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  • Latin America's New Brand of Politics

    The election of tycoon Sebastián Piñera as Chile's president in December was widely seen as a bellwether for the decline of the Latin American left. Indeed, Piñera's win marks the first time in half a century that an unapologetic conservative prevailed in Chile by the popular vote. More to the point, it heralds a new era in Lat-Am politics: a steady drift to the center....
  • Dan Choi Can't Be Reinstated to the Army Because He Was Never Kicked Out (But His Return to Drill Is Still Kind of a Big Deal)

    by Adam Weinstei Earlier today, the blogosphere was all aflutter over a rumor that the military might be dismantling its “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy from the inside. The fuel for this fire was provided by Lt. Dan Choi, a New York National Guardsman, West Point grad, Arabic linguist, Iraq vet, and openly gay man who has spent the past year lobbying publicly for an end to the policy barring gays and lesbians from service. Choi told a reporter Tuesday morning that he’d returned to drill last weekend with his National Guard unit, the First Battalion, 69th Infantry, as it prepares for an impending deployment. Which is kind of a big deal – just maybe not as big as the media made it out to be. “Outspoken gay activist called back to active duty,” USA Today breathlessly announced, ignoring the fact that active duty and National Guard drills aren’t at all the same thing. Another normally level-headed military-affairs reporter (who made the same “active duty” error) wrote that Choi’s...
  • Yes, Virginia, There Are Republican Critics of Sarah Palin

    Fred Kaplan, Slate's "War Stories" columnist, is usually right on, but his column on Sarah Palin yesterday was a bit of a dud. Charging right out of the gate, Kaplan asks: "Are there any Republican grown-ups out there, and, if there are, will they ever start coming to the aid of their party? That sentence could segue into any number of topics, but the one at hand is Sarah Palin."...
  • Michelle Obama's Childhood Obesity Plan: Reaching Out to America's Moms

    When Michelle Obama became first lady, she stressed that her "No. 1 job" would be "first mom." Following through on that focus, today at the White House, she elevated her personal concern for her own kids' health and eating habits into a massive national campaign aimed at solving the U.S. epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation. Calling the issue "one of the most serious threats to their future," Obama noted that childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades and that the excess weight kids are carrying these days increases the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma. As a result, Obama said, she had  "great concern" that too many of today's kids were on track to live shorter and less healthy lives than their parents, even though the problem is "so imminently solvable." Read the rest of the story on the Human Condition blog.
  • Michelle Obama's Childhood-Obesity Plan: Reaching Out to America's Moms

    When Michelle Obama became first lady, she stressed that her "No. 1 job" would be "first mom." Following through on that focus, today at the White House she elevated her personal concern for her own kids' health and eating habits into a massive national campaign aimed at solving the U.S. epidemic of childhood obesity in a generation. ...
  • Think Congress Suffers From Inaction? Take a Look at Canada

    As snowmaggedon continues to wreak havoc on the Capitol, the House has suspended all votes through Friday. Congress taking an entire snow week is rife with opportunities to mock the government’s uncanny ability to use any and all excuses to justify inaction. One editorial cartoon, a drawing of our nation’s capital blanketed in snow, comes with the tagline: “where every day is a snow day.”But if you want to talk about really egregious government shutdowns explained with implausible excuses, just take a look at our neighbors to the north (incidentally, this Gaggler's home country): using the Olympics as a partial justification, the Canadian Parliament is in the middle of a two-month shutdown. For those of you who have gotten behind on your Canadian politics, here’s a basic rundown. Prime Minster Steven Harper, who leads the Conservative Party, was facing a lot of difficult issues: an inquiry over maltreatment of Afghan detainees, economic woes hosting the Olympics. So he announ...
  • Voices of Reason Grow Louder In Iran

    This week, many Iranians will mark the 31st anniversary of the overthrow of the shah with street demonstrations against a regime seen by some as illegitimate. While the Revolutionary Guards have vowed to deal harshly with protesters, the unrest has grown so bad that fractures are now present within the security establishment itself, and some of the Islamic Republic's most ardent defenders are now pushing the regime to moderate its position. According to multiple high-level sources, some former senior Guards commanders who still maintain ties to the organization have begun quietly urging Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to change his ways. The group includes several powerful sitting officials, such as the mayor of Tehran and the speaker of Parliament. These men, no moderates, are reported to be politely pressing Khamenei to restrain his security forces and muzzle his fiery acolyte, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The ex-Guards are also meeting with opposition leaders to...
  • Statistics GOP Criticized Were Originally Touted by Bush Administration

