Joe Kenehan Center

Thursday, January 16, 2003
Doctor’s Orders
Read this piece to understand how Bill Frist can be a brilliant surgeon, a likable guy, and a kind man but at the same time be mostly clueless about the real problems facing American health care.

Lil' Greens
This interminable LA Weekly piece profiles some great kids who are getting involved in the Green Party. They're to be applauded, but their idealism and youth doesn't undo the problems that already surround the Greens and other third party electoral efforts in a single-member district system.

The piece doesn't mention a significant example where a young Green activist barely out of high school almost decided the balance of power in a state legislature.

In 2001, Washington voters in a hotly-contested suburban district north of Seattle went to the polls in a crucial special election that, because our legislature was tied, decided who controlled the state house. In an attempt to split the center-left vote, a pair of shady Republican campaign consultants contacted Young Han, an 18-year old Green activist, and gave him seed money for a campaign without telling him they were conservative Republicans. (They tried the same tactic in an important King County council election.)

Han qualified for the ballot and stayed in the race, but there was enough publicity about the Republicans' dirty tricks that his campaign didn't get much energy. A solidly pro-union Democrat won. But who knows what would've happened if the origin of Han's candidacy wasn't uncovered?

Also in the LA Weekly, Micah Sifry examines some of the other obstacles Greens will have to overcome if they want to become a meaningful party.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
The Union Vote 2004
Former AFL-CIO political director Steve Rosenthal was at Harvard talking about strategy for 2004 and giving more details of the nascent 527 independent advocacy group he is leading:

In preparation for the next election, the AFL-CIO is about to launch a new program to mobilize black, Latino and women voters, who have been vastly underrepresented at the polls in past years:

The $20-40 million program, scheduled to be operational in selected states by the end of February, will identify issues important to these voters to help the AFL-CIO find candidates representing their interests.

Impatience on the Right
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting editorial on the Rove/Bush overtures to certain union leaders, drawing this comment from The New Republic’s blog.

Monday, January 13, 2003
The Buzz
Naming Steven Weisman's The Great Tax Wars a Joe Kenehan Center "Notable Book for 2002" certainly boosted its buzz.

In yesterday's New York Times Money and Business section "What They Are Reading" column, we learned that New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer is reading Weisman's edifying history of the income tax.

In the Times' Week In Review section, Weisman himself held forth on the history of taxes and class.

And today the Los Angeles Times' ace Washington correspondent, Ron Brownstein, refers to Tax Wars when remarking that Bush is the first president in 140 years to plan to fight a war on credit.

(Note: book publishers -- and, for that matter, music labels -- can contact the Joe Kenehan Center here to find out how to submit freebie review copies for future consideration as a notable.)