April 8, 2013
1. Britain’s “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher passed away this morning. A conservative titan, Thatcher joined with President Reagan in embodying a renewed conservatism in the 1980s.
April 4, 2013
1. French President Francois Hollande has begun looking into spending cuts to further reduce the size of French public spending. Almost all his austerity measures so far have come in the form of dramatic tax increases on the wealthy.
April 3, 2013
1. Bill McKibben warns that a methane gas under the streets of New York City poses a major threat to the city and environment’s well being.
April 1, 2013
1. As President Obama’s healthcare law continues to be put into implementation, NPR reports that health insurance companies must pay far more for medical claims than was previously thought, suggesting that premiums may rise higher than projected.
2. Timothy Noah of The New Republic argues that Republican attempts at welfare reform are using ever-broadening notions of “entitlement” to demagogue the issue. Noah rejects the categorization of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as welfare programs.
3. The editorial board of The New York Times praises bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate on immigration reform, pointing particularly to the compromises made by the business and labor communities.
4. Greg Mankiw writes that President Obama is right to value sustainability over balancing the budget, but fears that the administration’s budget relies too much on projections that do not take into account unpredictable economic conditions.
March 4, 2013
1. Oberlin College in Ohio has cancelled classes out of solidarity following a number of racist and homophobic incidents, culminating in the sighting of a “person wearing a robe and hood…near its Afrikan Heritage House.”
2. Over the weekend, Christina Romer, the former Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers,wrote that raising the minimum wage will be less effective in helping the working poor than are other measures, like increasing the earned income tax credit.
3. Economist John Cochrane writes for the Wall Street Journal that the Federal Reserve Bank needs to change its policies, or else risk losing its important institutional independence.
4. President John Sexton of NYU is coming under intense criticism for his decision to build a portal campus in Abu Dhabi. Sexton faces a no-confidence vote of his faculty later this week.
March 1, 2013
1. Brad Plumer of Wonkblog writes that the while low-wage job creation dominated the recovery, middle-wage jobs have barely moved, creating an overall downward pressure on wages.
2. With no last-minute compromise, it appears all but certain that the 85 billion dollars of spending cuts will go into place. President Obama will likely begin sending notices to agencies today, and those agencies will begin sending furloughs to employees on Monday.
3. With sequestration about to set in, Charles Krauthammer argues that everyone should just calm down. The cuts represent just a fraction of necessary spending reductions, and will do very little slow the pace of debt growth.
4. In light of the Federal Reserve’s ongoing policy of “quantitative easing,” Nouriel Roubini seeks to clarify 10 questions about the program.
February 28, 2013
1. Politico has published an email exchange between journalist Bob Woodward and White House economic adviser, Gene Sperling. The exchange shows the administration’s frustration with the sequester debate and much of the press coverage it has been receiving.
2. With the Voting Rights Act set to go before the Supreme Court, Frontline is covering the historical and contemporary significance of the VRA, and the potential consequences if the bill is ruled unconstitutional.
3. MRUniversity, an online educational resource run by George Mason University economists Tyler Cowan and Alex Tabarrok has added 4 short new courses on the Euro Crisis, the Media, the US Housing Market, and Mexico’s Economy.
4. Citing the looming sequester as yet another example of governmental failure, E.J. Dionne writes that the GOP must stop holding the nation hostage with a “permanent crisis.”
February 27, 2013
1. A New York Times Op-Ed argues that President Obama should use executive power to increase carbon emission standards.
2. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been vocal in his criticism of the modern Republican Party. Because of this independence and his “limited future” in the GOP, Christie has been denied an invitation to CPAC.
3. President Obama will meet with Congressmen today to try to work out a deal to avert the looming sequester spending cuts.
4. After a long and arduous process, Chuck Hagel was confirmed as Secretary of Defense along an almost party-line vote.
February 26, 2013
1. 75 high-profile Republicans have signed a statement in support of same sex marriage. The list, which includes former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and former gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, suggests that marriage equality is increasingly divisive within the Republican Party.
2. A Japanese tech-cafe offers patrons the ability to create a delicious gummy replica of themselves to eat.
3. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPR’s Planet Money has produced an insightful graph on the gender gap in earnings by profession.
4. Noam Scheiber of New Republic has a fascinating profile on Aaron Swartz, a hacking genius and advocate of internet freedom, who committed suicide earlier this year. Swartz was being sued for attempting to download and then distribute the contents of the JSTOR academic journal database.
February 25, 2013
1. The state of Texas announced that it has a budget surplus for 2012. The news is on the surface a positive development, but state Democrats argue that the announcement suggests GOP estimates were overly cautious and that the state should now reinvest much of the money it collected from austerity measures.
2. A recent study shows that the return on a college degree is far higher for women than it is for men. The finding corroborates earlier studies, which suggest that gender discrimination is far more rampant in low-paying professions than it is in higher paying ones.
3. Walter Russell Mead writes that Pope Benedict’s decision to step down gives the Catholic Church the possibility of undergoing a religious revival it is in much in need of.
4. As political tension over the looming sequester is on the rise, George Will argues that sudden Democratic concern over the scope of the cuts (particularly on defense) is the height of hypocrisy.
February 20, 2013
1. Jean-Lou Chameau has stepped down from the presidency of Caltech, and will move to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. The new University seeks to build a center of scientific research in the Middle East.
2. Economist Robert Skidelsky writes that we are truly in the age of the robot. But instead of vying against new technology, we must undergo a social revolution and prepare for an automated future.
3. House Speaker John Boehner writes that President Obama is playing politics with the upcoming sequester – an economic cliff he created.
4. Thomas Friedman warns that democracy may be unraveling in Egypt. Citing new authoritarian policies of the ruling Islamic government, Friedman argues that the US and Egypt will need to reach a new understanding in order to ensure stability.
February 19, 2013
1. A vibrant Afghani market, named for President Bush, is worried about its economic future following American troop withdrawal. The market consists of reselling stolen goods, like shampoo and gum, from American soldiers.
2. Yesterday’s New York Times ran a provocative Op-Ed calling for repealing Obamacare, and replacing it with market sound reforms.
3. Amity Shlaes has a new book out on President Calvin Coolidge. Shlaes argues that Coolidge’s laissez-fairre approach to policy and economics is sorely lacking in today’s White House.
4. In a new CollegeMagazine.com report, Yale comes in as the 8th best college to find a husband at.
February 18, 2013
1. A number of gay rights advocates believe that the DOMA case currently before the Supreme Court will not only have massive national implications, but could also lead to a score of statewide cases reconsidering traditional marriage laws.
