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Archive for August, 2009

Senator Kennedy’s Gulf Coast Rebuilding Plan

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

EMK-official Senate portrait

“For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

While others have gone quickly online with some very affectionate and stirring tributes to Senator Kennedy, we wanted to take a little time to reflect on his life and work (plus, we’ve been busy fine-tuning our newly redesigned web site). As usual, we look at things in relation to New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast. It may be only accidental that the great senator’s death falls within days of the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but there’s an important connection people should know about, and surely some credit goes to the Louisiana woman he married, Victoria Reggie Kennedy.

It was Senator Kennedy who proposed a Gulf Coast Rebuilding Plan soon after the storm. This comprehensive rebuilding plan was said at the time to have been modeled on the Tennessee Valley Authority; as usual, Senator Kennedy thought large, seeing the scope of the effort the crisis called for. (Note that here, once again, he found a cosponsor for a bipartisan bill in Republican senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire.)

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Feingold Asks Obama for Timetable on Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

ThinkProgress.org

ThinkProgress.org

Think Progress calls attention to a report by ABC News that Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is calling on President Obama for a timetable for when the U.S. will withdraw forces from Afghanistan. The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 after the attacks of September 11, but attention and resources were soon diverted to the U.S. invasion of Iraq (March 2003). President Obama began a build-up of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to intensify military pressure on resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda forces earlier in 2009. The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 22 that there are now 58,000 troops in Afghanistan and nearly 74,000 military contractors. The AP reports that military officials expect that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the chief U.S. commander in Afghanistan, may ask for an additional 20,000 troops—and even that increase may be less than what McChrystal really needs to get the situation under control. But what would “under control” mean?

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RT4: Sinking to New Heights

Friday, August 21st, 2009

RT4

Design by Greg Peters | Suspect Device

Just a quick word to say hello to our friends gathering in New Orleans this weekend for the fourth annual Rising Tide bloggers’ conference on the recovery and future of the Sunken City. Can’t be there this time—profound regrets—but we’ll be there in spirit and hope to see everyone again soon.

This year’s theme: “Sinking to New Heights.” Our friend George “Loki” Williams will be the emcee nonpareil, and the one and only Harry Shearer will be the keynote speaker. (Shearer is a sometime resident of New Orleans and blogs about the city frequently on Huffington Post.)

It all comes together on Saturday at the Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center. There will be four panel discussions: on New Orleans culture, politics, health care, and sports. Read all about it on Loki’s Humid City here. Click here for the registration and information site (includes directions).

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Obama, Keep Public Option

Friday, August 21st, 2009

“The public option, whether we have it or we don’t have it, is not

the entirety of healthcare reform. This is just one sliver of it . . .”

—President Obama in Grand Junction, Colo., Aug. 15, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama
Gerald Herbert/AP

Gerald Herbert/AP

Dear President Obama:

I campaigned for you and have volunteered on Organizing for America phone banks here in New York City, calling voters to urge their senators to support a strong public option. But I refuse to give another minute of my time if there’s no public option. This is non-negotiable. We should have a single-payer, Medicare-for-all bill. To surrender the public option would be suicidal. Democrats should prepare for revolt if the administration and Congress back down.

It is distressing in the extreme to hear you backpedaling from insisting on a public option. And it’s sickening that the White House made a secret deal with drug companies to limit cost-savings in exchange for their support. (What I’ve heard is that Emanuel and Baucus made a deal with Big Pharma and Insurance in exchange for a promise to guarantee campaign money for Democrats not Republicans in 2010.) From an administration that promised transparency, this is betrayal; it makes us sick—and no co-ops will cure us.

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