July 27, 2009
Does Obama Really Fear The Police?
In an interesting NYT Week In Review article about the post-1969 black and Latino elite, Helene Cooper wrote: And it emerged again last week, when Mr. Obama joked in the White House East Room that if he ran afoul of the police, “I’d get shot.” In saying this, he seemed to draw on the fears of black men across the United States, including those within the new power elite. I'm pretty sure that's not what Obama was saying.
Biden's Trip: What Is Going On?
Vice President Biden has been taking some heat for the very harsh line he took against Russia over the weekend; his words had the effect of muddling the administration's "message" to the Putin-Medvedev regime. The Times has the story here. Biden's comments to a Georgian audience earlier in the week have received less attention. From the Times' Friday report: At the gathering with displaced Georgian children from South Ossetia, Mr. Biden saved his harshest words for Russia.
July 26, 2009
So the Secretary of State she tells David Gregory on "Meet the Press." While I believe that talk of an Obama-Hillary rift has been overstated, I'm not sure that's quite right. The person with that title probably resides at the national security council. She also said this about the larger question of internecine relations within the administration: And one thing I would add is, you know, I've read a lot of diplomatic history, and I know that very often there become sort of warring camps, you know. It's the Defense Department vs. the State Department, or the National Security Council vs.
Can health reform make medical care less expensive over time, as President Obama and his allies claim? And, as we think about whether health reform is a good idea, does anything besides this effort at cost control really matter?
With his phone calls to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and Cambridge police sergeant James Crowley last week, Barack Obama seems to have defused the furor over his comment that Crowley had acted "stupidly" in handcuffing Gates on his own front porch. (I agree with Obama' final verdict, which is that Crowley did overreact, even if it appears that Gates got hysterical.) It may be that Obama was admirably taking advantage of what he calls "a teachable moment," and showing America that racial disputes can lead to dialogue and not just name-calling.
Gates-gate is the culmination of one of those occasional spates of race-related events that occur and flow into one another over a month or so. These spates are, in fact, precisely the “conversation” on race that Attorney General Eric Holder claims does not happen in America. What, after all, has all of this talk been from the Ricci decision through to the uproar over what happened on Henry Louis Gates’ front porch?
July 25, 2009
Disputations: The Lost Lincoln
Click here to read responses by Michael Kazin, John Stauffer, and Fred Kaplan. Click here to read Sean Wilentz's response to his critics. When Thomas Jefferson wrote, "All men are created equal," he did not have African Americans in mind. Or so I claimed in Lincoln on Race and Slavery. Sean Wilentz ("Who Lincoln Was," July 15, 2009) is inclined to be skeptical.
Disputations: The Lost Lincoln
Click here to read letters by Fred Kaplan, Michael Kazin, John Stauffer, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The following is Sean Wilentz's response to their letters. I wrote a 25,000 word essay about Abraham Lincoln, not Barack Obama. My aim was to review some of the most prominent scholarly books interpreting Lincoln on the occasion of his bicentennial, and to offer a different view of Lincoln as, first and foremost, a democratic politician.
July 24, 2009
After Peak Finance
There are three kinds of "bubbles"--a term often used loosely when asset prices rise a great deal and then fall sharply, without an obvious corresponding shift in "fundamentals." A short-run bubble. Think about 17th century Dutch Tulip Mania: spectacular, probably disruptive, but not a major reason for the decline of the Netherlands as a global power. A distorting bubble. In this case, the increase in asset prices contributes to a reallocation of resources across sectors. Think of the Dot-com Bubble: fortunes were made and lost, the collapse was scary to many, and--at the end of the day--you'
Ready for Her Close-Up
When Sarah Palin abruptly announced that she was planning to leave office, it was clear whom she blamed for her early exit. “I wish you'd hear MORE from the media of your state’s progress and how we tackle Outside interests--daily--SPECIAL interests that would stymie our state,” she said in her July 3 resignation speech, which she later posted on her website.