June 03, 2009

Breaking: Obama Doubles Down
12:00 AM

The White House just released a letter from President Obama to Senators Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy. The letter is a follow-up to Tuesday's meeting at the White House and covers a lot of the same ground that Obama's prepared remarks did. But it also has a few new, and important wrinkles. The most important, I think, is some new money on the table. In his budget, Obama set aside a little over $600 billion in a health care reserve fund, in order to finance expanded insurance coverage over the next ten years.

June 02, 2009

The Matter With Kansas
12:00 AM

No one who has written about Kansas politics can be unfamiliar with Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated Sunday as he was entering the Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita. Tiller has been the target of the state’s right-wing Republicans for two decades. He was also the focus of the fanatical anti-abortion group, Operation Rescue, founded by Randall Terry, which is now headquartered in Wichita.

A Time To Kill
12:00 AM

George Tiller was one of the most infamous physicians in the pro-life world. The Kansas abortion provider regularly aborted fetuses, both disabled and healthy, in their final trimester, which few others are willing to do. He further stoked religious ire by retaining a chaplain who offered cremated ashes to parents and baptized aborted remains. But his practices do not fully explain his murder at Wichita’s Reformation Lutheran Church on Sunday.Violence in the pro-life movement has emerged relatively late in the abortion conflict, only recently claiming the lives of abortion providers.

An Inconvenient Truth
12:00 AM

What dismays me most about Barack Obama's Middle East initiative is that the only country in the area he seems to be pressing is Israel. He is not pressing Egypt and perhaps that's because there is nothing that Cairo can give. Maybe I'll be surprised by the presidential visit to Riyadh, but he is, thus far, also not pressing Saudi Arabia and its king to whom he offered at the G-20 meeting rather curious and extravagant homage. If you read A Safe Haven by Allis and Ronald Radosh (reviewed by me in the Wall Street Journal) you'll see how King Ibn Saud was flattered by F.D.R.

Some Perspective, Courtesy Of Austan Goolsbee
12:00 AM

Responding to Jack Welch's complaint that the country can't afford Obama's budget ("Austan’s budget is from the moon"), the Obama economic adviser had this to say at a panel discussion last week: The budget is from the moon, Jack [Welch] is from Mars and Joe [Stiglitz, whose critique comes from the other direction] is from Venus. Look, we enter the government essentially in a hotel that is on fire.

Obama Puts Down A Marker On Costs
12:00 AM

At the White House on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama met with Senate Democrats working on health care legislation.

Rumor Of The Day: Mubarak's Health
12:00 AM

CAIRO-- It's a taboo subject in Egypt, one that can get you arrested simply for mentioning. But speculation over the health of the country's 81-year-old president, Hosni Mubarak, is a popular Cairo parlor game. And on the eve of Barack Obama's visit here, it again hangs in the air like smoke in a shisha cafe. In a prelude to his Cairo visit, Barack Obama had planned to host Hosni Mubarak at the White House late last month.

Judge Sotomayor And Abortion
12:00 AM

Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools.

Sotomayor And A History Of Preferential Treatment
12:00 AM

It's a little strange to see folk on the other side of the Senate aisle who were prepared to go down the line for Harriet Miers nitpicking about and against Sonia Sotomayor. Measured across the sweep of Supreme Court justices over the course of American history, she is not at all an embarrassment. More than that, Sotomayor has shown an intellectual flexibility that has scared many true-believers in the liberal catechism. But this flexibility shows more thoughtfulness about legal issues than the predictability of some of her colleagues on the appellate bench.

Muslim Brothers Make The Obama Cut
12:00 AM

CAIRO--Good news for political reformers and Islamists: In an unexpected bit of diplomatic choreography, several members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to attend Barack Obama's speech in Cairo tomorrow.