1. Before the internet, I considered Diane Rehm somewhat of a hack but the best "podcast news analysis" I had available at the time slot she aired. Well, either she's better than what I remembered or she's gotten much better: in her archives within the past couple weeks you can listen to her doing an excellent interview with Joe Steiglitz, and an Obama and McCain economic advisor on Obama's economic team. She asks them some tough questions via an email she received. Sorry I don't have the link handy. However, it sparked this thought: Credible independent economists should watch what's going on with Wall Street & Citibank very carefully in real time regarding the TARP money: how much is this just taking from the public commons. I don't want an expose from Michael Lewis or Henry Blodget 2 years later: I want commentary NOW. For example, who received public money to free up credit markets and then paid out dividends instead? Why does the Obama administration not want to renegotiate these deals? How much is to be made of Rick Rubin's connection with Obama's economists? Lawrence Summers'? Would smart independent, unconnect economists do this differently? I want REAL TIME analysis from the best.
2. Deans of MPA schools are failing to criticize Obama picks on technocratic (as opposed to ideological) grounds. Thus is hurting their own alums and reason for existing in the first place (that there's some domain competence to be learned regarding public administration). I'm especially talking about HHS, and after that State dept. here.
3. Obama's flaws are starting to shape up. He has problems with transparency (TARP, investigating torture and FISA violations) and he has problems with the healthy encouragement of nascent competing centers of executive competence outside his presidency, by snapping up the most likely governor/challengers to him in 2012 for his cabinet. Also, Republicans should go after him for not being technocratic/meritocratic outside of his economic and defense teams. It may not be the winningest Republican challenger strategy, but it offers the most positive externalities for the rest of us and it does seem like a winnable strategy to me.