Category Archives: Washington Post

>Remembering The Faces of the Fallen This Memorial Day

>Faces of the Fallen is a collection of information about each U.S. service member who died in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

This information is updated at least twice monthly from military releases, news service reports and local newspaper stories. The photographs come from news services, local newspapers and family members and published online @ Washingtonpost.com

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Filed under Afghanistan War, Faces of the Fallen, Iraq War, Memorial Day, Washington Post

>Sunday Must Reading

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I’ve come across a few articles posted on different websites over the past couple of days that should be must reading for those that support the rights of union members, both public and private, to engage in collective barganing.

They deal with what is going on in Wisconsin and public opinion on what’s happing, not only in Wisconsin , but also across the country. These posts can be found on Forbes.com’s Policy Page blog by Rick Ungar, ThinkProgress.org and from the Washington Post’s Plume Line blog by Greg Sargent.

Rick Ungar’s post over at Forbes is titled “The Wisconsin Lie Exposed – Tax Payers Actually Contribute Nothing to Public Employees Pensions” informs us that public employees in Wisconsin fully fund their own pension system… the state adds no tax payer money to the fund contrary to what people have been hearing.

“Gov. Scott Walker says he wants state workers covered by collective bargaining
agreements to “contribute more” to their pension and health insurance plans.
Accepting Gov. Walker’ s assertions as fact, and failing to check, creates the
impression that somehow the workers are getting something extra, a gift from
taxpayers. They are not. Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin’ s pension and
health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state
workers. “

Over at ThinkProgress they post, “Top 10 Disastrous Policies From The Wisconsin GOP You Haven’t Heard About” where they talk about how:

“…Walker’s assault on public employees is only one part of a larger political program that aims to give corporations free reign in the state while dismantling the healthcare programs, environmental regulations, and good government laws that protect Wisconsin’s middle and working class. These lesser known proposals in the 144-page bill reveal how radical Walker’s plan actually is…”

And Finally Greg Sargent’s Plume Line post over at the Washington Post, “Public employees not such an easy scapegoat after all” informs us that according to recent Gallup Poll “…Public employees are turning out to be far harder to scapegoat in the public mind than many predicted…”

* Among those who make less than $24,000 annually, 74 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 14 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $24,000 to $59,000, 63 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 33 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $60,000 to $89,000, 53 percent oppose the proposal, versus only 41 percent who favor it.
* Among those who make $90,000 and up, 50 percent favor the proposal, versus 47 percent who oppose it.
Sargent concludes:
“…For all the attention being lavished on the likes of Chris Christie and his supposedly successful formula of targeting public employees as the new “welfare queens,” the bigger and more interesting story is that they aren’t turning out to be such easy targets, after all.”
Take a look at these articles and see what you think, I really believe they are must reads. If the radical right-wing and the GOP are successful in stripping public workers of their rights, it wont be long before they attack private sector worker looking to eliminate overtime, health, pension and other long standing rules.

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Filed under Forbes.com, Gallup poll, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov.Scott Walker, Greg Sargent, labor unions, public employees, Rich Ungar, Think Progress, Washington Post, Wisconsin

>Politicians’ reputations can be buried by snowstorms; If you’re a politician, beware of snow. It can bury a career.

>Very good Op-Ed by the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson that discusses the potential danger that politicians face when they downplay the negative effects that weather, in this case snow storms, can have on their reputations.

In the op-ed, Robinson talks about the potential damage that this weeks massive snowstorm may have caused to both Governor Chris Christie (away in Disney World) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg (perceived indifference) reputation of being competent and in control of whatever situations that may arise. He qualifies his opinion by detailing the effects that other major storms had on the careers of politicians in cities like Washington DC (Marion Barry 1987), Chicago (Michael Bilandic 1979) and Denver (Bill McNichols 1982), each lost their bids at election or re-election because of how voters in those cities perceived how well or not so well they handled their particular snow crisis.
It’s a good read that I hope others can learn from (are you reading this Gerry?):

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are learning that lesson the hard way, as their angry constituents dig out of last weekend’s blizzard. Bloomberg is being hammered for the city’s slow and incompetent response, especially in the outer boroughs; Christie, for jetting off to Walt Disney World just before the storm dumped nearly three feet of snow in parts of his state.

