Greatest Book Subtitle Ever?
September 08, 2009

It might just be the forthcoming Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman. According to The Hill, Frank admits in the book that his ultimate political ambition is to serve as HUD Secretary, which would make him America's only left-handed, gay, Jewish cabinet member.

Mad Men In a Good Place: How Did People Sound in 1963?
September 01, 2009

Last Sunday’s third episode of this season’s Mad Men was one of the best in the series on many levels, which was why for me, a frequent little problem with the show stood out more than ever. Namely, the show’s depiction of how people speak is less accurate than the loving exactitude with attire, cocktails, product labels, and the like. The most glaring example in this episode was what seems to have gone down as a memorable line from Peggy Olson, erstwhile secretary who is slowly climbing the corporate ladder.

Drug Deal
August 25, 2009

How Big Pharma extorted the White House.

Obama Backing Away From Public Option?
August 16, 2009

Everybody seems to think President Obama is backing away from the public insurance option. The reason is a pair of statements over the weekend--one by Obama himself and one by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Obama's statement came during a town hall in Colorado on Saturday. After defending the public plan proposal on its merits, he suggested it wasn't quite as important to reform as a lot people think: All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform.

Revising The Target
August 16, 2009

The piece I posted last Friday has unleashed a torrent of criticism. Alas, some of it is based on a misunderstanding of what I said, and much of it reflects an unwillingness to face political reality. I did not--repeat, did not--propose "abandoning health reform." Here's what I said: [T]he president would be well advised to focus more on the economy over the next three years, and to persuade average Americans that the economy is as central to his concerns as is it to theirs.

Military Officials Urge Action On Climate Change
July 30, 2009

Earlier today, congressional Democrats held their second hearing on the national security aspects of climate change in little over a week. While it's no secret that the military has been conducting research into the implications of a warming planet for some time now, former Republican Senator John Warner confirmed in his opening statement that the Pentagon has gotten the message: I made a further request of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans, and Forces, to provide me with a statement describing ongoing work in the Department of Defense.

Who's Afraid Of Consumer Financial Protection?
July 28, 2009

The debate over re-regulation of the financial sector has finally, and irreversibly, turned partisan. This helps define issues in ways that may be more familiar and thus easier to understand. In the blue corner we have Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Secretary Geithner's overall banking policy continues to be problematic, and his broader re-regulation effort is hampered by all the free passes he gave to bank CEOs earlier this year. But on consumer protection he has the right message and he delivered it forcefully to Congress last week: we need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) and

The SE&Ds of Change
July 27, 2009

China has arrived ... again. Beijing is growing confident enough in its own power and position in the world that it is increasingly and actively influencing world events. It can choose--and has chosen, in many cases--to play a helpful role in tackling shared threats. But China has also been standing its ground on disagreements with the United States.

Secretary Geithner's China Strategy: A Viewer's Guide
July 27, 2009

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Treasury Secretary Geithner--and Secretary of State Clinton--meet with a high-level Chinese delegation. According to official previews (i.e., the apparent contents of background briefings given to wire services), the economic topics are China's concerns about the value of the dollar (i.e., their investments in the U.S.) and the amount of debt that the U.S.

Hillary The Architect
July 15, 2009

This afternoon, Hillary Clinton gave what I thought was an excellent speech laying out the Obama administration's approach to the world. A sizeable portion of the Washington foreign policy establishment packed the Council on Foreign Relations to hear her remarks, and the secretary was accompanied by a gaggle of lieutenants, including (from my view of the room) special envoys Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, and a number of assistant secretaries, including Rose Gottemoeller, Andrew Shapiro, and P.J. Crowley.