Top Thinkers on the Global Economy: Your Daily Briefing



My New America Foundation colleague Daniel Mandel spends the wee hours of the morning every work day assembling an often amazing, comprehensive roster of some of the best articles on the American economy. I have his permission to forward this daily email to those who would like to have it. I will assemble a listserv and blind copy to those interested in it. If you would like to receive this daily email, send me a private note at “” or…

Christina Romer’s Statement on Economic Contraction



Below is a statement from Christina D. Romer, Chair, Council of Economic Advisors on the Fourth Quarter 2008 Advance GDP Estimate: Real GDP fell at an annual rate of 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008. This was the largest one-quarter fall since 1982 and the second consecutive quarter of real GDP decline. A substantial increase in real inventory investment (from a large negative number in 2008Q3 to a small positive number in 2008Q4) mitigated the overall decline somewhat. Real…

Guilty of Self-Indulgence



(Did not run into David Corn today; photo courtesy of the News Hour with Jim Lehrer) The Weekly Standard‘s Michael Goldfarb dubbed my post about David Corn, policy, and my constantly running into him as perhaps one of the most self-absorbed blog posts he’s ever read. I’ve probably written some others over the past four and a half years that beat that one — but his point is probably on target, regrettably. I was actually trying to be humorous —…

Europe’s Nabucco Delusion



The howls of outrage emanating from European capitals following the Russia-Ukraine gas row have led some to conclude that Europe will move quickly to diversify its natural gas supply at Russia’s expense. In fact, it is more likely that Russia’s aggressive move will reinforce Europe’s internal divisions and yield strategic dividends over the long-term. The Europeans have known for years that they are dangerously dependent on Russian gas. Nevertheless, Europe continues to import one quarter of its gas from Gazprom….

David Corn, Policy, DC Parties, and Me



(Steve Clemons and Ben Affleck — and a glimpse of David Corn mostly eclipsed by Susan Eisenhower’s hair) Unlike “Roger” in Michael Moore‘s Roger and Me, I really like David Corn — and I have no problem seeing him unlike the elusive and never reachable Roger. In fact, I am running into David Corn everywhere, constantly. . .to the point where I feel like one of us is stalking the other. David Corn is a big time blogger, pundit, and…

11 Minute Video Note with Zalmay Khalilzad



The week that former US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad was leaving the United Nations, I asked him to share his thoughts about American diplomacy, the UN as an institution, nation building and our brewing problems in Afghanistan at an event at the New America Foundation. This relatively short 11-minute discussion was separately recorded and includes the following questions: What does Khalilzad think of the United Nations as an institution? Does the UN help or harm American interests?…

Watch for US Special Forces Action Against Somali Pirates



In the period between President Obama’s November 2008 victory at the polls and his taking office on January 20, 2009, members of Obama’s transition team began talking to military planners about various options that might be available for dealing with Somali pirates. In my estimation, this is smart planning by the Obama team. It’s always smart to have serious options and gamed-out scenarios for brewing national security problems. But the source recounted to me that those asking for the development…

Jeff Flake: How to Make Congressmen “Smile” Less



Michael Lind, now my colleague at the New America Foundation but eleven years ago the Washington Editor of Harper’s Magazine, wrote a great article in August 1998 titled “Washington Meal Ticket: How to Buy a Senator’s Smile.” After the major round of ethics reform legislation Congress had passed back then after a spate of scandals, I was the off-the-record “Deep Throat” source that gave Michael lots of ways that lobbyists and influence peddlers could get around the law. . .and…

Guest Blog by James Glassman: Obama Should do More Arabic and Farsi Chats on All Networks, Including US-Funded Operations



This is a guest post by former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy James Glassman. I interviewed Jim Glassman, who also previously served as Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, in a short exchange for The Washington Note here — and this is a longer video clip of James Glassman’s presentation at the New America Foundation on the subject, “Public Diplomacy 2.0.” I was particularly glad the first time Glassman spoke at the New America Foundation when he…