January 26, 2009
Rivals, Rivals Everywhere!
Very intriguing... Georgetown law professor Lisa Heinzerling is heading off to the EPA to advise Lisa Jackson on climate-change issues. Heinzerling, among other things, was the lead author of the plaintiff's brief in Massachusetts v. EPA back in 2007, in which the Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs that the EPA did, in fact, have the authority to regulate carbon-dioxide. So, yeah, it's a big break from the Bush years. There's also some bonus tension-in-waiting for reporters to salivate over.
What End To The Culture War?
Writing over at NRO, theocon Michael Novak expresses some concern with the new president's intention (expressed on the revamped White House website) to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act and to grant some legal rights and privileges to same-sex couples.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
It's got a fine location and lots of space but, let's face facts, it hasn't been well kept up and is a bit of a mess at first glance: Still, with a new owner and a little bit of care and attention, I bet.... There. much better: Yes, when the Cheneys drove the moving van out Massachusetts Avenue they took with them the mysterious security concerns that required the U.S. Geological Survey to scramble satellite photos of the veep's residence--a treatment it did not extend to the White House, Capitol, or Pentagon.
Daily Round-up, 1/26
Medicaid enrollments are surging. Pfizer will acquire Wyeth for $68 billion, and about 8,000 jobs are expected to be lost. The recession is making people sicker, says one Boston hospital. Health care costs for workers have soared, even though employers are footing more of the bill. Only one in ten laid-off workers chose to be covered by COBRA, mostly due to high costs. Accidental infant deaths rates are on the rise. Canada is experimenting with medical outsourcing. --Suzy Khimm
January 25, 2009
Well, that's settled. President Obama has no intention of dithering over new automobile fuel-economy standards. The New York Times reports that, on Monday, he'll announce that he's going to tighten federal CAFE standards immediately, as required by law, and will also let California implement its own, even tougher standards: [Obama] will direct the Department of Transportation to immediately begin drafting automobile fuel-economy regulations to comply with a law enacted in December 2007.
Summers Was ... Surprisingly Good
Larry Summers, known mostly for his mastery of economics arcana, turns out to be a pretty effective public spokesman, too.
January 24, 2009
Mark Leibovich has a funny anecdote in his terrific profile of the White House chief of staff: At a White House gathering with Mr. Obama and a bipartisan team of lawmakers on Friday, the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, joked that Mr. Emanuel was too busy to talk to him, so he called the president instead. Mr. Obama said he was always happy to take calls for his chief of staff — a reference to an incident a few weeks ago when Mr. Hoyer called Mr. Emanuel, who was in the back of a car and claimed he was too busy to talk, so he handed the phone to Mr. Obama.
January 23, 2009
Daily Round-up, 1/23
President Obama overturns the global gag rule today. Bush's global AIDS coordinator has been asked to resign. More elderly Americans are skipping prescribed meds because they can't afford them. A hospital in Minnesota is being used for charging patients a "usurious" 18% interest rate. A bill requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose their gifts to physicians was introduced in the Senate. A terrorism preparedness expert has been appointed to head the CDC. Poor accounting of health care costs is still afflicting the Veterans Affairs Department.
Obama Defangs Mcconnell
Peter Baker reports that Republicans (or at least Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell) emerged from the bipartisan White House economic meeting just now optimistic that we'll have a stimulus bill by mid-February. Baker notes that Obama budget director Peter Orszag offered the same assurance I'd written about yesterday--that 75 percent of the overall bill will take effect in the next 18 months--which seems to have gone over pretty well.
I know you must be aware of the Durban II...Well, what shall I call it? First of all, it is an extravaganza, like all the conferences sponsored by the hand-to-mouth United Nations, even the relatively benign ones like "the year of the child" or "the year of the woman." It is true that these ideological jamborees allow people to meet who might not be able to meet otherwise. But I wonder if anyone has ever done a cost-benefit analysis of what good has come out of any of these. By all accounts, you are a tough-minded and simpatico person.