S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

News about Congress - Number 110

NEWS about the 110th Congress is abundant. We can find out almost everything we want to know almost instantly. Whole sections of aggregators or other news sources are devoted to it - 110th Congress Full Coverage on Yahoo!News, for example. Yahoo! was established in 1994. Despite the fact that it only gathers news stories that others have written, the company is well-established, competitive and growing. But it's news is only accessible to us via electronic technology of the world wide web. Another news gatherer is Yahoo!'s competitor Google News. Strangely, it has a section called "Democrat" but none called Republican. The company was established in 1996. The Financial Times recently reported that Google has purchased a stake in a Chinese media site. For Google, the world is a tiny place, electronically and economically.

WWW DOT COM/ The Consumer Electronics Show is currently going on in Las Vegas. If you are reading this blog, you are likely a technology buff. Technology alone does not meet my needs, however. I want accuracy and objectivity. I find these attributes more from foreign news sources than domestic. Thus, I recommend reading this BBC News online story about the impact of technology headlined, "Technology 'embraced by public'."

BBC - The BBC News online is headquartered in London. It is another of my daily reads. The BBC, British Broadcasting Company, was established in 1922. The BBC started as a radio station, but they have made excellent use of the technology provided by the internet. It is a story on what Congressional leaders, including Speaker Pelosi*, and the president are doing. It is a good summary about what is soon to unfold in the news. To quote,

Democrats warn Bush on Iraq plans
Last Updated: Monday, 8 January 2007

Mr Bush could announce up to 20,000 more troops for Baghdad. The newly-empowered US Democrats have warned President George W Bush he will have to justify any plans to boost troop levels in Iraq.
Ms Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid sent a letter to Mr Bush last week saying there should be no increase in troops, but instead there should be the start of a phased withdrawal.
Mr Bush is continuing briefings with lawmakers this week ahead of a speech expected as early as Wednesday.
The expected policy shift follows a recent report from the Iraq Study Group, which said US policy in Iraq was not working, and a Republican bruising in mid-term elections in November, blamed partly on the White House's handling of the conflict.

FT - I read t
he Financial Times every day; it carried the above story about Google going into China. This highly respected, venerable newspaper was established in 1888, and is located in London, England. The paper has a Washington bureau, which published this interesting article about how the Republicans might behave in the 110th Congress and towards our current president. To quote,
Republicans’ division over Iraq grows
(By Guy Dinmore in Washington. Published: January 7 2007)

Leading Republicans on Sunday showed further signs of dissent over President George W. Bush’s reported plans to send more troops to Iraq, while the Democrats, now in control of Congress, said they would not give the president a “blank cheque” for reinforcements.
“If the president recommends what we seem to believe he’s going to recommend, I intend to support him,” declared Mitch McConnell, the Republican’s new minority leader in the Senate, before conceding on Fox News Sunday that other Republicans would not endorse the plan.
Republicans are divided over the expectation that Mr Bush intends to announce a big troop increase on Wednesday as part of the strategy and personnel overhaul the White House is calling a “new way forward”.
Senator Chuck Hagel last week called the idea “Alice in Wonderland”, while, on his return from Iraq last month, Senator Norm Coleman said he would “stand against” any such plan.

IHT - The International Herald Tribune is headquartered in France. It recently carried two very interesting articles about the economic plight of two very old and well-respected purveyors of print media: 1) "Threatened by the Internet, Time magazine slims down," and 2) "Layoffs imminent at The Philadelphia Inquirer." Print and TV journalist, Al Hunt, is a contributor to the Herald Tribune. He contributed this very interesting piece, again on the Republicans, via Bloomberg to IHT online. To quote,
Expect Republican vigor, not shrinking violets - Letter From Washington
Albert R. Hunt Bloomberg News. Published: January 7, 2007

Yet after an initial burst of activity when the Democrats pick off the low- hanging fruit, it will be apparent that the Republican role in the 110th Congress is almost as important and interesting as that of the majority party.
First, the Republicans have 47 percent of congressional seats, enabling them to thwart almost anything they wish in the Senate and sometimes in the House of Representatives. The Republicans can also wave the threat of a presidential veto.
Thus, they can shape the fate of most major issues: taxes and spending, immigration and even the war in Iraq, a political albatross that more and more party members hope will vanish.
. . . How the Republicans deal with their serious schisms over economic and social issues as well as international matters will be crucial.
#110 -Keeping up with the 110th Congress is going to be very hard because the news breaks so rapidly. Many of us news "junkies" favor the double advantage of a respected foreign news source accessible electronically. Our electronic news gatherers will give us only as good as their sources. Good as they are, for my taste Yahoo and Google do not include enough news published by those abroad.

*Reference: NNDB biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

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