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    Does Anyone Care About Unemployment Anymore?

    The Federal Reserve doesn’t seem to care much about high unemployment. Apparently, very few other people in Washington do, either. The corporate sector has returned to rude health, with improved balance sheets and tons of cash. It has helped lead the recovery. But without paychecks for the mighty American consumer, the recovery will seem anemic.
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    Do Rural Prisons Benefit Locals?

    States like New York send prisoners from the city to the countryside. To these smaller communities, the incarcerated bring government dollars, political power, and potential problems.
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    How Not to Muck Everything Up

    Now that health-care reform and financial-regulation change is inevitable, the question facing reformers is, how do you make sure your reforms survive construction and implementation, and then resist the relentless and inevitable efforts at erosion?
  • Will Obama Back Down on Carbon-Regulation Deadline?

    Two Republican senators present at a recent presidential Cabinet Room meeting on energy say that Obama appeared to be willing to postpone the deadline when the EPA will begin regulating greenhouse-gas emissions.
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    Making History by Running Away From It

    South Carolina state Rep. Tim Scott is poised to be the first black Republican elected to Congress from the South in more than 100 years. But he says there's nothing too special about that.
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    Kagan Hearings Are All About the Midterms

    With little doubt that Elena Kagan will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court justice, senators have turned her hearings into a preview of the fall elections. Wednesday's topics: abortion, gays in the military, and campaign finance.
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    Katrina vs. the Spill: Useful Comparison?

    Those awful FEMA trailers are back, this time as temporary housing for workers responding to BP’s disaster in the gulf. And in bad news for Obama, the public rates his handling of the mess similar to how Bush bungled the hurricane response.
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    Gulf Oil Spill by the Numbers

    The massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is already making history. The well has been hemorrhaging oil for more than two months and is without a doubt the largest offshore spill the U.S. has ever faced. Here's a numerical look at the magnitude of the disaster and the enormous response that has been staged.
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    John Boehner's Serious Suggestion on Retirement Ages and the Deficit

    House Minority Leader John Boehner is getting some attention today for an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review—but much of the coverage is missing the point. While his statements on civil unrest and financial reform are splashier, his argument that the retirement age should be increased is a serious and important one.
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    Who Can You Trust, Oil Spill Edition: Volume 14

    An ongoing look at some of the main players in the gulf oil-spill disaster. Who and what can you count on, and who's hiding behind spin? This week: will the steel wedding drums be silenced? Plus: BP does good.
  • GOP Skirmishes Over Future Direction

    When your party no longer occupies the White House and represents the minority in Congress, it’s probably a good thing to embrace new voices and ideas. Let a thousand flowers bloom and all that. But with most of the Capitol focused on Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings, it's been a scrappy few days for Republicans nonetheless.
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    Graham, the Gentleman, at Kagan Hearings

    Sen. Lindsey Graham injected a distinctive and salutary element Tuesday afternoon into a dreary confirmation process drenched in partisanship, yet devoid of real drama. It was a lesson about the need to tamp down the bitter liberal–conservative battles poisoning Washington.
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    Are Kagan Hearings a Waste of Time?

    Like many similar proceedings that came before, the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings have offered little in substance or excitement. Why some think Congress should scrap testimony from reviews of judicial nominees.
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    Sessions Pounds Kagan on Military

    The Supreme Court nominee defends her decision as Harvard Law dean to restrict U.S. armed-services recruiters from using the school’s career-services office. Will the attacks resonate with patriotic Americans?
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    Roberts vs. Marshall at the Kagan Hearings

    Elena Kagan's confirmation process has become a trial in absentia for competing views on how the Supreme Court should work, personified by two very different justices, John Roberts and Thurgood Marshall.
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    Kagan Hearing Is the Charade She Detests

    The nominee once criticized Supreme Court confirmation hearings as "vapid and hollow." Hers is shaping up to be exactly that. And that's a good thing for the White House.
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    Who Will Succeed Senator Byrd?

    The death of Sen. Robert Byrd signals the end of an era in Washington, where Byrd had served since 1953. But it will have even more serious effects in West Virginia, where he has dominated politics for decades. Although Democrats have a good chance at holding the seat, any new senator will lack Byrd's clout in Washington and lifetime job security at home.
  • Dems Use Kagan Hearing to Go After Roberts

    Democrats in the Senate used the first day of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings to launch attacks on the Supreme Court under John Roberts, which Sen. Patrick Leahy derided as driven by "conservative judicial activism." Meanwhile, Kagan may have found an supporter among Republicans: South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.
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    Gun-Rights Decision May Have Limited Impact

    The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the right “to keep and bear arms” in the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment applies to state and local governments. But this new-found right may not restrict gun control laws very much.
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    Who Can You Trust? Oil Spill Edition

    An ongoing look and who and what you can rely on as the oil spill continues. Today: Lisa Jackson's defense of dispersant and Tropical Storm Alex's disruptive path
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    Sen. Robert Byrd Dies at 92

    The senator was a looming figure in both the Senate--where his knowledge of parliamentary procedure is well-known, and where he served as president pro tempore of the Senate--and in West Virginia, where his prowess in procuring federal funds for his home state is legendary.
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    Byrd’s Way

    The late senator from West Virginia was a stickler for following the rules. It made him one of the most powerful legislators of the last century.