January 6th, 2009

  • bispo

WaPo: Aspiring RNC Chairmen Wonder: What Would Reagan Do?


The way Republicans are attacking themselves, who needs Democrats?

"You have Republicans scratching their head, going: 'Who are we? What do we believe in? What do we stand for?' " said Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland.

"We have done a very poor job in communicating," added Chip Saltsman, former chairman of the Tennessee GOP.

"The hypocrisy, more than anything else, has killed our party," agreed Saul Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan Republicans. "We had become the bums."

And these are the guys who want to lead the party. The half a dozen men vying to be Republican National Committee chairman assembled at the National Press Club for a debate yesterday, but it quickly turned into a duel over who could best disparage their president and their party. Even the incumbent chairman, Mike Duncan, who is running for another term, warned that "if we don't do something about it, we're going to be the permanent minority in this country."

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source bispo_blog

(no subject)

Obama Names 4 for Justice Jobs in Break From Bush Path

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama reached back to the Clinton administration again Monday to fill four top Justice Department posts with lawyers whose records signal a sharp break from the legal policies of the last eight years.

Mr. Obama said he would nominate David W. Ogden, a Washington lawyer in private practice, as deputy attorney general; Elena Kagan, dean of the Harvard Law School, as solicitor general; Thomas J. Perrelli, a Washington lawyer, as associate attorney general; and Dawn E. Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor, as head of the Office of Legal Counsel. All four held senior legal posts in the Clinton administration.

Many of Mr. Obama’s picks in other cabinet departments have taken on a decidedly centrist bent. But at the Justice Department, where controversial Bush administration policies like interrogation tactics and eavesdropping will come under review, the nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. as attorney general last month and Monday’s selections of four top aides suggested a strong effort to stake out a new direction.

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(no subject)

Two puppies moving into the White House?
By Courtney Hazlett

The Obama family has arrived in Washington, and while most of the news of the day is centered around Sasha and Malia's first day of school, let's not forget about another important item on the family to-do list: choose a puppy. Or puppies, as the case may be.

A source with ties to the national branch of the American Kennel Club source says that there's a good chance that the first family could ultimately decide to get two dogs at once.

A dog from a shelter is almost a given, but there's the problem of shedding and Malia's allergies. Getting a second dog at the same time, one that is purebred and has the least chance of shedding, hasn't been ruled out,” says the source. “It's a good solution that will make everyone happy, most of all, Malia.”


Yay shelter dogs! :DDD
  • jrs1980

The Bush Years: Raw numbers.

Warning: teal deer crossing ahead.

Number of news stories from 1998 to Election Day 2000 containing “George W. Bush” and “aura of inevitability”: 206

Amount for which Bush successfully sued Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 1999: $2,500

Year in which a political candidate first sued Palm Beach County over problems with hanging chads: 1984

Total amount the Bush campaign paid Enron and Halliburton for use of corporate jets during the 2000 recount: $15,400

Percentage of Bush’s first 189 appointees who also served in his father’s administration: 42

Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98

Years before becoming energy secretary that Spencer Abraham cosponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Energy: 2

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Yoinked from my flist, source.

Marines buy cows for Iraqi widows

Marines buy cows for Iraqi widows


From LA Times: Reporting from Anbar Province, Iraq -- As American forces work to revive Iraq's tattered farming economy, they seem to have found an effective new weapon.


At the suggestion of an Iraqi women's group, the Marine Corps recently bought 50 cows for 50 Iraqi widows in the farm belt around Fallouja, once the insurgent capital of war-torn Anbar province.

The cow purchase is seen as a small step toward reestablishing Iraq's once-thriving dairy industry, as well as a way to help women and children hurt by the frequent failure of the Iraqi government to provide the pensions that Iraqi law promises to widows.

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tape player

Roland Burris Refused a Seat

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Roland Burris of Illinois, rejected in his attempt to take a new seat in the Senate this morning, averted any public showdown by quietly accepting the refusal of his credentials inside the Secretary of the Senate's office on the third floor of the Capitol.

