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9 years 46 weeks ago

January 3, 2008

17:51

In Decemeber, President Bush claimed to pocket veto the defense authorization bill because his administration concluded -- after the bill was passed --that a provision in the bill would "imperil" Iraqi assets in the U.S. (of course, the administration's panic attack over pissing off the Iraqi government isn't necessarily supported by the facts).  But the administration scrambled to dispose of the bill nonetheless, and now the military is facing the headaches and consequences:

The Army has temporarily halted bonus payments for more than 20 enlistment, re-enlistment and service extension programs pending enactment of authorizing legislation. [...]

If enacted as currently written, the legislation would authorize $696.3 billion in defense spending during 2008, including $1 billion for Army accession and retention bonuses.

Until a new version of the legislation is enacted, all new bonus agreements signed on, or after, Jan. 1 must include an addendum that stipulates the soldier’s eligibility for a future bonus.

However, the addendum also stipulates that the bonus is not guaranteed. Payments will not be made if the affected bonus program is not authorized in the final budget compromise. [...]

Soldiers whose service contracts expire during the impasse have the option of extending month by month until the problem is worked out, or sign a service agreement on the assumption that a new authorization bill will be enacted.

Last year's escalation proved that the administration doesn't care about how the president's decisions affect the lives of soldiers. Why should this year be any different?

Categories: Politics
17:06

In the final days of 2007, the EPA--for the first time ever--denied Califorina's request for a waiver to implement its own (stricter) laws to reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles.  Since then, we've learned that the head of the EPA ignored  his staff's written findings which concluded that the waiver was appropriate, and that the House oversight committee has initiated an investigation into the matter. And now come the lawsuits:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday for denying its first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs, challenging the Bush administration's conclusion that states have no business setting emission standards.

Other states are expected to join the lawsuit[...]

"There's absolutely no justification for the administrator's action," Attorney General Jerry Brown said Wednesday. "It's illegal. It's unconscionable and a gross dereliction of duty."

And as the news reports mount that administration meetings with automakers may have affected the agency's decision, Senator Diane Feinstein has requested that the EPA's Inspector General's  Office conduct a thorough investigation.

Categories: Politics
16:11

Goldy reports the news from the Darcy Burner campaign, and she's starting the New Year off with a bang:

The numbers are not yet completely tallied, but later this month Darcy Burner will report over $600,000 cash on hand at the end of the 4th quarter, putting her near the top of Democratic challengers nationwide, and about a half-million dollars ahead of last cycle’s breakneck pace. The campaign tells me that her totals for the Oct-Nov period will top the $306,000 she reported for Jul-Sep, a quarter in which she benefited from an unprecedented $125,000 national netroots drive. Of course, we don’t know Dave Reichert’s numbers, but I’d wager Darcy has now outraised the incumbent in each of the past four quarters, a nearly unprecedented accomplishment....

But I think that the biggest takeaway from the the money race is that Darcy is just a damn hard worker. With Darcy surpassing her goal of raising $25,000 over the final 72 hours of 2007, it would be easy to pen a headline like, "Burner rides late fundraising surge to record numbers," but that would be misleading. Darcy didn’t just ride the surge, she created it. In that context, Darcy’s lead in the money race doesn’t just predict how the two candidates will perform over the final nine months of the campaign, but how they would perform in office, if elected.

Goldy's absolutely right--Darcy is a damn hard worker, and she has put everything in to her second attempt at this seat. What's impressed me most about this, her second effort, is how much she took away from losing. Last winter, just a couple of months after her close loss, we had a day long Northwest bloggers conference, and Darcy was our lunch speaker. She brought a detailed analysis and critique of the 2006 race that showed her understanding of politics, her knowledge of the district, but most importantly, a willingness to look critically at her own peformance and decisions, and make the changes she had to make.

That included dumping the horrible McMahon, Squier for her media, and going with a Seattle-based media group--the team that produced the fantastic Tester ads in 2006. Darcy's 2006 media was in my opinion the most identifiable, glaring problem with her campaign. Anyone who's met Darcy knows she's whip-smart, passionate, funny, engaging and charismatic--traits that didn't come through at all in her ads in '06. One more lesson well learned.

