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Archive for September, 2012

Learning to Live With the Fatwa

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 10th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Learning to Live With the Fatwa
Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker
Afterward, when the world was exploding around him, he felt annoyed with himself for having forgotten the name of the BBC reporter who told him that his old life was over and a new, darker existence was about to begin. She called him at home, on his private line, without explaining how she got the number. “How does it feel,” she asked him, “to know that you have just been sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini?” It was a sunny Tuesday in London, but the question shut out the light. This is what he said, without really knowing what he was saying:…

$750 Billion Per Year Lost to Sloppy Medical Care

Obama Enjoys Post-Convention Bounce
Greg Sargent, Washington Post
One of the big questions heading into the weekend was whether Friday’s weak jobs report would detract from whatever bounce Obama was set to get after last week’s Democratic National Convention. It’s not fully clear yet how the jobs numbers will impact the race, but if Gallup tracking data is to be believed, the early returns suggest that Obama is enjoying a post-convention bounce that has yet to be impacted by them.On Sunday, Gallup showed Obama leading Mitt Romney by five points, after steadily widening his lead from the 47-46 the race had been stuck at for…

The Jobs Report and the Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 9th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

The Jobs Report and the Election
Robert Reich, Huffington Post
President Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention was long on uplifting rhetoric but short on specifics for what he'll do if reelected to reignite the American economy.Yet today's jobs report provides a troubling reminder that the economy is still in bad shape. Employers added only 96,000 nonfarm jobs in August. True, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from July's 8.3 percent, but the size of the workforce continued to drop, according to a Labor Department report Friday.

Obama Thinks He’s Cruising to Re-election
Jules Witcover, Baltimore Sun
Rather than taking advantage of Mitt Romney's failure in Tampa to provide specific details on what he would do to turn the economy around, Mr. Obama likewise fell short on any new approaches to break the stalemate. Instead, he called on the millions who put him in the Oval Office four years ago to trust the cards he has been holding all along.As Bill Clinton did with more spark and detail the previous night, the president cited the immense challenge he still faces after years of fiscal neglect and policy calamities, pleading for more time to stay the course. It is a plea that could not…

Northeastern Republicans Show Signs of Life
Stephen Moore, WSJ
Connecticut might be the last place you'd expect Republicans to pick up a U.S. Senate seat this November, but it may happen. In the race for retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman's seat, Linda McMahon, the co-founder of the highly profitable World Wrestling Entertainment, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy by three points, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.Those numbers terrify Democrats, so much so that at the party's convention in Charlotte, N.C., this week they frantically shuttled Mr. Murphy around town to meet deep-pocket Democratic donors.

The U.S. Needs Results, Not Excuses
Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times
Hope needs more time. That was President Barack Obama's message in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night. But a country that was forced to live on hope for four years and rewarded with dreary unemployment, falling middle class income and depressed home values may not be ready for another dose of lofty national goals based on nothing more than oratory.

Obama Speech Shows Hope, Restraint

Living in the Era of Megaterror

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 8th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Living in the Era of Megaterror
Graham Allison, New York Times
Forty years ago this week at the Munich Olympics of 1972, Palestinian terrorists conducted one of the most dramatic terrorist attacks of the 20th century. The kidnapping and massacre of 11 Israeli athletes attracted days of around-the-clock global news coverage of Black September’s anti-Israel message. Three decades later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 individuals at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, announcing a new era of megaterror. In an act that killed more people than Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, a band of terrorists headquartered in ungoverned…

There’s No Excuse for the Obama Record
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard
President Obama has had four years to fix the economy, and it’s not his fault he’s failed so far. He’s tried very hard, and he’s made some headway. But the task is so great that no one, not even FDR or Bill Clinton, could have done any better than he has. Thus, on effort and good intentions alone, Obama has earned four more years.That’s a pathetically weak argument for reelection. But aside from attacking Mitt Romney, it’s the best Obama, Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden could come up with at last week’s Democratic…

