Tuesday, April 30, 2013

David Brooks: Think Tanks = Rapid Response Teams for Partisan Masters

David Brooks writes:
Look at most think tanks. They used to look like detached quasi universities; now some are more like rapid response teams for their partisan masters.
David Frum, in response, writes:
Why are think tanks tax exempt?  It's a good joke, but there's a serious question here: why are think tanks allowed to issue tax receipts if they function as, effectively, either communications operations of existing political parties or else outright lobbying & PR organizations?
It is certainly an interesting question.  Tevi Troy answers a part of the question in a National Affairs article titled "No More Thinking With Think Tanks."  Writes Troy:
Because think tanks are understood to offer important support to making good public policy, they are included among the charitable and public-service institutions exempted from income tax.
The question about tax-exempt institutions and their activities/influence goes back decades.

There are sometimes calls for changes to be made.  In 2009, J.H. Snider called for a strengthening of think tank accountability, and said, among other things, that IRS Form 990 (which think tanks must file with the IRS each year to retain their tax-exempt status) should require think tanks to disclose their donors.  This is not a new idea.

In 2003 then Cato President Ed Crane said that too many think tanks are taking openly partisan political stances that undermine their credibility and threaten the tax-exempt status of 501(c)3 policy research groups over the long-term.

Brookings Scholar: You Can't be Too Rich

Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Justin Wolfers, just released a paper with his co-author wife, Betsey Stevenson, which basically says that you can't be too rich.

Here is how The Wall Street Journal reports it:
The Duchess of Windsor, who quipped, “You can never be too rich or too thin,” appears to have had it at least half right.  New research by University of Michigan economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found that for rich and poor alike, as income climbs, so does one’s sense of well-being.
Their findings, to be published in the May 2013 American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings, counter the idea that once certain basic needs are met, a rising income doesn’t translate into commensurate surges in happiness. That 1970s-era notion, named for economist Richard Easterlin and known as the Easterlin Paradox, holds that higher average income doesn’t translate into greater average happiness. Stevenson and Wolfers noted that other researchers — but not Mr. Easterlin — tweaked the paradox to say that it holds after a certain threshold income level — to take care of one’s basic needs — is met.
That belief worked its way into popular thought, said Mr. Wolfers, a Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow, but it hadn’t really been formally tested and proved. He and Ms. Stevenson examined data for more than 150 countries from sources including the World Bank and the Gallup World Poll and concluded that there no such threshold income level, or “satiation point,” exists.
They found that “while each additional dollar of income yields a greater increment to measured happiness for the poor than for the rich, there is no satiation point.” That means that additional income makes both poor and rich people happier — it just will take more money to increase the well-being of the rich.

You can read the full report, titled "Subjective Well-Being and Income: Is There Any Evidence of Satiation?" here.

Here is what Slate says about the new study.  Here is what the Washington Post says.  Here Bloomberg Businessweek says.  Here is what US News & World Report says.

Wolfers is Co-Editor of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA) along with David Romer.  BPEA is a journal of economics published twice a year by Brookings Institution Press.  BPEA's spring 2013 conference was held March 21-22.

The Brookings Institution was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #57

  • No think tankers make FP's Power Map of the 500 most powerful people on the planet.
  • Heartland's Joe Bast on running a think tank in the information age.
  • Hillary Clinton among those to get ACUS Distinguished Leadership Award on May 1.
  • 62 of 357 Brookings experts list a personal Twitter account.
  • Ron Paul's "nutty" think tank?
  • Heritage Foundation's 36th annual Resource Bank held in Orlando, Florida.
  • Walter Olson's Overlawyered is now a Cato Institute blog.
  • Stavros Niarchos Foundation extends annual lecture series at PIIE. 
  • Leaders flock to Milken conference.
  • Cato Institute's ad in Politico's WHCA guide.

China's 100,000 Person Cyber Army Shifts Focus to Think Tanks

Here is what is being reported:
Taiwan's National Security Bureau (NSB) has released a report which states China's cyberarmy has grown and shifted to targets its think tanks and critical infrastructure.
According to The Taipei Times on Sunday, the report to be presented at a legislative hearing with the Ministry of National Defense and Criminal Investigation Bureau officials on Monday, states that since 2002, China had expanded its cyberarmy and now has more than 100,000 people working for it.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post of cyber hacking at think tanks in the US.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #56

  • Boston bomber tied to conservative think tank?
  • Chatham House talk: "Twitter is faster than the CIA and sometimes more accurate."
  • It's time Zimbabwe should consider independent think tanks. 
  • CFR billionaire member Stephen Schwarzman establishes $300 million China scholarship program.
  • 15 ways of measuring think tank policy outcomes.
  • New Tax Policy Center (TPC) analysis finds most would pay higher taxes in Obama budget.
  • Why policy-making shouldn't be outsourced to right-wing think tanks. 
  • Are think tanks losing their intellectual independence and integrity? 
  • Rand Paul skips opening of his father's think tank. 
  • Google Ideas Director Jared Cohen makes 2013 Time 100 list. 
  • Former USIP EVP Tara Sonenshine leaving State Department.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bruegel Director Leaves to Join French Government

Bruegel Director Jean Pisani-Ferry has resigned to become Director of the French Prime Minister's Economic Policy Planning Staff in Paris.

In a statement, Bruegel's Board said it is currently engaged in the process of selecting a new Director.  In the meantime, Deputy Director Guntram Wolff has been appointed Acting Director.

Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank (ECB), is the Chairman of the Board at Bruegel.  Jim O'Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM), is another notable member of Bruegel's Board.

Bruegel was recently ranked as the 2nd best non-US think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  [Chatham House was ranked #1.]  It was ranked as the 8th best think tank in the world.  It was also ranked as the #1 think tank in Western Europe [interestingly, Chatham House was ranked #2], and the world's #1 international economic policy think tank.

