Monday, April 30, 2007

This has got to be a Mistake

But, for today at least, we're a "Large Mammal" in the TTLB ecosystem. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

The "fine print", from the notice at the head of each TTLB page right now:
Notice 4/30/07: Yes, some major work is going on around the Ecosystem, and the rankings have gone wonky at the moment. Please bear with me, as this is a sign of good things to come --- lots of improvements coming!
(Sigh)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Zoom Zoom



Check it out here.

h/t The Funny Farm.

From the inventor's website:
The XR-3 Hybrid is a super-fuel-efficient two-passenger plug-in hybrid that achieves 125 mpg on diesel power alone, 225 mpg on combined diesel and electric power, and performance like a conventional automobile. The design of the XR-3 Hybrid focuses on existing technologies and a vehicle “personality” that makes conserving energy a fun driving experience. It showcases the design ideas explored in Robert Q. Riley’s book, Alternative Cars in the 21st Century.

At just 1300 pounds, this high-performance design combines lightening-fast acceleration, a maximum speed of 85 mph, and fuel economy of 125- to over 200-mpg.

Its clam-shell canopy and three-wheel platform boldly differentiates the XR-3 from conventional passenger cars. The vehicle’s hybrid power system, diesel engine, and low curb weight are the main ingredients of its super-high fuel economy and excellent performance. Acceleration equal to that of a conventional car and a maximum speed of 85 mph make the XR-3 Hybrid equally at home on freeways and surface streets.

Plans will be available so readers can build a duplicate of the XR-3 Hybrid prototype, or convert their own car into a significantly more fuel-efficient vehicle. Readers will understand the factors that influence fuel economy, and learn how to make any car achieve greater fuel economy. The XR-3 Hybrid gives enthusiasts and experimenters the opportunity to significantly reduce their transportation expenses and have fun doing it. On a broader level, the vehicle is a highly visible example of the kinds of vehicles that could help reduce personal mobility energy on a global scale.


(Image Credit: Robert G. Riley Enterprises)

Long National Nightmare Over

Yay!
Balance restored to the Universe.

Awwwwww, ka-rap!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gilmore Announces Today -- Live on the Web

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore will announce his candidacy for the Republican Vice Presidential nomination at noon (Eastern) today. The event will be live-streamed from his website.

So, who is Jim Gilmore and why is he getting into this? From his website (yawn):
Courageous. Consistent. Conservative. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has exactly the credentials that most Republicans are looking for in their nominee for President of the United States.

* Jim Gilmore served as a U.S. Army counter-intelligence agent in Germany during the Vietnam era.
* Jim Gilmore served as a tough, crime busting local prosecutor in Virginia.
* Jim Gilmore served as a popular, no-nonsense Virginia Attorney General.
* Jim Gilmore served as a Governor who was a champion of the taxpayers.
* Jim Gilmore served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
* Jim Gilmore served as Chairman of a national commission on prevention and response to terrorism.

On the issues, Jim Gilmore is a leader Republicans can trust to stand for low taxes, secure borders, support for our troops, protection of our 2nd Amendment rights, the preservation of life and the defense of traditional marriage and family values.
Gilmore wants to send MORE troops into Iraq, imposed restrictions on a woman's personal liberty rights as Governor, and promises to fight against civil rights for gay Americans.

Just what the Repubs need, another gun-totin', war mongering, moralizing, divisive crusader.

Well, he might want to stop trying to tinker with people's private lives long enough to work on his "Press Center" . . . . I guess 'attention to detail' is less important in a President than co-opting someone's uterus or penalizing their sexual orientation.

(Guess it is just her day today: h/t Media Lizzy)

Playing the Authenticity Card

Medial Lizzy got it spot on todayyesterday:
AUTHENTIC will be the word that defines the 2008 presidential cycle. The candidate who is the most real, most authentic AND is the least contrived - will be the one who successfully crosses the finish line.
While I can't always agree with her politics (oh, okay, I hardly EVER agree with her politics), when she drops the talking points and personal attacks, Media Lizzy can learn us a lot.

Her assessment of the problem with the GOP field is not much different than mine, despite that we come at the question from opposite ends of the spectrum (putting aside her hots for Fred Thompson, who has nothing to offer and despite his spin, is no RR (not that being another RR is anything worth bragging about)):
If Fred Thompson does not enter the race... Mitt Romney will likely be the nominee. (barring a serious mistake) The press, consultants and voters alike don't like baggage. Being a Mormon is a lot more palatable than a third wife, a mistress, an old sick guy, an angry guy with a shady, baggage laden consultant, or a guy who can't be honest about mob ties that a staffer had. If Fred Thompson does not run, it will be about who McCain endorses - because that person will get the McCain finance Committee. And that is McCain's strongest asset.
Sincerity is the key . . . once you can fake that the rest is easy . . . . At least, that's the way consultants approach campaigns. M.L. is right to call them out on it and to point out that the electorate will be clamoring for true sincerity -- for authenticity this time around. That's why Hilary is going to have problems and that's why Obama has taken off.

What M.L. doesn't explain is the reason why sincerity is going to be so important this time around. One word -- Dubya. Colin Powell -- the closest thing to sincerity out of this cabal -- lost that rep for good when he did the deed in front of the UN. The rest of them? Condi, Wolfi, Rummi, Dicki, Pearle, Rove -- yeah, you get the idea.

{Image Credit: Media Lizzy}

UN Reports Bleak Human Rights Situation in Iraq

The latest Human Rights Report from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) details rampant violations of human rights standards in Iraq. The UN also assessment takes issue with the Bush Administration claim that the surge has improved the situation in Baghdad.

The Report complains of frequent failures of the Iraqi government to conform to international humanitarian and human rights laws. UNAMI reports that large numbers of Iraqis, among them professional groups and law enforcement personnel, continued to experience intimidation and killings. It also notes continued political interference in the affairs of the judiciary.

The Report describes the deterioration of freedom of expression, affecting media, religious and ethnic minorities, and professional-groups, including academics who are continuously targeted by religious extremists and armed groups in all areas of Iraq.

It outlines the key human rights concerns relating to detention and internment by US and Iraqi forces, lack of judicial oversight and treatment of detainees and prisoners and expresses UNAMI's concern over the apparent lack of judicial guarantees in the handling of suspects arrested in the context of the new Baghdad Security Plan (a/k/a the "Surge"). According to the UN Report, violence in Baghdad has not been reduced since the Surge began.

However, unlike previous reports, this one does not contain official statistics for civilian casualties of the violence in Iraq. This is because the Iraqi Government decided, without explanation, to stop providing the information.

