spokesman

The Fork in J Street

The self-declared mission of J Street, the dovish "pro-Israel, pro-Peace" lobby that just concluded its first national conference this week, includes redefining the meaning of the term "pro-Israel." For too long, the organization's founders and supporters argue, right-wing elements in the Jewish community have abused the term to hijack the debate and tarnish mainstream, sensible advocates of a two-state solution. J Street's "pro-Israel" bona fides were questioned almost immediately after its launch, and with good reason.

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Per today's Wall Street Journal, Chamber of Commerce CEO Ton Donohue, whose organization backs the idea that significant global warming "would, on balance, be beneficial to humans" because the number of cold-weather deaths it would eliminate is "several times larger than the increase in summertime heat stress-related [deaths]," had this to say about the group's position on the issue: Through a spokesman, Mr. Donohue declined to be interviewed for this article.

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Last Standish

Standish, Michigan It's two p.m. on a workday, and the casino parking lot is completely full. Hundreds of people have come for the $20 gambling coupons offered to those willing to donate blood. Turnout for the drive was "above and beyond" expectations, says Frank Cloutier, a spokesman for the Saginaw Chippewa Indians, who run the 800-slot complex. The nurses are already turning people away two hours before closing, and they will soon run out of blood bags. "We get free money!" one woman tells me, clutching her coupon as her friends nod in agreement.

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It's bad enough that, if current trends continue, the GOP is likely to lose what should be a gimme congressional seat in New York's 23rd district next month thanks to a conservative spoiler candidate. Now sparks are flying between the moderate GOP nominee, Dede Scozzafava, and The Weekly Standard, which backs Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman.

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As Obama's health care overhaul comes closer and closer to becoming a reality, Republicans have begun to accuse Democrats of sabotaging the very process of making the bill into a law. Mike Enzi--the ranking Republican member of the Senate HELP Committee--has accused the Democratic HELP staff of substantially altering the HELP bill as the plan was translated into its final legislative text, which was sent to the Senate floor last month.

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Since late summer, several states have passed into law resolutions to release thousands of prisoners before they've completed their sentences. The goal is to help make up for immense budget shortfalls. The states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, and Oregon, have targeted their bloated prison systems in their quest to save hundreds of millions and make up for immense budget shortfalls. (Some have balanced budget amendments that require them to work out immediate savings.) But how exactly would such a plan work?

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In recent months, we've seen a host of companies protest the Chamber of Commerce's stance on global warming by either speaking out or resigning: Apple, Nike, GE, Johnson & Johnson, three electric utilities... The Chamber, in turn, has pointed out that the vast majority of its three million members haven't defected. Fair enough, but that raises a question: How did the Chamber's climate policy get decided in the first place? Was it a transparent, open process, and Apple and Nike are just sore losers? Nope.

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Arthur Miller By Christopher Bigsby (Harvard University Press, 739 pp., $35) I. Arthur Miller could hardly have hoped for a more sympathetic biographer than Christopher Bigsby. He is the director of the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies at the University of East Anglia, and the author of a long commentary on Miller’s work and a book-length interview with the playwright.

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The WSJ says that Gates has fresh doubts about the prospects of a major counterinsurgency campaign. But his spokesman, Geoff Morell, says he's also dubious about Joe Biden-backed the counterterrorism approach. Gates "does not think that is a path to success in Afghanistan," Morell tells the Journal. It's not clear what to make of this, as I'd be surprised if Gates endorsed a halfway muddle-through strategy.

Over the last few weeks Jay Rockefeller has emerged as the Senate's most visible spokesman for a public insurance option. And, purely from a public relations standpoint, this is something of a mixed blessing. He comes from West Virginia and is pretty popular there, so that certainly helps bring non-coastal credibility to the cause. But Rockefeller speaks in a plodding, rambling style that doesn't always make for great television. He's also pretty stubborn, which makes him a loud advocate but not necessarily an effective one, at least given the way the U.S.

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