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Dec 21,2007
Uncle Sam's farm support program is, to a disturbing extent, a handout for millionaires paid for by ordinary Americans. So it was disappointing to see Missouri's two senators vote against a very modest attempt to limit the giveaway. As it is, in Manhattan alone, more than 500 individuals and businesses are being paid farm subsidies, according to a count by the Environmental Working Group. That's Manhattan, New York, not Manhattan, Kansas. Paul Allen, the billionaire ... [full story]
1455 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his family recently tried to conjure up some Kennedyesque imagery with a game of touch football. But since then, Romney has made one fumble after another, and his poll numbers have fallen. And so, with the clock running out before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the candidate decided to throw, ah, a Hail Mary. Romney decided to talk openly about his Mormon religion in an attempt ... [full story]
819 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
Congress appears likely to give millions of taxpayers an early Christmas present this week by exempting them from the insidious alternative minimum tax. Happy holidays. But wait - ho, ho, ho - there's more. Lawmakers will likely do that by adding $50 billion to the federal budget deficit, which would be one more blow to fiscal discipline in Washington and leave a lump of coal in the stocking of every American. House Ways and Means ... [full story]
1731 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
Foreign aid of $7.4 billion has been pledged by major donor nations to help the Palestinians create a state. The money can go a long way in building the infrastructure and institutions necessary for the Palestinians to sustain an independent nation. But the massive infusion of aid also presents challenges. The Palestinian Authority, which will be the recipient of most of the funds, has a long history of funneling foreign aid into the pockets of ... [full story]
913 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
The temptation will be to lament that the Bali climate conference produced only an agreement to talk some more for two years about climate change and the dire threat that poses to Earth and humankind. Though there were genuine breakthroughs, we should succumb to the temptation. We share much of the world's preference for an agreement that would have set clear targets for emissions reductions now, with the United States not acting as obstructionist. The ... [full story]
775 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
The U.S. House should probe the destroyed CIA videotapes to uncover the full story and to keep the record straight: Congress oversees the CIA, not the other way around. Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., is helping lead the charge on the tapes, which showed al-Qaida suspects questioned and subjected to the practice of waterboarding. Hoekstra took on the Justice Department's attempt to stall a probe by the House Intelligence Committee. Hoekstra, the ranking GOP member of ... [full story]
848 times read - No comment posted

Dec 21,2007
The startling revelation by a former CIA agent that a terrorist suspect was subjected to "waterboarding" and that the exercise yielded vital information that may have disrupted a whole slew of planned attacks on U.S. soil has reopened a public debate. At issue: whether waterboarding - in which interrogators use a technique that gives a suspect the sensation of drowning - is a form of torture and whether the U.S. government, or its agents, should ... [full story]
797 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
Congress should stop dragging its feet and fix the Alternative Minimum Tax to give 23 million middle-class taxpayers a break. The end of the tax year is near. Without action, many Americans face a costly "gotcha" they can't afford. Some Democrats are especially off-base in proposing solutions to the AMT. They want to provide relief only if taxes are raised elsewhere in the name of fiscal responsibility. But the federal government has no business imposing ... [full story]
1114 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
A sizable number of Americans once believed that Saddam Hussein was linked to the Sept. 11 attacks and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Facts intervened, and you'd be hard-pressed to find many Americans who now profess to believe those two items. Which is why no one should be more than just disappointed that one-third of Americans, according to a recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll, said illegal immigrants should be denied social services, including ... [full story]
941 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
You may not have noticed it, but most of the federal government has been operating without a budget for the last couple of months. The mail has been delivered, air traffic has been controlled, the Federal Bureau has been Investigating and other functions have continued at last year's budget levels under a temporary authorization called a "continuing resolution." The resolution expires Friday, meaning there will have to be a budget deal by then - or ... [full story]
975 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
It has been at least a decade since tax experts began fretting about a 1969 law limiting the deductions that could be taken by very rich families who had figured out how to legally evade paying taxes. Congress was warned that because its income thresholds weren't indexed to inflation, the alternative minimum tax inevitably would hit the middle class as prosperity and inflation drove up pay. Now that moment is at hand. With 2008 nearly ... [full story]
1226 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
It has been a good week for the concept that justice requires judges, not politicians, to have the final say in how criminals are punished. - On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a pair of 7-2 decisions that restored a measure of independence to federal trial judges in deciding how to assess punishment. - On Tuesday, the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which sets guidelines for federal prison sentences, gave judges the right to reconsider ... [full story]
1083 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
A modified energy bill has had to be stripped by the U.S. Senate of most of the House language that offended various special interests. What's left, however, is legislation that almost exclusively burdens the automobile industry. If such a version of the legislation makes it to the president, it deserves a veto. The legislation can't rightly be called an "energy bill," since it does nothing to lay the strategic groundwork for responsible future energy production ... [full story]
916 times read - No comment posted

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