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    Obama, Year One, The Promise

    From The Promise: President Obama, Year One, by Jonathan Alter. To be published on May 18 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. © 2010 by Jonathan Alter.
  • Utah’s Fight for Uncle Sam’s Land

    Before the oil spill, at least, President Obama had proposed opening tracts of the Atlantic seabed to energy developers. But on dry land, the administration is more conservationist. It cordoned off 2 million acres last year and is considering another 13 million for national--monument status. The Sagebrush Rebellion, a mid-’70s range war between state officials and the federal government, which owns most resource-rich space in the West, started after a similar land grab. Now a new conflict may be afoot.
  • meltzer-my-turn-SC50-330-vertical

    My Turn: Brad Meltzer on Times Square Heroics

    It may be that invisibility is the most beautiful part of any great tale. Most folks don’t set out hoping to do something of great significance, after all; they just live their lives. That’s why the next hero could very well be you.
  • Quote of the Day: Tony Hayward

    "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume." —BP CEO Tony Hayward
  • EPA Ups the Ante on Climate-Energy Bill

    The Environmental Protection Agency kept the media’s focus on energy and climate this week with a new announcement that in July of next year, it would begin a sweeping crackdown on some of the country’s biggest polluters. Under the plan, stationery sources of greenhouses that emit more than 100,000 tons a year will have to massively ramp down or face high fees.It’s serious stuff. The rule, when enacted, would be the farthest-reaching effort to reduce the U.S.’s out-of-control emissions—the most abundant in the world. And it would be President Obama making good on his promise to environmentalists, who have been waiting patiently for a response to climate change. To major polluters, like utilities and energy producers, it would influence a top-to-bottom taking-stock of operations and a substantial shift to renewable energy sources.But as NEWSWEEK reported in March, this threat to enact sweeping reduction measures is simply that: a bluff. Congress doesn’t want the EPA to regulate the...
  • Weekend Reading

    In Congress, life imitates art, in a bad way. A hater out of Irvine, Calif., disses New Yorkers for boasting too much. Democrats dare Republicans to side with Big Oil. Sounds like a winning strategy, but siding with Big Oil has worked for the GOP past, so why can't it work again? Jonah Goldberg likes Mickey Kaus. Why am I not surprised? Mona Charen blames obesity on food stamps and calls hypocrisy on opposing the former and supporting the latter. Can't argue with that. Attention online advertisers! Matthew Yglesias thinks you shouldn't devalue ads because of low-click through rates. He points out that vague raising of brand awareness was always the point of most ads in the old media, not selling x number of trucks off the specific ad. He's convinced me.
  • Andy Stern's Legacy: Not All Bad

    Friday's Washington Post story about Andy Stern leaving the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) with debts offers a revealing look at the internecine strife that has long plagued the labor movement. And give the Post credit for covering a labor story, which most of the rest of the press simply ignores. But on the occasion of Stern stepping down after 13 years as head of the second largest (after the Teamsters) and fastest growing union in the country, the assessment of his legacy deserves a bit more perspective. ...
  • Despite Conspiracy Theories, No Evidence U.S. Agencies 'Watchlisted' Accused Times Square Attacker Before May 1

    Conservative Web sites have become transfixed by a journalistic red herring that implies, though it doesn’t prove, that U.S. agencies had placed Faisal Shahzad on a terrorism “watchlist” before he attempted to plant a car bomb in Times Square earlier this month. But inquiries by Declassified suggest that reports pointing to U.S. authorities watch listing Shahzad before May 1 are grossly distorted and that, for the moment, all they add up to is fodder for conspiracy theories.The speculation appears to have originated with a CBS News report posted on May 5. The report said that Shahzad’s name had appeared on what CBS described as a “U.S. government travel lookout list” between 1999 and 2008 because at some (unspecified) point he brought “approximately $80,000 cash or cash instruments into the United States.” CBS identified the list containing the information on Shahzad as a Homeland Security computer database called TECS (Traveler Enforcement Compliance System), which it described as...
  • Obama Takes Control of Populist Anger Over Spill

    British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward didn’t help himself, or his company, this morning when he tried to put the size of the gulf oil spill in perspective. "The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into [the Gulf of Mexico] is tiny in relation to the total water volume,” he said.True, but not exactly helpful. And almost instantly undercut by an NPR report this morning suggesting that the amount of oil leaking could be 10 times greater than BP, or the federal government, had estimated....
  • Newsverse: Elegy, Salt Lake City, May 2010

    By Jerry Adler SALT LAKE CITY— Senator Robert F. Bennett, an 18-year veteran Republican who had been seeking a fourth term, was stripped of his party’s nomination ... at the state convention here, becoming one of the first Congressional victims of the surging discontent from the Tea Party-infused Republican right.—The New York Times, May 8Death, as it must to all men, cameTo Robert Bennett in the nameOf Republican purity.Poor man, he never overcame.Accusations of civility.Implications of maturity.And as it must, obscuritySwept down to stake its claim.Instead of hemlock, he drank the tea.Instead of hemlock, he drank the teaHe was judged and found to beInsufficiently insane.Are you listening, John McCain?He would talk to Democrats.Which, to the crowd with tinfoil hats, Is like a moral stain.Some things you can’t explain.Some things you can’t explainThe words fall just like rainOn rock. And you’ll appearDefensive, insincere.The future now belongs to birthersMilitias, tenthers, and flat...
  • Letters: May 10, 2010