Will the Next Fed Chair Come From Think Tank Land?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's term ends January 31, 2014, and there has been lots of speculation about who may be the next Chairman.  Those from think tank land who could possibly become the next Fed Chairman (and the probability that they will become the next Chairman) include:

  • Larry Summers: Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, or CAP, and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, or PIIE (17% probability based on WPost prediction)
  • Tim Geithner: Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR (8% probability based on WPost prediction)
  • Don Kohn: Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, at the Brookings Institution (5% probability based on WPost prediction)

Another big question: Will Ben Bernanke join a think tank?  It seems that former Federal Reserve officials (including visiting fellows and consultants) are scattered at various think tanks, including the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE; David Blanchflower, Joseph Gagnon, David Stockton), the Brookings Institution (Alice Rivlin, Don Kohn, Michael Klein), and American Enterprise Institute (AEI; Stephen Oliner, Phillip Swagel, Vincent Reinhart), to name a few.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Columbia U. Think Tank Snags Another Big Name

Here is what The Hill is reporting:
The former head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) is heading to Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.
Former IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka will join the think tank as a non-resident fellow. He starts June 1.
The Center on Global Energy Policy said Tanaka will focus on "global security challenges for Asian economies, including the natural gas trade, power grid connection and nuclear policy."
Tanaka joins the think tank shortly after it lured David Sandalow, the former acting undersecretary for the Energy Department, away from Washington, D.C.
A Japanese native, Tanaka led the Paris-based IEA from 2007 until 2011. He was succeeded Maria van der Hoeven, the former minister of economic affairs for the Netherlands.

Here is the homepage of Columbia's Center on Global Energy Policy.  The think tank will be having a launch party on April 24 which will include opening remarks by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

BPC to Host Events at White House Correspondents Dinner

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is teaming up with Capitol File to host two events at the White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCA), also known as the "nerd prom," on April 27.

Here is what BPC says about the events:
BPC will participate in the festivities by hosting a VIP “After Party” in partnership with Capitol File Magazine at the Carnegie Library. In celebration of bipartisanship, BPC will have its very own Bipartisan Lounge featuring a purple velvet rope, lively elephant and donkey décor, and “Bipartisan Spirits” of all kinds.
Leading up to the White House Correspondents Dinner, BPC and Capitol File will be co-hosting an intimate dinner featuring a discussion on “The Intersection of Hollywood and Washington” at SideCar at P.J. Clarke’s. Moderated by Atlantic Media Editorial Director Ron Brownstein with an introduction by BPC President Jason Grumet, the panel will feature ONE CEO Michael Elliott, House of Cards Executive Producer Beau Willimon, Chasing the Hill Executive Producer Brent Roske, and Heard on the Hill Entertainment Columnist Neda Semnani. The conversation will take a closer look at the effectiveness of political posturing by artists and athletes and their effect (if any) on public policy. How can talent use their voices to inform and involve the public along with entertaining them—and should they? And, how has politics been portrayed in film and TV, and what effect has that had on the public perception of policy initiatives?

Foreign Affairs, the magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), will also be holding an event on Thursday (April 25).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #55

  • US delegation to Thatcher funeral, which included Hoover Institution's George Schultz,  seen as snub.
  • Panel Crasher targets CNAS.
  • CFR's Elliott Abrams writes "blistering" blog post about vacant jobs at the State Dept.
  • Harvard economist Jeffrey Liebman unveils paper on evidence-based funding decisions in government at The Hamilton Project, calling for major increase in gov't efforts to improve value of its spending programs.
  • Brookings study shows that 71% of Obama's "A-team" has left.
  • Dan Sepulveda, the husband of former American Security Project Executive Director Heather Higginbottom, to get top job at State, where she is a Counselor.
  • New infrastructure think tank launches in Doha. 
  • Think tanks testifying on immigration through ATR's Grover Norquist. 
  • Fred Bergsten interview with WPost: "People come to PIIE and don't want to leave."
  • Brussels think tank dialogue held today.  #BTTD13

Think Tank Watch Interviews "The Panel Crasher"

Following is a Think Tank Watch interview with The Panel Crasher, the anonymous blogger who is documenting his quest to get free food at events around Washington, DC, including think tank events.

Q: With 394 think tanks (and thousands of other groups/associations) in Washington, DC, do you have a particular strategy in terms of which event to crash next?

A: The only real strategy I have is to mix it up and to try to go to panels at obvious meal times. I try to avoid anything at like 11am or 3pm, because that usually just means cookies. When I look at what's going on at the good time slots, I eliminate places where I know people. Then I try to predict which panel will be the most interesting or potentially hilarious. Sometimes I'll look up the panelists in advance for instance. I've also started to think that small more politically extreme groups (like the Family Research Council) will be less likely to have rigorous check-in procedures and be more focused on meeting their head count. They'll also probably be the most absurd. 

Q: Would you return to a think tank you've already been to or are you more interested in quantity of think tanks to crash?

A: I'm primarily interested in getting free food with minimal hassle, hearing an interesting or silly discussion, making Bruce Willis jokes online, and making some people laugh. Second to that, I have found it pretty interesting to explore new spots like the FRC or Hudson Institute where I hadn't been before. As I look to the weeks ahead to register for upcoming events, I really am amazed by how many think tanks, foundations, associations, councils, groups, institutes, and centers there really are in this town. As best I can, I'm going to try and hit as many new places as possible, but I'm not against returning places if the spread looks good and the panel looks funny.

Q: Any think tank you are now dying to crash?

A: People have tweeted at me about the Peterson Institute, Cato, and Heritage. I'm interested in hitting all of those, especially Cato. They had great events on the Hill. Some of their staff have also tweeted me, so I feel like I'm less likely to get any hassle. They're libertarians after all.

Q: What goes through your mind as you are about to crash a think tank?  Do you get an adrenaline rush?

