We are the Liberal Blog From Hollywood
L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

L.A.'s Premier Post Facility

Photographer in L.A.

Hot Pics & Gossip.

Archive for February 3rd, 2009

Iraq Watchdog Looks Back on Years of Reconstruction Waste

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:41 am by HL

Iraq Watchdog Looks Back on Years of Reconstruction Waste

He’s back: Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, has released a new volume in his series of blood-boiling reports. Looking back on his five years as a watchdog, Bowen laments the widespread waste of taxpayer funds in Iraq, and warns that the same mistakes are being made in Afghanistan.

BBC:

On his first trip to Iraq, he says in the report, he observed large quantities of cash moving out of the office of the comptroller for the Coalition Provisional Authority, after which he overheard someone say: “We can’t do that anymore. There is a new inspector general here.”

Mr Bowen is concerned that the mistakes made in Iraq are being repeated in Afghanistan.

“It’s too late to do the structural part and make it quickly applicable to Afghanistan,” he told the Washington Post.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries

The Peace Bus

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Related Entries


Eric Holder Confirmed As First Black Attorney General

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Eric Holder Confirmed As First Black Attorney General
WASHINGTON — Eric Holder won Senate confirmation Monday as the nation’s first African-American attorney general, after supporters from both parties touted his dream resume and…

Chris Weigant: Democrats Need To Frame The Stimulus Better
President Obama has been failing a crucial test in the past few weeks. In the first (and possibly most important, at least for a while)…

James Floyd, M.D: CNN’s Gupta: Not What the Doctor Ordered
Gupta downplays safety risks in treatments, and was criticized for his reporting on Vioxx, a pain medication that was withdrawn from the market in 2004 because it causes heart attacks.

GOP Circulates Plan To Cut Cost Of Mortgages
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans circulated a sweeping plan to drive down the cost of mortgages by expanding the federal government’s role in the industry, officials…


Bipartisanship at What Price?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Bipartisanship at What Price?
WASHINGTON — The coming week will test the strength of President Obama and the Democrats: Will they lose their nerve, or will they face down a rapidly forming conventional wisdom that will allow them to claim “victory” only if their economic stimulus package passes with substantial Republican support? Up to now, Obama has handled his own public image with the same dexterity he showed in the campaign. His outreach to Republicans is popular because a streak of anti-partisanship has run through the American soul since the founding of the republic. From the time he announced his candidacy, Obama has broadened his appeal by speaking to this mistrust of parties.


State To Blackwater: It’s Over Between Us (At Least In Iraq)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:38 am by HL

State To Blackwater: It’s Over Between Us (At Least In Iraq)
Et tu, State Department? Earlier this week, we told you that the Iraqi government had decided not to renew Blackwater’s contract to operate in Iraq, thanks to a 2007 incident in which Blackwater guards opened fire in a Baghdad square,…





UPDATED: Report: Cuomo May Demand Return Of Merrill Bonuses
Bloomberg has a few more details about the developing investigation, conducted by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, into the bonuses awarded last month by Merrill Lynch. It reports, sourced to “a person familiar with the matter,” that Cuomo may…


Obama Plans Media Blitz

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Obama Plans Media Blitz
President Obama will give sit-down interviews with all the major networks today, according to Hollywood Reporter.

“Obama will talk separately with the anchors of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox News Channel at the Oval Office on Tuesday. The networks will air their interviews over the course of the afternoon and the early evening.”

Obama is expected to make the case for his economic stimulus package.


Torture Chic: Why Is the Media Glorifying Inhumane, Sadistic Behavior?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Torture Chic: Why Is the Media Glorifying Inhumane, Sadistic Behavior?
During the Bush years there was an increase in torture imagery in popular culture — a growing acceptance of violence as routine and effective.

Water Quality Regulation in California: A Day Late and a Dollar Short?
It is apparent that fundamental components of the Clean Water Act are not being implemented faithfully in California.

Homelessness Is at Record Highs: Let’s Show Some Real Compassion
America needs a bold new housing policy as growing numbers of Americans sleep in shelters, surf friends’ couches and camp in their cars.

The Whole World Is Rioting as the Economic Crisis Worsens — Why Aren’t We?
Americans are rightfully angry about the economic decline, but with a few small exceptions, quietly so. Why? It depends on whom you ask.

Torture Chic: Why Is the Media Glorifying Inhumane, Sadistic Behavior?
During the Bush years there was an increase in torture imagery in popular culture — a growing acceptance of violence as routine and effective.


