I haven't done this for a while, so some of it might be a bit old -- but that's OK, sometimes it's better to go back and actually read the things that people were talking about last week.
OK, so: what you don't need to read is Robert Reich on health care. I'm thinking about this piece, but really, I haven't noticed anything useful yet. There are probably good arguments against a health care compromise that could actually pass in the Senate -- arguments that engage the ongoing serious debate about such a compromise -- but Reich doesn't seem interested in producing one. I'll pick on both sides...I'm pretty confident you can skip Greg Mankiw in the Times today. I'm not qualified to assess the references in the second half of the piece, but the premise -- that the economy is worse now than it was in the spring -- is just not serious. Yes, the administration goofed big time when they underestimated the course of unemployment at the beginning of the year, but using that to claim that the administration is on the wrong course is sloppy thinking.
Too much of that; on to the good stuff.
1. I have a bunch of profiles in courage this week -- real ones. I'm thinking about LGF, Virgil, Chris Bowers, and Mark Kleiman. Stepping out into public is hard; taking on your own side when you think they've gone wrong is harder. Especially since none of these pieces is simply being contrarian; they all have interesting and useful points.
2. Obama pieces: Bruce Reed, Andrew Sullivan.
3. And health care reform: Cohn, Klein.
4. He's Ta-Nehisi Coates. Yes, it's that hard to spell, at least for me. I admit it; he's going to be TNC to me in print, because I'm deathly afraid of butchering the spelling. He's also...well, if he's not the best blogger in the business, he'll do until someone else comes along. Granted, I skip the gaming posts, and I do hate the 'Boys quite a lot (ain't December a great month?), but the rest? Wow. Here are one, two, three recent gems. I don't want to tell you what they are -- just go read him.
5. And Afghanistan: Fred Kaplan. Takes some courage to say "I don't know," too.
6. Fallows on the Times, WaPo, and climate.
7. A nicely reported profile of John Boehner, by Michelle Cottle. She should have mentioned, however, that all House Republican Minority Leaders wind up under fire for being too accommodating.
8. Last but not least, Conor Friedersdorf on "The GOP Can't Retake Congress if All the Elderly Conservatives Die of Swine Flu."
Now, I'm fairly certain that I didn't butcher TNC's name, which means I probably messed up at least two others. My apologies to all concerned, and enjoy the links.