A: Adrenaline rush is a bit strong. I'm going to eat sandwiches with a couple old boys in suites and listen to people talk about tax policy after all. I'm not stepping in to the Octagon.  Since I got called out at AEI though, I have started to get a bit nervous when I first go in and try to take pictures of the interns and food. I've been a bit less ballsy than I was during the first two crashes. 

Q: Outside of panel-crashing, what is a typical day of eating like for you? 

A: Since I've been unemployed I try and skip breakfast and wait for a lunch panel for my first meal. Then I either try and find a dinner reception or hope my girlfriend wants to cook for me. When I can't mooch off her or the panel scene, I cook myself frozen chicken and vegetables from Safeway. Cheap, easy, and healthy. I legitimately cook only that meal for myself.

One thing I'm looking forward to is an upcoming dinner with Anthony, who writes the Dining With Strangers blog (www.diningwithstrangers.com). It's a pretty interesting blog concept where he seeks out weird/interesting people he's never met, takes them to dinner, interviews them and takes their picture, and then writes a little interview/restaurant review. He liked my blog, we flirted a bit on Twitter, and now we're having dinner. It's really a classic tale of hetero boy meets hetero boy on the internet, hetero boys go on a date, then hetero boys blog about each other and probably never speak again. A tale as old as time.

Q: Do your parents, relatives or others close to you know about your adventures?

A: My parents, brothers, friends, and old colleagues are all aware. My friends and former colleagues were originally my intended and only expected audience, and they've really enjoyed the blog. I spread the word via my DC friends and network, so a fair amount of people are enjoying being in on the secret while respecting my anonymity.  My parents are foreign, and are parents, so they understand not a single one of the pop culture references on the blog. Some of the media attention has made it seem a bit more legit, but lets just say they're "concerned."

Q: Instead of going to grad school, have you considered becoming a full-time event crasher/blogger.

A: Crasher? No. Fat, caffeinated and stupid is no way to go through life. Blogger? Maybe. If I thought I could make a living making boner jokes on the Internet I would have done it a long time ago.

Q: You've commented on how boring most think tank talks are.  Any suggestions to make them less boring?

Q: Yes. Provide barrels of rotten vegetables for people to throw at panelists when they go on too long or say something you disagree with, like in old movies. That would be awesome. Also, stop bringing in one token dissenting voice amongst four just so you can preach to the choir under the veil of "balance." Stop discussing issues that no one in the world would ever disagree with. Make it more like a town hall or debate format with more back and forth between panelists and audience members. And no PowerPoint allowed.

Q: Would you consider working for a think tank in the future?  If so, which one(s).

A: Consider, sure. Is that a plan or ambition? Certainly not.

Q: If you could start your own think tank, what would it be?

A: The Association for the Study of Sandwich StructuresThere's been a bit of a lull in sandwich innovation since the wrap came on the scene. I think a research association could really shake things up, and all think tanks would benefit. 

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on The Panel Crasher.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

USIP Asks DC to Move Constitution Ave.

The think tank United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is asking the DC government to move Constitution Avenue, a major street in Washington, DC.  USIP's address is 2301 Constitution Ave., NW.  Here is a map that you can zoom in on so you can get a better idea of the exact location being discussed.

Here is what NBC News 4 is reporting:
The traffic on Constitution Avenue is creating a buzz at the nearby United States Institute of Peace, and not in a good way.
News4 learned that the institute is requesting a section of the roadway be moved about 150 feet farther away from the building to “reduce noise and vibration.”
According to documents listed in the District Department of Transportation’s Transportation Improvement Program, a proposal is on the table to shift Constitution Avenue NW, between 23rd Street and the outbound Roosevelt Bridge.
But, DDOT is cautioning, this discussion is still in a very preliminary stage.
In addition to DDOT, the federal government is involved in the process and would have to complete an environmental assessment of the project before anything happens.
The Institute of Peace says in the near future it anticipates building out more undeveloped space on its property and expects many more visitors to the building.
You can watch a video about the issue here.

USIP was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the US by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.

Think Tank Quickies #54

  • Tax Day images from think tanks.
  • "The Panel Crasher" targets Hudson Institute.
  • CFR Issues Guide: Boston Bombing & Terrorism.
  • Video interview of UPenn's Dr. James McGann discussing think tanks. 
  • China Finance 40 Forum (CF40) joins with PIIE for high-level economic dialogue. 
  • CNAS's Flournoy & Brookings' O'Hanlon pen op-ed on replacing Afghan's Karzai; 
  • Flournoy at CFR: "Think tanks can help push the intellectual envelope on US policy."
  • Washington think tanks mull options over North Korea. 
  • International Symposium on Chinese Think tanks to be held in June. 
  • Are think tanks still a man's game? 
  • PIIE President Adam Posen testifies before the JEC on the Federal Reserve.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Think Tank Rankings Released by ECSSR

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) has just released a new ranking of think tanks.

ECSSR has ranked what it considers to be the most important research and strategic studies centers in the Arab world.  Here are the rankings:
  1. Carnegie Middle East Center (Lebanon)
  2. Brookings Doha Center (Qatar)
  3. Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Bahrain)
  4. Center for Strategic and Future Studies (Kuwait)
  5. Middle East Studies Center (Jordan)
  6. Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (Egypt)
  7. Center for Arab Unity Studies (Lebanon)
  8. Dubai School of Government (UAE)
  9. King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (Saudi Arabia)
  10. The Moroccan Interdisciplinary Center for Strategic and International Studies (Morocco)
ECSSR has also ranked the top most important international research and strategic studies centers in non-Arab countries.  Here are the top 10:
  1. Brookings Institution (US)
  2. Royal Institute of International Affairs, or Chatham House (UK)
  3. Center for Strategic and International Studies (US)
  4. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (US)
  5. Council on Foreign Relations (US)
  6. International Institute for Strategic Studies (UK)
  7. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sweden)
  8. German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Germany)
  9. RAND Corporation (US)
  10. Jeju Peace Institute (South Korea)
The University of Pennsylvania recently released its own annual rankings of the world's think tanks.  In that ranking, the Carnegie Middle East Center was also ranked as the #1 think tank in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  In that ranking, ECSSR was ranked as the 19th best think tank in the Middle East and North Africa.

