Often times, she is the only person reporting on a hearing. Even AP ignores some of these hearings she reports on. She covers the Veterans Affairs Committees in the House and Senate, the Armed Services Committee when they are including Iraq, the Foreign Service Committees (the same), etc. She reported on the hearings of the Commission on Wartime Contracting. She attended those hearings as well.
Community member Brenda e-mailed to praise C.I.'s coverage of the House Veterans Affairs Committee in yesterday's snapshot. And that reminded me to note my praise right now. She'll be covering another hearing tomorrow.
There are veterans who are on the right or non-political who read The Common Ills just for the VA hearing coverage. I know because I get e-mails when Ava covers the Senate Veterans Hearings here and I'll open an e-mail and find it's to Ava.
The fact that she's on the left isn't the issue. They are just glad that these hearings are being covered. She actually began covering VA hearings because a man on the Senate Committee complained to her about the lack of coverage, how real issues are discussed and the press only cares if some big name is going to appear as a witness. That's true of so much of what now goes on in DC. Press outlets have had to cut back and cut staff and most of the hearings never get covered. I've covered some economic hearings and press conferences by federal agencies and was really surprised to find out how few people show up for those things. (C.I. said economic hearings get more coverage than Veterans Affairs hearings.)
She's been doing it for so long that she can -- and often does -- say, "Wait, wait, this was covered on __ and the VA promised . . ." Earlier this week, for example, she dropped back to a 2009 House Veterans Subcommittee Hearing to demonstrate that a 'new' problem the press was covering wasn't new and that the VA was ssupposed to have addressed it years ago.
Okay, Barry Grey (WSWS) has an important article about the 'help' the White House and the Congress are providing for those without jobs:
In the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, with long-term unemployment at record highs, the Obama administration has forged a bipartisan agreement with the Republicans that will sharply reduce the duration of jobless benefits.
The deal reached Tuesday by members of a House-Senate committee would extend through December a payroll tax cut and continue emergency unemployment benefits. It includes provisions that will cut off the financial lifeline for hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers and their families.
Presented by the Obama administration and the media as a boon to hard-pressed working Americans, the measure is in reality a cruel and punitive assault on the working class—in the first instance, those most severely impacted by nearly four years of mass unemployment.
It is expected that the agreement will be finalized, passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by Obama by the end of the week. According to press reports, over the course of 2012 it will reduce the maximum duration of extended jobless benefits from the current 99 weeks to 73 weeks in those states with the highest unemployment levels. The 73-week maximum will apply only to states where the official jobless rate is above 9 percent.
In 36 of the 50 states, where the jobless rate is lower, the duration of benefits will be cut from the current maximum of 93 weeks to 63 weeks—a loss of 30 weeks of benefits!
In addition, more barriers will be placed in the way of workers seeking to obtain jobless benefits. They will be required to provide more proof that they are actively seeking work, and, in a particularly demeaning and vindictive move, states will be allowed to subject jobless applicants to drug tests.
I oppose drug testing period. There's a great deal to object to that's exposed in the WSWS article but I'm focusing on the drug testing.
Not only do I oppose it but I also think it's a huge mistake for the unemployed.
If we buy into the federal government's argument that recreational drug use creates crime/fosters crime, how can pulling a check from someone without a job is going to 'help' society? He or she has no job. And now they have no unemployment check? Exactly what is the option for the person?
I would assume if that were me and I had to feed my children, I would steal. I'd probably steal handbags because I doubt I have the skills for robbery or burglary in terms of breaking and entering. And I doubt I could learn the skills required for a pick pocket. But I see a lot of women who are not to bright when it comes to their purses in public. (I have had my purse taken -- back when I was 28. Ever since then, I've been very alert about it.)
So if I were denied a check and jobless, I'd be stealing purses. The government would make me a criminal in that case because I would have to feed my children.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday: