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  • 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.
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    Kagan's Best Strategy Is Silence

    Republican Sen. Charles Grassley says he will press Elena Kagan at her confirmation hearing to be “as forthcoming” about her views of specific issues as she once argued other Supreme Court nominees should be. Many commentators have also called on her to disclose her specific views. But Kagan will not do that. And she should not.
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    Will Obama Turn Around Jobs Outlook?

    Obama, stymied by the GOP, seems at a loss when it comes to creating jobs. The administration can turn around the bleak job numbers in time for his reelection, but not in time for Democrats this fall.
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    Who Can You Trust? Oil-Spill Edition

    An ongoing look at the most and least reliable people, players, and forces at work in the gulf oil spill. Today: can we trust the new face of BP?
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    Why Obama Won’t Fire Richard Holbrooke

    Now that Stanley McChrystal is out, pundits and politicians—including eminent Republican Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kit Bond—are clamoring for Richard Holbrooke’s head. But with Gen. David Petraeus in, the special envoy is probably stronger than before. Holbrooke and Petraeus seem to have a warm relationship that bodes well for both the diplomat and the whole Afghanistan team.
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    Even With McChrystal, Obama Maintains No-Drama Stance

    President Obama moved Thursday to end the squawking among reporters and members of Congress about a wider shakeup of his AfPak team. In doing so, he was choosing between the lesser of undesirable outcomes for a president who disdains unnecessary drama.
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    Poll: Afghanistan War Hurting Obama's Support at Home

    The troubled war in Afghanistan is a growing political problem for President Barack Obama. According to a new NEWSWEEK Poll, the lasting impact of his decision to fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal—a move most Americans support—has been to raise doubts about the war and undermine confidence in the commander in chief.
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    How to Talk About Debt

    One of the reasons the idea of debt causes so much confusion is that we say things like “this issue of debt.” When we talk about the debt, we need to talk in specifics, not vague generalities. First, there’s the difference between accumulated debt (how much our country owes) and annual deficits (how much we’re spending in a year compared with how much we’re getting in tax revenues). People often use the two terms interchangeably. They shouldn’t.
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    Can a Fetus Feel Pain? U.K. Report Says No.

    Fetuses at 24 weeks or less do not feel pain and exist in a state of "sedation" even afterward, according to a new British report. The finding contradicts the case for Nebraska's first-in-the-nation law, introduced in April, which bans abortion after 20 weeks—and is likely to come as a blow to America's anti-abortion lobby.
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    Can't Take Our Eyes Off of Goo

    After numerous failed attempts to stop the flow of oil from the well 5,000 feet below the surface--including robots, golf balls, giant domes, a "top kill," "top hats," and diamond saws--BP seemed to be capturing the "majority" of the leaking oil, until an underwater robot bumped into a vent on the cap on June 23. BP removed the cap for the remainder of the day until the repairs could be made. It was reinstalled later that evening. Here are the most fascinating and frustrating videos of the Gulf Coast oil spill.
  • Newsverse: Save the Humans

    It may be a bad week for humans, but it's good news for the whales, who the International Whaling Commission has put off opening up to hunting again. "Krill, baby, krill!" says our news poet, Jerry Adler.
  • Obama and Medvedev Talk Chicken

    An otherwise newsless visit between Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev is punctuated by a deal on U.S. poultry exports to Russia. After the breakthrough deal on chicken was made, the two had burgers in Virginia.
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    Will McChrystal's Dismissal Lead to a Wider Shakeup?

    Why should President Obama's shakeup of his Afghan team stop with the firing of Gen. Stanley McChrystal? After all, some of the harsh comments the general and his aides made about policymakers, while perhaps insubordinate and disruptive, were not necessarily wrong. Tragically, they reflect a broader truth: Afghan policy is in disarray, and the people behind the policy are at odds with one another.