May 2nd, 2009

Cole

It's Hill'ry, Bitch.




Her Rival Now Her Boss, Clinton Settles Into New Role


By MARK LANDLER

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton insists her transition from presidential contender to secretary of state has been seamless, and in one respect, it is hard to argue with her: she still hustles like a candidate down a few points in the polls the week before Super Tuesday.

But in many other ways, Mrs. Clinton has shed her candidate’s skin. Her campaign staff is largely gone, replaced by a broader circle of advisers. Her husband, who stood behind her at countless campaign stops this time last year, has resumed his globe-trotting life, seeing her on rare weekends at their home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

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At 11 p.m. last Saturday, after 13 hours of meetings in Baghdad, Mrs. Clinton’s aides dozed on the military transport plane flying back to Kuwait. She sat alone at the front of the plane’s dimly lighted cargo bay, squinting as she plowed through a pile of briefing papers.

“I lug them everywhere,” Mrs. Clinton said, noting that she had not had time to watch a movie or read a book in the last 100 days.

source
LOLitics | Fierce Poncho

"Secretary Clinton's Remarks on Foreign Affairs Day".



TRANSCRIPT
Dean Acheson Auditorium
Washington, DC
May 1, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Director General Harry Thomas. I appreciate your leadership and words today. And it’s always a pleasure to be with so many members of the State Department family. We’re joined by career ambassadors, retired officers returning to State after decades of distinguished service, young diplomats and civil servants just beginning their careers, and all of you who care deeply about our country and who have served it, are serving it, and know what a difference that can make.

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__________
Srsly you guys--how the hell *dont* we have a "LOOK @ THIS FUCKING MADAME SECRETARY OF STATE, GODDAM"-themed macro for Hillary? Let's get on that pls; CHOP-CHOP.

On a more serious note, I've genuinely been impressed by Hillary's first 100 days as Secretary of State, she'd been a major contributor to the foreign policy "face lift" the Obama admin is attempting to employ with regard to the US's relationships overseas. Even on hot topics on which she articulates strategies that I may not necessarily agree with, she--like Obama--puts forth the kind of firm, though negotiable pragmatism I had hoped to see in this admin. The bolded bit about China is a prime example (re: talks with China being too "economic-centric").

Get it, bb. Happy 100 Days.

May Day in Europe puts to shame USA's May Day, where holiday was born



May Day turns violent in Europe

Published: 4:41AM Saturday May 02, 2009
Source: Reuters

May Day protesters clashed with riot police in Germany, Turkey and Greece while thousands angry at the governments' responses to the global financial crisis took to the streets in France and Spain.

Rising unemployment across Europe and beyond has added intensity to May Day marches as last year's market crash and banking meltdown roll into the real economy.

There were fierce clashes in Berlin on Friday evening and protests in Istanbul swiftly turned violent. Greek police clashed with anarchists. Demonstrations in France and Spain appeared largely peaceful.

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Ironically, May Day coincides with pagan "Maypole" celebrations, as well. "May Day" started in Chicago, 1886, as a protest for the 8 hour day in America.

Complete coverage + photos of worldwide May Day protests are HERE.
Redheads do it best.

Cheney for President, Says Bill Kristol's Replacement

Cheney for President
by Ross Douthat


Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration's interrogation policies, it's been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008.

Certainly Cheney himself seems to feel that way. Last week's Sean Hannity interview, all anti-Obama jabs and roundhouses, was the latest installment in the vice president's unexpected – and, to Republican politicians, distinctly unwelcome – transformation from election-season wallflower into high-profile spokesman for the conservative opposition. George W. Bush seems happy to be back in civilian life, but Cheney has taken the fight to the Obama White House like a man who wouldn't have minded campaigning for a third Bush-Cheney term.

Imagine for a moment that he'd had that chance. Imagine that he'd damned the poll numbers, broken his oft-repeated pledge that he had no presidential ambitions of his own, and shouldered his way into the race. Imagine that Republican primary voters, more favorably disposed than most Americans to Cheney and the administration he served, had rewarded him with the nomination.

At the very least, a Cheney-Obama contest would have clarified conservatism's present political predicament. In the wake of two straight drubbings at the polls, much of the American right has comforted itself with the idea that conservatives lost the country primarily because the Bush-era Republican Party spent too much money on social programs. And John McCain's defeat has been taken as the vindication of this premise.

