Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


This is hilarious. Right-wing columnist Ann Coulter claimed on the Canadian news show the Fifth Estate that Canada sent troops to Vietnam. Veteran Canadian journalist and anchor Bob McKeown promptly corrected her leading to this exchange.

Coulter: "Canada used to be one of our most loyal friends and vice-versa. I mean Canada sent troops to Vietnam - was Vietnam less containable and more of a threat than Saddam Hussein?"

McKeown interrupts: "Canada didn't send troops to Vietnam."

Coulter: "I don't think that's right."

McKeown: "Canada did not send troops to Vietnam."

Coulter (looking desperate): "Indochina?"

McKeown: "Uh no. Canada ...second World War of course. Korea. Yes. Vietnam No."

Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

McKeown: "No, took a pass on Vietnam."

Coulter: "I think you're wrong."

McKeown: "No, Australia was there, not Canada."

Coulter: "I think Canada sent troops."

McKeown: "No."

Coulter: "Well. I'll get back to you on that."

McKeown tags out in script:

"Coulter never got back to us -- but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam."

Obviously Coulter thinks she knows more than the Canadians about when and where they have deployed troops. Canada, in fact, stayed neutral during the Vietnam War.

Video of the segment is available here.

UW stem cell experts make motor neurons

"Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have whipped up an exciting - but intricate - new recipe that could someday treat spinal cord injuries or provide a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Step one: Take human embryonic stem cells, the microscopic dots whose use has brought condemnation from the pope, opposition from the president and people generally opposed to abortion. Add pinches of chemicals, dashes of other biological ingredients implicated in brain growth at just the right moment and voila: brain cells called motor neurons that control every body movement."

With all the new stem-cell research going on in California, it's great to see such a major breakthrough coming out of Wisconsin.


A third columnist was reportedly paid by the Bush Administration to push its message in the media. Columnist Michael McManus failed to disclose that he was paid $10,000 to carry water for Bush and his marriage initative in his writings. McManus' column is ironically titled "Ethics and Religion."

Earlier this week, columnist Maggie Gallagher fessed up to taking $21,500 from the Department of Health and Human Services to do the same.

These two revelations come on the heels of columnist Armstrong Williams admitting the Department of Education paid him $240,000 to promote the president's No Child Left Behind Act.

How many more of members of the media have been paid off by the government with tax dollars to propagandize?

Cheney Criticized for Attire at Auschwitz Ceremony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney raised eyebrows on Friday for wearing an olive-drab parka, hiking boots and knit ski cap to represent the United States at a solemn ceremony remembering the liberation of Auschwitz.

The Vice President sure knows how to demonstrate a complete lack of respect for the vicitms of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Does he dress this way for funerals as well?

World Skeptical of Delusional Bush Reign by Molly Ivins

"From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.

Oh dear. It took us almost 100 years to get rid of slavery right here in the Land of the Free, it took us another 100 years to get rid of legal discrimination based on race and gender, and how long it will take us to achieve equal opportunity for all in this country no one can say. At least we're working at it. Or we were.

A substantial nit to pick with President Bush's second Inaugural Address and some questions about his theme."

Feds to probe possible voter fraud

"The probe came after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviewed the city’s voting records. The newspaper found more than 1,200 votes Nov. 2 came from invalid addresses, three-quarters of them from people who registered on Election Day. The newspaper said a sample of those showed about a fifth were due to data entry errors."

I'm in agreement with Mayor Tom Barrett in that if they find evidence that anybody broke the law and committed an act of fraud, they should be prosecuted.


The Judiciary Committee has voted 10-8 along party lines to send the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to full Senate for consideration.

In addition to Feingold, Wisconsin's senior senator Herb Kohl also serves on the Judiciary Committee and voted against the nomination.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) will oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General.

You'll recall that Feingold gave the incoming president the benefit of the doubt and supported the nomination of John Ashcroft for the AG spot in 2001.

Based on Gonzales' poor track record of upholding the Constitution and has continually tried to find ways around the law, e.g. his role in subverting the Geneva Conventions is but one major example. Given these facts, Feingold is right to say he's the wrong guy for the country's top cop.

