Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, April 20th, 2009.

Must-Reads at TPM

Obama Administration

I don’t have time to comment, but I want to be sure y’all see these — first, read about Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) who allegedly got caught by an NSA wiretap working out a quid pro quo with a “suspected Israeli agent.” As Josh Marshall says, the allegations against Rep. Harman are extremely serious. But one also must ask why member of Congress was being wiretapped by the NSA.

There are a number of follow-up stories at TPM, so just go there for the latest.

Second, remember Scott Beauchamp, the Army Private who wrote about soldiers behaving badly for the New Republic? And how the Right formed a firing line to call Beauchamp a liar? Well, one of the chief witnesses against Beauchamp, Master Sergeant John Hatley, was just convicted by a military jury in Germany of executing four handcuffed, blindfolded Iraqi men by shooting them in the backs of their heads.

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Signs of the Times

Financial Crisis, Health Care

Paul Krugman writes in his column today that Ireland appears to be sinking into a genuine depression And he says the rest of the world could follow.

… to satisfy nervous lenders, Ireland is being forced to raise taxes and slash government spending in the face of an economic slump — policies that will further deepen the slump.

And it’s that closing off of policy options that I’m afraid might happen to the rest of us.

How did the Irish economy get into such a slump (emphasis added)?

By being just like us, only more so. Like its near-namesake Iceland, Ireland jumped with both feet into the brave new world of unsupervised global markets. Last year the Heritage Foundation declared Ireland the third freest economy in the world, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore.

BTW, if you want to see a study in psychotic denial, check out the Heritage Foundation issues page on the economy.

In other news, Ceci Connolly reports for the Washington Post that a downtown in manufacturing has caused a big bump in the number of North Carolinians without health insurance. One-fourth of the state’s residents have no health insurance, and another 9 percent are underinsured.

As a result, emergency rooms and nonprofit health services are being swamped by people needing basic medical care who cannot pay for it. Thanks to federal stimulus money, many nonprofit clinics are meeting the demands, but there are long waits.

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