Not many Ph.D. students expect their research to generate outrage among Washington pundits decades later, but, as it turns out, that's exactly what happened to Stephen Schneider. Back in 1971, Schneider was studying plasma physics at Columbia and moonlighting as a research assistant at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
One of the most revealing moments in Saturday's debate over health care reform was when Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York took the floor. Weiner is a rising star in the Democratic Party, having quickly established himself as an unusually engaging speaker. But, in this case, it was Weiner's effective use of a prop that stood apart. The prop was the handbook for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, or FEHBP--which is, very roughly speaking, a model for how a reformed health care system might work.
In case you haven't gotten your issue of Der Spiegel this month, the German mag has some very cool details on the intelligence work that led to the discovery--and eventual destruction by Israeli airstrike--of a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor being built with North Korean help: In the spring of 2004, the American National Security Agency (NSA) detected a suspiciously high number of telephone calls between Syria and North Korea, with a noticeably busy line of communication between the North Korean capital Pyongyang and a place in the northern Syrian desert called Al Kibar.
--Jill Lepore on murders and American history --Mark Bowden on the line between internet dirty-talk and internet sexual predation --Jenny Diski on Roman Polanski and rape --If all this is too grim, check out James Poniewozik's short essay on the media's centrist bias --And, finally, one Yankee fan who is not very happy
A banking industry lobbyist I spoke with this evening alerts me to a fascinating development in the House Financial Services Committee: Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski is about to introduce an amendment to the systemic risk bill moving through the committee (see my discussion here and here) that would give regulators the power to break up too-big-to-fail firms. The details are a little unclear--as it stands, the current bill would give the Fed some vague powers in this vein. But the soon-to-be Kanjorski amendment appears to go much further, and the banks are freaking out about it.
Almost three decades ago, a group of radical Islamist students, dressed in army fatigues or covered in scarves and black chadors, forced their way into the American embassy in Tehran. According to some accounts, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, then a student at a second-tier technical college in Tehran, was invited to join the hostage takers. He declined, saying he would join only if they would also occupy the Soviet embassy in Tehran.
Just after Ford Motor Company announced third-quarter profits of nearly $1 billion, its UAW-represented workers rejected a package of concessions including a wage freeze for newly hired workers and a no-strike pledge when the current contract expires in 2011. The concessions would have put Ford’s labor costs on par with those that GM and Chrysler obtained earlier this year. Those concessions, in turn, brought the companies’ wages and benefits down to the levels of the (non-union) Japanese manufacturers with plants here.
From the moment the the Republican leadership released its alternative approach to health care reform, critics (including me) pointed out that it was unlikely to make a dent in the number of people without insurance. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office came out with its preliminary estimates of what the bill will do. And, sure enough, the critics were right. Overall, ten years into implementation, the plan would not significantly change the number of people with health insurance.
So what's going on with the Senate climate bill? Kate Sheppard has the rundown of all the latest dips and dives. The two main developments are a) the Kerry-Boxer cap-and-trade bill is still, very slowly, tunneling its way through the various committees, but it's been bogged down by the fact that Republicans have boycotted the mark-up process in the EPW committee and are demanding further economic analyses of the bill; and b) John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Republican Lindsey Graham are now hashing out their own, parallel, proposal for a bipartisan climate bill.
I don't want to get too Noam-y here, but I love Dave Leonhardt's new column raising--if not quite endorsing--the possibility that current economic pessimism is overstated, and that another boom could be hiding around the corner. In particular I find this compelling: When Bill Clinton convened a conference in the dark economic days after his 1992 election, some of the country’s top economists flew to Little Rock, Ark., to share their vision for the future. As Rahm Emanuel, now the White House chief of staff, likes to point out, they didn’t spend much time talking about the Internet.