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. Then on Monday, we’ll circle back and see if our questions were asked and answered. Let’s take back our media! For Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (CBS’ Face The Nation): You did not claim executive privilege when you were asked to testify under oath to the 9/11 Commission.

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Bill Scher

Public NOT Split On Response To Global Warming

The New York Times analyzes its own environmental poll, and concludes, “Public Remains Split on Response to Warming.” But on the poll questions (PDF file) that relate to actual proposals in Congress, the public isn’t split at all.

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Bill Scher

Blogger Reaction to the Dem Debate

The most entertaining liveblog goes to Minnesota Monitor by a mile. D-Day laments: “the country suffers when the questions and the format are seemingly the opposite of what would generate anything informative. I have no idea who won. I don’t even know or remember anything I saw. It was like watching some inoffensive teen sex comedy and laughing the whole time and walking out of the theater and immediately wondering what anybody’s name was or what the movie was about.” Frameshop also doesn’t care for the moderation: “the frame for the debate has been scattered due to Williams’ constant ‘gotcha’ questions. Every question is a challenge to past problems of the candidates.

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Bill Scher

Anyone Care About Global Warming?

Surprisingly little questioning in the presidential debate about what needs to be done to combat global warming, though both former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Joe Biden were able to work in their support for caps on carbon emissions.

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Bill Scher

Your Liberal Media

For the health care portion of the presidential debate, moderator Brian Williams did not ask any candidate what they would do to provide universal health insurance. He only asked either “What taxes would you raise?” or “How would you pay for it?” It’s not an unimportant question, but it’s certainly not the only question. Except that is, for the media, which doesn’t seem interested in informing the public what health care proposals they have to choose from. UPDATE: One substantive question on health care did come up, but from a South Carolina citizen over email, picked by the local journalist serving as Williams’ co-moderator.

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Bill Scher

Biden Attacks “Dishonest Reasoning” of the Supreme Court

Asked about his criteria for picking Supreme Court justices, Sen. Joe Biden criticized the conservative activist wing of the Court, including the new justices John Roberts and Sam Alito. Discussing the recent abortion ruling, Biden said: The truth of the matter is that this decision was intellectually dishonest. I think it’s a rare procedure that should only be available when the women’s life and health is at stake. But, what this Court did [is send] a Trojan Horse in, through actually dishonest reasoning, [and] lay the groundwork for undoing Roe v. Wade. That’s the danger of this decision, not the specific procedure, but the rationale offered… Sen. Chris Dodd, who voted to confirm Roberts, wouldn’t apologize for his vote. But said he was “disappointed” that: [Roberts] did something that he said he wouldn’t do.

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Bill Scher

Gravel: Make the War a Felony

The presidential debate led with Iraq, with much of the discussion tracking what we already heard at the MoveOn.org Town Hall. Except for former Sen. Mike Gravel, who proposed legislation “making it a felony to stay there,” telling the current congresspeople on the stage, “I’ll give you the text of it.” As far as the tactical considerations, Gravel said, “Let ’em filibuster it, and let [Sen. Harry] Reid call [it] up … every day to have a cloture vote.

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Bill Scher

Presidential Debate LiveBlog

Starting a hour from now (7 PM ET), we’ll be liveblogging tonight’s Democratic presidential debate, airing on MSNBC. We’ll be keeping our eye on the actual substance — in particular, what they’re offering on health care, global warming, Iraq and strengthening our overall economy. Stay tuned.

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Bill Scher

Is “Poverty” The Problem?

Following yesterday’s poverty-related posts from Isaiah and me, about how we can avoiding the conservative “us vs. them” frame, Shawn Fremstad from Inclusionist left a provocative comment: …we need to stop framing the debate in a way that automatically plays into the conventional us vs. them understanding of it. But continuing to name the problem of inequality and social exclusion as “poverty” does exactly that. … Instead of continuing to call the problem “poverty,” we should cast it in terms of the increasingly politically and publicly resonant language of inequality. When you say poverty, people hear charity and dependency and them; when you say inequality and inclusion, people hear economy and fairness and us. Food for thought.

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Bill Scher

Help The Poor, Help The Middle Class

Isaiah just hit upon something important when, in discussing the new anti-poverty program from Center for American Progress, he wrote: Conservatives succeeded in taking the nation’s eye off the ball on the issue of poverty by couching it as an issue of “us vs. them,” … But that offers progressives an opportunity to reframe the poverty debate as a “we’re-in-this-together” move toward a more equitable and prosperous society. How can we pull off such a frame? By making common cause between the impoverished and the middle-class. Where’s the common ground? Start with today’s column from New York Times’ David Leonhardt, “What’s Really Squeezing The Middle Class.” Leonhardt argues that we don’t know enough about volatility in the economy to say for sure that’s contributing to the squeezing.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Make Poverty A Priority

In little more than a decade after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” President Ronald Reagan led the nation in the equivalent of a helicopter evacuation from the epicenter of the fight.  Reagan and his band of conservatives also so poisoned the political discussion about poverty that even today many progressives dare not use a phrase that even smacks of “war on poverty” for fear of being tagged that epithet of epithets, an “out-of-touch, ’60s-style liberal.” So when President Bush presides over a Gilded Age of economic inequality exacerbated by his own policies, the political response is too often muted.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Equal Employment Agency Set Up To Drown

Celebrities spewing racist drivel get the headlines and the outrage, but largely out of the public eye the Bush administration has been doing something far more damaging to victims of discrimination than the utterance of a few vile slurs. In its classic Grover Norquist way, the Bush administration is shrinking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so, as Norquist would say, it can be drowned in a bathtub.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Make Poverty A Priority

In little more than a decade after President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty,” President Ronald Reagan led the nation in the equivalent of a helicopter evacuation from the epicenter of the fight.  Reagan and his band of conservatives also so poisoned the political discussion about poverty that even today many progressives dare not use a phrase that even smacks of “war on poverty” for fear of being tagged that epithet of epithets, an “out-of-touch, ’60s-style liberal.” So when President Bush presides over a Gilded Age of economic inequality exacerbated by his own policies, the political response is too often muted.

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Isaiah J. Poole

EEOC Set Up To Drown

Celebrities spewing racist drivel get the headlines and the outrage, but largely out of the public eye the Bush administration has been doing something far more damaging to victims of discrimination than the utterance of a few vile slurs. In its classic Grover Norquist way, the Bush administration is shrinking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so, as Norquist would say, it can be drowned in a bathtub. People who feel they have lost a job or a promotion, or have experienced some other problem at their job, because of their race, sex, age or religion are supposed to be able to go to the EEOC to get a fair and expeditious hearing.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Conservative Infant Death Syndrome

The rate at which infants are dying has begun to creep upward in several Southern states. This is an entirely predictable—and deadly—outcome of a systematic squeezing of federal and state health programs under conservative rule. The report in The New York Times Sunday  that outlined some of the effects of cuts in federal and state health programs on infant care, particularly in Mississippi under Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, certainly was no surprise to Julie Winokur, an independent filmmaker. She has spent the past few months investigating health care problems in Tennessee, where Democratic governor and former health care executive Phil Bredesen took a page from the conservative playbook and slashed a Medicaid program that had been hailed as one of the most inclusive in the country.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

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Bill Scher

Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required): “The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.” Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes: …Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

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