Bloodiest Day for U.S. Troops in Iraq, 36 Killed

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thirty-one U.S. troops died in a helicopter crash in Iraq and five more were killed in insurgent attacks Wednesday, the deadliest day for American forces since they invaded the country 22 months ago.


I'll confess I didn't watch much of the inauguration coverage on television last Thursday. I did catch some of the coverage of the inaugural parade. I happened to be watching CNN during the portion of the parade when the Bush motorcade passed by the area filled with protestors.

Wolf Blitzer attempts to talk with a correspondent on the ground, but he is drowned out by the noise. Can you find the voice of sanity in this video?

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has rolled out a list of Democratic priorities for the 109th Congress.

The list includes bills to expand access to affordable health care, protect veterans benefits, restore fiscal discipline, and fight a more effective war on terrorism.


News outlets couldn't get enough of "Memogate." But the failure to find Saddam's weapons? That's right up there with the cat-found-in-a-tree story.

I must've missed this article last week. It's worth pondering all the attention about the fouled up story over at CBS vs. how much was given to the WMD story.

Consider this: At CBS, there was an investigation, a report submitted, and people were fired as a result.

Now this: The Bush Administration made its case for the Iraq war, because Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein supposedly had a growing arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, a case ironically based on forged documents from Niger I might add. The inspections have wrapped up, and no WMDs. Result? Nobody is fired.

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker announced his candidacy for governor today at a press conference in Wauwatosa.

Walker is a former Republican state legislator, and was elected to the county job three years ago in a special election following the county pension mess that forced then county exec Tom Ament to resign. Since then he has vowed to hold down property taxes by cutting county services.

Standing in his way is Congressman Mark Green from the Green Bay area, and possibly Assembly Speaker John Gard. The typical reaction has been that Walker may be too inexperienced. The more pressing concern for Walker will be luring voters from upstate to support him. Milwaukee-area politicians tend not to run well in the more rural areas of the state. Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett tried unsuccessfully against fellow Democrat Jim Doyle for the governorship in 2002.

Stacie has some thoughts on Mr. Walker over at the Vast Dairy State Conspiracy that I'll second. The general election won't be until November 2006 when the midterm elections for Congress are held.


In his column in the Atlantic Monthly, former top counterterroism adviser Richard Clarke is creating quite a stir.

The column is written from the perspective of a fictional lecturer speaking on September 11, 2011 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and talks about how the country hasn't won the war on terror. It speculates that attacks have increased over the previous ten years, the price of oil has spiked dramatically, a successful coup has occurred in Saudi Arabia, and Iran has become a nuclear power.

Aside from the column itself, the fact that Al Qaeda has in fact grown and is active in more countries than before 9/11 goes against the very notion that George W. Bush knows what he's doing in the war on terrorism. Obviously half the country is still in denial about how badly Bush has botched the job by destabilizing Iraq through invading it thus creating the new primary breeding ground for tomorrow's terrorists.

IE Continues to Lose Grip on Market

"Between the beginning of December and mid-January, IE's market share dropped 1.5 percent to 90.3 percent, while the Mozilla Project's Firefox browser rose 0.9 percent to a total of 5.0 percent, according to market researcher WebSideStory. Researchers have shown Explorer's market share falling since June, when WebSideStory had its market share at 95.5 percent."

Click here to divest yourself of IE and use a more secure and flexible browser.

Thanks to Ben for the link to the story.


The Meatrix

Check out the above flash cartoon to learn how factory farming is destroying the family farm, and polluting the environment among other things.

Will Spongebob make you gay?: Two conservative Christian groups are attacking the cartoon character for allegedly being part of a "pro-homosexual video"

James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, addressed members of Congress at a black-tie dinner this week and warned them of the pro-homosexual agenda coming from Mr. Squarepants.

Hide your children, Americans. Spongebob and the gays are coming for them... apparently.


You have to love it when a Fox News anchor is caught off guard on their show. Fox anchor Brigitte Quinn interviewed Vanity Fair's Judy Bachrach about the inaugural.