The two beleaguered officials – both of whom are rumored to have national ambitions – should have had a consultation with Marion Barry.

In January 1987, Barry kicked off his third term as mayor of Washington with a trip to Southern California for the Super Bowl. While he was getting a manicure and playing tennis at the posh Beverly Hilton, the voters who had elected him were being buried under 20 inches of snow. The city was utterly paralyzed – streets unplowed, buses immobilized, subway barely running. The mayor continued to frolic in the sun.

Are you getting any of this, Gov. Christie?

Finally, Barry came home. He wanted to survey the situation, so he had to tour the city by helicopter; his limousine, he explained, would have gotten stuck in the snow. His aerial assessment: “We’re not a snow town.”

Unbelievably, that wasn’t Barry’s first unfortunate encounter with winter weather. In 1979, barely into his first term, he was vacationing in Miami when an 18-inch snowfall shut down the city. When he got home, a reporter asked how people were supposed to get to work. “Take a bus,” Barry said. Informed that the buses weren’t running, Barry modified his advice: “They can walk.”

It’s unlikely that anyone will top Barry for grossly mishandling the aftermath of a snowstorm – and anyway, it was white powder of a different kind that led to his downfall. But his is hardly the only example.

In 1979, Michael Bilandic was expected to cruise to reelection as mayor of Chicago. He had the support of the Democratic machine, which usually guaranteed victory. But a series of big snowstorms that winter turned “the city that works” into “the city that couldn’t get to work,” with some neighborhoods left unplowed for weeks. Minorities and working-class whites felt particularly neglected.

Jane Byrne, an unlikely challenger in the Democratic mayoral primary, took advantage of Bilandic’s missteps by filming campaign ads on snowbound streets. She won narrowly – and went on to become the first woman to serve as Chicago’s mayor. Bilandic spent the rest of his career in the worthy obscurity of the state appellate bench.

Paying attention, Mayor Bloom-berg?

Snow can make voters forget all the good things you’ve done. Bill McNichols, who served as mayor of Denver for 14 years, is generally given credit for the city’s cosmopolitan growth. But a blizzard deposited two feet of snow on Christmas Eve 1982 – when city workers were at home with their families, not out clearing impassible streets and airport runways. How many Denver residents had their holiday travel plans ruined? Enough to get McNichols bounced out of office a few months later.

Snow eventually melts, but hardened hearts may not.


Read More >>> Here

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Filed under Chris Christie, Eugene Robinson, Michael Bloomberg, snow storm, Washington Post

>Public Still Trusts Obama More

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Heading into next year, I find this poll from the Washington Post/ABC News intriguing. I see it as an indication of more gridlock coming out of Washington as both sides of the political process try to one-up each other in an attempt to gain the upper hand next year, leading into the 2012 Presidential campaign.

Despite major Democratic losses in the midterm elections, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Americans trust President Obama marginally more than congressional Republicans to deal with the country’s main problems in the coming years, 43% to 38%.

Meanwhile, just 41% of those polled say the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives is a “good thing,” while 27% say it is a “bad thing,” and 30% say it won’t make any difference.

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Filed under ABC News, Congressional Democrats, Congressional Republicans, political wire, Poll, President Obama, Washington Post

The Washington Post – Editorial: Soft on terror? Not this president

Hat tip to my Facebook friend Jorge Santos-

The Washington Post
Sunday, January 3, 2010

THERE IS, it seems evident, more than enough blame to go around in the botched handling of the botched Christmas bombing. Not for some Republicans. With former vice president Richard B. Cheney in the lead, they have embarked on an ugly course to use the incident to inflict maximum political damage on President Obama. That’s bad enough, but their scurrilous line of attack is even worse. The claim that the incident shows the president’s fecklessness in the war on terror is unfounded — no matter how often it is repeated.