Off the Capitol grounds where his entry to the Senate had been refused, Burris was left to his own - the Capitol police who had escorted him away from the Capitol leaving him to a press conference.

A podium was set up in a park across the street from the Capitol outside the Russell Office Building.

Timothy W. Wright, a lawyer for Burris, said: "We have presented our credentials to the secretary of the Senate... Our credentials were rejected by the secretary... We were not allowed to proceed to the floor... '' He vowed to fight the case.

Burris got into a silver minivan with Massachusetts plates at 11:03 am EST and drove away. It was an Odyssey.

* * * *

Roland Burris patted a Capitol police officer on the back as officers escorted him through a throng of media outside, with a soft rain falling on the crowd this morning, after Burris left the office of the Secretary of the Senate where his credentials as the new senator from Illinois had been rejected.

Two Capitol police cleared a way for Burris through a crowd of photographers.... "OK, clear it out... I don't want anyone in front of me,'' one officer called out.

Burris stopped to sign a photograph for a homeless man in a wheelchair. The man said, "Thank you very much sir.'' Burris should his hand and said, "Thank you.''

Burris, too, was without a home this morning.

* * * *

The rejected Roland Burris was escorted outside the Capitol surrounded by media - stopped by the arrival of the motorcade of the vice president-elect, Joe Biden.

It was raining outside.

"We've been dripped on before,'' Burris said, while waiting. Collapse )


The picture is the monument Roland Burris already has to himself. You can see the whole thing here. My dad emailed it to me!
  • bispo

Hugh Hewitt’s ode to President Bush

In a new piece for Politico today, right-wing pundit Hugh Hewitt pens a paean to President Bush, saying that he remains in the small minority who approve of the job the President is doing. “Count me among the 30 percent, which will soon be 40 percent — and then more than 50 percent much sooner than most of the chattering class can conceive,” Hewitt writes. He also repeatedly compares Bush to Lincoln and insists that he will have a great legacy:
Like Lincoln, he picked commanders and followed their recommendations until overwhelming evidence of failure could no longer allow him to do so, and then he changed commanders. As with Lincoln, this approach to command led to some defeats on the battlefield. … Bush is deeply loved by the military. In wartime, that is among the most important measures. […]
But his greatest admirers will be Americans, and perhaps Afghans, Iraqis, Israelis, Indians and Africans a century or more from now who read about his record and resolve in so many efforts will marvel at his restraint and credit his faith and his family for a remarkable service to freedom.
Hewitt later dismisses Bush’s critics as “14-year-olds with Internet connections.”

  • bispo

Levi Johnston resigns his position after allegations that Sarah Palin helped him skirt the rules.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that Levi Johnston, boyfriend of Gov. Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol, has quit his oil field job over questions about his eligibility to work in an electrical apprenticeship program. On Sunday, Dan Fagan – an Anchorage radio talk show host – questioned how Johnston was eligible to take part in the apprenticeship program without a high school diploma. Fagan wrote:


The governor, in trying to dispel rumors the father of her grandchild is a high school dropout, released this statement this past week, “Levi is continuing his online high school work in addition to working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope.”

But federal regulations require all members of apprentice programs, union or otherwise, to first obtain a high school diploma, something the governor’s soon-to-be son-in- law does not have. Some apprentice programs even require the completion of high school level algebra or the post-secondary equivalent.

So how is it that the governor’s soon-to-be son-in-law is working in an apprentice program? Is this another case of the governor believing the rules don’t apply to her or her family?

Johnston resigned his apprenticeship position on Monday in an effort to “calm the waters,” his father said. The Johnston family said that neither Sarah Palin or her husband had any role in getting Johnston the job.

