March 09, 2009
Obama's Roosevelt-esque 100 Days
One of my favorite professors from college, Patrick Maney (now of Boston College), had a sharp Boston Globe op-ed a few weeks back. Maney, the author a terrific FDR biography, reminds us that even FDR didn't pull off FDR's first 100 days: The problem with the 100 days paradigm is that it obscures the vital role played by Congress - Republicans as well as Democrats - in crafting the First New Deal. It's too FDR-centric, what with Roosevelt and his brain trust bending a pliant Congress to their will within months of taking power. ... As often as not, Congress, not Roosevelt, forced the action.
My Washington Post op-ed tried to make the case against Chas Freeman that's much broader than his views on Israel. Reason's Matt Welch makes a similar case but, frankly, does it a lot better than I did, unearthing plenty of damning details I hadn't seen. You should really read Welch's entire piece.
It is, to massively understate the point, not exactly popular to defend Tim Geithner these days. And I certainly have concerns about what he's up to, and the direction the financial rescue is headed. But I think it's worth making at least one broad point on the guy's behalf. (God knows he could use it. When was the last time SNL not only parodied a Treasury secretary, but did it in a sketch that was funny?) At the risk of sounding trite, I'd just say it's pretty easy for me and other commentators to insist that some form of nationalization is the only possible solution to the bank crisis.
March 08, 2009
The Slightest Glimmer
In light of the week's terrible economic news we asked Simon Johnson, a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management, a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of Baseline Scenario, if there were any reasons, any at all, to feel hopeful. Here's what he wrote. The most dangerous thing in any economic crisis is denial. West European countries are still refusing to come to grips with the new (downward-looking) realities in East-Central Europe and what that means for their banks and their fiscal solvency.
March 06, 2009
Click here for Part 4: The case for caution.Click here for links to each part of the conversation.From: Elizabeth RubinTo: Alex de Waal, Richard Just, Eric Reeves, Alan WolfeI would like to respond to Alan's final question which gets to the heart of all the debates in recent years on justice versus peace and the nature of interventions. Alan ends by saying that perhaps the ICC should have thought about the political consequences of its decision especially when those consequences may prove so harmful.Actually, the court has thought about those consequences.
Via Andrew, Martin Feldstein, the respected Harvard professor and former Reagan economic adviser, has a persuasive op-ed in the Taipai Times (???) today about why a second round of stimulus will be necessary: [T]he US economy faces a US$750 billion shortfall of demand [according to Feldstein's calculations].
Still More On Walt!
James Fallows' case for Chas Freeman is much better than the "anything that's bad for the Israel lobby must be good" rationales I've seen. Yet it still leaves me unconvinced. Fallows argues that Freeman, while not the kind of person you'd want running U.S. foreign policy, is a useful "contrarian" to have around. But Freeman isn't a contrarian so much as a man with extremely rigid views that run contrary to what most people believe.
Last night on Larry King Live, Sanjay Gupta confirmed earlier reports that he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the surgeon general post. According to Gupta, the reasons for his decision are both professional (he would no longer be able to perform neurosurgery) and familial: “You know, I have two daughters,” he told King. “Our third daughter is now imminent.
What Is Pork, Really?
This is why we love Mike Grunwald: A whip-smart Time piece cutting through the BS around earmarks: The point is that most Americans think of pork as waste. That's why Republicans called the stimulus bill "Porkulus," even though it had no actual earmarks. The fact that money is earmarked does not prove it is wasted, and the fact that money is not earmarked does not prove it is not wasted. This is common sense, when you think about it.
Having written that Obama's private letter to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev was probably leaked by the Russians, I am ready to abandon that theory. The final straw is this post by Radio Free Europe's Brian Whitmore, who notes something I hadn't realized--the original report about the letter in the Russian press was attributed to "sources close to the White House." Not having seen that, I had assumed the Kremlin was playing footsie with its local media; apparently not. Don't believe me? Read the original story here: ???????????? ? ??????? ?????? ????? ???????????? ??? ??????? ???????