Randolph Walerius

Podcast: Why You Shouldn’t Be Alarmed Over North Korea...Yet
The Week Ahead, Episode 65

President Trump’s fiery rhetoric over North Korea’s nuclear program should not be taken seriously just yet, says CQ Roll Call’s foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald, adding that Congress may take further action against Pyongyang in September.

Show Notes:

Podcast: Congress Has Air Traffic Control and Passenger Woes on its Radar
The Week Ahead, Episode 61

Lawmakers are debating legislation that would put air traffic control into private hands, provide protections to airline passengers and regulate drones, says CQ's transportation reporter Jacob Fischler. He and transportation editor Randy Walerius explain what's at stake.

Show Notes:

Podcast: The Long Road Ahead to Fixing America’s Infrastructure
The Week Ahead, Episode 50

President Donald Trump wants to invest $1 trillion into the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, tunnels and airports, as well as into drinking water, electric and telecommunications systems, says CQ Roll Call’s transportation reporter Jacob Fischler. But the hurdle to that ambitious agenda is finding the money. Fischler and transportation editor Randy Walerius discuss what role Congress could play in the plan.

Senate Leaders Divided After Antonin Scalia's Death

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday, throwing the future of the high court into question and setting up a tense debate among Senate leaders about how to move forward.

The White House is expected to submit a nomination to replace Scalia, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the vacancy should not be filled until there is a new president.

Senate Leaders Divided After Antonin Scalia's Death

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, was found dead Saturday, throwing the future of the high court into question and setting up a tense debate among Senate leaders about how to move forward.

The White House is expected to submit a nomination to replace Scalia, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the vacancy should not be filled until there is a new president.

Northeast Corridor Complicated by Jurisdictions' Tunnel Vision

The case for investment in the passenger rail network known as the Northeast Corridor is, on the face of it, easy to make. The 457-mile route from Washington to Boston is the busiest rail system in the country. It connects four of the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, and the region it serves accounts for about a fifth of the U.S. economy.

For years, transportation officials haven’t been able to find enough money to keep the system working at basic levels, never mind make it better. The Federal Railroad Administration estimates the crowded corridor needs about $20 billion to keep it running as it does now — nobody’s idea of good.

Northeast Corridor Complicated by Jurisdictions' Tunnel Vision

The case for investment in the passenger rail network known as the Northeast Corridor is, on the face of it, easy to make. The 457-mile route from Washington to Boston is the busiest rail system in the country. It connects four of the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, and the region it serves accounts for about a fifth of the U.S. economy.

A View From the States

Few characteristics unite Maryland, New Mexico and Missouri under the same umbrella. Maryland has a land mass less than one-tenth of New Mexico’s and a median household income that’s 50 percent higher. Missouri’s income and size, like its geography, put it near the mid-point between the other two states.

The Interpretation of Marco Rubio's 'American Dreams'

My fellow Americans,  

No three words better capture the spirit of my plan to revive the American dream than “my fellow Americans,” suggestive as those words are of the opening of an inaugural address. As I imagine myself looking down the National Mall at the sea of hopeful faces, eloquently holding forth on the American dream, I hear myself moving on to modestly recall the sacrifices of early Marco Rubios that brought me to this pinnacle of dreaming.  

John McCain and Mark Salter's '13 Soldiers': The Unwritten 14th Chapter

Nobody would dispute that Sen. John McCain marches to his own tune. The fife in his head starts fifing and the drum up there starts drumming and John McCain breaks camp, squints into the distance and marches off with confidence and vigor. He’s been around the block often enough to know that America’s rich diversity ensures somebody is always willing to follow.

John Quincy Adams: A Renaissance Politician and a Miserable Old Sod

The subtitle of Fred Kaplan’s latest book, “John Quincy Adams: American Visionary” is working overtime to celebrate the diplomat, senator, secretary of State, president and member of the House whose long career yielded little that we remember today. What’s a biographer to do but emphasize the farsightedness?

