Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog:Newt’s Misstep

Every Friday afternoon, Bill Scher posts on the Common Sense blog “Weekend Watchdog,” a list of questions that guests on the upcoming Sunday morning talk shows should be asked. Then each Monday, Bill handicaps how the media did. Here’s his latest look at Sunday’s talk shows. Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked, “When you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog Wrap-up

Were the questions posed here on Friday’s “Weekend Watchdogs” actually asked on the Sunday shows? Fox News’ Chris Wallace did ask Newt Gingrich about the contradiction between his criticism of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and his past actions as speaker. Wallace first asked “when you were speaker, you made a number of foreign trips. You expressed opinions when you were overseas. So have other speakers.

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Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, Common Sense will 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 if they were answered. Let’s take back our media! For Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

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Bill Scher

Think Politically, Act Globally

We already knew the Bushies were trying to muzzle American climate scientists. Now, they’re going global. Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report detailing how global warming, if left unchecked, will impact all the regions of the planet. But before the report could be approved, Bush’s people were working with Chinese officials to water it down and politicize scientific conclusions. From the AP: Agreement came after an all-night session during which key sections were deleted from the draft and scientists angrily confronted government negotiators who they feared were watering down their findings. … Several scientists objected to the editing of the final draft by government negotiators but in the end agreed to compromises. However, some scientists vowed never to take part in the process again.

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Bill Scher

Recesspool Deepening?

There are reports that the President’s Recesspool could get worse. The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire reported Friday that Bush is considering putting the executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers in change of the agency that regulates the safety of the organization members’ products. The prospective appointee, Michael Baroody, would become head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. While at NAM, the former Reagan administration and longtime Republican lobbyist, according to Public Citizen president Joan Claybrook, “spearheaded campaigns designed to cripple the regulatory agencies and deny consumers access to the courts.

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Bill Scher

Recesspool

The abuse of the recess appointment perhaps isn’t President Bush’s most egregious attack on our Founders’ carefully crafted system of checks and balances, since others before him have exploited this constitutional loophole. But the implicit reasons behind each of the three significant recess appointments he made this week —installing the officials without Senate confirmation during the congressional recess—are quite egregious, and each in their own way. The one that’s gotten the most attention is Sam Fox, our new ambassador to Belgium.  It’s typical, if still highly inappropriate, for cronies of the president to get cushy ambassador gigs. But Sam Fox wasn’t just a big donor of Bush. He gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat liars that smeared Sen. John Kerry’s war record during his 2004 presidential bid.

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Bill Scher

Recesspool

The abuse of the recess appointment perhaps isn’t President Bush’s most egregious attack on our Founders’ carefully crafted system of checks and balances, since others before him have exploited this constitutional loophole. But the implicit reasons behind each of the three significant recess appointments he made this week —installing the officials without Senate confirmation during the congressional recess—are quite egregious, and each in their own way. The one that’s gotten the most attention is Sam Fox, our new ambassador to Belgium.  It’s typical, if still highly inappropriate, for cronies of the president to get cushy ambassador gigs. But Sam Fox wasn’t just a big donor of Bush. He gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat liars that smeared Sen. John Kerry’s war record during his 2004 presidential bid.

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Bill Scher

Recesspool

Yesterday, President Bush made three significant recess appointments, installing officials without Senate confirmation during the congressional recess. The abuse of the recess appointment perhaps isn’t Bush’s most egregious attack on our Founders’ carefully crafted system of checks and balances, since others before him have exploited this constitutional loophole. But the implicit reasons behind each appointment are quite egregious, and each in their own way. The one that’s gotten the most attention is Sam Fox, our new Ambassador to Belgium. It’s typical, if still highly inappropriate, for cronies of the President to get cushy Ambassador gigs. But Sam Fox wasn’t just a big donor of Bush. He gave $50,000 to the Swift Boat liars that smeared John Kerry’s war record.

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Bill Scher

Sen. Stabenow: “Negotiating the Best Price Is the American Way”

This afternoon, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI) joined the authors of the new Institute for America’s Future report, “The Waste and Inefficiency of the Bush Prescription Drug Plan” for a news conference urging the Senate to empower Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. As Sen. Stabenow declared, “negotiating the best price is the American way.” Reporters peppered the Senator with one of Big Pharma’s arguments: that the House bill as written wouldn’t give Medicare enough leverage to negotiate well. The Senator replied, “We have two arguments that are used on this,” that “it’s really not going to make any difference” and it’s going to cut into the drug industry’s enormous profits. Both can’t be true.