Quinn was expecting a masturbatory exchange about how wonderful today's festivities would be. In this video, she gets quite a different interview from Bachrach who challenges the lavishness of the inauguration paid for by taxpayers while we're still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As has been reported elsewhere, at FDR's final inauguration he had a simple swearing in ceremony followed by a luncheon where chicken salad was served. It was 1944, the country was at war and we had a president who understood the meaning of sacrifice.

There has been a lot of handwringing by local conservatives in recent days as they look for proof of supposed election day fraud in the heavily Democratic city of Milwaukee. The city Election Commission's executive director Lisa Artison stated yesterday the fact that 10,000 voter verification cards couldn't be sent out is not unusual and that the number is comparable to 2000. Illegible voter registration forms is one explanation. Registration forms with missing information is another.

Not surprisingly, there's no such effort by these politicians and activists to monitor voter registrations from conservative areas like Waukesha or Green Bay. On the surface, it looks like sour grapes from those who were disappointed George W. Bush was unable to carry Wisconsin in 2004. Wisconsin hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984, the year Democratic candidate Walter Mondale was only able to pick up two states against Ronald Reagan.

However, I do agree with those who are upset over the infamous tire-slashing incident where vans rented by the state Republican party for GOTV efforts were sabotaged, and I said as much when it was reported. Those responsible should be charged and brought to justice for this crime.

The need for more election reform still exists. In Wisconsin, there's currently no requirement for voters to present a photo identification at the polls and so far bills to change that have failed or been vetoed by the governor. While I haven't seen evidence that this has been exploited in Wisconsin, it's conceivable that it could be by groups of all political persuasions. On this issue, I've come to the same conclusion as Kos that Democrats ought to support a requirement for voters to present some form of photo ID. The integrity of the vote is paramount to preserving the public's faith in the election process. It's the same reason that we ought to ditch these electronic voting machines with no paper trail that are prone to being hacked.

One issue I will not give ground on is same-day registration. When I lived in Maryland, I had to register a couple months out from election day in order to vote for president in 2000. Having grown up in Wisconsin, it made me appreciate how much we cheeseheads value the right to vote.

Hopefully, at some point Democrats and Republicans can collectively develop reasonable steps such as these to reduce the potential for fraud while preserving and expanding the access voters in this country deserve to hold their government accountable.

UPDATE: While I support the concept of a photo ID requirement to vote in order to avoid the potential for voter fraud, those who don't already possess a photo ID ought to have it subsidized by taxpayers. Anything less amounts to a de facto poll-tax.

Bush Upsets Some Supporters: President Is Urged to Press Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

How long will it take social conservatives to recognize they're being used?


Those Jib Jab folks are back to ring in the inauguration of our fearless leader.

Head over here to watch Second Term.

Thanks for the link RSK.


Big Business' health care problem

I'll echo Atrios' comments on this. Universal health care is inevitable, regardless of when the political climate is ripe for it. With costs rising year after year, more middle class households and small business owners are being priced out of the system. As more large compaines like General Motors begin to see the writing on the wall, it becomes clear that the need for reform is there.

In late 2003, polls done by CNN/USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post showed by a 2-1 margin, 62% to 32%, Americans would prefer a government run health care system that provides universal health care instead of the current employer-based system. The opponents of true health care reform are out of touch with the demands and needs of the public on this issue.

Kerry alleges voters were 'suppressed', links poll issues to King's struggle

In his return to public speaking yesterday, Kerry exhibited a passion that many of his critics found him to be lacking on the campaign trail -- a change in tenor he and his aides promised in several brief post-election comments.

"My friends, this is not a time to pretend. We're here to celebrate the life of a man who, if he were here today, would make it clear to us what our agenda is. And nothing," Kerry said, his voice rising in anger, "would he make more clear on that agenda than, in a nation that is willing to spend several hundred million dollars in Iraq to bring them democracy we cannot tolerate that, here in America, too many people are denied that democracy."


Here's an interesting exchange from the interview with George W. Bush in yesterday's Washington Post courtesy of First Draft.

