May 18, 2009
Today At Tnr (may 18, 2009)
Don't Bet Against Buffett: Money, Love, And The Oracle Of Omaha, by Michael Lewis Starting Over In Rwanda: Finding A Future In A Country That, 15 Years Ago, Looked Like It Might Not Have One, by Christine Stansell TNRtv: Are We Spending Too Much Time On Iran And Not Enough On North Korea? by J. Peter Scoblic Let's Make A Deal: Why Obama Should Appoint A Politician To The Supreme Court, by Gordon Silverstein In 'Angels & Demons,' Rome Finds Itself In Mortal Peril, And Tom Hanks Finds Himself Without A Mullet.
Regrets, I've Had A Few...
I wonder if Obama may now wish he'd come down differently in the reportedly "intense" White House debate over releasing those OLC torture memos. I rather suspect Nancy Pelosi does. --Michael Crowley
Did Biden Spill A Secret?
The people currently shocked that Joe Biden supposedly revealed the existence of a secret bunker under the White House must have been born in the past couple of years or else have pretty short memories. From December 2002: Neighbors of Vice President Dick Cheney are being shaken and rattled at least once a day by mysterious blasts at the U.S. Naval Observatory where Cheney lives. The Navy says the explosions are part of a construction project that has been going on for several months now, but won't say more because the project is classified.
Tough to say, but this might be a sign the administration expects it to. According to Chris Cillizza, the much-respected Stephanie Cutter, currently Tim Geithner's top communications aide, is moving from Treasury to the White House to help oversee the as-yet unnamed nominee's confirmation. Per Cillizza: Cutter will serve as an adviser to the president, helping to coordinate the Supreme Court nomination process -- a role similar to what Steve Schmidt played during the confirmations of Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
May 17, 2009
In response to the Fox News poll indicating that one in six Americans thinks Oprah would do a good job as a Supreme Court justice, Matthew Yglesias says: I’m actually 100 percent positive that were Oprah on the Supreme Court she would do a good job. In a lot of ways, it’s just not that difficult a job.
May 16, 2009
Today At Tnr (may 16, 2009)
Health Care's Executioners: How The Bean Counters At The Congressional Budget Office Could Kill Obama's Reform Efforts, by Jonathan Cohn Will The Notre Dame Controversy Suck Obama Into A Debate On Abortion? Don't Count On It. by Michelle Cottle Big Bosoms And The Big Bang: What A 35,000 Year Old Sculpture Tells Us, by John McWhorter Let's Make A Deal: Why Obama Should Appoint A Politician To The Supreme Court, by Gordon Silverstein In 'Angels & Demons,' Rome Finds Itself In Mortal Peril, And Tom Hanks Finds Himself Without A Mullet. Run!
May 15, 2009
When President Obama announced Supreme Court Justice Souter’s decision to retire, he said he would prefer a candidate who understands that justice “is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives.” This is not the description of most law professors that I know (and I know quite a few). Nor is this the description of anyone who has spent their entire career as a lawyer or judge. In fact, the type of person who is most likely to have this kind of first-hand experience is an elected official--an effective and dedicated politician. The nine members of the current U.S.
I agree with most of Jeffrey Rosen’s commentary on how to proceed with a potential torture investigation (“Truth or Dare”; May 20, 2009), but take issue with some of his conclusions. Yes, indeed: In order to successfully prosecute the authors of the “torture memos”--Yoo, Bybee, and Bradbury--a prosecutor would have the burden of proving conspiracy to torture and to contort the law to the authors’ ultimate illegal goals. Yes, a prosecutor would have to prove that they were acting in bad faith. And, yes, this would require “smoking gun evidence” that may well be hard to come by.
Today's NYT has some funny WH message confusion: After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic. “These groups are voluntarily coming together to make an unprecedented commitment,” Mr. Obama said.
Updated: Cbo's Preliminary Estimates
How much will health care reform cost? At this point, it's arguably the single most important question of the debate. And now, for the first time, we're getting some real answers. Or, at least, what counts for real answers in Washington. They come from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As I explain in a new article for the print magazine: When Congress writes a bill, the CBO is the agency that determines how much implementing it will likely cost. And that's no small matter.