    Maybe it's time to stop some of the name-calling over counterterrorism policy and start checking the facts. As the debate over Obama administration counterterrorism policies has heated up in the wake of the failed Christmas Day underpants airplane bombing, prominent Republicans, ranging from leading senators to a former press secretary for George W. Bush, have attacked the current administration for claiming that hundreds of terrorist suspects had been successfully prosecuted through the civilian court system during Bush's presidency. But it turns out that the Obama administration's claims do appear to be well documented—assuming that an official budget request sent to Congress by Bush's last attorney general was truthful itself.For the full story, visit Declassfied.
  • Terror Prosecution Statistics Criticized by GOP Were Originally Touted by Bush Administration

    Maybe it's time to stop some of the name-calling over counterterrorism policy and start checking the facts. As the debate over Obama administration counterterrorism policies has heated up in the wake of the failed Christmas Day underpants airplane bombing, prominent Republicans, ranging from leading senators to a former press secretary for George W. Bush, have attacked the current administration for claiming that hundreds of terrorist suspects had been successfully prosecuted through the civilian court system during Bush's presidency. But it turns out that the Obama administration's claims do appear to be well documented—assuming that an official budget request sent to Congress by Bush's last attorney general was truthful itself.Over the last several days, an increasingly shrill chorus of GOP personalities has slammed the Obama administration for defending its decision to process accused Christmas underpants bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab through the civilian...
  • Murtha: A Macho Man Who Helped a Woman Gain Power

    John Murtha was Nancy Pelosi's friend and mentor, and his backing her for leader over Steny Hoyer, a longtime insider player in the Democratic caucus, gave her the street cred she needed to win as the first woman to hold that high a position in what was an old boys' club. A gruff former combat Marine officer, Murtha provided political cover for Pelosi and other left-wing Democrats in their opposition to the Iraq War. After having initially supported the war, Murtha became an outspoken opponent, calling for immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2005. As a once-reliable Bush administration ally, his defection signaled the growing disaffection with Bush's war policies. Murtha's long history of pro-military votes and close alliance with the military helped rebuff Republican charges that Pelosi and other antiwar Democrats were endangering national security. ...
  • Rep. John Murtha Dies at 77

    Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha died this afternoon at a hospital in Virginia, following complications related to gall bladder surgery he underwent in January. Murtha, 77, had served in the House for 36 years. The first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress and chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Murtha wielded enormous power over defense related issues and boldly sought earmarks that benefited his district. For more on Murtha, his life, achievements and brushes with scandal, The Washington Post has a comprehensive obit.
  • Lindsey Vonn's Sports Illustrated Cover: Sexist or Sporty? Two NEWSWEEK Writers Discuss.

    On Friday, NEWSWEEK’s Sarah Ball and Kate Dailey discussed the controversy over the Lindsey Vonn Sports Illustrated cover as part of a rapid-fire roundtable discussion on Tumblr. Excerpts from their discussion (cleaned up a bit, now that we’ve had time to spell-check) are posted here. To read the entire debate—and comment on the opinions expressed—visit NEWSWEEK's Tumblr page or click here. ...
  • Forget the Crib Notes, It’s Palin’s Unsavvy That Really Worries Republicans

    Palin 2012 buzz is again in the air, this time after her punchy and oft-replayed address to the national Tea Party Convention on Saturday. The fallout from the speech has been predictable. Her base unified firmly while the left calculates just how big a threat she’ll pose in November and 2012. Meanwhile, the cable and Web echo chambers have honed in on the delectable story of some crib notes that Palin conspicuously wrote on her hand to remind herself of prepared talking points.Embarassing, perhaps, especially after Palin knicked Obama in the same hour for also trying to appear candid by reading from a teleprompter. But it’s far from a fatal gaffe. There was much more included in Palin’s speech and her general self-promoting strategy to pick apart, and Republican politicos aren’t happy with any of the above.Since Palin appeared on the national stage, her strategy has been Palin First, promoting herself and firing up her base without much regard for paying her dues to the rest of the...
  • Study Confirms: Millennials Are Apathetic