These critics have set up a straw Obama, a weak and naive leader who allegedly takes terrorism lightly, thinks that playing nicely with terrorists will make them stop, and fails to understand the threat that the United States faces from violent extremists. Mr. Cheney said that the incident had made “clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war.” Likewise, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) called on Mr. Obama to “recognize that we are at war with a murderous enemy who will not relent because we heed political correctness, acquiesce to international calls for deference or close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.” Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano “and the rest of the Obama administration view their role as law enforcement, first responders dealing with the aftermath of an attack. And we believe in a forward-looking approach to stopping these attacks before they happen.”

There are two ways to show how baseless these attacks are: examining Mr. Obama’s words and examining his actions.

Words first. “Evil does exist in the world,” Mr. Obama said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. “Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms.” In his weekly radio speech Saturday, he disposed of the war-vs.-law-enforcement canard, pointing out that in his inaugural address he made it clear that “0ur nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them and defend our country, even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations.” “

But actions speak louder, and Mr. Obama’s actions — often at the cost of enraging his party’s liberal base — have also demonstrated tenacity and pragmatism blended with a necessary reassessment of the flawed policies of his predecessors and a recommitment to the rule of law. He wants to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, which is all to the good given its stain on the national character, but he has delayed that goal until acceptable alternatives can be found. He has brought criminal charges against some terrorists, but he has also sent others to be tried by military tribunals. He has invoked the authority of the executive to have lawsuits dismissed because they risk exposing state secrets. In addition to the new troop deployments, he has aggressively used predator drones to strike at terrorists, including outside Afghanistan. Even before the failed attack, his administration has been working aggressively with Yemeni authorities to deal with extremists there.

It is possible to disagree with the administration’s decision to bring criminal charges against the suspect in the failed airplane bombing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, although we think that was the proper course. It is possible to fault, as we have, some of the administration’s public statements in the immediate aftermath of the attack. And as the president has acknowledged, the incident revealed failures in intelligence and in security screening that must be urgently identified and corrected. The country would benefit from a serious and bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that the lessons of the Christmas attack are learned. A groundless campaign to portray Mr. Obama as soft on terror can only detract from that effort.

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Filed under editorial, Nobel Prize, President Obama, terrorism, Washington Post

Despite clear progress, media declare health care reform nearing "life support"

Media Matters

Despite passage of health care reform bills in House and Senate committees and the endorsement by major medical organizations of congressional Democrats’ reform efforts, numerous television pundits have suggested that President Obama’s health care plan is in serious jeopardy.

As The Washington Post observed in a July 20 article: “Cable news programs repeatedly declare the president’s health care program is teetering or embattled despite a week in which [President] Obama’s proposals were endorsed by the doctor and nurses associations and committees in both legislative chambers passed major bills.” Indeed, despite passage of health care reform bills by the House Ways and Means Committee, House Education and Labor Committee, and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and endorsements of congressional Democrats’ reform efforts by the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association, numerous television pundits have suggested in recent days that Obama’s health care plan is in serious jeopardy.

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Filed under American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, health care reform, Media Matters, President Obama, Washington Post

>Lessons from the Bush Years

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Political Wire – In today’s must-read piece, Bob Woodward, who wrote four books on the Bush presidency, offers ten lessons that President-elect Obama and his team should take away from the last eight years.

1. Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.

2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even — or especially — when there are vehement disagreements.

3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure bad news makes it to the Oval Office.

5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.

6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.

7. Presidents must tell the hard truth to the public, even if that means delivering very bad news.

8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.

9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.

10. The president should embrace transparency. Some version of the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in his White House will always make it out to the public — and everyone will be better off if that version is as accurate as possible.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Bob Woodward, George Bush, political wire, President-Elect, ten lessons, Washington Post