UpdateFlashback: More than 100 of Palin's appointments to state posts — nearly 1 in 4 — "went to campaign contributors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications." The New York Times headlined, "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes"

Fears mount of Gaza conflict spillover in Europe

Fears mount of Gaza conflict spillover in Europe

Government officials and Jewish leaders are concerned the conflict in Gaza may spill over into violence in Europe, with attacks reported against Jews and synagogues in France, Sweden and Britain.

Assailants rammed a burning car into the gates of a synagogue in Toulouse, in southwest France, Monday night.

A Jewish congregation in Helsingborg, in southern Sweden, was attacked Monday night by someone who "broke a window and threw in something that was burning," said police spokesman Leif Nilsson. And on Sunday slogans, including "murderers ... You broke the cease-fire," were daubed on Israel's embassy in Stockholm.
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India: Pakistanis 'must have' backed Mumbai attack

India: Pakistanis 'must have' backed Mumbai attack

India's prime minister said Tuesday that Pakistani authorities "must have had" a hand in the Mumbai siege, a remark dismissed by Pakistan as propaganda that could undermine efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh repeated India's allegations that the November attacks were was carried out by the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. But in his most forceful speech on the subject, Singh stopped just short of accusing Islamabad of directly aiding the gunmen.

"There is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan," the Indian leader said, while criticizing what he called Islamabad's reluctance to crack down on militants operating in their territory.
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LOLitics | Must...not...LOL

"Ann Coulter, Harry Smith Take Each Other On".

Have Words On The Early Show About Her Mention Of Him In Her New Book, And Other Matters

(CBS) Ann Coulter says liberals should look in the mirror. In her latest book, "Guilty: Liberal 'Victims' and Their Assault on America," the conservative firebrand stirs up controversy again, contending that liberals in America try to play victim when really, they're the bullies.

While she's at it, she points fingers at what she calls the liberal media.

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  • Didn't she already write this book - like, 3 previous times? Girlfriend needs same new material.

  • Yeah, all the neo-conservative reactionaries have adopted the same ploy of playing down the historical significance of Obama being the first black president. Their tears are delicious.

  • 4 for Harry Smith for delivering the zingers and subtle snarkiness. LOL @ "take a breath".
empress i

not political, but lj-important

The Russian Bear Slashes a Social Network
By Owen Thomas, 2:24 AM on Tue Jan 6 2009, 15,854 views+

The bubble in social networking has burst, decisively. LiveJournal, the San Francisco-based arm of Sup, a Russian Internet startup, has cut about 20 of 28 employees — and offered them no severance, we're told.

The quirky site, part blog and part social network, is best known for its users' weird obsessions — like the troublesome clique of Harry Potter erotica writers, whose outré tastes ran afoul of LiveJournal's efforts to comply with U.S. child-pornography laws. (Oddly, the site also gained a following in Russia, which led to its acquisition by Sup.) All that adds up to an environment even more distasteful to advertisers than the typical social site.

The company's product managers and engineers were laid off, leaving only a handful of finance and operations workers — which speaks to a website to be left on life support. Matt Berardo, a Yahoo executive hired on last summer, is also believed to be gone.

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' jules
  • schmiss

A policy wonk's dream list right here for real

The First Ten Senate Bills

A Democratic aide on the hill passes along the first ten bills that Majority Leader Harry Reid will put in the hopper this evening to kick off the new session of Congress, as sent by leadership to various Senate Legislative Directors. Unfortunately for us, the bills are placeholders that only contain vague statements of purpose, not specific legislative language, so we can only get a sense of the basic priorities of the Senate Democrats. Here's the countdown:

