Friday, Oct 19th

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President signs health bill into law

A broadly smiling President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a historic $938 billion health care overhaul that guarantees coverage for 32 million uninsured Americans and will touch nearly every citizen's life, presiding over the biggest shift in U.S. domestic policy since the 1960s and capping a divisive, yearlong debate that could define the November elections.

Celebrating "a new season in America" - the biggest accomplishment of his White House and one denied to a line of presidents before him - Obama made the massive bill law with an East Room signing ceremony. He was joined by jubilant House and Senate Democrats as well as lesser-known people whose health care struggles have touched the president.


ACORN disbanding because of money woes, scandal

The once mighty community activist group ACORN announced Monday it is folding amid falling revenues - six months after video footage emerged showing some of its workers giving tax tips to conservative activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.

"It's really declining revenue in the face of a series of attacks from partisan operatives and right-wing activists that have taken away our ability to raise the resources we need," ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan said.

Several of its largest affiliates, including ACORN New York and ACORN California, broke away this year and changed their names in a bid to ditch the tarnished image of their parent organization and restore revenue that ran dry in the wake of the video scandal.


Obama Administration Destroys Incriminating Contracting Data

Since 2003, over a dozen federal investigations have found that Fortune 500 firms have received federal small business contracts. In 2004, the SBA Office of Advocacy found large businesses had received federal small business contracts fraudulently through what they referred to as "vendor deception."


J Street launches campaign in support of tough U.S. stand on Israel

"Earlier this week, J Street leadership delivered over 18,000 signatures to White House officials demonstrating that large numbers of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans agree with the Vice President when he says 'sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth,' and urging the Administration to turn this crisis into an opportunity for progress on two states," the group's announcement said.

The statement added that "the Obama Administration can turn this crisis into an opportunity to tackle a core issue at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians - the need to establish a border between Israel and the future Palestinian state."

"Too much time has already been lost in getting the two sides into negotiations," J Street said, adding: "We cannot let any single provocative Israeli announcement of construction in East Jerusalem, no matter how infuriating, delay progress towards a two-state solution. Bold American leadership is needed now to turn this crisis into a real opportunity to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."


Obama Restores Former Pentagon Line of Succession

t is a morbid theme, but one that no superpower can ignore. So the Obama administration has quietly reviewed, and revised, the sequence in which Pentagon civilian officials would take command should Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates die unexpectedly, say in a surprise attack.

An executive order published without fanfare earlier this month does away with a system for Pentagon succession instituted by former President George W. Bush, which played down the service secretaries and elevated positions held at the time by trusted aides to Donald H. Rumsfeld, who as defense secretary wanted it that way.

These plans governing Pentagon succession are designed to guarantee civilian control of the military during a doomsday situation, like a nuclear strike or a terrorist attack, when the defense secretary could be taken out of action at the moment when war-fighting decisions must be made. The Bush order, issued in December 2005, continued the traditional sequence of the deputy defense secretary as next in line. But the Bush plan booted the Army secretary out of the No. 3 slot in the order of succession, in favor of the under secretary of defense for intelligence.


Liberal Americans choke on their pretzels as Karl Rove rewrites history

The book stands accused of being a towering monument to self-denial of what are now seen as self-evident truths. Despite millions of words of newsprint, endless government probes in numerous countries and hours upon hours of TV reports proving the opposite, Rove stands by the idea that President George W Bush invaded Iraq reluctantly. He also denies Bush condoned torture. "He did just the opposite," Rove wrote.


Clarence Thomas' wife launches 'tea party' group

But Thomas is no ordinary activist. She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.

In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative "core principles," she said.

The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources -- including corporations -- as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.


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