January 19th, 2009


Alex Trebek getting political for Canada TV show

Alex Trebek getting political for Canada TV show

"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moonlight on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. as host of the reality competition series "Canada's Next Prime Minister."

The Ontario native, who got his start at the public broadcaster, will share the stage March 18 with three former prime ministers as they field pitches from four would-be politicos before choosing a winner.

Last month, the CBC got into hot water after admitting to breaking contestant recruitment rules and contacting political organizations to invite young former political candidates to compete on the series.

The CBC has sold "Canada's Next Prime Minister" as a format to the BBC.
  • bispo

As Bush exits office, portraits come down

In San Francisco, where many people, it seems, can't stand the sight of President Bush, they won't have to look at him much longer.

His portrait in the Federal Building will be taken down at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Inauguration Day. The same morning, his wax figure will be removed from the lobby turntable at the Wax Museum on Fisherman's Wharf. In liberal Noe Valley, a store that profited from the president for years is almost Bush-less already.

There is at least one spot in town, however, where the image of the former president will survive intact: the Union Street real estate office of Arthur Bruzzone, former chair of the local Republican Party.

A photograph on the wall shows Bruzzone and Bush together in 2000, before the presidential election.

After Bush moved into the White House, he never visited San Francisco again.

"I'm going to keep it up there," Bruzzone said. "I like the George Bush I met. He didn't turn out to be the same George Bush, but it's part of my ego wall."

Bush won't enjoy similar treatment in much of the city, although he did get a last-minute reprieve from the General Services Administration.

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Developing: HBO says they aren't to blame for not including Gene Robinson in concert special

Sunday afternoon, HBO televised the Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial — a concert planned by the Presidential Inauguration Committee — to kick off the festivities surrounding Obama's inauguration on Tuesday.

Openly gay bishop Gene Robinson delivered the opening prayer before the start of the concert, but the prayer was not included as part of HBO's broadcast.

Contacted Sunday night by AfterElton.com concerning the exclusion of Robinson's prayer, HBO said via email, "The producer of the concert has said that the Presidential Inaugural Committee made the decision to keep the invocation as part of the pre-show."

Uncertain as to whether or not that meant that HBO was contractually prevented from airing the pre-show, we followed up, but none of the spokespeople available Sunday night could answer that question with absolute certainty.

However, it does seem that the network's position is that they had nothing to do with the decision.

We have also contacted a spokesperson from the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) for their  explanation and will post what we learn either from PIC or HBO .

Wherever the fault lies, this is yet another unfortunate turn involving GLBT concerns over Obama's selection of Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at Obama's inauguration. Many in the gay community saw Robinson's selection to deliver Sunday's prayer as an olive branch.

But given that most Americans could not attend the concert, instead having to watch it on television, the decision to not broadcast the prayer is being seen by many in the GLBT community as a slight.

The exclusion of Robinson, even if unintentional, does not reflect well on the Obama administration's ability thus far to think through these sorts of nuances.



Israeli leaders face Gaza aftermath

Israeli leaders face Gaza aftermath

The Israeli public domain is largely awash with pictures of smiling troops returning and editorials asking "Why did we stop?", as the dust begins to settle after what one analyst described as a "text book case" of a popular Israeli war.

But political opinion polls are rising to the surface too. And despite the widespread public backing for the Israeli operation, it is not all good news for the three members of the security "kitchen cabinet" who were in the driving seat.

Outgoing caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert may have somewhat burnished his legacy, blackened by the corruption claims that forced him to resign, and his heavily criticised handling of the 2006 Lebanon war.

But he is on his way out anyway.

His successor as leader of the centrist Kadima Party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, is widely seen to have had a bad war.

Centre-right opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party's lead over Kadima looks to have increased.