  • S.1 -- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. "To create jobs, restore economic growth, and strengthen America’s middle class through measures that modernize the nation’s infrastructure, enhance America’s energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need, and for other purposes." The stimulus bill; no surprises here.
  • S.2 -- Middle Class Opportunity Act of 2009. Sound familiar? This is a retread of a bill sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer in the last Congress that has a variety of tax reform goals; the additional descriptions in this bill include hints at union support ("ensuring workers can exercise their rights to freely choose to form a union without employer interference") and perhaps another go at the Ledbetter law ("removing barriers to fair pay for all workers").
  • S.3 -- Homeowner Protection and Wall Street Accountability Act of 2009. This bill will include a moratorium on foreclosures, Senator Dick Durbin's plan to allow for easier reworking of troubled mortgages by bankruptcy judges, new regulations for the credit card and financial industry, and investment in the Small Business Administration to provide loans for small businesses in need. It also makes TARP -- the Wall Street bailout -- a larger part of foreclosure reduction.
  • S.4 -- Comprehensive Health Reform Act of 2009. "It is the sense of Congress that Congress should enact, and the President should sign, legislation to guarantee health coverage, improve health care quality and disease prevention, and reduce health care costs for all Americans and the health care system." Paging Ezra!
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BART rider belly-down when shot, lawyer says

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BART rider belly-down when shot, lawyer says

The 22-year-old man killed by a BART police officer early New Year's Day was lying face-down on the train platform, his hands behind him waiting to be cuffed, when he was shot in the back, a lawyer newly hired by the man's family said Saturday.

Attorney John Burris said in an interview that a number of witnesses to the shooting at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland have told him Oscar Grant was posing no threat to the officer or anyone else when he was fatally wounded. The shooting occurred around 2:15 a.m. after police responded to a report of a fight on a train bound for Dublin/Pleasanton.
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' jules
  • schmiss


Depression-Era Blingee Discovered

To illustrate some op-ed about Ferdinand Pecora — the brave New York prosecutor of financial fraudsters who did some congressional hearing at the end of Hoover’s presidency — the New York Times dug up this ancient Blingee. There is no explanation for this bizarre old-timey example of a blinged-out spliff-smokin’ Hero of the Depression, and the bland Associated Press photo credit only adds to the Mystery.


I think history just came alive for me.
  • Current Mood
  • Tags
  • bispo

Atlantic Monthly Race & Obama Trifecta

Race Over?
Race doesn’t matter, Barack Obama’s top advisers argued during the presidential election. At least, that’s what they said in public. Behind closed doors, however, Obama’s campaign worked methodically to woo white voters without alienating black ones—and vice versa.
Read here...

The End of White America?
The Election of Barack Obama is just the most startling manifestation of a larger trend: the gradual erosion of “whiteness” as the touchstone of what it means to be American. If the end of white America is a cultural and demographic inevitability, what will the new mainstream look like—and how will white Americans fit into it? What will it mean to be white when whiteness is no longer the norm? And will a post-white America be less racially divided—or more so?
Read here...

American Girl
When Michelle Obama told a Milwaukee campaign rally last February, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," critics derided her as another Angry Black Woman. But the only truly radical proposition put forth by Obama, born and raised in Chicago's storied South Side, is the idea of a black community fully vested in the country at large, and proud of the American dream.
Read here...

(no subject)

NYT Updates Mobile Service; Gay No Longer Bad Word


This morning I posted about the New York Times mobile service and its censorship of the word "gay" in headlines texted to users' mobile devices. Above is the screenshot of what you received on your phone when someone texted any article in which the word "gay" appeared in the headline.

I'm happy to report that the NYT has corrected the issue.

A source affiliated with the Pride GLBT Affinity group forwarded me the following message that was sent out by the paper's Corporate Communications:

"Earlier today a technical error occurred with The Times's text messaging platform that caused the word 'gay' to be replaced with 'bleep.' This was unintentional and we regret it occurred. The problem has been fixed and we have taken steps to prevent it from happening again. Corporate Communications is responding to press inquiries and will send a note to customer service."


This is a follow-up to this post.


Killer of Sean William Kennedy in SC Could Be Out Next Month

Those of you who have been reading the site for a while will remember our coverage of the murder of Sean William Kennedy outside a Greenville, South Carolina bar in 2007. He was punched to the ground by Andrew Moller in the parking lot while Moller used anti-gay slurs. Kennedy never recovered from his injuries.

