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Obama’s NASA plan: an “elaborate wake” for human spaceflight

Last month, President Obama announced proposals for restructuring the NASA space program, and a key plank of his new approach was to rely much more on commercial companies. As I noted earlier, this sounds more like the outsourcing of leadership. And as an article in today’s New York Times today finds, it turns out the private aerospace industry that is supposed […]

Play ball!: baseball season begins

Thumbnail : Play ball!: baseball season begins

Nothing says “spring is here” like the start of the baseball season. And this past weekend marked the beginning of Little League baseball in our town, like thousands across the country.  Major League Baseball inaugurated its 2010 season last week, but for me, baseball season is as much about the kids and the wider social […]

This week’s articles of note

“Time to rebalance: special report on America’s economy,” The Economist, by Greg Ip “Building a green economy,” New York Times Magazine, by Paul Krugman “Up from slavery,” Reason, by David Boaz “Making the rest of the world crazy,” (Review of Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche, by Ethan Watters), Boston Globe, by […]

Democratic Party image at historic low

After the health bill passed last month, the President Obama and the Democratic congress appeared to be on the rebound. Celebrations among Democrats suggested a new confidence, and Obama was said to have a new spring in his step. But as I noted earlier (here), these celebrations seemed inconsistent with the country’s mood.  Now there is evidence that the […]

Obama’s changes to nuclear policy aren’t epochal

Peter Feaver, a professor of political science at Duke and a former National Security Council member under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, presents a careful analysis of President Obama’s new policy on the use of nuclear weapons, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, in today’s New York Times. In a nutshell, the new […]

The Chinese are coming! (maybe)

Thumbnail : The Chinese are coming! (maybe)

A couple of articles this week indicate that the Chinese economic presence in the US may be increasing in the near future. First, an article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal reported that “Chinese companies are increasingly looking to invest in the US, and state and local governments are scrambling to win a share of the […]

The return of the consumer

“American consumers are finally coming out of hiding,” reports the New York Times today. Retail sales are up, and people are now spending on items other than food and medicine, such as clothes, jewelry and cars. Greater consumer spending is another sign – along with increasing employment and higher factory production – that economic recovery […]

NBC TV shows tell us to recycle, eat organic and exercise

You’ve heard of “product placement,” whereby companies pay to have their products displayed in the midst of movies or television programs. Well, now NBC Universal deploys “behavioral placement” in its TV shows, according to an interesting item in today’s Wall Street Journal. It turns out that it is no accident when “Tina Fey is tossing […]

“Race to the Top”: an irrational way to run education policy

The Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” competition among states for federal education funding was problematic from the start – and now its inherent irrationality is starting to show. The administration is offering $4.35 billion to states that it deems are the most innovative in reforming their education programs. Last week, the White House selected two […]

Classic March Madness final

(Video: Duke-Butler NCAA basketball final) Last night’s NCAA basketball final between Duke and Butler was one of the best, coming down to a last-second desperation shot from Butler’s Gordon Hayward (shown in the video) that would have been a storybook ending to his team’s Cinderella run – if it went in.  Both teams put on a great show. Duke, a traditional […]

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