The Post: Will you talk to Senate Democrats about your privatization plan?

THE PRESIDENT: You mean, the personal savings accounts?

The Post: Yes, exactly. Scott has been --

THE PRESIDENT: We don't want to be editorializing, at least in the questions.

The Post: You used partial privatization yourself last year, sir.


The Post: Yes, three times in one sentence. We had to figure this out, because we're in an argument with the RNC [Republican National Committee] about how we should actually word this. [Post staff writer] Mike Allen, the industrious Mike Allen, found it.

THE PRESIDENT: Allen did what now?

The Post: You used partial privatization.

THE PRESIDENT: I did, personally?

The Post: Right.


The Post: To describe it.

THE PRESIDENT: When, when was it?

The Post: Mike said it was right around the election.


The Post: It was right around the election. We'll send it over.

THE PRESIDENT: I'm surprised. Maybe I did. It's amazing what happens when you're tired. Anyway, your question was? I'm sorry for interrupting.

The explanation looks to be one of the following:

A) Memory loss
B) Unintended slip of the truth while on the campaign trail
C) Example of the president's pathological lying

Menomonee Falls Village President Jefferson Davis expected to plead guilty to misdemeanors, resign

The resignation is part of a plea agreement with the Waukesha County DA to drop three felony counts against Davis, who was also charged with 29 misdemeanor counts of violating campaign finance laws.

Davis was elected to office two years ago on an anti-government, anti-tax agenda to the joy of local conservatives. Since then, he has been quite a disappointment by his failing to follow through on campaign pledges, and numerous personal problems from from failure to pay his property taxes to not paying child support.


Judge: Evolution stickers unconstitutional

Following up on this story, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled Thursday that warning stickers used on Georgia science textbooks violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The stickers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

Perhaps it's necessary to remind advocates of these stickers that all science is considered "theory" and that they need to review the definition of the word as it pertains to math and science.

n. pl. the·o·ries
  1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
  2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
  3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.

FDR's Grandson Protests Soc. Security Ad

The grandson of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Thursday protested use of FDR's image in a television ad touting President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security.

"My grandfather would surely oppose the ideas now being promoted by this administration and your organization," James Roosevelt Jr., wrote in a letter to Progress for America, a private group that supports conservative issues.


Following up on the fact that the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has ended, here is a collection of Bush Administration quotes about the rationale for going to war in Iraq from before and after the invasion. Here's a few from before the war to help us all remember just how sure they were about the WMDs.

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." - Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002.

"Saddam Hussein is a man who told the world he wouldn't have weapons of mass destruction, but he's got them." - Bush, Nov. 3, 2002.

Compare that to two years later:

"He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction and he could have passed that knowledge on to our terrorist enemies." - Bush, Oct. 7, 2004.

Nothing like developing your rationale for going to war after you've already done so.


Armstrong Williams: I Am Not Alone by David Corn

In case you missed it, it was revealed last week that Armstrong Williams was paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to use his nationally syndicated talk show and columnist duties to promote the Bush Administration's No Child Left Behind education plan.

Melanie Sloan, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says the deal may be illegal since Congress has prohibited the government from funding propaganda and lobbying for its programs. Her organization is filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to attempt to find out how many other members of the media may have been paid off to carry water for Bush Administration programs.

Since so many conservative pundits and bloggers continually voice their outrage about media bias, surely they will be calling on the White House and Congress to fully investigate the matter. I doubt I'll be the only one not holding my breath though.

U.S. Wraps Up Search for Banned Weapons in Iraq

"Bush and other U.S. officials cited the grave threat posed by Iraq's chemical and biological weapons and Baghdad's efforts to acquire a nuclear arms capability as a central justification for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. No such weapons have been found."

Who needs facts when you have supposed good intentions to back up your support of a major foreign policy failure such as this? Certainly not this president and the decreasing number of Americans who still believe it was worth going to war.

Canada Confirms New Mad Cow Case

This is the second confirmed case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) found in a cow in Alberta, Canada in the last few weeks. Officials say the cases are unrelated.