    That is not an article from The Onion; it’s actual, real news.The Pew Research Center has some new, interesting numbers up on public opinion and health-care reform. The general takeaway is that, while the same numbers of Americans support  reform, they’re increasingly pessimistic about its odds of passing. It’s notable that, despite all the roadblocks in the legislative process, the same number of Americans generally stand behind it.What I found most interesting was a section on millennials and health care—partially because I’m a millennial who covers health care, partially because it reveals many interesting schisms in my generation’s support for reform. Here’s the basic rundown from Pew:Millennials' support for the health care proposals before Congress has been lukewarm at best . . . Small percentages of young people expect their own health care or insurance coverage to improve if health care legislation passes . . . Millennials have largely tuned out of the health care...
  • Dudes Like Beer and Ladies Are a Drag: Twitter's Best Responses to the Super Bowl's Worst Ads

    Here's the bad news: the one unifying theme of this year's Super Bowl ads (aside from panstlessness) was stone-cold misogyny. Men trading their wives for tires, men eschewing island rescue in favor of hot-tub time with some sexy stewardesses, men unwillingly being dragged away from the electronics section and forced to comment on candle scent with their lingerie-shopping sweeties. ...
  • Brennan Plays Unusual 'Attack Dog' Role

    White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan played an unusual role Sunday when he swiped at congressional Republicans for bashing the administration's handling of the Christmas Day bombing suspect....
  • The White House Health-Care Summit: Jedi Move or Giant Fail?

    Jon Stewart has said on a couple of occasions that he can’t tell if Obama is like a Jedi master, three moves ahead of the rest of us all the time, or if this health-care thing is kicking his ass. It’s unclear which category yesterday’s announcement of a televised, bipartisan health-care-reform summit at the White House falls in to. On first blush it seems like a smart move. Rather than letting Republicans snipe on the sidelines, slowly killing the bill, Obama is bringing them in, squarely implicating them in the legislation’s fate. Keep your enemies close and all that. Republicans will get what they’ve been clamoring for─a transparent set of negotiations, live on TV. They’ll be able to raise their issues with the bill and be forced to articulate their alternatives, rather than just offering blanket opposition. But (and for Republicans this is a big but) they won’t be starting from scratch. They’ll be working to alter the bills that have already passed the House and Senate....
  • Japan Doesn't Get it

    One of the most striking turns in the fall of Toyota is how the recall scandal is playing with much of the Japanese public: as a bewildering American frenzy. Yes, they are concerned about the recall, but many assume Americans must have some malign reason for kicking up a fuss, when in fact recalls happen all the time. Some read the recommendation from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to Toyota drivers--"stop driving them"--as proof of a Japan-bashing Washington conspiracy. They are quick to point out that the faulty brake pedals were actually made in Indiana, not Japan. And until very recently, at least, they seemed convinced that the frenzy would fade away without lasting damage to Japan. Look at BMW: its 2008 recall of 200,000 cars for possible airbag failure left no marks on Germany's engineering reputation....
  • Obama Seeks to Change the Narrative at DNC Meeting

    A tieless Barack Obama ditched his presidential limo in favor of an SUV this morning and made a short trek up 16th Street in snow-covered D.C. (four minutes, according to the pool report) to fire up the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. If one thing has become abundantly clear about Obama throughout both his campaign and his time in the Oval Office, it’s that he is most energized when his back is against the wall. For all the talk about the woes his administration is facing, the president brought his game face today, his feisty demeanor demonstrating he’s in the mood for a fight. And he’s not giving up on health-care reform. “We are moving forward,” he forcefully declared, twice, to a rousing ovation from the audience.Knowing that uncertainty and apprehension are quickly taking hold of his party, the president sought to combat the increasingly accepted narrative that his administration has achieved little. Not true, he told Democrats, as he listed his achievements,...
  • Obama Considered Turning Underpants Bomber Over to Military Courts, Rejected the Option

    Since "underpants bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed Christmas Day bombing plot, his prosecution has become a political football, with the Obama administration opting to try him in civil courts and Republicans pushing for him to be turned over to the military. NEWSWEEK's Mark Hosenball reports that Obama and officials including Attorney General Eric Holder considered that path, but opted to stick with civil courts:...
  • Blanket Holds vs. Blanket Holds

