2.27.2006 | Wal-Mart needs our help!

Apparently the world's largest retailer, a company with somewhere on the order of $10 billion in profits a year, can't afford to pay for health care for its employees! States already pick up the slack for Wal-Mart's low wages and benefits by providing affordable housing and Medicaid benefits, but Wal-Mart's CEO is asking governors to do more. If Wal-Mart can't afford to pay for its employees' health care, who can afford health care anymore?

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2.17.2006 | Checks and balances, baby

White House Ordered to Release Spy Papers

WASHINGTON - A federal judge ordered the Bush administration on Thursday to release documents about its warrantless surveillance program or spell out what it is withholding, a setback to efforts to keep the program under wraps.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060217/ap_on_go_co/eavesdropping


Accountability's a bitch, ain't it? Maybe there is hope after all.

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2.12.2006 | It's snowing

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2.06.2006 | Priorities

The new Bush budget: While giving no new aid to Katrina survivors, it seeks to keep in place the huge tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthy.

Update (2/10/2006): Apparently, tax cuts are also more important than feeding the elderly poor, among 140 other programs.

Update (2/17/2006): After a conversation with a friend, I realized that – along with the elimination of the Social Security survivors' death benefit – this can quite literally be called stealing money out of the hands of widows. Social Security is supposed to be a guarantee, and President Bush is betraying that promise.

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2.03.2006 | New, Improved Democrats – Now with backbone

One of the aspects about President Bush's State of the Union address earlier this week that bothered me most was how he decided to cast his opponents as being of a "pre-9/11 mentality." I wasn't the only one who noticed.

In this Daily Kos guest post, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin (D) relates his shock and dismay that so many of his colleagues in Congress would stand and applaud the president for going around Congress and exceeding his authority. Instead of a pre-9/11 mentality, Feingold boldly proposes that these members of Congress have a "pre-1776 mentality" and don't understand why we have the Bill of Rights to protect American citizens. Definitely worth reading no matter what side you're on in this issue.

More notable than the arguments in the post, however, is how this Senator was able to boil down a complex argument into what is basically a two-word phrase. Well done, Senator. Well done.

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Checks and balances – remember those?



Gearing up for November's Congressional mid-term elections, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has put together an excellent (though admittedly highly partisan) Web site explaining why checks and balances are a good thing in our system of government. When President Bush announced in his State of the Union Tuesday that he was going to continue ordering wiretaps without any sort of Congressional oversight, the majority party stood up in unison to applaud him. We need to have a group of lawmakers in Congress who are going to enforce the rule of law and hold the president to account.

Time and time again this Republican Congress has put loyalty to the president above the nation's best interests. In one case, the now notoriously confusing, expensive and ineffective Medicare prescription drug plan was passed by one vote because the House Majority Leader (pictured above, who is now facing money laundering charges in his home state of Texas) held open the vote by 15 minutes while promising the last swing vote to do some political favors for his son. This is what our government has been reduced to. In the ten years since Republicans first took office and promised reform, they have brought themselves to the point it took Democrats 70 years to reach.

We need some real change and real reform this November. As a former independent, I will tell you first: always vote for the best candidate. There are (be they few) reform-minded Republicans out there. But if it's a split decision, vote Democrat. A Democratic majority in just one house of Congress will bring the system of checks and balances back to our government that has been the pillar of our democracy since its founding.

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