Forecasting in the Dismal Science: Walter Friedman's 'Fortune Tellers'

Every month, the business news channel CNBC brings together a screen full of talking heads to guess what the U.S. non-farm payroll report will say about the number of jobs created in the preceding month. Every month, most or all of the heads are wrong, sometimes by a lot. Keep in mind that this high error rate applies to events in the past.

Berg's 'Wilson': A Warts-and-All Portrait

A. Scott Berg’s “Wilson,” a biography of the 28th president, covers what everybody knows about Woodrow Wilson: He was an academic wunderkind, educational and political reformer, governor, president, statesman, visionary. Berg also includes what’s less well-known: probable racist.

Unusually for a presidential biographer, Berg leaves the reader liking Wilson’s most implacable foes more than the man himself. French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau found that Wilson “thought himself another Jesus Christ come upon the earth to reform men.” Even those who think Clemenceau did more than anyone at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference to ensure that World War I would eventually be followed by World War II have to give the old rogue credit for tiring of Wilson.

Former Sen. Alan Dixon's Memoir Provides Unvarnished Story

Let me mention a fellow who used to be in the Senate. Alan Dixon is his name, but people call him Al the Pal. The Senate may never have seen a more practiced backslapper and glad-hander, and that’s saying something. Al was turfed out of office by his own Democratic Party in 1992. He spent 40 years winning elections, but he sure didn’t see that one coming.

Now, Al has written a book. Never let it be said that a man is more thoughtful and articulate in print than he is in real life. And while we’re never letting things be said, never let it be said that a man late in life grasps the opportunity of hindsight to weigh the events of his younger self. But I digress. There will be time to do that later. Suffice it to say Al doesn’t do introspection. Al does extroversion. He does it in person and now he does it on the page.

John Hay, America's Lord Grantham, Brought to Life

Tired of the bickering between Democrats and Republicans, between Congress and the administration? Relax. It’s been worse.

The death of Secretary of State John Milton Hay in 1905 provoked this response from Henry Adams: “The Senate killed Hay.”

Statistics Come Into Their Political Own in This Primer

The last time Republicans won a presidential election without a Nixon or a Bush on the ticket was 85 years ago, in 1928. With nearly a full century of electoral data available, the answer to the Republicans’ presidential ambitions is obvious, and it isn’t Christie or Ryan or Paul or Cruz.

Charles Wheelan’s “Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread From the Data” will help you think about that assertion like a statistician and will illustrate why you don’t have to be Chris Christie, Paul D. Ryan, Rand Paul or Ted Cruz to sense an error in the conclusion. Bushes and Nixons may interpret the electoral data differently, of course.

When the Crisis Was at Crescendo

Alan S. Blinder is said to be a potential successor to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, whose term expires in January. Blinder’s “After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, The Response, and the Work Ahead” reads like a blueprint to avoid commitments at any confirmation hearing.

Keeping one’s options open might be useful at the Fed, and the country might benefit in the end. But going into the fifth year of Fed deployment of tools and power that few knew the central bank had (and some wish it didn’t), a reader would like a former Fed vice chairman and a Princeton economics professor to be more direct about the choices the next Fed chairman will face, many of them the result of decisions made by the current chairman.

Speaking Truth to Bankers

The House Financial Services Committee momentarily wondered whether to put Jamie Dimon, the financial demigod whose responsibility includes running J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., under oath when he appeared in June 2012 to explain how a trader known as the London Whale lost a few billion dollars. The committee’s chairman at the time, Rep. Spencer Bachus, an Alabama Republican, made the idea of sworn testimony disappear faster than a triple-A rating on a mortgage-backed security.

Connoisseurs of banking and financial crises may think a sworn oath is their best chance of getting credible explanations from bankers who consider honesty akin to a synthetic derivative. It’s based on something, and that’s as much as they’re willing to say in public.