2. Looking for ways to procrastinate? Check out the 20 best songs about work.
3. As the economics profession looks to redeem itself, more and more attention is being given to Stanley Fischer of the Bank of Israel. Fischer, who taught at MIT and worked at the IMF before moving to Israel is largely regarded as one of the world’s best macroeconomists today, a reputation that could one day bring him to into American politics.
4. Trying to sleep at work or in class without being noticed? The free market has got your back!
February 15, 2013
1. Would libertarian icon, Friedrich Hayek, support President Obama’s Affordable Care Act? He would, argues Eric Agner of George Mason University.
2. Congress has unveiled plans to create a legal framework by which states can implement online sales taxes. Critics fear that this will lead to a federal online sales tax, while supporters argue that the law will empower states to better raise revenues.
3. Paul Krugman didn’t care much for President Obama’s State of the Union, but is outraged at what he considers to be the economic and political sophistry of Marco Rubio’s GOP response.
4. Despite clearing the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Chuck Hagel is likely to face a GOP filibuster in the Senate. This is perceived by most observers to be a purely political display, as it is widely thought that Hagel will have the votes to clear a filibuster.
February 14, 2013
1. Here’s a nice graph on the expansion of welfare programs over the past 40 years.
2. Ronald Dworkin has passed away at age 81. Dworkin gained fame for his work on legal theory and philosophy. He was at the forefront of challenging the orthodox interpretation of the constitution, advocating instead for a “moral reading” of law that puts human dignity at the center.
3. Among President Obama’s demands in his State of the Union Address was the call for universal pre-school education. Reihan Salam writes a thoughtful reply to the proposal, bringing together much of the current research and policy analysis on the topic.
4. In light of its nuclear test earlier this week, North Korea’s list of friends grows thin, as even China has condemned the blatant violation of international law. Check out this article on the (new) New Republic website on the future of the Chinese-North Korean friendship.
February 13, 2013
1. Ezra Klein writes that President Obama’s State of the Union laid out an incredibly ambitious legislative agenda, covering everything from cap-and-trade to gun control to tax increases, to a higher minimum wage.
2. The Wall Street Journal responds to President Obama’s State of the Union, decrying it as more of the same progressive policy proposals that will not produce a substantial improvement in economic conditions.
3. French President Francois Hollande has proposed a new wave of education reforms, which have been met with much hostility from the nation’s teachers unions. The proposals include adding a half day of school on Wednesday (which has been traditionally a day off), abolishing homework, and reducing the length of the school day.
4. In a very close vote, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced support for Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel will now be voted on by the entire US Senate to be confirmed for the cabinet position.
February 12, 2013
1. The North Korean government successfully tested its third nuclear explosion yesterday, drawing condemnation from all major world leaders.
2. Tonight, President Obama will deliver the first State of the Union Address of his second term. David Brookswrites that the address should frame America’s role today, in the past, and into the future.
3. We don’t often read about the history of food, but check out the story of Pad Thai, one of America’s favorite Asian dishes.
4. In an excerpt from her recent book, Michelle Rhee traces her evolution on the issue of school vouchers – going from a fierce opponent of diverting public funds to private schools, to one of the school choice movement’s leading champions.
February 11, 2013
1. In breaking news, Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation from the papacy. This is the first papal resignation in over 600 years, and has sparked tremendous media coverage. The College of Cardinals is predicted to elect a new Pope by the end of March.
2. An Idaho State Senator has introduced legislation mandating that all students read and be tested on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged as a graduation requirement. The news comes as Ayn Rand’s extreme libertarian philosophy continues to gather support across the nation.
3. Over the weekend, Harvard economist and former Romney adviser, Greg Mankiw, wrote a powerful moral and economic case for immigration reform.
4. Remember Watson, the jeopardy champion computer? Well over the past two years, IBM has shrunk Watson ”from the size of a master bedroom to a pizza-box-sized server that can fit in any data center.”
February 8, 2013
1. The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House blocked the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State Department from sending arms to Syrian rebels.
2. Ed Krayewski for Reason writes the libertarian case for amnesty.
3. A new bipartisan group has emerged of conservative and liberal Senators working on a compromise gun reform bill. The group includes Senators Chuck Schumer, Tom Coburn. Joe Manchin, and Mark Kirk.
4. In an incredible story, numerous private Bush family emails were hacked. These emails even included private correspondences with close Obama aide, Valerie Jarrett.
February 7, 2013
1. It’s all about the utility. A recent article explains how an economist approaches relationships.
2. Three University of Chicago economists discuss the ongoing challenges the American economy faces.
3. Senator Rand Paul outlines his realist foreign policy – forging a third way between the non-interventionism his father made famous and the neo-conservatism of the Bush administration. He also calls for a renewed civic focus on foreign policy issues.
4. In more troubling news for college students, the Progressive Policy Institute reports that college grad earnings continued to fall in 2011.
February 6, 2013
1. Son of Libertarian Ron Paul, and Tea Party celebrity, Senator Rand Paul has announced that he is already considering a run for president in 2016.
2. As its economic woes continue, the US Postal Service has declared that it will that it end Saturday mail service going forward.
3. The Boston Globe reports a Harvard Professor’s findings that Google search results may be racially biased
4. A Politico article suggests that more people than were previously projected may refuse to buy insurance and be subject to the health mandate tax.
February 5, 2013
1. In an interesting article, Richard Garnett of the Witherspoon Institute argues that we should do more to promote faith-based schools in an effort to improve student choice in education. Citing the recent Catholic decision to shut down a number of free schools in disadvantaged areas, Garnett argues that school choice and vouchers may be critical for the longterm sustainability of religious education.
2. Florida Senator, Marco Rubio released his spotify playlist yesterday. The list includes “Clique,” “Good Feeling,” and “Rappers Delight”
3. Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff blames the Fed and the entire Monetary Policy establishment for missing the signs of the Great Recession in 2008.
4. Jared Diamond’s new book on “What We Can Learn from Traditional Societies,” has drawn criticism from a number of anthropologist and historians, who claim the book reflects backward and outmoded attitudes towards tribal cultures and societies.
February 4, 2013
1. President Obama has reformed the controversial Health and Human Services mandate that employers provide employees with access to contraception by expanding the “opt-out” requirements. Many conservatives still oppose the mandate on the grounds that it continues to limit the religious freedom of citizens of faith who may not want to violate their consciounses by guaranteeing employee access to contraception.
2. Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post warns that America may increasingly be following the bad Japanese economic model of continuous fiscal stimulus and stagnant growth.
