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Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fragmented Politics

The U.S. has become a nation so divided by factions that progress has become near impossible, say Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal's Wonder Land columnist. (July 3)

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Gas Prices & the Middle Class Squeeze -ASK THE EXPERT

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/06/gas_food.html How are rising gas prices affecting household budgets? Is there an end in sight to the middle-class squeeze? And how can we ease the strain on America's families? Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Christian Weller answers the call in the latest installment of CAP's ASK THE EXPERT series.

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Harvard Study Questions 'Long Tail' Theory

The Long Tail made a big splash when it was published two years ago; the Internet, said the book, was changing the way culture worked. Portals columnist Lee Gomes explains how a Harvard researcher is casting doubt on the theory. (July 2)

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McCain U- National Security - Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/analyzing_mccain.html �McCain has been advocating a neoconservative agenda since before 9/11, and he's still advocating that agenda today�that's why when McCain jokes about 'bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran' many of us aren't laughing,� said Faiz Shakir, Research Director at CAPAF, who provided �McCain 101� on national security. The national security panel included Ken Gude, Associate Director of the International Rights and Responsibility Program at CAPAF; Brian Katulis, Senior Fellow at CAPAF; and Gayle Smith, also a Senior Fellow at CAPAF. The panel was moderated by Rand Beers, president and founder of the National Security Network. Panelists criticized McCain for having a narrow foreign policy that focused on using force to combat terrorism to the exclusion of other strategies and issues. �I don't think he's an expert on national security,� said Smith, who faulted McCain's focus on terrorism as a �one-dimensional� approach to national security. By dismissing international organizations and trying to destroy profoundly ideological networks by force, Smith said, McCain would reinforce the �with us or against us� mindset of the Bush administration and damage America's standing in the international community. McCain is �trying to conflate national security with the willingness to use force,� she noted. She also argued that McCain has no plan to deal with the 50 weakened or failing states in the world. Katulis emphasized the parallels between McCain and President Bush, and argued, �it's a different century, and I think the last 6 or 7 years have demonstrated that we need a new approach�John McCain isn't offering that.� Katulis said that McCain's use of words like �freedom� and �liberty� mask the fact that �there's a lot that does not substantively add up in John McCain's record on national security�freedom is just another word for not having a national security strategy.� McCain's Iraq policy is also confused, said Katu

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McCain U- Energy & Environment - Appetite for Destruction

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/analyzing_mccain.html �George Bush cannot be the bar against which we measure John McCain,� argued Navin Nayak of the League of Conservation Voters. Nayak provided �McCain 101� for the final panel of the day on energy policy. The panel included Joseph Romm and Bracken Hendricks, both Senior Fellows at CAPAF, and Nayak, who emphasized that while McCain's energy policies look good compared to President Bush, voters must look at McCain's policies more broadly. Like Bush, Nayak said, McCain opposes renewable energy, as evidenced by his votes against a renewable electricity standard and tax credits for renewable energy. Nayak also criticized McCain for voting against increasing automobile fuel efficiency, his advisors' ties to the oil and gas industries, and the fact that McCain's plan to combat global warming only calls for 60 percent reductions in greenhouse gases by 2050. Romm criticized McCain for what he called a �placebo energy policy,� which would do nothing to resolve the energy crisis, but would still make people feel better. Similarly, Hendricks criticized McCain for supporting energy policies which even McCain acknowledged would only have a �psychological� effect. Attacking McCain's support of a gas tax holiday, Romm said, �the important thing to realize about the gas tax holiday is that it's just a holiday for gas and oil companies.� Romm also argued that allowing offshore drilling in sensitive costal areas, as McCain has proposed, would have no effect on oil prices. Romm also attacked McCain's plan to offer $300 million to the inventor of cheaper, more efficient batteries that could make plug-in hybrids more efficient. �It is completely pointless for the federal government to offer $300 million�there's no way you could actually award this prize. Nobody invents anything that is much cheaper than existing technology today. That only occurs when you sell a million units a year�this is a complete and utter gimmic