    Much of the chatter over Sen. Richard Shelby's (R-Ala.) move yesterday to place a so-called blanket hold on all administration nominees has focused on how novel the tactic is. Although holds are a frequent—and of late, much maligned—Senate tactic, Shelby's is unusual in that it applies to a vast swath of nominees. (For a good rundown on holds, read this.)...
  • Sensible Student Loan Reform Faces Problems in Congress, and Shows How Congress Is Broken

    The trouble facing the administration's student-loan program provides more evidence of the almost unbelievable hypocrisy and short-sightedness and, yes, corruption of our Congress. Most issues have two sides. This one truly only has one. The government can save $80 billion ending the subsidy to Sallie Mae and other lenders. These folks haven't assumed any of the risk for student loans for years—the loans are backed by the government. And there's zero evidence in a long series of hearings that the so-called counseling services provided by these private lenders decreases the student default rate, as hired- gun lobbyists like former deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick know. So $80 billion—real money, even now—for Pell grants, student debt relief for strapped families, or loan forgiveness to help young Americans take part in public service might be lost because of the short-sightedness of people who claim to be public-spirited. ...
  • Two Words the Administration Fears

    Nancy Cook gives a great rundown on the reasons why today's jobless figure is good news, but not worthy of a celebration. But there's one more reason the administration is reacting cautiously, and it boils down to two words likely to strike fear in the heart of any government economist: jobless recovery. Yep, those words are starting to be tossed around to describe the U.S. economy's slow revival. ...
  • Unemployment Rate Drops Unexpectedly. Time to Celebrate? Nope.

    By Nancy CookThe national unemployment rate dropped this morning from 10 percent to 9.7 percent. That’s good news, right? Well, some aspects of the new data are cause for optimism. The federal government, health care, retail, and temporary services continued to add jobs in January. The average workweek for employees increased to 33.9 hours, and as David Leonhardt at The New York Times wisely points out, the economy lost an average of 35,000 jobs over the last three months—a decrease from the previous average of 700,000 job losses per month in the spring of 2009.So why aren’t we celebrating? The unemployment rate remains awful for men (10 percent), teenagers (26.4 percent), African-Americans (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.6 percent). The number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more has increased to 6.3 million, and in January, 1.1 million workers just stopped looking for work, compared with the 409,000 people who found themselves in this situation one year ago...
  • Need More Evidence the Senate Is Absurd? Look No Further

    If somebody were looking for evidence of the absurd dysfunctionality of the U.S. Senate, they'd need look no further than the nominations process. In a body that actually valued effective governance this would be a straightforward process, where the head of state nominates individuals to largely noncontroversial posts, and the Senate, after a reasonable period of examining the candidates, approves or rejects them. But this is the U.S. Senate, and nothing is that simple. While there are bound to be a few appointments that cause a stir—this is politics after all—a large majority have always been, and will continue to be, pretty safe. Sure there will be differing ideologies from administration to administration, but that's one of the perks of winning the presidency. Remember that whole "elections have consequences" thing? Apparently Republicans don't, and nor do they have any interest in or respect for the effective delivery of government services, or so the...
  • Tea Party Advice for Beating the Media

    At one of this mornings breakout sessions at the tea-party convention in Nashville, a gentleman in the audience asked how such a relatively small and blooming movement can overcome big media organizations that he says are telling a different story. He named a few organizations, including NEWSWEEK, as being part of the problem. Author Steve Milloy, a conservative thinker and anti-environmentalist, took the issue head on. Fox News has been very useful, he said. "But the left is well-entrenched. They own almost every university in this country. We have a battle because the left has become entrenched and it's because we let it happen. But we need to get active on the local level and get in schools. Don't let your schools show An Inconvenient Truth unless they show the other side too. We just need to get involved in every institution."
  • In Iran, Inflation Could Threaten Regime

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to face protests at home and the possibility of international sanctions abroad, but the biggest threat to his rule is something more banal: inflation. Iran's official inflation rate has now reached 13.5 percent, but the actual rate could be twice as high. And it looks likely to get worse. Come spring, the government plans to stop subsidizing basic goods and will instead give cash directly to poor families. That plan, as well as Ahmadinejad's push to give out more loans, will expand the cash supply and likely drive inflation higher still. Efforts to combat rising prices have so far failed. Two weeks ago the Finance Ministry capped daily bank withdrawals at $15,000. According to reports on opposition Web sites, several banks in Tehran and Isfahan were subsequently swamped by desperate customers, and in at least one case police had to be called in.  Political protesters plan a large rally on Feb. 11, the anniversary of the 1979...
  • A Blind Man's Inspiring Life