Polls quoted by Haaretz newspaper show Likud, on the eve of the military campaign, was set to win 32 seats in the 120-member Knesset, with Kadima on 30. Now they suggest Likud would be on 30, with Kadima down to 25.
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Israel to keep tight grip on Gaza reconstruction

Israel to keep tight grip on Gaza reconstruction

Israel intends to exert control over the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following its 22-day offensive, and is seeking guarantees that no U.N. projects will benefit Hamas, officials said on Monday.

Israel, which declared a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday, retains full control over Gaza's commercial crossings, through which goods and other materials for rebuilding must pass.

Smuggler tunnels under Gaza's border with Egypt, which were used by Hamas and many ordinary Palestinians to get around the Israeli-led blockade, were heavily bombed during the war and are, at least temporarily, out of commission.

That gives Israel enormous power to shape the recovery effort, which will be largely financed by the international community. Preliminary estimates put the damage at nearly $2 billion. Saudi Arabia said it would donate $1 billion.

Western diplomats, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said Israel has asked the United Nations and other aid groups to provide a detailed list of goods, equipment and personnel that they want to bring into the Gaza Strip, both to meet immediate needs and for rebuilding.

Israel told the aid groups it would consider expanding the list of materials authorised to enter the Gaza Strip. Before the war, Israel blocked entry of most cement, steel and cash, saying Hamas used them for bunkers, rockets and militia salaries.
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Obama and Chávez Start Sparring Early

Obama and Chávez Start Sparring Early

In an interview shown in the past week on the Spanish-language network Univision, U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said that Venezuela's firebrand president, Hugo Chávez, has hindered progress in Latin America, and he expressed concern that Chávez's leftist government has assisted Colombia's biggest guerrilla movement, a group the United States considers a terrorist organization. Chávez responded this weekend by saying that Obama had "the same stench" as President Bush, a frequent target of Chávez's remarks.

"There is still time" for Obama to correct his views, the Venezuelan leader said, but he added: "No one should say that I threw the first stone at Obama. He threw it at me."

The interview with the president-elect, shown in two segments that aired Sunday and last Tuesday, included Obama's most extensive comments to date about Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico -- countries that are expected to require swift attention from the new administration. Mexico is convulsed by drug violence that is spilling into the United States; Cuba's longtime leader, Fidel Castro, is suffering from a serious undisclosed illness; and Chávez's government is reinforcing ties with such U.S. adversaries as Iran and, authorities in Bogota say, Colombian rebels.
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Iran students say time for U.S. to change policy

Iran students say time for U.S. to change policy

Nariman Mostafavi says many Iranian students no longer hold the fierce anti-American views that drove their predecessors to seize the U.S. embassy in 1979.

Now the student activist says it's time for Washington to change and consider new policies toward the Islamic Republic.

As Barack Obama moves into the White House promising more engagement with Iran's rulers while threatening tougher sanctions, the radicalism of the embassy hostage-takers has given way to cautious hope among many in Iran's universities.

"If Obama sticks to his promise of change, there will be hope for the establishment of ties," said Mostafavi, who advocates reform in the Islamic Republic.

But like others, he is wary of predicting a big U.S. shift and also says much will hinge on Iran's own election in June, when hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, is expected to seek a second term.

"The election of Obama is only one factor," said Reza Sharifi, a member of Iran's main reformist student body. "Healing ties also greatly depends on who takes power in Iran."
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  • bispo

Video: Obama’s first official USAF flight.

On Jan. 4, President-elect Obama arrived at Andrews Air Force Base “aboard a presidential aircraft for the first time as the principal passenger, as he moved to Washington from his home town of Chicago.” Although the Boeing 757 wasn’t officially designated Air Force One, it was painted like the presidential plane and “flight stewards and ground staff wore jackets embroidered with the Air Force One logo, and presidential seals decorated the plane’s interior.” National Geographic (via FlightBlogger) captured what happened on Obama’s first official USAF flight. Watch it:
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The Ponzi Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree: Bernard Madoff's Crooked Parents

This is a link to an example website

Did Bernard Madoff’s parents teach him everything he knows? Fortune.com recently reported that the accused Ponzi schemer’s mom and dad had their own questionable financial troubles. Mother Madoff’s brokerage firm was forced to close after a run-in with the feds, while Father Madoff had his own tax woes about 40 years ago. Yes, this family has quite the pernicious history.
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Madoff's mother tangled with the feds

The late Sylvia Madoff was registered as a broker-dealer in the 1960s but left the business after being cited for failing to file reports.

