• on a comment on Obama's Failure of Leadership over 4 years ago

    One quick point, there is more to this puzzle than covering the uninsured. The point is that we are spending 17 percent of GDP on healthcare and this is expected to rise to 21 percent of GDP by 2020.

    That's an unsustainable trend with dire implications not just for the health of Americans but ultimately for the health of the nation. Our broken healthcare system is fast becoming a national security issue if hasn't already.

  • after seeing the Presiden't's healthcare proposals I have to concur with your assessment.

  • Fair enough. I was hesitant to begin with on that phrasing since I go issue by issue.

    I've made an edit that I think better reflects my thinking.

  • is not the situation you describe.

    A regulatory race to the bottom is a situation where a corporate entity seeks the lowest regulatory environment in which to set up business. Examples include Citibank et al setting up operation in South Dakota and Delaware or tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or Jersey providing a lax regulatory environment for financial transactions. States or countries compete for corporations by cutting regulations and over time that has led to a weakening of global standards, hence a race to the bottom.


  • on a comment on He Kept Us Out of a Depression over 4 years ago

    Reagan's question was posed during his debate with Jimmy Carter in 1980. 

  • comment on a post Tea Party: Let's Murder Senator Murray over 4 years ago

    a) I'm not sure how New Hampshire in February is a vacation.

    b) Mike Huckabee about a month ago suggested tar and feathering members of Congress. Now mind you, one can survive a tar and feathering - it burns off your skin so the biggest cause of death is from subsequent infections - but what does it say about the GOP when its leadership is advocating violence?

    Here's his quote:

    "Every member of Congress knows in his gut what’s in the people’s interest and what’s in K Street’s interest.

    If you think your real boss is some smug guy in a corner office with his Gucci loafers up on a mahogany deck and not the folks back home, those folks who voted for you, who gave you 25 or 50 hard-earned bucks, who put up yard signs and made calls for you, you deserve to lose.

    Shame on you, you shouldn’t just be fired, you should be tarred and feathered as the original tea partiers would have done."


  • on a comment on He Kept Us Out of a Depression over 4 years ago

    as Barney Frank has noted, no one has ever gotten re-elected using the argument that it could have been worse.

    Abatement is one thing, but the electorate expects a fix.

  • on a comment on Going Nuclear over 4 years ago

    I don't disagree that nuclear is prohibitively expensive and presents a number of other complications (waste, they use copious amounts of water, uranium is a scarce resource and nearing its own peak around 2040-2050) but I have come to view coal-fired plants as the noose of our ultimate demise. If we continue to consume the energy that is stored in fossil fuels, we will likely turn the planet  into a boiling cauldron.

    Ultimately all that energy that is stored as coal, oil and natural gas came from the Sun and was captured on Earth in plants and animals and slowly transformed into carbon and hydrocarbon based fossil fuels over hundreds of millions of years. The oldest coal deposits date to the Paleozoic Era and more precisely the Carboniferous Period, 360 to 286 million years ago. But we are using these at a rate that far exceeds replenishment. But that's not the problem, the problem is that these sources are not carbon-neutral so we are pumping eons of stored energy back into the atmosphere in a blip. All the oil on the planet, oil that dates to the Jurassic, will be consumed in a space of perhaps 300 years.

    If we had listened to Carter and worked on alternative energy back in the late 1970s, we today we would have more options but we didn't and so I have changed my views because I don't see a readily available alternative.

    I see nuclear as a technolgy that is there and much improved thanks to the Japanese and Europeans, carbon neutral and bridge - something that buys us time while we figure something else out. That's how I have arrived here. The bottom line for me is that we need to stop burning coal.

  • on a comment on The Lost Narrative over 4 years ago

    Oh, I disagree. I think Gates is underused. Same for Steven Chu, LaHood, Locke. They have locked up Austan Goolsbee who granted isn't Cabinet level but in the first few months of the Administration, he articulated the most cogent arguments for the fiscal stimulus. Austan is a phenom (he was a national debate champion at Milton Academy and at Yale) and yet when was the last time he was used to deliver a message? My guess is May.

    It's not just about having them spout talking points, but putting them in staged opportunities so that they can shine.

    Say what you will about the Bush White House, but they understood the marketing power of the Presidency. They used the bully pulpit well. Their stagecraft was well managed and delivered. 

    One has to sell ideas. This Administration does have a vision but I'd be damned if I could articulate it easily. The best I can say is that "they are not Bush" but that's a negation, not a positioning.

  • on a comment on Bayh & '12 & '16 over 4 years ago

    But the guy that worries me is Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

    Frankly if there is a Republican whom I admire in terms of competency (not politics) it is Jon Huntsman but he was sent into exile in China. 

    Daniels isn't well known but I think he could take it if he wants it. Pawlenty strikes me as a fool and I think Huckabee's moment has come and gone. Romney has cash and that makes him dangerous but his flaws to those inside the GOP are still the same. David Brooks likes John Thune but I suspect the mood of the country is someone not currently in Washington.

