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      Economists: The vast majority missed the housing bubble. Intelligence Agencies: Remember Iraq? Part of the job description is lying. Any Army’s PR: Enough said. Life Insurance Agents: I worked back office dealing with agents. About 10 percent were looking after their clients first. Politicians: Yes, obviously. Stock Brokers: As the book said, “Where are the […]
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Your Breakfast Read, Sunday Edition

Kudos To The NY Times

This week’s NY Times Magazine is truly special. The entire edition is dedicated to the plight of women around the world. Nick Kristof, op-ed columnist at the Old Gray Lady has been doing a spectacular job on that front. He has brought us all kinds of heart wrenching and heart warming stories from different parts of the world.
Along with former Times correspondent Sheryl WuDunn, Kristof has co-authored Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. The essay linked to here, is adapted from that book.
The Women’s Crusade

IN THE 19TH CENTURY, the paramount moral challenge was slavery. In the 20th century, it was totalitarianism. In this century, it is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.

Yet if the injustices that women in poor countries suffer are of paramount importance, in an economic and geopolitical sense the opportunity they represent is even greater. “Women hold up half the sky,” in the words of a Chinese saying, yet that’s mostly an aspiration: in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos.

Hillary Clinton has been derided for making women’s issues one of the signatures of her tenure at Foggy Bottom. Krauthammer mocked her for being in the Congo while the real foreign policy was happening in Afghanistan, some pundit said she was making the job a 1st lady should be doing and not a SoS.
Why should the US making women equality across the world a moral imperative? Why should the US call attention to women abuse across the world? Why is Hillary bugging people with this “useless women stuff”?
Hillary Clinton’s Latest Campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton staked her claim as an advocate for global women’s issues in 1995, when, as first lady, she gave an impassioned speech at a United Nations conference in Beijing. As secretary of state, she pushed to create a new position, ambassador at large for global women’s issues, and recruited Melanne Verveer, her former chief of staff, to fill it. And she has drawn attention to women at nearly every stop in her travels, most recently on an 11-day visit to Africa, during which, among other things, she went to eastern Congo to speak out against mass rape.

Speaking of Hillary Clinton
It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Hillary Clinton Is? (h/t TC commenter joseyj)

She’s not answering those crisis calls at the White House. But she’s quietly revolutionizing American foreign policy.

Heath Care Nightmare

It was about time.
Concern, Doubts From the Left on Obama’s Health-Care Plan

Through most of the summer, opposition to President Obama and his health-care initiative has come almost entirely from the right. In the past week, however, the president has been trying to tamp down a noisy uprising on the left.

The immediate cause for the rebellion is growing concern among Obama’s progressive allies that he is prepared to deal away the public insurance option to win passage of a health-care bill. Obama insists that he still prefers the public option as part of any legislative package, but some friends on the left now clearly doubt his resolve.

This story was been pushed by opponents of HC reform and Chris Matthews relentlessly.
Abortion wars intensify over healthcare reform

Anti-abortion groups are posting videos and running ads saying that health-reform legislation in Congress would mandate federal funding of abortions. Pro-abortion rights groups – and President Obama – say that’s false. Two independent truth-squad groups, Factcheck.org and Politifact.org, also call the claim false, but Politifact acknowledges that the issue of federal subsidies for abortion is a more difficult question.

This is a tough issue.
Why Racial Profiling Persists in Medical Research

Experts within the research community say a small but stubborn streak of racial profiling has long persisted in the medical literature, borne out in studies that attribute health disparities between blacks and whites not to socioeconomics or access to health care alone but also to genetic differences between the races — a concept that implies that a biological category of race exists.

This is the man to save the day?
Daschle Has the Ear of the White House and the Health Industry

[T]hese days it often seems as if Mr. Daschle never left the picture. With unrivaled ties on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, he talks constantly with top White House advisers, many of whom previously worked for him.

He still speaks frequently to the president, who met with him as recently as Friday morning in the Oval Office. And he remains a highly paid policy adviser to hospital, drug, pharmaceutical and other health care industry clients of Alston & Bird, the law and lobbying firm.

Competition lacking among private health insurers

One of the most widely accepted arguments against a government medical plan for the middle class is that it would quash competition — just what private insurers seem to be doing themselves in many parts of the U.S.

Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.

Around The Nation

Why won’t this guy joust resign to go spend more time with is true soulmate? Or his family? This is turning into a death by 1000 cuts.
Sanford’s difficulties mounting

As talk of impeachment grows, the S.C. Ethics Commission said Friday it would consider probing new claims Gov. Mark Sanford failed to report private plane flights provided by friends and political groups.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Sanford has taken 35 trips on private planes since 2003 and failed to report on his ethics or campaign filings who paid for those rides.