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Bill Scher

Putting Corporations First

The free market is the engine of our economy, conservatives like to say, so be quiet and let corporations take us for a ride. But the reminders are piling up that blind reliance on the private sector doesn’t lead to a strong economy that works for everyone. Today, NY Times business columnist David Leonhardt puts last week’s Circuit City layoff in perspective: …the company dismissed 3,400 people, or about 8 percent of its work force, not because they were doing a bad job and not because the company was eliminating their positions. Instead, executives said the workers were being paid too much and that the company would replace them with new employees who would earn less. It was the second such layoff at Circuit City in the last five years, and it offered an unusually clear window on the ruthlessness of corporate efficiency.

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Bill Scher

Putting Corporations First

The free market is the engine of our economy, conservatives like to say, so be quiet and let corporations take us for a ride. But the reminders are piling up that blind reliance on the private sector doesn’t lead to a strong economy that works for everyone. Today, NY Times business columnist David Leonhardt puts last week’s Circuit City layoff in perspective: …the company dismissed 3,400 people, or about 8 percent of its work force, not because they were doing a bad job and not because the company was eliminating their positions. Instead, executives said the workers were being paid too much and that the company would replace them with new employees who would earn less. It was the second such layoff at Circuit City in the last five years, and it offered an unusually clear window on the ruthlessness of corporate efficiency.

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Bill Scher

Bush’s Drug Plan Wasteful, Inefficient

A report released today concludes: “Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices would bring around $30 billion in savings that can help American seniors and taxpayers.” That finding was in a new report released today by Roger Hickey and Jeff Cruz of Institute for America’s Future, in cooperation with economist Dean Baker, entitled, ”The Waste and Inefficiency of the Bush Prescription Drug Plan.” This is critical information as the Senate considers scrapping the current ban on negotiation, which already cleared the House. (See this Common Sense post on the “army” of drug company lobbyists mobilized to kill the bill.) The Executive Summary of the report is below. Click here for the full report.

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Bill Scher

Bush’s Drug Plan Wasteful, Inefficient

A report released today concludes: “Allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices would bring around $30 billion in savings that can help American seniors and taxpayers.” That finding was in a new report released today by Roger Hickey and Jeff Cruz of Institute for America’s Future, in cooperation with economist Dean Baker, entitled, ”The Waste and Inefficiency of the Bush Prescription Drug Plan.” This is critical information as the Senate considers scrapping the current ban on negotiation, which already cleared the House. (See this Common Sense post on the “army” of drug company lobbyists mobilized to kill the bill.) The Executive Summary of the report is below. Click here for the full report.

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Bill Scher

Putting Corporations First

The free market is the engine of our economy, conservatives like to say, so be quiet and let corporations take us for a ride. But the reminders are piling up that blind reliance on the private sector doesn’t lead to a strong economy that works for everyone. Today, NY Times business columnist David Leonhardt puts last week’s Circuit City layoff in perspective: …the company dismissed 3,400 people, or about 8 percent of its work force, not because they were doing a bad job and not because the company was eliminating their positions. Instead, executives said the workers were being paid too much and that the company would replace them with new employees who would earn less. It was the second such layoff at Circuit City in the last five years, and it offered an unusually clear window on the ruthlessness of corporate efficiency.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Iraq Enablers In The Crosshairs

A coalition of activists leading the opposition to the war in Iraq is refusing to give an inch to President Bush, who today unleashed more venom at Democrats for doing what a majority of voters want: a responsible withdrawal from Iraq. One member of that coalition, Americans United for Change, announced a campaign targeting two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and John Sununu of New Hampshire. Both voted against a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq last week even though they have made statements critical of the administration’s war policy. Both are up for re-election in 2008.

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Bill Scher

“You look at the number of lobbyists — we are up against an army.”

On Sunday, the Center for Public Integrity released a new report finding the pharmaceutical lobby flooded Washington with $155 million from January 2005 to June 2006, employing a stunning 1,100 lobbyists. One public health advocate rightly said, “we are up against an army.” That’s what they had, not what they have now. Back in January, we noted here that pharmaceuticals were “scrambling to hire lobbyists with Democratic ties”, after the new Congress was sworn in.

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