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Backroom Politics

Backroom Politics

By Bill and Nancy Boyarsky



By Gore Vidal

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Tag: Not For Profit

health care summit

Obama, Repubs Lock Horns at the Health Care Summit

President Obama suggested that the theme for Thursday’s health care reform summit should be one of bipartisan cooperation. Good luck with that one! So far, the discourse has appeared to be cordial on the whole, with the exception of a couple verbal clashes with prominent GOP types, including a growly John McCain and a bill-waving Rep. Eric Cantor. Updated

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / Teknorat

Hummer Going the Way of the Dodo

The days appear to be numbered for General Motors’ brand of oversize musclemobiles that we know as Hummer. The Detroit automaker has failed to seal the deal with a Chinese buyer in time to save the SUV line, which is looking more and more like the relic of pre-recessionary excess (not to mention gas-guzzling impudence) that it is.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / laverrue

Maryland to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages (Performed Elsewhere)

The state of Maryland hasn’t worked out legislation to officially validate same-sex marriages that happen within its own borders, but as of Wednesday, Maryland’s Attorney General Douglas Gansler made it possible for GLBTQ partners’ unions to be legally recognized—as long as they were performed somewhere else.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE


O’Reilly: Palin Needs to Go to ‘Political College’

By the way that Bill O’Reilly talks about “the media” with George Stephanopoulos in this clip, you’d think he wasn’t a part of it. According to O’Reilly, “the media presents a distorted picture to Americans” about politics, “because they seize upon the loons on both the left and the right.” (continued)

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE

Stoner Seniors Edition

Why more old people smoke pot than they used to, what to do when your judge and prosecutor are having an affair, and why Obama’s assault on Wall Street is weak sauce. All this and more after the jump.

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE

Not as Dumb as He Looks

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE

You Bet Your Ass

Posted on Feb 25, 2010 READ MORE    

Why Are Democrats Ignoring the Next New Dealers?

The Millennials—generally defined as Americans born in 1981 or after—are, without question, the most liberal generation since the New Dealers, and they could transform our politics for decades.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Zazi Case Vindicates Traditional Methods

Before Najibullah Zazi is finally dispatched to a secure cellblock for good, it is important to remember how the taxi-driver-turned-terrorist was brought to justice—and why the critics who jeered his civilian prosecution were dead wrong.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

A Perturbing Argument on ‘Don’t Ask’

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz’s claim, echoed by Gen. George Casey, that letting troops serve openly would “perturb” the military is just silly.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

intelligence agents

CIA, Pakistan Spying in Tandem

In case you didn’t know, there’s a “secret war,” as The New York Times puts it, going on in Pakistan, and the drone attacks that occasionally make headlines represent just one tactic that the U.S. is employing to target militants. Another involves CIA operatives joining forces with their Pakistani counterparts at the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / Siebbi

Matt Damon Attached to Play RFK in New Biopic

Matt Damon may get a chance to flex his acting chops in a challenging and meaty role—as a Kennedy, no less—if he ends up liking the screenplay for an upcoming biopic about the late Robert F. Kennedy, according to Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

John Yoo
Wikimedia Commons / YooTube

John Yoo Takes Credit for ‘Saving’ Obama Presidency

John Yoo’s Op-Ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, in which he says he helped save Barack Obama’s presidency by “winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe,” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but then this is the dingbat who gave the legal thumbs up to torture.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Sea World
Flickr / Growl Roar

Orca Kills Trainer at SeaWorld

Lest it be forgotten, Shamu and his orca pals aren’t called killer whales for nothing. Although watching humans gambol with orcas and other sea mammals has become a tourist staple at water parks around the country, that brand of family entertainment doesn’t sit well with some animal rights groups, and it can be deadly, as an incident Wednesday at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., tragically illustrated.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Pat Sullivan

Behind the Tea Party Facade, Just Another Bush-League Republican

Ron Paul proté gé Debra Medina is shaking up the Texas gubernatorial race, but scratch the surface of this rising tea party star and you’ll find a Bush-style big-government hypocrite.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE


Health Insurance Executive Defends Rate Hikes Before Congress

Wow, times are really tough for health insurance companies! Take WellPoint Inc., for example, the big insurer that owns Anthem Blue Cross, which is planning double-digit rate hikes in California. WellPoint President Angela Braly explained to a House subcommittee Wednesday ... (continued)