An investigation that concludes Sanford violated state law could be used as the foundation for impeachment proceedings by House lawmakers when they come back into session in January.

Can any criticism of an individual or an institution still have some merits in this country? Had this “card” defense become the last refuge of the scoundrels?
Goldman Execs Blame Anti-Semitism

How worried are Goldman Sachs executives about their ability to manage the coming media tsunami when bonus season comes around?
Paranoia might not be too strong a word to describe the mind-set. People inside Goldman tell me that some senior executives say they believe the onslaught of negative stories detailing Goldman’s manifold ties to upper levels of government, charges that it somehow fraudulently profited from the subprime crisis, and now the press about the firm’s record earnings is so out of proportion to reality that the coverage contains an element of anti-Semitism—subtly playing off the racist myth of a conspiracy of Jewish bankers controlling the world for their own benefit

Meg Whitman is truly a brilliant person. She did a spectacular job at eBay. Please don’t lump her with Carli Fiorina who through sheer incompetence and pomposity almost sunk one of the greatest companies in history.
California GOP Pins Hopes on Ex-CEOs

After Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced a Democrat in 2003 to become California’s governor, fellow Republicans were hopeful the former movie hero’s popularity would help arrest a long decline here.

But six years later, Republican voter registration continues to fall, and now many in the party are pegging their hopes on two former corporate chief executives: Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.

Economy Watch

Even with all the administrative snafus, “C4C” has been a smashing success.
Scrambling for Deals as ‘Clunkers’ Winds Down

The program, which by Friday had received applications for nearly half a million cars, restored the frenetic, crackling energy that many dealerships had been lacking for months.

Has the economic downfall stopped? Has the recovery begun? What should we still be afraid of? Why are we still losing jobs?
You can find the answers in the articles below.
World Bankers Suggest Rebound May Have Begun

Central bankers from around the world expressed growing confidence on Friday that the worst of the financial crisis was over and that a global economic recovery was beginning to take shape.
Though the Fed chairman repeated his warning that the economic recovery here was likely to be slow and arduous and that unemployment would remain high for another year, he went beyond the central bank’s most recent statement that economic activity was “leveling out.” Speaking to central bankers and economists at the Fed’s annual retreat here in the Grand Tetons, Mr. Bernanke echoed the growing relief among European and Asian central bankers that their own economies had already started to rebound.

New signs raise hopes for recovery

The strongest monthly home sales increase in a decade and an encouraging economic assessment from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke have provided new support for the hope that recovery from the worst recession in decades may be at hand.

Commercial Credit Crunch Means We May Not Be Out of This Yet

You’ve probably heard that the nation’s financial system is out of the intensive care unit but still requires enough support that it’s not ready to be released from the hospital. A big reason: the fear of a relapse caused by the collapse of the commercial real estate market.

Did central bankers wait too long to intervene in the crisis and once they did, were they too timid?
ECB, Fed Defend Responses to Global Financial Crisis

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet defended his institution against criticism that he’s been too cautious in combating the deepest economic slump since the 1930s.

The policies of the world’s major central banks, led by Trichet, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa, were scrutinized by economists at the annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, this weekend sponsored by the Kansas City Fed.

Around The World

“War on terror 2.0” is shaping up to just another rendition of “War on terror 1.0”
Marines Fight Taliban With Little Aid From Afghans

In a region the Taliban have lorded over for six years, and where they remain a menacing presence, American officers say their troops alone are not enough to reassure Afghans. Something is missing that has left even the recently appointed district governor feeling dismayed. “I don’t get any support from the government,” said the governor, Massoud Ahmad Rassouli Balouch.

Taliban cut off fingers of Afghan voters

Making good on a threat of election day violence, the Taliban sliced off the index fingers of at least two people in Kandahar province, according to a vote monitoring group.

Gaddafi is a clown, but no one is laughing

The Libyan leader needs the West more than the West needs him. His brutal and corrupt regime is under pressure

Op-ed Columns

The NY Times is out today with a smashing editorial. They take one of the Right-wing tropes about the number of uninsured. These guys are on a roll today.
The Uninsured

No matter how you slice the numbers, there are tens of millions of people without insurance, often for extended periods, and there is good evidence that lack of insurance is harmful to their health.

Scores of well-designed studies have shown that uninsured people are more likely than insured people to die prematurely, to have their cancers diagnosed too late, or to die from heart failure, a heart attack, a stroke or a severe injury. The Institute of Medicine estimated in 2004 that perhaps 18,000 deaths a year among adults could be attributed to lack of insurance.

Who knew TNR could still come up with an editorial like this? I know it would take more for them to make up for sabotaging the UHC ’93.
Long live the death of bipartisanship!