Accused Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was not the first person in his close-knit family to run afoul of federal authorities. A broker-dealer firm registered in the name of Madoff's mother, Sylvia, was effectively forced to close by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission more than 40 years ago.

In August 1963, the SEC announced it was "instituting proceedings...to determine whether" 48 broker-dealers, including "Sylvia R. Madoff [doing business as] Gibraltar Securities," had "failed to file reports of their financial condition...and if so, whether their registrations should be revoked."

An SEC litigation release a month later announced hearings in the case of Madoff and many of the other firms in question.

Then, in January 1964, the SEC dismissed administrative proceedings against a number of the firms, including Madoff's, in what appeared to be a deal: No penalties if you promise to stay out of business.

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' jules
  • schmiss

Quelle surprise

Bush Commutes Sentences For Imprisoned Ex-Border Agents

The White House has announced that President Bush has commuted the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Joe Compean, the two former border agents who became a cause célèbre of anti-immigration conservatives when they were convicted for shooting and wounding an unarmed drug smuggler, spending the last two years in prison.

The two are now scheduled to be released on March 20, 2009, seven years ahead of schedule for Ramos and eight years early for Compean, with Bush choosing to leave intact three years of supervised release.

Some of the right-wingers out there might be dissatisfied that this wasn't a full pardon -- the two are still convicted felons -- but the conservative movement overall can chalk this one up as a small victory.


I'm honestly going to be shocked to the core if he doesn't give a pardon to Scooter the moment before Obama is sworn in.

They're talking about the case on MSNBC right now; how the shooters tried to cover up the incident by cleaning up the crime scene after they shot the weed dealer. Oy vey.
  • bispo

White House Advice by Alice Walker

alice walker1

Dear Brother President:

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you delivering the torch so many others carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be brought down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. Not to mention your brave and precious grandmother.* And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: it is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is only what so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, but this is because it is not clear to them yet that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must all of us learn not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief and are sworn to protect our beloved country. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to Earth, to Peoples, to Animals, to Rivers, to Mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy, Alice Walker

*Obama's "brave and precious" grandmother made her return to the Great Source a day before her grandson's historic turn of the historical wheel. We imagine her flying, smiling, free. Well done, Grandmother. Those of us who intuit your greatness send our thanks.

Walker's recent books include "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For," "Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart" and "A Poem Traveled Down My Arm." This essay first appeared on TheRoot.com.

(no subject)

Billionaire Seeks Deal in Times Co.

Carlos Slim Helú, the Mexican billionaire, is near a deal to invest about $250 million in The New York Times Company, helping to shore up the publishing company’s struggling finances, according to people briefed on the transaction.

The company’s board is expected to meet on Monday to approve the deal, these people said, and an announcement could be made as early as Tuesday. However, these people also warned that several details still needed to be completed and that it remained possible the agreement could collapse.

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Needs more Blagojevich.

The Inaugural Poet
Q&A with Elizabeth Alexander

The selection of Yale professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander to write and deliver a poem at the inauguration of Barack Obama marks not only the return of poetry to a place of prominence in presidential history (she is only the fourth to read at a presidential swearing-in), but represents a true mind-meld between the president-elect and his chosen bard. Professor Alexander is a virtuosic writer and a shrewd analyst of American letters, a polyglot who moves fluently from essay to sonnet, from free verse to drama—and in her teaching, traces equally diverse themes. As the big day approaches, it’s hard to tell who will serve as muse to whom—Alexander and Obama share ties to Chicago and to the classroom, and a demonstrated commitment to the power of words and of community institutions.