Further Reading:


Reuters: U.N. raps Iraq for holding back death toll figures
Courier Mail: Iraq concealing casualty figures: UN
Reuters: U.N. criticises Iraq's Kurdistan on press freedom
Int'l Herald Tribune: UN report: Baghdad security operation has not reduced violence in capital
Shanghai Daily: UN: Security in Baghdad wasn't improved
WaPo: U.N. Report on Human Rights in Iraq Draws U.S. Denunciation
AP: U.N. and Iraq dispute casualty count
Vancover Province: Tories march into Afghan torture trap
BBC News: UN criticises Iraq human rights
Independent: Iraq concealing casualty figures: UN
AP: Attacker targets volatile Iraq province
Deutsche Presse-Agentur: UN rebukes Iraqi Government for witholding death statistics
Earth Times: UN rebukes Iraqi Government for witholding death statistics
Aljazeera: UN slams Iraq’s human rights
Turkish Press: UN criticises Iraq for concealing casualty figures
Guardian: UN claims Iraq underplays civilian death toll
VOA: Iraqi Government Criticizes New UN Human Rights Report on Iraq
VOA: UN Report Criticizes Iraq on Human Rights
Chicago Tribune: Iraq won't give casualty figures to UN
Turkish Weekly: Civil Tragedy in Iraq
NYTimes: U.N. Report Criticizes Iraq on Detainees’ Treatment
USA Today: U.N. says plight of Iraqis worsens; Study clashes with general's appraisal
LATimes: Iraq withholds death toll, but estimate is in thousands
AP: U.N. criticizes Kurdish authorities

What Happens to the Wine?

STATE COLLEGE — "What was supposed to be a romantic dinner atop a parking garage on Beaver Avenue turned sour for a young couple Tuesday night.

"A borough police officer on patrol about 11 p.m. spotted a man and woman, both younger than 21, having a candlelight dinner with a bottle of wine sitting on the table. The officer checked them with a portable breath-tester, and the results came back 0.0, according to borough police.

"As such, the couple, both Penn State students, were not cited. But they received a stern warning, and the wine bottle was confiscated, police said."

Kudos to the sharp-eyed officer for saving us from such outrageous conduct. Better this than wasting his time preventing something like this, or the 100 rapes and sexual assaults that happen on campus every year.

Gimme a break.

(Image Credit: Don Knotts, wvpics.com)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

'Impeach the Dick' Resolution

Dennis Kucinich has posted on his Congressional website the Resolution Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, for High Crimes and Misdemeanors, together with his note to The Dick.

The Resolution, formally introduced yesterday and given the designation H.R. 333, was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which will likely be its final resting place.

There are three articles in the resolution. The first addresses what Kucinich calls the Veep's intentional manipulation of the intelligence to falsely convey the impression that Saddam has WMD at the ready for an attack on the United States or its allies.

The second article using similar language in accusing The Dick of putting out false intelligence linking the 9/11 attacks, Iraq, and al Qaeda.

The final article calls Cheney out on his current campaign against Iran and, essentially, says "there he goes again", in violation of the Constitution and UN Charter.

Unfortunately, these Resolutions have no chance of resulting in any hearings or investigations, as the Democrats are too chicken-livered to take on anything this hot. Just like they were afraid to call out Bush when he wanted to invade Iraq in the first place, and just as today they will back down on their demand for a timetable and pull back from any claim of a lost cause.

Colbert Washed Up?

I could have titled this "Colbert Cleaning Up", but that might not have arched enough eyebrows.

For no apparent reason, I was perusing the web site of perhaps the leading purveyor of classic vintage bathtubs in these here United States, when I noticed a little linky at the bottom titled "Greatest Living American".

Gotta say, that's one heck of a paint job on that baby. I wonder if Colbert actually posed for those pix or if that's just really good photo shopping?


Love the copy, too, "this tub proudly depicts an American flag as it waives in the breeze – the breeze of freedom (in fact, the freshiest breeze of freedom in the free world . . . .27% fresher than the nearest leading democracy Great Britain)" and "Vintage Tub and Bath is proud - nay, very proud – to name this tub after the man who provides light where there is darkness, strength where there is weakness, and hair gel where there were once split ends."

Regardless, if you are in the market for one of those (becoming more ubiquitous) vintage tubs, Vintage Tub & Bath, in good 'ol Hazleton, PA, seems as good a place to start as any -- flags optional.

{UPDATE: Living sans TV (actually, I have an HDTV & HDDVD player, just no cable or reception), I am a bit behind on these things. But it turns out that the Vintage Tub folk were part of a massive Google bombing linking Colbert to "Greatest Living American". More here. And they are collecting a bribe prize for their efforts! Well done.}

(Image Credit: Vintage Tub & Bath)

Giuliani: A Vote for Democrats is a Vote for Terrorists

Reflecting the desperation of the Repub warmongers who want to be President, yesterday Rudy Giuliani told New Hampshire Republicans that electing a Democrat in 2008 will result in another 9/11-type attack by terrorists.

Saying that America will be safer with a Republican in the White House and that, with a Democratic President "we will have more losses and it will go on longer", Rudy ginned up the Repub crowd and, shockingly, reached the conclusion that he, Rudy Giuliani, would be the best choice for a safe America.

Rudy, who can play but one note on that piano, sees 9/11 wherever he goes . . . he saw it in Oklahoma, at Virginia Tech, in divorce court . . . . Of course, he didn't remind his whooping audience that it was the Republicans who were responsible for the piled-up bungles which hugely contributed to our inability to prevent the real 9/11 attacks.

Rudy also doesn't mention that it was a Republican administration in New York City which was responsible for the failure to provide first responders with the communications systems and equipment which could have prevented the loss of so many police, fire fighters, and other first responders, who were hampered and endangered by those lacks during the immediate aftermath of the attack.

At the same meeting, Rud-y angrily defended diminishing civil rights and personal liberties as a weapon in the war against terrorism. After all, if we have to defeat the terrorists because they want to take away our civil rights and personal liberties. Hmmm, I see, Rud-y wants to take them away now so that the terrorists have nothing left to fight us about. Smaaart guy, eh?

The war against terrorism has been sidetracked by the neocon-driven war against Saddam. As a direct result of the bungling of that unnecessary and unjustified expedition, Osama bin Laden is still a free man, the organization he represents (a creation of the CIA, no less), has strengthened its hand around the world and gained a foothold in Iraq (where it was not previously), and the reputation and influence of the United States have taken serious body blows, all thanks to the Republican control of policy for the last six years.