Kennedy2Upon his sentencing, Fox Carolina reported:

"Moller was originally charged with murder in the case. However, in November 2007 a Greenville County grand jury handed down an indictment for a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter against Moller. Moller appeared in a Greenville County courtroom on Wednesday afternoon where he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge. Judge Ned Miller sentenced Moller to five years in prison, but suspended his sentence to three years with credit for the seven months in prison he has already served. The judge also ordered Moller to attend both anger management and drug/alcohol management classes. Moller must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before being eligible for parole."

Now, Elke Kennedy, Sean's mother, who has been a vocal advocate against anti-LGBT violence since his death, reports that Moller is being considered for a parole hearing, and could be eligible for parole as early as next month.

Elke is asking the public to consider writing a letter to the parole board demanding Moller be forced to serve the remainder of his short sentence, and has provided information at Sean's Last Wish as to where and how the letter should be sent.

Help, stop early parole! [sean's last wish]


If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is?

If This Isn’t Slavery, What Is?

Barack Obama’s presidency marks a triumph over the legacy of slavery, so it would be particularly meaningful if he led a new abolitionist movement against 21st-century slavery — like the trafficking of girls into brothels.

Anyone who thinks it is hyperbole to describe sex trafficking as slavery should look at the maimed face of a teenage girl, Long Pross.

Glance at Pross from her left, and she looks like a normal, fun-loving girl, with a pretty face and a joyous smile. Then move around, and you see where her brothel owner gouged out her right eye.

Yes, I know it’s hard to read this. But it’s infinitely more painful for Pross to recount the humiliations she suffered, yet she summoned the strength to do so — and to appear in a video posted online with this column — because she wants people to understand how brutal sex trafficking can be.
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Sanjay Gupta tapped for position, remains sexy

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

From The Washington Post
Obama Wants Journalist Gupta for Surgeon General
by Howard Kurtz

President-elect Barack Obama has offered the job of surgeon general to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the neurosurgeon and correspondent for CNN and CBS, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Gupta has told administration officials that he wants the job, and the final vetting process is under way. He has asked for a few days to figure out the financial and logistical details of moving his family from Atlanta to Washington but is expected to accept the offer.

When reached for comment today, Gupta did not deny the account but declined to comment.

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  • taylr

Norm Coleman Challenging Minnesota Senate Recount

Republican Norm Coleman, who received 225 fewer votes than DFLer Al Franken in the U.S. Senate recount, will challenge the result in court. He told reporters at a state Capitol news conference that a lawsuit, known as an election contest, would proceed.

Coleman said he respects the process but added: "Let's take the time to get it right." He said every vote should be counted, but only once, and that uniform standards must be applied, previewing what are expected to be central themes of his court case.
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I'm sure this makes Australians proud

Oh wow, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside makes me want to smack Mr Howard for embarrassing us internationally again, and to think we'd just got rid of him.

JOHN Howard will be awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington next week, in one of George W Bush's final acts as president.

Mr Bush, who described the former Prime Minister as "a man of steel" during their warm relationship and cooperation through the Coalition of Willing in Iraq, said today through a spokeswoman that Mr Howard was being honoured for his efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad.

The award is the highest civilian decoration of the United States and was first established by former US President Harry S Truman in 1945 and largely focused on wartime service.

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tbx -> twins

more updates on gaza

Obama breaks silence on Gaza, voices concern

US president-elect Barack Obama, breaking his silence about the Gaza war, expressed deep concern on Tuesday about the loss of civilian lives in Gaza and in Israel.
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At least 30 Gazans killed in strike on UN school; IDF: Troops fired in self-defense

Israel Defense Forces tank fire killed at least 30 Palestinians at a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, UN officials and medical sources and at two hospitals said.

