Archive for February, 2009

As if a Forced Cable Transition Isn’t Silly Enough »

For anyone still lingering in the “dark ages” of rabbit ears (Wait, do we have to switch yet? Don’t we? Is there a right answer?), the president has developed a “coupon program” to help subsidize the cost of the converter box needed for the upgrade. In fact, he has set aside an additional $650…
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Court Puts 17 Detainees’ Freedom on Hold »

Seventeen Uighurs—innocent members of the Chinese Muslim minority caught up in the war on terror dragnet and sent to Guantánamo—have had their release blocked by a Federal Appeals Court. This overturns a District Court ruling that the men should be released because they had not fought against the U.S. and posed no security threat….
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New Strategy in War on Terror? Don’t Hold Your Breath »

Buried on page A19 of yesterday’s New York Times was what should have been Charlie Savage’s front-page story. In “Obama’s War on Terror May Resemble Bush’s in Some Areas,” Savage highlights several troubling comparisons between the two administrations. While acknowledging that just after the inauguration, “Mr. Obama thrilled civil liberties groups when he issued…
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Alan Greenspan: Apologist for the Federal Reserve, Financial Bailouts and Bank Nationalizations »

Following up on his earlier support for federal bailouts for financial institutions, in a new interview in the Financial Times, former Federal Reserve System Chairman Alan Greenspan has stated the following in his backing of bank nationalizations in the U.S.: It may be necessary to temporarily nationalize some banks in order to facilitate a…
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C-SPAN2 Covers Recarving Rushmore on Presidents Day »

Yesterday, C-SPAN2 Book TV aired our Jan. 7th policy forum on Recarving Rushmore. Thank you to Ron Paul and Richard Shenkman for participating in the event. Watch it here.

In Defense of the (Relatively) Great Warren G. Harding »

The latest ratings of presidential greatness tells us more about the priorities of historians than it does about the presidents. The following were rated as the greatest presidents: Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. There is merit to the high rating for Washington. As to the others, they include a…
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Obama Adopts Bush Position on Renditioning, State Secrets »

Those who hoped the rise of Obama would signify a shift toward more respect for civil liberties must be disappointed about this: The new administration fully embraces the last administration’s stance on state secrets and foreign detainees in the war on terror. Rather than the “states secrets” privilege being introduced rarely and depending on…
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“Thank You,” Mr. Redford, for Gov’t-Subsidized Art »

“Thank goodness” Mr. Robert Redford called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week to secure a $50 million allocation for the arts amongst the $800-something-billion approved on Friday. And here I was worried that art and culture would all but disappear from the American landscape. I feel better knowing that the federal government is doing…
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Regime Uncertainty Exemplified in the Fannie/Freddie Debacle »

The February issue of Vanity Fair has an interesting article on the politicking associated with the Fannie/Freddie debacle. Toward the end of the story (p. 146), the author, Bethany McLean, describes a late-stage episode in this tale that nicely exemplifies the concept of regime uncertainty. I proposed the idea of regime uncertainty in a 1997 article…
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Economic Fascism Marches On »

Reporting on a February 9 Business Week article by Pete Engardio on “State Capitalism,” the National Center for Policy Analysis summarizes: Across the United States, state governments are crafting economic strategies that blur the boundaries between the public and private sectors. They are targeting specific industries and intervening in ways that go far beyond…
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