Friday, November 28, 2008

Doonsbury explains it all to us!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama's voice

Obama's 27 year old speech writer Jeff Favreau is moving into the White House.   I don't know if he's old enough to shave, but he sure can write.  Here is a great profile

Elections do matter!

A long, but very worthwhile piece about why elections matter from veteran Washington journalist Elizabeth Drew.  Money quote:
Obama understood the point—which eludes some presidential candidates—that running is about governing, that there should be a seamless connection between the two. The best way to judge presidential candidates—aside from whether one basically agrees with their values—is to try to envision them governing. Will they inspire people to follow them? What kind of people do they have around them? How do they run their campaign? The wise candidate, the one who sees long, will run the campaign as a preparation for the presidency. In Obama's case, from what we have been able to observe up to this point, there will be a straight line from his campaigning to his governing.

"Palling around with terrorists"

My conversation  with former anti-war activist and 60's radical William Ayers.  We discussed his book Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist just reissued, plus the panoply of his past and present views.

My conversation with Bill Ayers:

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Kerry Kennedy talks about Catholisism and her father

Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, talks about modern day Catholicism, her faith and a special memorial for her father.  Her new book BEING CATHOLIC NOW reveals the ideas of prominent Americans talking about their Catholic faith.

She also tells us about an effort to build a memorial for her father. Check out the online auction.

My conversation with Kerry Kennedy:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama skips church, heads to gym

Some of us knew why we liked this guy.  In addition to policy and smarts, he's got his priorities straight. Politico reports.

Friday, November 21, 2008

45 Years and still no clarity

Saturday marks the 45th anniversary of the JFK assassination. It still amazes me how many "theories" still proliferate about what really happened. Today I interviewed two of the leading theorists.

Lamar Waldon is the country's leading assassination researcher. His work was the primary source for Oliver Stone's movie "JFK." He is a staunch believer in the involvement of the Mafia and the Cubans. His latest 800+ page tome is Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination

My interview with Waldron:

James A. Douglass is a relative newcomer to the conspiracy theory ranks. In his new book  JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters he lays out the case that Kennedy was done in by our own government, specifically the CIA, because he sought detente with the Soviets.

My interview with Douglass:

The Best and the Brightest Redux

Forty Five years ago tomorrow, the era of the "The Best and the Brightest" came to an abrupt end. David Brooks thinks it's back.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Jedi Mind Trick

In just two weeks Obama has convinced both the left netroots and the thinking conservatives that he's serving both of their interests. It's amazing. Read these two posts and see if they are talking about the same President-Elect. Al Girodano is reassuring the left that Obama is making all the right personnel moves and that the whole Daily Kos crowd should be satisfied. On the other hand Ross Douthat, the intellectual, conservative columnist for The Atlantic thinks that the Obama transition, so far, has been great for conservatives.  This really is the Jedi mind trick.

Education, Education, Education

Five visionary educators have joined together to share their personal stories of the challenges and triumphs they faced in the classroom, and their ideas of what education can and should be for every student. THOSE WHO DARED: Five Visionaries Who Changed American Education serves as an inspirational guide to action for those looking to be more involved in the urgent and continuing efforts to restore America s public schools.

I recently spoke to Carl Glickman, the books editor who is Scholar-in-Residence in the Educational Administration and Policy Program at the University of Georgia.


This is why there shoud be no bailout of the auto companies.  Will Rogers said during the depression that "we were the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poor house in an automobile."   Only the auto company executives can cry poverty from their luxury corporate jets. I afraid to say, Mitt Romney is absolutely right!

2008, Not the Year of the Woman

Even with Hillary Clinton and Sara Palin, it was not a good year for the progress of woman in public life. Amanda Fortini explains it all in her New York Magazine article.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is Obama really this smart!

After a huge and historic victory, what better way to go about the hard work of selecting a Cabinet and a White House staff in relative peace and quiet then to have Hillary Clinton as a decoy. Whether she accepts SOS or not, the usual Clinton psycho drama, Bills' problems, Hillary being decided vs. undecided, and the press complicity in it, have taken all the air out of talking about the economy, economic advisers, Treasurer Secretaries, etc. Obama has gone about picking a White House Council, other members of Sr. staff, apparently an Attorney General and all the focus is still on Hillary. If there is a better cover for getting real work done, I haven't seen it in politics. Obama really is the smartest guy in the room.

Hitchens shares the love..

The pugnacious Christopher Hitchens explains to Chris Matthews why Hillary for SOS is a really bad idea.  Hard to argue.  The New York Post has more on Matthews views of Hillary.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A war of choice that also didn't work!

McGeorge Bundy was the the principal archetect of the war in Vietnam. One of Kennedy's best and brightest, he never spoke of the war or its consequences until close to his death. At that time he said he had "made mistakes of perception, recommendation and execution."

He begun his memoirs with Gordon Goldstein, inorder to tell his side of the story. He died before ever finishing them. Gordon Goldstein has written the story he thought that Bundy would have wanted to tell.

This is a piece of the puzzle that is needed to help us better understand America's tragic collison with it most fateful war of choice. Maybe we should have had this book five years ago!

My conversation with Gordon Goldstein, author of Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What we can lean from a very special Gray Parrot

Sometimes we get to push politics and the world aside, no matter how bad things look, and appreciate both the progress of science and the essence of humanity.  On September 6, 2007, an African Grey parrot name Alex died.  His last words to his owner, Dr. Irene Pepperberg were "You be good. I love you."  This was headline news. Alex had his obituary in The New York Times.  Alex and Dr. Pepperberg opened unprecedented windows into the hidden world of the animal mind and into human/animal interaction.  Dr. Irene Pepperberg talks to me about her memoir Alex & Me:

How Newspapers might think about reinventing themselves.

