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10 years 27 weeks ago

January 5, 2008


So far there is only one clear winner tonight - the Democrats.

Categories: Politics

Here is that interesting exchange between Willard Romney and Huckabee:

don't try to characterize my position, this war is -----

----which one? (audible chuckes from panel)

You know, we're wise to talk about policy and not to make personal attacks.

--- well, it's not a personal attack Mitt because you also supported a time withdrawal and Sen Pryor from my state was praising you for that and ----

No, I do not support that and I have never supported a timed withdrawal, so that's wrong Governor.  YOu know, it's really helpful if you talk about your policy and the things you believe and let me talk about policies.  And my policy is I've never talked about a timed withdrawal with a date certain for us to leave.  That's not the case.  Simply wrong.  I've also supported the troops surge and I supported it on the same day the president brought it forward.  Adn the critical thing here is for us to stand together and say I think we do agree with the troop surge.  We think the troop surge is going to make an enormous difference for the world and protect us from the safe havens of Al Qada could launch attacks against us.

Errrr....except that Romney did call for a timetable for withdrawal:

Appearing on ABC News' "Good Morning America," Romney voiced support
for a private timetable and benchmarks for U.S. troops to get out of
Iraq. He emphasized, however, that this timetable should not be for
"public pronouncement.""

[Update: 47 million Americans are refusing to buy health insurance and getting a free ride. -- MB]

[Update II]:  What have we learned so far?  Romney loves Bush, Guiliani loves himself (and his book), Paul loves the Constitution, Huckabee loves quoting the Declaration of Independence (who knew Republicans actually read the damn thing?), McCain loves General Petaeus, and Thompson loves looking like it's past his bedtime. -g10

Categories: Politics

ABC wants it to be like a conversation around a kitchen table.  Then they waste a full minute with a canned news report.  

Let's hope they don't pull out Brent Musburger for the play-by-play.

[Update]: So far, we have four "credits" and one "debt of gratitude" for Mister Bush. MB

[Update II]: Fred Kagan is a brilliant theorist, says Mitt. MB

[Update III]:  Rudy repeatedly refers to New York City as "his city" and does not once refer to it by name.  Seems odd.  SF

Categories: Politics

Glenn Greenwald detects the use of the wingnut dog whistle:

Over at National Review, Jonah Goldberg has a "theory" about what might help Obama win in the general election. After noting that Obama will be "the first serious mainstream black contender for the White House," Goldberg warns (emphasis added):

I think it's worth imagining a certain scenario. Imagine the Democrats do rally around Obama. Imagine the media invests as heavily in him as I think we all know they will if he's the nominee -- and then imagine he loses. I seriously think certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008.

I wonder: in Jonah Goldberg's "imagination," which (ahem) "certain segments" of the American population exactly will "become completely unhinged" if Obama loses and thereby spawn "social unraveling"? And who are the people who are going so deeply to fear this "social unraveling" that they vote for Obama just in order to keep those "certain segments" in line and well-behaved?

Very subtle, Jonah! Instapundit Glenn Reynolds and the dependably frothy Michelle Malkin apparently go all bobblehead in agreement. Yes, there will be rioting from "certain segments" if Obama loses.

But hey, so what? There was rioting from "certain segments" when Bush lost, and nobody said boo.

In fact, "certain segments" now viewed with such suspicion by Goldberg, Reynolds and Malkin took their concerns with the "certain segments" who actually did "become unhinged" in 2000 where? To the streets? No, sir. To Congress. Where "certain segments" told them to sit down and "get over it."

Because those "segments" were done sending their staffers other "segments" to Florida to riot.

Categories: Politics

MissLaura isn't the only intrepid reporter on the Obama beat in New Hampshire (round of applause for her outstanding work). Bill O'Reilly - Asshat Extraordinaire - and his Faux News team waded waist deep into a sea of loony leftie Obama supporters, dutifully trying to get that one soundbite that he can twist, manipulate, and play back time and time again to his ever shrinking audience.

Bill and the Faux News crew were being held behind a rope line with the rest of the media.  Apparently not happy with the camera angle or the proximity to Obama, Bill tried to move in.  He was blocked by Obama National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson.  You simply can't allow one crew to come across that line and not expect they are all going to try.  Nicholson was doing his job.   Accounts from the scene:

The incident was triggered when O'Reilly--with a Fox News crew shooting--was screaming at Obama National Trip Director Marvin Nicholson "Move" so he could get Obama's attention, according to several eyewitnesses. "O'Reilly was yelling at him, yelling at his face," a photographer shooting the scene said.
O'Reilly grabbed Nicholson's arm and shoved him, another eyewitness said. Nicholson, who is 6'8, said O'Reilly called him "low class."
"He grabbed me with both his hands here," Nicholson said, gesturing to his left arm and O'Reilly "started shoving me." Nicholson said, " He was pretty upset. He was yelling at me."
Secret Service agents who were nearby flanked O 'Reilly after he pushed Nicholson. They told O'Reilly he needed to calm down and get behind the fence-like barricade that contained the press.

Obama had his back turned at this point and did not see any of this.
O'Reilly yelled "sir" at Obama and Obama walked over, not aware of what happened and told him he had an overflow crowd to visit. According to the time code from a photographer shooting the two, Obama and O'Reilly talked near 11:45 a.m. eastern time.

There is video of the incident, but it hasn't yet been released.  O'Reilly is now saying that he won't release the Faux News video until his show airs on Monday.

However, he did call into CNN to talk about the incident.  His version seems to be a little different than the multiple reports above:

O’Reilly: Some guy comes over, he’s about six foot eight according to the press reports and he stands in front of the Factor camera. So I asked him fairly nicely, "you’re blocking our shot sir, you need to move a little bit.

...so I had to gently remove him from that position. No scuffle, I just moved him from the spot.. I might have called him an SOB, that’s possible, nothing more than that. No one on this earth is going block a shot on the O’Reilly Factor. It is not going to happen.

I'd like to see him try that with Keith Olbermann.  In fact, I'd pay to see him try that with Keith Olbermann.  I recommend going to the link to listen to O'Reilly describe the event.  He repeats several times "I just moved him from the spot."  No Bill.  You berated an Obama staffer and then physically put your hands on him.  Big no-no.  Bill doesn't think the rules apply to him.  He can storm through any barricade.  He can scream in people's faces and shove them out of the way.  He can threaten people with Faux News Security.  He can do whatever and whomever he please with a falafel.  He's Bill O'Reilly.  Asshat extraordinaire.  

In another interview with Nicholson, he repeated the original accounts and added:

Nicholson: After he shoved me and after he stopped yelling at me I went, I just went over and asked, I said, Sir, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t shove me anymore.

Bravo to Marvin Nicholson for keeping his head in this situation.

Frankly, I don't think the Obama people should let him within 100 feet of their events.  Nor do I believe there should be any question as to whether Obama goes on his show.  Absolutely, positively not.  Nothing would please him more than to have Obama on his show to talk about the incident.  It would probably be the best ratings he's had since he beat up 9/11 victims.  No, no.  Do not even consider feeding that monster.

Update:  The NYT has a picture of the Secret Service stepping in to stop O'Reilly.

Categories: Politics

And now a word, not about candidates, but about campaigns. Gary Langer, the pollster guru at ABC, has a few harsh words about another pollster, this one working for one of the campaigns. Keep this in mind: the Des Moines Register poll, and the pollster  (J. Anne Selzer) did a fair-minded, honest and terrific job and came under a lot of flak for it. Of particular interest was the behavior of this pollster in the aftermath, one Mark Penn (bolded mine):

The DMR poll, wrote Penn, was "out of sync with the other polling done in the race... depicting an unprecedented departure from historically established turnout patterns... other recent polls all show Hillary trending up... and having the momentum in this race." See his full memo here.

We [ABC polling unit] advised our people internally at the time that this argument had no merit. Penn in effect was saying the DMR should have altered its data to get a different result. Political pollsters do that all the time, but it's voodoo. In reality we were not re-living any previous caucus, so weighting the data to prior parameters was not warranted.

The criticism of DMR's work was out of line – but we didn’t learn how far out of line until this morning.  On the press plane flying from Iowa to New Hampshire, our off-air reporter Eloise Harper reports, "Mark Penn admitted to knowing that the trend was shifting towards Obama this past week."

That means that at the very moment Penn was accusing the Des Moines Register of producing unreliable data, and saying it was Clinton who had the momentum, he knew otherwise.

The lesson in all this is less about Mr. Penn, and more about political campaigns. They are focused, admirably perhaps, on winning. What they’ll say to get there needs, always, to be taken with a grain of salt. Or maybe a five-pound bag.

And don't assume all pollsters do this, either.

Langer has his own take on it, and I have mine. Mine is a good deal less charitable to Penn.

Categories: Politics

To get to the Obama event in Nashua, NH this morning, you got off a highway and onto a road that narrowed to one lane almost immediately, which you followed for about a mile and a half. Hitting that stretch of road around the time the doors were supposed to open, it took about 15 minutes to go the mile before I turned into an auxiliary parking lot. Cars were still flowing in as that lot filled, and people who'd parked were hustling the last half mile or so to the site.

