Politics

April 09, 2009

Moral-Hazard Relativism
12:00 AM

When Congress was constructing its economic stimulus bill in February, Democrats attempted to insert a provision that would have extended unemployment benefits by 13 weeks. Republicans would have none of it: Doing so would create an "incentive for people who could otherwise be employed not to be employed," sniffed South Dakota Senator John Thune.

The Prime Minister Of WTF
12:00 AM

Americans who watched the bizarre clip from last week’s G-20 Summit of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi shouting, “Meester Obamaa, Meester Obamaa!” to the evident irritation of the British Queen--and who were shocked at his infamous joke about Obama’s being “tall, handsome, and suntanned”--might be wondering: What’s up with this guy? Does he have an Obama problem? Just to put everyone’s mind at rest, the quick answer is: No, he does this to everyone! Or something equally bizarre.

Swing Senators Still Optimistic About Cap-and-trade
12:00 AM

Darren Samuelsohn of ClimateWire has a very helpful piece re-assessing the prospects for cap-and-trade legislation in the Senate. A carbon cap can't go into the budget reconciliation bill this year, which means Republicans can filibuster, which means it'll need 60 votes to pass. But climate legislation isn't doomed yet. A bevy of swing Democrats, from Mary Landrieu to Carl Levin, still sound sanguine, as they watch the debate over the House energy and climate bill slowly unfurl.

White House Eases Up On Carbon Auctions
12:00 AM

Yesterday, White House science adviser John Holdren told The Washington Post that the Obama administration might soften its stance that 100 percent of the carbon  permits under a cap-and-trade system need to be auctioned off. That's not overly shocking. Ed Markey and Henry Waxman in the House have hinted at a similar compromise. Environmentalists don't like it, but any climate bill capable of snagging 60 votes in the Senate will have to make some concessions to industry lobbyists.

Arne Duncan And A New Pornographer
12:00 AM

Spotted: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan introducing flame-haired indie goddess Neko Case at the 9:30 Club last night. But ... why? Is the Cabinet member a devoted Neko fan, or is she a big supporter of education reform? (A friend who was at the concert said she put in a good word for Obama's education plans.) As it turns out, the backstory proves, yet again, just how tied the administration is to the Chicago scene. Last week, the Department of Education hired Tim Tuten, co-owner of The Hideout, a hip Chicago club, as assistant secretary for communications and outreach.

April 08, 2009

World Without End, Amen
12:00 AM

For a while there, it was looking like we were going to spend the next four years arguing whether Barack Obama’s foreign policy was actually different than George W. Bush’s. As I noted the other day, Robert Kagan, the neoconservative foreign policy adviser to the McCain campaign, has been arguing that “the pretense of radical change has required some sleight of hand.” A few former Bush officials have made similar points.

Reversal of Fortune
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison this week by Peru's Supreme Court in connection with two massacres committed by a death squad known as the Colina group, as well as the kidnapping of a journalist and a businessman.

Vindication?
12:00 AM

Slightly strange press release from the White House just now:  Readout on President Obama’s Phone Call to Congratulate UNC Basketball Coach Roy Williams: Last night, aboard Air Force One, President Obama called University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams to congratulate him on his team’s victory over Michigan State in the NCAA National Championship basketball game in Detroit. Listed below is a read-out on the phone call from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:  “The President offered Coach Williams his congratulations and thanked him and his team for vindicating him

From The White House Press Office
12:00 AM

Reprinted without comment: For Immediate Release April 8, 2009   Readout on President Obama’s Phone Call to Congratulate UNC Basketball Coach Roy Williams:   Last night, aboard Air Force One, President Obama called University of North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams to congratulate him on his team’s victory over Michigan State in the NCAA National Championship basketball game in Detroit.  Listed below is a read-out on the phone call from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:   “The President offered Coach Williams his congratulations and thanked him and his team for vindica

The Conservative Case Against Coleman
12:00 AM

Ramesh Ponnuru makes it: If he keeps up the fight, he is likely to lose, unnecessarily deprive Minnesota of a second senator, end his political career seen as a sore loser, and hurt his party in a state that is eager for this fight to be over. His team has talked enough about further legal challenges that if he leaves now, he will get some points for grace.

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