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After President Bush met with his economic advisors today, he spoke to the media on the state of the economy:
We discussed the state of the economy. We discussed where our economy is headed. And we discussed the steps that we’re going to take to ensure that our economy continues to lead the world.
One important step that Bush didn’t discuss in his speech was an increase in the minimum wage. This Sunday, Aug. 20, marks the 10-year anniversary of the 1996 minimum wage bill — the last time the minimum wage was increased.
Today, eight million Americans are still living on $5.15 an hour and the federal minimum wage is currently at its lowest level in 51 years. Since President Bush took office, the number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 5.4 million. (Unemployment and poverty rates fell after the 1996 legislation.)
The Senate recently voted down a wage increase because it was tied, in a political ploy, to a cut in inheritance taxes on multimilllion-dollar estates.
The American economy can’t continue to lead if eight million people are left behind.
to refill Plan B prescriptions. A CVS supervisor notes that the “pharmacists apparently had no religious or moral objections to E.C. [emergency contraception] the first time around; it was that second time that proved the women’s behavior was ‘irresponsible.’” The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint.
A report prepared by military analyst Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies attempts to draw early lessons from the conflict. David Corn highlights an interesting portion: “One key lesson that the US badly needs to learn from Israel is the Israeli rush towards accountability.”
Yesterday, a federal judge in Michigan issued “a sweeping rebuke of the once-secret domestic-surveillance effort the White House authorized following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” The ruling was “a significant blow to Bush’s attempts to expand presidential powers,” but you wouldn’t know that by watching last evening’s network newscasts.
All three major TV networks led their evening news with stories on JonBenet Ramsey’s death and the comments made by arrested teacher John Mark Karr. The networks offered multiple segments and numerous expert analyses to provide in-depth coverage on the legal case. The NSA decision received only a passing mention from two of the newscasts, while ABC devoted a full segment to it.
Still, ABC devoted twice as much time to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story. More egregiously, CBS offered seven times as much airtime to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story, while NBC devoted 15 times more airtime. Below is a comparison of the allocation of time made by each network:
|NETWORK||RAMSEY SEGMENT||NSA SEGMENT|
As CBS host Bob Schieffer wrapped up the Ramsey segment, he reassured the audience, “We’ll stay on this case. That’s for sure.”
UPDATE: Jeff Cohen offers an explanation for why the TV newscasts are focused on the Ramsey case.
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) asked about a military strike on Iran. “Some in this administration want some excuse to take military action,” Hagel said. “That would be disastrous, catastrophic. It would enflame the Middle East in ways we can’t imagine today.”
Paul Wolfowitz, 3/27/03:
There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people”¦and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. … We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.
Iraq has doubled the money allocated for importing oil products in August and September to tackle the country’s worst fuel shortage since Saddam Hussein’s 2003 ouster, a senior Iraqi official said Thursday. Even though Iraq has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, it is forced to depend on imports because of an acute shortage of refined products such as gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas. Sabotage of pipelines by insurgents, corruption and aging refineries have been blamed.
It is the “moral equivalent of Nazi medical experiments on the inmates of death camps during World War II.” The result, he said, would be “new legions of humans to be enslaved and brutalized.”
Over the past few months, neoconservatives have pushed for military action against Iran, recycling pre-Iraq war arguments that military force would “trigger changes” in the country and result in regime change. “Why wait?” Bill Kristol asked in the July edition of the Weekly Standard. “Any way you cut it,” Herbert London of the Hudson Institute wrote, “military force seems like the most likely stratagem for success.”
Yesterday, a distinguished group of 22 former military and diplomatic leaders urged the Bush administration to ignore the neocons and instead “engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions.” (View the list of signees HERE.) The full text of their letter:
Words not War, A Statement on Iran, August 2006
As former military leaders and foreign policy officials, we call on the Bush administration to engage immediately in direct talks with the government of Iran without preconditions to help resolve the current crisis in the Middle East and settle differences over the Iranian nuclear program.
We strongly caution against any consideration of the use of military force against Iran. The current crises must be resolved through diplomacy, not military action. An attack on Iran would have disastrous consequences for security in the region and U.S. forces in Iraq, and it would inflame hatred and violence in the Middle East and among Muslims elsewhere.
A strategy of diplomatic engagement with Iran will serve the interests of the U.S. and its allies, and would enhance regional and international security.
These leaders join a long list of people who think there are no good military options in Iran.
is going on between the Bush administration and Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. “As is his mission, Mr. Bowen simply puts out a series of reports detailing failings in the reconstruction effort.” The Washington Times reports, “Privately, Bush administration officials tell us that Mr. Bowen’s quarterly reports and audits are too negative.”