In the last few months, few political spectacles have been more unnerving than the sight of President Obama and his allies lowering their ambitions, bit by bit, in a painfully futile effort to win support from Republicans.The pattern was on perfect display this week. One of the biggest flash points in the reform debate concerns whether to create a public insurance plan–a government-run program, like Medicare, that would compete with private insurers for business. Liberals (including those at this magazine) love the idea, because they think a government plan will be more reliable, not to mention cheaper. Conservatives hate the idea, because they fear a government-run program will run private insurers out of business. As an effort to forge a consensus, some Democrats have suggested ditching the public plan and, instead, creating a set of consumer-run, nonprofit health care cooperatives. The hope was that these co-ops would be more acceptable to the GOP, since they wouldn’t be government-run. But the hope turned out to be baseless. As the idea started to gain momentum, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl held a conference call to denounce the co-ops as government-run insurance by another name. He and his colleagues weren’t budging.

T.R. Reid goes the extra mile to clear up the misinformation and the ignorance polluting our health care debate.
5 Myths About Health Care Around the World

As Americans search for the cure to what ails our health-care system, we’ve overlooked an invaluable source of ideas and solutions: the rest of the world. All the other industrialized democracies have faced problems like ours, yet they’ve found ways to cover everybody — and still spend far less than we do.

I’ve traveled the world from Oslo to Osaka to see how other developed democracies provide health care. Instead of dismissing these models as “socialist,” we could adapt their solutions to fix our problems. To do that, we first have to dispel a few myths about health care abroad

Another economist for a 2nd stimulus.
Don’t Let the Stimulus Lose Its Spark

ENCOURAGING economic news has been reanimating the critics of President Obama’s stimulus program. But heeding their admonition to end the program would be a grave mistake. We need more stimulus now, not less.

Even if the economy is improving, it is still very weak. Another quarter-million jobs were lost last month, and even the most optimistic economists predict that it will be many more months, if not years, before robust employment growth resumes. Now we face an ominous new threat to recovery from sharp cuts in state and local government spending.

Have a Nice Sunday!!!

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36 Responses

  1. It’s 3 a.m. – do you know where Hillary Clinton is?

    >>>Amid all the distractions, what is Clinton actually doing? Only overseeing what may be the most profound changes in U.S. foreign policy in two decades — a transformation that may render the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush mere side notes in a long transition to a meaningful post-Cold War worldview.

    The secretary has quietly begun rethinking the very nature of diplomacy and translating that vision into a revitalized State Department, one that approaches U.S. allies and rivals in ways that challenge long-held traditions. And despite the pessimists who invoked the “team of rivals” cliche to predict that President Obama and Clinton would not get along, Hillary has defined a role for herself in the Obamaverse: often bad cop to his good cop, spine stiffener when it comes to tough adversaries and nurturer of new strategies. Recognizing that the 3 a.m. phone calls are going to the White House, she is instead tackling the tough questions that, since the end of the Cold War, have kept America’s leaders awake all night.


    • Thx for the link.

    • Even venerable publications — such as one to which I regularly contribute, Foreign Policy — have woven into their all-Hillary-all-the-time coverage odd discussions of Clinton’s handbag and scarf choices. Daily Beast editor Tina Brown, while depicting herself as a Clinton supporter, has been scathing and small-minded in discussing such things as Clinton’s weight and hair, while her “defense” of Hillary in her essay “Obama’s Other Wife” was as sexist as the title suggests.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082101772.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

      Wow, Tina Brown is a woman hating woman. How truly sad!

      • Irish Catholic?
        I never really connected the dots until recently because I thought it was an isolated phenomenon.
        The Catholic high school I attended had priests that came from the mid state coal regions. Most of the guys that grew up there played high school sports, married their cheerleader girl friends and went to work in the mines or the railroad. The guys too stupid to become doctors, lawyers, or engineers and too ugly to attract women became priests. Not all, some became alcoholics, or both.
        Anyway this particular priest hated women. In his lectures they were always named Suzie Swine or Mary Pig. At the time I knew why he was doing it just as I knew which priests were gay.
        But what I didn’t realize, until recently, was what if more that a few priests were like this and others were exposed to the same rhetoric but didn’t recognize it for what it was.
        Adam and Eve redux fueled by jealousy and rejection by the opposite sex?
        This would explain the misogyny demonstrated by several Irish Catholic news paper columnists and cable anchors.

  2. Why should the US making women equality across the world a moral imperative? Why should the US call attention to women abuse across the world? What is Hillary bugging people with this “useless women stuff”?

    • MAblue2,

      Good food for thought questions, you posed, and Hillary R. Clinton answered it in the Beijing speech in 1995. She knew, societies that respect Women’s Rights as Human Rights have societies that thrive and prosper and that benefits the whole community.