Israel’s Only Way Out

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:34 am by HL

Israel’s Only Way Out
I’m less hopeful than M.J. Rosenberg, in his brave and necessary post below, about the American news media’s focus on the suffering in Gaza. Such coverage delivers no more political enlightenment than it does about any other disaster. Still,…

The Obama Presidency
I’m grateful for the opportunity to discuss my book as part of the TPM Café Book Club. The Limits of Power first appeared in bookstores in August. (The paperback comes out in May 2009). A month later the economy…


Democratic Senator Ben Nelson May Oppose Stimulus Package Because Of Pell Grant Funding

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:33 am by HL

Democratic Senator Ben Nelson May Oppose Stimulus Package Because Of Pell Grant Funding
College students sought financial aid in record numbers last year, leading even Bush administration officials to call for an increase in Pell Grant funding — “the most important form of aid to needy students.” Yet Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is arguing against the House version of the economic recovery package because of its funding for Pell […]

nelsonobama.jpgCollege students sought financial aid in record numbers last year, leading even Bush administration officials to call for an increase in Pell Grant funding — “the most important form of aid to needy students.”

Yet Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is arguing against the House version of the economic recovery package because of its funding for Pell Grants. Nelson says he wants to eliminate “non-stimulative” and non-“job creation” items in the bill:

Even some Democrats are speaking out against including popular programs — such as an almost $15 billion increase in funding for Pell grants for higher education — in legislation that is supposed to spark an economic recovery. “You don’t want to be against Pell grants,” said Sen. Ben. Nelson (D-Neb.). “But the question is: How many people go to work on Pell grants?”

Increasing Pell Grant funding is a key way to preserve jobs in this tough economy. As grant recipients pay tuition and buy books, college faculty and staff will stay employed at a time when the education sector is experiencing widespread job cuts.

And with unemployment rising, Pell Grants provide workers with greater access to higher education — boosting their prospects for gaining employment. CAP’s Will Straw notes:

Improving the skills of unemployed American workers and providing funds to allow lower-income students to work their way through college would provide a boost to the economy and improve the workforce skills needed when businesses begin to hire again as the economy improves.

Furthermore, because the recession has forced colleges to raise tuition and cut aid, students receiving Pell Grants will quickly spend their loans, providing a short-term stimulus to the economy. In the long-term, increasing access to higher education is an investment that will help alleviate a human capital-starved economy.

Although Nelson has championed Pell Grant funding in the past, he is echoing right-wing talking points in labeling parts of the bill as “non-stimulative.” Putting off the Pell Grant shortfall for a later date is something the economy cannot afford.

$40 billion increase in proposed Pentagon budget spun as ?defense cuts? by right wing.
The Obama administration is reportedly capping the Pentagon’s 2010 budget for non-war spending at $527 billion, a level previously recommended by Bush administration officials. Despite the fact that this will represent an 8 percent increase over 2009 funding levels, conservative commentators are painting the cap as a budget cut. CQ’s Josh Rogin reports: Some Pentagon […]

The Obama administration is reportedly capping the Pentagon’s 2010 budget for non-war spending at $527 billion, a level previously recommended by Bush administration officials. Despite the fact that this will represent an 8 percent increase over 2009 funding levels, conservative commentators are painting the cap as a budget cut. CQ’s Josh Rogin reports:

Some Pentagon officials and congressional conservatives are already trying to portray the OMB number as a cut by comparing it to a $584 billion draft fiscal 2010 budget request compiled last fall by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The $527 billion figure is “what the Bush people thought was the right number last February and that’s the number we’re going with,” said the OMB official, who declined to be identified. “The Joint Chiefs did that to lay down a marker for the incoming administration that was unrealistic. It’s more of a wish list than anything else.”

Defense budget experts have said the draft by the Joint Chiefs, which was never publicly released, was designed to pressure the Obama administration to drastically increase defense spending or be forced to defend a reluctance to do so.

Chris Bowers notes, “While it is disappointing that the Obama administration is not looking to cut the defense budget during its first year in office, generally speaking this does not seem like a year when spending of any sort is being cut.”


Daschle’s Woes Test An Insider’s Insider

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on February 3rd, 2009 5:32 am by HL

Daschle’s Woes Test An Insider’s Insider
As he battles this week to save his nomination to be secretary of health and human services, one thing is certain: No one in Washington has a better-positioned network of allies in the Obama administration than Thomas A. Daschle.

Senate Panel Probing ’04 Corporate Tax Break
A Senate committee has launched an investigation into potential abuses of a 2004 law that granted a one-time tax holiday to multinational corporations returning foreign earnings to the United States. The probe is intended to dampen enthusiasm for tucking a similar provision into the Senate’s $884…

Obama Is Upbeat On Stimulus Plan
President Obama yesterday played down what he called “modest differences” between Republican and Democratic lawmakers working to craft an economic recovery package and expressed optimism that action on a massive spending plan will be finalized soon.

Obama Faults FDA on Food Safety
President Obama had critical words for the Food and Drug Administration yesterday in the midst of a massive recall of peanut products linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness that has killed eight people and sickened another 550.