Change.org Petition: More Think Tank Transparency

A new petition has been circulating around Change.org, calling for think tanks to release their sources of funding before being allowed airtime on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the British public service broadcasting corporation.

Here is what the petition says:
Every week Think Tank organisations such as The Tax Payers' Alliance, The Adam Smith Institute, The Centre for Policy Studies, The Policy Exchange and Civitas are granted national airtime on key BBC programmes to air their views on the current affairs of the day. These organisations do not simply just appear, they are paid for and funded by powerful individuals and organisations promoting their own financial and political interests. Often, as in the case of The Tax Payers' Alliance, they are happy to perpetuate an impression that they are grass roots organisations simply representing the tax-paying population of the UK. This is not the case. Think Tanks - both on the left and right - should have the right to exist but in the name of transparency they should be obliged to state whose interests they exist to promote before being allowed airtime on the BBC. Only then can we the public make a judgement as to the veracity of their argument.
As of this writing, the petition has 537 signatures.

5th FCC Chairman in a Row to Join Aspen Institute

Outgoing Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski will become a Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program, reports Mashable.

Writes Mashable:
Genachowski follows several previous FCC chairmen in his move to the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan research group dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues."
Here is what the Washington Post says about the Genachowski move.  Adweek notes that  Genachowski will follow in the footsteps of four other FCC Chairmen.

Those Chairmen are:

Here is the press release from Aspen Institute.  Here is a link to Aspen's Communications and Society Program.

Aspen Institute was recently ranked as the 41st best think tank in the US by the University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank rankings.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on Obama Administration officials who have gone on to join think tanks.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Libertarian Icon Ron Paul Launches New Think Tank

Former Members of Congress have been launching new think tanks left and right.  The latest to do so is former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the libertarian icon who today is announcing the launch of his new think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.  Dr. Paul is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the new think tank.

Here is more about today's launch, which will take place at the Capitol Hill Club:
Founder and Chairman, and CEO Dr. Paul has invited the Institute’s board of advisors to speak at the conference, including Rep. Walter Jones, Jr. (NC), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (TN), former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (OH), Judge Andrew Napolitano, Ambassador Faith Whittlesey, and Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr.
Llewellyn Rockwell is the Founder and Chairman of the libertarian think tank Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI), located in Auburn, Alabama.  Rockwell served as Ron Paul's Chief of Staff from 1978 to 1982.

Here is a media advisory from Paul's Facebook page, which starts off by saying that the "neoconservative era is dead."  It adds that the Institute will focus on two issues most important to Dr. Paul, "education and coming generations."  The advisory says that the Institute will fill the growing demand for information on foreign affairs from a non-interventionist perspective.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on the explosion of libertarian think tanks.

As Think Tank Watch recently reported, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) just launched a new think tank in Washington, DC called the The Lugar Center (TLC).

The Heritage Foundation's new president, former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), recently formed a new conservative think tank in South Carolina called the Palmetto Policy Forum.

Last year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) founded a foreign policy think tank called The McCain Institute for International Leadership.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post which lists various former and current Members of Congress who are affiliated with think tanks.

Is the think tank scene becoming too saturated?  According to research by the University of Pennsylvania, between 2001-2007, there were an average of 69.4 think tank established per year.  There are 6,603 think tanks in the world, including 1,919 in North America.  The United States has 1,823 think tanks.  Of the 1,823 US think tanks, 394 are located in Washington, DC.

Think Tank Quickies #53

  • CFR on why chemotherapy that costs $70,000 in the US costs $2,500 in India.
  • R Street's Ike Brannon on solving the parking problem in Dupont Circle. 
  • Brookings Visiting Fellow Cass Sunstein on Colbert Report to discuss making gov't simpler.
  • PIIE Editorial Director Steven Weisman's "5 Myths About Taxes."
  • Carnegie Moscow Center nuclear expert Alexei Arbatov says that China should tell the world what exactly is hidden in its tunnels and mountain silos.
  • Brookings event on marijuana legalization. 
  • Wilson Center event: "Peanut Butter, Community-Based Conservation, and Other Innovative Development Approaches in East Africa's National Parks." 
  • What is the future of think tank communications. 
  • Hoover Institution Distinguished Fellow George Shultz to lead Obama delegation to Thatcher funeral with Jim Baker. 
  • DC Council candidate Patrick Mara agreed to help conservative think tank DC Progress raise money from his campaign donors in exchange for a "consulting fee" or a portion of the money raised.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mysterious "Think Tank Crasher" Hunts for Free Food

Think tanking has just gotten a little bit more intriguing in Washington, DC due to "The Panel Crasher" - an anonymous blogger who is documenting his quest to get free meals at think tanks.

Here is what the Washington City Paper is reporting:
How much free food can one man eat? That's the challenge faced by  pseudonymous blogger Panel Crasher, who's been trying to eat as much as he can at Washington think-tank events since being laid off earlier this year.
The Panel Crasher, who wouldn't reveal his name in an interview with City Desk, lost his job at a nonprofit, in part, he suspects, because of sequestration. He's going to graduate school in the fall, but until then he's trying to hit as many food spreads as he can—and blog about Washington's panel subculture along the way.
His first attempt to score food, at a Family Research Council panel on birth rates, ended in disaster when he showed up a few minutes late, only to find everything but the condiments eaten. That inspired him to get to panels early, but not too early, in case event staff started wondering why he was hanging around.
Getting the most from a crowded panel schedule means knowing which think tanks will have the best food. The stingiest offerings, he says, comes from the New America Foundation.  "It'd be at noon or 12:30 and they'd have a cookie for everyone," he says. "If that."
The best food so far has come from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, which is hardly conservative when it comes to its spreads. AEI staffers foiled his attempts to document the food, but it was worth it, since the think tank offers a full lunch buffet—even shrimp, the crasher points out.
The crasher says his blog has been popular with former colleagues familiar with using panel events for networking. But that rising popularity doesn't make the slog much easier—he's committed to staying at each panel for the whole event, rather than just making off with the food.
For anyone hoping to follow in his thrifty footsteps, the crasher has some tips on making the most of think tank food: "liberal use of napkins," using two plates, if you can handle it. "Don't be afraid to get seconds," he says. "I mean, they're there."