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A chapbook of Alexander’s inaugural poem will be available from Graywolf Press on Inauguration Day.


Robert Hass would be my ~inaugural poet.

As Seen On TV

The Obameter

"PolitiFact has compiled about 500 promises that Barack Obama made during the campaign and is tracking their progress on our Obameter. We rate their status as No Action, In the Works or Stalled. Once we find action is completed, we rate them Promise Kept, Compromise or Promise Broken"

And an excel file of 895 campaign promises from Ideapalooza (via TheAtlantic) so you can keep score at home.
panda bear

(no subject)

Obama may quickly reverse abortion policy.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama is considering issuing an executive order to reverse a controversial Bush administration abortion policy in his first week in office, three Democratic sources said Monday.

Obama's second full day as president falls on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States.
Don't Miss

The sources said Obama may use the occasion to reverse the "Mexico City policy" reinstated in 2001 by Bush that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family planning groups that promote abortion or provide information, counseling or referrals about abortion services. It bans any organization receiving family planning funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development from offering abortions or abortion counseling.

The "Mexico City policy," commonly referred to by critics as "the global gag rule," was devised by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 at a population conference in Mexico City.

President Bill Clinton lifted the ban in January 1993 as one of his first acts as president, but President George W. bush reinstated it in his first executive order on January 22, 2001, the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

At the time, critics -- including Planned Parenthood -- called the move a "legislative ambush."

Bush defended the action, saying then: "It is my conviction that taxpayer funds should not be used to pay for abortion or actively promote abortion."


Chechen Human Rights Lawyer Shot Dead

MOSCOW — The lawyer who fought against the early release from jail of a former Russian tank commander imprisoned for murdering a young Chechen woman was shot dead by a gunman in central Moscow on Monday, officials said.

The lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, had attempted a last-minute appeal against the release of the former commander, Yuri D. Budanov, a decorated Russian Army colonel before he was stripped of his rank, who was freed last Thursday.

A journalist who was with Mr. Markelov was also shot and seriously injured, according to Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s investigative wing. The journalist, whose identity could not be immediately confirmed, worked for a newspaper that has been highly critical of the government’s Chechnya policy.

Mr. Markelov was shot near a building where he had just finished a news conference, The Associated Press reported. He had told reporters he might file an appeal in an international court against the early release of Mr. Budanov.

The decision to release him has rekindled animosities born of nearly a decade of intermittent war in Chechnya, the restive southern Russian republic. Mr. Budanov was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003, but a court in the Ulyanovsk region agreed last month to grant him early parole for good behavior, and the last-minute appeal by Mr. Markelov failed to keep him in custody.

News of the court’s decision last month to grant Mr. Budanov’s parole led to protest rallies in Chechnya. Human rights groups and Chechen officials, two sides that often clash, have raised a single voice of alarm over Mr. Budanov’s release.

Mr. Budanov was the highest-ranking officer among only a handful of Russian soldiers punished for what human rights groups say were numerous atrocities committed by federal forces in two wars against Chechen separatists. For many in Chechnya he has become a hated symbol of those atrocities.

He has admitted to abducting Elza Kungayeva, an 18-year-old Chechen woman, and strangling her in a fit of rage in his quarters in March 2000, thinking her to be an enemy sniper. In proceedings that highlighted the capriciousness of Russian justice, he was initially acquitted on grounds that he was temporarily insane at the time of the killing, and convicted in a second trial.
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- Markelov's safety was already in danger even before this case.
AI statement. For some reason the NYT article doesn't mention that the girl was also raped.

' jules
  • schmiss

Pundit parties: even less sexy than you would think

Christopher Hitchens Blames Torture on Common Americans, Demands ‘Tongue’ From Andrew Sullivan

A gaggle of prominent scribes including Tina Brown, Harold Evans, and Politico's Mike Allen got a scare Saturday night when they found themselves briefly trapped in an elevator struggling to climb seven floors to Slate's star-studded party at the D.C. apartment of Christopher Hitchens. (“The big politician from Memphis got in,” Evans later explained, referring to Representative Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat. “And that was too much.”) Allen, talking to us and later writing in his daily Playbook, credited Evans and Michael Tomasky with prying open the doors “through sheer brawn.” But that night it was Hitchens himself, naturally, who got the most worked up.

