Bill Scher

Only Good For Unsolicited Gropes

From the New York Times: On climate change, the White House has said it would hold firm against concrete long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a major priority for Mrs. Merkel. After lunch with Mr. Bush on Wednesday, Mrs. Merkel seemed to concede — without explicitly saying so — that her climate change plan was off the table. “There are a few areas here and there we will continue to work on,” she said, standing side by side with the president outside an elegant white castle on the grounds of the Kempinski Grand Hotel. When Mr. Bush turned to her and said he has “a strong desire to work with you” on the issue, the chancellor pursed her lips.

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Bill Scher

Will Congress Keep Ineffective Abstinence Ed?

Last month, CQ Today reported that House leaders were planning to let expire funds for abstinence-only education, a proven failure at getting teens to abstain from sex. But last night, CQ reported that a House appropriations subcommittee is planning on increasing funds for a different pot of money for abstinence ed.

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Bill Scher

Dems Limp on Abstinence Funds?

House leaders had been planning to let expire funds for abstinence-only education, a proven failure at getting teens to abstain from sex, CQ Today reported last month. But last night, CQ reported that a House appropriations subcommittee is planning on increasing funds for a different pot of money for abstinence ed. Why? According to CQ: Lawmakers say the olive branch extended to Republicans increases the likelihood that the bill will pass the House with a veto-proof majority. It also sends a strong signal that Appropriations Chairman David R. Obey, D-Wis., will avoid controversial social policy changes this year in the interest of moving bills. … The administration has said the president will veto spending bills that exceed his request, but Bush may not have the votes in Congress to back up his threat.

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Bill Scher

Pelosi Scrubs Dirty Air Proposal

Yesterday, TomPaine.com’s Alec Dubro called attention to a draft bill from coal-friendly Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va. — with tacit support from auto industry pal Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. — which would have prevented states from having strong greenhouse gas emission standards for cars. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Boucher and Dingell ain’t getting that past Speaker Nancy Pelosi: …Pelosi, responding to pressure from California officials and environmentalists, has slapped down a new proposal by top House Democrats that would have wiped out California’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases from cars and trucks.

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Bill Scher

Bush Leads On Global Warming … Into the Abyss

Conservatives like to use China as an excuse not to do anything serious on global warming. Why impose a cap on greenhouse gas emissions if China won’t? The counter-argument is that only if we take the lead will China and other developing economies follow. Al Gore made that case in his House testimony back in March. So, would China really follow our lead on global warming? Well, they just followed Bush’s. The Bush administration has long opposed any sort of real emissions cap, only offering nonbinding and weak goals for reducing the rate of emission increases. And this week, Bush will be scuttling Germany’s attempt to establish a cap during the G8 summit. Now, China released its own global warming plan. And it’s just like Bush’s. No mandatory cap. Only reducing the rate of emission increases, when actual decreases in emissions are critically needed.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Hacker: Obama’s Health Plan’s Actually Pretty Good

Jacob S. Hacker, the Yale University professor who has crafted a health-care-for-all plan that he has discussed with several Democratic presidential candidates, has taken a close look at the health care proposal released last week by Sen. Barack Obama and concludes that it’s better than the early reviews concluded. Read Hacker’s analysis on TomPaine.com. He’s says he’s still not totally sold by the Obama approach, but he argues that aspects of the plan “would dramatically transform American health insurance for the better.” In that respect, it’s a healthy addition to the debate now raging in the 2008 presidential campaign over how best to ensure that every person in America has full access to health care.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Absent Amnesty Anger

The Watchdog had a better than usual day with the Sunday shows this week. Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer kicked off his interview with the anti-immigrant Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. I wanted Schieffer to ask: You criticize the Senate immigration deal as an “amnesty proposal” because it would allow illegal immigrants to stay in America. But the vast majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay here, after paying penalties.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Absent Amnesty Anger

The Watchdog had a better than usual day with the Sunday shows this week. Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer kicked off his interview with the anti-immigrant Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. I wanted Schieffer to ask: You criticize the Senate immigration deal as an “amnesty proposal” because it would allow illegal immigrants to stay in America. But the vast majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay here, after paying penalties.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Absent Amnesty Anger

The Watchdog had a better than usual day with the Sunday shows this week. Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer kicked off his interview with the anti-immigrant Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. I wanted Schieffer to ask: You criticize the Senate immigration deal as an “amnesty proposal” because it would allow illegal immigrants to stay in America. But the vast majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay here, after paying penalties.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Absent Amnesty Anger

