World Health Organization

Eight Pieces, Really One: Iran, Israel's Military Doctrine, The President And One Dumb Jewish Woman, The Wages of Copenhagen, The Christmas Terrorist, We Should All Stop Talking About The Middle East
December 26, 2009

Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.

Counting on Trouble
August 11, 2009

In theory, the Census is a straightforward, if onerous, task: Every ten years, count everybody. In reality, it's rife with logistical snags and subject to partisan wrangling--and, with just eight months to go before the Big Count, you can already sense how nasty this one is going to get. The first major volley was launched in April, when a pair of Republican senators stalled the confirmation of Obama's nominee for Census director, keeping him from conducting crucial preparatory work.

Counting on Trouble
August 11, 2009

In theory, the Census is a straightforward, if onerous, task: Every ten years, count everybody. In reality, it's rife with logistical snags and subject to partisan wrangling--and, with just eight months to go before the Big Count, you can already sense how nasty this is going to get. The first major volley was launched in April, when a pair of Republican senators stalled the confirmation of Obama's nominee for Census director, keeping him from conducting crucial preparatory work.

Who Won And Who Lost In The Defense Budget?
April 07, 2009

We posed that question to several experts, and here's what they had to say.  NAME: Thomas Donnelly POSITION: Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute WHO WON: Lockheed Martin, who got a funding boost in the budget for its F-35 fighter plane. (Boeing, on the other hand, would see production of the F-18 scaled back, and money for the F-22, in which Boeing has roughly a one-third stake, would be eliminated.) Also, the Obama administration wins for proposing to cut defense spending to below four percent of the GDP.

Who's Afraid Of DDT?
May 14, 2008

John Quiggin and Tim Lambert have a nice piece in the British Prospect debunking the longstanding right-wing myth that environmentalists have supposedly caused the deaths of millions of people by pushing for a ban on using DDT to fight malaria. As Quiggin and Lambert detail at length, that's just not true. Interestingly, this little fable seems to have been first ginned up in the early 1990s by Steven Milloy, who at the time was busy trying to cast doubt on the link between smoking and lung cancer.

Will Cell Phones Kill You?
April 09, 2008

The Secret History of the War on Cancer by Devra Davis (Basic Books, 505 pp., $27.95) I. In 1775, Percivall Pott, a surgeon at St. Bartholemew's Hospital in London who gave his name to several diseases and conditions, published Chirurgical Observations. Although he had treated such distinguished personages as Samuel Johnson and Thomas Gainsborough, his treatise focused on the lowliest of the low. In so doing, he became the first to hypothesize what is now a widespread notion: that cancer can be caused by environmental exposure.

Fox Hates On Huckabee
December 31, 2007

Mike, regular Iowans might not care that much that the bigfoot reporters think Huckabee had a bizarre press conference, but it was all over WHO -- the Fox affiliate, the station that carries Rush Limbaugh -- this afternoon, which I listened to while I was driving. The flavor: "What was going on in the Huckabee camp? Does this guy have the organizational skills to lead?" Bad, bad, bad. One other weird thing about WHO. In over an hour of listening, I heard about eight political ads -- all from Democrats and none from Republicans.

Straw Man
August 27, 2007

Noam Scheiber on Mitt Romney’s flimsy 2008 campaign.

Vouchsafe
February 19, 2007

Requiring people to buy health insurance as if it were a driver's license has become the health care policy initiative du jour. This "individual mandate" model got its first official embrace when former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, working with his Democratic state legislature, used such a scheme to cover all state residents. In January, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to implement a similar program.

The Producers
May 29, 2006

ON THE SEATING CHART of the creative fraternity, record producers occupy one of the rows behind film directors and in front of book editors. In recording, it is the performers who are the "artists," as the music press and the people who run the Grammys like to remind us. Producers, as a rule, are hired by record companies to produce in a fundamentally commercial sense: to supply product. The task involves extraction (from the artists), organization and supervision (of those artists and their work), and collaboration (with the artists), in varying measures; the producer's job is essentially sus

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