Putting aside the repulsion that half of Americans (at least) will feel when Rud-y tells them that agenda of the party in which they are registered favors the terrorists, the failures of the Republicans are so patent, so thorough, and so complete, that, while Rud-y invites whooping cheers from the wingnutz sliver sharing his citizenship in the State of Denial, he only reminds the rest of us, who are weary of this crowd, why we need to be rid of them.

Run, Rud-y, Run.

{h/t Revolt Today}


{Photo Credit: Rox Populi}

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kucinich: Impeach the Dick

According to an announcement on his Congressional web site, Ohio Congressman and Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich is holding a press conference today to announce his intention to introduce articles of impeachment against Vice-President Dick Cheney.

{UPDATE: Kucinich has cancelled today's news conference and delayed his introduction of articles of impeachment against the Veep due to Cheney's apparent sudden "medical crisis".}

{UPDATE II: It is back on . . . . Congressman Kucinich held his Impeach the Dick press conference during the 5:00 hour this evening.}


Seems an odd move. (I understand those of you who responded "which one?") Accordingly to the Associated Press, the Big Dick merely went in to have that blood clot checked on. The Veep's office said that the doctors told Cheney that the clot had shrunk and sent him back to work at the White House . . . . .

Steny Hoyer wasn't impressed . . . .




Monday, April 23, 2007

Abusing VT

After a modest period of mourning, the wingnutz are aligning their talking points and taking aim at two of their favorite targets.

Using the shootings at Virginia Tech a week ago as their excuse de jour, they are attacking the Americans with Disabilities Act and privacy legislation. On a par with the 'smoking gun/mushroom cloud' simile, now they want you to believe that the massacre at VT was occasioned not by the easy access to handguns by the mentally-ill student, but by the ADA and privacy laws which tied the University's hands.

Over the weekend, President Bush gave the secret signal that sufficient time had passed and it was okay to begin abusing the corpses at VT for the sake of wingnut politics.

In his weekly radio address, President Bush announced that he was forming a coalition of the determined to conduct "a review of the broader questions raised by this tragedy". And what are those broader issues? Well, civil liberties, of course -- equal rights for disabled Americans and privacy rights of all of us: "Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others."

And make no mistake about what he expects the outcome to be -- this tragedy in Virginia was the precisely the result of the ADA and privacy interests, for, as he said on Saturday, "what we do know is that this was a deeply troubled young man -- and there were many warning signs."

"Many warning signs" . . . . yet no one acted? That is precisely the silent response his address was meant to elicit. His next sentence directed the listener to draw the very conclusion that Chris Wallace then made express on Sunday. "[T]here were many warning signs. Our society continues to wrestle with the question of how to handle individuals whose mental health problems can make them a danger to themselves and to others."

Dutifully picking up on the cue, Chris Wallace breathlessly asked Virginia's lieutenant governor, Bill Bolling, "Lieutenant Governor Bolling, have our privacy and disability laws gone so far, perhaps too far, in protecting the individual at the expense of protecting the community?"

Yep, Chris got the memo.

And so did every wingnut on the planet (except, curiously, Tony Blakely, who this weekend denied that the ADA was a root cause of the shooting. But, I look for Blakely to come to jesus within the week. For Blakely, the culprit was opening the doors of what he called "the insane asylums" in the 70s.)

But, kids, it is not the ADA that pulled the triggers and it's not the privacy laws that caused this event. The ADA and the regulations effectuating them already permit colleges like VT to make the determinations and take the actions which they need to take to protect their young charges. Here is the pertinent regulatory language:
Sec.36.208 Direct threat
(a) This part does not require a public accommodation to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations of that public accommodation when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
(b) Direct threat means a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
(c) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate the risk.
Clearly, a university's hands are not tied. Here, as has been reported, VT sent the disturbed student to a doctor, who -- erroneously -- concluded that he wasn't a danger, "only" depressed. That erroneous medical opinion wasn't caused by the ADA; nor was it the fault of privacy legislation. It was a perfunctory, inadequately-based, medical opinion. As much as it was the preemptive failure of that doctor, the tragedy was exacerbated by the carelessness and lack of compassion of the local police and VT itself, as Will Divide explained last week.

What the wingnuts want you to believe is more sinister. They want to gin up enough outrage to permit them to strip away the rights protected by HIPPA and the ADA, and permit university officials, and law enforcement, to act based, not on actual medical opinion, but on their own clues and inexpert hunches and, however well-intentioned, laymen beliefs as to what might happen, and as to who does and does not pose a danger.

And then they can lock them up in Blakely's rejuvenated insane asylums.
"If Mr. McMurphy doesn't want to take his medication orally, I'm sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. But I don't think that he would like it."

(Image Credit: "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", Jack Nicholson 1975. United Artists, MPTV.net)

Blaming Reid for the Iraq Body Count

It may not be the dumbest thing ever said by a wingnut (I mean, with this gaggle of goons, imagine how hard would it be to pick only ONE dumbest thing), but this one has got to make the final cut: "I think a good name for the increasing body count in Iraq is the 'Reid surge.'"

Soldier: Iraq "Lost", "Our Vietnam"

From AlterNet, a CNN International report in which a US Staff Sergeant says that the Iraq war "can't be won" and that his fellow-soldiers think of the war as "our generation's Vietnam".

I guess Staff Sergeant Matthew St. Pierre and his men can expect to be the next targets of an attack by David Broder.

St. Pierre thinks the US is stuck in Iraq. "We're caught in the middle of a civil war", he says. If we leave now, the "people that are against us, they're in the majority, and . . . they will ultimately win."

We're in a civil war -- supporting the losing side -- it can't be won. All this from a soldier who supports the war.
So what did Harry Reid say that was so bad?

PA Bar Launches PA Vote Smart for Judicial Races

Offering links to the websites of judicial candidates -- statewide and local -- as well as to judicial evaluations of the candidates, the Pennsylvania Bar Association has launched PA Vote Smart. Unfortunately, the links to the judicial evaluations are fubar. Someone typed in slashes facing the wrong way and linking to the wrong page.

Hopefully, they will figure it out and get it fixed.

In the meantime, you can get the statewide candidate evaluations here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

House Keeping

About once a month we sit down and clean up the PA Poliblogroll, looking for stagnant blogs and broken links.

We also check out the blogrolls of those on our list, looking for additional PA Poliblogs to add.

In order to keep the list current, we have a loose rule of thumb -- if there hasn't been a post in a month or so, we delete it. If I can, I try to leave a comment on the blog, asking them to let me know when they reactivate so that we can put them on the list.