We tried running the maverick reformer, the argument goes, and look what it got us. What Americans want is real conservatism, not some crypto-liberal imitation.

"Real conservatism," in this narrative, means a particular strain of right-wingery: a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state. And Dick Cheney happens to be its diamond-hard distillation. The former vice-president kept his distance from the Bush administration's attempts at domestic reform, and he had little time for the idealistic, religiously infused side of his boss's policy agenda. He was for tax cuts at home and pre-emptive warfare overseas; anything else he seemed to disdain as sentimentalism.

This is precisely the sort of conservatism that's ascendant in today's much-reduced Republican Party, from the talk radio dials to the party's grassroots. And a Cheney-for-President campaign would have been an instructive test of its political viability.

As a candidate, Cheney would have doubtless been as disciplined and ideologically consistent as McCain was feckless. In debates with Barack Obama, he would have been as cuttingly effective as he was in his encounters with Joe Lieberman and John Edwards in 2000 and 2004 respectively. And when he went down to a landslide loss, the conservative movement might – might! – have been jolted into the kind of rethinking that's necessary if it hopes to regain power.

If a Cheney defeat could have been good for the Republican Party; a Cheney campaign could have been good for the country. The former vice-president’s post-election attacks on Obama are bad form, of course, under the peculiar rules of Washington politesse. But they’re part of an argument about the means and ends of our interrogation policy that should have happened during the general election and didn't – because McCain wasn't a supporter of the Bush-era approach, and Obama didn’t see a percentage in harping on the topic.

He wasn't alone. A large swath of the political class wants to avoid the torture debate. The Obama administration backed into it last week, and obviously wants to back right out again.

But the argument isn't going away. It will be with us as long as the threat of terrorism endures. And where the Bush administration’s interrogation programs are concerned, we’ve heard too much to just "look forward," as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it, and what intelligence we really gleaned from it. Not so that we can prosecute – unless the Democratic Party has taken leave of its senses – but so that we can learn, and pass judgment, and struggle toward consensus.

Here Dick Cheney, prodded by the ironies of history into demanding greater disclosure about programs he once sought to keep completely secret, has an important role to play. He wants to defend his record; let him defend it. And let the country judge.

But better if this debate had happened during the campaign season. And better, perhaps, if Cheney himself had been there to have it out.
panda bear

(no subject)

Iranian jets 'hit' Iraqi Kurd areas

Iranian helicopters have attacked three Kurdish villages in northern Iraq in an apparent cross-border raid targeting Kurdish separatists, according to an Iraqi Kurdish border guard official.

There were no immediate reports of casualties after the pre-dawn raid along the Iraqi border province of Sulaymaniya on Saturday.

"At 4 am (0100 GMT) they attacked with artillery the villages of Kani Saif, Jomarasi and Kara Sozi, that belong to the Panjwin district," the border guard official told the AFP news agency.

"After the (initial) attacks, three Iranian helicopters attacked these areas again.

"This is the first time they have used helicopters."

The website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, quoting witnesses, corroborated the report, adding that the aircraft flew at very low altitude over the villages.

The border guard official said the area was not considered a stronghold of the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), an Iranian Kurdish separatist group that appeared to have been the target of the raid.

There was no immediate comment from Iran.

The air raid, if confirmed, would be the first by the Iranian air force on the region.

The incident comes a week after reports of a clash between Iranian police officers and suspected PJAK fighters in the country's western province of Kermanshah.

At least 10 policemen and 10 fighters were killed in the gun battle.

Kermanshah borders Iraq and is home to many of Iran's minority Kurds.

Iran's western provinces have been the scene of regular armed clashes between Iranian security forces and Kurdish separatists including PJAK, a group linked to Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK took up arms in 1984 to fight for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey and is recognised by much of the international community as a terrorist group.

Some Iranian analysts said that PJAK fighters had bases in northeastern Iraq from where they operated against Turkey, Iran, and Syria.


source
panda bear

(no subject)

Attack on Sri Lanka hospital kills 64

Artillery shells hit a makeshift hospital in Sri Lanka's northern war zone Saturday, killing at least 64 civilians, according to a government doctor and a rebel-linked Web site.

The TamilNet Web site accused government forces of shelling the hospital at Mullivaaykkaal.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara denied the accusation, saying soldiers were only using small arms as they pushed forward to seize the remaining territory held by separatist Tamil Tigers along a small coastal strip in the island's northeast.

