the University of Pennsylvania

Elizabeth Warren's Counterfeit Scandal
June 01, 2012

The hoariest cliché in Washington, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” has never been true. It wasn’t even true during Watergate, which bequeathed this dubious homily. The only reason people said it then was because while it could be proved that Richard Nixon participated in the Watergate cover-up (it was on tape), it couldn’t be proved that Nixon ordered the initial break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Nixon’s role in the cover-up was certainly enough to justify Congress’s pressuring him to resign, as he eventually did. The cover-up was very, very bad.

The New Jobs Report: Ooof
June 01, 2012

The new jobs report is out and it’s not good at all. It may not suggest the economy is slowing down, at least according to the economists I’ve consulted and read. But it certainly suggests the economy wasn’t growing as fast as we thought. And it’s not like anybody thought it was growing that fast in the first place. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday morning that the economy created just 69,000 jobs last month. It also revised its estimate for April, down to 77,000 from 115,000. Unemployment has gone up a tenth of a percentage point, to 8.2 percent.

Elizabeth Warren's Counterfeit Scandal
June 01, 2012

 The hoariest cliché in Washington, “the cover-up is worse than the crime,” has never been true. It wasn’t even true during Watergate, which bequeathed this dubious homily. The only reason people said it then was because while it could be proved that Richard Nixon participated in the Watergate cover-up (it was on tape), it couldn’t be proved that Nixon ordered the initial break-in to the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Nixon’s role in the cover-up was certainly enough to justify Congress’s pressuring him to resign, as he eventually did. The cover-up was very, very bad.

The Blooming Foreigner
November 23, 2011

“Something Urgent I Have to Say to You”: The Life and Works of William Carlos WilliamsBy Herbert Leibowitz (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 496 pp., $40)  William Carlos Williams, among the most aggressively American poets since Walt Whitman, was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1883, to a Puerto Rican mother and an English father, neither of whom bothered to become American citizens after their transplantation from the Caribbean to the poisonous industrial marshes west of Manhattan.

Eric Cantor, Lake Wobegon Egalitarian
October 21, 2011

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) was supposed to give a major speech about income inequality at the University of Pennsylvania this afternoon, but he cancelled it, apparently fearing that protesters would disrupt the event. Now that I've read the prepared speech text, though, I wonder whether he cancelled because ... well ... he didn't have much to say on the topic.

American Exceptionalism (Not the Good Kind)
May 24, 2011

Expect light blogging over the next few days. I've got more than the usual reporting to do. In the meantime, you might enjoy this brief lecture from Beth Linker, a professor of history and the sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania. Linker's theme is "American exceptionalism," but not the kind people usually invoke. She is referring to our health care system, which is exceptional for its history of treating health care as a luxury rather than a right. Linker's talk is part of Penn's "60 second lecture series" and it is as quick as the name suggests.

Libertarians For The Individual Mandate
March 04, 2011

Matthew Yglesias tweets a link to a 2004 Reason article advocating... an individual health insurance mandate: Why not just tell Americans they are responsible for buying their own health insurance from now on? If people couldn't pay for medical care, either through insurance or out of pocket, they wouldn't get it.

Energy (and Economic) Transformation Come to the Philadelphia Navy Yard
August 27, 2010

We’ve long liked the Department of Energy’s new Energy Innovation Hubs program, with its resemblances to our energy discovery-innovation institutes idea.

Would You Take the New Alzheimer's Test?
August 11, 2010

Editor’s Note: We may have a new, extremely reliable test for Alzheimer’s disease. On Tuesday, a study published in the Annals of Neurology suggested that a spinal tap can detect, with nearly perfect accuracy, development of Alzheimer’s years before the symptoms start to appear. But since there’s no cure for Alzheimer's, what should Americans, as a society and individuals, do with this test? Who should get it? And when? We put those questions to Jonathan D. Moreno, a highly respected bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania and author, most recently, of Progress in Bioethics.

An IQ Test for Policy Wonks
August 03, 2010

Early childhood intervention seems like one of the few anti-poverty programs that liberals can sell politically. And that's no surprise: Who wants to argue against spending money to help kids, even poor ones? The trouble is that it hasn't always been clear these programs work. In particular, evidence suggests that preschools and other programs for poor children have only a temporary effect: Kids show gains in IQ but, within a few years, those gains disappear. But now comes reason to think these programs really do have impact.

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