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Monday 05/04/2015
The Lusitania's role in history

WASHINGTON — Owning a fragment of history – a Gettysburg bullet, a Coolidge campaign button – is fun, so in 1968, Gregg Bemis became an owner of the Lusitania.

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Angry Mom against the 'thugs'

Unlike my own parents, I normally do not condone lifting a hand to spank, slap or whip misbehaving children. Yet I salute Toya Graham, now known widely known as Baltimore's Angry Mom, for making corporal punishment look like high art.

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Sunday 05/03/2015
A cruel April in politics

April is gone after having once again borne out Eliot’s characterization as “the cruelest month.” Here are some political observations of how it mixed memory and desire and stirred dull roots with spring rain.

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Saturday 05/02/2015
Men wielding power in hellish times

WASHINGTON — “Wolf Hall,” the Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel about the court of Henry VIII – and most dramatically, the conflict between Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More – is now a TV series (presented on PBS). It is maddeningly good. 

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Thursday 04/30/2015
Rick Kelley a major asset to BG community

The Bowling Green Daily News, along with Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, seems compelled to blame Rick Kelley for recent developments downtown. Well, I for one would like to jump on that bandwagon – so here it goes.

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Horses & candidates

It’s Derby week in Kentucky! Here is a tip sheet pairing some of the state’s top politicians with some of this year’s Derby horses. 

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Tuesday 04/28/2015
Taking the road to destruction

When future historians analyze the decline of America, they need look no further than the trivialities increasingly occupying our time and concerns instead of substantive matters seriously threatening our existence.

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Monday 04/27/2015
Lynch has tough road ahead as AG

After an inexcusable five-month delay, the Senate last week finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. The vote is good news for the White House and, not incidentally, the Justice Department. What it says about the Senate itself is less certain.

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Graham candidacy would have fun factor

WASHINGTON — In 1994, Lindsey Graham, then a 39-year-old South Carolina legislator, ran for Congress in a district he said had not elected a Republican since Union guns made it do so during Reconstruction.

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The GOP's death trap

WASHINGTON — Maybe congressional Republicans really are nuts, suicidal or both. The latest evidence is House approval of legislation abolishing the estate tax, sometimes called the "death tax." The chances of this soon becoming law are slim, because even if it passes the Senate, congressional Republicans probably won’t be able to override President Barack Obama's promised veto. Meanwhile, they've handed Democrats a priceless campaign gift: a made-for-TV (and Internet) video depicting Republicans as lackeys of the rich.

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More Headlines

Tuesday 04/21/2015
EPA climate rule worth battle
Posted: April 21, 2015

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s recent attempt to equate those who work in the Kentucky coal fields – along with those of us who support and defend their way of life – with the Southern plantation owners who once enriched themselves off the backs of slaves is a depressing new low.

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Monday 04/20/2015
Light federalism's candles
Posted: April 20, 2015

Did you hear the one about Washington’s power outage that caused the Department of Energy to go dark?

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Kansas' abortion change welcome
Posted: April 20, 2015

The pregnancy-terminating procedure most commonly known as “dilation and evacuation” goes by another name – dismemberment abortion.

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Better China-Pakistan cooperation welcome
Posted: April 20, 2015

American and Chinese leaders like to talk about how they can cooperate in specific areas even as they compete for global influence. Pakistan, where Xi Jinping on Monday begins the first visit by a Chinese president in nearly a decade, should be one of those areas.

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Sunday 04/19/2015
In Cuba, temper hope with realism
Posted: April 19, 2015

Some reactions to President Barack Obama’s decision to reform U.S.-Cuban relations has bordered on idealization of that place 90 miles off Florida’s shores that President John F. Kennedy called “that imprisoned island.” The reality is Cuba has an awful human rights record. It would be a big mistake to minimize or ignore that in a well-intentioned rush to normalized relations. 

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Friday 04/17/2015
The queen travels by van
Posted: April 17, 2015

WASHINGTON — See Hillary ride in a van! Watch her meet everyday Americans! Witness her ordering a burrito bowl at Chipotle! Which she did wearing shades, as did her chief aide Huma Abedin, yielding security-camera pictures that made them look (to borrow from Karl Rove) like fugitives on the lam, wanted in seven states for a failed foreign policy.

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Thursday 04/16/2015
Sprint to the finish line in GOP governor's race
Posted: April 16, 2015

May 19 is Primary Election Day in Kentucky. The big race on the ballot is the four-man battle among Matt Bevin, James Comer, Hal Heiner and Will T. Scott for the Republican nomination for governor.

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Wednesday 04/15/2015
Ring in the old?
Posted: April 15, 2015

WASHINGTON — Americans, perhaps more than anyone, worship the future and resent the past.

