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GraceLand

By Chris Abani

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Tag: Cocco


Flickr / Samory Santos

Looking for a Middle Class

The challenge of our time is to re-create America as a middle-class nation. [This is Marie Cocco’s last column.]

Posted on Oct 15, 2009 READ MORE



AP / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Bribe, Vote, Repeat

The votes of lawmakers are so routinely purchased by corporations that it takes a scandal of unusual proportions to generate news coverage.

Posted on Oct 12, 2009 READ MORE


Meltdown After the Meltdown

The fevered urgency with which the bailout was pushed by the Bush administration and enacted by the Democratic Congress last year has been followed by dithering in the midst of the employment crisis.

Posted on Oct 7, 2009 READ MORE


A Slippery Slope on Guns

If it wins an upcoming battle in the Supreme Court, the gun lobby is prepared to challenge every gun control law enacted at any level of government.

Posted on Oct 5, 2009 READ MORE


Making Tragedy Out of Farce

The Senate Finance Committee’s health care debate has given Michael Moore hours of footage for his next cinematic assault on the system.

Posted on Oct 1, 2009 READ MORE


Health Reform Money Is Aimed at Red States

Sen. Max Baucus’ health care plan would shift massive amounts of tax money away from traditionally blue states.

Posted on Sep 24, 2009 READ MORE


A Clunker, Not a Cadillac

Finally, a health care proposal George W. Bush could love. Sen. Max Baucus’ idea to tax “Cadillac” insurance plans has been pushed by Republicans for years.

Posted on Sep 21, 2009 READ MORE


Why We Fight the Tire War With China

We are warned it is dangerously protectionist to enforce existing trade laws against China’s cheap tire surge, but Obama is obligated to do so—and for good reason.

Posted on Sep 16, 2009 READ MORE



AP Photo / Toby Talbot

The Other Public Options

Overlooked in the health care debate is the recently reconfirmed fact that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are working better than ever.

Posted on Sep 14, 2009 READ MORE


A 9/11 Debt Still Unpaid

Thousands of those who descended on lower Manhattan after the terrorist attack were not cops or firefighters, and didn’t have the safety nets those jobs provide.

Posted on Sep 9, 2009 READ MORE


Our Wallets Get Emptier

It isn’t all in our heads. Americans are feeling the real effect of shrinking paychecks that can’t keep up with inflation.

Posted on Sep 7, 2009 READ MORE


Why We Must Stay in Afghanistan

A slim majority now says the Afghanistan war isn’t worth fighting. This is alarming, and inexplicable.

Posted on Aug 31, 2009 READ MORE


The Eternal Flame

Ten summers ago, I asked Ted Kennedy’s office to provide an account of key legislation he had sponsored in what already was a long and distinguished career. I received a very humble 32-page fax.

Posted on Aug 26, 2009 READ MORE


Status Quo Is Not an Option

The summer of disinformation seems to have accomplished its goal: to preserve for the private insurance industry an effective monopoly over how much most Americans pay for health care, and on what terms they can buy it.

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 READ MORE


Enabling the Gun Nuts

The Secret Service says it is quite capable of protecting the president, but the rest of us don’t have armed guards.

Posted on Aug 20, 2009 READ MORE


Phantom of the Health Care Soap Opera

Red-faced people are now hurling the same falsehoods at the nonexistent Obama plan that they hurled at Clinton’s plan—and Harry Truman’s national health insurance proposal, and Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare.

Posted on Aug 17, 2009 READ MORE


The Marvel That Is Medicare

Medicare is where political posturing runs headlong into historical truth: It is, along with Social Security, the most successful government program that the United States has ever created.

Posted on Jul 29, 2009 READ MORE



Collage: Flickr / david.nikonvscanon and Staples.com

A Rebound Without Recovery

The arithmetic of this recession still looks pretty dismal and the politics and psychology of it are starting to become disconnected from reality in a scary way.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009 READ MORE


Health Plan: Ask ‘What,’ Not ‘When’

Now that it’s gripped the imaginations of politicians and the media, the politics of the calendar has overtaken the plain truth that Congress already is moving—barely moving, and not necessarily to a triumphal finish—toward reform.

Posted on Jul 23, 2009 READ MORE


When Trust and Media Were One

The greatest sorrow in marking Walter Cronkite’s death is the necessity of acknowledging that we have replaced his work ethic and wisdom with puffery and ideological pontification.

Posted on Jul 21, 2009 READ MORE


Stains From the Bush Era Won’t Fade

The legacy of that administration’s anti-terrorism tactics cannot be washed away in a tide of feel-good rhetoric about moving on, nor will it fade eventually if we apply Obama’s spiritual wisdom that this should be a time for “reflection, not retribution.”

Posted on Jul 15, 2009 READ MORE


Closet Racism in the Age of Obama

Unless Sotomayor suffers a “complete meltdown,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted, she will be confirmed. The price, though, is barely coded race baiting that has been part of the assault on Sotomayor since her nomination was announced.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


The Unemployed Will Roar

There’s a lot of argument in Washington about the economy, but if anyone’s looking for some clear voices, there are 650,000 of them just waiting to be heard. That is roughly the number of long-term unemployed who will begin losing their jobless benefits in September.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Carolyn Kaster

Sexism and Sarah Palin

Marie Cocco writes that Sarah Palin’s “intellectual emptiness” and “demonstrably poor judgment” should not excuse the “sexist cant that Palin ... has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.” Eugene Robinson, however, finds that the fear of “being painted as elitist and sexist” has perpetuated the myth that Palin is “a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke.” Read on and decide for yourself.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


