In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Congressional junkets: Another example of waste

Incoming Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid is “leading” a delegation of three other Democrats and two Republicans on a “fact finding” mission to South America this week.

Because of the trip, Reid and the others will miss the funeral of former President Gerald Ford. The others are Robert Bennett, R-Utah; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Judd Gregg, R-N.H.; and Ken Salazar, D-Colo.

The trip has generated debate on both liberal and conservative web sites on whether or not the Senators should have cancelled or postponed the trip because of the Ford funeral.

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A textbook example of the problems with newspapers

The McClatchy Co. is selling the Minneapolis Star Tribune for $530 million, which might seem a remunerative coup until you get the ouch news: Just eight years ago McClatchy paid $1.2 billion for the newspaper.

For McClatchy, the deal still seems logical. Analysts note the newspaper’s circulation and revenue are heading southward and that McClatchy needs to pay off its own purchase of the Knight Ridder chain earlier this year. The more interesting issue for the citizenry is Goldman Sachs’ judgment that the price is “a vivid reminder of the (newspaper) industry’s declining fortunes.”

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The case of the overreaching DA

The sensational rape allegations surrounding three Duke University lacrosse players presents an almost perfect testimonial to growing concerns about the violence being done to the nation’s justice system by ambitious, unbridled prosecutors who apparently have been reared on “ripped from the headlines” television like “Law and Order” in which self-righteous, unyielding district attorneys never (well, almost never) lose.

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George W. Bush: Both the best and worst of 2006

Bad guy of 2006: President Bush. Good guy of 2006: President Bush. When people were asked in an AP-AOL News poll to name the villains and heroes of the year, Bush topped both lists, in a sign of these polarized times.

Among entertainment celebrities, Oprah Winfrey edged out Michael J. Fox as the best celebrity role model while Britney Spears outdistanced Paris Hilton as the worst.

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Dems plan hearings on Iraq

Influential Democratic Senator Carl Levin opposed a “surge” of US forces in Iraq if it is not linked to a troop reduction program, and said his committee would meet in January to study all options in Iraq.

“The bottom line is, the main direction has got to be troop reduction. And, as far as I’m concerned, a surge which is not part of a program of reduction is not worth considering,” the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee told CNN television.

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Bush needs more time to craft a ‘new’ Iraq plan

President Bush worked nearly three hours at his Texas ranch on Thursday to design a new U.S. policy in Iraq, then emerged to say that he and his advisers need more time to craft the plan he’ll announce in the new year.

Burdened by low approval ratings on his handling of the war, the president is under mounting pressure to come up with a new blueprint for U.S. involvement in Iraq where the execution of Saddam Hussein — perhaps as early as this weekend — could incite further violence.

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Rice’s record: Poor with no signs of improving

Condoleezza Rice wraps up her first two years as secretary of state with few diplomatic successes to show for her efforts and fewer signs she plans to change course to improve the record.

And yet, as Rice heads into 2007, the 52-year-old former academic should be at the top of her game for the last two years of President George W. Bush’s administration.

She has seen off her longtime rival for Bush’s ear, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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A waste of good resources

The death of former president Gerald R. Ford should cause us, again, to ponder how we treat our ex-presidents.

Traditionally, once they walk out of the White House, they are pushed into pastureland extending as far as the eye can see. Oh, they may attend funerals of foreign leaders. They may join corporate boards and give paid speeches. They usually write their memoirs, always omitting the juiciest parts. They speak out on behalf of humanitarian causes. They raise money for their libraries. They receive Secret Service protection.

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Doesn’t it just drive you crazy?

It used to make me crazy when people would invite my then-husband and me over to dinner only to discover that another couple we’d never met had been included because the hosts thought we would “just love these folks.”

Whether we did or not, we’d have to spend the whole night making small talk and asking, “So, how old are your kids?” I was at an age and stage in life where I didn’t want to learn how old someone’s kids were. I just wanted to relax with people I already knew.

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