If your blog, or one of your favorites, seems to have been removed from the 'roll in error, PLEASE, let me know so that we can get it back on the list. Sometimes we had a bad URL, or the blog moved, or sometimes I just screw up. So don't be shy. Our goal is to keep the ABFS Poliblogroll the most complete list of active Pennsylvania Poliblogs going.

Also, a bit of an apology for those of you who came to us by way of Lefty Blogs over the weekend. In looking over our first year of posting, we also cleaned up some of the tags on the older posts. Lefty Blogs dutifully then read the newly-tagged posts as "new". So, in case you were wondering, no, Pennsylvania is NOT having another Senate race this year.



(Image Credit: "Sweeping Up A Storm", Samone Turnbull)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Well, that's one . . . .



(Image Credit: "The Birthday Cake", Beryl Cook)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lite a Joint, Fight Cancer

From WebMD:

April 17, 2007 (Los Angeles) -- Cannabis may be bad for the lungs, but the active ingredient in marijuana may help combat lung cancer, new research suggests.

In lab and mouse studies, the compound, known as THC, cut lung tumor growth in half and helped prevent the cancer from spreading, says Anju Preet, PhD, a Harvard University researcher in Boston who tested the chemical.

While a lot more work needs to be done, “the results suggest THC has therapeutic potential,” she tells WebMD.
More good news here.

Speaking hypothetically. . . . IF one had enjoyed the therapeutic benefits of weed on a daily basis for, oh, I dunno, the entire 1970s, then one might be pretty self-satisified right now . . . . hypothetically speaking, of course.

(h\t to Coffee House Studio)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So Much For Justice Roberts' Respect for Precedent

At his confirmation hearings, now-Chief Justice Roberts earnestly and unblinkingly insisted that his respect for the venerable principle of stare decisis would not permit him to discard well-settled precedent. And butter wouldn't melt in his mouth . . . .

Today the Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, employed a tactic honed to a fine edge by Roberts's predecessor -- overrule well-settled precedent and deny, with faces straight and sober, that anything was overruled. In today's opinion, they upheld the federal ban on the dilation and extraction abortion method. I don't have time for an exegesis, but Ginsberg's spot-on dissent makes the point:
Today’s decision is alarming. It refuses to take Casey and Stenberg seriously. It tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

It blurs the line, firmly drawn in Casey, between previability and postviability abortions. And, for the first time since Roe, the Court blesses a prohibition with no exception safeguarding a woman’s health.

I dissent from the Court’s disposition.

Retreating from prior rulings that abortion restrictions cannot be imposed absent an exception safeguarding a woman’s health, the Court upholds an Act that surely would not survive under the close scrutiny that previously attended state-decreed limitations on a woman’s reproductive choices.

Further reading:

Reuters: US top court upholds law banning some abortions
The Caucus: 2008 Candidates on the Abortion Ruling
PR Inside: ACLU and National Abortion Federation Criticize Decision
Brisbane Times: US Supreme Court decision may lead to abortion restrictions
VOA: US Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Disputed Abortion Procedure
Newslocale: Implications Of The Federal Ban On Partial-Birth Abortions
The Australian: Bush hails US court abortion decision
Christian Science Monitor: US Supreme Court allows late-term abortion ban
PRNewswire: Roberts Court Shows Its Cards: In a Stunning Reversal, Supreme Court Rules Against Women's Health, in Favor of Abortion Restrictions
NYTimes: Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Abortion Procedure
The Nation: The Politics of Supreme Court Nominations
BBC: US top court backs abortion ban
Bloomberg: Partial Birth' Abortion Ban Upheld by Top U.S. Court
AP: GOP candidates praise abortion ruling
Townhall: A Closer Look at Partial Birth Abortions
CNN: Justices uphold ban on abortion procedure
Think Progress: Breaking: Supreme Court Upholds ‘Partial Birth’ Abortion Ban
WaPo: High Court Upholds Curb on Abortion

Stix: Finally
Suburban Guerilla: Playing (Too) Nice
Slog: Justice Ginsburg’s Dissent
Linkmeister: SCOTUS, Alito and abortion
Punditbuzz: Partial Birth Abortion Ban Upheld
Mainly Politics: Right to abortion no longer guaranteed
Oliver Willis: The Left Needs To Wise Up On The Supreme Court
Martin Lewis: Abortion Ban & Virginia Massacre: Don't Forget To Thank The Nader Voters
Const. Party: Supreme Court does something right about Abortion
Galloping Beaver: Rhetoric trumps Law in US Supreme Court
Descent into Madness: Danger: Supreme Court Upholds Federal Abortion Ban

Dahlia Lithwick: Justice Kennedy Knows Best?
Edward Whelan: A Welcome Decision on Abortion
Los Angeles Times: An Unconscionable Abortion Ruling
SCOTUSblog: Court Upholds Federal Abortion Ban
Christine Todd Whitman: Carbon Ruling: A Welcome First Step
J. Fund, OpinionJournal: O'Connor & the Twilight of Affirmative Action
Boston Herald: The Supremes Off the Beam

Ohhh, well that's alright, then . . . .

Tommy Thompson now says that a cold and fatigue made him insult a Jewish group with repeated references to negative Jewish stereotypes.

Glad that got cleared up.

Santorum Working for His Constituents

After being fired by Pennsylvania from his job in the Senate, Rick Santorum has been padding his resume, and that meager income we heard so much about. Most recently, he's been appointed to the board of Universal Health Services, Inc., the Pennsylvania-based national health care group (35,000 employees) who paid Santorum well for Santorum's support on malpractice and other health care issues. During his two terms in the Senate, UHS was a regular donor to Santorum, his PAC (America's Foundation) and to PACs which in turn shoved money Santorum's way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Belated Birthday Greetings

"Jiggs", better known to my fellow olden farts as "Cheeta", celebrated his 75th birthday last week at his retirement home in Palm Springs (California). Born April 9, 1932, Cheeta first appeared in a 1954 Tarzan film as a young pup, er, chimp, in an uncredited cameo. He later took over the role of "Cheeta", a role which he held throughout the remainder of the Weissmuller Tarzan career. His last role was in 1967's Doctor Doolittle.

Chimpanzees, we are told, have normal life expectancies of about 50 years. Cheeta is recognized as the world's oldest living chimp. Cheeta lives at the C.H.E.E.T.A. Primate Sanctuary, where, between watching his old movies with his grandson, he turns out original art works which are sold to raise money for the Sanctuary.

(h/t to Huck and Jim, who alerted us to the event via backchannel and was apparently too proud to sully their blog with the news. We've got no pride.)

