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Dec 14,2007
You can argue all day whether a pitch was a ball or a strike. But no one - not even Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig - can reasonably argue that steroids and the players who used them have not given baseball a black eye. It's a shiner so enormous that some people have compared it to the Black Sox scandal. Selig is the guy in charge. But to heal the wound and to restore ... [full story]
963 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
Somewhere between 145,000 and 240,000 American families will keep their homes because of the deal hammered out among major players in the mortgage industry with a strong nudge from the Bush administration. That's good as far as it goes, but it isn't enough. The deal inexplicably excludes many thousands of homeowners who could keep their homes if their loans were modified. Given the steep losses that lenders take in foreclosures, keeping those families in their ... [full story]
2411 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
President George W. Bush this week vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have extended and expanded the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Whatever the political consequences of cutting a popular health care program for kids less than two weeks before Christmas, vetoing the bill is reckless and ill-considered health policy. Every American child deserves access to decent, affordable health insurance coverage so he or she can grow up healthy, attend school and live a productive ... [full story]
1452 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
It didn't take long to understand why Russian President Vladimir Putin chose relatively obscure Dmitry Medvedev, a deputy prime minister, as his endorsed candidate in Russia's presidential election next March. A day after the 42-year-old Medvedev, a Putin protege, was anointed as his virtually certain successor, Medvedev announced he would ask Putin to be prime minister. That speaks volumes about Russia's sham democracy. The Russian Federation's constitution prohibits Putin from a third term as president. ... [full story]
879 times read - No comment posted

Dec 14,2007
Fiscal responsibility is such a bore. It's much more fun to cut taxes, spend billions and worry about the consequences later. That's why spendthrifts in the U.S. Senate are in a funk these days. Their colleagues on the other side of the Capitol are no fun any more. Earlier this year, the new Democratic majority in the Congress approved so-called "PayGo" rules, as in pay-as-you-go. Any new spending plan would have to be offset by ... [full story]
1095 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Everyone should be heartened by Baghdad's apparently improved security. Still, there are caveats about the two items cited as proof of this improvement. Violence has reportedly dampened to pre-2006 levels, but this was deemed unacceptable even at that time. And returning refugees still represent only a tiny portion of the estimated 2.2 million Iraqis who have fled their country since the 2003 invasion. But if it helps, we'll say it: The surge worked in improving ... [full story]
734 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Russia's 16-year experiment with Western-style democracy appears to have ended Sunday. In its place comes a peculiar hybrid of democracy and autocracy, seasoned with a serious dash of Stalin-era personality cult. Call it by its formal, albeit oxymoronic, name: "sovereign democracy." Or call it what it is: Putinism. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a push for personal power that might embarrass even North Korea's Kim Jung Il, turned Sunday's parliamentary elections into a referendum on ... [full story]
1158 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
The Bush administration reportedly is close to a deal that would prevent hundreds of thousands of Americans from being tossed out of house and home next year. The deal apparently would extend current interest rates for many of the 1.5 million families whose subprime mortgage payments otherwise would jump through the roof next year. Families threatened with foreclosure would be the biggest winners, of course. But the tentative deal would establish a floor under the ... [full story]
1019 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
Venezuela dodged a bullet, or more precisely a howitzer shell, in narrowly defeating Sunday's referendum on granting its bullying president, Hugo Chavez, near-dictatorial powers. The obligatory word of caution, however, is that Chavez promptly vowed to keep trying to rewrite his country's democratic constitution. Chavez's openly proclaimed goal is to remake Venezuela into a socialist state with himself as president, indefinitely. The referendum entailed 69 proposals dressed up as "reforms." In fact, their intent was ... [full story]
1055 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have quietly agreed to begin negotiating a framework for the two nations' long-term relationship. This agreement, according to Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, Bush's chief White House adviser on Iraq, will include a long-term U.S. troop presence, U.S. security guarantees and other economic and political support. Lute says the agreement should be worked out by July 2008, just months before the November presidential election and the inauguration of ... [full story]
1189 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
A threatened presidential veto will hopefully force the House to retool the energy bill compromise it reached last weekend to remove some of the more objectionable components. The White House is signaling that President George W. Bush will veto the deal that sets tougher fuel economy mandates for automakers if it comes to his desk. The president is said to be particularly concerned that the proposal leaves too much uncertainty about which federal agency has ... [full story]
814 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
There are a couple of lessons in the latest intelligence finding that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. The first is the continuing need for skepticism whenever war talk emanates from this administration. We need only go to "I" in the alphabet - Iraq and lately Iran. The other is that international pressure, short of military options, can work. Iran, though continuing to enrich uranium, is said to have given up its nuclear ... [full story]
880 times read - No comment posted

Dec 07,2007
One simple way for the nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, cut greenhouse gas emissions and - with gasoline near $3 a gallon - save money is this: Require cars to go farther on a gallon of gas. Simple, yes, but politically difficult; mileage standards for cars haven't been raised in 32 years. But Congress is poised to change that. The House and Senate are debating different versions of a new energy policy ... [full story]
1064 times read - No comment posted

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