Arriving at the high school, I saw a line of hundreds of people and assumed they hadn't opened the doors yet. Slipping in the press entrance, I arrived in a completely full room. Those hundreds of people outside, and the ones still walking, were the overflow, which would ultimately be put into another gym in the building to listen to the speech, and have the candidate come in for a round of handshaking at the end.

You could say Obama's on a roll in New Hampshire. It's an interesting question, though, what it means. I think (barring a massive shift in momentum) Obama will win NH handily, and it is clear that people are excited, and many of them inspired, by his candidacy.

But there's this: There's a section of his speech about how last spring, crowds were coming out for primary events because they knew Bush wasn't going to be on the ballot, and Cheney wasn't going to be on the ballot, they knew the era of Libby and Brownie would soon be over. But lately, Obama goes on, people are attending events not just because they are against things, not just because they are angry, but because they are for things. Specifically, for his message of hope.

In this narrative of the campaign, people have moved past anger to hope, have matured politically through the year. Counter to that argument, the loudest, most spontaneous applause in that section, the moment when the room just exploded, was when he said that Bush wouldn't be on the ballot in 2008. Even people who turn out for the Hopemonger, it seems, have yet to absorb the full dose of hope he's prescribing.

Categories: Politics

Oh. My. God.

McCain's answer to Chuck

Submitted by Primary Monitor on Fri, 2008-01-04 22:16.

According to Wilford Brimley, voting for John McCain is the right thing to do.

"Wilford Brimley is our response to Chuck Norris," McCain said on his campaign bus. "He's huge in every way."

And The Onion staff just gives up and jumps out the friggin' window.

Jesus! Who's advising this guy? Answering Chuck Norris with Wilford Brimley?

Are you f*@%ing kidding me? What planet are you on, Magoo?

Categories: Politics

We have a candidate:

Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove confirmed to The Associated Press on Friday that he will run for the U.S. Senate.

Musgrove plans to hold a series of news conferences Monday in Tupelo, Jackson, Hattiesburg and Gulfport.

"I'll be announcing, yes," Musgrove told the AP in a telephone interview from his law office in Madison County.

Musgrove, a Democrat, will run in a special election against Republican Roger Wicker, who was appointed this week to fill the job left vacant by the retirement of the GOP's Trent Lott.

Of course, we still don't know whether the special election will be held in the next three months, or on Election Day in November.

I think it's unlikely that another serious candidate steps up with Musgrove in the race, so it's fairly safe to assume that Musgrove and Wicker are the candidates, whenever the election is held.

Musgrove's polling numbers are relatively strong. Research 2000 did a poll for Daily Kos showing Musgrove trailing Wicker, 47-39, although that poll undersampled African-Americans. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner ran their own poll, and showed Musgrove defeating Wicker, 48-34.

Two thoughts about Musgrove's entry into this race:

-Musgrove is a serious enough candidate to force the NRSC to spend real money here to defend Wicker. This is critical in a year when we are not only outraising the NRSC overall, but fielding moderate to serious challenges to Republican held seats in 8 to 10 other states, depending on how things develop. The entry of a legitimate candidate into this race spreads the NRSC's already heavily taxed resources even thinner.

-If Obama is the nominee, and it's certainly looking like he has a good shot at this point, black turnout next November could be even higher in Mississippi than it usually is, which could make the difference in the Senate race.

Update: cali points us to today's AP article in the Clarion-Ledger which indicates that former Congressman Ronnie Shows, who lost to Chip Pickering in 2002 after redistricting made his district heavily Republican, will run for the seat along with Musgrove.

Categories: Politics

If they can't face FOX News, how can they face Al Qaeda? Remember that one?

State GOP withdraws as FOX debate partner

UnionLeader.com has learned that the New Hampshire Republican Party has quit as a co-sponsor of tomorrow night's nationally televised GOP forum on FOX News.

The 8 p.m. event at Saint Anselm College -- the last debate before Tuesday's primary -- had become controversial when FOX refused to include Ron Paul.


Yeah, remember when Republicans were yukking it up over that bullshit line? Of course, the fight wasn't about fearing slanted questioning so much as it was about lending validation to FOX News's reveling in its role as a mouthpiece for the Republican orthodoxy, while coyly pretending to be "fair and balanced."

Well, now some Republicans are learning that "it's OK if you are the right kind of Republican." Ron Paul doesn't fit the Republican gatekeepers' idea of GOP orthodoxy, so despite the fact that he's outraising and outpolling several other contenders, they're excluding him from the debate.

