"I stopped eating on Monday and joined around 4,000 other people in a fast to call attention to congressional budget proposals that would make huge cuts in programs for the poor and hungry....These supposedly deficit-reducing cuts - they'd barely make a dent - will quite literally cause more people to starve to death, go to bed hungry or live more miserably than are doing so now." - Food writer Mark Bittman in a March 30 op-ed, "Why We're Fasting."
"...Senator Saxby Chambliss, 67, a genial Georgia conservative whose nasty first campaign left lingering bad feelings among Democrats....Mr. Chambliss remains negatively defined by his 2002 defeat of Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee veteran of Vietnam, after a campaign that included an ad picturing Mr. Cleland with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Chambliss's work on the Gang of Six has done as much as anything to soften attitudes." - Reporter Jackie Calmes, April 17. The Times has long claimed the Chambliss ad questioned Democrat Sen. Cleland's patriotism by linking him to Osama bin Laden. The actual ad opens with a montage of four photographs, one each of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, two others of the U.S. military, as a narrator reads: "As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead." Only then does the ad show photo of Cleland.
"There isn't anything new in the film to upset the gun lobby, but there's plenty to depress anyone who thinks that the country would be better off with fewer than its tally of some 250 million guns." - Conclusion to television critic Mike Hale's April 13 review of "Gun Fight," an HBO documentary.
"A fairer, more fiscally conservative plan would not postpone dealing with Medicare. It would leave in place the cost control measures in the health reform bill and go even further to reward the quality of care rather than the volume....Next, the federal government would raise taxes. As countries have grown richer over time, they have historically paid higher taxes - to cover the costs of a strong military, good schools, comfortable retirements and other luxuries that the free market doesn't provide. Affluent Americans, in particular, can afford higher taxes. They have received far larger raises in recent decades than any other income group, and their tax rates have fallen far more. Yet Mr. Ryan would reduce them further." - Times chief economics writer David Leonhardt's front-page economics column, April 6.
"In reality, finding a way to raise taxes may well be the central political problem facing the United States." - David Leonhardt's front-page economics column, April 13.
"Being president is an ego trip. So you would have thought President Obama wouldn't need to add to his bragging rights. But Mr. Obama's N.C.A.A. men's basketball bracket stands - for the moment, anyway - as one of the best out there....His picks for the final eight teams are all still alive, giving him a shot at a near-perfect bracket. All of which proves one thing: Mr. Obama knows his hoops." - Michael Shear on the paper's "Caucus" blog, March 19.
"The Republican plan includes a shrinking of Medicare and Medicaid and trillions of dollars in tax cuts, while sparing defense spending. Mr. Obama, by contrast, envisions a more comprehensive plan that would include tax increases for the richest taxpayers, cuts to military spending, savings in Medicare and Medicaid, and unspecified changes to Social Security." - Budget reporter Jackie Calmes, April 11.
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