    Every day, the headlines are heartbreaking: the children orphaned in Haiti, the victims of bomb blasts in Baghdad—to say nothing of all the people who don't make the news with their pink slips or foreclosure notices. Still, each of us can get bummed out by our own quotidian problems—your mother-in-law is visiting again?—no matter how ridiculously small. So here's another reality check for serial whiners: Hugues de Montalembert's Invisible, a mini-memoir of loss in which the dirtiest word is "pity," especially when used with the prefix "self." This slender volume puts questions of life and suffering into sharp focus, without sanctimony or sentimentality—qualities which would deeply embarrass its worldly author.Thirty years ago, de Montalembert was enjoying life in New York City as a painter and a filmmaker when he burst in on two thieves trashing his apartment. One of them threw paint remover in his face. By the next morning, the 35-year-old artist was totally blind. He plunged as...
  • Downtown Scotty Brown: The New GOP Senator Looks Like a Partisan

    I just eyeballed newly sworn-in Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., the undertaker of the Kennedy legend and the man who sent shock waves through Democratic Party. I watched his swearing in, chatted him up in the hallway, and then attended his maiden presser....
  • A Farewell to Arms?

    Killing time here in the Capitol before the official coronation of Scott Brown, I happened by the Senate  and, as it turned out, witnessed something I hadn't expected and that we rarely see up here: a genuine, moving moment. ...
  • The Revolution Kicks Off—In Style

    The first-ever National Tea Party Convention is getting underway here in Nashville, where delegates plan to discuss and plan the future of the burgeoning movement. But the first item of import isn’t what’s being discussed but where the event is being held.For a movement that bills itself as grassroots and ultra-inclusive, the choice of the Gaylord Opryland Resort has struck many more than just yours truly as odd. The complex is without dispute the swankiest hotel in Nashville. The most basic room regularly starts at $199, but only the more expensive ones have indoor balconies looking over landscaped gardens and cascading waterfalls. Outside, there’s a full-service outlet mall, a 20-screen movie theater (with an Imax) and an auditorium that hosts Nashville’s famous Grand Ole Opry. It’s so big, in fact, that the complex is on the outskirts of Nashville, far from the older and quainter downtown row of honky tonks.Then you step inside. It’s not often I write while sitting on a leather...
  • Corporation Launches Bid for Congress

    The Supreme Court's controversial decision to lift restrictions on corporate spending on political campaigns rested in part on the notion that constitutional free-speech provisions should apply to corporations as well as to individuals. For the court's purposes, corporations are akin to people. Now a left-leaning PR firm called Murray Hill Inc. has decided to test the limits of this rationale by launching its own bid for Congress. That's right: a corporation is running for office in Maryland's Eighth District. It's got all the trappings:  a Web site, press releases, and a Facebook page that says, "Until now, corporations . . .  influenced politics with high-paid lobbyists...
  • Attack Puts U.S., Pakistan on Horns of Dilemma

    After three more Americans were killed in a Taliban suicide attack this week, the most dangerous country in the world, Pakistan, is facing a big choice: what does it hate worse—American involvement inside its borders or crazy terrorists killing its people? A major fact dominating last fall's long Situation Room deliberations: Al Qaeda isn't in Afghanistan; it's in Pakistan. The primary national-security question facing the Obama administration is whether we can do anything about it. This latest attack makes it harder. It has been a poorly kept secret that the CIA and even U.S troops have been operating in Pakistan for years. But now the aggressive Pakistan media can no longer be convinced to look the other way. The proud army of half a million troops needs our help. But don't expect Pakistanis to cop to it. Instead, they will now just step up the anti-Americanism. Chalk it up to "no good deed goes unpunished."
  • Obama Deconstructs the 'Axis of Evil'

