Politics

April 09, 2009

Arne Duncan And A New Pornographer
12:00 AM

Spotted: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introducing flame-haired indie goddess Neko Case at the 9:30 Club last night. But ... why? Is the Cabinet member a devoted Neko fan, or is she a big supporter of education reform? (A friend who was at the concert said she put in a good word for Obama's education plans.) As it turns out, the backstory proves, yet again, just how tied the administration is to the Chicago scene. Last week, the Department of Education hired Tim Tuten, co-owner of The Hideout, a hip Chicago club, as assistant secretary for communications and outreach.

April 08, 2009

World Without End, Amen
12:00 AM

For a while there, it was looking like we were going to spend the next four years arguing whether Barack Obama’s foreign policy was actually different than George W. Bush’s. As I noted the other day, Robert Kagan, the neoconservative foreign policy adviser to the McCain campaign, has been arguing that “the pretense of radical change has required some sleight of hand.” A few former Bush officials have made similar points.

Reversal of Fortune
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison this week by Peru's Supreme Court in connection with two massacres committed by a death squad known as the Colina group, as well as the kidnapping of a journalist and a businessman.

Vindication?
12:00 AM

Slightly strange press release from the White House just now:  Readout on President Obama’s Phone Call to Congratulate UNC Basketball Coach Roy Williams: Last night, aboard Air Force One, President Obama called University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams to congratulate him on his team’s victory over Michigan State in the NCAA National Championship basketball game in Detroit. Listed below is a read-out on the phone call from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:  “The President offered Coach Williams his congratulations and thanked him and his team for vindicating him

From The White House Press Office
12:00 AM

Reprinted without comment: For Immediate Release April 8, 2009   Readout on President Obama’s Phone Call to Congratulate UNC Basketball Coach Roy Williams:   Last night, aboard Air Force One, President Obama called University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams to congratulate him on his team’s victory over Michigan State in the NCAA National Championship basketball game in Detroit.  Listed below is a read-out on the phone call from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:   “The President offered Coach Williams his congratulations and thanked him and his team for vindica

The Conservative Case Against Coleman
12:00 AM

Ramesh Ponnuru makes it: If he keeps up the fight, he is likely to lose, unnecessarily deprive Minnesota of a second senator, end his political career seen as a sore loser, and hurt his party in a state that is eager for this fight to be over. His team has talked enough about further legal challenges that if he leaves now, he will get some points for grace.

Selling A Public Plan To The Skeptics
12:00 AM

It’s been two years since political scientist Jacob Hacker, one of the nation’s most influential health care experts, briefed the leading Democratic presidential candidates on what has become his signature idea: Creating a public insurance plan into which Americans could voluntarily enroll. All three candidates--including Barack Obama--went on to embrace the idea as part of their schemes for universal coverage. Democratic leaders in Congress have followed suit. But not everybody likes the idea.

Pete Wehner Has Me Confused
12:00 AM

I don't entirely understand this point from former Bush strategist Pete Wehner in his critique of Obamaism: On top of this almost $5 trillion figure we need to add the $250 billion the Obama administration has already signaled is likely to be needed for the second installment of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). More is sure to follow. Obama has also established a 10-year fund for health care which will cost more than $630 billion.

April 07, 2009

Driven Up the Rawls
12:00 AM

It had been known for some time that during his last two undergraduate years at Princeton, John Rawls had immersed himself in Christian theology and considered studying for the Episcopal priesthood. More recently, a professor in Princeton’s religion department stumbled on Rawls’s senior thesis, “A Brief Inquiry into the Meaning of Sin and Faith: An interpretation based on the concept of community.” This discovery moved two noted philosophers, John Cohen and Tom Nagel, to explore possible links between his youthful theological speculations and his mature political philosophy.

Obama's Popularity
12:00 AM

I'm a bit late in coming to this, but the incredibly strong numbers for Obama in today's Times poll seem like a slight artifact of timing--a few weeks of good stock market news, plus an overseas trip that, whatever its substantive accomplishments (and they weren't nil), was a PR bonanza. At least that's what this quote in the write-up made me think: Frank Henwood, an independent from Amarillo, Tex., said: “Hopefully, the stock market has bottomed out and is on the rise.

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