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When you sit back and ponder all the ways in which our government's functionality might be improved, you immediately seize upon the notion that if Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke held news conferences, we'd be that much closer to a true democracy, right?

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Responding to the State of the Union is an odd honor. You become the face of the opposition for 10 minutes but you have to immediately follow extraordinary rhetoricians at their chosen sport. House Budget Committee Chairperson Paul Ryan gets the job this year.

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There's a new sheriff in town for the Republican Party. Ousted Chairman Michael Steele has been replaced by Reince Priebus, former party chief in Wisconsin and a friend of the irascible tea party movement.

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A tussle within the Grand Old Party is in prospect. Michigan Republican Saul Anuzis has announced he will challenge Michael Steele, current GOP chairman, in an electoral contest that will determine who will lead the Republicans into the 2012 elections.

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Is the recession over? Will there be another? Much like the famous groundhog from Punxsutawney, Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke showed up to offer an eagerly awaited sign -- in this case to economists gathered Friday at Jackson Hole, Wyo, and to the world at large (continued) .

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Those out-of-work Americans hoping to hear something encouraging from the general direction of Capitol Hill wouldn't like what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke had to say to Congress on Wednesday.

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