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White House / Pete Souza

Another Nominee Bites the Dust

Apparently nobody wants to be President Obama’s commerce secretary. The second candidate for the post, Sen. Judd Gregg, has dropped out. The Republican senator cited “irresolvable conflicts,” including the stimulus package and the census. That’s what you get for trying to make nice with those fussy Republicans.

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 READ MORE


Stronger, Please, Mr. President

Having allowed his Republican opponents to dominate the economic debate, Obama used his first news conference to rebut them—coolly and civilly, yet without leaving any doubt that he can strike back harder if necessary.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE



Dems Bicker Behind the Scenes

It seems Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s stimulus compromise announcement was a tad premature, a fact that reportedly irked the most powerful woman in politics, Nancy Pelosi. “The speaker went through the roof,” a House Democrat told Politico, when she saw Reid’s alleged power play.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Reid
The New York Times / Susan Etheridge

Reid Announces Stimulus Agreement

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday afternoon that congressional leaders have finally agreed on a $789 billion economic stimulus package, pushing the plan to a final House and Senate vote by Friday at the earliest.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

Slam the Door on Compromise

Bipartisanship is a cute idea, but with 600,000 Americans losing their jobs in one month, there simply isn’t time to be nice.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Obama Pushes to Sell an Effective Stimulus

He has his opponents in Congress, but President Barack Obama is stressing the need to settle the stimulus issue—and fast. On Monday, in his first major news conference since assuming office, Obama warned of economic troubles ahead and presented the stimulus package as a possible way out.

Posted on Feb 9, 2009 READ MORE


Job Loss
nytimes.com

U.S. Unemployment Hits 7.6 Percent

With little surprise but incredible effect, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, hitting its highest level since 1992. President Obama used the report to prod Congress to pass his economic stimulus package.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


GOP Revs Up the Spin on Stimulus

Republicans have been winning the media wars over Obama’s central initiative. They have done so largely by defining the proposal by its least significant parts.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Stimulus Skeptics Wrong (Again)

Mythology is overshadowing history in the debate over Obama’s plan to stimulate the depressed economy. Excessive airtime is devoted to the prejudices of cable hosts and radio personalities who regurgitate ideas they barely understand.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Dear Wall Street

The reason you are such a big story is that you’ve stolen our money. Or at least that’s how most of the country sees it. You think those auto executives looked bad when they flew into Washington on their private jets? Just you wait.

Posted on Feb 4, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Strong Commitment to Error’

John Kenneth Galbraith once warned that U.S. foreign policy suffers from institutional rigidity with a “strong commitment to error.” What better proof than the planned surge in Afghanistan?

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / respres

Produce the Note

Rep. Marcy Kaptur has a solution for beleaguered homeowners facing foreclosure: Dare Wall Street to produce the loan note that was bundled, securitized, sold and resold.

Posted on Feb 3, 2009 READ MORE


Ethical Malpractice

No need to fumble for words that sum up the stew of hypocrisy, arrogance and insiderism that is the unfolding saga of Tom Daschle. This is the audacity of audacity.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Stampede

Share
Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

President Obama’s outreach to Republicans is popular, but the coming week will test his resolve. Eventually, he’ll have to say “no” to the GOP, or lose what he’s fighting for.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE


Making Him Do It

Intragovernmental squabbling probably makes the conflict-averse Obama uncomfortable. But the “make him do it” dynamic could finally bring the center of Washington’s political debate closer to the progressive center of American public opinion.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Economic Policy That Might Actually Work? Who Knew?