Here is what DCist is reporting on The Panel Crasher.

Here is how The Panel Crasher describes himself:
"Former Hill staffer and K Street nonprofit associate. Future grad student. Recently unemployed sequestration victim with lots of time, little money, and an unhealthy knowledge of DC's think tanks, Hill receptions, and speaker series. They can kick me out of the club, but they cant stop me from crashing their free events, eating their free food, totally ignoring their discussions, and then anonymously making fun of them on the internet. It's basically like Wedding Crashers, minus all the sex and partying...OR IS IT???"

So far, The Panel Crasher has documented visits to Family Research Council, Center for American Progress (CAP), and American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he was caught taking pictures of the food by one of the interns.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on the best food experience at think tanks.

Washington is not new to event "crashers."  Tareq and Michaele Salahi (now divorced), who crashed a White House State Dinner to honor India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, are probably the most memorable party crashers in recent memory.

What do Beyone, Jay-Z, and Brookings Have in Common?

What is the connection between top rapper Jay-Z, his wife, superstar singer Beyonce, and the Brookings Institution, the world's top think tank?

No, I was not thinking of the fact that their total assets are all well over $100 million. [According to the most recent publicly available documents, Brookings had total assets of around $410 million; Beyonce has a net worth of around $300 million; Jay-Z has a net worth of around $500 million.]

The answer?  They all used a group called Academic Arrangements Abroad, a New York-based nonprofit group, to organize trips to Cuba.

Here is a link to Academic Arrangements Abroad.  Trips to Cuba for winter 2013 are still open!

But don't book your trip just yet.  The conservative Heritage Foundation may not be too happy, particularly if you are a celebrity visiting Cuba.  Here is what Mike Gonzalez, Vice President of Communications at The Heritage Foundation had to say about the trip:
We need a Dennis Rodman Rule, named after the exotic erstwhile basketball star who went to Pyongyang to fete the dictator Kim Jong Eun just weeks before the North Korean threatened to blow the world to smithereens in a fit of pique. The rule should be: celebrities who disregard the lives of millions by celebrating those who torment them deserve only our contempt upon their return home.
In March, Heritage Foundation blasted Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) for "mischaracterizing"the think tank's stance on Cuba.  Heritage says that it has long championed free trade but among nations, but has never advocated a unilateral lifting of sanctions on trade with Cuba.  Says the think tank: "Heritage supports the process by which the removal of trade sanctions would be accompanied by a verifiable and irreversible opening toward democracy and respect for human and economic rights."

The Heritage Foundation hosts an annual Cuba Solidarity Day.

The libertarian Cato Institute says that the US embargo of Cuba is a failure.

Think Progress, the blogging arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF), a "sister advocacy organization" of the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP), notes how Jay-Z mocked Republicans' fury over the Cuba trip with a new rap track.  You can listen to the track here.

CBPP = Obama's New Favorite Think Tank?

Does President Barack Obama have a new favorite think tank?

Here is what The New York Times is reporting:
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic minority leader, has arranged for House Democrats on Thursday to hear a debate on Mr. Obama’s proposed change in the cost-of-living formula that determines Social Security benefits. The debate will pit the A.F.L.-C.I.O. counsel, Damon Silvers, who opposes the change in the formula, and Robert Greenstein, executive director of the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities [sic], which has long supported changes to entitlement programs as part of a bipartisan deal to protect other federal spending on, for example, antipoverty programs, the nation’s infrastructure and education.
It has been evident from his first months in office that the pragmatist in Mr. Obama has made him sympathetic to the thinking of Mr. Greenstein and others. In 2009, Mr. Obama considered proposing the change in the cost-of-living formula for Social Security until Democratic Congressional leaders objected.
[Editor's note: The New York Times reported the think tank's name incorrectly; it is actually Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, not Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.]

Here is more about that House Democratic Caucus meeting that The New York Times is referring to.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) was founded in 1981 by Robert Greenstein, who was the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service at the US Department of Agriculture under President Carter.  He was also appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, and headed the federal budget policy component of the transition team for President Obama.

Vice President Joe Biden has called CBPP "invaluable" and a "go-to resource for consistently reliable analysis on matters of budget and fiscal policy at every level of government."

There are several former Obama Administration officials currently housed at CBPP, including:
  • Jared Bernstein, a Senior Fellow who was Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity, who served as Counselor for Human Services Policy at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Richard Kogan, a Senior Fellow, who was a Senior Adviser at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
  • Barbara Sard, Vice President for Housing Policy, who was Senior Advisor on Rental Assistance to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan.

CBPP was recently ranked as the 23rd best think tank in the US by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 21st best domestic economic policy think tank in the world.  CBPP was also ranked as the 15th best social policy think tank in the world.

Friday, April 12, 2013

CFR Board Members to Enter Obama's Cabinet

Rumor has it that President Barack Obama will be choosing Chicago billionaire Penny Pritzker, Hyatt Hotel heiress, to be the next Secretary of Commerce.  Her net worth is around $1.85 billion, according to Forbes.

Ms. Pritzker is on the Board of Directors at the Council on Foreign Relations.  Here is the full list of CFR Board Officers and Directors.  Pritzker is also on the Advisory Board of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Obama's pick to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is also on CFR Board of Directors.  She had a Senate confirmation hearing this week.

