Michael Ettlinger writes for the Center for American Progress: "The budget blueprint released by President Obama today is a positive shock to the system. First, it stands apart for its integrity. It lays it all out there: the size of the deficit, the cost of the war, the cost of tax reductions, the details of tax increases, the state of the economy. It’s all there for everyone to see without deceit. It’s sad that such honesty is novel, but it is, and it’s welcome."
James Galbraith: Obama Isn't Doing Enough to Solve the Financial Crisis
Nick Baumann writes for Mother Jones: "The financial crisis is even worse than people think (and people already think it's pretty bad), and we aren't doing enough to stop it, economist and Mother Jones contributor James K. Galbraith told the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday morning."
Obama's War with the Right (& Media)
Robert Parry writes for Consortium News: "Though Obama lays the bulk of what he calls 'a legacy of mismanagement and misplaced priorities' at the feet of the Bush administration, there is no mistaking his larger message - that the problems which were 'exacerbated' by Bush's tax cuts and other pro-rich policies have been building since Reagan's 1981 inaugural declaration that 'government is the problem.' Obama even made a glancing reference to that formulation in his preamble to the budget message. 'We need to put tired ideologies aside, and ask not whether our government is too big or too small, or whether it is the problem or the solution, but whether it is working for the American people,' Obama said."
The GOP's Anti-Obama Propaganda
Robert Parry writes for Consortium News: "The official history of what happened during Bill Clinton's difficult first two years - which ended in a sweeping Republican congressional victory in 1994 - focuses on the GOP's united resistance to his economic plan and Hillary Clinton's failed health care reform. But there was a darker side to the political damage inflicted on the early Clinton administration."
Doomed to Repeat History in Afghanistan?
Joe Galloway comments for McClatchy Newspapers: "If the new American team has some new ideas about how to succeed in Afghanistan, now would be the time to lay them out. Nothing that Alexander the Great, Queen Victoria or Leonid Brezhnev tried in their attempts to subdue the quarrelsome Afghan tribes worked, and nothing we've tried in the last eight years has, either. While we're waiting for a new strategy, perhaps we should break out some old Kipling: 'When wounded and left on Afghanistan's plain.' 'And the women come out to cut up your remains ....' Etc., etc."
Marie Cocco writes for Truthdig.com: " For someone who spent much of the Democratic primary season running against the Clinton era, Barack Obama sounds an awful lot like Bill Clinton. Obama is unfortunate in the deeper problems he has inherited, but much more fortunate in working with a more united—and more liberal—Democratic Congress than did Clinton, who took office with his party still uncertain of its direction after losing three consecutive presidential elections to Republicans. But their first State of the Union-style speeches to Congress were remarkably alike. "
The So-Called Sebelius Fight
Saturn Smith writes on the Open Salon blog: "The nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to Health and Human Services seems pretty official -- the New York Times reports she's accepted the nomination, and though it's sourced anonymously, it's supported by the head of the Democratic Governor's Association sending out congratulations (and by Claire McCaskill tweeting about it? OK, probably not a real confidence builder)."
Health Care Reform Is Needed Now More Than Ever
Mark Weisbrot writes for Truthout: "With the US economy's downward spiral still accelerating and the federal government looking at its largest budget deficits since World War II, some are saying that this is not the time to expand health care coverage to all Americans. But this is exactly the time for the Obama administration to move boldly on its campaign promise to implement a universal health care system. Obama wants spending that stimulates the economy in the short term, but he also wants to reduce the long-term deficit problem after the economy recovers. This is exactly what health care reform will do."
Eric Holder and the Whitewashing of Racism
Tim Wise writes for Counter Punch: "It was all too predictable that Attorney General Eric Holder would be attacked for his recent remarks about race in America. To suggest that the nation is still haunted by the specter of racism is unacceptable it seems, especially since, with the election of President Obama, we have ostensibly entered the 'post-racial' era."
Iraq's Queer Underground Railroad
Peter Tatchell reports for the Guardian UK: "Dozens of LGBT Iraqis whose lives are at risk from death squads have been helped by a secret network of safe houses in Baghdad and other cities similar to the Underground Railroad that helped lead slaves to their freedom in the U.S. in the 19th century, according to human-rights activist Peter Tatchell. The clandestine network works to spirit the Iraqi gays to safety in other countries. 'This heroic work is not without its risks and sacrifices,' Tatchell writes. 'Many of the underground activists have been assassinated, in a series of grisly homophobic and transphobic murders.'"
After the GreenEconomy, Green Security
Chip Ward writes for TomDispatch.com: "Common to sudden catastrophes is the shock of finding the world upside down. The water is suddenly on top instead of under; the rumbling earth swallows houses and spits out lava; the mud wall slides down from above; the flames roar up; the wind spins; the tower topples. In an instant, everything is broken and nothing works. What you relied upon is gone."
Food Crisis - The Facts
New Internationalist magazine provides data that show the increase in global food prices may have temporarily stalled but food is expected to remain at record price levels for the foreseeable future. Industrial agriculture’s chickens have come home to roost. But the price is being paid not by agribusiness and food retailers but by small farmers whose income remains low, and by the millions being pushed into malnutrition.
The GOP's Misguided Energy
Jonathan Sten writes for MotherJones: "House Democrats wanted to talk energy efficiency. Their GOP colleagues had other things in mind. As Rep. Henry Waxman's energy and commerce committee begins to forge comprehensive climate change legislation, a preliminary hearing on Tuesday foreshadowed what is likely to be a torturous process due in part to Republican distractions."
Call for Mass Civil Disobedience against Coal
Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry write for YES!: " There are moments in a nation's-and a planet's-history when it may be necessary for some to break the law in order to bear witness to an evil, bring it to wider attention, and push for its correction. We think such a time has arrived, and we are writing to say that we hope some of you will join us in Washington D.C. on Monday March 2 in order to take part in a civil act of civil disobedience outside a coal-fired power plant near Capitol Hill.:
George Will, Washington Post Traders to Humanity
Paul Rosenberg writes for Open Left: "George Will, "Dark Green Doomsayers", Feb 15: "according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, there has been no recorded global warming for more than a decade"
U.N. World Meteorological Organization, "WMO statement on the status of the global climate in 2007" (pdf), p4: "January 2007 was the warmest January since global surface records were instituted."
Bad Ballots in Florida Doubled in 2008
United Press International reports: "Election officials in Florida say they found twice as many ballots were rejected as invalid in 2008 as in 2004. After switching nearly all voting to paper ballots and optical scanners for the 2008 election, officials said the rejection rate of 0.75 percent was considerably lower than in 2000, when it was 2.9 percent, The New York Times reported Thursday."
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