A Trashing as Old as Suffrage

None of Sarah Palin’s numerous shortcomings excuse the sexist cant that she, like Hillary Clinton before her, has been subjected to since she burst onto the national scene.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Political Foolishness and Teen Pregnancy

The decline in contraceptive use may cheer those who have promoted faith-inspired school curricula, but now we have sad and clear evidence that political foolishness among adults is leading to foolish and harmful behavior among kids.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Iraq Has Another One of Its Famous Turning Points

As the media trumpets sound for the pullback of American troops from urban areas in Iraq, the essential lesson of our involvement must be recalled: Nothing about our entanglement in Iraq has ever been as it seemed.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


Poster Addict for Tobacco Law

It’s all right to be just a bit defensive when you’re the addict in chief, but President Obama happens to be, hands down, the best possible spokesman for the new FDA regulation. He should embrace the role.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


America’s History, Now on YouTube

Amid the Web site’s trashy home videos and other uneven chronicles of pop culture is a memorable new look at America’s past that whets the appetite for more free fun. The National Archives, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, has posted 17 videos to YouTube.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Why Patch-and-Fill Won’t Do

At the moment, Republicans are gleeful and Democrats glum because of a Congressional Budget Office analysis—based on an incomplete and early draft of what is likely to be the most liberal-leaning health care proposal to emerge from the Senate—that shows the measure just won’t get the job done.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Guns and the Link We Won’t Admit

There are without a doubt links among the extremists who have opened fire in this spring of slaughter, but we tend to ignore the most obvious point: We have decided to let just about anyone have a gun.

Posted on Jun 15, 2009 READ MORE


The Justice Business

The appearance of extreme political impropriety is sometimes just too extreme, according to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in a case that shines a brutal light on the spiral of campaign contributions that threaten to compromise too many state courts.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Outrage—and Business as Usual

The public face of Congress is angry and outraged at all the bad behavior by banks, but in the other Washington, the financial industry continues to have its way.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


What Rhetoric Won’t Cure

The murder of Dr. George Tiller cannot be smoothed over with a speech. This is the lesson the Obama administration must learn from it.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform’s Pulse Is Fading

So it’s health care overhaul this year—or bust. If this is the bet, right now I’d put my money on bust.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


A Justice for Us All

President Obama’s nominee said she hopes Americans “will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences.” Ordinary people have had a difficult time of it before the current Supreme Court.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


Packing Heat in the Parks

With their usual steely conviction, contempt for the rights and safety of others, and string of nonsensical arguments, gun supporters in Congress managed to push through a law to allow national park visitors to carry loaded weapons—openly or concealed—in the millions of acres of wilderness, scenic byways and historic sites.

Posted on May 24, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo prisoner
AP photo / Lynne Sladky

A Truth Commission Beckons

The partisan firefight over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s incendiary allegation that the CIA lied to Congress about its use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—torture—is a blessing. It turns the compelling case for a public inquiry into the Bush administration’s policies toward terrorism detainees into an urgent necessity.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Mom’s Dreary Retirement Prospects

Not to ruin brunch, but Mom’s probably not doing very well. Not if she’s already retired, not if she’s a baby boomer approaching retirement, not if she’s a younger woman who hasn’t yet given retirement a thought.

Posted on May 8, 2009 READ MORE


Edwards
John Edwards 2008

The Phantom Candidate

I never understood John Edwards’ appeal. I therefore do not expect that Elizabeth Edwards’ new book, or the tiresome media blitz accompanying its publication, will bring a sudden change in my thinking.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


The End of the Middle Class as We Know It

This is how it ends. Or at least, this is how the latest, sad chapter in a story that has been ending for three decades is written.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Model for an Accounting

History demands an investigation into U.S. torture. We have a contemporary model for how to conduct a politically sensitive inquiry properly, without undue theatrics and with respect for classified information. It is the 9/11 commission.

Posted on Apr 27, 2009 READ MORE


Bybee Must Go

It is astonishing that someone who has proved in his memos to be so lacking in judgment and so ideologically twisted in his reasoning that he laid a blanket of legal immunity over those who wanted to torture now holds one of the most powerful and prestigious seats a lawyer can attain.

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Tea and Ignorance

There is little anyone can do about the tax-protest rants except worry they will be believed by a wider public. So, on the theory that the truth will set us free, it is worth examining exactly what we’re all paying, and what for.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


Wrong Road to Recovery

Once again we may be fooling ourselves into thinking that the buying and selling of paper assets is the same as the buying and selling of tangible goods made by real workers.

Posted on Apr 14, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

The Father of Guantanamo

Indefinite and secret detention at the U.S. air base in Bagram, Afghanistan, was a fundamental breach of justice and morality when the Bush administration did it. It is made worse by the stench of hypocrisy when the Obama administration does it.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


Silence Meets Despair of Afghan Women

Afghanistan’s women are no longer in vogue. President Karzai has just signed a law that forces them to obey their husbands’ sexual demands and in general again consigns them to lives of brutal repression.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Inside Bush’s War on Birth Control

A court ruling offers a chilling compendium of accounts by doctors and other FDA professionals who were routinely thwarted as they tried to make the “morning after” pill available, especially to teenagers.

Posted on Mar 26, 2009 READ MORE


Kill AIG Bonuses With a Tax? It’s a Lousy Idea

Obama needs to stop straddling and to threaten to veto any cockamamie tax scheme that emerges from Congress as retribution for the repulsive bonuses handed out at American International Group.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


If You’re a ‘Little Guy,’ a Contract Means Nothing

If only the contracts entered into by shop-floor workers at auto plants were as inviolate as those secured by the incompetent pirates of the American International Group.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


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