If confirmed, Burwell would be only the second women to hold that position, after Alice Rivlin, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

If confirmed, both Pritzker and Burwell will enter an exclusive club - the Presidential Cabinet.  Here is a full list of current Cabinet members in the Obama Administration.  [OMB Director has the status of Cabinet-rank.]

CFR was recently ranked as the 6th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 3rd best think tank in the US (only behind Brookings and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and the 4th best security and international affairs think tank in the world.

In other think tank personnel news, David Sandalow, Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the Energy Department, is leaving to be the Inaugural Fellow at Columbia University's new Center on Global Energy Policy.  Sandalow was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution from 2004 - 2009.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Former Sen. Lugar Launches New Think Tank

Former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) has just launched a new think tank in Washington, DC called the The Lugar Center (TLC). The Center will focus on three main areas:
  • WMD Security
  • Global Food Security
  • Aid Effectiveness

Here is what The Cable's Josh Rogin reports about TLC:
The center will employ full-time policy experts to formulate proposals and communicate them to policymakers both in the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. The center will also place fellows and interns in congressional offices to help push Lugar's work forward.

In January 2013, Lugar was appointed as Counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

In December 2012, it was reported that Lugar would join the German Marshall Fund (GMF).

Here is a Think Tank Watch post from May 2012 speculating about Lugar's think tank land options.

Think Tank Quickies #52

  • Brookings' Michael O'Hanlon pens op-ed with buddy David Petraeus on "America's opportunity."
  • Hudson Institute's Carol Adelman moonlighting in a business using Shakespeare to teach leadership; Aspen Institute a client.
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to speak at CNAS event on April 18.
  • Google Ideas launches Google Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network.
  • RUSI to hold Land Warfare Conference June 27-28, 2013.
  • Former Australian PM John Howard gives Iraq War speech at Lowy Institute.
  • Gathering of 12 think tanks in Latin America to discuss monitoring/evaluation of performance. 
  • Alejandro Chafuen on Tom Medvetz's book: Think Tanks in America. 
  • Grover Norquist joins Cato, attacks Heritage Foundation on immigration.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Anne-Marie Slaughter Details Plans for NAF

The Washington Post just interviewed Anne-Marie Slaughter, the incoming President of the New America Foundation (NAF).  Here are some excerpts:

The New America Foundation was founded in 1999 with an ambition to invest in “new thinkers and new ideas” and tackle the next generation of challenges facing the United States. Which new ideas will you be focusing on? 
I’m not taking the job because I want to pursue specific ideas of my own. I am going to be spending six months figuring out what we should be doing. 
We already have lots of programs, on fiscal policy, foreign policy, education and technology — including the Open Technology Institute, which has the best group of technologists in Washington. They actually write code, working on developing products that help dissident or opposition groups in very repressive states communicate with each other and with the outside world. In national security, we have drafted a grand strategy of leading a transition to a sustainable world. We also have a program on work and family, and I plan to build it up. 
But if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s lead from the center, not from the front.

There’s been a huge increase in the number of think tanks over the past 50 years, and many are becoming more active as advocacy organizations. How do you plan to distinguish New America from, say, Heritage on the right and Brookings on the left?
This is one of the things that attracted me to this job. We really are nonpartisan. We look for big ideas that meet big challenges, and we don’t care which side of the political aisle they come from. We are not a think tank that has a whole lot of institutes and centers and legacy programs that you have to fund. We aim to be much more nimble, on the Silicon Valley model. We are an incubator of ideas; we nurture them and then spin off a program or more direct policy work. 
Take the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget run by Maya MacGuineas. It grew in size and influence while housed at the foundation for the past 10 years and was recently spun off as an independent organization. Or the ideas fostered through our 20 senior fellows, like Gregory Rodriguez. He went on to found Zocalo in L.A., a public space for civic community that explores what it means to be a citizen. It’s a separate organization. We’ve come back to partner with it, but it’s no longer ours.

Think tanks have been called “universities without students.” Will you miss academic life?

The thing I will miss the most are the students. But a large part of teaching is mentoring young people, and I will continue to do that in Washington. The staff of New America is very young.
But my life has evolved away from academia. Princeton doesn’t have a law school, and I’m not comfortable in the contemporary political science space. So I felt it was time to move to a different way of connecting ideas to policy. Our fellows program means we can identify academics who have important ideas that need to be injected into the policy space.

 We first met more than 20 years ago, and you’ve always pushed yourself hard. But you don’t have to do it all, right? There’s a lot of choice in this.

How could I start this conversation and not continue it? I accept probably one in five of the invitations that have poured in — from government organizations, corporations, women’s groups, as well as a whole set of global invitations.
New America is one of the few places that will let me combine my own work on foreign policy and social policy while empowering talented individuals to generate ideas and policies to actually make change.
At New America, I will probably be traveling less. I plan to be in D.C. a couple of days a week. I will also be in New York — that’s a day trip for me — where New America has an event space. And I’ll be working from home one day a week.
The thing that is most important is to make my own schedule, to be my own boss, so that if my kids have activities or if I need to go off to see colleges, I can do that. I think it’s going to be a much more predictable life.
My kids are quite excited. They say, “It’s beast.”

Ms. Slaughter will become President of NAF effective September 1, 2013.  In the meantime, Rachel White, Executive Vice President and Director of External Relations, will serve as NAF's Interim President.

Prolific Think Tanker to be No. 2 at OMB

This month President Obama nominated Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council (NEC), for the post of Deputy Director at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Deese has had numerous positions in Washington think tanks, including:
  • Center for American Progress (CAP): 2002-2005
  • Center for Global Development (CGD): 2001-2002
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP): 2000-2001
Government Executive called Deese, 35, a "veteran of progressive think tanks."

