June 01, 2009
The End Of Gm As We Know It
It's been clear for a while now that General Motors, like Chrysler before it, was headed for bankruptcy. But it's still a huge development. And, at least from the perspective of history, it's still a little stunning. GM was the symbol of American industrial might and, for three-quarters of a century, the world's largest carmaker. Now, in order to qualify or government financial assistance, GM is eliminating half of its brands, shedding dealers by the thousands, and laying off a third of its already diminished hourly workforce.
May 29, 2009
Over a Barrel
As the Obama administration prepares to engage Iran diplomatically, sentiment in Congress is rising in support of applying greater pressure on Tehran. The current centerpiece of this strategy is legislation recently introduced by a bipartisan set of congressional leaders to sanction companies that sell gasoline to Iran or help upgrade Iran’s gasoline refining capacity. Despite the appeal of leveraging Iran’s apparent dependence on imports of refined petroleum, the legislation is unlikely to have much impact.
Gm Trumps Sotomayor
I'm at the White House listening in on Robert Gibbs' daily press briefing (which just ended). It's not crazy, but a little surprising to me, that there have probably been 2-3 times as many questions about the looming GM bankruptcy as there have been about Sotomayor. It's both a sign that economic concerns still loom very large, and that the White House has been incredibly deft at rolling out its Supreme Court nominee.
Somewhat belatedly, I've noticed that numerous commentators have decided to label Jeffrey Rosen's online article about Sonia Sotomayor from a few weeks ago as "gossip." The description has been employed by left-wing or liberalcommentators like Glenn Greenwald of Salon, Adam Serwer of the American Prospect, and Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Today it's repeated by right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer. "Gossip" is an effective label for those who wish to denigrate Rosen's reporting or the reputation of TNR, but it's an inaccurate one.
Last night I finally had a chance to read Atul Gawande's terrific New Yorker piece about health care costs, which everyone is recommending. I'll leave most of the analysis to the healthcare wonks (though I don't want to sell it short--it's an engagingly written piece that any civilian will enjoy). But, from where I sit, Gawande's most interesting idea is an analogy he offers up: About fifteen years ago, it seems, something began to change in McAllen. A few leaders of local institutions took profit growth to be a legitimate ethic in the practice of medicine. Not all the doctors accepted this.
I'm glad that, amid so many more imminent distractions, the Obama team is taking cyber-security seriously. For most Americans this may feel like an abstract and non-frightening threat. But so did Osama bin Laden before 9/11. And the same man who gave us urgent early warnings about al Qaeda--that would be former White House counterterror chief Richard Clarke--has been saying for years that we're at risk of a cyber Pearl Harbor. Good to see important people listening this time. --Michael Crowley
Settling The Settlements
There's a bit of a fracas today just below Michael Crowley's astute Plank, "Obama v.
Sotomayor's Moderate Past
Ben Smith adds some valuable context to an episode from Sotomayor's time at Princeton that Michael Goldfarb has been trying to spin as an example of her radical past: Sotomayor was initially slow to join the Puerto Rican campus group, Accion Puertorriqueno, classmates recalled; when she did join, she took it over, and led the filing of a complaint in 1974 with the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare alleging a "lack of commitment" to a federally mandated minority recruitment goals.
Pining For Estrada
Bobby Eberle, my favorite wingnut over at GOPUSA, is out with a finger-wagging, I-told-you-so column arguing that conservatives wouldn't be in such a political pickles over the Sotomayor Supreme Court pick if only they had listened to him back in 2003 and locked in their own Hispanic by fighting harder for Miguel Estrada's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
May 28, 2009
Ideological She Isn't
WASHINGTON -- Republicans would be foolish to fight the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court because she is the most conservative choice that President Obama could have made.And even though they should support her confirmation, liberals would be foolish to embrace Sotomayor as one of their own because her record is clearly that of a moderate. It is highly unlikely that she will push the court to the left.