April 22, 2009

The Presidential Nitty-gritty
12:00 AM

 I realize there's a history and even a logic to them, but I find these sorts of certification announcements so very odd: For Immediate Release April 21, 2009 TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES: In accordance with the provisions of section 1512 of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (Public Law 105-261), I hereby certify to the Congress that the export of one continuous mixer to be used to manufacture conductive polymer compounds to be further processed to make circuit protection devices, one jet mill to be used for particle size reduction of pigments a

Treasury: Regrets, I've Had A Few
12:00 AM

If you haven't picked up on one of the dozens of recommendations from other blogs, I recommend reading Phillip Swagel's long and detailed account of the view of the financial crisis from his seat as assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department. It's particularly useful for people like me who make a habit of criticizing government officials. The writing is dry, but much of the subject matter is fascinating. It often explains or defends Treasury's actions during the crisis, but Swagel certainly owns up to plenty of mistakes or shortcomings.

12:00 AM

Official proclamation, June 2003: THE WHITE HOUSEOffice of the Press SecretaryJune 26, 2003STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENTUnited Nations International Day in Support of Victims of TortureToday, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right.

A New Twist On The Public Plan
12:00 AM

White House health care advisor Nancy DeParle helped clarify the administration's feelings about a public insurance option last week, when she spoke to an audience at the Kaiser Family Foundation. The administration was committed to some sort of public plan, DeParle said, but exactly what kind of public plan was up for discussion. The plan could operate like Medicare, for example, or it could operate like quasi-public plans for government employees that now exist in many states.

April 21, 2009

From The TNR Archives: Michael B. Oren
12:00 AM

  "Unfriendly Fire: Why Did Israeli Troops Attack The USS Liberty?" July 23, 2001   "The Rescuer," Review of Race Against Death: Peter Bergson, America, and the Holocaust, by David S.

Harman: I Did Not Intervene
12:00 AM

Speaking on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell this morning, Harman was more definitive than her statement yesterday, which only contained a specific denial that she had contacted DOJ about the Rosen/Weissman/AIPAC case. Today she said: "I never called White House officials, Justice Department officials, the press--anyone. I did not intervene." (If you don't know or can't recall what this AIPAC case is all about, by the way, Jeff Goldberg detailed it for the New Yorker back in 2004.) --Michael Crowley

A Comeback For The Minutemen?
12:00 AM

According to Politico, John McCain might be facing a serious challenge in his 2010 primary now that Chris Simcox, founder of the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, has thrown his hat into the ring. Via Ben Smith: "John McCain has failed miserably in his duty to secure this nation's borders and protect the people of Arizona from the escalating violence and lawlessness," Simcox said. "He has fought real efforts over the years at every turn, opting to hold our nation's border security hostage to his amnesty schemes.

Obamamania At The Cia
12:00 AM

  Not to be ornery, but is it really appropriate for CIA officers to cheer the president--as they did during Obama's visit to Langley yesterday--as though they're at a political pep rally? (The beginning of this video gives you some of the flavor.) I guess it's comforting to see that the entire agency doesn't resent Obama for releasing the torture memos. But the people at yesterday's event almost certainly weren't from the clandestine operations side of the CIA, which handles the nasty work.

Lobbying: Bewitched By Language
12:00 AM

The Obama administration continues to have trouble filling positions because of the ironclad rules it has installed to keep lobbyists from holding positions where they have authority over issues on which they once lobbied. According to the New York Times, the latest casualty is Tom Malinowski, the advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

April 20, 2009

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of guns including assault weapons were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, arming criminal gangs who were killing American law enforcement officials and other U.S.