April 22, 2009

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.

Truth and Reconciliation

'Reconciliation" means "restoration of harmony." But as a term of art in budgeting, it has become an act of war. President Obama and most Democrats in Congress hope to include health and education reform in reconciliation instructions as part of the budget process. No mystery why. The sixty vote hurdle in the Senate of the filibuster could scotch these central components of their agenda via united Republican opposition. Bills considered under reconciliation cannot be filibustered and can therefore pass the Senate by majority vote.

An Alibi For Liberal Realism
12:00 AM

Responding to this morning's eloquent New York Times op-ed on human rights in Afghanistan, Michelle Goldberg of the Prospect writes: So far, the administration's realism has overshadowed its idealism, especially in Afghanistan, where the United States is reaching out to "moderate" elements of the Taliban. Lots of observers seem relieved by this scaling back of American ambitions. By cynically cloaking its own aggression in the language of human rights, the Bush team did much to discredit the latter. But ... there are real moral costs to realist compromises.

Tnr Slideshow: Human Resources
12:00 AM

Today's New York Times profile of Mike Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of Correspondence (or the guy who selects 10 letters for Obama to read every day), got us wondering--what other White House jobs don't we know much about? In today's TNR slideshow, we feature the government officials--from pilots and planners to cooks and clerks--who keep the Executive Branch running smoothly. -- Elizabeth Sher Photo courtesy of Getty Images