3. President Obama, as well as Mitt Romney and others, has spoken out against the Boy Scouts of America policy that bans gay members. The Boy Scouts switched policies following the military abandonment of the controversial “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that was repealed in September, 2011.
4. Cyprus’ economic woes continue to swell as the IMF unveils radical plans to shrink the size of government. Cyprus was particularly effected by the weak value of Greek government bonds, many of which are held in Cypriot banks.
February 1, 2013
1. Ever since it was found by British colonizers, curry has been one of the iconic dishes of the orient. But new research now suggests that curry long predates even our earliest expectations, setting the date for curry-like foods back 4000 years before the British arrived in South Asia.
2. An El Paso man is accused of breaking into a restaurant, making and eating two burritos, but stealing nothing. Chipotle, watch out…
3. An opinion piece for Forbes argues that demographic and economic trends are revitalizing the south, and expects to see more and more economic activity move away from the Northeast.
4. A suicide attack on the American embassy in Turkey killed a US guard. The suicide bomber, representing a far left organization, attacked the embassy to criticize America’s perceived influence over Turkish foreign policy.
January 31, 2013
1. Last quarter the American economy actually contracted by .1%, surprising many economic commentators and casting doubt on the economic recovery. Some blame the economic contraction on the political brinkmanship over the Fiscal Cliff, and Congress’s inability to produce any meaningful structural changes.
2. The leader of Hamas reportedly now supports a two state solution in Israel. If true, this could be a major breakthrough, as Israeli officials have consistently cited Hamas’ refusal to recognize Israel as a the single largest impediment to progress.
3. Quantum biology…what? A new field of research now seeks to apply principles of quantum mechanics to biological research. Many believe that this field has the potential to bring about some incredible scientific breakthroughs.
4. The New York Times announced yesterday that its computers were hacked from China four times last year. This comes as cyber threats and attacks from China have become increasingly common at high levels of the American government and in the private sector.
January 30, 2013
2. As the GOP’s post-Romney existential crisis continues, Bloomberg blogger Josh Barro writes that “Conservatism is Doomed.” Barro argues that the Republican problem is not merely one of perception, but far more importantly an intellectual deficit that fails to put forth sound policy proposals.
3. In one of the best stories of the year, a Portuguese economist has been unmasked as a complete charlatan. Artur Baptista da Silva was one of Portugal’s leading voices on economic policy, appearing frequently on television and gathering massive public support. It turns out he was making it all up!
4. University of Chicago Economics Professor Luigi Zingales reports on new research that suggests that much of the housing bubble was fueled not by corporate predatory lending, but rather by purposeful consumer misrepresentation of their economic condition.
January 29, 2013
1. In his column in today’s New York Times, David Brooks joins the chorus and calls for a rethinking of the Republican Party. Brooks argues that the GOP should build a new wing to compete in the Northeast and should focus around two narratives — how bloated government stagnates American society, and how the past 50 years have seen a divergence between a stable, wealthy America and a growing permanent underclass.
2. The Israeli government has revealed that it has been inoculating the Ethiopian Jewish community with regular birth control, unbeknownst and often without the consent of the patients. The news comes as Israel grapples with the increasing challenges of illegal immigration from Africa.
3. The British citizenship test has added a pop culture knowledge requirement. This means that to prove their “Britishness,” prospective immigrants will have to answer a host of questions not only about Britain’s history and political system, but about comedy and music as well. Immigration advocacy groups have criticized the test as an unfair way to cut down on legal immigration.
4. Last week, the Pentagon announced that it would revise its longstanding policy and integrate women into combat units. The decision has been praised by many who argue that women already effectively serve in combat roles, but are merely denied the recognition.
January 28, 2013
1. A bipartisan group of Senators, including John McCain, Marco Rubio, Dick Durbin, and Chuck Schumer have unveiled a new immigration plan, in hopes of moving forward on immigration reform early this year.
2. In his New York Times column today, Paul Krugman strikes back at attempts by “rising star” Republicans like Bobby Jindal to change the GOP’s public perception, declaring: “You aren’t [a populist party]. You’re a party that holds a large proportion of Americans in contempt.”
3. This past weekend, tens of thousands of protesters, including 24 Yale students, gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life. This year’s protest commemorates the 40th year anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
4. Last week, President Obama delayed making a decision on the controversial Keystone Pipeline that would run from Canada down through the Central United States. Supporters of the pipeline argue it will create jobs, while critics warn that the pipeline comes at an unacceptable environmental cost. The revised State Department decision is expected to come by the end of March.
January 27, 2013
1. Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain’s laws, prohibiting inmates from voting, violates the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision requires Britain to revise its prisoner voting laws, despite large public support for current policies, and may cause tension within the British coalition government, as Prime Minister David Cameron has fiercely opposed prisoner voting rights in the past, while the Liberal Democrats favor universal inmate enfranchisement.
2. A group of investors have created plans to buy Belle Isle from the city of Detroit, secede from Michigan, and form a semi-autonomous commonwealth with an independent tax code and legal structure like that of Puerto Rico or Guam. The plan mirrors the “Charter City” model, which is designed to foster economic growth in developing and underdeveloped nations.
3. Andreas Georgiou, the former chief Greek government statistician, is facing a criminal inquiry into allegations that he deliberately inflated the national Greek deficit numbers in order to justify the terms of the 2010 EU/IMF bailout. If true, the news would come as yet another major corruption charge against the Greek government, which after joining the Euro in 2001 began running up large deficits and publishing deliberately misleading statistics on the nation’s financial wellbeing.
4. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss announced his retirement from the US Senate two days ago, citing the increasing government gridlock in Washington. Chambliss’ concerns with government dysfunction echo the words of Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, who chose not to run for reelection in 2012 because of her growing frustration with hyperpartisanship in Congress.
January 26, 2013
1. Renewed protests in Egypt have left at least 30 people dead and more than 300 injured. The riots in the major city of Port Said began after 21 soccer fans were sentenced to death for their role in another riot. The New York Times has the details.
2. President Obama’s four 2012 recess appointments were ruled unconstitutional yesterday, dealing a major blow to Obama as he embarks on a second term. The implications of the circuit court decision are still unclear, but, as Politico‘s Josh Gerstein writes, it could “cut the heart out of the recess appointment power presidents of both parties have wielded for two centuries.”
3. Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who has been serving since since 1985, announced this morning that he will not seek reelection in 2014. Harkin, 75, would have been heavily favored in the midterms despite his decidedly progressive tendencies. His departure from the Senate, however, creates another fiercely competitive seat in an election cycle that was already to be challenging for Democrats.
