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Iraq worse off than before war

By LISA ZAGAROLI
McClatchy Newspapers

As the third anniversary of the war approaches, the $21 billion the United States has allocated for reconstruction of Iraq has yet to lift the war-torn nation from ruin.

Power outages are the norm; in fact, there’s less electricity available than before the war began. Fewer people have clean water and sanitation systems. And fuel production isn’t at pre-war levels, either.

Bush’s war against women

By BONNIE ERBE

Now it’s official. Many of you have read my detonations during the past year about the fact American women’s cultural progress is in a stall, if not in a freefall. I’ve written that the number of women in Congress has remained relatively stagnant for the past decade. I’ve reported on data that prove the percentage of women occupying seats in state legislatures (the training ground for national politics) is down for the first time this decade after three decades of rising rapidly. I’ve written that women’s progress toward CEO status in major corporations is edging forward at a molasses-like pace and the same is true for women on corporate boards.

Feingold wants Bush censured

A liberal Democrat and potential White House contender is proposing censuring President Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping, saying the White House misled Americans about its legality.

"The president has broken the law and, in some way, he must be held accountable," Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., told The Associated Press in an interview.

A censure resolution, which simply would scold the president, has been used just once in U.S. history — against Andrew Jackson in 1834.

Lobbying reform? Ain’t gonna happen

In January, within days of the breaking of the worst lobbying scandal in decades, congressional leaders pledged swift and bold reform. That hasn’t happened, and Congress may be months away from coming together on the issue.

The Senate, within sight last week of passing a tough lobbying and ethics bill, got sidetracked by the Dubai port-management controversy and has moved on to other topics. House Republicans, at odds over such issues as whether to ban privately funded travel, have yet to introduce a bill.

Hey fatso! Uncle Sam doesn’t want you!

Uncle Sam wants YOU, that famous Army recruiting poster says. But does he really? Not if you’re a Ritalin-taking, overweight, Generation Y couch potato — or some combination of the above.

As for that fashionable "body art" that the military still calls a tattoo, having one is grounds for rejection, too.

Republicans ponder future without Bush

Republican contenders for the White House walked a political tightrope at a weekend gathering of party activists — expressing solidarity with President George W. Bush while stressing differences over issues such as deficits and big government.

While praising Bush’s leadership, they condemned runaway government spending, rising debt and expanding bureaucracies — which have grown under Bush and added to a flood of political difficulties that have sent his approval ratings plummeting.

A sour deal all the way around

By DALE McFEATTERS

There’s no getting around it. The Dubai deal ended badly for all concerned — except those members of Congress, Republican and Democratic, running for re-election who exploited it to puff up their national-security credentials.