    Of all of the political buzz terms with unusually long half-lives, none has lingered quite so notoriously as President Bush’s “axis of evil,” a construction he used to describe Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as states that sponsor terrorism in his 2002 State of the Union address. It was noticed immediately for its bizarre hyperbole, and it will likely appear in books deconstructing political eras for decades to come.But not without an epilogue to the phrase. Earlier this evening, President Obama sent a brief letter to Congress purporting that one member of the axis, North Korea, might well be delisted. According to the letter, a classified administration report that examined the “conduct of the People’s Republic of Korea [a.k.a. North Korea]” found that the rogue state “does not meet the statutory criteria to again be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.” Phew.That still leaves a lot of open questions, like what the report actually says North Korea is doing, or what kind of...
  • Senate Likely to Move (Uncharacteristically) Quickly to Seat Brown

    Just when you thought the Senate was at risk of never being able to do anything at all, an issue comes along upon which they're willing to act immediately: seating Senator-elect Scott Brown. The Senate's newest member was slated to be sworn in on Feb. 11, but the process has moved more swiftly than expected. The results of the election will now be certified by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick tomorrow, and Republicans are calling for him to be seated tomorrow afternoon. According to Marc Ambinder, Harry Reid won't stand in Brown's way. So why is the so-called cooling saucer of our political system exhibiting a newfound propensity for rapidity? The Republican motivations are pretty clear: the jobs bill moving its way toward the floor and a vote on the nomination of Craig Becker to the National Labor Board. (Conservatives have been railing against his nomination, la Cass Sunstein, arguing he's too pro-worker.) For Democrats, it's probably nervousness...
  • Newsverse: Privates' Parts

    By Jerry Adler I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians. --Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
  • Colin Powell Scuttles McCain's 'Don't Ask' Rationale

    Back in the day, when Sen. John McCain used to distinguish himself from his GOP colleagues by taking positions outside the Republican orthodoxy (see campaign-finance reform, immigration, torture), he did so by staking out a reasoned middle ground. But during the "don't ask, don't tell" portion of yesterday's Armed Services Committee hearing, McCain stood out for the opposite reason: he seemed stuck in an outdated, reactionary pose. (Even conservative Orrin Hatch told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that he's open to the repeal, saying service members shouldn't have to lie about being gay.) Today, McCain's words are coming back to bite him. Unlike his wife and daughter, both vocal proponents of gay rights, McCain expressed serious reservations about repealing the policy. Michael Shear notes in The Washington Post that stance seems at odds with previous statements:"The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says,...
  • Could Question Time Be Diluted?

    Washington lately has been abuzz with the advent of question time in America. It makes for great TV by teasing out pent-up partisan tension. But it also just makes democracy better. Party leaders can call each other out face-to-face for touting bad ideas or being disingenuous in their attacks, and then there's time to respond. It essentially brings the debates of campaigns into the governing arena, and the best ideas rise to the top.In theory. But what if it becomes so popular, and the stakes become so high for whoever shows up unprepared, that question time turns into merely a partisan exchange of talking points? That is, an opportunity for pols to appear to be engaging in genuine debate, even though the questions and timing are all staged. It's not far from reality. This morning when Obama addressed Senate Dems, CNN's Dana Bash noticed that Majority Leader Harry Reid selected the questioners in advance, and all of them were members facing tough election fights this...
  • New York Senate Dem Contenders Pander to Banks

    According to The New York Times, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, worried about a challenge in the Democratic primary from former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, is expressing "misgivings" about President Obama's proposed bank tax. Ford, too, is pandering to banks. Both are looking for campaign cash. This is not representing the voters of New York. As a House member from a rural area, Gillibrand voted twice against the bank bailouts. She was wrong to do so. The banks needed TARP; without it they would have pulled down the whole economy. But now they can afford to be taxed. The money would go to put the government in the black and provide for community lending. The tax is cleverly constructed so as not to hit any banks with less than $50 billion in assets. If the big boys try to pass on the costs to consumers, they'll lose market share big-time. So this is clearly a good idea (as many bankers well know), and if both Gillibrand and Ford support it, no Wall Street...
  • Democrats and Tea Party Activists Find Common Ground

    Zachary Roth at Talking Points Memo is reporting that tea partiers are railing against the Supreme Court decision in the Citizen's United case, which removed major restrictions on corporate spending on political campaigns. Running counter to RNC Chairman Michael Steele's praise of the decision, Dale Robertson, the leader of TeaParty.org told the Reid Report:...