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

AP / David J. Phillip

Sportscasters Draw Fire for Comments on Johnny Weir

American figure skater Johnny Weir has challenged the norms of his sport with his sartorial flair and his performance style while executing triple axels with the best of them, but pushing boundaries doesn’t usually happen without some kind of backlash. Unfortunately, this has been the case for Weir ... (continued)

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE


‘Daily Show’: Bank of America

Credit card reform is great and all, but there’s another problem that legislation can’t exactly remedy: Americans’ supersized spending habits. Oh, and since Congress gave banks nine months of lead time before enacting the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, those wily financial institutions were ready with a set of new tricks to part customers with their hard-earned cash.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Casey at Bat

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE    

Something Rotten in Denmark Edition

Here’s why you should never e-mail your professor after showing up an hour late, give cameras to chimps or put a grouchy Dane in charge of your country’s tourism pitch.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Dealing With the Democrats

President Obama’s health care fight is not with the Republicans, but with members of his own party, especially those in the House.

Posted on Feb 24, 2010 READ MORE

Treasury Department
AP / Evan Vucci

No Banker Left Behind

They do have a license to steal. There is no other way to read Tuesday’s report from the New York state comptroller that bonuses for Wall Street financiers rose 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009. Of course that is less than the $32.9 billion for bonus rewards back in 2007, when those hotshots could still pretend that they were running sound businesses. 

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / jamesdale10 (CC-BY)

Blackwater Back in the Spotlight

The Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating a Blackwater subsidiary’s role in the shooting of two Afghans last year. The panel also criticized the Army for not properly supervising the company. Despite a dreadful track record, Blackwater, now called Xe, continues to have contracts with the U.S. government.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Cracking Down on Fracking

Mike Markham of Colorado has an explosive problem: His tap water catches fire.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Allies in Europe Begin to Pull Back

The U.S. devotes large sums of money to subsidizing the participation in Afghanistan of small NATO countries and publicizing the affair as a true coalition operation, but NATO-nation political and public support for the war is faint and grudging because few believe the mission is realistic.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Reid Tells Republicans to ‘Stop Crying’

With more Senate Democrats urging Harry Reid to revive the public option and pass health care reform through budget reconciliation, the Senate majority leader said Republicans “should stop crying about reconciliation as if it’s never been done before.” Reid said the maneuver is used nearly every year, usually by Republicans.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

U.S. Army / D. Myles Cullen

Army Chief Voices ‘Serious Concerns’ About ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Change

Although other military leaders have expressed their support for a moratorium on the infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding American gay and lesbian troops, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the U.S. Army chief of staff, expressed reservations to senators on Tuesday about changing the law in wartime.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE


Your Handy Guide to Obama’s Health Care Proposal

Here we have Linda Douglass, communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform, lending her interpretive skills to C-SPAN to talk up some of the details of Barack Obama’s health care reform proposal, which she calls an “opening bid” by the president ahead of Thursday’s big bipartisan health care huddle.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE


McChrystal Apologizes for Afghan Civilian Deaths

America’s top military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, took to the Afghan airwaves Tuesday to apologize for the deaths of 27 civilians in an airstrike led by U.S. forces last week, according to The Christian Science Monitor.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Itsuo Inouye

Toyota’s Big Apology

Amid major setbacks leading to massive recalls related to unintended acceleration, faulty brakes and other mechanical calamities, Toyota is shifting into damage control mode. On Tuesday, the Japanese carmaker’s president, Akio Toyoda, made a personal apology before the U.S. Congress, admitting that his company got ahead of itself, prioritizing growth over quality control.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE


Johnny Depp Pipes Up for West Memphis Three

Johnny Depp isn’t usually one to seek out the limelight, or “48 Hours Mystery” for that matter, but the “Alice in Wonderland” actor is making an appearance on the CBS News magazine show to make a plea for the retrial of the West Memphis Three, a group of men convicted of murdering three boys in 1994.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE


CPAC 2010: Festival of Whites

Last weekend’s big right-wing clusterf summit meeting, CPAC 2010, brought out the bright, white stars of conservative America, many of whom conjured up some creative labels for their enemies on the left, including this gem from Mitt Romney: “Liberal neo-monarchists.” Huh?

