A Measure of History

Professor Kenneth W. Mack ’91
The Boston Globe
March 25, 2010

“In recent weeks, the Obama administration … sought to mobilize supporters around the country, after months in which that kind of improvisational, decentralized energy seemed more in possession of the opponents of social reform legislation than of its supporters.

“To the extent that the legislative triumphs of the New Deal and Great Society are held up as inspirational examples in assessing what the Obama administration has achieved [in passing health reform legislation], one should also remember the structural advantages that Roosevelt and Johnson had in putting their programs through, and the help that they received, willing and unwilling, from political and social movement leaders who were beyond their control.

“When the definitive history of this political moment is finally written years from now, the ability of the administration, and its opponents, to foster innovation in an age of political constraint will surely be one of the central stories.”

Obama’s Legacy and the Iranian Bomb

Professor Alan Dershowitz
The Wall Street Journal
March 23, 2010

“The new-associate recruitment market is fundamentally broken, and it has been for some time. Incremental changes are not going to address its underlying problems. The market needs a structural fix—a centralized matching authority, like the one that the medical profession has been using for more than half a century. …

“Some market participants recoil from the idea of centralized matching because they conflate centralized markets with centralization of power. Centralized matching does not take choice away from individual students or firms. Instead, it provides a common platform for the labor market to function efficiently. In that regard, it is akin to a stock exchange, which allows people to execute trades according to their individual preferences but within the ambit of explicit rules that increase the efficiency and robustness of trading.”

Ending the Internet’s Trench Warfare

Professor Yochai Benkler ’94
The New York Times
March 21, 2010

“The Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan, announced last week, is aimed at providing nearly universal, affordable broadband service by 2020. And while it takes many admirable steps—including very important efforts toward opening space in the broadcast spectrum—it does not address the source of the access problem: without a major policy shift to increase competition, broadband service in the United States will continue to lag far behind the rest of the developed world.”

The Best Trial Option for KSM: Nothing

Professor Jack Goldsmith and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Benjamin Wittes
The Washington Post
March 19, 2010

“[A] military commission trial might achieve slight public relations and legitimacy benefits over continued military detention of [alleged 9/11 co-conspirator Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed, and it might facilitate his martyrdom by ultimately allowing the government to put him to death. But this would add so little to the military detention that the administration already regards as legitimate that a trial isn’t worth the effort, cost and political fight it would take.

“Eight and a half years after the Sept. 11 attacks, it is time to be realistic about terrorist detention. The number of Guantanamo trials will not, under the best of circumstances, be large. Instead of expending great energy on a battle over the proper forum for an unnecessary trial of Mohammed and his associates, both sides would do well instead to define the contours of the detention system that will, for some time to come, continue to do the heavy lifting in incapacitating terrorists.”