The US Department of Agriculture has said it plans to follow through with plans to lift the US ban on importing cattle from Canada in March. However, new cases are certain to strengthen the position of US cattlemen that have sued to block the ban from being lifted.

No word yet on whether or not the Bush Administration is considering a cheap prescription drugs for cattle trade agreement with our neighbors to the north.


U.S. Tells D.C. to Pay Inaugural Expenses

The Bush Administration is refusing to provide the District of Columbia with $11.9 million in funding to cover the costs of the presidential inauguration. Instead, they're urging Mayor Anthony Williams and the city council to use some of the District's homeland security budget to cover the big party.

There are a few of unsettling aspects to this. First, in the past the costs of the inauguration have been covered by the presidential candidate's inauguration fund. Now, the president is sending the bill to a city that voted overwhelmingly against him. Second, seeing as Washington is certainly at the top of the list of cities likely to be targeted by terrorists, it's ridiculous to force the city to divert millions that could be better spent on improving its own security.

Lastly, if the president is going to start sending unfunded mandates like this to the District, he could have the decency to endorse statehood for the District so that it would at least have voting rights in Congress and control over generating its own budget.

Atrios explains how the whole "Rathergate" story proves how liberal the media aren't. The myth of the liberal media continues to be perpetuated by conservatives who love playing the role of the victim.

Mel Gibson is quoted today's New York Times speaking about how he and Michael Moore have been used to illustrate a cultural gap between red states and blue states.

"I feel a strange kinship with Michael," Mr. Gibson said. "They're trying to pit us against each other in the press, but it's a hologram. They really have got nothing to do with one another. It's just some kind of device, some left-right. He makes some salient points. There was some very expert, elliptical editing going on. However, what the hell are we doing in Iraq? No one can explain to me in a reasonable manner that I can accept why we're there, why we went there, and why we're still there."


Mahmoud Abbas Wins Palestinian Vote in Landslide

The president is already inviting Abbas to the US for discussions regarding Israel and the potential for a Palestinian state. The White House and media are providing a honeymoon for him today. Whether it's short lived and Abbas gets pressured by extremists to be more hard line remains to be seen.

GovTrack is a nifty site I stumbled upon on Metafilter. It builds on Thomas in that you can track legislation and recent votes as well as campaign contributions, blog entries about members of Congress, and other commentary and statistical data.


AP Poll Finds Americans Split About Bush

"Bush's approval rating is at 49 percent in the AP poll, with 49 percent disapproving. His job approval is in the high 40s in several other recent polls — as low as any job approval rating for a re-elected president at the start of the second term in more than 50 years.

Presidents Reagan and Clinton had job approval ratings near six in 10 just before their inauguration for a second term, according to Gallup polls."


CNN Will Cancel 'Crossfire' and Cut Ties to Tucker Carlson

Mr. Klein specifically cited the criticism that the comedian Jon Stewart leveled at "Crossfire" when he was a guest on the program during the presidential campaign. Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were "hurting America."

Mr. Klein said last night, "I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart's overall premise." He said he believed that especially after the terror attacks on 9/11, viewers are interested in information, not opinion.

Once again, Jon Stewart was ahead of the media on what garbage shows like Crossfire are. Hopefully CNN will replace it with something that doesn't treat political dialogue like professional wrestling.

Democrats to Force Debate on Ohio Results

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) signed a challenge to Ohio's 20 electoral votes. Several House Democrats had been seeking the signature of a Senator, because it's required to force a challenge. In a statement, Boxer says she signed on to the protest to force a debate on a number of voting irregularities that occurred there on election day:

So now it seems to me that under the Constitution of the United States, which guarantees the right to vote, we must ask:

Why did voters in Ohio wait hours in the rain to vote? Why were voters at Kenyan College, for example, made to wait in line until nearly 4 a.m. to vote because there were only two machines for 1300 voters?

Why did poor and predominantly African-American communities have disproportionately long waits?

Why in Franklin County did election officials only use 2,798 machines when they said they needed 5,000? Why did they hold back 68 machines in warehouses? Why were 42 of those machines in predominantly African-American districts?