A government health official said at least 64 patients and bystanders were killed in two artillery attacks that hit the hospital Saturday. Another 87 people were wounded, said the official, who declined to be identified by name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

TamilNet said the shells struck on both Friday and Saturday. It gave the same casualty toll as the health official.

The hospital is inside rebel-held territory but is run by government doctors.

The artillery attacks came amid growing international concern over the fate of the estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in the war zone, following a U.N. report that nearly 6,500 civilians were killed in the last three months.

International pressure has grown for a cease-fire between the government forces and Tamil rebels to protect the trapped civilians.

The government has rejected calls for a cease-fire, saying its troops are on the verge of ending the quarter-century civil war. They instead promised on Monday to stop using artillery attacks, airstrikes and other heavy weapons to ensure the safety of the trapped civilians.

But pro-rebel reports say government forces continue to shell the area.

The government and rights groups, meanwhile, accuse the rebels of holding the civilians as human shields.

The various claims are difficult to verify because most journalists and independent observers are barred from the conflict zone.

The government forces have ousted the rebels from all their strongholds in recent months and cornered them in a three-mile-long strip along the northeastern coast.

In fighting Friday, army troops pushed further into the rebels' remaining territory, triggering battles that killed at least 14 insurgents, Nanayakkara said. He did not provide details of casualties suffered by the government.

On Friday, the government air-dropped leaflets appealing to trapped civilians to flee across the front lines, promising to ensure their safety.

The Tamil Tigers, listed as a terrorist group by many Western nations, have been fighting since 1983 for an ethnic Tamil state in the north and east after decades of marginalization by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.

source
panda bear

(no subject)

Iran hangs woman for killing when she was 17

Iran has executed a woman convicted of murdering her father's cousin when she was 17, Iranian media reported on Saturday.

Human rights groups criticized Iran's execution on Friday of 23-year-old Delara Darabi in the northern city of Rasht.

"Delara Darabi, a painter charged with murder, was executed on Friday morning in Rasht prison without her lawyer and family being informed of her execution," the daily Etemad reported on Saturday.

The Czech presidency of the European Union strongly condemned the execution of Darabi and urged Iran to "avoid juvenile executions."

"Such human rights violations erode the ground for understanding and mutual trust between Iran and the European Union," the presidency said in a statement.

Etemad said Darabi had been in jail for five years and had initially confessed to the murder because she believed she would be pardoned as the crime was committed when she was a minor.

"Amnesty International is outraged at the execution of Delara Darabi, and particularly at the news that her lawyer was not informed about the execution," Amnesty said on its Web site.

Human rights groups have criticized Iran for sentencing minors to death. Iran says it only carries out the death penalty when a prisoner reaches the age of 18.

Iran has executed at least 42 juvenile criminals since 1990, including seven in 2007, according to the groups which say Saudi Arabia and Yemen are the only two other countries to do so.

Murder, rape, adultery, armed robbery, drug trafficking and apostasy are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law.

Rights groups had praised Iran when it seemed to have ended the practice in October 2007. But a judiciary official later clarified Iran's position, saying juvenile offenders could still face execution for murder but not for other capital crimes.

Iran regularly rejects accusations of human rights abuses, saying it is following Islamic sharia and accusing Western governments of double standards.

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• >:(

FML >:( and FMSJC too >:(

Why Lindsey Graham is the Guy Obama Needs to Please in Replacing Souter



Both sides of the aisle spent all week lamenting/celebrating Arlen Specter's party switch and the potential for a 60 vote Democratic majority in the Senate. But Specter's swap leaves the Senate Judiciary Committee without its most prominent GOP moderate. In any other committee that wouldn't matter but in the Judiciary Committee one minority vote is needed to report out nominees to the bench, from the committee's rules:
IV. BRINGING A MATTER TO A VOTE

The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.

The current Republican Judiciary Committee members are: Orrin Hatch, Chuck Grassley, Jon Kyl, Jeff Sessions, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Tom Coburn (Roll Call is reporting that Hatch or Session -- both conservatives -- are Specter's potential successors for the ranking slot). Most of these Republicans are pretty conservative save Graham, who was a member of the Gang of 14 which, you may remember, came up with the solution to avoid the nuclear option on judges. If Obama comes up with a nominee opposed by the right, Graham will be under a lot of pressure to block the appointment -- esentially an insurmountable committee filibuster. Rahm may want to put Graham's # on speed dial.