Palestinian officials had initially said that 40 people were killed in the attack, but UN sources put the number at 30 killed and 55 wounded.
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Israeli team flees to changing room in Turkey

An Israeli basketball team fled to the changing room Tuesday as hundreds of fist-pumping, chanting Turkish fans protested the violence in Gaza.
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Egypt announces plan for immediate Gaza truce

Egypt said on Tuesday it was proposing an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip, to be followed by talks on long-term arrangements including an end to the blockade of Gaza.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has offered to hold talks with Israel on border security, and delegations from both sides should meet soon, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Tuesday.
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Israeli shelling kills dozens at UN school in Gaza

The civilian death toll in Gaza increased dramatically today, with reports of more than 40 Palestinians killed after missiles exploded outside a UN school where hundreds of people were sheltering from the continuing Israeli offensive.

Two Israeli tank shells struckthe school in Jabaliya refugee camp, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, according to news agency reports.

The medical director of the hospital in Jabaliya told the Guardian 41 bodies had been brought in so far and more could be on the way. Reuters journalists filmed bodies scattered on the ground amid pools of blood and torn shoes and clothes. A donkey lay on the ground in its own blood.


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I'm no fan of Hamas but I don't understand how bombing UN schools  where civilians are taking refuge has anything to do with hunting Hamas fighters down. I just don't understand how anyone could claim that Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian casualties when it seems to be doing a pretty good job at increasing them.


"Restructuring" "Global Economic Downturn" -- BS, I want my LJ!

For the continuing drama of the purge carried out at livejournal headquarters earlier this week, tune in now for the official Livejournal press release... which doesn't really say anything.

Press Releases
January 6, 2009

LiveJournal Inc. announced a restructuring today of their U.S. and Russian operations to more effectively manage costs in light of the global economic downturn.

LiveJournal Inc.'s headquarters, technical operations (and servers,) legal, administration, and customer service teams will remain in the United States. LiveJournal's global product development and design will now be coordinated out of its Moscow office. The pooling of resources between the U.S. and Russia will allow the company to build a stronger business model, well positioned to guarantee the long-term success of LiveJournal.

As a result of these changes, Matthew Berardo, VP and General Manager of LiveJournal Inc., will be leaving the company along with other valued colleagues. Mr. Berardo played the leading role in consolidating product and design efforts to enable the business to more effectively streamline costs during his tenure. LiveJournal Inc. will now be led jointly by Stephanie Gravelle, currently LiveJournal Inc.'s director of finance and administration, and Sergei Komarov, currently CTO of SUP (LiveJournal Inc.'s holding company).

steaming pile of...

I call: BULL-SHIT.

Jake G -  Moving beauty

Obama makes a statement and "deeply concerned about the conflict" in Gaza

Obama refrains from making detailed comment on Gaza conflict

President-elect said he was postponing further comment on the conflict until after his inauguration

Daniel Nasaw 

US president-elect Barack Obama today broke his silence on the fighting in Gaza, saying he was "deeply concerned about the conflict" but postponing further comment on the Israeli invasion and Hamas attacks on Israel until after his inauguration.

On a day when much of official Washington was consumed by dramatic action in the US Senate and by negotiations on Obama's massive fiscal stimulus proposal, Obama told reporters he was closely monitoring the situation in Gaza and was receiving intelligence briefings.

"The loss of civilian life in Gaza and Israel is a source of deep concern to me," he said in a question and answer session at his transition office, "and after January 20 I'm going to have plenty to say about the issue."

Obama reiterated his belief that he should refrain from interjecting in foreign affairs before his election so the US government can present a single face to the world.

"Starting at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East," he said. "On January 20, you will be hearing directly from me, and my opinions on the issue. Until then, my job is to monitor the situation" and to assemble a national security and foreign policy team.

That will be led by New York senator Hillary Clinton, whom Obama chose to be his secretary of state.

