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Roland Burris
senate.gov

So Long, Roland Burris?

Looks like the Roland Burris show isn’t going to be picked up for a second season. Washington strategists have taken a good look at the Illinois senator’s fundraising numbers (such as they are) and deduced that a 2010 re-election bid is unlikely.

Posted on Jul 10, 2009 READ MORE



cia.gov

CIA ‘Lied’ to Congress

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes wrote that his panel “has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one occasion) was affirmatively lied to” by the CIA. The committee learned of the matter in the secret testimony of CIA Director Leon Panetta, who revealed that the agency he just inherited has been deceiving Congress since 2001.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


Party of Franken, Party of Palin

Al Franken left showbiz to prove himself a serious policy wonk as well as a devoted family man; Sarah Palin transformed herself and her family into a reality television show. Their long, odd trips reflect the journeys of their respective parties.

Posted on Jul 8, 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


Progressives Flex Health Care Muscle

The progressive Democrats in Congress have had just about enough of all this bipartisanship, especially if it means scrapping a public health care plan. Rahm Emanuel recanted his hint of compromise to a room full of hopping-mad House liberals Tuesday night. Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made it clear that losing a public option was a deal-breaker for 10 to 15 Senate Democrats.

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Paul Keleher

Public Option in Critical Condition

President Obama and most Democrats see a government-run health plan that competes with private insurers as vital to real health care reform, but a veto- and filibuster-proof majority just ain’t what it used to be. In the face of a massive lobbying effort, the White House has indicated a willingness to shelve the public option.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Long, Hard Summer

As the president and centrist Democrats in Congress haggle over the deficit, they could usefully recall that the party’s inability to deliver on Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign pledges, particularly on health care, led to a stunning defeat two years later.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


Thomas Paine
Portrait by Auguste Millière

The Age of Paine

“That filthy little atheist,” as Thomas Paine was called by Theodore Roosevelt, has few monuments dedicated to his memory. Building a bronze and marble monument to Paine will never revive the republic, but his words still carry an electric current of freedom. His intellectual and political energy is always available for rediscovery.

Posted on Jul 3, 2009 READ MORE


Warming Up a New Politics?

That some highly vulnerable Democrats in the House were willing to face tens of thousands of dollars worth of Republican attack ads as the price of supporting a bill to curb global warming is the untold story of what, so far, is the year’s most dramatic legislative showdown.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Schwarzenegger
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jim Greenhill

Schwarzenegger Won’t Budge as California Nears Collapse

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a Democratic proposal to cut $11.4 billion in spending, saying that “the Legislature must solve the entire [$27 billion] deficit ... and must not push the problem off to tomorrow.” With IOUs now a certainty and the state in financial ruin, a prominent Democrat called the governor’s stance “the most irresponsible thing that I’ve seen in my 15 years of public service.”

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


Al Franken
U.S. Air Force / S. Sgt. Maria L. Taylor

Dems Make Franken a Player

Al Franken won’t officially be a U.S. senator until next week, but he’s set to make a big impact, and not just because he gives his party that 60th seat. Senate Democrats have reserved four committee spots for Franken, two of which will make him a key participant in health care reform and the confirmation of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Obama and the Stone Tablets

The president has shied away from handing Congress his own plans on “stone tablets,” but if he doesn’t intervene in the health care debate, and soon, lawmakers are going to send him an unworkable monstrosity of a bill.

Posted on Jun 28, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Charles Dharapak

The Sickening Influence of Campaign Contributions

Democrats who are talking down Obama’s health care initiative tend to have something in common—their abject dependence on campaign contributions from the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations fighting against real reform.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Brennan Linsley, pool

Foreclosure Fiasco

The Bush-Obama strategy of throwing trillions at the banks to solve the mortgage crisis is a huge bust. The financial moguls, while tickled pink to have $1.25 trillion in toxic assets covered by the feds, along with hundreds of billions in direct handouts, are not using that money to turn around the free fall in housing foreclosures.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / denn

California Attacks Budget Crisis With Make-Believe

Unable to agree whether to raise taxes or cut spending, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state’s lawmakers will instead rely on time travel. Sacramento hopes to “save” somewhere around $10 billion by shifting costs to next year’s budget and resorting to other accounting tricks.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Iran Dilemma

The president’s initial caution served the interests of freedom by making clear that the revolt against Iran’s flawed election is homegrown. As the struggle continues, we cannot pretend that we are indifferent to its outcome.

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Maher

Bill Maher: ‘Democrats Are the New Republicans’

Last week Bill Maher took on the president. This week, the “Real Time” host accuses the Democrats of selling out their principles to hedge funds and polluters: ” ... over the last 30-odd years, Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital.”

Posted on Jun 21, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
senate.gov

Health Care Fail

By one estimate, Sen. Max Baucus gets about $1,500 a day from the health industry. Who put this man in charge of health care reform? The senator’s latest innovation in compromise is to slash proposed insurance subsidies in a bid to get Republicans on board. And forget about a government-run insurance program.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


The AMA’s Unhealthy Obsession

The real question is not what the AMA will support or whether the attitudes of the AMA have changed, but why anyone would still heed its policy prescriptions. Very few national organizations have been so wrong for so long about the matters most salient to their own members.

Posted on Jun 17, 2009 READ MORE


Max Baucus
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

The Bipartisanship of Fools

Where did we get the idea that the only good health care bill is a bipartisan bill? Is bipartisanship more important than whether a proposal is practical and effective?

