Recently in current events Category
"Nobody will benefit from dropping the public option except for health insurance companies," said Blumenthal. "The fact that the public option is now on the chopping block is not a reflection of public opinion -- it is a reflection of the power of health insurance lobbyists."
"I was about to follow up with other questions when Condi cut me off. "You can save your breath, Richard. The president has already made up his mind on Iraq." The way she said it made clear that he had decided to go to war. This was eight months before the March 2003 start of the conflict. I was taken aback by the blunt substance and tone of her answer. Policy had gone much further than I had realized--and feared. I did not argue at that moment, for several reasons. As in previous conversations when I had voiced my views on Iraq, Condi's response made it clear that any more conversation at that point would be a waste of time. It is always important to pick your moments to make an unwelcome case, and this did not appear to be a promising one. I figured as well that there would be additional opportunities to argue my stance, if not with Condi, then with others in a position to make a difference."
A critique on WAMC public radio by Samuel Clayborne said Mr. Haas should have resigned or leaked info to the papers instead of 'doing his job' once he knew there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the war had been pre-planned.
This article in Rolling Stone was written in 2006
America's top pork producer churns out a sea of waste that has
destroyed rivers, killed millions of fish and generated one of the
largest fines in EPA history. Welcome to the dark side of the other
Photo by doveimaging.com
By Garrison Keillor
Nov. 12, 2008 | Be happy, dear hearts, and allow yourselves a few more weeks of quiet exultation. It isn't gloating, it's satisfaction at a job well done. He was a superb candidate, serious, professorial but with a flashing grin and a buoyancy that comes from working out in the gym every morning. He spoke in a genuine voice, not senatorial at all. He relished campaigning. He accepted adulation gracefully. He brandished his sword against his opponents without mocking or belittling them. He was elegant, unaffected, utterly American, and now (Wow) suddenly America is cool. Chicago is cool. Chicago!!!
We threw the dice and we won the jackpot and elected a black guy with a Harvard degree, the middle name Hussein and a sense of humor -- he said, "I've got relatives who look like Bernie Mac, and I've got relatives who look like Margaret Thatcher." The French junior minister for human rights said, "On this morning, we all want to be American so we can take a bite of this dream unfolding before our eyes." When was the last time you heard someone from France say they wanted to be American and take a bite of something of ours? Ponder that for a moment.
The world expects us to elect pompous yahoos and instead we have us a 47-year-old prince from the prairie who cheerfully ran the race, and when his opponents threw sand at him, he just smiled back. He'll be the first president in history to look really good making a jump shot. He loves his classy wife and his sweet little daughters. He looks good in the kitchen. He can cook Indian or Chinese but for his girls he will do mac and cheese. At the same time, he knows pop music, American lit and constitutional law. I just can't imagine anybody cooler. Look at a photo of the latest pooh-bah conference -- the hausfrau Merkel, the big glum Scotsman, that goofball Berlusconi, Putin with his B-movie bad-boy scowl, and Sarkozy, who looks like a district manager for Avis -- you put Barack in that bunch and he will shine.
It feels good to be cool and all of us can share in that, even sour old right-wingers and embittered blottoheads. Next time you fly to Heathrow and hand your passport to the man with the badge, he's going to see "United States of America" and look up and grin. Even if you worship in the church of Fox, everyone you meet overseas is going to ask you about Obama and you may as well say you voted for him because, my friends, he is your line of credit over there. No need anymore to try to look Canadian.
And the coolest thing about him is the fact that back in the early '90s, given a book contract after the hoo-ha about his becoming the First Black Editor of the Harvard Law Review (FBEHLR), instead of writing the basic exploitation book he could've written, he put his head down and worked hard for a few years and wrote a good book, an honest one, which, since his rise in politics, has earned the Obamas enough to buy a very nice house and put money in the bank. A successful American entrepreneur.
The last American president to write a book all by his lonesome self, I believe, was Theodore Roosevelt, who, on graduation from Harvard, wrote "The Naval War of 1812," and in my humble opinion, Obama's is the better book for the general reader, but you be the judge.
Our hero who galloped to victory has inherited a gigantic mess. The country is sunk in debt. The Treasury announced it must borrow $550 billion to get the government through the fourth quarter, more than the entire deficit for 2008, so he will have to raise taxes and not only on bankers and lumber barons. His promise never to raise the retirement age is not a good idea. Whatever he promised the Iowa farmers about subsidizing ethanol is best forgotten at this point. We may not be getting our National Health Service cards anytime soon. And so on and so on.
So enjoy the afterglow of the election a while longer. We all walk taller this fall. People in Copenhagen and Stockholm are sending congratulatory e-mails -- imagine! We are being admired by Danes and Swedes! And Chicago becomes the First City. Step aside, San Francisco. Shut up, New York. The Midwest is cool now. The mind reels. Have a good day.
(Garrison Keillor is the author of a new Lake Wobegon novel, "Liberty,"
published by Viking.)"
This is a quote from the article
Excerpt "The Conscience of a Liberal' by Paul Krugman NPR.org, October 9, 2007 ·
A New New Deal
A few months after the 2004 election I was placed under some pressure by journalistic colleagues, who said I should stop spending so much time criticizing the Bush administration and conservatives more generally. "The election settled some things," I was told. In retrospect, however, it's starting to look as if the 2004 election was movement conservatism's last hurrah. Republicans won a stunning victory in the 2002 midterm election by exploiting terrorism to the hilt.
