February 24, 2009
Posted: 03:22 PM ET
Posted: 10:20 AM ET
During the most contentious stretch of the Democratic presidential primary campaign last winter, then-candidate Hillary Clinton mocked Barack Obama for his pledge to transcend Washington's entrenched partisanship.
"The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!" Clinton bellowed.
Obama dismissed Clinton's sarcasm as overly cynical and further evidence she was a creature of Washington. But as President Obama prepares to make his first major address to Congress, Clinton's comments are borne out.
For a candidate who won the White House on a mantle of bringing the country's two political parties together, Washington could not be more divided on Obama's initial weeks in the Oval Office and the policies he has put in place.
Depending on who you ask, in 30 days the new president has either rescued the nation's economy from financial ruin or set in motion the most liberal government in a generation, and one that's likely to prolong - perhaps even prevent - the country's economic recovery.
Posted: 09:11 AM ET
By Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson
By this time in an election cycle, a losing vice-presidential candidate is less than the proverbial warm bucket of spit.
Quick, who was Michael Dukakis’s running mate? Bob Dole’s? Now close Google. Lloyd Bentsen and Jack Kemp, respectively. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the only losing vice- presidential candidate in history to eventually become president.
The poor odds aren’t discouraging Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. After the Republican ticket took a shellacking at the ballot box, a Rasmussen Reports poll at the end of January found that 55 percent of Republican voters wanted their party to become more like Palin, making it even harder to keep her down on the tundra. That day she formed SarahPAC to fund her travels around the country.
Hardly a day passes when she isn’t attracting a camera. Watch as Palin pardons a turkey for Thanksgiving. (Ignore the one being put through a wood chipper behind her.)
Filed under: Uncategorized
Posted: 08:07 AM ET
by columnist Jonah Goldberg
Here's something President Obama's biggest fans may need to hear: He's just not that into you.
Recall that during the primaries, Obama was probably second only to Dennis Kucinich as an anti-Iraq war and anti-Bush candidate. But he has kept President Bush's Defense secretary and appointed a secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted for the war. His vice president, Joe Biden, also voted for the war. Obama himself seems to be in less of a hurry to leave Iraq than we might have expected from listening to him over the last couple of years.
The new president has ordered that his predecessor's rendition policies remain largely intact, even to the point of using the "state secrets" privilege to block a rendition lawsuit. Obama may have stated categorically that America "will not torture," but outsourcing it is still OK.
The White House also defends the Bush policy of imprisoning, without trial, enemy combatants captured abroad. Obama's lawyers argued in a court case brought by Afghan prisoners at the U.S. Air Force base at Bagram, Afghanistan, that the "government adheres to its previously articulated position" - the one articulated by those evil Bush lawyers.
February 23, 2009
Posted: 11:05 PM ET
The smartest thing I've heard anyone say about it came last fall when Sen. Harry Reid criticized President Bush's emergency "bailout" plan, saying: "No one knows what to do."
Since then, of course, Harry and virtually all Democrats inside the Beltway miraculously experienced a post-election epiphany. Now they know exactly and with certainty what to do to fix the economy - spend, spend, spend and spend.
They may be right. Perhaps we must spend like a drunken Democrat to blunt this recession and, as is evident from the pork-a-thon "stimulus" bill, it matters not how we spend it. Saving endangered mice, battling sexually transmitted diseases, remodeling unneeded schools, or building bullet trains no one knew they wanted, the point is to spend like Chicagoans vote - early and often.
My worry is that this unprecedented deficit spending is the bad-judgment equivalent to that 70-year-old woman in Connecticut who kept a 200-pound chimpanzee as a house pet.
Posted: 11:41 AM ET
By Ed Gillespie, Former White House counselor to President George W. Bush
As the administration of George W. Bush was developing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) last fall, the perils of moral hazard and government control over our nation's financial sector were well understood.
Like the president himself, I was loath to see a massive government intervention in the financial markets. But I also heard the president's top economic advisers tell him that a failure to act decisively could plunge us into another Great Depression.
As the world awaits the details of the Obama administration's version of TARP, two things have changed since last fall: First, we're not facing the same massive, day-to-day market volatility and frozen credit markets that were the context of the original TARP decision. Second, our new president doesn't have the same instinctual resistance to government intervention as his predecessor. Consequently, the next iteration of TARP is likely to be much more far-reaching. Democrats appear poised to impose many intrusive conditions on our financial institutions.
