January 12, 2009

Downsizing Michelle Obama--and Why That's Worrisome
12:00 AM

To better cover the debate over health care policy, we've asked Harold Pollack to contribute items occasionally. Pollack is a public health policy researcher at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, where he is faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies. The University of Chicago Medical Center on Friday announced up to $100 million in budget cuts, from an annual budget of roughly $1.5 billion. These will be implemented by the start of fiscal year 2010.

Liberalism: Political And/or Metaphysical?
12:00 AM

John Rawls famously claimed that liberalism is a philosophy of politics, not a theory of metaphysics. This very much placed him within the liberal tradition extending back to early modern Europe. In contrast to ancient and medieval political thought, the first liberals sought to conceive of politics without reference to metaphysics or the soul.

January 11, 2009

The Problem With Utah's Bcs Antitrust Claim
12:00 AM

It's probably not an issue front and center on many football fans' minds this NFL-laden weekend, but Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is drawing attention with his threat to challenge the legality of college football's BCS [Bowl Championship Series*] under the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Delong On The Stimulus: Good Opening Bid
12:00 AM

In my ongoing effort to convey the insights of genuine economics experts, rather than pretend I'm such an expert myself, economist and blogger Brad DeLong has what seems like a smart take on the stimulus debate. Like Paul Krugman and others, he is skeptical that proposal under discussion is sufficiently large. But he also cautions that crafting a larger package isn't as easy as it sounds: I agree with Paul that this fiscal boost plan is too small, but I do want to admit that doing this well is harder than it looks.

January 10, 2009

Krugman & Galbraith: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
12:00 AM

On Saturday morning, the Obama transition team released a memo outlining its calculations about the economic recovery package. The memo's authors are Christina Romer, who will chair the new president's council of economic advisers, and Jared Bernstein, who will be chief economic advisor to Vice President Biden. The report suggests the package President-elect Obama has sketched out would create three to four million new jobs by the end of 2010.

Richard Clarke Assesses Obama's Intel Team

Counterterrorism expert John O. Brennan was reportedly Obama's original choice for director of the CIA, but he withdrew from consideration after complaints about his past involvement in Bush-era interrogation programs. Now, Obama has appointed Brennan as deputy national security adviser for homeland security--a White House position best described as "counter-terrorism czar"--and has selected Leon Panetta to head the CIA, where he will be subordinate to the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair.  To get some perspective on these appointments, I contacted Richard A.

January 09, 2009

United--But For How Long?
12:00 AM

The last time most of us saw Bob Dole talking about health care was 1994, when he was burying the Clinton health care plan on behalf of his fellow Republican Senators. On Thursday, Dole came back to the Senate and back to the health care debate. But this time his agenda was different. Dole was there to introduce Tom Daschle, whom President-Elect Barack Obama has tapped as his Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Liberate The Palestinians From Hamas

Not being a military expert, I will abstain from judging whether the Israeli bombardments of Gaza could be better directed, less intense. Not being able for decades to distinguish between the good dead and the evil dead or, like Camus used to say, between "suspect victims" and "privileged executioners," I'm also deeply disturbed by the images of the Palestinian children who have been killed. This being said, and taking into account that certain media outlets have been carried away on the winds of folly once again--as is always the case when Israel is involved--I would like to remind everyone o

The Case for Panetta
12:00 AM

The fight over the appointment of Leon Panetta as CIA director died down as fast as it flared up. The question now is whether Panetta, never having worked in intelligence, will figure out how espionage works fast enough to save the CIA--and keep the president out of trouble.The CIA certainly needs saving. Many believe 9/11 could have been prevented if the CIA had notified the FBI in enough time when two hijackers moved to San Diego in early 2000. In a Parthian shot, the Bush administration is blaming the CIA’s bad intelligence for leading us into war in Iraq.

Not Doing Enough
12:00 AM

Why I worry that Obama doesn’t realize just how bad things are.