Author Archives: Bill Moloney

American medicine today: A profession under siege

(Boston) The distinctions of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) are many: Affiliation with Harvard Medical School, 3rd oldest U.S. hospital (1811), 2nd highest ranking in the U.S. News survey, world’s largest hospital based research program ($750 million dollar annual budget), and no less than eleven Nobel Laureates have worked or trained there. Continue reading

Springtime in the Imperial City: Politics never sleeps

(Washington, D.C) For a devotee of history there are few more relaxing experiences than a mid-afternoon reverie in the Round Robin Bar at the Willard hotel. While awaiting a colleague who has promised much good gossip about bad politics in the Imperial City, my imagination goes to an upstairs room where Pinkerton detectives fearful of cascading assassination threats secretly conveyed president Elect Abraham Lincoln to wait out the final week before his inauguration in 1861. Or to the nearby hotel lobby where in more placid times President Ulysses Grant liked to stop and smoke a cigar and sip a glass of whiskey while patiently fending off job-seekers and other supplicants (The hotel dubiously claims this to be the origin of the term “Lobbyist”). Continue reading

The Kremlin’s worldview: understanding Russian behavior

(Nantucket) In March it is possible to walk three or four miles along this island’s magnificent windswept beaches without encountering a single human being yet always in the presence of the awesome power of Nature in the form of the huge Winter surf that relentlessly pounds and reshapes these shores. It is an excellent circumstance to contemplate Eternal Questions or more immediate ones like “What explains Russian behavior and what should we do about it?” Continue reading

Income inequality and economic mobility: the rest of the story

(Denver) In a major speech last December President Obama stated that “a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility is the defining challenge of our time”. It is a theme to which he has frequently returned most notably in his State of the Union Address. Continue reading

Hinge of History: Rethinking the Great War

For those who like to speculate on the “What Ifs” of History there are an abundance of books under the heading of “Counterfactual” Literature.  These works build on an imaginary premise- What If Napoleon had not invaded Russia. What If the South had won the Civil War. What If Oswald had Missed etc. – and proceed to tell readers intriguing tales of how different the world might therefore be. Continue reading

Wall Street’s binge, Main Street’s hangover

(BOSTON) – Technically the “Great Recession” ended in June of 2009, but Gallup reports that 66 percent of Americans say it’s not over yet. Economists tell us the economy is starting to look good (manufacturing & housing starts, up; gasoline prices and unemployment, down) but 68 percent of the people tell pollsters the economy is bad, and 67 percent say the country is on the “wrong track.” Continue reading