4. “The race to fill John F. Kerry’s US Senate seat is on the verge of taking final shape, with growing anxiety among Republicans that Scott Brown may sit out the contest and a pending decision by US Representative Stephen F. Lynch on whether to challenge his congressional colleague Edward J. Markey in a Democratic primary,” writes the Boston Globe in a long and comprehensive feature today. ”Brown, who many had expected would be eager to get back into the US Senate after his defeat in the fall, has yet to make a decision about his political future.”
5. ”Democrats, don’t freak out!” Rick Hasen, a nationally renowned election law expert, begins his most recent column in Slate. Despite moves by Republicans to alter the allocation of electoral college votes in critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, there are a host of reasons this potential political nightmare will never come to pass.
October 17, 2012
1. With 3 weeks to go till Election Day, President Obama and Governor Romney had their second debate in Hempstead, N.Y. yesterday night. Did you like Romney’s “binder full of women”? Was moderator Candy Crowley too biased? Read a selection of opinions how the debate went in this piece on the New York Times Campaign Stops blog.
2. While we are on the topic of the presidential election, read about the truthfulness of two Obama and Romney ads in this fact-checking piece by the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center.
3. “8 Crazy Things Americans Believe About Foreign Policy” Get your foreign policy facts straight from this Foreign Policy article.
4. Read Richard Pildes’s fun piece “Ten Works That Mattered Most” in the International Journal of Constitutional Law. It a a compilation of the most influential works according to a group of distinguished legal scholars.
5. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, showed some Tory love (and his famous eccentricity) in this op-ed in the Telegraph, claiming that the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize should have been awarded to Margaret Thatcher instead of the European Union.
October 15, 2012
1. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Senator, is Dead at 82: Rest in peace, Arlen. Read the New York Times obituary of the consummate centrist (and one of the last great liberal Republicans).
2. The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent: Fascinating op-ed on how the efforts of the wealthy elite to benefit themselves are undermining the system that allowed them to succeed in the first place.
3. Wounded Pakistan teen is now face of girls education movement: Read about Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old- Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for education for girls and is now, according to the latest news, en route to the UK for medical treatment.
4. Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech: On Western governments stipulating when it’s okay–and not okay–to lie.
5. To ‘Bibi,’ or Not to ‘Bibi.’ How does referring to the PM of Israel by his first name affect America’s diplomacy with his country?
October 12, 2012
1. Vice President Biden states explicit 2014 deadline for Afghanistan withdrawal. Congressman Ryan responds by saying that that broadcasting a determined timeframe to enemies is foolish.
2. “In a 52-page report, the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee warns US companies and government agencies not to do business with either Huawei or ZTE, respectively the world’s second and fifth-largest manufacturers of routers and other Internet and telecoms gear.” Read about it here
3. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta pins recent Persian Gulf cyberattacks on Iran. He reiterates that the United States needs to strengthen its cyber defense system and warns potential aggressors that the U.S. will hold them accountable for resulting harm.
4. Chinese and Japanese diplomats meet over the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute. The talks indicate a willingness to resolve the argument, a highly emotional issue that has frayed relations between the two nations.
5. Is North Korea losing its iron grip? Laura Ling, taken prisoner by the North three years ago, discusses the effects of globalization on the hermit state and points out the impossibility of blocking out all foreign influence.
October 11, 2012
1. “Four years ago, the Obama presidency was hailed as the beginning of an extended liberal renaissance – a new New deal, a resurrected Camelot,” writes NYT columnist Ross Douthat. The current administration, he points out, has failed to achieve its lofty goals. But simple failure isn’t the most severe indication of liberalism’s inadequacies; rather, Douthat thinks that Democrats’ lame-duck response to legislative failures, and an inability to reform – or even form - stances on important issues, pose serious problems going forward. Read “Liberalism’s Glass Jaw.”
2. Is Big Bird the Dem’s Golden Goose? Or is the Sesame Street angle a bird-brained stratagem? Democratic strategist James Carville, for one, thinks that President Obama should take the opportunity presented by the recent PBS funding controversy to put the iconic character “out there and defend it.” But, as the GOP attacking with accusations of irrelevance, of too much cuteness, the President needs to expound on the Wall Street/Sesame Street line with substance.
3. The next time Tareq Salahi shows up at a White House function, he might actually be on the guest list. Salahi, who, with his now ex-wife Michaele, gained infamy by infiltrating a 2009 State Department dinner, plans to enter the Virginia gubernatorial race. A former democrat, Salahi is running as a Republican, and says his “whole theme is crash the party lines, crash the vote.”
4. The Tehrik-i Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have released a statement rationalizing their murder attempt on 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufazi, “although she was young and a girl and the TTP does not believe in attacking women.” Yousafazi, who was wounded in the Taliban attack, began writing a blog at age 11 for the BBC detailing the TTP’s effect on her hometown, for which she gained international attention. Read the whole piece in here.
5. Bears, beets, Battlestar Gallactica – and a break from work? The Atlantic reports that Rainn Wilson, better known as Dwight Schrute, the character he plays on The Office, has been promoting Take Back Tuesday, a campaign focused on getting employers to declare Nov. 6 a holiday so that more voters might get to the polls.
October 9, 2012
1. Here’s a great piece from The Washington Post on Members of Congress who have sponsored or co-sponsored legislation in recent years that could benefit businesses or industries they are personally invested in. The funny thing is, this practice is legal. Is reform necessary? Is reform viable? Read for yourself.
2. There’s usually a tight relationship between economic growth and the carbon-dioxide emissions. During good times, emissions go up. During bad times, they go down. A new study reveals that this may not always be the case. Find out here what that means for both the economy and the environment.
3. President Obama’s relationship with the super-rich is going through a rough patch. Many of these 0.1%ers are ready to break up with him, and are digging deep into their pockets to ensure a Republican victory this fall. Read this great New Yorker article from last week to find exactly what the rich have against the incumbent president.
4. Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, recently came out with a new book: “The Price of Politics.” The bestseller detailed the collapse last year of the “grand bargain” on spending and debt. While Woodward found fault with both parties, he held Obama’s insufficiencies mostly responsible for leaving America heading for the fiscal cliff it now faces. Woodward’s book describes an arrogant, withdrawn, indecisive and uncompromising president. How right is Woodward in light of last week’s presidential debate? Did Obama’s performamance confirm Woodward’s assessment of the man? Read The Chicago Tribune article here for more.