(Photo Credit: Frederick Neema)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy

Writing his political epithet, Tommy Thompson today told an audience at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington D.C., that,
"I'm in the private sector and for the first time in my life I'm earning money. You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."
But, ma, it's okay because he immediately realized how that sounded and fixed it all up by telling the audience:
"I just want to clarify something because I didn't [by] any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things," he said. "What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."
Yeah, that's better.


Later in the day, he was treated and released for the foot wound. The treatment was complicated because, after injuring the foot, it mysteriously became lodged in his mouth. He had to communicate with the doctors by talking through his ass.

Say "Goodnight", Tommy.

Further reading:

Shmuel Rosner (Haaretz): Friendly advice to American candidates trying to woo the Jewish vote
Wonkette: Tommy Thompson: 'Nothing Wrong With Money-Loving Jews!'
The Moderate Voice: Campaign Promise: Cashew Chicken on Every Plate
Salon War Room: Not that there's anything wrong with that
The Volokh Conspiracy: Jewish Tradition
Huffington Post: '08 Candidate Tommy Thompson: "Earning Money...A Part Of The Jewish Tradition"
Rum, Romanism and Rebellion: Thompson Steps in Macaca
Spot of Bother: The Jewish tradition
Evergreen Politics: Tommy Thompson Loses the Jewish Vote
Unlikely Words: Anti-semite? Or just an idiot?
Matthew Yglesias: Tommy Thompson
The Plank: Oh, and Al and Jesse, You've Got Great Rhythm
Cheese-O-Sphere: Tommy can't figure out how to speak to American Jews
JTA: Candidate: Making money part of Jewish tradition
HorsesAss.org: Republicans court the Jewish vote
Mike the Mad Biologist: My Hook Nose Is Swelling With Pride
Too saucy: Oy Gevalt
Political Wire: Thompson Flubs Talk Before Jewish Group
Swampland: Oy.
Is That Legal: Tommy Thompson's Joe Biden Moment
Atrios: Tommy!
Think Progress: Thompson: Jews have a ‘tradition’ of ‘earning money.’
archy: Where have these people been for the last 40 years?



(Photo Credit: MSNBC/Newsweek via William Wolfram)

I wasn't going to do this, but . . .

I was going to pass on the whole ugly Imus mess. The target was too easy, the preaching too likely, and the other comments too good. But there I was, minding my own business on Sunday when Pat Buchanan used the Imus mess as another excuse for him to smear civil rights leaders with the worst kind of mockery.

Defending his friend and fellow-racist on the McLaughin Group, Buchanan said that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton acted like a "lynch mob" out to get Imus. "Lynch Mob"!? The words could not have been more inappropriate. Think what you will about Sharpton and Jackson, they are leaders in the African-American community and in the American civil-rights movement.

For Buchanan to defend Imus is one thing -- that's what friends (even racist pals) do. But to take the opportunity to unnecessarily smear two of the leading civil rights figures in our country by comparing them to the white mobs who murdered thousands of blacks in this country is an abomination. And not one person on the show called Buchanan on his reprehensible, insensitive, racist simile.

On Meet The Press this weekend, Gwen Eiffel patiently explained it to NBCtool Russert (who still doesn't get it). But Buchanan doesn't need Eiffel to explain anything to him -- he gets it, he knows what he is doing, and his comparison of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to the Ku Klux Klan was a knowing one.

Newspaper reports since Reconstruction account nearly 5,000 lynchings -- mainly of black men -- in the United States. There are many more, unknown and uncounted. They were grisly affairs, the deaths horrible and terrifying. In many areas of the country the lynch mobs practiced their deadly brand of racism with impunity.

With this historical background, Buchanan's smear is, on several levels, worse than Imus' thoughtless attack on those young woman. He invoked one of the uglier aspects of American treatment of minorities, to smear minority leaders, for no other reason than that they powerfully expressed their indignation over a racist attack by one of Buchanan's friends.

Buchanan is a pig and deserves a fate worse than that meted to Imus -- Buchanan deserves to be ignored as the passe, ignorant, ranting relic that he is.

(Image Credit: William Blake's "A Negro hung alive by the Ribs to a Gallows", via The Bridgeman Art Library)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Do you think it is because Bob Casey Jr lied?

Earlier this week, we talked about how Bobby Casey Junior was going to vote to flush left over blastocysts down the drain rather than let scientists use them to see if they can't come up with a cure for Alzheimer's, or spinal cord injury, or any other similarly frivolous research projects just itchin' to get their hands on federal funds to help mankind.

Junior, being the good roman catholic tool that he is, decided that god wanted the throw-aways to stay in the toilet and out of our research labs. In the course of it, he got a supporter reporter to write a puff piece about how Junior had struggled, oh so hard, and spent many months in many meetings with those on both sides of the issue before making up his mind.

Admittedly, we questioned that, since Junior made it clear in the primaries that he can't think on his own (gawd, how awful was he in the debates?) and that he was going to let his knee-jerk theology do his thinking for him. Nevertheless, he said he had all these months of all these meetings, and Bobby Junior is a feckin US Senator and he wouldn't just make that stuff up. So we did what anyone else would have (well, anyone except a certain AP reporter who had been giving Junior the journalistic equivalent of head since who knows when), we asked him -- who did you meet with and when.

We asked Larry Smar, Casey's spokesmouth, via email, twice THREE times {updated 4/18/07}.

But, just to cover the bases, we also asked his "scheduler", Sara Mabry, also twice THREE times {updated 4/18/07}.

Now, we aren't entirely certain, but we are pretty sure that they, or at least someone who reads their emails, received these requests for information. This because, soon after they were sent, someone using the official US Senate ISP visited our blog here. Actually, it seems like there were multiple someones, as we received seven EIGHT NINE TWELVE {updated 4/16 4/17 4/25} separate visits from someone using the Senate network in the several days after the emails were sent (compared to, about, none in the month before).

Yet, Junior has not released the information on who all those meetings that he conducted were with. And, it makes us wonder, is it because he just made that part up?

We're beginning to think so.

Gotta love the Google

Love it the way the Google saves its searches. We got some interesting hits this week from up in Wilkesberry (hey, is your snow off the streets yet? I have to go up that way next week). It seems that someone at one of the really big local firms up there spent quite a bit of time looking over our various posts about Judge Lokuta. Hope we amused. But, pal, if you really want to get the scoop on what's going on with the judge -- you might want to spell her name correct when you Google it -- It is "Ann Lokuta", not, "Anne Lokuta".

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Like Dog Crap On A Shoe

It just won't go away. You scrape it off but then later you get a whiff . . . . From today's in box, Rick Santorum begging for money for his new PAC:

Dear Friends,

The 2006 election has long been over, and these last few months since departing the Senate have been a great adventure for me. I've discovered a new and exciting path filled with opportunities to discuss the issues that I have long believed are critical to our nation's future.

