Alyssa Rosenberg

Alyssa Rosenberg is a staff correspondent at Government Executive where she covers the federal work force. She writes regularly for National Journal and The New Republic.

Recent Articles

TO LOVE, HONOR, AND INSURE.

By Alyssa Rosenberg I can't help but think that if Jane Austen were writing today, this New York Times story might have inspired her to begin Pride and Prejudice by writing that "it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of good health insurance must be in want of a wife." The idea that health insurance has become both so valuable and so difficult to obtain at a reasonable price that you would marry someone you might not marry otherwise to obtain it, or divorce a spouse you want to remain married to in order to qualify for insurance for the low-income, is terrible. It's easy to forget that all the personal freedoms we have in matters of the heart and in personal relationships can be quickly eroded by economic necessity. In Adrian Nicole LeBlanc 's masterpiece of reportage, Random Family , she follows a decade in the lives of an extended Puerto Rican family in the Bronx and Troy. One of the most persistent storylines is the ways in which financial need both...

GOOD ADVICE.

By Alyssa Rosenberg I've always thought that advice columns are a somewhat odd feature of American publications: for the most part, the authors have no discernable expertise, they only have time and space to answer a few representative questions, they barely know their readers, and there's no follow-up and no accountability. In a culture where everything can be diagnosed, where there is an expert for every situation, where people sue at the drop of a hat, advice columns are one of the last areas in American life where we place an extremely high value on common sense. Most advice columnists have projected a kind of Agony Aunt practicality. Which is probably why I like Salon's (correction credit to RR; it's been a long day, thanks) Cary Tennis so much. Tennis is an unabashedly weird recovering addict who seems to have fully embraced the strangeness of his position: there's no particular reason he should be considered a font of good advice, and yet he is. He answers a lot of letters from...

LITTLE EMPERORS.

By Alyssa Rosenberg Psychology Today 's July/August issue has a fascinating story on mental health, academic competition, and the one-child policy in China. The authors paint a portrait of a cycle where parents, many of whom were stuck in blue-collar jobs or denied chances for advancement by the Cultural Revolution, make incredible sacrifices to educate their children and push them beyond the bounds of reason to succeed so they'll be able to rise into the white-collar workforce. But the Chinese economy is creating 1.6 million college-level jobs each year while producing 4 million university graduates, leading to disappointment and burnout that the mental health system, decimated under Mao, is completely unequpped to handle. The study's timing is apt, coming on top of the news that the girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" during the Opening Ceremony was lipsynching . The coordinators had decided that her voice wasn't good enough, but the best singer simply wasn't cute enough to put on...

GOOD GOVERNMENT?

By Alyssa Rosenberg There are a lot of different ways to measure success or failure in the Bush administration. Brookings' Saban Center has its Iraq Index . You can track jobs lost, the National Debt, whatever economic factor you want. But one thing I've always found particularly interesting is how the administration itself rates the job it's doing not on any specific issue but on management of the executive branch agencies and the departments. The latest President's Management Agenda Scorecard shows some pretty negative results , according to my colleague Robert Brodsky. The administration thinks that six departments and agencies are doing a worse job of managing human capital than they were a quarter ago, and eight departments and agencies have backslid on their e-government initiatives. Those are areas where the government's committed to improving, because e-government is increasingly a key way that citizens get access to services and information, and because Baby Boomer...

BUSH IN BEIJING.

By Alyssa Rosenberg So here's an idea: why not have Bob Costas moderate a presidential debate this fall? Yeah, yeah, I know the moderators have been selected and all, but Costas took what could have been a few softball minutes with President Bush during NBC's Olympic broadcast and actually asked some good questions, including how candid Bush felt he could be in his meetings with Hu, whether China's disregard for human rights meant that the country's rise put it on a collision course with the United States, and how Bush's discussions with Putin during the opening ceremony went. That opening ceremony conversation was an incredibly rare moment, I thought, of diplomacy made public. It's hardly the same thing that goes on in conference rooms or offices face-to-face of course, but this was an encounter that happened in a very public setting as events were unfolding in real time. Bush told Costas that "I said that violence is unacceptable. I said it not only to Putin but to the President of...

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