5. I may just have saved the best for last. The New York Times Book Review ran a brilliant, hilarious interview with author Jeffrey Eugenides. The whole thing is bloody hilarious. One nugget:
What was the last book that made you cry? “The South Beach Diet.” Read the complete interview here
October 8, 2012
1. Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair? Mitt Romney is doomed! President Obama bombed in the debate? He has no prayer! Indeed, it is easy for political junkies to get lost in the minutiae of everyday gaffes and zingers. But ABC News’ Amy Walter steps back with a well-reasoned piece arguing that thirty days out, the fundamentals of the Presidential campaign still favor the incumbent.
2. This morning, the New York Times examines the iconic Saturday Night Live Presidential debates and difficulty surrounding the transformation of the political into the comedic. The difficulty, SNL writers said, was turning something that more than 70 million people had already seen into a half-hour of light-hearted entertainment (this week, for the record, SNL hosted a very special guest: Big Bird).
3. An in-depth investigation by the Washington Post published today found that
members of Congress were by and large shielded from the economic hardships of the recent recession. According to the Post, “The median estimated wealth of members of the current Congress rose 5 percent during the [recession] … The wealthiest one- third of Congress gained 14 percent.” Additionally, “Between 2004 and 2010, 72 lawmakers appeared to have doubled their estimated wealth.”
4. “Democrats are running hard against Todd Akin in Missouri — and in Washington state, New York, Arizona and California,” wrote Anna Palmer for Politico this morning. “The Republican Senate candidate whose comments about ‘legitimate rape’ caused a stir in August has become Democrats’ favorite opponent, even in places where he’s not on the ticket.” Indeed, politicians often try to nationalize their races — every Republican in 2010 was running against Nancy Pelosi — and it appears that the highly controversial Akin may be the perfect straw man for every down-ballot Democrat this year.
5. GOP House candidate George Flinn probably won’t be the next Congressman from Tennessee 9th District. But he does have something of a consolation prize: his own rap song. According to Politico, “Memphis-area rapper Al Kapone has released a nearly four-minute long YouTube music video on the longshot congressional hopeful’s behalf, touting Flinn and his record with a catchy tune sure to get stuck in your head.” Check it out here to judge for yourself!
October 5, 2012
1. The debate spin continues. Mitt Romney’s camp is going on a victory lap, with Romney sending an email Friday morning that “victory is in sight.” The Obama Camp is even conceding the loss. POLITICO has an analysis on how Obama’s debate strategy “bombed.”
2.Syria-Turkey tensions rise. After Turkey’s retaliatory attack on Syria, the tensions continue. The latest development is that the UN has announced a condemnation “in the strongest terms” of Syria’s shelling. Al-Jazeera has the latest.
3. Finally, the FBI Enters Libyan Compound. After a long wait, FBI agents have finally entered the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya where Ambassador Stevens was killed. The delay was for security reasons; they have now begun their investigation.
4. Going moderate. Mitt Romney’s gone full circle on his 47% remark, saying that it’s “just completely wrong.” This seems to be part of his post-debate strategy of swinging quite quickly to the middle:
5. A Better Apple? The Guardian writes on how Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’s successor, is making Apple more ethical — and more profitable too. Cook, on person said, is trying to show “the softer side of Apple”
October 4, 2012
Greetings readers of The Politic,
It is with great pleasure that we welcome you back to The Politic and your daily dose of the day’s top stories. With a new board and a fresh academic year, The Politic looks forward to this year’s remarkable possibilities for this magazine – Yale’s undergraduate political publication – in print, online and on Yale’s campus, and we are privileged that you, our loyal readers, are willing to join us every step of the way. Without further adieu, here is what you need to know for today’s water cooler talk:
1. After weeks of preparation, “debate camp,” and deflated expectations the big night finally arrived last night: the first debate between President Barack Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney. For an overview of last night’s highlights, gaffes, unforgettable moments and certainly forgettable moments, The Politic brings you an international perspective – BBC has more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19825263
2. Let us not forget that while we can debate the politics of Big Bird comfortably at home in the United States (http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2012/10/03/big-birg-romney-debate-pbs/1612171/) across the world, the Syrian uprising rages on. The latest developments in the region show further escalation in the cross border conflict between Syria and Turkey. With Turkey’s most recent shelling of its Arab neighbor resulting in five civilian casualties in its wake, the world waits with baited breath to see the next move on this heated border. Al-Jazeera reports: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/10/2012103181110169706.html
3. In need of a friend? Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, may be willing to share a few as his company passed the remarkable milestone of hitting one billion users. BBC’s Dave Lee has more on Facebook’s meteoric rise to stardom and its current place in society, media and politics: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19816709
4. They’ve been compared to a nuclear duck. They’ve been portrayed by a comical Looney Tunes-esque bomb on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly. As silly as Bibi Netanyahu’s characterizations of Iran may be, they are drawing international headlines and perhaps that may be the goal of the Israeli Prime Minister. While tensions between Israel and Iran continue to escalate as Iran rapidly approaches the nuclear weapons capability threshold, Israeli-American relations are certainly far from relaxed. This past week has shown an Israeli Prime Minister infuriated at American recalcitrance and American anger at exceedingly high Israeli expectations. Foreign Affairs’ Michael Desch has more: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138124/michael-c-desch/bibis-chutzpah#
5. From nuclear threats to civil wars, the world is a serious place. The Politic hopes to add a note of levity to round out the Starting Five by bringing you a “sweet” story. Someone is in quite the “sticky situation” and the plot is just “dripping” with mystery. Enough with our puns, check out this high stakes, Reuters news story about maple syrup: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/03/us-maplesyrup-idUSBRE8921BE20121003
April 21, 2012
1. In a March 18 column for Bloomberg, Richard Vedder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity discussed whether it is fair for elite Universities (like Princeton and Yale) to receive generous tax breaks from their respective states. Six experts tackle the question in The New York Times‘ Room For Debate: “Should government change its tax exemption policies for universities as a way of equalizing educational resources in America?”
2. ”President Barack Obama has turned out to be a real buzzkill,” reported Politico on April 20. Indeed, the hope that the President who — as a candidate for the highest office in the land — was thought to be a more tolerant drug warrior, “has gone up in smoke.”
3. ”Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle: An Internal Inquiry Was Shut Down, and the Authorities Were Not Notified,” cries the headline of an investigative piece by The New York Times‘ David Barstow. ”In September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an alarming e-mail from a former executive at the company’s largest foreign subsidiary, Wal-Mart de Mexico. In the e-mail and follow-up conversations, the former executive described how Wal-Mart de Mexico had orchestrated a campaign of bribery to win market dominance. In its rush to build stores, he said, the company had paid bribes to obtain permits in virtually every corner of the country.” Read more here.
