December 16, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Congress passed a massive $662 billion defense bill yesterday after months of wrangling over how to handle captured terrorist suspects without violating Americans' constitutional rights. A last-minute compromise produced a truce, but lawmakers said the fight's not over. The Senate voted, 86-13, for the measure and will send it to President Obama for his signature. The bill would authorize money for military personnel, weapons systems, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and national-security programs in the Energy Department for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The legislation is $27 billion less than Obama wanted and $43 billion less than Congress gave the Pentagon this year, a reflection of deficit-driven federal budgets, the end of the Iraq war and the drawdown in Afghanistan.
June 20, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - A fissure has opened up among Republicans over the U.S. role on the world stage as party leaders grapple with whether to confront President Obama this week over the U.S. role in Libya. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and other congressional Republican leaders have said that U.S. involvement in NATO's bombing campaign, which hit the 90-day mark Sunday, violates the War Powers Act. The House could seek to cut off money for the war as it takes up the annual Pentagon spending bill late this week.
September 29, 2010
IT HAS TO be said - our leaders are "weenies. " They sit in their offices and go to their board or Council meetings, and "run silent, run deep. " They put on a smug face, slouch back in their huge chairs, even throw a pencil or a tantrum, but they're still weenies. Nancy Pelosi is experiencing it - many colleagues now treat her like she has a disease when, months ago, they stood with her on the health-reform bill. Arlen Specter betrayed his party and didn't care who he weenied on. Joe Sestak wouldn't reveal the deal.
September 1, 2010 |
Dressed to Kill star Angie Dickinson , 78, writes about her daughter's autism in an essay in Los Angeles magazine, excerpted by Newsweek. Troubles for Nikki Bacharach , Dickinson's daughter with composer Burt Bacharach , began early: She was born three months premature in the summer of 1966, weighing only one pound, 10 ounces. She was placed in a preemie isolette and was not allowed to be touched - a bad move for any baby, Dickinson notes. "Even the doctors back then didn't know the value of touch," she writes, "that if you never get touched or hear a loving voice or get held in those first months, you won't ever feel real or feel connected to anything.
August 28, 2010
WHEN I heard Bristol Palin might be a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," I thought it was a joke. No, not a funny ha-ha joke. A joke like Bristol and Levi reuniting and getting their own reality show. A joke like Levi dropping the jilted-lover bit and running for office. You know, a sick, twisted, only-warped-minds-could've-come-up-with-this joke. Apparently, it was not a joke. (ABC won't say for sure until the announcement show Monday night.) I don't blame Bristol, though.
August 27, 2010 |
Republicans are in the midst of an insurrection. Democrats are not. This vast gulf between the situations of the two parties - not some grand revolt against "the establishment" or "incumbents" - explains the year's primary results, including Tuesday's jarring outcomes in Florida and Alaska. The agitation among Republicans is not surprising, given the trauma of the final years of George W. Bush's presidency. After heavy losses in 2006 and 2008, it was natural that GOP loyalists would seek a new direction.
June 17, 2010 |
It was one of those ohmyGod moments. Gen. David Petraeus was testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. John McCain was pressing him for his opinion on the feasibility of President Obama's July 2011 deadline to begin troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. Suddenly, the general slumped onto the table. Fortunately, it was only a case of dehydration. After leaving the hearing room and drinking some fluids, Petraeus returned and quipped, "It wasn't Senator McCain's questions.
May 7, 2010 |
After intense sparring over the stimulus plan and a protracted debate over health-care reform, the U.S. Senate was poised to see the introduction of a bipartisan energy and climate bill by Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Democrat-turned-independent Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. But what was almost a rare kumbaya moment was crushed by a familiar Washington interloper: politics. Facing a tough reelection bid in Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that instead of allowing the climate bill to follow health care on the Democratic agenda as promised, he is shifting his focus to immigration.
April 5, 2010
Remember how little kids would take their football, or basketball, or baseball bat, or whatever, and go home because they weren't winning? Republicans are threatening to act that way because they lost the health-care reform fight, and the likelihood of Congress tackling immigration this year has become remote as a result. That's too bad; this issue is much too important to get caught up in partisan pettiness. But one of the most stalwart proponents of immigration reform in the past has been reduced to being a milquetoast on the issue because he faces a strong election challenge from the right.
March 30, 2010
Not so fast with 'scholarships' Are we surprised? Gov. Christie of New Jersey is backing a bill similar to Pennsylvania's Education Empowerment Act, which allows millions in tax credits for corporations who donate "scholarships" to public-school students who then can apply to the schools of their choice. The way the law works in Pennsylvania should be a caveat for New Jersey. First of all, the amount of tax credits keeps increasing with each renewal, and the chief beneficiaries, besides its corporate sponsors, are elite sectarian schools that would otherwise be cash-strapped.