Source

UGGGGGHHHHH suddenly I know how Republicans felt when they realized the potential tipping point in the filibuster-proof majority rested on Al Franken's shoulders.
music | sleigh anne.

White House Explains Changes to LGBT Commitments on Website

Yesterday, our reader Sean Chapin alerted me to the fact that a long list of commitments to LGBT issues on the White House site had shrunk to a fraction of its size. Joe.My.God reported on it as well. He received a letter from the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's Director of Communications Inga Sarda-Sorensen who contacted the White House regarding the changes.

She wrote: "I wanted to let you know that Rea Carey contacted the White House directly about the issue today after you alerted us to your post. Rea was told that they are changing the White House Web site to turn it into a more governance-focused site to reflect progress, as opposed to a campaign and transition site. They said they have taken out many such points throughout the site (not just on LGBT policy issues) as part of this changeover, and are apparently modifying the site over the next few weeks. We will be keeping an eye on it, but if you see changes before we do (or a lack thereof), please let us know. And thank you for calling this to our attention."

John Aravosis notes change in language regarding military gay ban from repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to change 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'...

The language revision is troubling. We certainly hope the LGBT issues "progress achieved" section gets filled out more in the months to come.
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Hmmmmmmmmmm....

#whitehousefail
Murasaki Shikibu

Since Miss California has put herself out there...

Pageant Admits Paying For Miss California's Implants

Miss California's statements against gay marriage placed her firmly at the center of a heated debate. Now there's a new controversy surrounding San Diego native Carrie Prejean. The Miss California Organization has confirmed it paid for Prejean's breast implants six weeks before the Miss USA pageant.

She may say no to gay marriage, but it appears Miss California Carrie Prejean says yes to breast implants.


"We assisted when Carrie came to us and voiced the interest in having the procedure done, yes," co-executive director Keith Lewis said.

In an exclusive interview with the CBS Early Show, Lewis confirmed the organization paid for the 21-year-old's breast augmentation in the weeks leading up to the Miss USA pageant.

"It's not something we encourage, nor is it something we endorse. We suggest, but when we meet with the title holder, when she's crowned Miss California, we put to her a litany of questions about how she feels about herself, what she feels she needs to work on, what she may need to change - what is good, what is not good. We want to put her in the best possible confidence in order to present herself in the best possible light on a national stage," he said.

While the beauty queen and native San Diegan's body may not be entirely real, her new cause is. Prejean has kicked off a $1.5 million ad campaign to promote traditional marriage called No Offense, sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage.

She's also facing criticism from her own pageant organizers, who in a statement said, "No reigning titleholder has so readily committed her face and voice to a more divisive or polarizing issue."

With one debate still unfolding, another one is now emerging: if real women can win in an enhanced world.

News 8 tried to contact Prejean for comment, but our calls and emails were not returned.

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There's video, including a before and after, at the source.

My big thing is...why did the pageant organization pay for her boob job? Is that a normal thing for them to do? That seems kinda...not ethical, somehow, to me.

Also, anyone watching the video notice how they went from the overweight, "butch" looking, not conventionally pretty lesbians getting married to a shot of Prejean in her bikini? Something about that really rubbed me the wrong way.
panda bear

(no subject)

Congress To Stop Using Coal In Power Plant

The 99-year-old Capitol Power Plant, which provides steam for heat and hot water in congressional buildings, is ending its distinction of being the only coal-burning facility in the District of Columbia.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday that the switch to natural gas as the sole fuel source used at the plant was part of their efforts to reduce the carbon pollution impact of Congress on the nation's capital.

"The Congress of the United States should not only be a model for the nation, but also a good neighbor," Pelosi said.

The two Democratic leaders have for the past several years initiated steps to make the Capitol grounds more environmentally friendly. But moves to change light bulbs, use less paper and buy fuel-efficient vehicles have in some respects been overshadowed by the smoke that continues to rise from the power plant about four blocks south of the Capitol.

The D.C. government has complained that the plant worsens air quality and has affected the respiratory health of residents and workers in the area, particularly children.

The plant last year operated on about 65 percent natural gas and 35 percent coal. Pelosi's office said the plant has not burned coal since March and would continue to go without coal barring problems.

Acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers cautioned in a letter to Pelosi that work still needed to be done to upgrade the natural gas pipelines. He said coal might still have to be used as a backup in circumstances where heating needs exceed capacity of the natural gas pipelines, when abnormally cold conditions increase demand or when there are equipment outages.

