The cloak-and-dagger plan to unmask @natsecwonk is straight out of Game of Thrones.
Read more. [Image: HBO]
Remember when President Obama’s second term was going to be defined — and destroyed — by scandals like IRS scrutiny of Tea Party groups and the Justice Department pawing through Associated Press phone records? Think back, back before Edwards Snowden and the NSA revelations, the Syria crisis, the threat of a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare, and the possibility of a U.S. default in a debt-ceiling showdown.
Back in the mists of spring, when the grass was new and blossoms hung thick about the cherry trees, there was a concerted effort, partially run out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to directly tie White House political staff to objectionable goings-on in other parts of the sprawling federal government, such as the IRS.
Except it wasn’t actually a new GOP strategy. Long before the IRS scandal fell apart amid revelations that progressive groups had been targeted too — information that hadn’t been covered in the inspector general’s report because of narrow instructions from Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa — Republican members of Congress accused White House staffers of leaking information about a foiled al-Qaeda bomb plot in order to bolster the president’s case for reelection.
"It has to be for re-election," said Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in June 2012. “They can deny it all they want. But it would require a suspension of disbelief to believe it’s not being done for political purposes.”
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Erst/Reuters]
Over the weekend, U.S. Marine Corps captain Matthew Phelps proposed to the love of his life, Ben Schock, at the White House. And that bended knee is now certifiably viral: their pictures have over 8,000 likes on Facebook, more than 17,000 upvotes on Reddit, and 16,000-plus views on imgur (Reddit’s go-to image-hosting platform). It’s easy to see why: an active Marine Corps captain, his boyfriend, and the first gay marriage proposal in the White House— all a year after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, in the year when gay marriage swept the ballot box and the polls. We emailed with Phelps just now about his newfound Internet fame, the wedding plans, his problem with DOMA, and why he doesn’t feel like that much of an overnight symbol after all.
Read more. [Images: Facebook]
You think your corporate email’s got problems? In an interview with Computerworld, outgoing White House CIO Brook Colangelo revealed that the official White House email was down for nearly a quarter of the first 40 days that President Obama was in office.
The tech situation when Obama’s team entered the White House was worse than even that stat might indicate. The computer that Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel got? It had a floppy drive. 82 percent of the technology in the White House had reached its end of life, Colangelo said.
The White House IT team appears to have improved the tech situation on Pennsylvania Avenue, but it all makes you wonder: if White House comms had a hard time handling day-to-day traffic, what might happen under more strenuous circumstances?
[Image: White House/Flickr]
Financial aid, whether it’s a cheap loan, a work-study job at the campus library, or a grant, is supposed to make college more affordable and accessible for students. But what if, by handing money out to undergrads, the government is simply encouraging schools to spend more and jack up tuition?
Meet “the Bennett hypothesis,” the dismal notion named for Reagan Education Secretary William Bennett, who suggested it in a 1987 New York Times op-ed diplomatically titled “Our Greedy Colleges.” Generous student-aid policies had “enabled colleges and universities blithely to raise their tuitions, confident that Federal loan subsidies would help cushion the increase,” he wrote at the time. “Federal student aid policies do not cause college price inflation, but there is little doubt that they help make it possible.”
Twenty five years of swelling tuition prices later, Bennett’s critique seems to have received a stamp of bipartisan approval, courtesy of the Obama administration. It’s the driving spirit behind a White House proposal that would condition a small amount of the federal financial aid that colleges distribute to students on their ability to keep a lid on costs. “We can’t just keep on subsidizing skyrocketing tuition,” Obama told a rally audience at the University of Michigan last month as he announced the idea.
True enough. Subsidizing skyrocketing tuition sounds like a supremely poor idea. If only it were clear what the link between student aid and college costs actually was.
Read more. [Image: Thomas Barrat/Shutterstock]
On Valentine’s Day, 1962, eight million Americans turned on their televisions to watch Jacqueline Kennedy give a tour of the newly restored White House.
The televised program earned Jacqueline Kennedy an honorary Emmy Award and sparked a renewed enthusiasm for the history and beauty of the White House.
This week, the Kennedy Library has opened and made available for research the first section of the Personal Papers of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The collection provides new insight into the First Lady’s restoration efforts, as well as her extensive knowledge of the historic furnishings, artwork and décor that would set the standard for future presidencies.