Inside, Hitchens opined on whether the Obama administration should answers calls from the left to prosecute Bush administration officials for illegal interrogation of prisoners: “As long as it's agreed that these steps were taken in response to public demand,” he began, only to be interrupted by Andrew Sullivan, who greeted him with a hug and a kiss. “I want tongue. Give me tongue,” Hitchens implored, to no avail. “No, I'm not giving you tongue,” Sullivan replied, feigning astonishment. “Let the record show: Sullivan wouldn't give tongue,” Hitchens replied. (“He's gayer than I am!” Sullivan later told us.)

Continuing his discourse on torture policy, Hitchens then claimed that the Bush administration's commitment to harsh interrogation techniques, which he considers torture, derived from a desire among Americans for a more “ruthless” government. “It has to be admitted by every American that in the majority after the 9/11 Commission, people wanted an administration that was much more ruthless than the one they'd had on September the 10th,” he said.

“I know something for a sure thing,” Hitchens continued. “The demand for torture and other methods I would describe as illegal, the demand to go outside the Geneva conventions — all this came from below. What everyone wants to say is this came from a small clique around the vice-president. It's not educational. It doesn't enlighten anyone to behave as if that were true. This is our society wanting and demanding harsh measures.” Therefore, he went on, the demand for prosecution or other measures against Bush administration officials would likewise have to come from below, via the grassroots. “Otherwise it's just vengeful, I suppose, and partisan.”


I don't know which definition of the word "wrong" to start with on this one.
meredith [grey's anatomy]
  • germli

Cindy McCain: Media had 'agenda'

By ANDY BARR | 1/19/09 3:39 PM EST

Cindy McCain attacked media coverage of her husband’s presidential campaign Monday, saying there is now “very little difference now between journalism and gossip.”

“Without sounding bitter—and I’m not bitter—I do believe there was a media bias. I do believe that the media had a specific agenda and with that said, the American people cast their vote,” McCain said in an interview she gave to her daughter Meghan, a blogger who posted the transcript on The Daily Beast.

“I truly feel that unless the media goes back to unbiased reporting they are going to do a disservice to the youth of this country. The future of this country lies in the youth and we have to be good stewards of information and truth,” she added. “There is so much more to it than just one article and people telling lies, it affects much more than that.”

McCain was particularly critical of a New York Times profile of her that ran shortly before the election.

“It is interesting that it got to the point where the New York Times profile of me is being used as an example of the bias in reporting in journalism classes,” she said. “I had never spoken with the reporter who wrote the article. She contacted the kids that went to high school with my youngest daughter over the Internet, and as a parent, that was scary.”


The full interview can be found on this site.Last question:
You’re about to leave for D.C. for the inauguration. Does it feel bittersweet?
Yes, it's bittersweet. I was talking to your dad today, both of us are supportive of the administration because we believe in this country. We want President-elect Obama to succeed because it's what is best for the country. But for me it is a very bittersweet moment and I believe your father would have made a good president. For me it will be a hard moment, but I am proud to be there."
  • schmiss

Or as my boy Blago would call it... TESTICULAR VIRILITY

Hatch: Joe Biden has "balls"

Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch is working blue on the Senate floor in praise of his buddy Joe Biden.

Hatch, a devout Mormon not prone to profanity, quoted historian Richard Ben Cramer who once wrote that the Delaware Democrat has "a breathtaking element of balls ... Joe Biden had balls. ... He did what he wanted to do and he did it."


Okay, how did this one slip past us? You folks are slacking on the job!
soccer ► herr schweinsteiger.