The Capitol complex would not totally end its dependence on coal. Electricity is supplied by a local utility company that uses coal as a power source.

Ending the use of coal at the power plant has met some resistance from coal state lawmakers, who have said it sends the wrong message about the possibilities of clean coal.

But Hill Residents for Steam Plant Conversion, a neighborhood group, has urged Pelosi and Reid to move quickly to stop using coal at the plant, saying it was a major source of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate air pollution.

source
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‘Abu Ghraib US prison guards were scapegoats for Bush’ lawyers claim

‘Abu Ghraib US prison guards were scapegoats for Bush’ lawyers claim

Prison guards jailed for abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq are planning to appeal against their convictions on the ground that recently released CIA torture memos prove that they were scapegoats for the Bush Administration.


The photographs of prisoner abuse at the Baghdad jail in 2004 sparked worldwide outrage but the previous administration, from President Bush down, blamed the incident on a few low-ranking “bad apples” who were acting on their own.

The decision by President Obama to release the memos showed that the harsh interrogation tactics were approved and authorised at the highest levels of the White House.

Some of the guards who were convicted of abuse want to return to court and argue that the previous administration sanctioned the abuse but withheld its role from their trials.
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Biden to appear at AIPAC

Biden to appear at AIPAC

Vice President Joe Biden will headline the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual conference, which begins tomorrow in Washington, D.C., a source at the group said.

The announcement that Biden will speak Monday morning comes a day after a victory for the group and the pro-Israel community, the Justice Department's decision to drop charges of mishandling classified information against two former AIPAC staffers.

The conference, a chance for AIPAC to flex its unmatched Beltway muscle, is expected draw 6,500 people, and a phalanx of top officials of both parties. Other speakers include Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, Newt Gingrich, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, as well as congressional leaders Steny Hoyer, Dick Durbin, Eric Cantor, and John Kyl. The event typically draws more members of Congress than any outside a joint session or State of the Union.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also be addressing the group, live via satellite from Jerusalem, getting up at 3:00 a.m. local time to do it. Rep. Jane Harman, who was investigated in connection with the dropped case against AIPAC staffers, will also be speaking.

source
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Not only they have the charges against two spies dropped, they also let Biden to speak at their conference? What gives Obama? :(


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Obama's State Secrets Position: Selling Out Or Clever Ploy? Obama an evil genius? noway...

Obama's State Secrets Position: Selling Out Or Clever Ploy?

Yesterday, I posted an item that criticized President Barack Obama for failing to take the sorts of actions that matched his answer to Time's Michael Scherer's state secrets question Wednesday night. In fact, he's taken the opposite action by expanding on Bush policies he termed "overbroad" and failing to discern genuine security concerns from false ones. Plenty of readers disagreed with my bottom line, that Obama's answer was not geniune. I hold to my analysis! But, emailer Ron Carey challenged my contentions in a thoughtful and engaging way, so I figured, why not air a reasoned countering opinion? Here goes:Collapse )
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Louisiana senator blocks nominee to lead FEMA

Louisiana senator blocks nominee to lead FEMA

A Louisiana senator is stalling Florida emergency management director Craig Fugate's nomination as head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Fugate had sailed through his nomination hearing and Monday cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by a unanimous voice vote. Republican Sen. David Vitter said, however, that he'd blocked Fugate because of concerns he has with FEMA.

"I have a hold on the FEMA nomination because I sent a list of hurricane recovery questions and projects to FEMA, many of which have not been adequately addressed," Vitter said in a statement. "I'm eager to get full responses and meet with the nominee immediately."

The hold — which comes a month before the start of hurricane season — was reported in CQ Today, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which noted that Vitter's home state "bore the brunt of the botched agency response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005."
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Ben Nelson Plans To Oppose Public Health Plan

Ben Nelson Plans To Oppose Public Health Plan

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Friday that he will oppose legislation that would give people the option of a public health insurance plan. The move puts him on the opposite side of two-thirds of Americans.

A poll released this week by Consumer Reports National Research Center showed that 66 percent of Americans back the creation of a public health plan that would compete with private plans. Nelson, in comments made to CQ, joins the 16 percent of poll respondents who said they oppose the plan.

Nelson's problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game," Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a "deal breaker."

A Nelson spokesman didn't return a call for comment.