As you may recall, during my Senate campaign, I spoke at great length about the Gathering Storm of the 21st Century -- the challenges that I and many others believe are posed by radical Islamic fascism and its growing alliances around the world. I gave numerous speeches about the threats our enemies pose, and I didn't shy away from this topic despite the overwhelming political wisdom telling me to change course. And looking back, despite the outcome of my Senate race, I am more convinced than ever that educating the American public about our enemies and raising awareness about the threats our country faces isn't just right, it's an obligation.

We cannot underestimate the threats we face from those who wish to do us harm. Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, and North Korea's Kim Jong-il are committed to destroying the West and th. . . .
You get the idea. It ends with a request for money.



{Image Credit: Reading Eagle, via News Watch}

So it goes.


November 11, 1922–April 11, 2007

RIP




{Image Credit: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times}

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Silent Bob Giving Bush Veto on Stem Cell Research

The Hill reports today that Senate Democrats expect to come up one vote short of a veto-proof majority on Senate Bill 5 -- the bill allowing federal funds to be used to conduct research on stem cells taken from blastocysts headed for the trash bin anyway. The one vote they need -- Bobby Casey Junior, the theocrat from Pennsylvania whose agenda includes advancing the policies of the Roman Catholic Church.

Earlier this week, Junior Casey told a supporter reporter that he only came to the decision, to support the Bush regime and deny more federal funds for stem cell research on purely religious grounds, after "months of meetings" with people on both sides of the issue.

Casey spokesman Larry Smar and scheduler Sara Mabry have failed to respond to requests for a list of the meetings that Casey claims to have had since taking office. Too bad the AP didn't bother to ask Casey for the list before reporting that the meetings happened. Too bad Casey's office won't provide information about Casey's alleged meetings which supposedly formed his opinion on the crucial stem cell bill which could be voted on today. Too bad theocracy is more dear to Casey than democracy. Too bad Casey is from my state.

More on the bill itself here.

{UPDATE: Junior voted NO. philly was right.}

Contact Senator Casey:

Email: senator@casey.senate.gov
Fax: 202.228.0604
Phone: 202.224.6324
Casey's Senate Web Contact

Further Reading:

WaPo: Stem cell vote set for U.S. Congress this week
WaPo: Senate Revisits Debate On Stem Cell Research
NYTimes: Senate, Bush Head for Showdown on Stem Cells
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio senators split on stem-cell bill
Des Moines Register: Harkin rekindles stem cell battle
CQ: Stem Cell Research Backers Disagree Over Prospects for Senate Veto Override
Orlando Sentinel: A chance for breakthroughs
Kaiser Network: NIH Director Zerhouni Calls for Expanding Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Why I Blog

I previously served noticed that I wouldn't do another one of these memes. But my predecessors in this chain include such outstanding bloggers like Media Lizzy (who, I hear, has a thing for the portly man), and Blandly Urbane, who tagged me in a drive-by, that it would be presumptuous to decline.

So, five reasons why I blog:

5. My kids are grown and out on their own and my dog doesn't seem too interested in the arcanum to which I am drawn, and much less my opinions on them.

4. It is a form of therapy -- I get to work out my "issues" by pretending I am talking about the "Issues".

3. The gobs of money that the click-pay ads bring in . . . . if I ate at Burger King, it wouldn't pay for a decent meal there . . . .

2. No one can stop me.

1. Because freedom is, indeed, untidy. It is a big, fat, slob of a burden that we all carry. Janis was wrong . . . it means there's a lot left to lose . . . . .

and the next victims are:

Phillybits
John Morgan
Coyote Angry
Patrick Hillman
and, that wacky blogger himself,
Dr. Mahmood Ahmadinejad (now, don't go all nuclear on me Ahmaddy, pal)


Okay, that's it, and this time I mean it . . . .

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Casey Strikes A Blow for Theocracy

In a scene to repeated endlessly until this no-talent man shadow is removed from office, Bobby Casey Junior is backing the Bush Regime, this time it is on stem cells.

Senate Bill 5 is the bi-partisan Senate version of the bill that passed the House in January by a vote of 253-174. It is similar to the 2005 bill which passed the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by Bush on purely religious grounds.

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007 amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. This reverses the theocratic limitation placed on federal funding of stem cell research by Bush.

The bill would limit research to stem cells that meet all three of the following requirements:
(1) the stem cells were derived from human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics for the purpose of fertility treatment and were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment;

(2) the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded; and

(3) such individuals donate the embryos with written informed consent and receive no financial or other inducements.
Did you get that? Under this bill, the only additional sources of stem cells from research would come from blastocysts recovered from the trash bin. These stem cells will "die" regardless if this bill is enacted.

Bobby Casey Junior chooses to ignore this fact, to ignore science, and to advance his own mythological constructs through the legislative process. He tells the AP {but not us, a search of his (pathetic) Senate website for the term "stem cell" produces no results} "I remain opposed to federal funding for research that involves the destruction of living embryos."

{An aside -- The AP article is written by a reporter either incompetent or a Casey supporter. The so-called "news report" opens with what could be the opening gaf of a Casey press release. With neither attribution to source, nor reported facts supporting the claim, the lead in this article reports, as if it were handed down from the Mount as fact: "After months of meetings with people on both sides of the stem cell debate, Sen. Bob Casey said Monday he will oppose a bill that would clear the way for government financing of new embryonic stem cell research." There are similar examples of poor journalism in nearly every gaf of this piece of crap posing as news. As you were.}

Bobby Casey Junior, after months of meetings (we've sent an email to Junior, asking for a list of those meetings -- which any real reporter would have done -- we'll let you know), has decided that it is more appropriate to destroy these little balls of cells by throwing them in the trash can than by developing potentially life saving scientific study. Junior says these blastocysts are human life. And on what science is this based? Let's hear from President Bush's own science adviser on that issue:

"Objections to embryonic stem-cell research are rooted in ethical principles", says White House science adviser Dr. John Marburger. In other words, there's no scientific basis to oppose stem cell research as the destruction of life -- the objections flow purely from religious dogma. Rather, Casey's position stems direct from the Roman Catholic dogma which he substitutes for logic and personal responsibility in his own life. In The ethics of funding embryonic stem cell research: a Catholic viewpoint, Richard M. Doerflinger, representing the US Conference on Catholic Bishops, gives the Casey/Catholic line: "Stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos is incompatible with Catholic moral principles, and with any ethic that gives serious weight to the moral status of the human embryo." Pure religion, no science. Casey wants to impose his religion on the rest of us.