So, is the NH GOP now "too weak to face Al Qaeda" because they now realize that the FOX party line is bullshit, and they're just not a news organization after all?

How blatant does their manipulation of the coverage have to get before people catch on?

Categories: Politics
  • For African Americans and those of us of a certain age, the possibility that a political leader will be cut down in mid-stride remains always at the back of our minds. In this regard, LowerManhattanite over at Group News Blog eloquently describes his reaction to Senator Obama's Iowa victory speech in   Pride and Palpitations.   Meteor Blades
  • Today at a campaign event in New Hampshire, John McCain, while thanking Lindsey Graham for his support, cited Graham's time in uniform:

    And Lindsey Graham put on the uniform of an Air Force Colonel and went to Baghdad, where the temperature hovers around 125 degrees, and spent his time trying to help the people of Iraq obtain the rule of law...he didn't do it as a United States senator, he did it as a member of the United States military.  I'm proud of you, Lindsey, and thank you for all you do.

    Of course members of the military who are not senators are being deployed multiple times for 15 month tours of duty, while Graham's lasted for two weeks.  War is Hell.

  • And speaking of McCain, apparently it's not just his critics who think his age is an issue:

    If I said I was running for eight years, I'm not sure that would be a vote-getter.

  • Fred Thompson has decided that campaigning in New Hampshire is a waste of time:

    You are absolutely right. We’re not competitive in New Hampshire. And we won’t be campaigning there other than to go in for the debates which are tomorrow night and Sunday night.

    You know, there's probably no one more disappointed in Thompson's third-place finish in Iowa than Fred Thompson.

  • In case you missed it, the GOP in Wyoming are holding their county conventions today, picking the first 12 national convention delegates.  Republican candidates visiting Wyoming in the last month?  Zero.  Just another example of the Republican Party taking those "values voters" for granted.
  • Our friends at the Teamstersbring us this one: When Sen. Byron Dorgan wanted to put the brakes on the Transportation Department's  pilot program allowing Mexican long-haul trucks free run of the US, he passed an amendment blocking funds for it. Turns out the DOT says, well, screw you, since the amendment blocks funds for "the establishment" of such a program, which DOT says they had already "established" while the Congress was busy debating. Power of the purse? You tell me. [Kagro X]

Categories: Politics

The filing deadline for Texas' March 4 primary has passed, and the House races in Texas are starting to take form. The three races I would expect to be the most hotly contested are two defenses and one Democratic challenge:

-The 10th District, where Democrats Dan Grant and Larry Joe Doherty will face off for the right to challenge Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, who won with an unimpressive 55% against woefully underfunded Democrat Ted Ankrum in 2006;

-The 22nd District, former home of Tom DeLay and current home of Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson, who earned national attention last year by forcing DeLay out of the race and subsequently winning the seat last fall, and;

-The 23rd District, where Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez defeated the Texas GOP's golden boy, former Rep. Henry Bonilla in a runoff election last December.

Here, I'm going to focus on the two seats where Democratic incumbents are facing challenges.

Republicans want to see the 2006 victories in both TX-22 and TX-23 as flukish victories brought on by exceptional circumstances. In the case of TX-22, as I'm sure you know, the supremely crooked Tom DeLay won a closer-than-expected primary victory, looked at his internal polling numbers against Lampson, and bailed out. Unfortunately for poor Tommy, Texas law did not permit the Republican Party to replace him on the ballot, so Lampson got to run against a write-in candidate, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, and won with 52% of the vote to 42% for Sekula-Gibbs.

Absent the freakish circumstance of having to field either Tom DeLay or a write-in candidate, Republicans are salivating over the prospect of reclaiming this seat. They have no fewer than 10 candidates in the race, including former Rep. Sekula-Gibbs (she won a special election to replace DeLay, which Lampson did not contest).

The district is very Republican, with a Cook PVI of R +14.5. Bush garnered 64% of the vote in TX-22 in 2004. There are only three Democratic-held seats which are more strongly Republican (TX-17, UT-02 and MS-04).

Still, Lampson stands a good chance. Working in his favor is the clusterfuck of a GOP primary-with 10 candidates in the race, it surely will get ugly. Also, Lampson opted against a U.S. Senate bid this year against John Cornyn, choosing instead to run for reelection. If his own polling indicated that he didn't have a good shot at being reelected, I would think he would have taken a crack at the Senate race.

CQ Politics, which has a good story up on these races, ranks TX-22 as Leans Democratic.