After eight years of trickle-down tax cuts that pushed the prosperous up and left most everyday Americans sliding further down, the stimulus bill now moving swiftly through Congress is more than a reversal of political course. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Stuck Playing the Same Lame Game

The president took his swing in the 25-year-old game of ideological pingpong known as the global gag rule, but he also made it clear he’d like everyone to put their paddles down.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail

Millions have served time in U.S. prisons for crimes that fall far short of those attributed to the Bush administration. Some criminals, it seems, are like banks judged too big to fail: too big to jail, too powerful to prosecute.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / hthg1983

Biden Says Banks May Get More, More, More

The vice president let it slip Sunday that the $700 billion TARP bailout bill could have a sequel. Also, Nancy Pelosi indicated that Congress might dole out more funds to financial institutions. Let’s see, that’s $700 billion on TARP, $850 billion for the still-pending stimulus package, plus the mysterious billions they’re tossing around at the Federal Reserve. ... Here’s hoping China doesn’t cut up our national credit card.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


Partisan Politics Wait in the Wings

Beneath the warm pledges of bipartisanship and the earnest calls for cooperation lurks an unpleasant fact: From the moment it loses power, the opposition party turns to the task of getting it back.

Posted on Jan 26, 2009 READ MORE


book covers

Brenda Wineapple on Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass

Two recent books show how a man of reason and conservative temperament and a man of passion and radical disposition joined together, even before either knew it, to end slavery.

Posted on Jan 23, 2009 READ MORE


The Downside of Bipartisanship

Remember this, President Obama: There are few Washington traditions as annoying as the cultish worship of bipartisanship, for it ignores the simple fact that sometimes one party gets things disastrously wrong.

Posted on Jan 22, 2009 READ MORE


Kennedy Collapses During Inauguration Lunch

An ailing Ted Kennedy experienced seizures during a ceremonial luncheon on Capitol Hill and was removed from the private function, according to reports. President Obama accompanied Kennedy from the room and then returned to offer a few words of support. The luncheon then went ahead, though without Sen. Robert Byrd, who was too upset over his friend’s seizure to stay. Update 2

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE


What Can Obama Learn From Bush?

The Bush administration’s specific failures—in foreign and domestic policy and on matters related to civil liberties—are clear enough. Yet the deeper cause of the public’s disaffection goes beyond these specifics.

Posted on Jan 20, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Congress Sings the Bailout Blues

Want to know where the $350 billion banking bailout went and why it hasn’t done a bit of good? Read, and weep over, this little-noticed report from the congressional panel set up to monitor the Treasury Department’s distribution of our taxpayer funds.

Posted on Jan 18, 2009 READ MORE


Fool Me Once

Somehow, immediately releasing more bailout funds is being portrayed as a self-evident necessity. Amid Barack Obama’s paeans to “new politics,” we’re watching old-school paybacks from a politician who raised more Wall Street dough than any other.

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / jphilipg

What Does $825 Billion of Stimulation Feel Like?

There will be negotiation, revision and capitulation, but the basic guts of the Democrats’ $825 billion stimulus package are out in the open. There’s billions for infrastructure, billions for schools and billions for you and me. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) responded by saying “Oh. My. God,” which we’ll take to mean, “Praise Jesus! The Democrats have done it again.”

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE


Who’s in Charge—Obama, the Pentagon or Israel?

The military is far too accustomed to getting its way, so it was refreshing to see Barack Obama reject the Pentagon’s sluggish withdrawal plan. But will he stand up to Israel, whose Prime Minister Olmert recently bragged about pulling the American president’s puppet strings?

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Army / Sgt. Whitney Houston

Obama Will End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

Here’s what Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s top talker, had to say about whether the next president would work to end the military’s policy of discrimination against gay service members: “You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s ‘Yes.’ ”

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / exfordy

The Party of No Ideas

Would it be rude to ask whether the Republicans have any new proposals to save the country from this worsening recession? If not, they should halt their reactionary opposition to Barack Obama’s stimulus plan.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE


The Shame Beneath Inaugural Hoopla

Sorry to rain on the inaugural parade, but we need to find a better way to pay for these things. The financing of President-elect Barack Obama’s big day is just as much of an embarrassment to the country as the financing of inaugurations past.

Posted on Jan 14, 2009 READ MORE



Department of Justice

Bush’s Politics-First Justice Department Has a New Poster Boy

An internal investigation has found that Bradley Schlozman, a former high-ranking Justice Department official, hired and promoted conservative “right-thinking Americans” while making it clear that “adherents of Mao’s little red book need not apply” to work in his wing of the Justice Department. He also transferred an employee for allegedly using “ebonics.”

