April 29, 2009

Why Isn't Obama's Top Pandemic Expert In Her Job Yet?
12:00 AM

If you had to conjure up the perfect official to advise President Obama about the swine flu outbreak, it'd probably be somebody who had a strong background in public health--say, somebody who had run the public health department for a vast, densely populated city like New York City. It'd be better, still, if this person had experience in the federal government, as well, perhaps in the Department of Health and Human Servcies.

The War On Obama's Nuclear Agenda

In 2007, John Bolton wrote that Republicans had achieved "the end of arms control." He was referring to a string of conservative successes, starting with the U.S. Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1999, that signaled a dramatic shift in the way the United States interacted with the rest of the world. Essentially, Bolton and his ideological brethren wanted to create a world in which the United States would never limit its sovereignty through any negotiated agreement.

Tnr Slideshow: Heirs-unapparent
12:00 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's youngest son has reportedly been appointed "instructor" at the powerful National Defense Commission. Following reports of Kim's faltering health, this indicates that Kim Jong-Un is being groomed to eventually lead. Pictured here at the age of 11, the 26-year-old was educated in Switzerland, speaks fluent English, and follows NBA basketball.

Dems For A Public Plan. Not (exactly) The Usual Suspects.
12:00 AM

Sixteen Democratic Senators, led by Ohio's Sherrod Brown and West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller, just sent a letter making the case for a public insurance option as part of health reform. The letter is addressed to the two committee chairman who are in charge of health reform: Finance's Max Baucus and HELP's Ted Kennedy. And the letter is not overly specific about what a public plan has to look like--i.e., how much it has to look like Medicare and how much it has to look like, say, health plans for state employees. The list of signatories is a bit more interesting.

Obama Starts A Grown-up Discussion Of Health Care
12:00 AM

The New York Times just posted David Leonhardt's latest interview with President Obama. It's full of fascinating material and well worth reading in full. But, naturally, it was the discussion on health policy that caught my attention. The discussion--and it's really more a discussion than an interview, which is one of the reason's it's so revealing--doesn't dwell on expanding insurance coverage and access to care. Instead, it focuses on why health care is getting so expensive and what can be done about it. Along the way, Obama makes two crucial points.

Life Imitates "the West Wing"
12:00 AM

From the Times look back at the administration's auto industry approach: A half-hour into the meeting [about the fates of GM and Chrysler in March], an aide entered the Oval Office and slipped Mr. Obama a note informing him another meeting was to begin. The president told advisers he needed more time to decide Chrysler’s fate. He then headed off for a day consumed by a new strategy for Afghanistan, a threatened rocket launch by North Korea and the evacuation of a flooded Fargo, N.D. (“What is this, a ‘West Wing’ episode?” Mr. Axelrod recalled asking Mr.

Larry Summers = The New Bob Reich?
12:00 AM

  From David Leonhardt's interview with Obama for this Sunday's Times Magazine: [Leonhardt]: When you and I spoke during the campaign, you made it clear that you had thought a lot about the economic debates within the Clinton administration. And you said that you wanted to have a Robert Rubin type and a Robert Reich type having a vigorous debate in front of you. ... THE PRESIDENT: ...

What Ha'aretz Said About Israeli Independence Then Is Still True Now
12:00 AM

Read what Ha'aretz had to say in May 1948. It is an illumination of then and now.Sixty years after, there are enemies who aspire even today to destroy the state of the Jewish nation. They are, however, mostly non-state actors (Hamas and Hezbollah and random others) who play by their distinctively brutal rules of war which endanger the lives of their own people at least as much as they imperil the lives of Israelis. The Gaza moralizers haven't the temerity to admit that the terrorists choose their own stage of battle.  Those who equivocate about this, who pretend that these groups can be concil

April 28, 2009

All Together Now
12:00 AM

The toughest political challenges in health reform come from the right and from affected interest groups. The toughest intellectual challenges come from parts left: progressives who advocate an expanded public role. Jonathan Cohn has noted an important paper by Ted Marmor, Jonathan Oberlander, and Joseph White that expresses the criticism well.

Defending Academe
12:00 AM

Mark C. Taylor’s yawp of pain about academia in The New York Times yesterday is a handy compendium of virtually every complaint currently circulating about the American university system. We are, he claims, overspecialized, obsolescent, irrelevant, and rigid. We learn more and more about less and less, while mercilessly exploiting successive generations of graduate students whom we then cast out into unemployment or the wilderness of adjuncting. In short, we stand with the auto manufacturers and (one might add) newspapers in the ranks of ill-adapted social dinosaurs awaiting extinction.