, implicitly, quite a few PUMAs) not to fall victim to "Obama Derangement Syndrome." The article is prompted by today's Supreme Court decision not to hear a case alleging that Obama had dual nationality at birth due to his father's being a British subject, which, if valid, would render the President-Elect not a "natural born citizen" and thus

Obama's Far-flung Climate Team
12:00 AM

So energy and environment types are still waiting for Obama to appoint someone—anyone—to the EPA, Department of Energy, or Interior Department, to say nothing of Agriculture and Transportation. What's the hold-up? By some accounts, Obama's aides are debating whether to create a brand new position that would oversee the administration's climate/energy strategy and coordinate efforts among different agencies. I'm loath to use the bizarrely prevalent term "czar" here, but what's a better word?

Some Good News For Working America
12:00 AM

Today most economists to the left of center will tell you that inequality has been rising for about thirty years, thanks to broader changes in the economy and government's failure to compensate adequately for them. But in the late 1990s, when the economy was humming along, not too many people were making a fuss about this.  Among the few exceptions were Jared Bernstein and his colleagues at the Economic Policy Institute--who repeatedly warned that lower- and middle-income people were not getting their share.

Transition News 12/08
12:00 AM

Supreme Court declines to hear Obama's citizenship case. Eric Shinseki, who doubted Iraq strategy, tapped for veterans affairs. Obama supports laid-off Illinois workers occupying a factory. How Obama can influence the federal judicial bench. Slate describes the two changes Gates wants to bring to the Pentagon. Obama urges for an auto bailout, and could have power over the funding. Liberals feel left out of the Cabinet appointment bonanza. Sebelius says she's out of the running for secretary spots.

Bill Kristol Is ... Making Sense?
12:00 AM

Bill Kristol, in a remarkably thoughtful and sober-minded column (at least relative to this past year's output), makes the case today against reflexive, small-government conservatism. He writes: But conservatives should think twice before charging into battle against Obama under the banner of “small-government conservatism.” It’s a banner many Republicans and conservatives have rediscovered since the election and have been waving around energetically.

Weekend At Larry's
12:00 AM

The Times ran two interesting pieces this weekend hinting at problems with having Larry Summers as head of the National Economic Council--basically the top White House economic aide. They both raise legitimate points, but the objections are ultimately overstated, I think. The first, by Jodi Kantor and Javier Hernandez, is a fascinating account of Summers' post-Harvard rebirth, and is the more gentle of the two pieces. It includes the following riff: As the head of the National Economic Council, he will play two roles: counseling the president and nurturing the proposals of others.