4. Check out Time‘s “The Rich History of Mitt Romney,” a light-hearted photo essay of the presumed Republican nominee for President, from baby photos to his wedding album to pictures from his multiple campaigns for elected office.
5. The Atlantic has an interesting piece this week on how Americans lost faith in some of our greatest institutions. ”Government, politics, corporations, the media, organized religion, organized labor, banks, businesses, and other mainstays of a healthy society are failing. It’s not just that the institutions are corrupt or broken; those clichés oversimplify an existential problem: With few notable exceptions, the nation’s onetime social pillars are ill-equipped for the 21st century. Most critically, they are failing to adapt quickly enough for a population buffeted by wrenching economic, technological, and demographic change.” Read more here.
April 20, 2012
1. America has a rich tradition of invention and some have said that we are in a golden age for independent inventors, but very few seem to be making any money. The New York Times Magazine‘s Adam Davidson investigates.
2. The ratio of firearms to citizens in the United Staes is approaching 1:1. In wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, The New Yorker‘s Jill Lepore reports on America’s dangerous and complicated relationship with the gun. A must read.
3. In 2008, “we don’t do war rooms” was an Obama team mantra, but now it seems the that President has embraced the more realist, Clintonian approach to campaigning. The New Republic‘s Noam Scheiber discusses the change.
4. Scientists are using social media among other factors to help track conflict. The Economist reports on breakthroughs in modeling civil wars.
5. ”[I]n 1979 members of the much discussed “one per cent” got nine per cent of all personal income. Now they get a quarter of it.” Another excellent piece from The New Yorker this week as Nicholas Lemann reports on the politics on income inequality in America.
April 19, 2012
1. India has joined the ranks of the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China in its long-range nuclear missile capabilities. While all eyes look at North Korea’s failures and the day-to-day nuclear developments in Iran, India has just announced that they have the ability to strike Beijing and Shanghai. BBC has more.
2. For a few days there was hope for a potential peace plan in Syria. Once again, Bashar Assad’s regime has proven that it is unwilling to respect the value of a human life. With another ceasefire broken, it is once again back to the drawing board in Syria. Al-Jazeera reports.
3. China may be on pace to overtake America as the world’s largest economy in 2017, but that does not mean this government and its economy is without its problems. The Economist explores arguably China’s greatest weakness: demography.
4. Staying in the Far East, Patrick Cronin contributes to CNN ten questions that must be answered by both President Obama and Mitt Romney regarding Asia. With a particular focus on security in the region, Cronin offers why he believes the topic of Asia could be the cornerstone of this upcoming presidential election.
5. Is Obama a pragmatic liberal who cares about fiscal sustainability who is willing to compromise? David Brooks offers his insight and opinion in the New York Times.
April 18, 2012
1. A CNN poll released this afternoon confirmed the common wisdom that there is absolutely no consensus about whom GOP partisans would most like Mitt Romney to pick as a running mate. According to the survey, Condoleezza Rice is on top of the list, followed by Rick Santorum, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie.
2. Earlier today, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the family of an American citizen killed during a visit to the West Bank does not have legal grounds to sue the Palestinian Authority. Read more about the opinion here.
3. In a smart piece on the never-ending horserace politics of the 2012 elections, Politico’s Charlie Mahtesian examines five of the most important upcoming elections, ranging from the Utah GOP State Convention on April 21, to Democratic primary for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recall election on May 8.
4. In a New Yorker article provocatively titled, “Sexual Assault and Trust in the Military,” delves deep into the inner workings of gender politics in the military, as well as the current scandal involving prostitutes in Colombia.
5. According to the Washington Post, the prostitution scandal involving members of the military and secret service in Colombia may be growing. “Investigators believe that as many as 21 women were brought by U.S. Secret Service and military personnel to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, last week during a night of carousing, a dramatic increase in the number of women previously disclosed by government officials.” Read more here.
April 14, 2012
1. The Russian city of Berezniki is at risk of being sucked into the earth by sinkholes created by irresponsible mining practices.
2. The UN Security Council has passed a resolution approving the deployment of unarmed ceasefire monitors in Syria.
3. The missile launched by North Korea on April 13 failed to enter orbit, creating a PR disaster for Kim Jong-Un.
4. George Packer of The New Yorker on the GOP’s sinking ship.
5. New Iran nuclear talks described as “very constructive” and “completely different.”
April 13, 2012
1. Wednesday night, a Democratic lobbyist criticized Ann Romney for being out of touch with working mothers, catapulting Mitt Romney’s wife into the media spotlight. The Wall Street Journal examines if she will be able to increase her husband’s support among women, a key demographic in which Mr. Romney is currently trailing President Obama.
2. With recent campus controversies over fraternities and hazing, the New York Times has a long piece on the fatal hazing incident at the SAE at Cornell, as well as some general facts about hazing across the nation.
3. On Wednesday, Malcolm Gladwell gave some of his opinions on education reform. The Atlantic takes on administrators who claim to be unable to reform the system, arguing that many are just too lazy to push for reform.
4. The New Yorker has a piece on a new type of medical tourism — Americans going abroad for cheaper care. With the Supreme Court deciding the constitutionality of “Obamacare,” this phenomenon could become even more common.
5. With Rick Santorum dropping out of the Republican primaries, the New York Review of Books shifts its focus to the Congressional elections. Regardless of who is the next President, which party controls Congress will have a significant impact on the all of the major policy issues.
April 12, 2012
1. When it comes to the Party in China, take your pick!
2. For East Africa, a new resource driven resurgence, or a paradox of plenty redux?
3. What are the implications of Santorum’s exit?
4. The world’s most popular sporting event shows an uglier face concerning labor relations.
5. Stinging irony in the location of the Dems convention.
April 11, 2012
1. Recent months have seen a return of subprime lending. People with damaged credit, for example, made up 23 percent of new auto loans in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from 17 percent in the same period of 2009. Is this necessary growth to bolster a lackluster recovery or does need lay the seeds for another crisis? Read the full New York Times article here.
2. Tax day is upon us! Here’s a fun article from SmartMoney where a taxpayer shares the top 10 things he hates about filing taxes.
3. Running with this tax theme of the week, National Public Radio’s Planet Money gives a great report on the tax code. The tax code is 5,296 pages long and full of complicated details. Why is Congress so hesitant to reform and simplify?