Why did, in Columbus area alone, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 voters leave polling places, out of frustration, without having voted? How many more never bothered to vote after they heard about this?

Why is it when 638 people voted at a precinct in Franklin County, a voting machine awarded 4,258 extra votes to George Bush. Thankfully, they fixed it – but how many other votes did the computers get wrong?

Why did Franklin County officials reduce the number of electronic voting machines in downtown precincts, while adding them in the suburbs? This also led to long lines.

In Cleveland, why were there thousands of provisional ballots disqualified after poll workers gave faulty instructions to voters?"


House Rule Change Makes Ethics Probes Harder

It looks to this observer like Republicans have pulled a bait and switch regarding ethics rules in the last 24 hours. First they vote to reinstate rules barring indicted members from serving in leadership.

Today, the GOP controlled House of Representatives voted 220-195 along party lines to greatly restrict the ability of the House to investigate members of Congress. This paragraph from the Reuters story summarizes the new rule:

"Five members of each party serve on the House ethics panel and under the current system, a tie vote would launch an ethics probe. Under the new rule, a tie or failure to make a decision within 45 days would mean no action would be taken."

Is it any wonder why so many Americans no longer trust Congress to operate in an honorable fashion?

Baghdad governor Ali al-Haidri was shot dead in a roadside ambush in Baghdad Tuesday.

The insurgency continues to grow as the American occupation of Iraq lingers on. It has become increasingly obvious the White House and supporters of the war in Iraq are at a loss. Even after all that's occurred, they continue to throw out vagaries about winning a victory in Iraq, and spreading democracy knowing that they're full of it. Exit strategy? They're still building those 14 American military bases in Iraq.

Speculation persists about the elections being postponed due to the growing violence in Iraq. However, the desperation of the Bush Administration for good news out of Iraq means their likelihood may have actually increased in recent days. From the BBC article:

"While the world's attention has been on the disaster in Asia, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated so much that the insurgency has developed into near-open warfare.

The head of Iraq's intelligence service Gen Muhammad Shahwani now puts the number of insurgents at 200,000, of which 40,000 are said to be the hard core and the rest active supporters.

These figures do not represent an insurgency. They represent a war."

GOP reverses course over ethics rules: House Republicans opt to retain tougher standards

It wasn't long ago that the Republicans in the House sought to defend Majority Leader Tom DeLay from being automatically ousted from that role should he be indicted in an ongoing investigation into possible illegal fundraising activities in Texas. The funds were used to help redistrict (read: gerrymander) the Congressional districts there to result in gains for Republicans and losses for Democrats. Not surprisingly, the GOP picked up two seats in the November election as a result.

Social Security Formula Weighed: Bush Plan Likely to Cut Benefits

The Bush administration has signaled that it will propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels, cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans close to the White House.

Under the proposal, the first-year benefits for retirees would be calculated using inflation rates rather than the rise in wages over a worker's lifetime. Because wages tend to rise considerably faster than inflation, the new formula would stunt the growth of benefits, slowly at first but more quickly by the middle of the century. The White House hopes that some, if not all, of those benefit cuts would be made up by gains in newly created personal investment accounts that would harness returns on stocks and bonds.

As the 109th Congress opens for business, the battle to defend or dismantle FDR's New Deal begins.

African American Political Pioneer Chisholm Dies

"Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress and a champion of women's rights, died on Saturday in Florida, congressional officials said. She was 80."
Chisholm was also one of the first women to seek the presidency. In 1972, she received 151 delegates at the Democratic National Convention.


Rep. Matsui, a Top Democrat, Dies at Age 63

"House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said in a statement, 'Despite being imprisoned in an internment camp as a very young boy, Bob always had hope in the promise of America.'

'With the passing of Bob Matsui, our country has lost a great leader and America's seniors have lost their best friend in Congress,' Pelosi said.

'In his 26 years in the United States House of Representatives, Bob Matsui was a champion to preserve Social Security, a crusader for economic justice, and a fighter for all of America's children,' Pelosi said"