January 25, 2009
Well, that's settled. President Obama has no intention of dithering over new automobile fuel-economy standards. The New York Times reports that, on Monday, he'll announce that he's going to tighten federal CAFE standards immediately, as required by law, and will also let California implement its own, even tougher standards: [Obama] will direct the Department of Transportation to immediately begin drafting automobile fuel-economy regulations to comply with a law enacted in December 2007.
Summers Was ... Surprisingly Good
Larry Summers, known mostly for his mastery of economics arcana, turns out to be a pretty effective public spokesman, too.
January 24, 2009
Mark Leibovich has a funny anecdote in his terrific profile of the White House chief of staff: At a White House gathering with Mr. Obama and a bipartisan team of lawmakers on Friday, the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, joked that Mr. Emanuel was too busy to talk to him, so he called the president instead. Mr. Obama said he was always happy to take calls for his chief of staff — a reference to an incident a few weeks ago when Mr. Hoyer called Mr. Emanuel, who was in the back of a car and claimed he was too busy to talk, so he handed the phone to Mr. Obama.
January 23, 2009
Daily Round-up, 1/23
President Obama overturns the global gag rule today. Bush's global AIDS coordinator has been asked to resign. More elderly Americans are skipping prescribed meds because they can't afford them. A hospital in Minnesota is being used for charging patients a "usurious" 18% interest rate. A bill requiring pharmaceutical companies to disclose their gifts to physicians was introduced in the Senate. A terrorism preparedness expert has been appointed to head the CDC. Poor accounting of health care costs is still afflicting the Veterans Affairs Department.
Obama Defangs Mcconnell
Peter Baker reports that Republicans (or at least Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell) emerged from the bipartisan White House economic meeting just now optimistic that we'll have a stimulus bill by mid-February. Baker notes that Obama budget director Peter Orszag offered the same assurance I'd written about yesterday--that 75 percent of the overall bill will take effect in the next 18 months--which seems to have gone over pretty well.
I know you must be aware of the Durban II...Well, what shall I call it? First of all, it is an extravaganza, like all the conferences sponsored by the hand-to-mouth United Nations, even the relatively benign ones like "the year of the child" or "the year of the woman." It is true that these ideological jamborees allow people to meet who might not be able to meet otherwise. But I wonder if anyone has ever done a cost-benefit analysis of what good has come out of any of these. By all accounts, you are a tough-minded and simpatico person.
Sour Kraut & Bitter Mike
Wow. From the looks of the WaPo op-ed page, some of the town's conservative pontificators are still sucking on some seriously sour grapes. Krauthammer's column, if you read all the way to the end, actually kinda, sorta compliments Obama for giving a post-racial inaugural address. But to get to that grudging praise, one must slog through the first two-thirds of Krauthammer's exceedingly grumpy trashing of Obama's "dour," thudding speech, in which he somehow even manages to fault the new POTUS for not being the eternally needy adulation slut that Bill Clinton was.
Today At Tnr (january 23, 2009)
The Establishment's Pick: Why Leon Panetta Could Be Wrong For The CIA.
January 22, 2009
WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama intends to use conservative values for progressive ends. He will cast extreme individualism as an infantile approach to politics that must be supplanted by a more adult sense of personal and collective responsibility. He will honor government's role in our democracy and not degrade it. He wants America to lead the world, but as much by example as by force.And in trying to do all these things, he will confuse a lot of people.
George Mitchell’s contribution to the peace process dictionary of lost causes is the link between “end of violence” and “settlements.” But the former senator, former North Ireland negotiator, and former head of the fact-finding Mitchell Commission is going back to a Middle East much different than the one he had studied back in 2000. Mitchell, the Obama administration’s newly appointed Middle East envoy, will still recognize many of the players in the region. However, rereading his report to President Bush from eight years ago is like reading an old, outdated newspaper clip.