During the campaign, Obama described himself as a "true friend of Israel" and pledged to "isolate" Hamas unless the group renounces "terrorism", recognises Israel's right to exist, and honours past agreements with Israel. He has said he intends that the US should again play a robust role in the Middle East peace process.

In July, Obama visited Israel and the West Bank, where he met with
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. He also visited Sderot, the Israeli town near Gaza that has been a frequent target of Hamas rocket attacks.


' jules
  • schmiss

A sad day for America ;___;

Ex-Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush won't run for Senate in 2010

Former Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to replace the retiring Mel Martinez, saying that it was not the right time to return to elected office.

"I can play a role in helping to reshape the Republican Party's message and focus on 21st century solutions to 21st century problems," Bush told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "Not running does not preclude me from being involved in these things and I will be."

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European Union protests as Russia turns off gas

The European Union has demanded the immediate restoration of Russian gas supplies after several countries were cut off.

The move by Russia came amid a deepening dispute over gas prices with Ukraine, which hosts a pipeline supplying gas from its bigger neighbour to countries across Europe.

Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Macedonia reported that all supplies of Russian gas had been cut, while Romania said that its deliveries had fallen by 75 per cent.

Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic - which currently holds the presidency of the EU - are also suffering shortages
, which are taking effect as Europe experiences freezing temperatures.

The dramatic reduction came after Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, ordered the state energy giant Gazprom to cut deliveries through Ukraine on Monday to punish it over a price dispute and for allegedly siphoning off gas without paying. Ukrainian said that Russia had since slashed Europe-bound gas deliveries by nearly 60 per cent.

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♪ uraqt
  • schmiss


Specter: Holder Could Be Another Gonzo

It doesn't get harsher than that.

In a floor speech today, Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary committee, suggested that Eric Holder, Barack Obama's nominee for Attorney General, might follow in the footsteps of ... Alberto Gonzales!

The Washington Independent reports that Specter cited several of the attacks that we've heard from GOPers since Holder's nomination was announced -- including the Al Gore "campaign finance violations" of 1996, the Elian Gonzalez case, and the last-minute pardon of Marc Rich.

Then Specter really hit below the belt, declaring:
After our recent experience with Attorney General Gonzales, it is imperative that the Attorney General undertake and effectuate that responsibility of independence. Mr. Gonzales left office accused of politicizing the Justice Department, failing to restrain Executive overreaching, and being less than forthcoming with Congress ... I am convinced that many of Attorney General Gonzales' missteps were caused by his eagerness to please the White House. Similarly, when Mr. Holder was serving as DAG to President Clinton, some of his actions raised concerns about his ability to maintain his independence from the president.

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As BART shooting videos go viral, experts try to figure out what went wrong

As BART shooting videos go viral, experts try to figure out what went wrong

The New Year's Day shooting death of Oscar Grant on an Oakland BART platform has been electronically re-enacted hundreds of thousands of times, as videos of the incident are broadcast on television and spread over the Internet.

The videos now could play a critical role in the investigation into the shooting of Grant, 22, by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, 27.

Three videos made public so far show Grant's final moments from multiple angles in a way that could help investigators, attorneys and use-of-force experts determine whether the shooting was accidental, intentional or inexplicable.
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M&R: Death threats against BART officer

Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who fatally shot a man on the Fruitvale Station platform in Oakland early New Year's Day, is being kept under wraps and moved from place to place after receiving a number of death threats, BART spokesman Linton Johnson confirmed Tuesday night.

Mehserle, 27, a two-year veteran of the BART police force, shot and killed 22-year-old Oscar Grant of Hayward as Grant lay face-down on the station platform following a fight between two groups on a train.

While the nature of the threats hasn't been revealed, Johnson said at least one of the threats was made to Mehserle's family. As a result, he has been moved twice.

Mehserle is described as "devastated" over the shooting, but has yet to give a statement to investigators. Johnson said the delay was caused when Mehserle's attorney showed up at the station within two hours of the shooting and invoked the officer's right to "retain counsel and not say anything."
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