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McCain U- Don't Get Sick

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/analyzing_mccain.html �Overall, the goal is not universal coverage, it's cost containment,� Peter Harbage said while introducing McCain's health care plan. Harbage, Health Care Policy Advisor at CAPAF, described how McCain's plan would allow a $5,000 tax credit for families and $2,500 for individuals with which they could purchase private health insurance and establish health savings accounts. Harbage noted, however, that the tax credit would grow at the rate of inflation, rather than at the higher rate of health care cost increases. He also said that McCain would allow the sale of health insurance across state lines. Currently, states regulate insurance within their borders. Jeanne Lambrew, Senior Fellow at CAPAF, moderated the discussion on health care. Panelists included Karen Davenport, Director of Health Policy for CAPAF; Karen Pollitz, Director of the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University; and Harbage, filling in for Elizabeth Edwards, also a Senior Fellow at CAPAF. Pollitz set the framework for the discussion by arguing that a successful policy must make health care available, bring down costs, and provide adequate coverage, all the time. She noted that health care costs are unevenly distributed, and �the sickest 5 percent account for half of all spending.� Pollitz said that a competitive insurance industry will always try to limit insurance for people when they are sick, so �the only way to make a competitive insurance market cover people when they are sick is to regulate it.� She criticized McCain's health care plan for deregulating health care and removing tax credits for job-based coverage, although such coverage currently provides health insurance to many Americans. Pollitz further faulted McCain's plan for allowing insurance companies to choose the state in which they are regulated, and therefore choose which set of regulations apply to them. Panelists agreed with Davenport when she commented,

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McCain U- What Economic Policy?

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2008/analyzing_mccain.html �What's rather stunning about Sen. McCain's proposals�is their magnitude, and the magnitude of the tax relief that is devoted solely to people at the very top,� Gene Sperling, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, told the audience. Sperling was a participant in the economic panel, which was moderated by Robert Gordon, also a Senior Fellow at CAPAF, and included Jared Bernstein, Director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute. Prior to the panel, James Kvaal, Domestic Policy Advisor for CAPAF, provided an overview of McCain's economic plan. The panelists focused on the president's influence on the distribution of wealth and national regulatory policies. Referring to McCain's economic policy, Sperling said, �I don't think I have ever seen anything quite like that.� Sperling pointed out that all major presidential candidates from both parties support extending the Bush tax cuts for people earning under $250,000, but McCain supports an additional $110 billion in tax cuts for those with incomes above that amount. Additionally, McCain has proposed corporate tax cuts of over $175 billion. �The difference between him and most progressive candidates�is about $300 billion per year,� said Sperling. The panelists agreed that McCain's plan to offset these tax cuts by eliminating earmarks and holding down spending was unrealistic, with Bernstein comparing cutting earmarks to �bringing a thimble to a crater.� �This notion that we can hold the line on spending is a complete abstraction,� said Bernstein. To offset tax cuts, �you're going to have to go after the entitlements, and that's actually what worries me the most.� Because they favor the wealthy, the Bush and McCain tax plans �exacerbate the inequalities in the system,� Bernstein said. Sperling added, �corporate profits have not been a problem. The problem has been wages and jobs.� He suggested focusing

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Iran, Oil, Food Among Bush's G8 Summit Agenda

President Bush lays out his agenda for next week's G8 Summit in Japan. Among other issues, Bush says he will discuss Iran's nuclear program, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, food shortages and rising energy costs. Video courtesy of Fox News. (July 2)

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Hot, Hot, Hot, Hot, or Not! - June 26

Kotecki's rundown of the hottest and nottest of this week in politics... and this one comes with dessert!

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Cindy's big spending

Politico's Ken Vogel talks about Cindy McCain's fortune.

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Cindy's big spending

Politico's Ken Vogel talks about Cindy McCain's fortune.

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Colombia Free Trade Radio Ad - Espanol

Colombia Free Trade Radio Ad - Espanol

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Indian Truckers Strike Over Fuel

Millions of truck drivers go on strike across India to protest higher taxes and rising fuel bills. Video courtesy of Reuters. (July 2)

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Kotecki- 07/02/08

The Senate Majority leader gets the number spot on YouTube, Barack Obama kills the fist bump, and I discuss some conventional, and unconventional, vice presidential possibilities.

