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Tag: Congress

FDR Prolonged the Depression? Really?

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself speechless when confronted with abject insanity, such as conservatives’ newest talking point—the one designed to stop Congress from passing an economic stimulus package.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


Let’s Pledge to Stop Being Stupid About Teen Sex

“Virginity pledges” are one of the ways that government officials measure whether abstinence-only education is “working.” They count the pledges as proof that teens will abstain. It turns out that this is like counting New Year’s resolutions as proof that you lost 10 pounds.

Posted on Jan 1, 2009 READ MORE


What Nixon Admitted (and Cheney Won’t)

To understand the philosophy of government that Dick Cheney brought to Washington over the past seven years, it is most instructive to see “Frost/Nixon,” with Frank Langella’s remarkable reanimation of Tricky Dick for a generation that never knew him.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Michael B. Keller

The Road Out of Iraq Begins in Vietnam

Iraq is not Vietnam, yet there are parallels between the two wars. The American military dominated the battlefield in both conflicts, and yet America the nation emerged the loser in each. A “decent interval” is now needed for American troops to withdraw.

Posted on Dec 24, 2008 READ MORE


A Frank Assessment: Rev. Rick Is Offensive

Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, isn’t happy about the “high honor” Barack Obama has bestowed on the Rev. Rick Warren, who recently likened gay marriage to incest and pedophilia. This isn’t a speech at a forum, the congressman points out, but a role that is “traditionally given as a mark of great respect.”

Posted on Dec 21, 2008 READ MORE


Bush Bailed Out
The New York Times / Doug Mills

To the Bailoutmobile!

In an avowed effort to save capitalism from itself, President Bush announced Friday that he would throw the Big Three failing auto companies a $17.4 billion lifesaver, siphoning that money from the initial $700 billion bailout slush fund authorized by Congress in October.

Posted on Dec 19, 2008 READ MORE


Should She Be Sen. Kennedy?

In the culture of celebrity, the media have instantly deemed Caroline Kennedy a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate, much to the frustration of elected officials who feel they have earned a chance to win what she would merely take.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


It’s a Man’s Meltdown

Today’s brainteaser: Name the top female executives who were forced to go before Congress, explaining why their companies made multibillion-dollar mistakes that helped wreck the economy but nonetheless deserve billions in taxpayer bailouts.

Posted on Dec 18, 2008 READ MORE


Workers Laid Off, Executives Paid Off, Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff’s criminal pyramid scheme, in which losses are expected to be $50 billion, paints a grim picture—unless you are a corporate executive. Read the fine print. Of the TARP bailout funds, only those that were technically spent “in an auction” carry limits on executive pay.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Susan Walsh

Pelosi Gets Tough With Rahmbo

When he selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, Barack Obama acknowledged that he was looking for a bad cop, but Nancy Pelosi refuses to be bullied. A former mentor of sorts to Emanuel, the House speaker is “laying down the law,” according to the Politico.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


Premature Fretting on the Left

Oh, my: Barack Obama is still more than a month away from assuming the presidency and already there are reports about “the left” being dispirited about change it no longer believes in.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


We Told You So

With the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t concerning the economic collapse and the Wall Street bailout. The studies prove that progressive critics were right and the Washington ideologues and the pundits were wrong.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


Dangerous Bias Against Detroit

Nearly every current poll shows that most Americans oppose federal assistance to the auto industry, but legislators should also consider how voters would feel if the nation suffered the full consequences of a cratering auto industry—and if those voters then found out that the facts were not quite what they seemed to be.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE



Truthdig / Peter Scheer

Redrawing the Political Map

A little-noticed California proposition could limit the kind of partisan gerrymandering that Republicans and Democrats have used to influence elections around America for decades. But is that a good thing?

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


Unions Aren’t the Problem

As Congress and the White House lurch toward possible approval of a loan package for the crippled auto industry, we are undoubtedly in store for more union-bashing.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


Obama Embraces the Military

In naming retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki as veterans affairs secretary, President-elect Barack Obama made what may be the most politically and morally significant choice of his transition.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


The Beauty of Free Money

No, the federal government isn’t going to discover new billions under some rock in a national park. But with the economic downturn, the new president’s imperative will be to spend as fast as he can, to the tune of perhaps $500 billion, to keep the economy from going belly up.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Bush the Infallible

Remember that long-ago news conference when George W. Bush couldn’t think of any mistakes he had made? Unbelievably, he still can’t.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Big Three
aolcdn.com

Poll: Auto Bailout Low on Fuel

With a bailout of the Big Three hovering over our political landscape, popular opinion has signaled a considerable voice against any federal support for the failing auto industry. A poll shows 61% of Americans oppose a bailout, believing any government assistance would be both unfair and ineffective in fixing the economy.

