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Politics and Media Headlines 1/29/09

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And Now For Something Completely Different: Davos Features “Refugee Run” (by Bill Easterly, NYU, thanks to Economist’s View)

When somebody sent me this invitation [above] from Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, I thought at first it was a joke from the Onion. What do you think of the Davos rich and powerful going through the “Refugee Run” theme park re-enactment of life in a refugee camp? Can Davos man empathize with refugees when he or she is not in danger and is going back to a luxury banquet and hotel room afterwards? Isn’t this just a tad different from the life of an actual refugee, at risk of all too real rape, murder, hunger, and disease? Did the words “insensitive,” “dehumanizing,” or “disrespectful” (not to mention “ludicrous”) ever come up in discussing the plans for “Refugee Run”? I hope such bad taste does not reflect some inability in UNHCR to see refugees as real people with their own dignity and rights.

Obama Signs Fair Pay Act (American Constitution Society)
President Obama’s first bill signed into law provides workers greater ability to challenge discrimination in pay. Late yesterday Congress gave final approval to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act and Obama signed the bill this morning. The law is named after the Alabama woman who worked at Goodyear for many years only to learn that she had been paid significantly less than her male counterparts.

House OKs stimulus, without GOP votes (Detroit Free Press)
A week and a day after Barack Obama became president, the House made good Wednesday evening on its promise to move a vast economic stimulus package -- worth about $819 billion -- in hopes of getting the American economy moving again… Not one Republican voted for the bill, even though Obama met with them personally on Tuesday at the Capitol. Twelve Democrats voted no… The problem, Republicans said, was that the bill spends too much and doesn't cut taxes enough.

Bipartisanship? DeMint Predicts Zero Senate GOP Votes For Obama’s Recovery Package. (Think Progress)
[H]ours after the GOP’s defiant no-vote, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor ironically penned an op-ed in Politico saying that the GOP should not simply become the party of “no” to the Obama agenda. “We pledge to become a party of inclusion, not exclusion,” he proclaimed… The recovery legislation will now be heard by the Senate. Is there hope for bipartisanship there? Unlikely. Today on Fox News, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) excoriated the legislation and said that he “thinks” the bill will receive zero Senate GOP votes.

Boehner's Bitch (by Steve at The Left Coaster)
[T]he GOP won’t respect you until you cut them in an alley fight. If Obama puts in all this effort to buy their votes and gets the cold shoulder, then let’s see what kind of guts our new president has. Because I know if Hillary Clinton had won with 350 electoral votes by running on a platform of universal health care, and putting Main Street over Wall Street, only to see the GOP leadership do this right out of the box, she and Rahm Emanuel would have cut John Boehner’s nuts off and made Mitch McConnell eat them, every damn day.

Maybe Hillary gave them some advice:
Vote for the stimulus, or else
(On Politics, USA Today)
Honey didn't work, so now the Democrats are going to the stick. A coalition of liberal Democratic groups -- including Americans United for Change, Political Action, AFSCME and SEIU -- will run 30-second TV spots starting today in four states and Washington, D.C., that urge five GOP senators to support the Senate's $888 billion economic stimulus plan. This comes a day after the House's $819 billion stimulus plan got a total of zero Republican votes. The targeted senators: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Charles Grassley of Iowa.

Quote of the Day (Political Wire)
"We will run campaigns in their districts." -- An unnamed Democratic official, quoted by Politico, in reaction to House Republicans voting against President Obama's stimulus package.

If we push, we may be able to get the family planning funding back in the bill:
Go Cecile Go! (Call WH @ 202-456-1111)
(by Alegre)
From Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood... “I'm stunned. We've just confirmed news reports that provisions to expand access to affordable family planning will be stripped from the economic stimulus bill. Removing this provision is a betrayal of millions of low-income women, and it will place an even greater burden on state budgets that are already strained to the breaking point.” We need you to take action now by calling the White House and voicing your support for the Medicaid Family Planning State Option. Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 to speak out now.

Fight the kleptocracy:
The Journey Continues
(by Ann Lewis, President)
Everywhere I've gone in the last few months, I’ve seen people I worked with in Hillary’s campaign. I heard about the work you were doing, and how many of you signed up for Hillary Sent Me. I know you were a big part of the election victories that have made us all so proud –and left us all feeling better about the future of our country… Hillary didn’t just put 18 million cracks in that glass ceiling – she opened the doors a whole lot wider for all of us. Now its up to us to keep going through and to bring our friends.
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Carolyn Kay

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Submitted by jawbone on

inkling of what it is like to be a refugee, be on the run, from hostilities or hunger or disease. What I'd read, which was quite awhile ago and my memory is vague, is that it is well done, quite realistic, and affects participants deeply. The objective is to create greater understanding of what refugees go through, in an ongoing effort, and has been set up all over the world.

I googled around and this site offers some input by commenters.

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Submitted by Caro on

... if some of those Masters of the Universe found a drop or two of compassion in their veins..