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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness

By Joseph Conrad

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Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / alvy

Blind People Aren’t Crazy About Your Prius

Here’s the thing about eco-friendly hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius—they’re quiet. Too quiet, if you ask the National Federation of the Blind. Luckily, Sens. John Kerry and Arlen Specter have penned the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 to address the problem.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


Disclosure of ‘Secrets’ in the ’70s Didn’t Destroy the Nation

Back in the Watergate era, the Senate’s Church Committee exposed government abuses. Of course some people tried to block its work. You may have heard of a couple of them—Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

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



White House / Pete Souza

Committee OKs Sebelius Over Republican Objections

President Obama presided over his first formal Cabinet meeting Monday with a rather important chair left empty. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Obama’s pick to head the $750 billion Health and Human Services Department and spearhead his ambitious health care reform initiatives, has finally made it out of hearings and should be approved by the end of the week.

Posted on Apr 21, 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



There’s No Place Like Home, Unless You’re Chris Dodd

Congressional fundraising numbers are in, and the Political Wire has teased out some interesting performances. Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut managed to raise just 0.7 percent of his funds from contributors in his own state—all five of them. Roland Burris, the man appointed by Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama in the Senate, pulled in a whopping $845. He’s $111,032 in debt.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009 READ MORE



Norm Coleman Is the Energizer Bunny of Losers

After five months of recounting and legal wrangling in Minnesota’s endless Senate battle, Al Franken has more votes than he started with and Norm Coleman still can’t accept that he’s out of a job. A state court just sided with Franken, but Coleman has said he will continue to appeal.

Posted on Apr 13, 2009 READ MORE


Getting to Zero Starts With One Man

If Obama is successful in reducing our nuclear stockpile, it could make a monumental difference to the world’s security. Nuclear arms proliferation will never be stopped so long as the U.S. insists on maintaining a privileged position of global nuclear domination.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi’s Balancing Act

By comparison with her recent predecessors, she’s a strong speaker of the House. She has far more control than the previous Democratic speaker had, despite having to contend with a more conservative GOP and an ideologically diverse pack of Democrats.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Now a ‘Soft War’ in Afghanistan, but It’s Still a Disaster

President Obama appears to have fallen for the oldest false dichotomy in the Pentagon repertoire, and the easiest one to sell to the American public. It goes like this: The world is divided between the Evil Folks and the Good. The Good Folks, being what they are, are naturally pro-American, once they get to know us.

Posted on Apr 7, 2009 READ MORE


Health Care Reform at Last

Yes, this is the year Congress will finally give every American access to health insurance. For the first time since the passage of Medicare in the 1960s, the forces favoring action on health care reform are stronger than the forces of cynicism and obstruction.

Posted on Apr 5, 2009 READ MORE


Capitol dome
Flickr/Sam Ruaat

Senate Gives Budget Plan the Go-Ahead

Although the congressional GOP contingent wanted nothing to do with it, President Barack Obama’s $3.53 trillion budget package made the Senate cut on Thursday evening, passing with a 55-43 vote. 

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / cursedthing

House Passes Mega-Budget ’09

Not a single House Republican voted for Barack Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget, but that didn’t stop the Democrats from passing it 233-196. The Senate is on its way to passing its own version, but the real clamor is over whether the final product will end up with reconciliation provisions that would filibuster-proof the president’s health care and energy proposals.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


smoker
Flickr / NeilsPhotography

Big Tobacco Targeted by Bigger Government

The Food and Drug Administration may soon have control over the tobacco industry, if legislation survives Senate obstacles. The bill passed by a wide margin in the House, where its principal sponsor, Rep. Henry Waxman, said, “It has taken us far too long to get to this point.”

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Dodd
hoinews.com

Dodd Takes a Hit for AIG Bonus Blunder

When word got out that Sen. Chris Dodd was responsible for loosening the restrictions on executive bonuses while drafting the stimulus bill, his constituents were apparently listening, as the Democrat’s approval rating in his home state of Connecticut has hit an all-time low. Now he could be in danger of losing his Senate seat in 2010.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE


Close These Refuges for Scoundrels

The story of former AIG executive Joseph Cassano points up once more how tax and regulatory havens across the world encourage nefarious conduct, lack of transparency, evasion of taxes and corporate criminality.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



senate.gov by way of Wikimedia Commons

Justice Dept. Wants Stevens Conviction, Charges Dropped

Former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska probably lost his seat because he was convicted of corruption charges, but now his guilt may be in doubt. At the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has asked a federal judge to set aside the verdict and dismiss the indictment because of prosecutorial shenanigans.

Posted on Apr 1, 2009 READ MORE


Kathleen Sebelius
AP photo / Susan Walsh

Another Nominee in Tax Trouble

This has gone from coincidence to self-parody to alarming. Another of Barack Obama’s nominees has had to apologize for not paying her full taxes. Kathleen Sebelius, the president’s pick to lead the Health and Human Services Department, has now paid off $7,918, a paltry debt compared with Tom Daschle’s $140,000.

Posted on Mar 31, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Outrage Over Workers Getting the Shaft?

The AFL-CIO spent $250 million in last year’s elections on behalf of Obama and other Democrats, yet a waffling president and a handful of senators have managed to kill the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, a cruel defeat for labor.

