April 15, 2009

More On The Iran Enrichment Question
12:00 AM

An Iran-watcher cautions me about my reaction to yesterday's NYT story on how Obama might approach talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Although I sloppily declared the the precondition of demanding a halt in enrichment prior to talks "was dropped," that was going too far. The story said only that the administration is discussing the possibility of allowing Tehran to continue enrichment as negotiations begin.

April 14, 2009

Barack Vs. The Banks
12:00 AM

One of the most important lessons of Karl Marx’s Capital is that capitalism is not a self-regulating mechanism (with which the government interferes at its own peril), but a set of government-enforced social relations that structure the production and distribution of wealth. These relationships--depicted in Economics 101 textbooks as “natural” rather than “man-made”--are largely invisible except in times of economic crisis, when they can become key factors in shaping the government’s response.

Another Aig Scandal?
12:00 AM

Oy, I got this press release today from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over the AIG bailout: U.S. Representative Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY), the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is demanding information from American International Group (AIG) about the company’s retention of outside public relations firms to help determine whether federal bailout dollars were used to pay public relations firms to attack critics of AIG and the Federal bailout.  Chairman Towns today wrote current AIG Chairman and CEO Edward M.

A New Obama Conspiracy Theory
12:00 AM

Move over birthers. Make way for the rescuers. From an AP article (via Drudge, natch) on whether the Obama's new dog Bo is truly a "rescue dog": Because he was given up by his first owner as a poor fit and is now with his second owners, the Obamas, but never spent time in a shelter or with a rescue group, Bo is a "quasi-rescue dog," says Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States. Here's where the intrigue comes in: —Bo's breeders happen to have bred Sen. Edward Kennedy's Portuguese water dogs.

April 13, 2009

A Fighting Faith
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Are we witnessing this Easter season the decline of Christianity in America, or is this rather a moment of reform and renewal, a time when the deterioration that has been under way is arrested?The death and resurrection of religion, if not of Jesus Christ, has been a favorite subject of newsmagazines ever since Time, on April 8, 1966, momentously asked: "Is God Dead?" This trend, announced on a somber black and red cover, lasted a little over three years. Or perhaps the original question was premature. In any event, on Dec.

Business Guru Embraces Reform. Should We Nitpick Why?
12:00 AM

You may not have heard of Regina Herzlinger. But corporate America has. And it thinks she has something important to say. I'm not sure I agree. But I'm even less sure I should point that out. Confused? Let me explain. Herzlinger is a professor at Harvard Business School, author of countless works on health care, and a fixture on the corporate lecture circuit.

Political Fear Sells? Well Duh.
12:00 AM

Politico's blaring headline about Obama's upping recruitment among anti-abortion groups seems like the definition of much ado about the utterly predictable. Isn't the cw that every change of regime prompts, to some extent, a reenergizing of the ideologically opposing interest groups? Thus, organizations championing women's-rights, environmentalism, abortion rights, gay rights and so on attract more members and, even more importantly, raise more money by exploiting members' fears about what a GOP-controlled government will do if left unchallenged.

April 11, 2009

Today At Tnr (april 11, 2009)
12:00 AM

Macho Misery: What Took The Medical Profession So Long To Realize That Men Suffer From Mental Illness, Too? by Sherwin B. Nuland The TNR Q&A: Kal Penn On His New White House Gig, Hoops, And Why He's Nothing Like His Stoner Alter-Ego, by Hilary Elkins Don't Expect Much Sex In Susan Sontag's Early Journals--Though You'll Find Something Much More Intimate, by Daniel Mendelsohn 'Observe And Report,' The Last Addition To The Mall Cop Canon, Is Brutally Funny.

April 10, 2009

The TNR Q&A: Kal Penn
12:00 AM

Actor Kal Penn--of Harold & Kumar stoner-fame and the hit TV show "House"--is taking a desk job at the White House? We talk office politics, hoops, and making his parents proud.TNR: You're going to be the associate director of the White House Office of Public Liaison. That's quite a career change.Penn: I guess it might seem weird to people who don't know my interests. My two passions from the time I was in high school were film, obviously, and then public service. I remember when I applied to college I had academic ADD and I applied to, like, fifteen schools.

Sweet Beats? Bring 'em On!
12:00 AM

Sweet Jesus, what's up with the finger-pointing, hand-wringing, and navel-gazing over beat-sweeteners?   It has been years since I had an official beat, but even the Hillaryland pieces I wrote last year would not have happened if I hadn't gotten to know a few Hillarylanders through an earlier profile of Patti Solis Doyle that--while neither assigned nor approached as a beat-sweetener--wound up being softer than either I or my long-suffering editors would have liked. Getting to know people before you come charging in poking around on a story likely to piss them off has undeniable up sides.