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Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

The Orlando Sentinel’s op-ed opposing “card check” legislation reminds us of a key point: abolishing secret ballots isn’t the only horrid part of the bill. “It would give a federal arbitrator the power to impose a two-year contract on an employer and union after just two months if the two sides are unable to come to an agreement. Either party could end up stuck with a deal it doesn’t want.”

Roland Burris is questioned by the Feds. But his lawyer says he’s not the target of any investigation. Well, except by the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate.

Now Robert Gibbs will have to start attacking Jake Tapper. Tapper also says the president’s housing plan is going to reward the irresponsible.

But what has largely gone unmentioned is that the irresponsible not only get rescued from foreclosure but get $1000 annually for five years to keep up with their mortgage. That’s got to be galling to many who sacrificed to stay current on their mortgages.

Now and then Thomas Friedman gets it really right: “G.M. has become a giant wealth- destruction machine — possibly the biggest in history — and it is time that it and Chrysler were put into bankruptcy so they can truly start over under new management with new labor agreements and new visions. When it comes to helping companies, precious public money should focus on start-ups, not bailouts.” Even if you don’t think government should be picking start-up companies out of the stack of business cards Friedman collects, almost everyone can find something better than GM to spend the money on.

Mitt Romney is helping Meg Whitman with her race for governor in California. Maybe he should ask her why in the world she would want the job of governing a financial basket case with a permanent Democratic legislature. Well, come to think of it he had a similar experience — but Massachusetts’s financial problems never reached California proportions.

Jack Shafer reminds us of yet another reason for Bill Moyers’s distinction as one of the great hypocrites of our day: his past practice of planting press questions for LBJ, which contrasts with his sanctimonious (and untrue) accusations that George W. Bush did the same: “Where does the guy who planted questions at LBJ news conferences, who told Nancy Dickerson that previous press secretaries had done it, and who told her that planting questions was necessary get the moxie to accuse the Bush press corps of participating in a scripted news conference?”

Dan Blatt reminds me, where are the professional gay rights lobby’s demands for a public apology from Moyers for his attempts to dig up dirt on politicians’ sexual preferences? I must have missed that.

Fred Hiatt, in a must-read column, makes a compelling case: the president should stop with the half-hearted statements about our commitment to victory in Afghanistan and goal of eradicating al Qaeda, both of which require some successful nation-building: “Now he will ask Americans to recommit to a war they’ve already had enough of, knowing that after seven years we are in some ways only getting started. It’s an unenviable task, and convincing Americans that the mission is essential for their security will be at its heart. But wherever Americans are helping to defeat the forces of intolerance, they are also widening the pockets where people can prosper and live freely. At some point, if we are spreading freedom, we might as well admit it.” The same is true of Iraq, come to think of it.

The WTA fines the Dubai Tennis Championships after denying Israeli tennis star Shahar Peer a visa. And U.S. tennis star Andy Roddick says he won’t defend his championship there because of the exclusion of the Israeli player.



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