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



Senat RP / Polish Senate

EU President Calls Obama Policies ‘the Road to Hell’

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is currently the EU’s rotating president and, like a drunken sailor on karaoke night, he’s letting everyone know what’s on his mind. On President Obama’s economic policies, for example, he declared: “All of these steps, these combinations and permanency, is the road to hell.”

Posted on Mar 25, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons / John Regas

Pro-Union Bill in Trouble

Sen. Arlen Specter gave the proposed Employee Free Choice Act the shaft Tuesday, severely wounding legislation that would make forming unions significantly easier. Labor leaders were depending on support from moderates such as Specter, but, facing a primary challenge, the Pennsylvania Republican chickened out.

Posted on Mar 25, 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


The Geithner Problem

The treasury secretary may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But in order to survive, let alone succeed, he’s going to have to make a more convincing case that he’s part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


The Geezer Gang Is Staying on the Job

Amid the talk of generational conflict in these depressed times, there’s a chance for the boomer generation to make a virtue—or a revolution—out of the necessity of working longer.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE


Put Single-Payer on the Table

Obama promises health-care reform, but he has taken single-payer health care off the table. While single-payer reduces the administrative costs and removes the profit that insurance companies add to health-care delivery, such solutions get almost no space in the debate.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 READ MORE


Pelosi Has Reason to Smile

It’s “a completely different world,” says the House speaker, delighted by “the fact that we have a Democratic president who ... put forth an agenda for America that contained many of the issues that we have been fighting for over the years.”

Posted on Mar 5, 2009 READ MORE


Bernie Sanders
senate.gov

Bernie Sanders Wants Answers, Writes Legislation to Get Them

Fed chief Ben Bernanke may be able to dole out trillions in the blink of an eye, but on Tuesday he ran headlong into Congress’ only independent democratic socialist. Sen. Bernie Sanders demanded to know where all the Fed’s money was going. Bernanke said “no.” Sanders fired back by introducing a bill that would require such information to be posted to the Fed’s Web site.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Bill Redux?

For someone who spent much of the Democratic primary season running against the Clinton era, Obama sounds an awful lot like President Clinton.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


Toxins ’R’ Us

The American Chemistry Council assures us that “we make the products that help keep you safe and healthy.” But U.S. consumers are actually exposed to a vast array of harmful chemicals and additives embedded in toys, cosmetics, plastic water bottles and countless other products.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


Sen. Burris
senate.gov

First Blagojevich, Next Burris?

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich didn’t go down without a big fight (or a full-on media assault), and judging by the comportment of his controversial Senate pick, Roland Burris, we can expect another show of defiance if Burris is put on trial for perjury.

Posted on Feb 20, 2009 READ MORE


Stop Explaining, Start Packing

Roland Burris, the woefully forgetful Illinois senator, should go home and stay there, and I’d advise taking a vow of silence as well.

Posted on Feb 19, 2009 READ MORE


There Was No GOP ‘Victory’

Republicans congratulate themselves for remaining unified in defeat and whine about Obama’s refusal to capitulate—but in fact it is they who have failed in the initial episode of a confrontation that will certainly continue for four years.

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE


Burris
senate.gov

Burris Did More for Blagojevich Than He Let On

Surprise! Roland Burris has no credibility. The man who condemned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat—until he was appointed to it—has revealed that, contrary to what he told the United States Congress in sworn testimony, he tried to raise money, as requested, for the governor-turned-auctioneer.

Posted on Feb 17, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Bad News From America’s Top Spy

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. Just ask the new director of national intelligence, who warned that the deepening economic crisis could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE


Geithner
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

Mr. Inside

The treasury secretary will get much better at making his case. I’m confident in that prediction because after watching his debut this week, I don’t see how he could get much worse.

Posted on Feb 13, 2009 READ MORE



A Dubious Equality for Women

What wasn’t predicted was that women might finally reach the goal of equality less because they scaled the heights than because men slipped downward. But here we are.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


The High Cost of Centrism

The Obama administration keeps having to learn that bland centrism is not pragmatic, it’s not helpful in resolving a big crisis, and it certainly doesn’t buy you any love.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


Where’s the Top Gun?

Well, that didn’t work out. In pushing for a new financial industry bailout, Treasury Secretary Geithner came across like a banker trying to do a politician’s job. Obama owes us some hands-on involvement.

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



Wikimedia Commons

Stimulus Survives Senate Pecking

The Senate passed its own version of the stimulus package Tuesday, slashing funding in areas that would most effectively stimulate the economy, such as aid to low-income Americans and states, while expanding tax cuts. The House and Senate bills must now be reconciled with one another.

Posted on Feb 10, 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


Another Nominee With Tax Problems

What exactly was the point of that endless questionnaire Team Obama famously had prospective worker bees fill out? A fifth Obama nominee has run into some controversy, the fourth due to a failure to pay taxes, although in the case of Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis, her husband is to blame.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


In Washington, Public Policy and Private Wealth Are Hopelessly Tangled

Barack Obama in Washington reminds one of Diogenes in Athens, with his lantern in search of an honest man.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Capitol dawn
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senators Hammering Out Workable Stimulus

At long last, it looks like something resembling an agreement might happen soon among members of the Senate who had been previously having trouble finding any middle ground when it came to the proposed stimulus plan.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


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