    Marco Rubio is the other character I watch. He actually frightens me. Rubio might be better served to run for Florida Governor. Go to DC and you get painted as part of the problem. 

  • on a comment on Bayh & '12 & '16 over 4 years ago

    you could clarify it because I think your point is an important one.

  • on a comment on Bayh & '12 & '16 over 4 years ago

    Well, we in Colombia are taking another route - trying not to elect politicians but rather non-traditional political actors. It's worked well on mayoral level but not above that level though granted the second most important post in the country is the mayor of Bogotá and that office has been held by progressives or the center-left since the mid-1990s. And two of the four mayors come from non-traditional political backgrounds.

    Colombia is a very technocratic state (Uribe has post-graduate degrees from Harvard & Oxford) and you'd have to go back to the 78-82 administration of Turbay Ayala to get a President who didn't have at least a master's degree but now we are seeing numerous non-traditional political actors with advance degrees running for office. But unlike in the US, where you get people like Bloomberg, Perot, Whitman, Romney and Fiorina (i.e. non-traditional political actors but all from business world and very wealthy) we are seeing people with say the profile of a Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren running for office. Sergio Fajardo's candidacy which is picking up steam is a case in point. He's an university professor with a PhD in Mathematics who was a very successful mayor of Medellín. He was elected as part of civic movement, independent of political parties.

    In Peru, Jaime Bayly who is an openly gay TV talk show host is considering a run for the Presidency there in 2011 at the head of a civic movement.

    I suspect that's the change that needs to happen here. Al Franken is an excellent example of the sort profile I'd like to see more of run for office. Not just his politics (which I adore) per se but that profile. Not a lawyer, not a traditional politician but a successful and informed citizen. I'd love to see Elizabeth Warren run for office.

    I suspect you're right that a National Unity government is unlikely in the US though Bloomberg might be able to lead such an effort. The problem in the US is that you all still debate issues that elsewhere have been settled. No where but in the US is a evolution even a matter for discussion but here in the US social conservatives are very different and primordial beast. They don't just derail policy, they derail conversations.  It is sort of stunning say on gay rights how quickly Latin American society moved from one of outright discrimination to a more open and accepting stance. Yes there are critics but politically speaking the centre in Latin America is larger and encompasses a more progressive stance. And as such, the consensus on an issue can move quickly. In the US, the religious right seems to be an immovable anchor weighing down the country on social issues. They won't budge and their numbers are too large and too concentrated in certain areas to allow a more progressive view to coalesce. 

    I think the Senate is also a problem. The institutional has its own internal flaws but ultimately the problem remains that it over-represents rural interests. 

    Nope, I haven't read Re-electing Lincoln. Thanks for the tip though. Almost done with Rifkin's The Empathic Civilization and I have Sorkin's Too Big to Fail to still finish.

  • on a comment on Happy President's Day over 4 years ago

    he owned just one slave, a man named William Jones. Grant set the man free in 1859 unconditionally. Jones had been owned by his wife Julia Grant's father. It is not clear whether Grant purchased Jones or received him as a gift, not an uncommon practice.

    Zachary Taylor had over a 100 slaves at his cotton plantation in Louisiana. Taylor held that slavery was an economic necessity within the cotton-growing region, but he opposed its expansion to areas where cotton could not be cultivated. Taylor, the last Southerner to be elected President in the ante-Bellum period, was the last President to own slaves while in office.

    The other slaveholding Presidents were Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Van Buren (one in 1814 who ran away) William Henry Harrison, Tyler and Polk. In other words of the first 12 Presidents all of them owned slaves except for John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

    Washington probably owned the most, well over 200. Jefferson's records are unclear - he didn't exactly run Monticello well - but he certainly was the more active trader, that is, he bought and sold as needed. But Jefferson's slaves likely numbered no more than a hundred some odd at any one time. Jackson also owned close to 200 slaves. He did not free any of them in his will. Neither did Madison. Jefferson freed only five in his will. Washington freed all of his slaves conditioned upon the death of Martha Curtiss Washington.


  • comment on a post Bayh & '12 & '16 over 4 years ago

    your last paragraph.

    <blockquote>That said, I don't advise it be out of mind that Bayh would be open to a great centrist uprising that nominates his self to take ahold of the Presidency through a nonpartisan National Unity party draft. You've heard about them, right? He would.</blockquote>

    I think you're missing a word. Are you suggesting that Bayh would be open to a 1864-esque National Union candidacy as long as he's at the top of that ticket?

  • on a comment on IN-Sen: Bayh retiring over 4 years ago

    We're not discussing his re-election prospects but rather the notion that Jerome suggested that Biden might not be the VP nominee on the ticket in 2012 and that Bayh might then get that nod. And I countered that I would think that having an Obama-Bayh ticket wouldn't be well-received among progressives. My sense is that such a ticket would keep a large percentage of progressives at home in 2012.


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