If Radio and Bicycles can still exist, why not Newspapers. It's not really the same, but Catherine Rampell, editor of the New York Times' Economix blog,  makes the case.

Why the Federal government can't work!

This article in today's New York Times, as to why Obama may not be able to use something that dramatically increase everyone productivity and is now in integral part of every executive's life is an example of how bad things may really be in Washington.  This does not look like change we can believe in.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The End of Wall Street?

Michael Lewis, of Liar's Poker fame returns to Wall Street to examine what went wrong. His article in Portfolio.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Howard Dean was at the cutting edge! Who knew?

N.Y. Times Magazine political writer Matt Bai writes in this Sunday's Magazine Section about how Howard Dean may have been prescient in his 50 State strategy and in understanding generational and technological change for the Democratic party.

My conversation with Matt Bai.

Liberman & Clinton: The Common Thread

What's the common thread for salvaging Joe Liberman and perhaps bringing Hillary Clinton into the Cabinet?  It's clear that Obama understands that old Sun Tzu adage, "keep your friends close and your enemy's closer."  What better way to keep tabs on the renegade and sniping Clinton's than to bring them into the fold.  As for Liberman, a Democratic counterweight to what could become an unhinged Congress with ideological vs. practical goals couldn't hurt.  It's clear once again that Obama's excellent management of his campaign was no accident. They guy gets it.

Chuck Todd makes the case:

From Chuck Todd,  
*** Hillary at State? As we've learned with anything regarding the Clintons, one never knows exactly how serious the speculation might be. But let's assume the news -- reported last night by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell -- that Hillary Clinton is in the mix as a potential Secretary of State is as serious as it appears. (Because if it's not, and her name is being floated only to be rejected, it's going to make her more upset. But we digress…) The best reason for Obama to be looking for a place in his cabinet for Clinton is simple: to get her out of the Senate. Just ask George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter what it was like to have a once or future presidential rival in the Senate serving as a one-person Roman tribunal. Remember how easily the press gravitated to John McCain in '01 or Bob Kerrey in '93 or Ted Kennedy in '77 to allow them to be one-senator judge/juries on Administration proposals? The upside for Obama putting Clinton at State (or even the Pentagon) is that it gets her out of the Senate and gets her out of the domestic policy debates. Also, one other thing to keep in mind if Clinton does end up at State, she'll be off the political circuit; it’s considered unseemly to practice politics while serving in one of the big cabinet posts, especially at State or Defense. So this would mean no more Hillary on the stump for candidates, no more Hillary raising money, no more Hillary collecting chits.

Andrew Sullivan agrees:

Obama has to offer something to Clinton. She's his main threat now and rightly regards part of his victory her doing. The primaries helped him. Left to fester in the Senate, Clinton will plot against the president if he doesn't actively seek her support and engagement and "spread the political wealth" of his mandate. It is a senior enough position not to be fobbed off; it really does take advantage of the Clinton name abroad; it could even put Bill to good use and keep him out of mischief; and Obama has kept telling us that his cabinet model is "Team Of Rivals." Giving Hillary that kind of position is straight out of Lincoln.
Unlike the vice-presidency, a secretary of state has real constitutionally-designated things to do. From Clinton's point of view, it would be a natural position from which to run to succeed Obama in 2016 (or to make an inside push to oust him in 2012). The emergence of Max Baucus as the front senator for healthcare seems to me that Obama might have already been signaling this maneuver. If Clinton isn't the lead player on healthcare, what is she going to do?
So here's hoping he offers and she accepts. It's an elegant and shrewd move; both public spirited and yet coldly calculating at the same time. Pure Obama.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The West Wing told us how it was going to turn out

The New York Times reminds us that the final season of THE WEST WING told us all we needed to know about the 2008 election.  

FDR set the table for what Obama faces today

Just as today, seventy five years ago we inaugurated a President amidst a cataclysmic economic crises, and the prospect of wars on two fronts. He was called an elitist as well as a socialist. He overcame a great handicap to achieve office. Such was the model set by FDR.

Prize winning historian H.W. Brands, in his new book Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt examines FDR in a way that explains so much of what is at the very fabric of government today.

Here is my interview with H.W. Brands:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why the Democrates may have a majority for years to come

The Center from American Progress looks at generational politics and why issues of race, gender, class are less important then issues of generation. The impact of the Mellennials may soon surpass that of Boomers. Obama is the transitional link.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Imperial Presidency

Jonathan Mahler, author of The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power, has the Cover Story in this weeks New York Times Magazine. A look at the power amassed by Bush and the The Imperial Presidency. How will Obama deal with new found power and will Congress do anything to regain it's power.

Here is my interivew with Mahler.

Why Ford & GM should not be given a blank check

Ford, GM and Chrysler are the authors of their own destiny. Years of bad management have created the internal rot that plaques both companies. Taxpayers money to bail them out is NOT what is needed. Henry Blodgett explains.

Tom Friedman nails it!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The sad truth about Prop 8

As in Ohio in 2004, it was the black vote, and the particularly heavy black turnout for Obama, that drove Prop 8's passage.  The Bee explains it all.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lincoln, Douglas and Obama

Harvard historian John Stauffer explains the parallel lives of Lincoln and Frederick Douglas and how both have influenced Obama. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Marianne Williamson on America's Revolution

Marianne Williamson's take on America's non-violent Revolution.

Rahm Emanuel

Elizabeth Bumiller, write a story in The New York Times Mazaing in June of 1997 about Rahm Emanuel and his brothers.  A timely read. 

The Book

"And so power passes."  And so begins Theodore White's landmark book THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 1960.  Who will write the landmark book of this election?