Monday, March 30, 2009
busy as bees, for better or worse
The $787 billion stimulus package -- along with an ambitious new federal budget, bank bailouts and the beginning of a regulatory overhaul -- has succeeded in stimulating the economy along Washington's avenue of influence. In the months since the November election, more than 2,000 cities, companies and associations have hired lobbyists to help them push their agendas on Capitol Hill and at the White House, easily outpacing such numbers after the previous two elections, according to disclosure records. Nearly every industry and every corner of the country has an issue, especially with so much money at stake.
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Busy As Bees
With billions in bailout and stimulus funds hovering enticingly on the horizon, lobbyists for everything from pharmaceuticals to wind energy are raking it in. Even Glenpool, Okla., pop. 10,000, has hired a consultant to be their "eyes and ears in Washington." With all that influence-peddling, let's hope some of the good guys win. For more go here
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Sunday, March 29, 2009
Save Darfur
With 1.1 million lives at risk due to the Bashir regime's decision to expel aid organizations, the Save Darfur Coalition is trying to raise over $50,000 in the next two days to continue their work. To donate or hear survivors' stories go here
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Tell Her The Truth
In a thoughtul, pain-filled piece, playwright Tony Kushner and writer Alisa Solomon explore the exercise in truth-telling that is "Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza," a controversial new play by Caryl Churchill about the Israeli attacks in Gaza. Like many American Jews appalled by Israel's actions, they look at the "better them than us" stance of many Israelis today, and conclude we must do better.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009
Fighting Ambush Journalism
In response to a ThinkProgress.org campaign against Fox News' Bill O'Reilly harrassment machine, UPS has announced it is withdrawing advertising from the show. To tell other advertisers – among them, Ford, Audi, AT&T – to follow suit go here and to see other corporate responses go here
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Holbrooke on Afghanistan
In an informal session with reporters following the Obama announcement on Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, offers a candid look at the need for "a complete rethink" on anti-drug efforts there and the widespread problem of corruption. "We view it as a cancer eating away at the country and it has to be dealt with," he said.
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Friday, March 27, 2009
The Truth Be Told
A former State Department lawyer has admitted the "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the U.S. constituted torture. Vijay Padmanabhan, former chief counsel on Guantanamo litigation, said President Bush panicked after 9/11. "Guantanamo was one of the worst overreactions of the Bush administration," he said.
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Troops In Afghanistan
With today's announcement of more U.S. forces headed to Afghanistan, get an interactive look at areas where troops are now stationed.
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Whoah: We Totally Agree, Though We Might Need To Clarify Some of Your Terms
We know we're ostensibly no longer red states and blue states but the United States; still, it can be tough. Reporting from "enemy lines," the inimitable Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has called for "orderly revolution" to fight off President Obama's "economic Marxism" and save "our very freedom." "Where freedom is tried, the people rejoice," she said. "But where tyranny is enforced upon the people...the people suffer and mourn."
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An Outrage, A Scandal, A Reason for Hope
So much for the rich exchange of ideas. More than 117,000 of the faithful have signed a petition "prayerfully" blasting the decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame's commencement, citing his support for freedom of choice and stem cell research. Still, a majority of students, if not their elders, say Obama should come. "To not allow someone here because of their beliefs seems a little hypocritical and contradictory to what the mission of the university and church should be," said Chris Carrington, a political science major.
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