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Feb 08,2008
"I want to speak directly to our men and women on the front lines. You have done everything we've asked of you and more. Our nation is grateful for your courage." So spoke President George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech last week. We don't question his sincerity. But our nation - and especially Bush's administration - seems to have a funny way of showing its gratitude. Item: The number of regular ... [full story]
788 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
They can mass-produce pills that look for the world like the erectile aid Cialis or the anti-psychotic Zyprexa, slick packaging included. They can advertise on state-of-the-art Web sites with official-looking logos of government approval and other assurances of "authenticity." The drugs they sell may contain any combination of ingredients, including fillers and toxics. They're made under squalid conditions in the Third World without inspection. There's a good chance they'll make the customer sick, and an ... [full story]
908 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
In matters of economic stimulus, ideology and constituent politics should give way to cold hard economics: What's the best and fastest way to pump money into the economy, thereby helping to avoid recession? Alas, that's not the way it's done in Washington. The House this week passed a stimulus plan that was a compromise between Republicans, who resist giving rebates to people who don't pay taxes, and Democrats, whose traditional constituency includes labor and the ... [full story]
761 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
In a dozen different ways, it's become plain that the toxic combination of greed and dishonesty produced the mortgage and housing crisis that threatens to drag the U.S. economy into a recession. The latest evidence of this involves Washington Mutual, the nation's largest savings and loan. Jennifer Wertz, a Sacramento appraiser, is suing WaMu for allegedly blackballing her firm in retaliation for Wertz's refusal to inflate the value of homes involved in pending loans. In ... [full story]
910 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
It's easy to sympathize with the Recording Industry Association of America. Changes in technology have left the RIAA's basic business model in ruins. With young customers accustomed to buying individual songs for $1 at a time over the Internet to listen to on portable devices, the old days of recording artists putting out $18.99 CDs consisting of a hit or two and a dozen desultory afterthought tracks are over. That legal body blow to the ... [full story]
880 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
The two best things about the $3.1 trillion budget proposal President George W. Bush submitted to Congress on Monday are (a) it's Bush's last budget proposal, and (b) most of its worst recommendations will be utterly ignored. The worst thing about Bush's last budget proposal is that it underscores the devastation his policies have wrought on the U.S. economy for the past seven years. When Bush took office, the United States was running a $236 ... [full story]
1066 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
John McCain's victory in California and his decisive wins in delegate-rich New York, Illinois and New Jersey cement his front-runner status. Meanwhile, the resurgence of Mike Huckabee in Southern states has undercut Mitt Romney's strategy of offering himself as true-blue conservatives' only alternative to the unorthodox McCain. Eight months ago, this scenario would have seemed impossible. McCain's push for comprehensive immigration reform troubled many Republicans. His ardent defense of the Iraq war hurt him badly ... [full story]
693 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
In the Democratic presidential sweepstakes, Hillary Clinton fended off Barack Obama's mid-winter surge in the polls, winning California, New York and some other key states. But Obama's showing was impressive enough - taking Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut and Minnesota - to keep him firmly in the race, thus leaving the outcome of the nominating battle still uncertain. Only a few weeks ago, Clinton appeared to be succeeding in her bid to make her victory appear inevitable. ... [full story]
781 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
Consider it a tribute to the instincts of the American voter that this year's presidential contest, so far, is being driven by character and not lofty promises of new programs and ideas. Although they're clearly worried about the deteriorating economy and concerned about the lingering war in Iraq, voters this season are measuring the candidates for president by the content of their character, not by the fine print of their white papers. A Washington Post/ABC ... [full story]
658 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
New technology promises to unlock the potential of coal, America's most abundant energy resource, to generate electricity without releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But until that new technology is commercially proven, that's what it always will remain: a promise dangling forever just out of reach. FutureGen, in Mattoon, Ill., was supposed to be the proving ground. It would have married decades-old methods of turning coal into gas with cutting-edge technology to capture and store ... [full story]
657 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
In some respects, Super Tuesday was viewed as the coming-out party for Hispanic voters. And what a grand fiesta it was, especially if you were pulling for Hillary Clinton or John McCain. According to exit polls, those were the candidates whom Hispanic voters found most appealing - a trend evident in states with sizable Hispanic populations. In New York, New Jersey, California and Arizona, Hispanics helped carry Clinton to victory. Among California Democrats, Clinton got ... [full story]
767 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
Politicians long ago moved from talking about downsizing the federal government to doing something about it. We're starting to see the awful consequences. A federal watchdog agency said this week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is so poor and short-staffed that it is unable to conduct the safety inspections of all the domestic and foreign plants over which it has responsibility. The agency regulates drugs, medical devices, some food products and finished ingredients ... [full story]
894 times read - No comment posted

Feb 08,2008
The education reform law, No Child Left Behind, is up against broad opposition in Congress. Its enemies include an unholy alliance of Democrats who are eager to please teachers unions, which despise the legislation, and Republicans who are going to bat for suburban parents demanding local control over their children's schools. Even the law's provision that all students perform at grade level in math and reading by 2014 has become controversial. Imagine anyone arguing the ... [full story]
572 times read - No comment posted



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