Think tanks are perfect breeding grounds for landing a top OMB spot.  Peter Orszag, a former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).  He is also a Member of the Board of the Peterson Institute of International Economics (PIIE).  Orszag was a Brookings Senior Fellow from 2001 to 2007.  He was also the first Director of The Hamilton Project at Brookings.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Japanese FinMin Aso to Give Major Speech at CSIS

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Japan Chair is on a roll.  For the second time in two months, it will host a major political figure from Japan.

Former Prime Minister Taro Aso, who is currently the Finance Minister, will be giving a major economic speech on April 19 at CSIS on "Abenomics."

On February 22, 2013 CSIS hosted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was in Washington, DC to meet with President Obama.

Mr. Aso is no stranger to CSIS.  In 2006, CSIS hosted Mr. Aso when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The April visit comes as the yen fell today to its lowest level against the dollar in nearly four years as the Bank of Japan begins an aggressive program of monetary easing.

CSIS was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world for security and international affairs by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 5th best think tank in the world.

Think Tank Quickies #51

  • On what former NAF President Steve Coll will bring to his new job at Columbia U.
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter will take over as NAF's new president effective Sept. 1, 2013.  Rachel White, Executive VP and Director of External Relations will serve as Interim President in the meantime.
  • Currency War author James Rickards discusses think tank participants in Pentagon's 1st ever financial war games.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to speak at Cato University 2013. 
  • Atlantic Council's Iran Task Force calls for Iran outreach.
  • CFR President Richard Haass's new book: "Foreign Policy Begins at Home."
  • With only 108, Japanese think tanks "underrepresented." 
  • Who is responsible for a think tank's influence? 
  • Margaret Thatcher, "Patron" of The Heritage Foundation, dies.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mexican Ambassador Joins Brookings

Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican Ambassador to the US, has joined the Brookings Institution as a Distinguished Affiliate.  According to Brookings, he will affiliate with the Foreign Policy and Metropolitcan Policy programs.

Amb. Sarukhan served as Ambassador to the US from 2007 to January 2013.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch Post on foreign influence at US think tanks.  Sarukhan will join other former foreign ambassadors at Brookings, including Jean-David Levitte (former French Ambassador to the US), and Itamar Rabinovich (former Israeli Ambassador to the US).

Andres Rozental, former Deputy Foreign Minister of Mexico, and former Mexican Ambassador to the UK, is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings.

Carlos Pascual, the former US Ambassador to Mexico, used to be the Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at Brookings.

Brookings will be hosting an event April 11 on the upcoming Obama-Peña Nieto meeting, and Amb. Sarukhan will be giving introductory remarks.

Brookings was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Amb. Sarukhan is also an Advisory Board Member of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

42 of the Top 50 Think Tanks Run by Men

Males dominate the top of the think tank food chain.  Of the top 50 US think tanks as ranked by the University of Pennsylvania, 42 (or 84%) are run by men, according to Foreign Policy.  In other words, only eight (or 16%) are run by women.

Foreign Policy has just compiled a list:

1. Brookings Institution - Strobe Talbott
2. Council on Foreign Relations - Richard Haass
3. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Jessica T. Mathews
4. Center for Strategic and International Studies - John Hamre
5. RAND Corporation - Michael Rich
6. Cato Institute - John A. Allison
7. Heritage Foundation - Jim DeMint
8. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars - Jane Harman
9. Peterson Institute for International Economics - Adam Posen
10. American Enterprise Institute - Arthur C. Brooks
11. Center for American Progress - Neera Tanden
12. National Bureau of Economic Research - James Poterba
13. Pew Research Center - Alan Murray
14. Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace - John Raisian
15. Atlantic Council - Frederick Kempe
16. United States Institute of Peace - Jim Marshall
17. Open Society Foundations - Christopher Stone
18. Human Rights Watch - Ken Roth
19. Center for International Development, Harvard University - Ricardo Hausmann
20. Center for Global Development - Nancy Birdsall
21. Urban Institute - Sarah Rosen Wartell
22. Center for New American Security - Richard Fontaine
23. German Marshall Fund of the United States - Craig Kennedy
24. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University - Edward P. Djerejian
25. Belfer Center for Science and Int'l Affairs (Harvard) - Graham Allison
26. New America Foundation - Anne-Marie Slaughter
27. Earth Institute, Columbia University - Jeffrey Sachs
28. World Resources Institute - Andrew Steer
29. Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs - Joel H. Rosenthal
30. Hudson Institute - Kenneth R. Weinstein
31. Center for Budget and Policy Priorities - Robert Greenstein
32. International Food Policy Research Institute - Shenggen Fan
33. Foreign Policy Research Institute - Alan Luxenberg
34. Freedom House - David Kramer
35. Pew Center on Global Climate Change - Eileen Claussen
36. Resources for the Future - Philip Sharp
37. Stimson Center (FNA Henry Stimson Center) - Ellen Laipson
38. Inter-American Dialogue - Michael Shifter
39. Acton Institute for Study of Religion and Liberty - Rev. Robert A. Sirico
40. Economic Policy Institute - Lawrence Mishel
41. East West Institute - John Edwin Mroz
42. Competitive Enterprise Institute - Lawson Bader
43. Manhattan Institute - Lawrence J. Mone
44. Reason Foundation - David Nott
45. Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS Johns Hopkins - Daniel Hamilton
46. East-West Center Honolulu - Charles E. Morrison
47. Center for the National Interest -  Dimitri K. Simes
48. Mercatus Center, George Mason University - Tyler Cowen
49. Aspen Institute - Walter Isaacson
50. Institute for Policy Studies - John Cavanagh

As a comparison, Fortune recently reported that there are now 21 Fortune 500 women CEOs.  In other words, 4.2% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women.

A 2010 study by Women in International Security found that women hold 20% to 30% of key foreign policy and national security jobs.

Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on why the average think tank event features "five guys in suits."

A New Era at Heritage Foundation Begins

It's official.  Today is former Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) first full day as President of The Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Board of Trustees announced in December 2012 that it had selected DeMint to succeed Ed Feulner as President of the 40-year-old think tank.