4. Not my first Walter Russell Mead link and surely not my last. Mead questions whether the progressive liberal state (what he calls the “blue”) model, which did so much at the turn of the 20th century, can help us in the 21st century. He writes:
It seems equally unlikely that the current approaches to poverty, disability, old age and unemployment can survive without sweeping change. Some of the programs (like Medicare) will literally bankrupt us if not changed; others may be cheaper but they are so ineffective or counterproductive that the public will not indefinitely support them in their present form. If society is going to get better, if the gains of the progressive era can be mostly conserved while the era’s limits are transcended, we will have to find a road to the future that isn’t paved with blue.
Read the rest here.
5. ”Permitting doctors to help dying patients who are suffering unbearably to die sooner and more peacefully is indeed more controversial in the U. S. than in some other countries,” writes senior lecturer at the Harvard Medical School Marcia Angell. Do we need to follow the examples of Oregon and Washington, states with Death With Dignity laws. These laws permits doctors to provide terminally ill patients with medication that they may take if they choose to hasten death. These laws are immensely popular within those states and, though crass to say, can save billions in medical costs.
April 9, 2012
1. In 2009, Dambisa Moyo published Dead Aid, a controversial book claiming that foreign aid has actually harmed Africa by creating a culture of dependency and corruption. Fortunately, the story of Good African Coffee shows that there are alternatives to aid, namely market-oriented social enterprises aimed at capturing social impact and financial profit. Read about GAC, it’s founder Andrew Rugasira, and Rugasira’s support for economic development driven by trade.
2. If you’ve ever played Angry Birds or Words with Friends, you know how addicting and mind-numbing i-phone and android games can be. Sam Anderson discusses his own experiences with gaming and why “stupid” games are so addictive.
3. The intellectual property “arms race” heats up as AOL sells 800 patents and licenses 300 to Microsoft for $1.056 billion.
4. Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S., defends Israeli democracy in Foreign Policy.
5. How do we measure happiness? The Economist and the new “World Happiness Report” try to quantify it. Apparently the happiest countries are in northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands), the least happy in Africa (Togo, Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone).
April 8, 2012
Today’s Starting Five will focus on the recent developments in the Syrian crisis. On March 25th, Kofi Annan, special UN peace envoy presented a six-point plan for resolution to the conflict. The peace plan was signed by both the regime and the opposition fighters. Since then, however, violence has continued and Bashar Al-Assad is asking for “written guarantees” before he follows through with the resolution.
1. Amal Hanano provides great insight to the historical context of the Syrian crisis in his piece “Framing Syria” featured in Jadaliyya. It’s well worth the read.
2. In Al-Jazeera’s weekly show “Inside Syria”, Ilter Turan, a professor of political science in the International Relations Department of Bilgi University; Roman Dobrokhotov, a political analyst and writer for the news website slon.ru; and Mohammad Bassam Imadi, a Syrian National Council member in the foreign relations committee, debate whether Kofi Annan’s mission was doomed to fail.
3. The Economist, on the other hand, is not so optimistic about Annan’s peace plan. It argues that the plan fails to take long-term considerations into account.
4. In The New York Times, Damien Spleeter discusses European economic interests in the Syrian crisis in his piece “Profit and Proliferation.”
5. Lastly, the most common chant of the Arab Spring has been “Ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam” (English: “The people want to bring down the regime”). But in a multicultural nation like Syria where seven ethnic groups constitute large portions of the population, who exactly are the “people” of Syria, and do they all really want the same thing? Emma LeBlanc and Phil Sands explore this issue in their photoessay in Le Monde Diplomatique.
April 7, 2012
1. Matt Bai finally sheds some light on the debt debacle of last summer in this lengthy New York Times Magazine feature. It turns out that Republicans are pretty stubborn.
2. The New Yorker photography blog, Photo Booth, is a must read for all photography fans. Last week, it showcased wonderful series on the Iraq War and the Siege of Saravejo.
3. China is expanding its military at such a rapid rate that some forecasts predict its military spending will surpass that of the United States by 2035 — a terrifying prospect for leaders in Washington. The Economist considers China’s expansion.
4. The Atlantic‘s Derek Thompson always has interesting takes on the US economy. Last week, he considered the rates of technological consumption and how Americans budget their money.
5 . Joseph Lelyveld of the New York Review of Books examines the freshman class of Republican House members and how they’ve changed the game in Congress.
April 6, 2012
1. Today’s Starting Five returns to Syria. The rebel-regime divide is entrenched and the gap between the two groups widens every day. But what role does Hezbollah play in the revolution? Formerly a largely unifying element in Syria with its staunch anti-Israeli position, allegiances to Hezbollah are questioned when its leader, Hasan Nasrallah, continues to defend Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. Anne Barnard of the New York Times reports.
2. Curious who might join the Republican bid in the general election? The Wall Street Journal examines this question and highlights seven of the likeliest choices.
3. “Today’s political ethics are surprisingly similar to the doctrine of discovery set by the Vatican back in 1452.” Manuela Picq of Al-Jazeera addresses the doctrine of intervention and its similarities to fifteenth century, Vatican politics in this opinion piece.
4. Foreign Policy’s Michael Oren examines democracy in Israel. At a time when Israeli democracy has attracted international attention – and at times skepticism – Oren stands by his government. “Like the United States, we have our flaws. But to say Israel is undemocratic is just dead wrong.”
5. We end today’s Starting Five on a light note. As we move into this unique double holiday weekend, both Jews and Christians will be celebrating two of their most important holidays. Elinor Brecher of The Miami Herald discusses the similarities between these two festive days. Happy Easter and a Chag Pesach Sameach, everyone!
April 5, 2012
1. Despite reports of voter fraud, Aung San Suu Kyi has won her parliamentary election in Burma on April 1st marking a historic step towards democracy in the long isolated country.
2. Advocates from Invisible Children have released a new video called “Beyond Famous” as a sequel to their first “Kony 2012″ video in order to address some criticisms about their goals in capturing the rogue military guerrilla Joseph Kony.
3. One documentary filmmaker believes that the tomb of Jesus Christ has been found in a suburb of Jerusalem. Although many critics argues this was another man who happened to be named Jesus, a second tomb directly next to the first tomb seems to indicate otherwise.
4. The U.S coast guard will sink a lone Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Alaska after initial inspections are completed. This boat is one of many items of debris from the Japanese Tsunami that are slowly making their way across the Pacific Ocean towards North America.
5. The Connecticut Senate voted Thursday to repeal the state’s death penalty. With a House and Governor likely to sign off on the bill, the death penalty may be repealed for good in the state of Connecticut.
April 4, 2012
1. After his hat trick victory in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. last night, Mitt Romney may finally have justification to move beyond his GOP rivals for the nomination and focus solely on President Obama. As Reid Epstein reported this morning for Politico, Romney didn’t even mention the other candidates in his victory speech last night, which was a fiery critique of the current administration.