The Watchdog had a better than usual day with the Sunday shows this week. Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer kicked off his interview with the anti-immigrant Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. I wanted Schieffer to ask: You criticize the Senate immigration deal as an “amnesty proposal” because it would allow illegal immigrants to stay in America. But the vast majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay here, after paying penalties.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up

The Watchdog had a better than usual day with the Sunday shows. Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer kicked off his interview with the anti-immigrant Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., citing poll numbers similar to what was mentioned here, and concluding that “American people seem much more relaxed about all this than their leaders and opinion makers.” While Schieffer didn’t directly ask King why his charges of “amnesty” we’re falling flat with voters, the accurate poll analysis put King on the defensive, and precluded leaving the impression — left by other media outlets — that a defeat of the Senate bill would be the result of massive anti-immigrant sentiment.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program, where I’ll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up. For Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. (CBS’ Face The Nation): You criticize the Senate immigration deal as an “amnesty proposal” because it would allow illegal immigrants to stay in America. But the vast majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants the opportunity to stay here, after paying penalties.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Health Care: A Time To Be Bold

To members of Congress who intend to offer health care proposals: Do not be afraid to be bold. That’s the lesson that elected officials should take away from the mixed reaction to some of the proposals that have been offered for discussion in the past few weeks. Any elected official who wants to be viewed as adding constructively to the health care debate has to take chances with his or her proposal—and can.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Preview

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. And on Sunday at 4 PM ET, tune in to Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program, where I’ll offer the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up. We’re still waiting on the Sunday shows to announce their guest lineups before posting our suggested questions. And who they book can be quite telling. Will they book any environmental advocates to respond to Bush’s “greenwash” global warming proposal? After the release of Sen.

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Bill Scher

Bush’s G-8 Greenwash

President Bush today is getting a fresh round of favorable headlines for announcing this ahead of next week’s summit of the powerful G-8 nations: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China. Sounds nice, almost like he wants one of them Kyoto treaties. Except that on Wednesday, Reuters reported: President George W. Bush is under pressure from European allies to give ground on climate change at next week’s meeting of the world’s richest countries, but policy experts say prospects for a breakthrough are slim.

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Bill Scher

Greenwash Watch: Bush’s Empty G-8 Proposal

Today, President Bush is getting a fresh round of favorable headlines for announcing this ahead of next week’s summit of the powerful G-8 nations: By the end of next year, America and other nations will set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. To help develop this goal, the United States will convene a series of meetings of nations that produce most greenhouse gas emissions, including nations with rapidly growing economies like India and China. Sounds nice, almost like he wants one of them Kyoto treaties. Except that yesterday, Reuters reported: President George W. Bush is under pressure from European allies to give ground on climate change at next week’s meeting of the world’s richest countries, but policy experts say prospects for a breakthrough are slim.

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Bill Scher

Nobody Cares About Amnesty

To read today’s Washington Post, you’d think the debate over the immigration bill is between Amnesty and No Amnesty. The paper asserts that “the specter of amnesty has persistently haunted the debate — and could jeopardize the bill’s chances for passage” and “Opponents are able to successfully invoke amnesty…”. But if anti-immigrant forces are successfully invoking amnesty, then most Americans would be against allowing illegal immigrants to stay in America. They’re not.

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Bill Scher

Obamacare: Mixed Diagnosis

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., met his March pledge to release a health care plan by this month. And there’s been a flurry of blog reaction. Ezra Klein says, “Props to the Obama team for coming out with a public option and serious insurer regulation.” But Klein also stresses: “Unlike in the [Jacob] Hacker [Health Care For America] or [John] Edwards plans, the public option is not a general purpose insurer … Rather it is an insurer of specific groups, in the way Medicaid covers many of the poor, or SCHIP is targeted at children. In this case, it’s looking at small businesses, the self-employed, the unemployed, and those employed by companies who don’t offer insurance.” Perhaps most importantly, Klein notes: “Obama’s plan is not a universal plan.

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Bill Scher

Blogger Reaction to Obama Health Care Plan

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., met his March pledge to release a health care plan by this month. And there’s been a flurry of blog reaction. Ezra Klein says, “Props to the Obama team for coming out with a public option and serious insurer regulation.” But Klein also stresses that “Unlike in the [Jacob] Hacker [Health Care For America] or [John] Edwards plans, the public option is not a general purpose insurer … Rather it is an insurer of specific groups, in the way Medicaid covers many of the poor, or SCHIP is targeted at children. In this case, it’s looking at small businesses, the self-employed, the unemployed, and those employed by companies who don’t offer insurance.” Perhaps most importantly, Klein notes: “Obama’s plan is not a universal plan.

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