This is clearly going to be one of the marquee House races of 2008, a testament to the smarts and the dedication of Darcy Burner. It's also a good reminder of what Howard Dean told us in his keynote speech at Yearly Kos:

It takes a long time to put folks out of power who have entrenched themselves the way that the right wing has.... I don't want people to become patient. I think impatience is a good thing.... But, this is not a one day or one election struggle. This is something we have to do every single day for the rest of our lives. Every single day for the rest of our lives. And when we get knocked down, we're going to stand up again for the core principles of America, because America was knocked down by the far right wing of the Republican party in the last eight years, and by God, we're going to get up and recover and stand up for what we used to stand up for. We're going to regain the moral leadership that made America a great country and we're going to live again in America, and stand up and lead the world to the promised land.

Darcy Burner got knocked down in 2006, just like Larry Kissel, and Gary Trauner, and Larry Grant, and Dan Seals, and Eric Massa, and Dan Maffie, and Charlie Brown. They've all stood up to run again, to stand up for those core principles of America. For them, this is a fight they'll be in every single day for the rest of their lives, one way or another, but hopefully from their offices on Capitol Hill, beginning in January '09.

On the web:
Darcy Burner for Congress
Blue Majority ActBlue Page

Categories: Politics
15:15

Yesterday, we highlighted the closing ads of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Here are the rest of the closing ads from the Democratic field:

Update:  Thanks to Matisyahu, who correctly points out that this is Biden's final ad in Iowa:

It's unclear whether Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel have any final ads airing in the state.  If you have links to their closing ads, post them in the comments and I will update accordingly.

Categories: Politics
14:30

dKos Reader Poll. 1/2/07 11:04 a.m. to 6:24 p.m. PT. 19,912 respondents.

           2008 2007
           Jan2 Dec19 Dec12 Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar

Edwards      48   41   39   33   31  39  34  36  40  39  42  38
Obama        27   27   30   27   16  21  29  27  22  24  25  26
H. Clinton    7    6    8    9    9  11   8   9   6   6   3   3
Dodd          4   11    2    7   21   7   0   1   0   0   0   0
Kucinich      3    5    8    9    5   6   4   3   2   2   2   4
No F'ing Clue 2    2    4    4    5   5   5   7   7   5   8   6
Biden         1    2    2    2    1   1   1   0   0   0   0   1
Richardson    1    1    1    1    2   1   6   5   8  13   8   6
Other         1    1    1    3    6   5   7   9   6   5   9   8
Gravel        0    0    0    0    0   0   0   1   1   3   0   0

The numbers speak for themselves. Go [insert your favorite candidate here]!

Categories: Politics
14:03
  •  The Ohio National Guard received its marching orders from the US Military and will be sending 1,600 troops to Kuwait, then onto Iraq.  It is the biggest Ohio National Guard call-up since WWII.
  •  Moveon.org, in conjunction with the League of Young Voters, is launching a Youth Primary today on Facebook.  If you have are under 35 and have a Facebook account, you can participate.
  •  Privacyinternational released its annual survey of the leading surveillance societies. The U.S., U.K., Russia, China, Singapore, and Malaysia are at the bottom of the rankings, described as subject to "endemic surveillance".
  •  President Musharraf is "disatisfied" with the Bhutto investigation and wants to dispel accusations that Pakistan's military or Intelligence servcies were involved.
  •  Condoleezza Rice will be hosting the Libya's Foreign Minister today in Washington, marking the first State Department visit since 1972.
  •  Alaskan oil exploration is set to begin, with contracts being awarded next month.  Sadly, the area to be explored - the Chukchi Sea - is one of two remainig homes for the polar bears.
  •  CNN's Politcal Ticker has a couple of interesting stories this morning.  The first is Fred Thompson denying that he's dropping out of the race.  The other is a discussion about speculation among the beltway set that if Hillary were elected, she could potentially name Bill to the Supreme Court.
  • Chris Hayes offers some interesting insight into the mind of the undecided voter.  - kos
  • Iowa media spending:

    According to various campaign sources, the Democratic and Republican candidates and various interest groups have spent more than $50 million in TV ads here in Iowa this year. That is more than five times the amount from 2004, when a combined $9.1 million was spent in the state.

