November 10, 2008
More than a little bit tiresome. A party for the dictator, the liberation theologian, a Maoist member of the Politburo of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal, an Egyptian heavy thinker and on and on, some wearing Birkenstocks, others guayaberas, whatever that is. This is the World Meeting of Intellectuals and Artists in Defense of Humanity. No less. Dateline: Caracas, Venezuela. Read all about it in the Tuesday New York Times. By the way, President Chavez was seen smoking cigarettes.
The Washington Post has a rather stunning piece on its front page today. It turns out that, amid all the frenzied bailout back-and-forth in September, the Treasury Department unilaterally lifted a ban on a rather egregious tax shelter that conservatives have been lobbying to eliminate for 20 years. The move will cost taxpayers over $100 billion per year, and very few people think Treasury had the legal authority to execute it.
For fans of formality, you can read statements about the White House meeting from both the Bush and Obama camps here via Politico. --Seyward Darby
President Bush meets with president-elect Obama at the White House. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) Let the caption-writing begin! --Seyward Darby
Obama At The White House
Line of the day? Obama's take on the current first couple's attire: "You both look autumnal." You can read about the meeting here. --Seyward Darby
Wheelin' And Dealin'
As Obama has made clear, bailing out the auto industry is a key priority in his economic recovery agenda. There’s already $25 billion in low-cost loans approved for Detroit, but that money is tagged specifically to help the industry retool to meet higher fuel-efficiency standards. So Democrats have been pushing the White House to tap the $700 billion bailout package for more. The case for some sort of bailout is strong: GM may not have enough cash to make it through next year, and Chrysler may be running out of cash as well.
What About A Seme?
It was Thursday, barely 36 hours since Barack Obama was recognized to have won the American presidency, that some editorialist at the London Financial Times sat down to do his Friday leader. It was the paper's first instructions to Obama. The previous day's commentary was a cliche: a reminder, as if neither he nor his party grasped the truism, that Obama needed to be president of the "whole" country.So on what subject did the editors of the FT choose to exhort the president-elect?
Noam has made most of the essential points about Lawrence Summers, who remains (as far as I know) one of two people under consideration to become Barack Obama's Secretary of the Treasury. But I wanted to add one thought, relevant--I hope--to other liberals like me. On the issues I know best and over which the Treasury Secretary has sway, Summers is good. Very, very good. In the last few years, he has become a persistent critic of inequality and advocate for government action to redress it.
November 09, 2008
Why Obama Should Copy Bush (really!)
You hear lots of talk about which former president Barack Obama should use as a model. Bill Clinton comes up regularly. Franklin Roosevelt, too. But what about the guy in the White House now? I know, President Bush’s approval ratings are hovering around 30 percent. This election was in many ways a referendum on his tenure and the verdict could not have been more unambiguous. The voters didn't like it. “Saturday Night Live” got an entire skit (and a pretty funny one) out of John McCain trying to escape the stigma of his failure. But was Bush really a “failure”?
Gore Ups The Pressure
In The New York Times today, Al Gore lays out his plan to have the United States get "100 percent of [its] electricity from carbon-free sources within 10 years"—a much more ambitious goal than anyone else has proposed to date.