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2015 awful for tax filers
Posted: April 15, 2015

Happy Tax Day, America! How has your filing gone? If you needed any help from the Internal Revenue Service, chances are it has been awful.

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Tuesday 04/14/2015
The 'new' Hillary Clinton
Posted: April 14, 2015

In the video announcing her presidential candidacy, Hillary Clinton says the economic deck “is still stacked in favor of those at the top.”

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Monday 04/13/2015
What if we didn't have video?
Posted: April 13, 2015

Once again, what a difference a video makes.

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Clinton must fight for victory
Posted: April 13, 2015

Well, it’s a start. “I’m hitting the road to earn your vote,” Hillary Clinton said in a video released Sunday. It’s a big country, so if the former first lady, former senator and former secretary of state is going to earn votes, it makes sense to meet a few of the people who will cast them.

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Containing Iran's nuclear intoxication
Posted: April 13, 2015

WASHINGTON — This week brings a constitutional moment illustrating a paradox of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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Sunday 04/12/2015
A Daniels-Rice 2016 Republican dream ticket
Posted: April 12, 2015

If this columnist could select the next president and vice president, they would be former two-term Indiana governor and current president of Purdue University Mitch Daniels in the top spot and former National Security Adviser, Secretary of State and current Stanford University professor Condoleezza Rice in the second spot.

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Saturday 04/11/2015
Quick reaction to Walter Scott killing is reason to hope
Posted: April 11, 2015

Again?

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Iran's red line on the nuclear deal must be for U.S., too
Posted: April 11, 2015

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has, predictably, challenged some crucial U.S. interpretations of the recent framework agreement aimed at reining in his country’s nuclear program. He says these differences are deal-breakers – and so they should be.

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Friday 04/10/2015
The Iran deal: What we've given up
Posted: April 10, 2015

“Negotiations ... to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability ...”

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The investment bust (explained)
Posted: April 10, 2015

WASHINGTON — One of the great disappointments of the weak economic recovery has been the sluggish revival of business investment – spending on new buildings, factories, equipment and intellectual property (mainly research and development, and software). For the United States, this spending in 2014 was about 9 percent above its 2007 record high. Sounds good? It isn't. The average annual gain is a bit more than 1 percent over the past seven years. It is only a small stretch to say that capital has gone on strike.

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Thursday 04/09/2015
Rand Paul: Fusion or confusion?
Posted: April 09, 2015

The eyes of America, or at least of those who pay attention to politics, were on Louisville this week. Kentucky’s junior U.S. Sen. Rand Paul made official the presidential campaign he has been informally mounting since his election in 2010.

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Tuesday 04/07/2015
The Iran deal: Devilish details on horizon
Posted: April 07, 2015

Too bad the “framework” of a nuclear weapons deal with Iran didn’t come four days earlier on April Fools’ Day. It would have been more appropriate.

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Monday 04/06/2015
The virtues of the smoke-filled room
Posted: April 06, 2015

WASHINGTON — The John Boehner/Nancy Pelosi agreement on Medicare doctors' payments – permanently easing up on scheduled cuts, funded (partially) by means testing – has been praised as an incremental gain and criticized as a small backward step. In either case, it is a rare bird: the result of a March 4 meeting between leaders in a metaphorical smoke-filled room (and, given Boehner's smoking habit, perhaps an actual one). 

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FEC case political speech or corruption?
Posted: April 06, 2015

In the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court declared that corporate independent political expenditures are protected free speech under the First Amendment and cannot be constrained. The court wrestled with the possibility that unlimited spending might have a corrupting influence on politics, but in the end it decided that free speech was the overriding goal and that as long as the expenditures were independent of candidates, and transparent, they would not increase corruption. The campaign cycles since then have been increasingly awash in this spending, much of it going to super PACs.

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Corporate activism finds its footing
Posted: April 06, 2015

You can tell a movement is scoring important points when its opponents want to change the subject.

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Sunday 04/05/2015
Comer platform comes in installments
Posted: April 05, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, one of four Republican candidates for governor, is issuing a policy platform in installments. He calls it the “Comer-McDaniel Plan for All Kentuckians.”

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Economy is still missing 3 million jobs
Posted: April 05, 2015

The Federal Reserve must answer a tough question in deciding when and how quickly to remove stimulus from the U.S. economy: How much more can employment grow before it becomes an inflationary force?

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Saturday 04/04/2015
Here's something that worked
Posted: April 04, 2015

WASHINGTON — Every so often, we ought to celebrate our victories. The auto bailout is a case in point. Six years ago, it was wildly controversial, with the fate of General Motors and Chrysler hanging in the balance. Now, it’s clear that the bailout was a solid success.