    Obama (more than $9.5 million) has spent the most among all the candidates -- followed by Clinton (more than $7.5 million), Romney ($7 million-plus), Edwards ($4 million), and Huckabee ($1.4 million).

    - DemFromCT

Categories: Politics
13:07

NOLA and post-Katrina issues are not out of mind just because they might be out of sight. This diary is a reminder that these elections, at their heart, are about more than "my candidate can beat your candidate". There is a core of competence and fairness we want restored to government.  And while at times it may seem to be tough to break through the primary hoopla (I note the frustration in the last paragraph), we all need to continue to ask questions, be aware and offer help where we can. - DemFromCT

Louisiana's frustrating Road Home program continues to give the shaft to people who've worked all their lives and owned their homes, to lose them in New Orleans' flooding and during Katrina and Rita. They're being treated as common criminals complete with mug shots and fingerprinting when all they want is to rebuild their homes.

And New Orleans' depleted health care system has been dealt another blow from BushCo-supported disaster capitalism.

So these stories need to get national attention, because they're about things that could strangle the comeback of a beautiful, historic city.  

Categories: Politics
12:48

Entrance poll:

Obama 29.5
Clinton 27
Edwards 26

Final results:

Obama 36
Edwards 31
Clinton 28

I'm pulling these numbers out of you know where, just like anyone else venturing predictions. This thing is so tight that anyone can win it. But bragging rights are important, so go for it -- not just the order the top-three candidates will end up in, but the percentages they will get.

Update: Not rooting for any of these candidates, election day isn't as exciting. Then again, I won't have to relive the pain of Dean's crushing defeat again. That's a definite "plus" for maintaining a cool detachment.

And before anyone misinterprets, since it's happened so much the past few days -- this doesn't mean I endorse or am rooting for Obama. I haven't and am not. I'm not rooting for anyone. I'm letting nature take its course.

Furthermore, the rumors are flying rampant. For example, I just heard from a rival campaign that Hillary's overnight internals are showing an Edwards, Hillary, and Obama 1-2-3 result. This is many people removed from the original source, so likely crap, but indicative of the frenzy for information in Iowa right now.

For what it's worth, the media consensus (per my media sources in Iowa) appears in line with my predictions -- Obama, Edwards, and Clinton.

Categories: Politics
12:18

Bye bye. From a Roll Call breaking news email:

Rep. Peterson to Retire: Rep. John Peterson (R-Pa.) will announce this morning that he is retiring, according to a Republican source who cited the 69-year-old's family health problems as the reason why he has decided not to seek re-election. The six-term Congressman represents the largest, most rural district in Pennsylvania, one considered a safe hold for Republicans.

This is the 18th Republican retirement in the House. It's an R+10 district, one in which Bush won 61-39 in 2004. So not a big pickup opportunity, just another rat jumping the sinking USS GOP. And there will still be more in the coming weeks. With 201 members, the GOP will likely see at least 10 percent of their caucus call it quits this year, if not more.

Democrats, by contrast, have five open seats to defend, three of them seeking promotion to the Senate (the Udalls and Tom Allen).

Categories: Politics
11:53

Dean's DNC beats McAuliffe's DNC (in millions):

      2003   2007

DNC   42.9    51
RNC  106.2    83

Remember how much Dean sucks at fundraising, but Terry McAuliffe was the best fundraiser in the history of the world when he headed the DNC in 2003? In reality, Dean's done alright, and the RNC has had trouble. What was a $64 million edge in 2003 is now a $32 million one. And that's just the RNC vs. DNC numbers. The parties' respective House and Senate committees aren't even close, with Democrats vastly outraising their Republican counterparts (will the NRCC finish the year out of debt?). And the Democratic presidential candidates are blowing away their Republican counterparts.

For a GOP that has built its recent historical electoral successes in large part on its dominant fundraising, this recent turn of events bodes ill.

Categories: Politics
11:11

There’s Romney’s ad for New Hampshire in which he makes the astounding prediction: In the next ten years, we'll see more progress, more change than the world has seen in the last ten centuries.

