From American Progress:
A Marine regiment is heading to Iraq for its fifth tour. Yesterday, the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment based at Twentynine Palms, California, reportedly became the first Marine Corps unit to be deployed a record five times. Sixty percent of the unit will be going to Iraq for the first time.
Bush administration officials tout private Medicare plans as having extra benefits and low costs. A new Government Accountability Office report, however, finds that these plans "often cost beneficiaries more than the traditional government-run Medicare program."
Speaking before the House Financial Services Committee yesterday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that the U.S. economic situation "has become distinctly less favorable" since last summer. He still refused to say that the economy was heading toward a recession, but acknowledged his forecast may be overly optimistic.
This next year, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will serve as John McCain's point man on Capitol Hill. "There ain't going to be a lot of 'bringing us together' between now and November," Graham said. "There's going to be a lot of jockeying for political advantage. It's sad, but true."
If elected president, McCain would the first president born outside the 50 states to take the presidential oath of office. Having been born in the Panama Canal Zone, McCain's candidacy is "reviving a musty debate" about the meaning of the Constitution's "natural-born citizen" requirement for presidential eligibility.
Despite great strides made in the past four decades toward expanding a black middle class and producing black political leaders in the U.S., a new study released today concludes that African-Americans still lag behind whites "significantly in income, education and other measures of well-being."
House conservatives, long divided over a proposed earmark moratorium, are "conceding that they do not have support for the idea from their colleagues, even among most of the members of the 103-member Republican Study Committee." "The votes aren't there," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX).
Iraq's presidential council rejected a plan for new provincial elections, sending the bill back to parliament for reworking -- "a major setback to U.S.-backed efforts to promote national reconciliation." The ruling came despite a reported last-minute telephone call by Vice President Cheney to the body.
And finally: Some bipartisan cooperation in Congress. Roll Call reports that both parties are "rallying to a common cause and introducing a bipartisan bill designating July 26, 2008, as 'National Day of the Cowboy.' The legislation, which Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) introduced Feb. 13, honors the 'pioneering men and women, known as cowboys.'" Giffords's spokesman noted, "Who can disagree about the importance of cowboys?"