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Scott Brown
AP / Lauren Victoria Burke

Brown Votes With Senate Dems for Jobs Bill

So this is what he meant when he called himself a “Scott Brown Republican.” Brown, the Senate’s newest member, who upset Martha Coakley last month to win the late Ted Kennedy’s seat, is making an auspicious voting debut by siding with Democrats in support of a jobs bill. That didn’t go over well with some conservatives.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Tea Party Patriots

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Bible Study [A Cartoon From Germany]

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Mixed Pairs

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

The Right Time

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Illustration based on an Apple press photo

Prudish Apple Bans Bikinis

If you’re looking for sex appeal, there isn’t an app for that. Apple is killing applications on its iPhone and iPod Touch that show women in such obscene dress as beachwear. Despite parental controls, mature-content warnings and a lack of anything truly provocative, the company apparently decided things had gotten too raunchy.

Posted on Feb 23, 2010 READ MORE

Health Care: Pass It or Perish

Now that Obama has finally put a health care proposal on the table, the Democratic leaders in Congress have only one rational course of action: pass the thing, and quickly, or risk their party becoming the loyal minority.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

adult day care
AP / Ted S. Warren

A Calamity in the Making

A major reason for enacting health reform is the fate of elderly and disabled patients—especially the indigent—in nursing homes and assisted-care facilities. Nobody is affected more by the confluence of the health care stalemate and the recession than these patients.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

Don’t Ask, Don’t Kvel: Lieberman to Lead on Gay Soldiers

Somehow Joe Lieberman, who just finished demolishing health care reform, is leading the way on another big Democratic plank: The Connecticut senator will sponsor legislation to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Of course if the Democrats show any interest in his bill, he’s likely to threaten a filibuster.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

ACORN demonstration

ACORN Changing Shape?

Despite earlier reports that ACORN, the national coalition of community organizations that some conservatives love to hate, is effectively “dissolving as a national structure,” an ACORN spokesperson told The American Prospect that the national network “still exists.”

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

Flickr / welshkaren

West Bank Heritage Sites Put Gasoline on the Fire

Israel has added two shrines located in the West Bank to a list of national heritage sites, a decision that shows that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is actively working to sabotage the two-state solution,” said a Palestinian peace negotiator. (continued)

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

AIDS ribbon
Flickr / chatirygirl

Epidemiologist Sees a Way to Curb Spread of HIV/AIDS

Going after HIV with antiretroviral drugs as soon after infection as possible could significantly slow the spread of the virus, according to epidemiologist Brian Williams. One familiar challenge in implementing this strategy, however, lies in getting people to agree to be tested.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

White House / Pete Souza

Obama Debuts Health Care Reform Plan, Sans Public Option

Here we go again. In preparation for this week’s health care summit on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obama has unveiled his own plan for reforming America’s ailing system, which includes a mandate for consumers to buy insurance and doesn’t include a public option.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

Hurt Locker still

‘Hurt Locker’ Cleans Up at BAFTA Awards

Since 2003, filmmakers have repeatedly come up short in terms of box office sales and critical support for movies that focus on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—until director Kathryn Bigelow came on the scene last year with “The Hurt Locker,” that is.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE


Scientologists Hire Journalists to Investigate Journalists

The St. Petersburg Times has done some in-depth reporting about the Church of Scientology that hasn’t always cast the organization in the best light, let’s say. The Times’ top brass must’ve known what they were getting into in opening that particular Pandora’s box, though, as the CoS ... (continued)

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

AP / Elise Amendola

Boycott FedEx

Now that unions have been broken, rapacious corporations like FedEx and toadies in Congress and the White House are turning workers into serfs.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

A Power Plant for the Backyard

The impresario behind this newfangled clean-energy box sees one of his mini power plants in every home, but it’s not clear if the little miracles even work.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

Colin Powell

Colin Powell Stands by His Man

The former Joint Chiefs chairman and secretary of state says he has no regrets about endorsing Barack Obama and defends the president from his frenemy Dick Cheney.

Posted on Feb 22, 2010 READ MORE

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