January 09, 2009

Daschle: Not Backing Off Health Care Strategy
12:00 AM

TalkingPointsMemo is reporting that Tom Daschle yesterday holstered one of the Democrats' most potent political weapons, the Senate's budget reconciliation process, in the fight to pass health care reform. If true, it would be a major shift. The rules of reconciliation forbid filibusters, making it possible to pass legislation with just fifty votes. Democratic reform propopents, including not just Daschle but also Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, have for some time said they'd use reconciliation, if necessary, to enact health care reform.

Is Obama Fabricating Bad Economic News?
12:00 AM

 Yesterday, Barack Obama gave a speech about the grim state of the economy. News reports reacted with astonishing skepticism. Here's the Washington Post: In his first major speech since Election Day, Obama participated in an early version of a presidential ritual: preparing the country for an eventual economic recovery by painting an especially grim picture of the nation's fiscal standing at the start. And here's The Hill: Barack Obama won the White House on a message of hope, but when it comes to dealing with the first test of his presidency, he has mixed in a little fear. ...

Oh, Oh Sheila ...
12:00 AM

I'm a little tardy in acknowledging this, but only hours after my article calling on Obama to bring Sheila Bair into the White House fold, he did, not only asking her to stick around at the FDIC but telling CNBC, "The FDIC and Sheila Bair have had the sense of urgency about the problem [regarding foreclosures] that I want to see.'' Obviously, the transition folks got wind of the piece's imminent publication and acted accordingly. Obviously.

January 08, 2009

On Proportionality
12:00 AM

Let’s talk about proportionality--or, more important, about its negative form. “Disproportionate” is the favorite critical term in current discussions of the morality of war. But most of the people who use it don’t know what it means in international law or in just war theory. Curiously, they don’t realize that it has been used far more often to justify than to criticize what we might think of as excessive violence. It is a dangerous idea.Proportionality doesn’t mean “tit for tat,” as in the family feud. The Hatfields kill three McCoys, so the McCoys must kill three Hatfields.

From The TNR Archives: Cass R. Sunstein
12:00 AM

"Misery and Company," October 22, 2008 "Wall Street's Lemmings: Why Policymakers Need To Understand Psychology As Much As Economics To Solve The Financial Crisis," October 11, 2008 "The Empiricist Strikes Back: Obama’s Pragmatism Explained," September 10, 2008 "Easy Does It: How To Make Lazy People Do The Right Thing," April 9, 2008 "Visionary Minimalist: Toward A Theory Of Obama-ism," January 30, 2008 "A Mere Smear: Sean Wilentz's Unfair Attack On Barack Obama And His Supporters," December 27, 2007 "The Most Mysterious Right," November 12, 2007 "The Thin Line: Understanding How Good People T

Correspondence: What About Physician Health Programs?

The recent article, “Going Under,” in The New Republic eloquently describes what has fortunately become a rare fatal outcome for physicians treated by state Physician Health Programs (PHPs). Failure to put this into perspective leaves readers with the mistaken impression that addiction is commonly or inevitably fatal. This article underscores that fact that there are two common errors in dealing with addiction: the first and most common is to underestimate its power.

Hot Under the Collar
12:00 AM

One evening in November, about 170 attorneys gathered for a cocktail reception at the Georgetown University Law Center. Unlike at most swanky D.C. lawyers' events, an unmistakable scent of chlorine and perspiration lingered in the air: The event took place in the foyer of a gym. But the smell of sweat was strangely appropriate. The lawyers had come from a seminar on "Defending the White Collar Case," a timely opportunity to burnish their arsenal of strategies.

Correspondence: Going Under
12:00 AM

Gregory Skipper and Robert DuPont are right to note the important role Physician Health Programs (PHPs) play in treating drug-addicted M.D.'s. In Brent Cambron's case, it's difficult to know much about that role (which is why I didn't address it in my article). According to some people who were close to him, Cambron felt that the PHP that monitored his recovery was more of a hindrance than a help, questioning his commitment to recovery in such a way that he himself began to doubt it.

The Two Richard John Neuhauses
12:00 AM

In the three-and-a-half years I worked at First Things magazine, I came to know two Richard John Neuhauses. The first is the one I worked with in the journal's offices every day: personally generous and jovial, intellectually and theologically curious, alert to political and cultural complications, overflowing with energy and ideas. This is the Neuhaus readers encountered in his lengthy, erudite essays on philosophy, theology, and history, which frequently graced the pages of the magazine.

Will Obama Save Offshore Wind Power--or Kill It?
12:00 AM

Wendy Williams is co-author of Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics and the Battle for Our Energy Future. Cape Wind has long been the problem child of the nation's push for renewable energy—and it could end up being one of Barack Obama's biggest energy headaches in his first term, one that may decide the future of offshore wind power in the United States. The Cape Wind project was proposed just before September 11, 2001, and calls for 130 3.6-megawatt wind turbines, sitting five miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (map here).