As he so often does, Nelson said, according to CQ, that he planned to form a "coalition of like-minded centrists opposed to the creation of a public plan, as a counterweight to Democrats pushing for it."

That coalition will not include 16 Democratic senators who signed a letter calling for a public plan earlier this week, including Senate leaders Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

If Democrats use the reconciliation process to pass health care reform, however, Nelson's vote would not be needed, as only a simple majority could pass the legislation.
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Bob Barr: GOP in ‘very deep trouble’

Bob Barr: GOP in ‘very deep trouble’

Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr said Saturday it’s hard to “overestimate the damage” that’s been inflicted on the Republican Party — not only with this week's defection of Sen. Arlen Specter, but also the “lack of any coherent philosophy, vision or leadership.”

“The Republican Party is in very deep trouble right now,” Barr said in an interview with CNN.


Barr, who was once a loyal soldier in the GOP, joined the Libertarian Party in 2006 and was the party’s presidential candidate in 2008.

The ex-Republican said he doesn’t feel like he relates to Specter's reasons for switching to the Democratic Party. “Where I came from there really was a philosophical basis for leaving the Republican Party,” Barr said.

Specter, who announced Tuesday he’s switching from a Republican to a Democrat, is making the move for political reasons, Barr said.

Specter said he had found himself increasingly "at odds with the Republican philosophy," but he also admitted the decision was driven partly by a desire to keep his seat.

The senator, who has represented Pennsylvania in the upper chamber since 1980, said he was "anxious" to stay in the Senate — and he did not want to face a Republican primary in order to keep his seat next year.

But Barr said he doesn’t think switching parties will give Specter an automatic win. “I don’t think that the people in Pennsylvania will really appreciate what he did,” he said.

Barr added that Specter’s decision is “just another sign that the Republican Party nationally lacks any semblance of leadership.” Democrats, he said, also don’t have a coherent agenda, but they have “something that Republicans absolutely lack.”

“They have a charismatic leader and they have party discipline. The Republican Party has none of that,” he said.


Asked if he ever considered returning to the GOP, Barr said, “That would make no sense as all, either from a philosophical standpoint or from the standpoint of wanting to join a party that knows what it’s all about.”


Republicans kick off campaign to shine party image

Three prominent GOP leaders kicked off a campaign Saturday to reshape their party's image, gathering at a restaurant in northern Virginia for the first of a series of town hall meetings.


The goal of the initiative, called the National Council for a New America, is to connect Republican leaders with voters across the country to help get the party's electoral fortunes back on track.

"Certainly our party has taken its licks the last few cycles, but that's why we're here," House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said Saturday. "The reality is, the prescriptions coming out of Washington right now are not reflective of the mainstream of this country."
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U.S. Coup Plans In Pakistan?

A blog I frequent has an interesting take on the recent Pakistani events:
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U.S. Coup Plans In Pakistan

There could be three motives behind all the Obama administration's talk about a new government in Pakistan.
  1. To put pressure on President Zardari to make him do what the U.S. wants
  2. To push the Pakistani army towards a coup against Zardari.
  3. An attempt to steal Pakistan's nukes
Number two is now the most likely scenario. Writes Swoop:
A flurry of visits to Washington by senior Pakistani military officers is underway, to be followed on May 6th-7th by visits by Pakistan President Zardari and Afghan President Karzai. Neither man is held in high regard in Washington. Indeed, a prime reason for the military visits is that Administration officials believe some form of military rule is likely to emerge in Islamabad in the foreseeable future. “The Swat is a mess, Buner is still unsettled and tensions in Karachi between Pashtuns and Urdu camps are too high,” said a US senior intelligence official, “the alternative now is either Sharif with quiet arrangements of support by the army or, just the army.
WaPo's Ignatius sees a Moment of Truth in Pakistan:
The challenge in Pakistan is eerily similar to what the Carter administration faced with Iran: how to encourage the military to take decisive action against a Muslim insurgency without destroying the country's nascent democracy.
(They had a "nascent democracy" under the Shah?)
"My biggest concern is whether [the Pakistani government] will sustain it," Mullen said. He has told his Pakistani counterpart, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, that "we are prepared to assist whenever they want."
Assist whenever Kiyani wants ...
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Hope you had a fun "Loyalty Day" yesterday! :)



THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
--------------------------------------------------
For Immediate Release May 1, 2009


LOYALTY DAY, 2009
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


A PROCLAMATION

More than two centuries ago, our Nation's Founders declared the birth of a new Nation and began an experiment in self-governance. The young Republic committed itself to protecting the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens. These ideals inspired loyalty to the young Nation and moved volunteers to fight for their independence.

