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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Wow. With The State of the Economy, the World, the Planet And All, These Guys Really Have Their Priorities In Place
It's so very heartening to see that conservative Republicans still know where to focus their impressive energies. It seems the National Republican Trust PAC, which advocates less government spending, has pledged to support primary challenges to any turncoat – Snowe, Collins, Specter, that's you – who had the audacity of hope to support the economic stimulus plan. "Republican senators are on notice," said director Scott Wheeler. "If they support the stimulus package, we will make sure every voter in their state knows how they tried to further bankrupt voters in an already bad economy." For more on this sage public policy thinking, go here
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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Veteran Suicides: More Reasons Than Ever To Bring Them Home
Suicide is taking more lives of American soldiers than Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency combined, says Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, who are leading a delegation to Washington this week to mobilize support for veterans' issues. They've dubbed the initiative "Storm the Hill '09." Activists have long charged that suicides were vastly underreported under the Bush-Cheney VA, with suicide rates rising every year since the start of the Iraq War and 2008 marking the highest rate of military suicide in decades. Other issues affecting veterans over the last seven years of war are ever-rising rates of divorce, unemployment, homelessness and undiagnosed or untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For more on the harsh realities veterans face, go here
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Yes Pecan Goes Nougalar, With Nuts
With Ben and Jerry's creation of a "Yes Pecan!" flavor in honor of Obama, some tasty suggestions for a George W. flavor have been circulating. Among them: Grape Depression, Abu Grape, Cluster Fudge, Nut'n Accomplished, Chock 'n Awe, Guantanmallow, Impeach Cobbler, Impeachmint, Death by Chocolate...and Torture, Credit Crunch, Chunky Monkey in Chief, Bloody Sundae, Caramel Preemptive Stripe, and my favorite, I Broke the Law and Am Responsible For the Deaths of Thousands....With Nuts.
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The Truth and Nothing But, Which is Way Overdue.
Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy's proposal of a "truth commission" to examine the many abuses of the Bush-Cheney administration is welcome, and long overdue (though if anyone had been listening to Dennis Kucinich way back when, it wouldn't be.) Still, as John Nichols notes in his CD Views piece here, its "the least that Congress can do to begin taping together a shredded Constitution." President Obama has been sounding reluctant on the issue, stressing that he wants to focus on "moving forward." That's understandable, but not good enough: We should push him and Congress to go with Leahy on "a fair-minded pursuit" of the betrayals of the last eight years. "Sometimes the best way to move forward is getting to the truth, finding out what happened, so we can make sure it does not happen again...We need to come to a shared understanding of the failures of the recent past." And geez. Between Leahy and the tireless Bernie Sanders, who proposed the aptly-named "Stop the Greed on Wall Street Act" to rein in oblivious bankers getting bailout funds, Vermont is our hero.
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Give The Guy His Due, For Now
For all the alarming missteps of the first few weeks of the Obama Administration – Daschle, Geithner, Lynn, Gregg come to mind – it's nonetheless bracing to hear our President speak, and it's been a long eight years since we could say that. In his press conference last night, Obama was in equal parts precise, critical and eloquent, reminding us that if anyone can break through the historic disconnect of Washington to find solutions here, he might just be the guy. We've heard him speak. Let's see him act.
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Monday, February 9, 2009
The Smallest Tent in the World (And We Thought They Were Bereft of Ideas)
Even after lo these many years of jaw-dropping, black-is-white-and-mission-is-accomplished pronouncements from tone-deaf Republicans, it's hard not to gasp a bit at assertions that their party's blind obstructionism in the face of pretty much any economic stimulus plan constitutes a moral and political triumph, or what Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin calls "standing on our core principles." Ryan sees his party's return to "fiscal conservatism and economic liberty" as the resurrection of "the tallest pole in our tent." "We're so far ahead of where we thought we'd be at this time... It's not a sign that we're back to where we need to be, but it's a sign that we're beginning to find our voice." And that voice is telling us, what, precisely? Oh, right: thank God they lost. For more on the Republican so-called renewal, go here
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How Bad Is It? Job Losses in Post WWII Recessions
From Barry Ritholtz's blog The Big Picture — a leading financial weblog:
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Keeping It Real: Shave And a Haircut
You could forgive the good folks of Elkhart, Indiana, where President Obama held a town meeting Monday, for viewing the current impassioned debate about dueling economic stimulus plans as so much arcane abstraction, full of the sound and fury of insider politics but largely unrelated to their RV-vanishing, haircut-challenged lives. As always, they're just trying to get by, thanks.
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The Truth from Elkhart
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Saturday, February 7, 2009
Close It Now
Horrific stories – of hunger strikes, force feedings, beatings and deteriorating conditions – out of Guantanamo from the Guardian . They pose an urgent challenge to the new Obama administration: Now is the time for change we can believe in.
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