As Slate so deliciously observes:

You read that correctly. The next ten years will run roughshod over the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the formation of American democracy, the printing press, interchangeable parts, division of labor, the end of slavery, nuclear technology, antiseptics, the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, the rise of communism, two world wars, universal suffrage, landing on the moon, and the Internet.

Then there’s Huckabee, with a truly impressive swelling of sweeping personal grandiosity:

On the day before the Iowa caucuses, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said a victory for his underfunded, out-organized campaign would have "a seismic impact on the political Richter scale," and he compared the intense challenge he faces from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with the American Revolutionary War, with multimillionaire Romney cast as the British Red Coats.

It’s true! Beating the other undistinguished, tired old men in the Republican Party at an arcane political event is just like fighting a war of independence against the largest empire the world has ever known! Really!

There’s Fred Thompson, calling it in with old fashioned fear-mongering in his latest video:

Sound bite: "Most Americans know that the forces of terrorism will not rest until a mushroom cloud hangs over one of our cities."

He also goes after his fellow Republicans and media with one swipe, bragging that when asked to raise his hand (the latest debate trick) he refused.

Sound bite: "If those other fellows can't stand up to an overbearing moderator in a debate, I'm not sure how they could stand up to the leaders of Iran or North Korea.... What you see is what you get. I dance to no man's tune."

Thompson’s rivals are weenies! They cave to moderators! And ... and .. and ... Mushroom clouds! Terrorists! Cower! (While he dances to no man’s tune. Arrgh.)

But for sheer audacity, it’s hard to top Barack Obama’s use of a former popular Democratic president to hammer the struggling front-runner in his own party:

"It's not that experience isn't important," Obama told a crowd in Davenport this morning. "It's that there's a wrong kind of experience and the right kind of experience."

His experience is affecting the lives of what he calls "real people," he says, promising that he can bring "real results" for the country.

"I believe in those words," he said today. "I have to confess they're not mine. They're the words of a governor from a small state, who Washington said wasn't ready to lead back in 1992 . . . Bill Clinton was right then, and Barack Obama is right now."

Ouch.

I'm sure there are many, many more examples of grandiosity, hyperbole, overstatement and general crazy looniness out there, so feel free to point readers to examples in comments.

Categories: Politics
10:29

Right now, no candidate can afford to point out how ridiculous the Iowa caucuses are.

A spokesman for Clinton’s campaign said the senator "absolutely supports Iowa’s first in the nation status.  Senator Clinton has worked her heart out campaigning in Iowa because she knows it plays a unique and special role in the nominating process and that role must be protected.  As she has said many times she is glad Iowans are entrusted with this responsibility because they take it so seriously.  On this issue Hillary and Gov. Strickland strongly disagree."

Blah blah blah. Of all of Iowa's most parochial concerns, this is tops amongst them. Remember the hit Howard Dean took in 2003 when tapes surfaced of him bashing the Iowa caucuses in some obscure talk show years prior? The candidates have to pretend that Iowans are more wise than anyone else in the entire freakin' country. In this case, it's Hillary doing the pandering, but Obama and Edwards took it to extremes by pulling their names from the Michigan ballot which -- gasp! -- had moved theirs up to January 15. So we hear laughable lines like "they take their responsibility seriously" even though maybe 10 percent of them will bother showing up (and many others won't be able to because of the elitism of the process which shuts out working stiffs).

There's a conceit in Iowa that the only people who have a problem with Iowa's undemocratic and undeserved vanguard position in the primary calendar are its losing campaigns. The fact is, the whole process stinks, and demands for reform -- which made some headway after 2004 -- will now be stronger than ever.

Categories: Politics
09:28

Who knew war-mongering and incompetence could be so attractive?

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- President Bush hasn’t been getting a great deal of love on the campaign trail in recent months and years, even from Republicans, but former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) gave him some on the eve of Iowa’s first-in-the nation caucuses.

He even used the L-word – "love."

In a riff on former Sen. John Edwards’s (D-N.C.) "Two Americas" campaign speech Wednesday, Romney said the country is united where it counts and used the theme to praise Bush.

"We’re a nation united that stands behind our fighting men and women. We honor them and respect them," Romney said at a conference center here. "We love what they’ve done for us, and we also love a president who has kept us safe these last six years."