There's every reason to believe that one reason Bush took us to war with Iraq was his desire to perpetuate war psychology combined with his expectation that victory in a splendid little war would be good for his reelection prospects. Indeed, Iraq probably did win Bush the 2004 election, even though the war was already going badly. But the war did go badly -- and that was not an accident. When Bush moved into the White House, movement conservatism finally found itself in control of all the levers of power -- and quickly proved itself unable to govern.
The movement's politicization of everything, the way it values political loyalty above all else, creates a culture of cronyism and corruption that has pervaded everything the Bush administration does, from the failed reconstruction of Iraq to the hapless response to Hurricane Katrina. The multiple failures of the Bush administration are what happens when the government is run by a movement that is dedicated to policies that are against most Americans' interests, and must try to compensate for that inherent weakness through deception, distraction, and the distribution of largesse to its supporters. And the nation's rising contempt for Bush and his administration helped Democrats achieve a stunning victory in the 2006 midterm election. One election does not make a trend.
There are, however, deeper forces undermining the political tactics movement conservatives have used since Ronald Reagan ran for governor of California. Crucially, the American electorate is, to put it bluntly, becoming less white. Republican strategists try to draw a distinction between African Americans and the Hispanic and Asian voters who play a gradually growing role in elections -- but as the debate over immigration showed, that's not a distinction the white backlash voters the modern GOP depends on are prepared to make. A less crude factor is the progressive shift in Americans' attitudes: Polling suggests that the electorate has moved significantly to the left on domestic issues since the 1990s, and race is a diminishing force in a nation that is, truly, becoming steadily less racist. Movement conservatism still has money on its side, but that has never been enough in itself. Anything can happen in the 2008 election, but it looks like a reasonable guess that by 2009 America will have a Democratic president and a solidly Democratic Congress.
Moreover, this new majority, if it emerges, will be much more ideologically cohesive than the Democratic majority of Bill Clinton's first two years, which was an uneasy alliance between Northern liberals and conservative Southerners. The question is, what should the new majority do? My answer is that it should, for the nation's sake, pursue an unabashedly liberal program of expanding the social safety net and reducing inequality -- a new New Deal. The starting point for that program, the twenty-first-century equivalent of Social Security, should be universal health care, something every other advanced country already has.
Before we can talk about how to get there, however, it's helpful to take a good look at where we've been. That look -- the story of the arc of modern American history -- is the subject of the next eight chapters.
Excerpted from The Conscience of a Liberal (c) Copyright 2007 by Paul Krugman. Reprinted with permission by W. W. Norton.
Krugman's book and a podcast of the interview on Fresh Air at NPR.org are available at the link above. Purchasing the book from NPR will support programming.
An expert on speeches and messaging, Dr. Jeffrey Feldman is the editor-in-chief of the influential political blog Frameshop. He is the author of Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (And Win Elections) and Outright Barbarous: How The Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy. Dr. Feldman has been featured on Bill Moyers Journal, and is a frequent political analyst on CBC Newsworld, Air America, and Nova M. He lives and teaches in New York City.
Excerpt from Jeffrey Feldman's blog
According to Time, McCain campaign staffers in Virginia are teaching volunteers to see Barack Obama as having terrorist 'friends,' and then providing these volunteers with arguments for persuading voters that Sen. Obama, like Osama Bin Laden, shares responsibility for bombings of the Pentagon.
The report from inside the...
Georgia congressman and Civil Rights leader John Lewis, reacting to the increasingly incendiary atmosphere at McCain-Palin campaign rallies, condemned the GOP for using tactics that are creating a mood not unlike the one created by George Wallace, the former segregationist governor and presidential candidate. Lewis accused the Republicans of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division," and warned the McCain campaign that they are "playing with fire:"
When lawmakers in Albany cut $427 million from the state budget this summer, an unlikely group of New Yorkers took a hit.Reduced payments to blind war veterans accounted for roughly $233,000 of savings.
Budget cutters left the blind vets' with monthly annuity payments of $88.42, down from $94.06. New York's roughly 4,500 blind veterans received the news in a late-September letter from James D. McDonough Jr., director of the state's Division of Veterans' Affairs.
"The 6 percent cut in the blind annuity was a specific line item reduction approved by state lawmakers," the division said in a statement. "The Division of Veterans' Affairs has no discretion in implementing this reduction."
Many of the 161 blind veterans who live in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties have decried the move. Veterans said the small cut won't hurt their wallets much; they'll go on without the five bucks. It's the principle that bothers them, especially during the tenure of Gov. David Paterson, who is legally blind....
For its part, Paterson's office said the cut is an unfortunate effect of the national and statewide economic crisis.
"The governor recognizes the critical needs of our veterans who have served our nation with such valor," a spokesman for Paterson said. "Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, the national fiscal crisis continues to take a toll on every area of state spending and will require more across-the-board reductions to ensure a balanced state budget."
Paterson has called lawmakers back to Albany on Nov. 18 for another round of cuts.
A New York City police lieutenant who gave the order to fire a Taser stun gun at an emotionally disturbed man who then fell to his death in Brooklyn committed suicide early on Thursday, law enforcement officials said. Skip to next paragraph Related Times Topics: Stun Guns Lt. Michael W. Pigott, a 21-year veteran of the force, was found in a police locker room at a former airfield in Brooklyn, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said Paul Browne, the police department's deputy commissioner for public information.
In a note found near the body, the lieutenant said he was concerned about his children seeing him charged with professional misconduct and did not want to disgrace his family, a police source said. Lieutenant Pigott had been placed on modified assignment without his gun and badge after he gave the order to a sergeant to fire the Taser at a Bedford-Stuyvesant man, Iman Morales, on Sept. 24.