The scientific community has long had mechanisms for resolving, on scientific bases, ethical dilemmas. When legislators like Junior start referring to their own mythological dogma to support legislative decision making, they are telling us that their religious beliefs are more important that everyone else's religious beliefs. They are telling us that they prefer theocratic to secular democracy. Junior is telling us that as a Senator he will advance his own Roman Catholic ideology over Constitutional principles.

{h/t to philly}

{Image Credit: Photo of Human Blastocyst like those used to gather stem cells, Institute for Stem Cell Research}

Contact Senator Casey:

Email: senator@casey.senate.gov
Fax: 202.228.0604
Phone: 202.224.6324
Casey's Senate Web Contact

Further Reading:

Philly, Bob Casey, You're an Asshole
Scientific American, Stem cell vote set for U.S. Congress this week
The Scientist, Senate to support stem cells -- again
Genetics Policy Institute, Stem Cell Folly - the Coleman-Isakson 'No Hope for Patients Act'
American Diabetes Association, Senate Should Send White House Strong Message of Support for Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Reuters, Stem cell vote set for Congress this week
WaPo, Female Mice Stem Cells Better to Build Muscle
Salth Lake Tribune, Hatch: Stem cell fight should be pressed on
St. Petersburg Times, Stem cells are Congress' new call to arms
France24, US Senate to brave new Bush veto of stem-cell bill
Brisbane Times, Democrats prepare to fight Bush on stem cells
Washington Times, Senate stem-cell vote seen short of veto override
NY Daily News, Dems are close to stem-cell win

{UPDATE: This morning we sent an email to Larry Smar, Junior's Communications Director, and also to Sara Mabry, his scheduler, asking for a list of the meetings that Junior told the AP he had had over the last several months, regarding the stem-cell research issue. While we haven't had a response, after the emails were sent we had two SIX TEN (updated) separate visits from Washington, DC to the blog -- one THREE SEVEN (updated) using the Senate ISP and the others using a public ISP. While they are checking us out, again, we're not holding our breath for the information on the meetings.}


Monday, April 09, 2007

Bush Disapproval Over 50% for Two Years

{UPDATE: This post mysteriously awarded 2nd Place in the Weekly PGN Tuesday's Top Picks}

According to the latest USA Today/Gallup survey, 62% of Americans disapprove of the job that the Bush regime is doing. The poll was taken March 23 through 25; when the same survey was taken March 21-23, 2005, the disapproval rating was "only" 49%. Since then, over half of Americans have pretty consistently said that "Bush sucks".

Yet, this regime continues to operate like it had a mandate (which it NEVER had). It is the arrogance of power; nearly everyone in the country opposes nearly everything that Bush and Cheney and Gonzales and Rice and the rest of the cabal does. Yet, they smirk and say, "Just try and stop us".

The Bush regime likes to compare themselves to Harry Truman, who also had below 50% approval ratings in his last two years in office. Truman, they remind us, is now a highly regarded President. The implication that the Bush toadies would like us to draw is that history vindicated Truman in the same way that history will vindicate this gang of criminals and incompetents.

What the Bush apologists ignore -- and depend on everyone else ignoring -- is that history did not vindicate Truman. At least not in the manner that Bush would like us to assume.

Truman's low marks at the end of his term, and subsequent withdrawal from his reelection campaign, resulted from the morass of the Korean War and his sacking of MacArthur. Ike was elected on the promise that HE'D go to Korea and clean up the mess left by Truman. Scandal and corruption at high levels in his administration, and his failure to deal with Congress to get his legislation passed, also contributed to his low scores on the national approval polls.

Today, Truman's standing is not based on Korea, his domestic agenda, nor on any revisionist vindication of the corrupt elements of his administration. Truman is today honored (and we'll leave it to the reader to decide if justly) for the successful conclusion of the wars against Germany and Japan, for the Marshall Plan, for the United Nations, the Truman Doctrine, Israel, and NATO. It is the perceived good done by Truman before those horrid last two years and apart from his outrageously incompetent and wrong-headed domestic policies (such as loyalty oaths), which serve as the base for his honored status today.

Truman's handling of Korea is still viewed as pretty much the disaster that it was seen as back in the day. But Truman's presidency had other successes, which history has judged outweighed the failures.

What are the successes on which Bush expects history to weigh him more successful than 6362% of his fellow citizens view him today? That's not rhetorical -- there are none. Not one. Much less any that would overcome the rank incompetence, the heavy hands, the corruption and criminality, the complete, miserable failure which is, and has been from first to last, the hallmark of this presidency.

(Image Credit: Bush, sitting in a classroom on 9/11, waiting for someone to tell him what to do (Lions Gate Films/Michael Moore)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Get Thee Behind Me, Christian

Dear shop keeps, checkout lads, bus drivers, bartenders, wait staff, and other christianistas:

Please keep your pathological mythology out of my face, my government, my life.

This time of year, the arrogance of the christianista is patent . . . . everyone passing through the checkout line, swiping a passcard, swilling a Manhattan (up), wolfing down a chicken cesear, is assumed to be a fellow traveller. This display is tempered only by those who chirp "happy holiday" when one takes one's leave, instead of "happy easter". (Oh, I know that passover is coincident with easter this year. But that's only convenient cover for them -- if passover were last week, the bag boys would not have been commanding shoppers to 'enjoy the holiday'.)

The truth assumed by these chirping retail clerks is that everyone passing their way shares the same demented beliefs. Depending on mood (or Manhattans swilled) I alternate between head-patting sympathy and screaming resentment.

But when the religionistas inflict themselves on my society, on my government, what I feel welling up is more of a nose-crunching swing. Over the last decade, the question of the religious beliefs of politicians has moved from the subtle, whispered observations, mainly launched to disqualify non-christians, to overt examination in the popular press. Along with trend comes the candidate anxious to get earn their religious street cred.

I watched the '68 race pretty closely -- watched Nixon roll over his primary challengers, which included several-term Michigan Governor George Romney. George being Mitt's father, the current Governor Romney seeking the current Republican nomination. If, during the '68 campaign, I learned that G. Romney was a mormon, it is a fact I long ago forgot. (What I didn't forget was that G.Romney was born in Mexico. Does that make Mitt . . . .?)

I need to work before I can take seriously a candidate -- particularly one who wants to be President -- who is a devout anything. Any person who professes belief in an invisible man in the sky, who insists that their personal morality is dictated by fairly convoluted scribblings jotted during imagined conversations with the invisible man millennia ago, and who truly believes that the only best purpose of "earthly" existence is to grease the slide for the "real" life on the "other side", is not, to me, someone I want, with a pious finger on the button, leading the greatest (if declining) military and economic power in the world.