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Friday 04/03/2015
Indiana and the culture wars
Posted: April 03, 2015

If I visit a kosher restaurant and order a pork chop, am I being discriminated against when the waiter says they don't serve pork?

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Thursday 04/02/2015
In the year 7 A.B.
Posted: April 02, 2015

— A future history book (if there are still such things) may contain a chapter like the following about our current era.

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Wednesday 04/01/2015
Discrimination a two-way street
Posted: April 01, 2015

WASHINGTON — Excited protests against Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom law have highlighted both America’s growing support for same-sex marriage and our apparent incapacity to entertain more than one idea at a time.

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Tuesday 03/31/2015
How to solve Clinton problem
Posted: March 31, 2015

NEW YORK — This being the 50th anniversary of the film “The Sound of Music,” please permit me a poor adaption of a few of its song lyrics, which fit in nicely with our current political climate.

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Spending realities not on agenda
Posted: March 31, 2015

WASHINGTON — When it comes to the federal budget, what consistently unites Democrats and Republicans is their common capacity to lie to themselves, lie to the public and postpone any serious discussion of the central issues of government spending and taxes. I use the word “lie” reluctantly because it is an unforgiving moral marker.

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Monday 03/30/2015
All politics all the time bad formula
Posted: March 30, 2015

Britain’s political parties began their election campaigns over the weekend, and on May 7 the country’s citizens will vote. To many Americans, this idea is bound to seem bewildering – yet, at the same time, strangely appealing.

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A leap of faith - into thin air
Posted: March 30, 2015

WASHINGTON — The apparently intentional downing of a Germanwings airliner by the co-pilot has us riveted, as commercial plane crashes usually do.

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Sunday 03/29/2015
Fight poverty, not savings, by fixing welfare asset rules
Posted: March 29, 2015

Some welfare programs exclude those with assets, and for good reason. If the goal is to help people living in poverty, the program shouldn’t waste resources on those who aren’t poor. If you lose your job but have enough money in the bank to tide you over comfortably, you don’t need food stamps, disability payments or other forms of public support as much as others.

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Heiner's 'Kentucky First' plan disappoints
Posted: March 29, 2015

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner has campaigned long and hard across Kentucky. It appears to be paying off. Two recent public polls show him leading the field in the GOP’s four-candidate May primary.

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Friday 03/27/2015
Realistic Middle East peace talks approach welcome
Posted: March 27, 2015

President Barack Obama’s assessment this week of the prospects for Middle East peace was sobering but realistic.

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The GOP racing form: First edition
Posted: March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON — With Ted Cruz announcing and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio soon to follow, it's time to start handicapping the horses and making enemies.

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Is the 'Doc fix' fixed in a D.C. bipartisan rarity?
Posted: March 27, 2015

The House of Representatives is on course to pass a major piece of Medicare legislation with strong support from the leadership and rank and file of both parties. Yes, you read that right:

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Thursday 03/26/2015
Spring break in Frankfort?
Posted: March 26, 2015

Spring Break is upon us. Beaches are nice, of course, but if you are looking for an alternative trip – closer, cheaper and perhaps of more educational value – consider one focused on Kentucky history and politics in Frankfort, the state capital. Really.

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Wednesday 03/25/2015
Raise the smoking age in U.S.
Posted: March 25, 2015

Forty-two million Americans still smoke. That is a much smaller proportion of the population than decades ago. But it's still a public health disaster: Eighteen percent of adults put themselves and their families at risk of major and wholly preventable health problems. Education programs, changing social attitudes and higher tobacco taxes have pushed the smoking rate down, and cigarette bans have made the air a lot less foul in public places. But a new report articulates the logic behind an additional approach to fighting tobacco: Raise the age at which people can legally buy tobacco products to 19, 21 or even 25. Cities, states and even Congress should consider this option seriously.

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Let's not talk
Posted: March 25, 2015

WASHINGTON — I'm standing in the Starbucks line behind 10 other sleepyheads waiting to order my tall skinny cappuccino, otherwise known as a shot of coffee described as I wish to be. 

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Tuesday 03/24/2015
Disastrous Iran deal may prove fatal to Israe
Posted: March 24, 2015

In 1982, during one of many visits to Israel, I had the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Menachem Begin, who told me, "Israel needs friends." He added that in the end, his nation could not trust any nation with its fate and security. The protection of Israel, he said, was ultimately the responsibility of Israelis.

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Cruz's talk of courageous conservatism rings hollow
Posted: March 24, 2015

Ted Cruz launched his presidential campaign Monday by appealing to the country’s “courageous conservatives.” Fine, you might think, even as you wonder why so few politicians, liberal or conservative, stand up for timidity. Down with such cynicism. Courageous leaders – an idea worth taking seriously.

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Monday 03/23/2015
High costs of high-speed failure
Posted: March 23, 2015

While some in the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government consider it fashionable to build and operate a broadband network at taxpayers’ expense, citizens who take a moment to look at the price tag of similar outfits in other places should at least do some more price shopping before heading to the register.

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The Fed's reckoning arrives, but it's clueless
Posted: March 23, 2015

WASHINGTON —The Federal Reserve is at a crossroads, and it doesn’t know where it’s going. After holding short-term interest rates near zero for six years, Fed policymakers, led by chair Janet Yellen, are prepared to raise them – but when, how much and with what consequences they haven’t said. 

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Debate over Pentagon spending can provide purpose to the GOP
Posted: March 23, 2015

Like all debates based on congressional budgets, last week’s argument over military spending was mostly symbolic. At the same time, this wasn’t just the usual Republican infighting over dismantling Obamacare or paying the government’s bills. The party is actually in a position to set some budget priorities for the Pentagon – if only its members can agree on what they are.

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Sunday 03/22/2015
Fight against children's cancer admirable
Updated: March 22, 2015 - 6:00 am

Many kids, when you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, will say, “a firefighter.”

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Electoral college idea a tilt
Posted: March 22, 2015

The electoral college is far from perfect, but that doesn’t mean every “reform” offers an improvement. A case in point: a Michigan Republican’s proposal to apportion the state’s electoral votes by congressional district, replacing the standard method of awarding all electoral votes to the statewide winner. The only rationale for the new method: It would help Republicans.

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Dear Prince Charles, welcome to Louisville!
Posted: March 22, 2015

Since we have met before, and because we both come from London (but not the same one, of course), I thought I should reach out to you, renew our acquaintance and tell you a little bit about my adopted hometown of almost 28 years.

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Saturday 03/21/2015
No peace in our time
Updated: March 21, 2015 - 12:28 am

WASHINGTON — Of all the idiocies uttered in reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu's stunning election victory, none is more ubiquitous than the idea that peace prospects are now dead because Netanyahu has declared that there will be no Palestinian state while he is Israel's prime minister.

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Recent Headlines

Monday 05/04/2015
The Lusitania's role in history

WASHINGTON — Owning a fragment of history – a Gettysburg bullet, a Coolidge campaign button – is fun, so in 1968, Gregg Bemis became an owner of the Lusitania.

Comments (0)
more »
Angry Mom against the 'thugs'

Unlike my own parents, I normally do not condone lifting a hand to spank, slap or whip misbehaving children. Yet I salute Toya Graham, now known widely known as Baltimore's Angry Mom, for making corporal punishment look like high art.

Comments (0)
more »
Sunday 05/03/2015
A cruel April in politics

April is gone after having once again borne out Eliot’s characterization as “the cruelest month.” Here are some political observations of how it mixed memory and desire and stirred dull roots with spring rain.

Comments (0)
more »
Saturday 05/02/2015
Men wielding power in hellish times

WASHINGTON — “Wolf Hall,” the Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel about the court of Henry VIII – and most dramatically, the conflict between Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More – is now a TV series (presented on PBS). It is maddeningly good. 

Comments (0)
more »
Thursday 04/30/2015
Rick Kelley a major asset to BG community

The Bowling Green Daily News, along with Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, seems compelled to blame Rick Kelley for recent developments downtown. Well, I for one would like to jump on that bandwagon – so here it goes.

Comments (6)
more »
Horses & candidates

It’s Derby week in Kentucky! Here is a tip sheet pairing some of the state’s top politicians with some of this year’s Derby horses. 

Comments (0)
more »
Tuesday 04/28/2015
Taking the road to destruction

When future historians analyze the decline of America, they need look no further than the trivialities increasingly occupying our time and concerns instead of substantive matters seriously threatening our existence.

Comments (0)
more »
Monday 04/27/2015
Lynch has tough road ahead as AG

After an inexcusable five-month delay, the Senate last week finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. The vote is good news for the White House and, not incidentally, the Justice Department. What it says about the Senate itself is less certain.

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Graham candidacy would have fun factor

WASHINGTON — In 1994, Lindsey Graham, then a 39-year-old South Carolina legislator, ran for Congress in a district he said had not elected a Republican since Union guns made it do so during Reconstruction.

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The GOP's death trap

WASHINGTON — Maybe congressional Republicans really are nuts, suicidal or both. The latest evidence is House approval of legislation abolishing the estate tax, sometimes called the "death tax." The chances of this soon becoming law are slim, because even if it passes the Senate, congressional Republicans probably won’t be able to override President Barack Obama's promised veto. Meanwhile, they've handed Democrats a priceless campaign gift: a made-for-TV (and Internet) video depicting Republicans as lackeys of the rich.

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