  3. Hillary Clinton in Beijing, China – September 5, 1995 (audio)
    Hillary Clinton, first lady at the time, traveled to China and spoke out for women’s rights. It was in Beijing that Clinton stood up and declared “Women’s Rights ARE human rights!” The world soon followed. http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/hillaryclintonbeijingspeech.htm Speech Text and a CNN better quality video of the event. Hillary R. Clinton is a SHERO!

  4. “Please don’t lump her with Carli Fiorina who through sheer incompetence and pomposity almost sunk one of the greatest companies in history.”

    I don’t think that’s fair at all. Listen to what people from HP say about her, “she led the reinvention of the company, steering it through the dot-com bust, the worst technology recession in 25 years and the controversial merger with Compaq Computer, now acknowledged to be the most successful merger in high-tech history.”

    She was in no way incompetent.

  5. American SiCKO Adrian Campbell Montgomery Explains Why Barack Obama May Be Making a Horrible Mistake

    • They could expand eligibility S-Chips from the bottom and Medicare from the top until the two meet or they could look at the German system where coverage is provided by regulated private insurance companies.
      Most of you have mandatory car insurance requirements in your state. Look at all the advertising for the different insurance providers, it’s not a market dominated by 4 or 5 major players anymore.

  6. Remember the Billionaires for Bush? Well, they’re baaaack with Billionaires for Wealthcare!


  7. This is off topic but I happened to tune into the world track meet that is going on in Berlin and was surprised to find all the female competitors wearing striped down tit and ass uniforms while the men compete in their usual uniforms. I was really shocked at how little the women wore and the body scanning camera action, am I the only one who noticed this? Are these women being forced to wear this like the beach volleyball women or is their choice. It is embarrassing and I turned it off. They may have gotten 5 more male viewers but they turned off female viewers and I hate to think of little girl athletes tuning into this parade of female ass. Comments anyone?

    • I’m really sorry to hear that. I’ve never understood why volleyball players have to wear bikinis. In what circumstances is it necessary to wear a bikini? Is the Volleyball Association afraid the women will hide things under tee shirts and shorts? Like what? Magnets? GPS units? Contraband?
      If it’s for ratings, let’s make all women athletes wear bikinis. How many men would tune in to see Anna Kournikova play tennis in her panties and livng bra?

    • I had the same thoughts. I know the speed skaters and swimmers wear tight body suits for stream lining and protection but they cover way more.
      So what is the advantage for runners?
      Would loose fitting shirts and shorts slow them down?

    • I noticed that at the Olympics. It certainly hasn’t always been that way but I have no idea why it’s standard now. I don’t think the purpose is titillation because women athletes would never have gone along with that idea. Maybe the women like the streamlined uniforms? Maybe all athletes would compete naked if they could because they think it makes them faster or clothing is distracting? Don’t know why the men don’t do it, too, because male swimmers sure don’t seem to mind not wearing much at all!

    • Take a look at male soccer or tennis players! For some reason their clothes has gotten bigger and baggier over the years. Just compare Björn Borg/Jimmy Connors back then to Federer today – lol, he even wears a dinner jacket!

      The female tennis players on the other hand seems to wear more and more (or is it less and less?) skimpy dresses!

      But Constance, I don’t agree with you, that it is only the female athletes in track and field that wear tight and skimpy clothing. The men certainly don’t try to hide those muscles that they have worked so hard for, lol! Many even rip off their shirt at the end!
      I’m pretty sure the choice of clothes is a matter of what makes each individual, male as female, more comfortable while competing.

      But I agree that it is kind of repulsive that there are rules for beach volleyball wear – limits to how much clothes they are allowed to wear! IMO that makes it less about sport and much more about show.

  8. Witness – Nima’s Story – Part 1: An intimate look at an Afghan life lived in the cross-winds of war and migration. The film tells the story of one man’s personal battle to adjust to a new life in a new country while struggling to contribute something positive to his homeland Afghanistan once again being ripped apart by conflict.

  9. Great roundup as usual, mablue2. I don’t know how you do it-and so early-but I’m glad you do.

  10. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-dc-obama-vacation,0,4774228.story?track=rss

    I feel so bad for backtrack. He will have to do something while on another vacation.

    My first laugh of the day, hurricane Bill screwed up the timing of the vacation.



  11. http://www.maniacworld.com/View-of-Hurricane-Bill-From-Space.html

    don’t mess with Bill



  12. http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/23/govdelivery-throwing-obama-under-the-bus/

    Again they blame someone else and get caught lying.



  13. I would like to recommend Matt Taibbi’s piece in the latest Rolling Stone. He pull no punches regarding the health care reform fiasco. It’s a good read though what he describes is enraging. I know he is not a favorite to many here but this article is very honest and, since Hillary’s not in it, you will most likely agree with his depiction of the few good guys and the more numerous bad guys(including Obama). Taibbi used to be pretty sharp, pre-Obama, and I’m glad to see him return to form.

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