Posted on Dec 3, 2008 READ MORE


Saxby Chambliss
Flickr / Savannah Grandfather

Saxby Succeeds in Georgia

Saxby “Big Daddy” Chambliss has successfully defended his U.S. Senate seat against rival and fraternity brother Jim Martin. After a close contest in the general election, the two were forced into a runoff Tuesday, which Chambliss won handily.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE


Ford logo
cartype.com

Ford Asks Gov’t for $9 Billion

After a dismal November, Ford Motor Co. is hanging by a thread, but the automaker told Congress on Tuesday that it is in better shape than Chrysler and General Motors and could make it through its current economic crisis with a little help—to the tune of $9 billion in standby loans.

Posted on Dec 2, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / SteelCityHobbies

Class Bigotry Mars Auto Debate

The auto industry bailout would have no chance of passing without the muscle of the Big Three’s unionized work force. Yet you can’t turn around without hearing someone trash autoworkers for the terrible crime of trying to earn a decent living.

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE


Al Franken
USAF / Staff Sgt. Maria L. Taylor

Franken to Take Senate Fight to ... the Senate

Still locked in a bitter recount battle for the right to represent Minnesota in the upper house, Al Franken’s lawyer says he might take the matter directly to the U.S. Senate, which the Constitution allows to be the “Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members.”

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE


mushroom cloud
Wikimedia Commons / Fastfission (altered)

Report: WMD Terror Attack Likely

A month too late for Halloween, a congressionally mandated independent panel has come to this terrifying conclusion: “Unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.” Boo!

Posted on Nov 30, 2008 READ MORE


Our Dear Leader

Judging by the proliferation of capital letters in the e-mail correspondence I receive, many seem worried that Barack Obama may not deliver the promised “change we can believe in.”

Posted on Nov 28, 2008 READ MORE


The Peril and Promise of Interesting Times

If things get much more “interesting,” we might have a collective nervous breakdown. But along with the anxiety, there’s also a sense of rare opportunity—a chance to emerge better than we were economically, politically and socially.

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 READ MORE


The Smoke Is Clearing

This week marks a decade since a consortium of state attorneys general negotiated the landmark settlement of lawsuits against tobacco companies. The results are in: Cigarette consumption has declined by 28 percent in the past 10 years.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Paul Morse (altered)

No One In Charge

Having two presidents is starting to feel like having no president, and that’s the situation we’ll face until Inauguration Day. Heaven help us.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Kiichiro Sato, file

Starving for Change

The swelling numbers waiting outside homeless shelters and food pantries around the country have grown by at least 30 percent since the summer. If Barack Obama continues to turn to the elites who created the mess, if he does not radically redirect the nation’s resources to assist the working class and the poor, we will become a third-world country.

Posted on Nov 24, 2008 READ MORE


Why Obama Can Keep Gates

If the prospect of appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state irritates the Obama base, what will they make of keeping the man who has executed President Bush’s policies at the Pentagon?

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


Tuning Out the Braindead Megaphone

If you’re having trouble remembering what the recent election was all about, rest easy: You’re probably not going senile – you’re likely experiencing the momentary effects of brainwashing.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


Sooner or Later, They’ll Bail Out Detroit

The Big Three left Capitol Hill empty-handed, but they’re bound to get some kind of federal help, however grudging. In the end, I don’t think either George W. Bush or Barack Obama wants to be remembered as the president who lost the auto industry.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


Stevens

Ted Stevens Bows Out of Senate

After 40 years in the U.S. Senate, the Alaska Republican bid his Capitol Hill colleagues goodbye on Thursday and was given a standing ovation as he finished his speech.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


Not a Scratch on That Glass Ceiling

It is time to stop kidding ourselves. This wasn’t a breakthrough year for American women in politics. It was a brutal one.