Posted on Jun 17, 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


Obama and the Politics of Short Memories

Business has been on the ropes since last fall’s financial collapse, but the first glimmerings of recovery are calling forth a capitalist counteroffensive.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Gays Losing Patience With Team Obama

Signed by Bill Clinton, the Defense of Marriage Act keeps the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allows states to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in other states. Barack Obama’s Justice Department has just issued a defense of DOMA, even though the president has said he’d like to see it overturned. The gays who voted for these Democrats, meanwhile, are losing patience.

Posted on Jun 14, 2009 READ MORE


The Lesser of Two Spuds

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Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE    


The Lone Wolves Among Us

The white supremacist who allegedly took a rifle into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and killed a security guard is more than a bitter, demented old man. He is a known figure in the domestic hate industry and a reminder that words have consequences.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


All Politics, and Change, Is Still Local

The worship of the White House that led Colorado’s governor to renege on a health-care promise is one more pass-the-buck cop-out in a nation whose federalist system imagined states as “laboratories of democracy.”

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

Posted on Jun 11, 2009 READ MORE


Vern

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Posted on Jun 10, 2009 READ MORE    



AP photo / Damian Dovarganes

Prop. 8 and the Misery of the Law

The right to rebel is my real subject here, but the misery of the law is not incidental. No good case can be made for rebellion as an unqualified good in itself. But the right to rebel also cannot be limited to the rebel causes that were won long ago and have passed over into our national mythology.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Ronald Reagan
Reagan Library

Reagan Didn’t Do It

It would be nice to blame Ronald Reagan for the economic meltdown, as Paul Krugman did recently, but the facts don’t support it. Unfortunately, the real villains are closer at hand.

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE



gov.ca.gov

Democrats Aren’t Buying What Schwarzenegger’s Cutting

As if delivering the tagline of his latest movie, California’s governor announced to the state Legislature Tuesday that the “day of reckoning is here.” But Democrats are fighting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to cut funding for schools, the poor and sick children while refusing to raise taxes.

Posted on Jun 2, 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


America’s Changing Moral Universe

Way back in 2004, pollsters and pundits just knew that cultural and moral issues were the wave of the future. But a funny thing happened on the road to the revival tent. Updated

Posted on May 31, 2009 READ MORE


Obama and the Limits of Mastery

President Obama wants to build a new liberal majority and to do it he’s trying to charm everyone left of Rush Limbaugh. That strategy has led to some awkward moments.

Posted on May 24, 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


Obama
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Obama Can’t Duck the Tough Ones

President Obama’s lieutenants would love it if all the networks ran a crawl line at the bottom of the screen during news broadcasts that kept repeating: “The economy, health care, energy, education. The economy, health care ... .”

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi
AP photo / Alex Brandon

Pelosi Finds Some Backing

Three new developments in the Nancy Pelosi drama this week: The Democrats are said to stand “solidly behind” the House speaker, who is under fire from Republicans for talking smack about the CIA that “misled” her on waterboarding. Meanwhile, President Obama gives a vote of confidence to Pelosi, while CIA Director Leon Panetta urges Congress to focus on actual national security threats, stating “We are a nation at war.”

Posted on May 19, 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


Sen. Arlen Specter on Switching

The Pennsylvanian is only the 21st active senator in U.S. history to switch parties. Here is what he had to say about his change of loyalties.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Pete Souza

Sebelius at Last

Just in time for swine flu, the Senate has confirmed Barack Obama’s pick to head the massive Health and Human Services Department, Kathleen Sebelius. Democrats were able to use the health scare to shake the upper chamber out of abortion-obsessed confirmation gridlock.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


Specter Comes Full Circle

When Arlen Specter ran for Philadelphia district attorney in 1965, he proudly proclaimed himself a “Kennedy Democrat,” but said he was running as a Republican to take on what he saw as the corruption of the city’s then-legendary Democratic machine. Forty-four years later, Arlen Specter has come full circle.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Svadilfari / Senate.gov

Senate Shake-Up: Specter Goes Blue

Arlen Specter was always too moderate for this crop of Republicans, but his surprise decision to become a Democrat has more to do with the likelihood of losing a GOP primary battle than ideological differences. Specter’s move should give the Democrats the 60 votes they need in the Senate, assuming Norm Coleman ever gives up the ghost In Minnesota.

Posted on Apr 28, 2009 READ MORE


News Flash: Populism Is Popular

Both parties are suddenly listening to “the people” instead of the Establishment. They know the political class, however offended, can no longer stop a voter backlash.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Thinking About Yesterday’s Health Care Debate

Because of the defeat of health care reform in 1994, there will be a temptation to treat every dispute as the first step toward the collapse of the process, ignoring the fact that times and minds change.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 READ MORE



Harald Dettenborn

Report: Rep. Harman Mixed Up With AIPAC, Espionage and Alberto Gonzales

Rep. Jane Harman agreed to go to bat for two AIPAC officials accused of espionage, in exchange for which an Israeli spy would try to get her appointed to chair the House Intelligence Committee, according to Congressional Quarterly. The NSA reportedly captured an exchange between Harman and the spy, during which the congresswoman allegedly said, “This conversation doesn’t exist.”

Posted on Apr 20, 2009 READ MORE


Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

Ten years after the Columbine massacre, our president stood in Mexico, where assault rifles from the U.S. are used to murder police officers, and said the American gun lobby is just too strong for him push a rational gun regulation through Congress. How sad.

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 READ MORE


Armey’s Tea Party Army

At the apex of the tea party movement is FreedomWorks, headed by former Rep. Dick Armey. His past career should be instructive to any starry-eyed citizens who believe that they have at last found the true right-wing revolutionary path.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


The Obama Doctrine

The president insists that the U.S. can’t achieve great objectives on its own. This may break with George W. Bush’s style, but it is in keeping with the traditions of Roosevelt, Truman and George H.W. Bush.
 

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE


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