November 26, 2008

Beware Of Engagement: It More Likely To End In Funerals Than In A Wedding
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Martin Kramer is one of America's great scholars on Arab and Islamic affairs.  With a PhD from Princeton, he has written nine books including Ivory Towers on Sand, which was actually a revelation in and to the academy of how intellectually and financially indentured is much of the professoriate in the field. Via the Shalem Center:   "Engagement" is the new buzzword in Washington and the Middle East.

From The Tnr Archive: Larry Summers
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Larry Summers was officially tapped yesterday as a top White House advisor and the next head of the White House's National Economics Counsel. Summers' part in Obama's economic "dream team" is no surprise, as he's been a mainstay on the national economic scene for nearly two decades.

November 25, 2008

The Hillary Clinton Of Private Schools
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Until this month, I never quite realized I had become a loyal alumnus. In the nearly two decades since I’d graduated from my private high school, I’d thought of the place often, and fondly--though usually with that embarrassed sort of affection that a certain class of liberals feel for those essentially inegalitarian institutions responsible for making us the worldly folks we are today. Then a funny thing happened just after the election: The new First Family was looking for a school, and all of a sudden the chattering class was chattering about old alma mater.

Pragmatists 'R' Us
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WASHINGTON--President-elect Barack Obama has now made three things clear about his plans to bring the economy back: He wants his actions to be big and bold. He sees economic recovery as intimately linked with economic and social reform.

Mistreating Depression
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Barack Obama announced today that the chair of his Council of Economic Advisors will be Christina Romer, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on government fiscal and monetary policy. As Romer stood beside him at the press conference, Obama uncharacteristically stumbled over his words in introducing her. He seemed to be learning who she was as he spoke--and that may say more about the appointment than the actual words of praise he uttered. Obama has been criticized for excluding progressive Democrats from his administration. I think that’s nonsense.

Open for Service
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Last month, retired Air Force General Merrill McPeak, one of Barack Obama’s highest-ranking military supporters during the campaign, reiterated his opposition to openly gay service. When McPeak participated in the debates over lifting the ban in 1993, he was Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

What Will Obama's Bipartisanship Look Like?
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Ed Kilgore makes some typically smart points about just what exactly Obama might do to fulfill his pledge of bipartisanship. Hint: it might not involve keeping Gates at the Pentagon or finding some out-of-the-way cabinet post for the likes of Jim Leach.  There is, however, one form of "bipartisanship" that Bush never took seriously, and that is very consistent with everything Barack Obama has said on the subject.

Two More For The Economic Brain Trust
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Obama tapped two more members of his economic team today. As rumored, Peter Orszag, current director of the Congressional Budget Office, will head the White House Office of Management and Budget. His deputy will be Rob Nabors, who currently serves as staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. --Seyward Darby

Republicans Worship At Rahm's Altar
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Ever since Obama picked his chief of staff, I haven't been able to open my email inbox without being inundated by a tide of huffy, anti-Rahm Emanuel emails from conservative pals or relatives: Rahm's so "mean," he's "partisan," he indiscriminately drops the f-bomb, boo hoo, and doesn't this all reflect so badly on Obama, who, with his selection of Rahm, failed his first test of his ability to offer "change you can believe in"? But evidently Washington Republicans aren't so dismissive of the Rahm pick.

November 24, 2008

Revenge of the Nerds
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Calling attention to the fact that black nerds are often teased by black peers for “acting white” elicits predictable reactions, such as claims that the problem doesn’t exist. Two reactions I have encountered, however, have thrown me.The first was some years ago, when I was on a panel with Ronald Ferguson of the Harvard Kennedy School. Ferguson, who is black, argued that black nerds should reassure the teasers that they don’t think they’re better than they are.