Joseph Biden

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy An agreement to raise the debt ceiling is hardly imminent. Anything from a Grand Bargain, with $4 trillion in deficit reduction, to no action whatsoever, with financial market catastrophe, remains possible. But the idea getting the most attention in Washington right now is a Not-So-Grand Bargain, along the lines of what multiple media outlets have reported in the last few days.

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In April 2000, a Vermont musician named Diana Levine went to the hospital with a migraine. There, a nurse incorrectly injected Phenergan, an anti-nausea drug, into her vein rather than her muscle. This led to gangrene and, eventually, the amputation of much of her right arm. Levine sued and won more than $6 million from a Vermont jury, which concluded that Wyeth, the drug company, had failed to warn her properly about the risks of the drug.

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Obama’s Law

On March 29, 1989, at a time when many of his fellow first-year law students were beginning to prepare for the spring semester’s looming examinations, Barack Obama paid a visit to the office of eminent constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. Obama had not dropped by to brush up for a test. In fact, he had yet even to enroll in an introductory constitutional law course, a gratification Harvard Law School denies its students until the second year of study. Obama’s call was purely extracurricular: He wanted to discuss Tribe’s academic writings.

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For those of us who can remember how lonely it was to be in favor of the Iraq war and the hoped-for surge in 2006, reflecting on America’s current travails in Afghanistan—a “fool’s errand” (George F. Will) administered by “well-meaning infidels” (Andrew J. Bacevich)—isn’t nearly so depressing.

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Why does Sarah Palin talk the way she does? Just what is this sort of thing below? We realize that more and more Americans are starting to see the light there and understand the contrast.

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Long before he became president Barack Obama had carved out a reasonably aggressive policy towards Pakistan and its equivocating stance towards Al Qaeda. In fact, it was early on in his candidacy (August 1, 2007, in fact) that he gave a speech to the Woodrow Wilson International Center which promised that the Americans would do to the terrorists what the Pakis would not. Of course, almost all of Obama's opponents jumped on him, including Joseph Biden, now his vice president and still taking pot shots at his policies, and Hillary Clinton who ...

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Flashback, April '07: Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Democratic presidential candidate, called Wednesday for the use of military force to end the suffering in Darfur. "I would use American force now," Biden said at a hearing before his committee. "I think it's not only time not to take force off the table. I think it's time to put force on the table and use it." In advocating use of military force, Biden said senior U.S. military officials in Europe told him that 2,500 U.S.

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Knowledge Gap

Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. But, when Nancy Pelosi confessed last year that she felt "sad" about President Bush's claims that Al Qaeda operates in Iraq, she seemed to be disputing what every American soldier in Iraq, every Al Qaeda operative, and anyone who reads a newspaper already knew to be true. (When I questioned him about Pelosi's assertion, a U.S. officer in Ramadi responded, incredulously, that Al Qaeda had just held a parade in his sector.) Perhaps the House speaker was alluding to the discredited claim that Al Qaeda operated in Iraq before the war. Perhaps.

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Island Mentality

Guantnamo Bay, Cuba The detainee, by all appearances, is resigned to his fate. Throughout his hearing, he remains stoic, not once even shifting in his chair, let alone jostling the restraints that bind his wrists and ankles. His tan jumpsuit indicates his compliance with the camp guards. (The infamous orange jumpsuits are reserved for "problem" detainees.) When the panel of American military officers asks if he wants to submit additional statements on his behalf, he declines.

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A Fighting Faith

On January 4, 1947, 130 men and women met at Washington's Willard Hotel to save American liberalism. A few months earlier, in articles in The New Republic and elsewhere, the columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop had warned that "the liberal movement is now engaged in sowing the seeds of its own destruction." Liberals, they argued, "consistently avoided the great political reality of the present: the Soviet challenge to the West." Unless that changed, "In the spasm of terror which will seize this country ...

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