Yeah, Romney's right.  We are a nation united in love for Bush. Why, there's a bucketload of love for him, which is 33% full of love, to be exact.

Categories: Politics
08:53

Four years ago, when I was just cutting my teeth as a "front pager" on a mildly successful political website (or "blog") called Daily Kos, I wrote a post on the morning of the 2004 Iowa Caucus called "The End of the Beginning."

It's a crisp, clear, cold day in Iowa.

A little over a year ago, we turned our gaze from the bitter defeat of the 2002 midterms toward a new hope -- a hope that out of our wounded party would arise a champion, a leader who would defeat Bush and return decency and sanity to the White House. Over time, nine men and one woman came forward to vie for our affection and loyalty -- some of them were new faces, some old hands. It's been a remarkable journey, one during which we've learned a lot about all of those struggling for the party's backing:

We discovered Howard Dean, who reminded a host of disillusioned Americans that there is hope at the core of politics.

We saw John Kerry anointed the nominee by the press, and then topple from his perch -- and just as we were ready to write his obituary, we saw him demonstrate a resilience that we din't know he still had, and catapult back into the heart of the race.

We took another look at Dick Gephardt, the old warhorse, who disapppointed so many of us with the last few months of his role as House leader, and we saw him reinvigorated by the campaign trail, a happy warrior for working Americans.

We watched John Edwards as he developed that awesome potential into something more, and became a bona fide contender.

And we saw the entry of a former General, Wes Clark, whose journey to our party mirrored the experience of so many Americans.

It's been a fun ride -- and tonight is the end of the beginning. A lot of questions will be answered tonight, and the race will look a lot different tomorrow.

I liked that class of candidates a lot, and I thought it important on the cusp of actual voting to pay tribute to the manner in which each of them (other than Lieberman) contributed to the campaign, and helped advance the cause of progressivism.

But I really like this class of candidates.  It amazes me when I see folks obsessing on their downsides, or hating on the entire campaign. When I look at the Democratic field, I see three Americans who could rise to become great presidents, not just good nominees.  

I see in John Edwards a genuine tribune of working America, one who cast aside his 2004 packaged Southern Dem campaign, and who has fearlessly spoken truth to power while running the most authentically pro-worker campaign in a generation.

I see in Hillary Clinton perhaps the smartest politician of my lifetime, but one with the political savvy to match her intellect, and with a steely will that makes it difficult to imagine her ever really losing -- the nomination, the presidency, or the advancement of her agenda once in the White House.

I see in Barack Obama a transformative figure who can truly move people across every spectrum -- ideological, geographical, demographic -- in a manner seen just once or twice in a lifetime, and who is deeply committed to a more humane and just America.

And I see one more candidate who won't be president, but who has shown the fortitude and the chutzpah to lead the fight for the next president's agenda in the halls of the Senate.  Because throughout this presidential campaign, with his leadership on so many issues, Chris Dodd has shown us that he might just be the right choice to take the torch from Harry Reid in the Senate.

It's been an extraordinary campaign, with extraordinary candidates.  And tonight is the end of the beginning.

Categories: Politics
07:45

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

The first BIG LIE of 2008

Jesus. The year couldn’t even get out of the starting blocks before the fibs started coming from the comfortable, climate-controlled penthouse suites of the traditional media. The confetti hadn’t settled on the ground, the hangovers hadn’t kicked in, the first refrain of Auld Lang Syne hadn't been sung, before we got a taste of what the next 365 days would be like.

You couldn’t even give us one day, could you, Bob Herbert? In your otherwise excellent column on the year 1968---which everyone should read, send to their friends and post on their refrigerators---you had to go and twist the entire space-time continuum:

"The Sound of Music" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" were hit movies, both starring Julie Andrews. "Hello Dolly" and "Fiddler on the Roof" were on Broadway. Ladies nylons at Gimbel’s were 88 cents a pair, and men’s dress shirts at Bloomingdale’s were three for $14.75.

Nice try. But "The Sound of Music" was released in 1965. That's six five. On April 18, 1966, It won a boatload of Oscars. But according to your revisionist history, Bob, it would've won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1968, beating out the actual Best Picture winner, Oliver??? I think not!

