RECESS APPOINTMENTS: President Obama has just made four recess appointments, following his end-run around the Senate’s obstructionism last month when he installed Dr. Donald Berwick as the head of the agency that runs Medicare and Medicade.  Republican Senators have set all time records for foot-dragging this administration’s appointees.  At times, when Obama’s appointees finally get Senate action the vote is 97 ayes! 

These recess appointees will be able to serve until the end of 2011 without Senate consent:  

  • Winslow Sargeant, after waiting over 14 months for a Senate vote, will be chief counsel of advocacy for the Small Business Administration.
  • Richard Sorian is to be the new assistant secretary for public affairs at the Health and Human Services Department. He had been waiting more than 11 months since Obama nominated him.
  • Maria del Carmen Aponte will be chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. She’d been waiting more than eight months.
  • Elisabeth Hagen will be undersecretary for food safety at the Agriculture Department. Her wait for Senate action was nearly seven months.

MIDEAST PEACE?:  Israel and Palestine are set to resume direct peace talks early next month in Washington.  An agreement to pursue peace, leading to a two state solution, is the path to resolving so many international problems.  We know President Obama is focused and serious, let’s hope Netanyahu and Abbas are as well.  Check-it-out.

ECONOMIC STIMULUS WITHOUT A VOTE: Investor Bill Gross proposes a huge refinancing of taxpayer-backed mortgages scheme to the Obama administration — and it wouldn’t add to the federal deficit.  By refinancing mortgages, at the current (and lower) rates it, is projected that homeowners would save $46 billion a year — and that would spur $50 billion a year in new consumer spending and potentially raise home prices 10%.  According to Gross, “It’s the one thing they (Washington) can do that doesn’t increase the deficit and that doesn’t require legislation.” 

WE WERE WRONG:  Geez, who’d-a-thunk-it — Dr. Laura Schlessinger IS losing her 30 year-long radio show, following her racist rant last week in which she used the N-word eleven times.  We predicted that her hateful talk would only boost her ratings, and that she’d be even more popular with the uninformed.  And even with her surprise support from Sarah Palin, (didn’t Sarah know Dr. Laura said she was unqualified to be V.P.?) Dr. Laura Schlessinger is still losing her radio show.  She says she’s quitting on her own — uh huh.

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