How Obama Has Gutted Welfare Reform
Robert Rector, Washington Post
To hear Bill Clinton tell it, there’s no truth to the charges that President Obama gutted welfare reform. The White House, fact-checkers and some journalists have said the same, playing down Obama’s decision to exempt states from the law’s work requirements.Working closely with members of Congress, I helped draft the work requirements in the 1996 law, and I raised the alarm on July 12, when the Obama administration issued a bureaucratic order allowing states to waive those requirements. The law has indeed been gutted. Here’s how:

Geography Strikes Back
Robert Kaplan, Wall Street Journal
If you want to know what Russia, China or Iran will do next, don't read their newspapers or ask what our spies have dug up—consult a map. Geography can reveal as much about a government's aims as its secret councils. More than ideology or domestic politics, what fundamentally defines a state is its place on the globe. Maps capture the key facts of history, culture and natural resources. With upheaval in the Middle East and a tumultuous political transition in China, look to geography to make sense of it all. 

The GOP’s Winner-Take-All World
Colbert King, Washington Post
She appeared to be in her eighties. Standing alone, tightly clutching her purse, anxiously watching the cash register.When the total was announced, she handed first one, then two cans of soup back to the cashier. She didn’t have enough money.A customer in the line behind her quietly told the cashier he would make up the difference. With a quick glance at him, the seemingly embarrassed senior citizen accepted the offer with thanks.

A Fine Speech That Didn’t Close the Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 7th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

A Fine Speech That Didn’t Close the Deal
Joe Klein, Time
The President gave a fine speech Thursday night. His vision of the country is much closer to the place where I live"“and I daresay where most Americans live"“than Mitt Romney's. It is an America that includes truck drivers and teachers and auto workers as well as Romney's beloved entrepreneurs. Obama laid out the case against Romney's constricted vision in a very effective way: "If you have a cold, they say take two tax cuts and roll back some regulations and see us in the morning."He was, of course, defter, funnier, more…

Bob Woodward’s Devastating Account of Obama
Conn Carroll, Examiner
The book recounts Obama's troubled relationship with Congress, from his inauguration through last summer's failed debt-limit negotiations, with Woodward concluding, "It is a fact that President Obama was handed a miserable, faltering economy and faced a recalcitrant Republican opposition. But presidents work their will "” or should work their will "” on important matters of national business. ."‰."‰. Obama has not."

Cleaning Up the Economy
Paul Krugman, New York Times
Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was a remarkable combination of pretty serious wonkishness — has there ever been a convention speech with that much policy detail? — and memorable zingers. Perhaps the best of those zingers was his sarcastic summary of the Republican case for denying President Obama re-election: “We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in.” 

No Question the Country Is Worse Off Today

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 5th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

No Question the Country Is Worse Off Today
Bill O’Reilly, FOX News
The O'Reilly Factor, September 4, 2012.Bill O'Reilly: The Democratic Convention of 2012, that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. First of all, I'll be travelling to Charlotte on Thursday for the President's big speech, but for tonight and tomorrow we'll do what we did last week. We'll have some Factor analysis and we'll also bring you some of the speeches. As you may have heard, FOX News dominated the ratings of the Republican Convention in Tampa, beating every TV news operation in the country, and boy are they mad. Thank you all very…

A Politically Masterful Speech
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
CHARLOTTE – The most devastating attack on Mitt Romney at Tuesday’s Democratic Convention came from Michelle Obama, who did not mention Romney’s name and said not a single cross thing about him.She devastated him by implication. If Romney was the son of privilege, she and her husband were anything but. What she said directly is that Barack Obama understands people who are struggling. What she didn’t have to say is Mitt Romney doesn’t. 