Posted on Nov 19, 2008 READ MORE



senate.gov

It’s All Over for Stevens

Ted Stevens will not be returning to work in the Senate after surviving there longer than any Republican ever. The convicted felon lost his re-election battle with Democrat Mark Begich by a few thousand votes after leading on election night. The news came on Stevens’ 85th birthday.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


Paulson

Paulson and Bernanke Grilled on the Bailout

On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke faced a lineup of vexed, perplexed and otherwise agitated members of Congress, including Reps. Barney Frank, Ron Paul and Nydia Velazquez, all eager to ask some serious questions about the infamous bailout.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


Joe Lieberman
newsweek.com

Lieberman to Keep Homeland Security Post

After weeks of deliberation about former Democrat-turned-independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, congressional leaders from his former party came to some conclusions Tuesday about his political future.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / SteelCityHobbies

Detroit Bailout Looks Unlikely

The chief executives of the Big Three American car companies head to Washington Tuesday along with the head of the United Auto Workers to beg Congress for a bailout that seems less and less probable.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


Conservative Identity Crisis

There is a second transition under way over which President-elect Barack Obama has no control—the transition of conservatives to minority status. How they do this will have a powerful impact on the new presidency.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / Brave New Films

A Wal-Mart Christmas for a Wal-Mart Country

The giant discounter is the only store where hard-squeezed consumers can afford to buy anything, and so it has kept posting sales gains amid the retail bloodbath.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


Knowing When to Walk Away

Bush reportedly suggested to Obama he might support an economic stimulus package and aid to struggling automakers if Democrats drop their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia. Strange behavior? Yes and no.

Posted on Nov 14, 2008 READ MORE



One More Dem in the Senate?

As Alaska election officials continue to count ballots, Democrat Mark Begich has gone from roughly 3,000 votes down to a lead of about 800. His rival, convicted felon and “series of tubes” prophet Sen. Ted Stevens, will likely be expelled from the U.S. Senate if he somehow wins.

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE



Collage: Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan and Shealah Craighead / White House

Paulson Revises Bailout Strategy

“I will never apologize for changing a strategy or an approach if the facts change,” explained Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has retreated from his original plan of buying up near-worthless mortgage securities with taxpayer funds. Instead, Paulson will continue to pump money into troubled banks in exchange for equity, a scheme that has proved more expeditious and popular.

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 READ MORE



speaker.gov

‘Whatever Nancy Wants, Nancy Gets’

Nancy Pelosi isn’t as showy as some of her predecessors, but according to a profile in the Politico, the most powerful woman in American political history is firmly in control of her domain. Tom “the Hammer” DeLay says she is “the most powerful speaker in a generation—she will be able to do anything she wants.” As one anonymous lawmaker put it, “Whatever Nancy wants, Nancy gets.”

Posted on Nov 12, 2008 READ MORE


The Danger in Timidity

If Reagan had the voters’ permission to move away from strategies associated with liberalism, Obama has sanction to move away from conservative policies. And Reagan offers another lesson: His first moves were bold, and Obama should not fear following his example.

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 READ MORE


Paulson in negotiations
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

Surprise! Paulson Sneaked $150B Bank ‘Windfall’ Into Bailout

Perhaps we should be more surprised than we are by the news that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his DOT crew managed to sneak a handful of sentences into the approved bailout bill that amounted to a $150-billion “quiet windfall” for American banks, as The Washington Post put it.

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa

Military Spending ‘Not Sustainable’

The Defense Business Board, an official oversight body appointed by the secretary of defense, has warned the president-elect that the Pentagon’s bloated budget ($512 billion this year, not including war costs) is “not sustainable.” An unprecedented spending spree since 9/11 has run head-on into a financial meltdown, and Barack Obama is now stuck in the middle.

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / Lieberman 2006

Joe Klein on the ‘Flagrantly Dreadful’ Joe Lieberman

Time’s political sage offers the thorniest of olive branches to the Connecticut senator, who, he writes, “has been a flagrantly dreadful public figure these past two years.”

Posted on Nov 7, 2008 READ MORE


Only One Good Path for the Democrats: Go Big

Obama and the rest of the party should retire the Innocent Bystander Fable—the myth about being powerless onlookers.

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 READ MORE


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