;[...]

The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day." On Loyalty Day, we honor our Nation and remember with pride the courageous individuals who help keep it safe and strong and who honor its legacy of freedom and equal opportunity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 1, 2009, as Loyalty Day.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Proclamation-Signed-By-The-President-Today-Regarding-Loyalty-Day/
' the bleeding heart show

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ode to a man's man -- U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald



I was innocently flipping through Esquire magazine's May "How to be a Man" edition when I spotted him.

There, on Page 65, among such notables as Bob Dylan, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Chris Rock and James Caan is our very own U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the many "manlys" who made Esquire's 2009 "List of Men" ("because just being male doesn't make you a man"). Described as someone who "does his job" and "tells the truth," there he was -- stone-faced Patrick, lovingly etched in this century's computerized version of pen and ink, with this lovely caption: "When Fitzgerald serves you, consider yourself served. He brought down Scooter Libby, Conrad Black, and then Blago. Whither thou goest, Alberto Gonzales, we all hope Fitz goes with thee."

I gushed -- what can I say, I'm a fan and he has many. Here's The New York Times on Dec. 9, in an article that described Fitzgerald as a "folk hero" in "prosecutorial spurs": "It has become a cliche to compare him to Eliot Ness, the Chicago Prohibition agent whom television and movies made into a symbol of incorruptible law enforcement."

I went way back into my archives and dug up this nugget from a piece I wrote in October 2007 when it was, ahem, "leaked" that Patrick "Sexiest Man Alive" Fitzgerald would soon marry: "Patrick's in love and we're in trouble, love's bliss will rose-color his glasses and I foresee a white-collar crime spree while he's on his honeymoon." Thank goodness I was so wrong -- we all now know his passion is putting away bad guys.

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I'm torn because much as I do love PFitz getting national attention again, I don't think he'd appreciate being in the same issue as the "how to swear like a man" article. He could barely get through "bleeping valuable thing", he is far too much of a sweet, clean-cut guy to use phrases like bleep-sniffing bleepsucker. Basically he is TOO GOOD FOR ESQUIRE.

Whatever, I'm just glad to see someone at the Chicago Tribune is a big enough fangirl to get her own editorial. I'm gonna write "fjlfjksklaa; JON FAVREAU l;jfdsklaasdfjkf JON HUNTSMAN jlfds;ka ALSO HOWARD DEAN" and see if I can get published too.
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Murasaki Shikibu

Dems: Opportunity as gay marriage acceptance grows

Dems: Opportunity as gay marriage acceptance grows

WASHINGTON – Gay marriage legalization in several states and the public's growing acceptance of same-sex unions have Democrats sensing political opportunity and some Republicans re-evaluating their party's hard-line opposition to an issue that long has rallied its base.

In recent weeks, Vermont and Iowa have legalized same-sex marriage, while New York, Maine and New Hampshire have taken steps in that direction. Polls show younger Americans are far are more tolerant on the issue than are older generations. For now at least, the public is much more focused on the troubled economy and two wars than on social issues.

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cthulhu for president, why choose a lesser evil?

MICHAEL STEELE: DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST (SOUNDING LIKE A FOOL.)

Steele: Americans don’t trust the GOP because we were ‘getting high’ ‘drinking that Potomac River water.’

Yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele spoke to his party faithful in LaCrosse, WI. Steele tried to claim that moderates were welcome to his “big table” party, but said that in order to join him for dinner, they had to first silence their own opinions and agree with him and other far-right Republicans:

“All you moderates out there, y’all come. I mean, that’s the message,” Steele said at a news conference. “The message of this party is this is a big table for everyone to have a seat. I have a place setting with your name on the front.

“Understand that when you come into someone’s house, you’re not looking to change it. You come in because that’s the place you want to be.“


Steele also talked about why the GOP had fallen out of favor with the American public. It’s not that the country is “less conservative,” he said. “It’s that our credibility with them is shot. It’s that we left them along the side of the road on our way to drinking that Potomac River water, getting high on power and influence and forgetting how we got where we are.”

Sauce

GTFO my home state, Steele. You're polluting it with fail.