Michelle Obama Tops Opening Night for Democrats
Jim Rutenberg, NYT
Democrats opened their convention here on Tuesday night with a parade of officials telling voters that Mitt Romney does not get it and with a rousing speech from Michelle Obama making the case that President Obama does.Mr. Obama’s roster of Democratic promoters spent the first hours detailing a political indictment of Mr. Romney, blistering him as being out of touch with the middle class and intent on taking the country back to the policies that caused the economy’s problems. 

Democrats Link Charlotte’s “Promise” to Obama’s

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Democrats Link Charlotte’s “Promise” to Obama’s
Erin McPike, RCP
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ever hear that Pepsi, Coca-Cola's slightly less sweet but more effervescent twin, was “born in the Carolinas”?The year was 1898, and the place was New Bern, N.C. Wander around the cavernous basement of this city's convention center (where the national press corps is slumming this week), and you can't escape the edifying signs.Plastered all around the city are a variety of others just like that one. One variation announces: "Charlotte's got a lot." And as the Democratic National Committee's secretary, Alice Germond, said…

Venezuela on Fire

Central Planning a la ObamaCare
Ralph Reiland, Pittsburgh Trib-Review
Central planning is tricky. Castro decided that individualism was an obstacle to economic development “” and nearly half of Cuba's 7,000 doctors fled to the United States.The Maoists in China targeted the nation's most productive farmers as insufficiently self-sacrificing, and tens of millions of people ended up starving to death. You don't get a great harvest by killing the best farmers.

President Has One Job to Save: His Own
Mike Lupica, New York Daily News
The President becomes one more American this week, officially and in front of the country, trying to keep his job. He knows he is talking to so many who don’t have jobs and can’t find jobs. Or have taken lesser jobs, sometimes two, to somehow make ends meet. Still: In Foreclosure America, Barack Obama tries to persuade those who voted for him last time and those he needs to vote for him this time why he shouldn’t get kicked out of the White House.

Why Unions Matter More Than Ever
Edward Smith, Politico
When I travel across the country, I often hear from business leaders, politicians and even union members who say unions don’t matter anymore.They say there was a time and place for unions — but that has passed. They cite the fact that union membership in the U.S. stands at less than 12 percent. They cite the Wisconsin recall, the passage of right-to-work laws in Indiana and the 2012 Democratic National Convention taking place in Charlotte, N.C., a city with one of the lowest union membership rates in the country. Unions don’t count, they say.

Obama’s Broken Promises

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 3rd, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Obama’s Broken Promises
Gov. Scott Walker, Politico
The reviews of Rep. Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech for the Republican vice presidential nomination are in, and it’s being cited as a success. Is there any wonder that the Obama campaign staffers and surrogates are in full-blown damage control mode, screaming that Paul was unfair in some of his criticisms of President Barack Obama?You’ve likely all now heard about the General Motors plant in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wis. It’s closed — has been as long as Obama has been president. Bailout be damned. Ryan told the story of that…

Barack Obama’s Economy Accelerates Downward
Peter Ferrara, Forbes
New income data from the Census Bureau reveal what a great job Barack Obama has done for the middle class as President.  During his entire tenure in the oval office, median household income has declined by 7.3%.In January, 2009, the month he entered office, median household income was $54,983.  By June, 2012, it had spiraled down to $50,964.  That’s a loss of $4,019 per family, the equivalent of losing a little less than one month’s income a year, every year.  And on our current course that is only going to get worse not better.

Rosie Ruiz Republicans
Paul Krugman, New York Times
Remember Rosie Ruiz? In 1980 she was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon — except it turned out that she hadn’t actually run most of the race, that she sneaked onto the course around a mile from the end. Ever since, she has symbolized a particular kind of fraud, in which people claim credit for achieving things they have not, in fact, achieved.And these days Paul Ryan is the Rosie Ruiz of American politics.

Clint Eastwood vs. An Empty-Chair Presidency

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 1st, 2012 11:08 pm by HL

Clint Eastwood vs. An Empty-Chair Presidency

Romney Not Plausible Enough to Replace Obama

Challenger Offers a Sharp Contrast to the Obama Years