May 20, 2009

The Credit Card Bill's Behavioral Experiment
12:00 AM

I know, I know--too much is made of the Obama administration's affinity for behavioral economics. (Frank and I tried to preempt that criticism in our piece about Obamaism by downplaying the behavioral discussion and burying it in the second half of the piece. But even that was a bit much for some readers...) Still, this subset of provisions in the credit-card legislation strikes me as an important and direct application of behavioral economics.

May 19, 2009

Photo Of The Day
12:00 AM

  From today's White House press briefing: Q    Noting in the past couple of days you've declined to join the fray in the debate between Speaker Pelosi and the CIA,  and then noting today that she was so pointedly at the President's side as he walked out of the Oval Office into the Rose Garden, I'm wondering if you know what they were discussing as they made that short walk that was very publicly seen. MR.

Domestic Nuclear Holocaust Update
12:00 AM

Another comforting step in the superficially-boring effort to scoop up, lock down and eliminate loose nuclear material around the world: The U.S. has spirited more than 160 pounds of spent nuclear fuel out of Kazakhstan since December--enough to make three crude nukes.

Tnr Slideshow: The Scotus Shortlist
12:00 AM

  President Obama's upcoming Supreme Court pick has ignited much speculation. But who are the contenders? Click through today's TNR slideshow to meet some of the candidates who have dominated the pre-nomination buzz. -- Elizabeth Sher Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Terrorist Lovers Killed Terri Schiavo
12:00 AM

This bit of polemic just landed with a thud in my inbox: Mercy for the Terrorist: Death to Terri Schiavo. I realize many people felt very passionately about the Schiavo tragedy--even those who weren't looking to use it as a partisan rallying point.

Budget 36,000
12:00 AM

Kevin Hassett, the director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, former McCain campaign economic advisor, and co-author of Dow 36,000, has a column waxing indignant that Democrats would say they inherited the budget deficit from the Bush administration. Hassett argues that the Democrats are to blame for the deficit mess.

The Shifting Cultural Mainstream
12:00 AM

Political trends are rarely as simple as they appear. The last few years have brought sweeping Democratic victories, a surge of young voters into the electorate, and rising support for gay marriage--and so it is plausible to believe that the American people have become more liberal on social issues. But in recent weeks, surveys have indicated a turn toward the right on two of the most enduring and politically consequential cultural controversies--gun control and abortion.

Shorting Obama
12:00 AM

I thought this Tom Toles cartoon did a particularly good job of capturing the Republican Party's strategy. I thought of it again when I read this item from the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti: The administration would like the voting public to believe that the GOP is outside the mainstream. Co-opting centrist Republicans like Huntsman reinforces that notion. But the problem with this argument is that what is "mainstream" changes over time. As unpopular as the Republican party is at the moment, it is actually winning a lot of the debates in Washington.

Regulating Our Brave New Post-stress Test World
12:00 AM

This week the administration begins a serious behind-the-scenes charm offensive on its regulatory reform plans. The argument seems to be: we are where we are on banks' solvency/recapitalization, so let's not argue about that; it's time to strengthen financial regulation in line with our G20 commitments.  But there is a serious dilemma lurking behind the foreshadowing, the rhetoric, and the talking points. (Aside to Treasury: please find somone other than big financial players to endorse your next 100 days report; many taxpayers will find p.5 of your first report particularly annoying--if you d

Dennis Ross To The Middle East
12:00 AM

A nugget obscured by yesterday's summit between Obama and Netanyahu: Ha'aretz reports that the administration's chief Iran policy official, Dennis Ross, has been visiting Arab capitals in the Persian Gulf and Egypt, laying the groundwork for a new U.S. tack towards Iran. It is often said, at least by Iran hawks, that the only people who fear a nuclear Iran as much as Israel are the Arab regimes.