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


Nothing to Fear but No Health Care

Fifty million Americans are without health insurance, and 25 million are “underinsured.” Millions being laid off will soon be added to those rolls. At this perilous moment, we need sweeping New Deal-caliber changes, not the impotent tinkering that has been proposed.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
United States Senate

Obama Threatens to Use Veto Against Bailout Dissent

Barack Obama made sure that anyone who might oppose his plan for rolling out the next part of the $750 billion bailout package understands that he means business: In a meeting Tuesday on Capitol Hill, he threatened to veto a possible disapproval resolution, according to Democratic senators who met with him.

Posted on Jan 13, 2009 READ MORE


One for the Workers

Hilda Solis does not have star power. What the nominee for labor secretary does have is a record of loyalty to those who work and want to work, and who wish to receive in exchange a decent wage and a measure of dignity.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

That’s Senator Burris to You, Bub

Although a majority of his state’s voters are opposed to his appointment (according to a recent poll), Roland Burris will be seated as the junior senator from Illinois. Senate Democrats had promised not to seat Burris but, true to tradition, promptly caved.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / respres

Obama Says He’ll Spend Some Bailout Money on Homeowners

With half of the $700 billion in TARP funds already spent and not a whole lot to show for it, Barack Obama has pledged to spend the second parcel differently, with at least some of the money going to desperate homeowners. President Bush has agreed to request the funds on Obama’s behalf in order to expedite the process.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Abdel Kareem Hana

The Language of Death

Israel will, from now on, speak to the Palestinians in the language of death. And the language of death is all the Palestinians will be able to speak back. The slaughter—let’s stop pretending this is a war—is empowering an array of radical Islamists inside and outside of Gaza.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE


Learning From Clinton’s Mistakes

One of the clearest signals President-elect Barack Obama has sent is his determination to learn from the Clinton years, and particularly from the former president’s failures on health care.

Posted on Jan 12, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / Kevin McCoy

Credentials in Order, Burris Is Heading Back to D.C.

Last time he came knocking at the Capitol, the Senate sent Roland Burris away empty-handed. But now that the Illinois secretary of state has ended his protest and signed the relevant paperwork, Burris is hoping his next visit has a happier ending.

Posted on Jan 11, 2009 READ MORE


The Politician in Chief Works for a Stimulus

The substantive issues surrounding an economic stimulus are clearer than the politics of getting it passed fast. Here’s how Obama is trying to weave the politics and the substance together.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Should the Torturers Go on Trial?

The impending end of the Bush administration and the inauguration of Barack Obama pose the enormous and explosive question of what to do about those responsible for what are regarded by a significant part of the world as war crimes.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


Now Is No Time for Phony Thrift

As the government contemplates spending very large sums of money, it is reassuring to know that somebody still worries about waste. Or it would be reassuring, if only that somebody were not Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader.

Posted on Jan 8, 2009 READ MORE


111th Congress
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Welcome Back, Congress

There were just a few action items—emphasis on action—for the 111th Congress to contend with on the broad domestic and global scale as veteran members reconvened and new recruits made it official on Tuesday. Get to work, people.

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE


Navel-Gazing in the Grand Old Party

While Republicans are looking inward and focusing on appeals to the party’s activist base, Obama wants Democrats to concentrate their energies on recently acquired political terrain and the new converts who were central to his party’s sweep last year. 

Posted on Jan 6, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / M. Spencer Green

Blagojevich vs. the Senate

Some have argued that the Senate does not have the right to reject embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick to replace Barack Obama. However, history clearly disagrees.

Posted on Jan 5, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / FaceMePLS

The Jobless Hold Their Breath

President-elect Obama is still working out the nuts and bolts of his recovery (fingers crossed) package, but Obama advisers have disclosed that at least one proposal would expand benefits and compensation to the unemployed. With the economic meltdown vaporizing more and more jobs, here’s hoping Congress gets it done before February.

Posted on Jan 4, 2009 READ MORE


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


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