Give me Presidents like Washington, Lincoln or Jefferson, who joined no cult of mythology, or even Adams, who thought the most sacred beliefs of christians pretty silly and had a somewhat Machiavellian view of religion's utility on controlling the mob. But spare me the politician anxious to prove their ignorance and thoughtless supplication to this evolutionary byproduct.

Get thee behind me, christian. And get out of my government.

Adams might have been right, although I have my doubts, that religious beliefs are useful for controlling the passions of the mob. But religions increasing role in my government has no salutary upside. The current regime has successfully created an office dedicated to funnelling money to prop up religion, has outlawed support for legitimate scientific inquiry based purely on religious dogma, and has even created the absurd situation where park rangers at the Grand Canyon have to avoid denying that the canyon was created by Noah's flood.

When irrational belief informs public policy, and devotion to irrational belief is a de facto requirement to run for President, we are all fucked.

Nero, play on.


Additional Reading:

First Freedom First
Blog Against Theocracy
Blue Wren: The golden rule . . .
Progressive Historians: These Are the Fruits of Theocracy
Culture Kitchen: Warren Chisum and Women Who "Try Things on Their Own"
Bring It On!: What Would the Prince of Peace Think of the Price of War?
Bring it On!: Theocratci Street Gangs
NYTimes: Darwin's God
Hullabaloo: God's Law, Never Man's
Pandagon: The tightrope of keeping religion out of politics
Blue Gal: A memo to non-believers
Pew Forum: Religion and Politics




Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Bush Backs Richardson Trip to North Korea

New Mexico Governor, former Energy Secretary, former UN Ambassador, former Congressman, and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson will head a bi-partisan delegation to North Korea to retrieve the remains of U.S. troops lost during the Korean War. Unlike the whimpering and moaning coming from the Rose Garden over Speaker Pelosi's trip to Syria, the private foray put Richardson organized is endorsed by the Bush regime.



Talk about burying the lead, from the very last gaf of today's Washington Post:
Richardson's office quoted the governor as saying that he hopes the trip "will advance the progress made by the Bush administration during the six-party talks to dismantle nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula."
One would hope.

Two years ago, the Bush administration discontinued cooperative field trips to Korea which had, at that point, identified over 200 remains of American soldiers. Estimates are that several thousand (over 8,000 are still listed as MIA) are still to be located. Unable, or unwilling, to put together its own team, the Bush administration seemed to eagerly embrace Richardson's initiative. Causing wingnut toadies like Ed Rogers to wet their pants:
"Talk about retreating to a Clinton policy," said Republican political consultant Ed Rogers. "Next they will want Hillary to sponsor heath-care legislation," he said . . . .
Nice, Ed. Bush can create tons of dead American bodies in Iraq and you applaud him, but his incompetent diplomacy is unable to bring back 50-year old remains from a country willing to give them up, and you want to make a political attack out of it.

If Bill Richardson isn't on the Democratic ticket in '08, the Democrats will have missed the boat.

In the media:

US State Department: Private U.S. Delegation Traveling to North Korea
Press TV (Iran): U.S. delegation to visit N. Korea
Guardian (UK): U.S. to Recover GI Remains in N. Korea
USA Today: Gov. Richardson will go on mission to N. Korea
CCTV (China): U.S. delegation to visit DPRK next week
Seattle Times: White House backs mission to North Korea
Korea Times: Gov. Richardson to Visit NK for Recovery of MIA Remains
Military.com: U.S. to Recover GI Remains in N. Korea
Santa Fe New Mexican: With Bush's blessing, Richardson heads to North Korea
Reuters(NY Times): Gov. Richardson to visit North Korea in April
Yonhap (S.Korea): Gov. Richardson to go to N.K. for recovery of MIA remains from Korean War


(Photo Credit: US Department of State)



Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Edwards Beneficiary of Hillary NH Slide

Hillary's double-digit lead in New Hampshire has eroded substantially since February, while John Edwards has moved closer, according to the CNN/WMUR poll released tonight.


Hillary's 35% support in February fell to 27% in the most recent survey, while Edwards moved up 5 points, to 21% support, from his 16-point showing a couple of months ago. Obama remained relatively immobile -- picking up 20% support in tonight's results, compare to 21% from February. The only other Demo in double digits was Al Gore, who polled at 11%, up from 8 in February. Gore trailed "Don't Know" by a point. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson moved from one point to 4%.

The poll of 339 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted by the University of New Hampshire between March 27 and April 2, asked voters to also name the Democratic candidate that they liked the least -- at 17%, Hillary placed second (well behind Al Sharpton at 32%). Edwards was at the bottom of that list, at 2%, with Obama at 4%.

The poll shows that Edwards' work in the state is paying dividends -- in addition to his rise in the poll, his favorables are up over the February poll. Hillary is the victim of her own strength -- with nearly universal name recognition, she had little room to move up and little opportunity to have that "conversation" she used to talk about. If people believe that they know all they need to know about you, it gets harder to get them to listen to you. Her waffling and vaguesness on Iraq didn't help her there either. Nearly 4 in 10 respondents said that the war was the number one issue on their minds this primary season. Her favorables in the state declined 10-points from February (74% to 64%) and her unfavorables rose from 15% to 24%.

Earlier today, Edwards learned that his Iowa organization is also apparently doing its job. A statewide poll conducted by the University of Iowa put Edwards up 34% to Hillary's 28% among among Iowa's likely Democratic caucus goers. Yet, among registered Dems as a whole, Hillary had a slight led 29 to 26%. Of course, the support is not worth much if they don't get out to the caucusses and Edwards' crew has apparently better targeted teh likely voters.

In the media:

WMUR: Poll Shows Democratic Race Tightening Up
Boston Globe: Edwards surging as race among Democrats tightens in NH
NY Sun: Edwards in (Kind of) Second Place in New Hampshire
CNN: Clinton slips, Edwards climbs in New Hampshire poll
NewsMax: Hillary Leads in New Hampshire: Poll
Iowa City Press-Citizen: Poll shows Edwards, Clinton, Giuliani, McCain leading in Iowa
AHN: Edwards Leads In Iowa Caucus Poll; Democrats Win Overall
RCP: New CA, IA and NH 2008 Polls
Des Moines Register: Edwards crowd zeroes in on issues
NY Post: Hill's Slide is Edwards' Gain in Critical NH
Union Leader: Clinton slips, still leads in latest poll