This will present Republicans in Congress with a far more difficult debate than they faced with the stimulus package earlier this month. Republicans benefited in the stimulus debate from offering an alternative approach to creating jobs, with a focus on lower taxes for small business owners, and from ridiculing outrageous pork-barrel spending. Critiquing an expanded TARP and providing a positive alternative will pose a much greater challenge.
Posted: 10:01 AM ET
Hillary Rodham Clinton's blunt and unadorned style of diplomacy has been evident throughout her first trip as secretary of state the past week in Asia. She questioned the efficacy of sanctions against the repressive junta in Burma, spoke openly about a possible succession crisis inNorth Korea and admitted that she expected to make little progress on human rights in China.
To a certain extent, these comments crossed taboo lines in international diplomacy. U.S. officials generally do not say their sanctions have failed, or speculate about the future government of another country, or suggest that a carefully watched human rights dialogue is largely a farce.
Clinton's willingness to speak frankly - combined with an extensive effort to get beyond ministerial meetings in order to hold town hall meetings and conduct local television interviews in the countries she visits - suggests she will put a distinctive personal stamp on the Obama administration's foreign policy. What is emerging is something less rigid, less cautious and more open.
Before her meetings in Beijing, for instance, Clinton said she would raise human rights issues with Chinese officials, "but we pretty much know what they're going to say."
Clinton's comments have stirred outrage in the human rights community, where she was viewed as a hero for having confronted the Chinese government in 1995 over its record. Activists say that without public, sustained international pressure on human rights issues, nothing will change in China.
Filed under: Hillary Clinton
Posted: 08:52 AM ET
Who hasn’t unwrapped a sandwich while driving down the highway or pulled a hard U-turn into a fast-food joint on the way home from a late meeting or soccer game? We practically live in our cars, so we need quick food, and please, we’d like it to be healthy.
Well, guess what: We surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast-food chains, as defined by the number of locations, and found many are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves (if we had the time)—from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts. Even better: They’re offering good-news Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean fare.
One big surprise: A traditional fast-food chain, McDonald’s, cracked our top 10. Sure, it’s the home of the Big Mac, but did you know it also serves a mean yogurt-and-granola parfait? Here, the standouts that are making grabbed food healthy food.
Filed under: Health
Posted: 07:33 AM ET
British reality TV star Jade Goody married Sunday after being told by doctors last week that her cancer is terminal.
Goody, 27 tied the knot with boyfriend Jack Tweed, 21, in Hatfield Heath, Essex, east of London, UK media reported.
After the ceremony Max Clifford, the couple's publicist, told waiting reporters that there had been "lots of tears and smiles and laughter" and that the congregation gave the newlyweds a standing ovation after the signing of the register.
Goody sprung to fame in "Big Brother" in 2002, going on to launch a range of her own products and host TV shows.
But her return to the celebrity edition of the show in 2007 ended in international ignominy, after her taunting of Indian Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty. Goody's behavior resulted in more than 40,000 complaints and sparked protests in India.
February 22, 2009
Posted: 01:17 PM ET
After the president of Harvard hailed him as a “national leader but a local servant,” after the pastor read the “Let us now praise famous men” passage from the Bible and after the cellist Yo-Yo Ma honored him by performing a Gershwin prelude, Senator Edward M. Kennedy lumbered across the antique stage.
“I have lived a blessed time,” Mr. Kennedy told the audience at a special honorary degree convocation at Harvard in December. His voice started shaky, but gained strength. “Now, with you, I look forward to a new time of high aspiration for our nation and the world.”
As the crowd rose, Mr. Kennedy waved buoyantly, as if trying to acknowledge everyone he saw: a special fist pump for his former staff member, Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court; a salute in the direction of Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.; a thumbs-up for his niece Caroline Kennedy.
Mr. Kennedy’s wife, Vicki, tried to lead him off, but he broke away, grinning. For a few extra moments, he kept the stage.
Since the diagnosis of his brain cancer last May, Mr. Kennedy has been given all manner of tributes and testimonials, lifetime achievement awards, medals of honor and standing ovations. But even as those accolades have provided sweet solace — and even some dark humor — as he endures grueling treatments, Mr. Kennedy, who turns 77 on Sunday, has been intent on racing time rather than looking back on it.
Filed under: Ted Kennedy
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