May 26, 2009
The Battle Ahead
Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. He is the founder of SCOTUSblog. The White House has just announced Sonia Sotomayor as its Supreme Court nominee.
There's a piece up at CNN.com today about a seriously impoverished Montana town that's lobbying to bring Gitmo prisoners to its now-vacant prison facility. Some locals express understandable security concerns. Others dismiss the idea that bringing prisoners in would help the town's economy, since unemployed residents wouldn't be qualified for many jobs at the facility. As one woman noted, "I haven't met anyone in Hardin that speaks Arabic." This quote caught my eye because I think it's useful to be reminded how many people don't grasp the idea of economic interconnectedness.
Fact-checking John Bolton
I may have more to say later on John Bolton's op-ed in today's New York Times, but the first sentence does not bode well for the piece's credibility: President Obama has called for a world without nuclear weapons, not as a distant goal, but as something imminently achievable. In fact, this is what Obama said in his speech on nuclear weapons last month: So today, I state clearly and with conviction America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I'm not naive.
May 25, 2009
Obama's Center-Left Two-Step
WASHINGTON--Bill Clinton tried to create a Third Way. President Obama is doing it. This is exciting, but also disconcerting. Over the last week, the true nature of Obama's political project has come into much clearer view. He is out to build a new and enduring political establishment, located slightly to the left of center but including everyone except the far right. That's certainly a bracing idea, since Washington has not seen a liberal establishment since the mid-1960s. "Liberal establishment," of course, sounds terrible to many ears, and Obama would never use the term.
May 22, 2009
They don't spell it out in much detail, but I think National Review's editors may have just endorsed Barack Obama's program to reform federal student lending, which I promoted on the Plank a few weeks ago. In an article called "Beyond 'No'," not yet available online, Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru--who have quietly been trying to reform conservatism around a "Sam's Club Republican" agenda--propose a multipoint strategy to win back the middle class. One of their suggestions deals with student loans: The cost of college is another source of great anxiety for families and young adults.
Who Cries For Aig's Ed Liddy?
No one, apparently. Back in March, the outgoing AIG CEO was all over the Internet thanks to the massive bonuses his notorious Financial Products unit was slated to receive. Today, after news of his looming departure broke, The Wall Street Journal buried the story on page C2 and the Times devoted half its Liddy piece to an unrelated lawsuit by AIG policyholders. It's actually a fitting coda to Liddy's tenure at the company.
Tnr's Memorial Weekend Special
2009 has been a good year for TNR.
May 21, 2009
Backward Runs 'Newsweek'
Blah blah newsmag remake blah blah
Winning the Peace
After a quarter century of bloodshed and somewhere over 80,000 deaths, Sri Lanka’s civil war didn’t really settle anything. It began in 1983 in a flawed-but-functioning postcolonial democracy whose leaders never seemed quite up to the task of integrating different ethnicities into one nation. It apparently ended on Sunday, in a still-flawed, newly-swaggering postwar democracy where that basic task of integration remains even more elusive. Fittingly, the last act of the island tragedy took place off-stage, at least as far as the world’s attention was concerned.
Detained by the Past
UPDATED AFTER TODAY'S SPEECHESWASHINGTON -- President Obama's lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: "The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care..."Then there's reality. Over the past two weeks, the past has ensnared the present, deflecting attention from Obama's domestic priorities and raising issues that divide his coalition.