Gonna be a long year.

P.S. I think we should all cut Richard Cohen some slack for his little Jan. 1  misunderstanding. All he did was deliberately and unfairly smear John Edwards and Barack Obama with false information. Herbert, by contrast, tried to rewrite the history of the Hollywood musical. Priorities, people, priorities.

Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Categories: Politics
03:41

So, welcome to 2008.  Seems like everyone is taking stock, looking back at 2007 and gazing into their respective crystal balls to predict what this year might hold.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is no exception.  They've issued a staff report, "2007 Year in Review: Looking Back on Nuclear´s Future", which is chock-full of obscure news (like an update on reports of illicit trafficking in nuclear materials) as well as bigger headline-makers, like addressing the complex issue of nuclear fuel and proliferation risks.  Of course, the Bush administration cannot hear the word "nuclear" without immediately frothing at the mouth and saying "Iran", with almost complete disregard for any other critical international nuclear issues.  

One of these issues is North Korea, the country that actually made and tested a nuclear bomb in 2006, although it was very small and basically a fizzle, not a bang (it was less than a kiloton).

The Bush administration immediately scrambled and scheduled a press conference.  They came up with a few good "we weren't asleep at the switch, really, we weren't" statements,  condensed by Fox News into "press conferences for dummies" captions.

Fast forward to 2007.  North Korea's nuclear timeline has been a rocky road, but a breakthrough was made in March 2007, when an IAEA delegation arrived in North Korea - by invitation.  It had been five years since the IAEA had been in North Korea, so this was indeed a historic event.  Talks continued in June, and by July 18, the IAEA had confirmed that all reactors at Yongbyong had been shut down.

Katie Mounts, a Policy Associate at the nonproliferation and national security think tank Council for a Livable World, summed up the diplomatic successes nicely:

President Bush's "Axis of Evil" may soon be one less. In no small victory for diplomacy and non-proliferation, recent six party talks yielded a nuclear deal with North Korea.

Under the deal, North Korea agrees to disable all activities at its main nuclear complex in Pyongyang and to report on all of its current nuclear programs by the end of this year. NSC spokesperson Gordon Johndroe stated, "These second-phase actions effectively end the DPRK's production of plutonium – a major step towards the goal of achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," reported the New York Times.

Beyond the more immediate success in North Korea, this agreement is a victory for advocates of diplomacy in the face of nuclear disagreements, most notably the case of Iran. Bush's newfound commitment to diplomacy through [Ambassador] Christopher Hill has resulted in what provocative language and threats of military action have not in Iran: the first major steps toward transparency and denuclearization.

But the saga is by no means over, and is far from simple.  North Korea had until December 31, 2007 to completely declare its nuclear programs, as well as disable its facilities in a timely manner.  From Jeff Lewis at Arms Control Wonk:

As expected, North Korea missed the deadline for "providing a complete and correct declaration of its nuclear programs."

I say "as expected" in part because this is what Chris Hill told Congress in a closed briefing, according to Chris Nelson, and what South Korea’s Foreign Minister has said publicly.

At issue, as we have long worried, is what US officials now call the "Uranium Enrichment Program" or UEP.  North Korea, according to diplomatic sources in Seoul, "remains unchanged in its denial of the existence of a UEP" — notwithstanding what Glenn Kessler reported to be evidence of uranium contamination on smelted tubing.  (David Albright points to the possibility of contamination from other sources; His background piece on the Nork tubes is the best.)

The State Department also claims that North Korea is "slowing down the process of disablement."

Needless to say, if history is any indicator, talks with North Korea regarding its nuclear program will certainly be something the next president of the United States will have to deal with.  The nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations has a nice summary of each candidate's position on North Korea's nuclear program (it's from October but is still relevant).  What is noteworthy is that most of the Republican candidates have only soundbites (Mike Huckabee doesn't even have a stance), and the Democratic candidates have firm convictions and non-military proposals.

In conclusion, the future is still somewhat murky;  for example, verification of North Korea's plutonium is anything but a simple process. But what John Bolton called "Pyongyang Pussyfooting" is what I call "diplomacy".  It's obvious what works best, isn't it?  We've made a lot of progress in a year.  Let's hope things continue to move in the right direction.