    ‘Why I Hate 3-D (And You Should Too)’ One can only hope next year’s inevitable flurry of romantic comedies now being double-lensed will nip this unpleasant fad in its protruding bud yet again. Michael Lennick, Bala, Canada
  • Why Americans Think Immigration Hurts the Economy

    At the heart of the debate over illegal immigration lies one key question: are immigrants good or bad for the economy? The American public overwhelmingly thinks they’re bad. In a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, 74 percent of respondents said illegal immigrants weakened the economy, compared to only 17 percent who said they strengthened it.
  • Arizona Puts Immigration on Center Stage

    Immigration has returned to center stage in the U.S. for wrong but not unreasonable motives. The law (S.B. 1070) signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer in April has set off an explosion of condemnations, justifications, and demonstrations. This brouhaha has brought the issue back to the fore, leading thousands to muse about, hope for, or decry the possibility of comprehensive reform. It is long overdue.
  • TV Ads and Travel Plans

    One way to assess the horse race in the last days of a campaign is to check the tone of TV ads and the travel plans of big-shot endorsers. Based on that formula, it looks like Rep. Joe Sestak is poised for victory against Sen. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race next Tuesday.I just checked with the White House to make sure there had been no last-minute changes of plan, and in fact there had not: President Barack Obama will NOT be going to the state—even to Philly, where he is popular—to campaign for the beleaguered Specter. The 80-year-old senator is desperate for a strong turnout in the city and the close-in suburbs. The Philadelphia machine, run for the last 15 years by former mayor and now Gov. Ed Rendell, is getting kind of creaky. Its aging minions aren't excited about working overtime for a guy—Specter—who was a Republican until about 10 minutes ago.Obama could help, especially among black voters, but he's not going again before Election Day,...
  • NYPD Developing CCTV Camera System That Will Be Better Than London’s

    New York Police Department is building a closed-circuit TV surveillance system which it hopes will eventually be more sophisticated and effective than the closed-circuit TV (CCTV) system used by police in London and other British cities. The widespread use of CCTV monitoring in Britain has been touted by UK authorities as a critical tool for solving crimes and maintaining public order but has been criticized by civil libertarians as a Big Brother–like widespread invasion of personal privacy....
  • The Earnest Shaun Donovan Takes Questions

    Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan was one of Mayor Bloomberg’s whiz kids before he joined the Obama administration. Meeting with reporters Thursday morning to tout glimmers of good economic news, he recalled the scene in the famous Bloomberg bullpen in New York when the first stimulus bill failed in Congress. As everyone watched the vote tally go down on a big screen, the mayor declared, “The world is ending.” With that as his yardstick, Donovan put the best face he could on an improving economy. He talked about the lessons learned from the housing crisis, among them the need to “rebalance” housing policy to make renting more attractive and affordable, and with less focus placed on homeownership as a pure good. At 40, Donovan is the youngest member of the cabinet, and clearly one of the brightest and most earnest about the mission he has been handed. He answered every question in detail and with great seriousness. He said the communities hurt the most by the mortgage crisis tend to be...
  • One Possible Source for Times Square Bomber's Funding: Dad

    One of the questions that continues to surround the investigation into the attempted Times Square car bombing: Where did suspect Faisal Shahzad get the financial resources to carry out the attack, including funds he used to travel back and forth to his native Pakistan for what he has told investigators was terrorist training in North Waziristan with the Pakistani Taliban, as well as money he used to buy a sophisticated rifle and the materials—including firecrackers, propane tanks, fertilizer, and a second-hand Nissan Pathfinder?
  • Meg Whitman’s ‘I Control My Media’ Strategy Continues to Backfire

    The story has gone from bad to worse for Meg Whitman. On the same day that a new poll shows the California-governor hopeful’s lead disappearing, state reporters have begun amplifying their complaints that Whitman was simply too isolated from the media. And that’s after she pumped almost $60 million of her own money into the race.The gripes are accurate. Whitman has agreed to only a handful of interviews, most with conservative columnists or ideologically declared reporters. She declined endorsement meetings with all of the state's major papers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, which published a punchy editorial today titled “What Meg Whitman’s Money Can’t Buy” that cautioned against a candidate who won’t answer tough questions. In January, in one of several bizarre standoffs, she declined reporters at a staged campaign event any face time. And when my colleague Andrew Romano profiled Whitman and a handful of other CEOs turned politicians for a story in February, Whitman’...
  • Thank You, South Carolina. Again. Seriously?

    Last year South Carolina became one of the biggest punchlines in politics when Republican Gov. Mark Sanford, a presidential hopeful, tearfully admitted to an extramarital affair with an Argentine woman. Since his pathetic public apology, Sanford’s wife, Jenny, divorced him, appeared in Vogue, and revealed all in her bestselling book Staying True.   ...
  • How to Make an Obama Bush Scandal

    Everything that happens during Obama’s presidency seems to get termed his ‘Katrina’ or some other, usually inapt analogy. We explain the different approaches to naming an Obama Bush scandal, and how they might be applied in the future.