Category Archives: politicians

As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com

As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com.

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks

The announcements flowed out of Rick Santorum’s Senate office: a $3.5 million federal grant to Piasecki Aircraft to help it test a new helicopter propeller technology; another $3.5 million to JLG Industries to bolster its bid to build all-terrain forklifts for the military; $1.4 million to Medico Industries to upgrade equipment for its munitions work.

Each of the news releases represented an earmark or, in some cases, multiple ones — the practice by which members of Congress set aside money in federal spending bills for what critics often denounce as pet projects back home.

[…]

But an examination of Mr. Santorum’s earmark record sheds light on another aspect of his political personality, one that is at odds with the reformer image he has tried to convey on the trail: his prowess as a Washington insider.

A review of some of his earmarks, viewed alongside his political donations, suggests that the river of federal money Mr. Santorum helped direct to Pennsylvania paid off handsomely in the form of campaign cash.

[…]

In just one piece of legislation, the defense appropriations bill for the 2006 fiscal year, Mr. Santorum helped secure $124 million in federal financing for 54 earmarks, according to a tally by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. In that year’s election cycle, Mr. Santorum’s Senate campaign committee and his “leadership PAC” took in more than $200,000 in contributions from people associated with the companies that benefited or their lobbyists, an analysis of campaign finance records by The New York Times shows.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Rick Perry: Marines urinating on corpses were just kids, shouldn’t face criminal charges

Rick Perry: Marines urinating on corpses were just kids, shouldn’t face criminal charges.

Perry: Urinating Marines are ‘Just Kids’

The Texas governor said Marines shouldn’t face criminal prosecution for a “dumb” mistake.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry told CNN Sunday that the Marines who were filmed urinating on Afghan corpses were just kids being kids and the White House has gone “over the top”  in its criticism. “When you’re 18 or 19, you do dumb things. These kids made a mistake, there’s not any doubt about it,” the Republican presidential hopeful said.
[…]
Although the Marines should be “appropriately punished” Perry criticized “the idea that this administration would go after these young people for a criminal act.”
[…]
Read the full article here: Slate Magazine

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Michelle Obama’s Evolution as First Lady – NYTimes.com

Michelle Obama’s Evolution as First Lady – NYTimes.com.

Michelle Obama and the Evolution of a First Lady

Michelle Obama was privately fuming, not only at the president’s team, but also at her husband.

In the days after the Democrats lost Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in January 2010, Barack Obama was even-keeled as usual in meetings, refusing to dwell on the failure or lash out at his staff. The first lady, however, could not fathom how the White House had allowed the crucial seat, needed to help pass the president’s health care legislation and the rest of his agenda, to slip away, several current and former aides said.

To her, the loss was more evidence of what she had been saying for a long time: Mr. Obama’s advisers were too insular and not strategic enough. She cherished the idea of her husband as a transformational figure, but thanks in part to the health care deals the administration had cut, many voters were beginning to view him as an ordinary politician.

The first lady never confronted the advisers directly — that was not her way — but they found out about her displeasure from the president. “She feels as if our rudder isn’t set right,” Mr. Obama confided, according to aides.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Oedipus Rex Complex – NYTimes.com

Oedipus Rex Complex – NYTimes.com.

Oedipus Rex Complex

DES MOINES

American politics bristles with Oedipal drama.

Sons struggling to live up to fathers. Sons striving to outdo fathers. Sons scheming to avenge fathers. Sons burning to one-up fathers. Sons yearning to impress fathers who vanished early on. Sons leaning on fathers. Sons using fathers as reverse-play books.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents – The Washington Post

Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents – The Washington Post.

Growing wealth widens distance between lawmakers and constituents

BUTLER, Pa. — One day after his shift at the steel mill, Gary Myers drove home in his 10-year-old Pontiac and told his wife he was going to run for Congress.The odds were long. At 34, ­Myers was the shift foreman at the “hot mill” of the Armco plant here. He had no political experience and little or no money, and he was a Republican in a district that tilted Democratic.But standing in the dining room, still in his work clothes, he said he felt voters deserved a better choice.Three years later, he won.

Back when Myers entered Congress in 1975, it wasn’t nearly so unusual for a person with few assets besides a home to win and serve in Congress. Though lawmakers on Capitol Hill have long been more prosperous than other Americans, others of that time included a barber, a pipe fitter and a house painter. A handful had even organized into what was called the “Blue Collar Caucus.”

But the financial gap between Americans and their representatives in Congress has widened considerably since then, according to an analysis of financial disclosures by The Washington Post.

[…]

Read the full story here: The Washington Post

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America’s fragile recovery: A year of living pigheadedly | The Economist

America’s fragile recovery: A year of living pigheadedly | The Economist.

America’s fragile recovery

A year of living pigheadedly

America will be a tad cheerier than Europe in 2012—but it should be so much better still

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Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy – Houston Chronicle

Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy – Houston Chronicle.

Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy

Published 10:25 p.m., Friday, December 16, 2011

AUSTIN – Unbeknownst to most Texans, Gov. Rick Perry officially retired in January so he could draw early pension benefits worth $7,699 a month, in addition to his annual governor’s salary of $150,000.

Perry’s January retirement – on paper, at least – was revealed Friday when the Federal Elections Commission released the financial disclosure statement the governor was required to file as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. The annuity brings Perry’s total state government-related income to $242,388 a year.

Reaction to news of the unusual arrangement, in which Perry retired as a state employee but remains Texas’ elected governor, was swift and negative.

[…]

Perry, 61, and his staff brushed off the criticism, with the governor telling ABC News, “I think it’d be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.”

[…]

Read the full story here: The Houston Chronicle

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Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Mr. Gingrich’s Attack on the Courts

In any campaign season, voters are bound to hear Republican candidates talk about “activist judges” — jurists who rule in ways that the right wing does not like. But Newt Gingrich, who is leading in polls in Iowa, is taking the normal attack on the justice system to a deep new low.

He is using McCarthyist tactics to smear judges. His most outrageous scheme, a plan to challenge “judicial supremacy,” has disturbing racial undertones. If he is serious about his plan, a President Gingrich would break the balance of power that is fundamental to our democracy.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Intellectuals and Politics – NYTimes.com

Intellectuals and Politics – NYTimes.com.

December 7, 2011, 6:26 pm

Intellectuals and Politics

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The Politics of EconomicsThe Politics of Economics – NYTimes.com

The Politics of EconomicsThe Politics of Economics – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

The Politics of Economics in the Age of Shouting

I share a virtual neighborhood with a legion of Times reporters, editors and columnists who know more than I will ever know about business and economics. (Look! Right over there: a Nobel-prize-winning economist!) In this humbling company, on this intimidating matter, who am I to tell anyone what to think? And so my plan was, frankly, to avoid the subject.

[…]

There really is a textbook way to fix our current mess.  […] the basic formula is not only common sense, it is mainstream economic science, tested many times in the real world.

So what’s the problem? Why is our system so fundamentally stuck? Partly it’s a colossal, bipartisan lack of the political courage required to tell people what they sort of know but don’t want to hear. Partly it’s a Republican Party that, for its own cynical reasons, wants no deal with this president. Partly it’s moneyed, focused lobbies that swarm in defense of specific advantages written into the law; there is no comparable lobby for compromise, let alone sacrifice.

But also, I’ve come to think something is rotten in the state of economics.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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