2. The Supreme Court recently took up a case that could eliminate any trace of affirmative action left in the college admissions process. But as the New York Times reports, such a decision may only prompt universities to bend the rules and use more creative means to attract and admit students of color.
3. In little-noticed statements last month, Israel’s far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman declared that war with Iran would “be a nightmare.” The remarks, released recently by the Huffington Post, shine a rare ray of light on the tight-lipped — and seemingly hawkish — inner circle of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
4. “Two new pieces of evidence appear to lend credence to opposing versions of what happened the night Trayvon Martin died,” wrote CNN yesterday. “Enhanced surveillance images of George Zimmerman, the man who admitted shooting the teen but claimed self-defense, appear to show a bump, mark or injury on the back of his head.”
5. In a statement to former Secretary General Kofi Annan, Syrian officials indicated that its military will withdraw troops and heavy weapons from populated areas by April 10. Though the announcement is a major development in the nation’s bloody yearlong conflict, American figures remain skeptical of the Bashar administration’s statement and its plans for the future.
April 3, 2o12
1. Syrian rebels – the spirit is willing, but logistics is weak.
2. Germany and France –who is to blame?
3. Israeli nukes — what are they good for?
4. And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air/Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there -North Korea-style.
5. Chongqing and Guangdong — the closure of the Cultural Revolution.
April 2, 2012
1. A great play-by-play of the August debt deal masterminded by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, what went wrong, and where this leaves America.
2. Deregulation again? A short but intriguing piece explaining why, in the case of the recently passed JOBS act, relaxing regulatory requirements for early-stage companies may be a good thing.
3. And the latest update on Republican primary madness, with Romney holding a decisive edge.
4. The future of TV? If Google has it its way, it’s streaming all the way.
5. Not quite a timely piece, but read carefully – this technology could have the Yalies of 2022 simply “printing” Solo cups for their parties after the stores close.
April 1, 2012
1. The Washington Post explains why and how recent debates about Obamacare could affect the President’s performance in the election.
2. Calling the European financial crisis and America re-directing its attention to Asia “a double blow to the alliance,” The Economist considers the future of NATO.
3. Aung San Suu Kyi, an advocate for democracy, has won the election in Myanmar. Al Jazeera reports.
4. The Muslim Brotherhood is fielding a candidate in the Egyptian presidential election. Al Jazeera discusses his chances.
5. The increasingly ubiquitous iPhone has revolutionized communications. Here, the Wall Street Journal considers how the iPhone has also changed photography.
March 31, 2012
1. The United Arab Emirates announced it has shut down an American-financed organization that promotes democracy.
2. The Economist reflects on separation of powers in the United States and the politicization of the Supreme Court, with regard to this week’s deliberations on Obamacare.
3. Tuareg rebels in Mali have attacked the town of Gao with heavy weapons hours after another town, Kidal, fell to them. Follow the story of these separatist rebels attempting to carve out a homeland in the desert here.
4. John Cassidy of The New Yorker reads between the lines of the latest Romney endorsements, including “The Lukewarm,” the “Let’s Make This About Obama,” the “Stone-Cold and Mitt-less” and the “Trump Two-Step.”
5. China has shut down websites, made hundreds of arrests, and punished two popular blogs for “fabricating or disseminating online rumors” about a possible coup attempt.
March 30, 2012
1. China executes more people than any other country. The New York Review of Books has a short piece on a now-cancelled reality show interviewing prisoners on death row.
2. Michael Bloomburg wrote an op-ed for the WSJ on the best way to solve the deficit. He advocates raising taxes for everyone, not just the wealthy.
3. Many criticized George W. Bush for excessive use of executive power, but this piece in the WSJ argues Obama is following in his footsteps. If a gridlocked Congress won’t get anything done, Obama is resorting to executive rule-making.
4. Foreign Affairs has a piece on moderate Republicans. Though the author claims few moderates still exist in the party, he argues that their legacy of compromise may still be alive.
5. For any with an interest in basketball or business, this article from Grantland about John Calipari’s efforts to turn college hoops into a streamlined business is a must read.
March 29, 2012
1. When it comes to issues of great constitutional and social importance, are we all lawyers?
2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a dismal week in court, but could its sheer unwieldiness and complicated structure prevent the justices from giving it the axe?
3. The Economist becomes the umpteenth organization to pronounces Newt’s campaign dead.
4. A reproductive health clinic landlord fights 1st Amendment fire with 1st Amendment fire.
5. How well did the current Solicitor General defend Obamacare? A former SG speaks up.
March 28, 2012
1. Here’s a great NPR’s “Planet Money” podcast from a few days ago. What does Donald Duck have to do with Revenue Act of 1862? Find out the “surprisingly entertaining history of the income tax” here.
2. NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman is always worth the read. What does politics look like in New Zealand and Australia? Friedman writes:
“There is much debate here over climate policy — Australia has a carbon tax, New Zealand has cap and trade — but there is no serious debate about climate science. Whereas in today’s G.O.P. it is political suicide to take climate change seriously, in Australia and New Zealand it is political suicide for conservatives not to.”
Read more of the opinion piece here.
3. The Supreme Court is currently listening to arguments over the constitutionality of Obama’s healthcare law. If you want to hear the oral arguments being today for and against the individual mandate in the healthcare bill in front of the supreme bill, you can do so here.
4. Looking beyond its constitutionality, is the healthcare law’s individual mandate even a good idea? Economist Jonathan Gruber seems to think so. He defends the individual mandate as the most sensible, cost effective, and just approach to fixing this country’s broken system.
5. The billions going into drilling for natural gas in the United States might not be the best idea if it means ignoring other sectors of the economy. What impact will the developing natural gas fields mean for foreign policy, the economy, and R & D? Foreign Policy reports.
March 27, 2012
1. The big story of today was the Supreme Court’s hearings on Obamacare. See here for one liberal’s take on the events.
2. And a conservative take.
3. A Princeton physics professor writes about the perils of assuming global warming is occurring for the Wall Street Journal.
4. An interesting take by David Brooks on Obamacare.
March 26, 2012
1. Following in the spirit of Greg Smith’s scathing editorial of Goldman Sachs, a hedge fund blames its failure on the financial giant’s handling of trades.
2. Think parking lots are ugly? Eran Ben-Joseph, the author of “Rethinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking,” discusses how we can transform the parking lot.
3. Check out Foreign Policy’s latest collection of military photographs.
5. Two issues ago our writer Sun Woo Ryoo covered Arctic politics. It’s now back in the news…