US execution 'defied court order'

The International Court of Justice says the US was in breach of an order not to execute a Mexican man sentenced to death in Texas after a flawed trial.

The court was handing down judgment in a bid by Mexico to force a review of the sentences of 51 of its citizens on death row in the US.

Mexico says the US ignored a ruling by the court in 2004 that America had denied the Mexicans consular access.

The court said then that the convictions should be reconsidered. The International Court of Justice - the UN's highest court - issued an emergency ruling last July intended to halt pending executions.

But three weeks later Texas gave a lethal injection to Jose Medellin, convicted of the rape and murder of two teenage girls.

"The court... finds that the United States of America has breached the obligation incumbent upon it," the ICJ - sitting in The Hague - ruled.

In its latest appeal, Mexico had asked the court for an interpretation of its judgment in 2004.

That judgment found the US in breach of the Vienna Convention because the Mexicans were denied consular access when they were arrested.

Disputed phrase

At the time, the court told the US to reconsider the convictions of the 51 Mexicans on death row, "by means of its own choosing".

The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan, in The Hague, says it is this phrase that lies at the heart of the dispute.

Mexico says that requests for a review by the US have been denied in all but one of the 51 cases. It accuses Washington of having ignored the 2004 court ruling.

The US says that it took steps to comply with the judgment but cannot compel individual state courts to comply.

Some US states have agreed to review their death row cases but Texas maintains that its state courts are not bound by the International Court of Justice.

panda bear

(no subject)

Cheney In Wheelchair For Inauguration

WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney pulled a muscle in his back while moving boxes and will be in a wheelchair for Tuesday's inauguration ceremony.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said Cheney was helping to move into his new home outside Washington in McLean, Va., when he injured his back.

His doctor recommended that he needed a wheelchair for the next couple of days.

Perino said that Cheney is OK otherwise.

"The vice president is looking forward to being there for tomorrow's historic inaugural activities," Perino said.


panda bear

(no subject)

Shoes Thrown At White House

President Bush was given an Iraqi-journalist-style sendoff on his last full day in office Monday, as tourists and demonstrators lobbed shoes, pumps, boots, sandals and Crocs from Pennsylvania Avenue onto the White House lawn.

Before launching the operation live, the shoe-chuckers took target practice in Dupont Circle on a 20-foot-tall blow up doll of the outgoing president, decked out in the flight suit he wore aboard the "Mission Accomplished" aircraft carrier.

Unlike Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi reporter who inspired the protest, none of the shoe-throwers in the group were arrested. (Later that day, reports NBC, one man was arrested for chucking a shoe at the White House.)

Marching down Connecticut Avenue with handfuls of footwear, the group of about a hundred was on the receiving end of enthusiastic honks, thumbs-up and waves from people in the street.

The reception was almost as warm from the people guarding the White House.

"Don't hit me!" one officer behind the White House fence joked as shoes rained around him.

Tracey Primavera, a shoe-lobber from Provincetown, Massachusetts, shouted at the guard that she had a pump that would look nice on him.

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(no subject)

Repeats of ‘We Are One’ Event Will Include Bishop, HBO Says
By Brian Stelter

Bishop V. Gene Robinson’s invocation at Sunday’s “We Are One” inaugural event will be included in future repeats of the telecast on HBO, the premium cable channel, executives at the channel said Monday. HBO was criticized for not televising the appearance by the Episcopal bishop, who is openly gay.

It was the presidential inaugural committee, not HBO, who took responsibility for the perceived slight on Monday, issuing a statement saying that it had always intended for the bishop’s invocation to be
included in the telecast and that the omission was an oversight. The inaugural committee scheduled the opening event at the Lincoln Memorial, and HBO purchased the exclusive rights to broadcast it.

“We regret the error in executing this plan ­ but are gratified that hundreds of thousands of people who gathered on the mall heard his eloquent prayer for our nation that was a fitting start to our event,” Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the inaugural committee, was quoted as saying.

