Howard Kurtz, former Washington Post reporter and current host of Reliable Sources on CNN.
Read his excellent takedown of media failures in the run up to the Iraq war here.
The United States has violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and shattered tribal structures with unmanned drone strikes in its counterterrorism operations near the Afghan border, a U.N. human rights investigator said in a statement on Friday.
“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married. That isn’t how I’ve always felt. As a congressman, and more recently as a senator, I opposed marriage for same-sex couples. Then something happened that led me to think through my position in a much deeper way.
Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay…”
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), announcing that after wrestling with the issue, he now supports marriage equality.
Now if only one of the Portman kids could come out as poor or unemployed, maybe Congress could pass a decent budget.
That Rob Portman — an actual honest-to-God Republican Senator and not just a has-been party operative or a GOP flack looking to be an MSNBC contributor — supports marriage equality is awesome. All hail Rob Portman and his son.
I only wish politicians of all ideological stripes would learn to generalize from something other than their immediate experience.
Does everyone remember Sen. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Senator who suffered a stroke and then realized that stroke victims on Medicaid may not be receiving optimal care? This is from the Chicago Sun-Times:
“I will look much more carefully at the Illinois Medicaid program to see how my fellow citizens are being cared for who have no income and if they suffer from a stroke,” Kirk said. He said in general a person on Medicaid would be allowed 11 rehab visits in Illinois.
“Had I been limited to that I would have had no chance to recover like I did. So unlike before suffering the stroke, I’m much more focused on Medicaid and what my fellow citizens face.”
I’m glad he cares about low-income Illinoisans who have suffered strokes! But there are also lots of people on Medicaid who have diabetes or heart disease or cancer and they all need help too. And beyond Medicaid, the poor need housing and transportation and affordable child care and food and heaven-forbid, actual money, so that they won’t be so poor anymore.
I struggle with empathy quite a bit, but I don’t need to have a stroke to realize that low-income people need access to high-quality medicine and a a slew of other services.
So, back to Portman. It’s great that his son came out. It’s a reminder that announcing your sexual identity to your family is a very powerful political act. It’s great that Portman supports SSM now. No snark about that.
But we can’t have policy being made entirely based on personal experience. Portman probably doesn’t have a transgender son. Or a Muslim son living in Pakistan. Or a daughter who can’t pay the rent. But the policies he helps make in Washington affects all those people and it’s not asking too much to expect elected officials to base their policy views on something other than their family circumstances.
(And if you’re near a TV, tune into MSNBC’s The Ed Show now!)
Can we just put aside ideology for one minute and agree that businesses hire more workers if they have more customers, and fire workers if they have fewer customers?
There are two big categories of customer: One is comprised of individual consumers. The other is government.
We tend to think of the government as a direct employer — of teachers, fire fighters, civil servants.
But government is also a major customer of the private sector. It buys school supplies, pharmaceuticals, military equipment, computers. It hires private companies to build roads and bridges, dredge ports, manage data.
One out of every five Americans works for a company whose customer is the government.
Here’s the problem: Both categories of customer are buying less.
Individual consumers are buying less because they have less take-home pay. Their wages are dropping (the median wage is 8 percent below what it was in 2000, adjusted for inflation). And their taxes have gone up. The expiration of the Social Security payroll tax cut will shrink the typical paycheck by more than $1,000 this year.
Less take-home pay is causing 45.7 percent of consumers to pull in their belts, according to a survey released Thursday by the National Retail Federation. A quarter of consumers are putting off big-ticket purchases. A third are cutting back on eating out. A fifth are spending less on groceries.
This is why January’s retail sales rose at their smallest rate in three months.
What about the other big customer – government? It used to be that when consumers spent less, government stepped into the breach and spent more in order to keep people employed. That’s what we were supposed to have learned from the Great Depression.
No longer. Government is cutting back, too. Deficit hawks and government-haters are insisting on it.
Last year, President Obama agreed to $1.5 trillion of spending cuts, which have already begun.
Unless Republicans and Democrats reach a budget agreement before next Friday, another $85 billion of spending cuts go into effect this year. They’ll begin almost immediately.
With consumers and government both spending less, businesses won’t hire more workers; they’ll fire more workers. That’s likely to happen in coming months.
Anyone with half a brain should be able to understand all this. But apparently many in Washington don’t have half a brain.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tweeting in support of Dream Act during State of the Union.
This seems rather significant, no?
“Hillary will be our next President and she will be a great one,” Tsakopoulos said at a private gala in California this past weekend.
Asked if this was confirmed by Clinton or whether it’s his personal view, he replied, “I talk to her husband, and he confirmed it. She will run.”
via stfusexists + ourmobileworld: The Times of India is running 1/4 page ads on why men should respect women. This is huge. There are no words for how happy I am to post this vs everything I usually reblog.
(Waiting for the NY Times to do something similar. Of course, they’d have to take time off from justifying the actions of gang rapists.)
They have it in other languages, or only English?
This is brilliant.