Categories: Politics
00:26

Too lazy to campaign:

On New Year’s Day, he held just one campaign event at a time when the top candidates were going full throttle.

... And too lazy to raise money:

His war chest was so depleted that he was unable to advertise on television after Christmas, and was only able to back on the air in Iowa by blasting a stream of e-mails pleading for contributions.

There's really no point in him staying in this race, is there?

A Thompson campaign source said there is “a strong likelihood” that if Thompson comes in a distant third in Iowa, with less than 15 percent of the vote, he would drop out soon—most likely before this weekend’s New Hampshire presidential debates.

Sniff. But he was the savior! The wingnutosphere told me that he'd get in, and millions would pour in -- because he said it would happen!

We'll have fun picking through his carcass when he's good and out. In a bizarre election season, amongst the GOP's veritable freak show, the Thompson saga is amongst the most entertaining.

Update: I meant to blockquote this paragraph and forgot:

“Without a solid third-place finish, there’s no point in going on,” a Thompson adviser said Wednesday. “It was an honorable race, and he turned out to be a good candidate. The moment had just passed.”

Hilarious!

Categories: Politics
00:05

The final pitch to Iowa voters on caucus eve:

And here is one of Obama's latest ads (his closing ad, "Leader," isn't on YouTube yet, but it can be seen at this link)

Update:  And the code now works. Obama's final ad:

Categories: Politics

January 2, 2008

23:17

Poor Mike Huck-Scab-ee.  First he didn't know anything about the NIE on Iran, despite it dominating the news.  Then, he flubbed the tragedy in Pakistan based on old news.  And now, he's blowing it on late night TV.  

He is scheduled to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight.  Jay is returning after a long strike hiatus, which is ongoing for the writers.  David Letterman is also returning, but he was able to come to terms with the WGA and he will be back with his full writing staff, as will Craig Ferguson, who is also under Dave's Worldwide Pants Productions.

Nearly two weeks ago, in an attempt to break the united front of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the industry’s bargaining unit, the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East announced they would seek to negotiate with individual studios and network production companies.

The major networks and studios vowed to stand firm, but Mr. Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants, was able to conclude a separate agreement because the company owns the two late-night shows and licenses them to CBS. The other shows are owned by the networks that broadcast them.

The agreement would bind Mr. Letterman’s company to the proposals the guild was prepared to propose to the producers before talks broke off earlier this month, including payment for material used on the Web and in other new media.

This is all well and good for Hillary, who will have a videotaped appearance on Letterman's return show tonight.  Mike Huckabee?  Well, he thought it'd be a good idea to do the Tonight Show.  Unfortunately for him, it doesn't seem as if anyone in his campaign actually reads the news and he was puzzled when asked about crossing the picket line:

GOP hopeful Huckabee appeared confused over which of the two late-night hosts had reached a separate deal with the union representing striking TV and movie writers.

Huckabee said he supports the writers and did not think he would be crossing a picket line, because he believed the writers had made an agreement to allow late-night shows on the air. That's not the case with Leno, and pickets outside Leno's Burbank, Calif., studio targeted Huckabee.

"Huckabee is a scab," read one picket sign.

Late Wednesday, the Writers Guild of America issued a statement saying that the guild "thanks the former governor for his strong statement of support for striking writers and hopes that he will not cross the picket lines at NBC."
However, Huckabee appeared on the show despite the calls from the striking writers, according to NBC.

Aw shucks Huck.  Can he get anything right?

Categories: Politics
23:13

(Tonight's selections are brought to you courtesy of the Rescue Rangers. SusanG)

January 2 is a day for big shifts in political arrangements – previous todays have seen the last Muslim ruler in Spain surrender to the forces of the reconquista (1492); JFK announce his run for the presidency (1960); and détente come to an end when President Carter recalled the US ambassador to Moscow in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1980).

(This evening's Rescue Rangers are grog, jennyjem, joyful, PaintyKat, srkp23, vcmv02, and ybruti, with Unitary Moonbat (h/t to Avila) shuffling the scrolls.

taylormattd brings Top Comments.

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Categories: Politics