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Kotecki- 07/02/08

The Senate Majority leader gets the number spot on YouTube, Barack Obama kills the fist bump, and I discuss some conventional, and unconventional, vice presidential possibilities.

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McCain in Colombia; Obama on Faith-Based Funding

John McCain is in South America to highlight his foreign policy. Barack Obama talks of expanding a program that sends tax money to faith-based groups. Video courtesy of Fox News. (July 2)

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McCain Arrives in Columbia; Obama Calls for More Tax Money for Religious Groups

John McCain starts a three-day trip to South and Latin America that will serve to highlight his foreign policy. Back in Ohio, Barack Obama talks of expanding a program that sends tax money to religious groups. Video courtesy of Fox News. (July 2)

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Playback 7/2/08

On Faith

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Crawford's Video Trail Mix- Obama's Smear Counter-Offensive

CQ Politics columnist Craig Crawford says Sen. Barack Obama's speeches on patriotism and faith reflect the candidate's approach to attack smears head on.

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Penguins In Peril

A biologist claims that dwindling numbers of penguins is just a crack in the ice and can mean serious climate consequences for humans. Dr. Debbye Turner reports.

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Fake Cop Exclusive

Bill Jakob, a man who came to Gerald, Mo., a small town and was called a hero for making numerous drug busts. However he was not the federal agent he said he was. Harry Smith reports.

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July 4th Travel Slump

High fuel costs are keeping many people at home for Independence Day. Nancy Cordes reports.

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Jerusalem Tractor Terrorist

Cars were crushed and a bus tipped over by, it is believed, a Palestinian working near Jerusalem. Mark Phillips reports.

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Evening News Pt. 1

Wednesday: Farmers face rising costs; auto sales decline; Iran hints at negotiations; ER deaths ignite outrage; controversy over the salmonella scare; and more Americans living on food stamps.

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Evening News Pt. 4

Wednesday: Farmers face rising costs; auto sales decline; Iran hints at negotiations; ER deaths ignite outrage; controversy over the salmonella scare; and more Americans living on food stamps.

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Evening News Pt. 2

Wednesday: Farmers face rising costs; auto sales decline; Iran hints at negotiations; ER deaths ignite outrage; controversy over the salmonella scare; and more Americans living on food stamps.

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Evening News Pt. 3

Wednesday: Farmers face rising costs; auto sales decline; Iran hints at negotiations; ER deaths ignite outrage; controversy over the salmonella scare; and more Americans living on food stamps.

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MoneyWatch

Alexis Christoforous reports on another record high for oil; stock market shockwaves from the faltering auto industry; and experts warn of a possible bankruptcy at GM.

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McCain Shakes Up Campaign Staff

As the 2008 presidential election continues forward, John McCain has chosen to change up his campaign staff. David Mark, Sr. Editor of Politico, weighs in on the changes.

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Eye To Eye- Food Stamps

Only On The Web CBS News correspondent Seth Doane travels to a supermarket in Chicago, where shoppers who use food stamps must struggle with hunger in the face of rising grocery costs.

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Food Stamp Frenzy

As the cost of food and fuel continues to increase, more families are relying on food stamps to get them through the month. Seth Doane reports on how Americans are coping with the economic downturn.

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Iran Hints At Negotiation

A top diplomat hinted that Iran might be willing to negotiate an end to its nuclear program in return for international assistance and development aid. Lara Logan reports.

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Farmers Face Rising Costs

Food prices are expected to rise as the nation's farmers struggle with higher overhead costs caused by the soaring price of fuel, a weak dollar, and floods in the Midwest. Hari Sreenivasan reports.

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U.S. Hostages Rescued

Three American hostages and a Colombian politician were rescued after being held in Colombia for five years by a guerilla organization with ties to the illegal drug trade. David Martin reports.

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Crawford's Video Trail Mix- Obama's Smear Counter-Offensive

CQ Politics columnist Craig Crawford says Sen. Barack Obama's speeches on patriotism and faith reflect the candidate's approach to attack smears head on.

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