Here is a press release from the Heritage Foundation about the transition.

Here is a farewell statement from Ed Feulner.

Following is a message he wrote for his first day on the job:
Dear patriots,
Today is my first full day as president of The Heritage Foundation, and the first thing I want to do is thank my predecessor Ed Feulner for the institution he has built over the past 36 years. The second thing I will do is tell you that we will not change the boundless optimism and pride in our country you’ve come to expect from Heritage—or our commitment to make sure America remains a beacon of freedom to the world.

Heritage has always believed the values that made America great—honesty, industriousness, courage, determination—should inform our policies and our public institutions. We must never forget the ideas and principles that made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in history.
Our principles will stay the same, but we will constantly need innovative policy ideas to address our nation’s new problems. Heritage’s experts and researchers are busy every day working out solutions to our myriad national challenges. We don’t need new principles. Our values have stood the test of time. It’s important that we draw this distinction between timeless values that have been with us for centuries and new policies that we will need in the 21st Century.
I’ve been traveling across our country since being selected to succeed Ed, and I can report that our country shows what works and doesn’t. After 50 years of liberal policies, Detroit is bankrupt, culturally as well as financially. There are more than 400 liquor stores in Detroit, but not one chain supermarket. And states like California that have been controlled by liberals for decades might soon go the way of the Motor City.
But conservative principles are working while liberal schemes are failing. In Louisiana, they’re getting their schools to work by giving parents the freedom to choose. In Michigan, they have found freedom to work.
Despite facing long odds, Americans aren’t giving up.
In South Carolina last week, the Heritage team met Lisa Stevens. She had served in the State Board of Education and was told that there was nothing that could be done to fix some middle schools in that state. Lisa didn’t give up—and she fought regulators until she and a bunch of parents opened Langston Charter School, which now has 1,500 students competing for 450 places.
We also met Willard Galvez. When he lost his job in 2010, he and his wife decided they didn’t want to rely on others to support them and their four children, so they started their own business.
Liberal policies have destroyed families and communities and created dependence on government. Putting our society back together will require work.
Take Obamacare. Our government has been making promises it cannot keep. Medicare and Medicaid are already on an unsustainable path, leaving health care for seniors and the poor at risk.
Obamacare’s promises fuel our fiscal challenges, but that’s not the worst thing they do. They make millions of Americans dependent on the government for their health care. By 2021, nearly half of all health care spending will be controlled by the government. To protect the country from this tipping point, Congress must stop the new spending on expanding Medicaid and subsidizing coverage through Obamacare.
Dependency is a scourge eating away at our national fiber and undermining the values that made us a shining city to the rest of the world.
Today, more people than ever before—69.5 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States must reverse the direction of these trends or face economic and social collapse.
And the most important social tool to fight dependence on government, the family, is also under attack. The Supreme Court is considering challenges to two marriage laws, and hopefully the judges will stand up for marriage as we have known it since the dawn of time.
Whatever the Court’s decision in June, Heritage will redouble its efforts to restore a culture of marriage in this country, particularly for the most vulnerable. We know that children born and raised outside marriage are five times more likely to experience poverty. Marriage precedes government, and government policy will either witness to the truth or tell a lie about this fundamental institution.
The last point I want to make is about the energy sector and the federal government’s attempt to micromanage it. Never has there been so much promise—or so many hurdles—to exploring and developing the nation’s natural resources. Energy production on private and state lands is thriving, while production on federal lands has slowed or is nonexistent, because large swaths of land and water are completely off limits.
Congress and the federal government need to open access to America’s resources on federal lands and ultimately transition the permitting and regulatory process to the state regulators where that energy lies. This is one of the keys to getting our economy going again.
I promise you that Heritage will not let up on these and many other issues in the years to come. All of us here will put our shoulder to the wheel to restore American society to what it once was. This is my guarantee to you on my first day.
In other Heritage Foundation news, the think tank recently unveiled architectural design plans for three properties it acquired through affiliates during the first half of 2012 near its Capitol Hill headquarters.  More details can be found here.

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.  It was ranked as the 9th best think tank in the US.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Think Tank Quickies #50

  • A Vatican think tank?
  • CSIS Korea Chair Victor Cha interviewed on The Colbert Report about North Korea. 
  • PIIE predicts 2.3% growth for 2013, 3.1% for 2014, and 3.3% for 2015.
  • USIP would rather be an adviser than an instrument of national power?
  • Heritage Action joins coalition  pushing for improvement in email privacy protections.
  • How do you solve a problem like North Korea?  Ignore them says Cato's Doug Bandow. 
  • CEIP to host nuclear policy conference April 8-9. 
  • CSIS's Zbigniew Brzezinski is now on Twitter. 
  • AEI's Joe Lieberman calls for US airstrikes in Syria. 
  • Heritage Foundation's outgoing President El Feulner "changed the way" think tanks work
  • Cato's David Boaz on the making of a Japanese Ambassador. 
  • CAP's interactive map: Measuring gun violence across the 50 states.

NAF to Name Anne-Marie Slaughter as President

The New America Foundation (NAF) is reportedly close to naming Anne-Marie Slaughter as its next President.  Here is more from the New York Times:
The foundation’s board of directors voted to name her as the organization’s new president, subject to the conclusion of contract negotiations, according to two board members.
If they can agree on terms, Ms. Slaughter would replace Steve Coll, whose five-year tenure at the foundation is soon ending. Last month Mr. Coll was named the new dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Ms. Slaughter, who is also a board member, declined comment, writing in an email that nothing has yet been decided. Mr. Coll also declined to comment on the selection process because of the confidential nature of the search.
Here is a previous Think Tank Watch post on Steve Coll stepping down from NAF.

Ms. Slaughter rejoined NAF's Board of Directors in 2011 after at stint as Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department.

How much will she make in her new role?  According to the latest publicly available tax records, Steve Coll received a base salary of $320,815 in 2011.

More details coming soon...