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  • bispo

Endangered Elephant - They're Very Afraid :)

By Patrick J. Buchanan
As President Barack Obama delivers his inaugural address to a nation filled with anticipation and hope, the vital signs of the loyal opposition appear worse than worrisome.

The new majority of 49 states and 60 percent of the nation Nixon cobbled together in 1972, that became the Reagan coalition of 49 states and 60 percent of the nation in 1984, is a faded memory. Demographically, philosophically, and culturally, the party base has been shrinking since Bush I won his 40-state triumph over Michael Dukakis. Indeed, the Republican base is rapidly becoming a redoubt, a Fort Apache in Indian country.

In the National Journal, Ron Brownstein renders a grim prognosis of the party’s chances of recapturing the White House. Consider:

In the five successive presidential elections, beginning with Clinton’s victory in 1992 and ending with Obama’s in 2008, 18 states and the District of Columbia, with 248 electoral votes among them, voted for the Democratic ticket all five times. John McCain did not come within 10 points of Obama in any of the 18, and he lost D.C. 92-8.

The 18 cover all of New England, save New Hampshire; New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland; four of the major states in the Midwest — Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota; and the Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii.

Three other states — Iowa, New Hampshire, and New Mexico — have gone Democratic in four of the past five presidential contests. And Virginia and Colorado have ceased to be reliably red.

Not only are the 18 hostile terrain for any GOP presidential ticket, Republicans hold only three of their 36 Senate seats and fewer than 1 in 3 of their House seats. “Democrats also control two-thirds of these 18 governorships, every state House chamber, and all but two of the state Senates,” writes Brownstein.
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Thank you, Jilly.

Biden shushes wife after secretary of state slip

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WASHINGTON - The wife of Vice President-elect Joe Biden let it slip to Oprah Winfrey Monday that her husband had a pick of two jobs in the Obama administration.

Jill Biden said President-elect Barack Obama gave Biden the choice of being secretary of state or vice president. The vice president-elect tried to hush his wife as soon as the words came out of her mouth, with a loud "shhh!" that sent the audience into laughter.

The Bidens made a surprise appearance on Winfrey's show, recorded at the Kennedy Center for broadcast later Monday on the eve of the inauguration.

The vice president-elect said he only accepted Obama's offer to be his running mate after talking it over with "Jilly," his pet name for his wife. Mrs. Biden said she told him vice president would be better for the family. "If you're secretary of state, you'll be away, we'll never see you, you know," she said. "I'll see you at a state dinner once in a while. But I said, if you are vice president, the entire family, because they worked so hard for the election, they can be involved. They can come to our home. They can go to events, they can be with us all the time. And that's what's important to us."

The vice president-elect didn't address his wife's comments, but said he didn't immediately take the vice presidential offer since he wasn't sure it was the best place for him to serve. But Biden, who ran against Obama in the Democratic primary race, said he agreed after getting some assurances from Obama about his role.

"This is a partnership," Biden said. "He's president of the United States, but as I said to him when he asked me, I said, `Barack, don't ask me unless the reason you're asking me is, you're asking me for my judgment. I get to be the last guy in the room before you make every important decision. You're president. Any decision you make, I will back.' "

"He said he wanted to have a confidant and somebody who wouldn't be a yes man. He's pretty sure about that" last part, Biden said with a laugh.

The secretary of state's job went to another Obama campaign rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

eta: According to the comments they'll be on Oprah in a few minutes!!
eta2: You can watch it here

Glenn Beck debuts show on FOX, almost loses his shit

Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck debuted his new FOX show on Monday, January 19. His guest was Sarah Palin, and he almost broke out in tears when introducing her. He switched gears quickly, calling her "One hot grandma!" - which made TIME's political Quote of the Day.

Palin proceeded to blather on in her trademark "scenic route from Point A to Point B" style, comforting Glenn. Nice debut on FOX, weenie.

"I didn't feel so alone. I didn't feel surrounded by others." ????? Get back on your meds, Glenn!