In TX-23, Rodriguez also won a rather bizarre election in 2006, which no doubt fuels Republican hopes that they can recapture the seat.

Rodriguez had run in TX-28 initially, waging a primary battle against Bush Dog Henry Cuellar, and losing narrowly in the March primary. However, he was given new life when the US Supreme Court ruled in June that the 2003 Texas gerrymander violated the Voting Rights Act, partially in the construction of TX-23. This enabled Rodriguez to join a crowded Democratic field against Henry Bonilla, who won 48% in November 2006 to Rodriguez's 20%. In the December runoff, however, Rodriguez defeated Bonilla 54-46.

The odd circumstances of the runoff aside, this is a somewhat Republican-leaning district, but nothing compared to TX-22. Its Cook PVI is R +4.2, Rick Perry narrowly won the district in 2006, and Bush defeated Kerry 57-43.

The cash-strapped NRCC, desperate to avoid having to spend money, managed to recruit a self-funding millionaire attorney, Franciso "Quico" Canseco. He has already dumped over $700,000 of his own money into his campaign, but of course, money can't always buy you love. He faces a primary challenge from Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson.

I know that circumstances were exceptional in 2006, but I do think Rodriguez should be favored to win reelection. Bonilla, after all, was not only a 14-year incumbent, but a GOP rising star, and he lost quite badly in the runoff. It was only the second time in the past 20 years that a Democrat had beaten a Republican incumbent (the other was Lampson's victory over Steve Stockman in 1996). So I think that Rodriguez starts from a position of strength.

CQ Politics also rates TX-23 as Leans Democratic.

Additionally, let us not forget the commanding advantage the DCCC enjoys in fundraising, compared to the anemic NRCC, which should surely help us if and when these races get tight.

Categories: Politics

At the end of November, Trent Lott sadly informed his colleagues that he would be departing.

Lott announced a week ago that he's vacating his U.S. Senate seat this month, ending his 35-year congressional career representing Mississippi. He said he wants to do something else after working so long in one place. ... A year after being re-elected to his fourth six-year Senate term, Lott announced Nov. 26 that he wants a different job and to spend more time with his family.

His friends in the Senate gave Lott a rousing send off, interrupting a critical legislative session to say their farewells.  It was clear that Trent was aching to see that family, and would not hang around DC

Lott said last month that new restrictions on lobbying that take effect after Dec. 31 "didn't have a big role" in his decision to retire. ... Lott said he wants to spend more time with his family and to pursue other job opportunities, possibly teaching.

And today, Trent Lott announced that he had found that education job and his long-missed family. Turns out they were living on K Street.

Putting weeks of speculation to rest, former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) confirmed Friday they plan to file paperwork next week to form a powerful lobbying partnership called The Breaux Lott Leadership Group.

It's always touching to see a man spending his golden years with those he loves.

Categories: Politics

It's important to remember that the New Hampshire Democratic Party's 100 Club Dinner is an annual fundraising event. It's attended by people who have paid $100 or more to attend an NHDP fundraiser, and people who have been given tickets by campaigns and the like. In other words, dedicated Democratic activists, the vast majority of whom are committed to a candidate when they walk in.

So responses to the candidate speeches there are indicative of organization as much as of organic support. Which campaign got the most supporters to turn out? Which campaign got signs into its supporters' hands?

Last night, the dominant campaign on both organization and organic enthusiasm was Obama's.

Early in the evening, as various party officials and state politicians spoke, occasionally the room would suddenly be filled with waving Obama signs. It was like nobody else had supporters in the room. When Clinton spoke, you realized she did have supporters there, and quite a lot of them. They cheered enthusiastically and waved the signs they hadn't seen fit to take out at any earlier point.

At that point, advantage Obama campaign. Whether Clinton's supporters were instructed to hold their sign-waving for her appearance, or they just weren't that worked up, it meant that through an hour and a half of speeches, Obama's supporters were the only visible ones.

Clinton gets what I'd say was a strong initial reception. Swampland says she was booed twice during her speech, and someone I know watching C-SPAN heard it at least once. Maybe that's about where the booers were in relation to the mikes, because I didn't hear it. What I did hear was that when she said that the question was who would be the best president, Obama supporters began chanting "Obama" as they waved their signs. Their chant overpowered Clinton supporters, and round O signs clearly outnumbered rectangular Clinton ones.

But when Bill Richardson finishes speaking and the crowd knows that Obama is next on the program, the room just...changes. I was expecting the biggest response of the evening, but one measured on the same scale. This is a whole different scale.

Katharine Q. Seelye at the NYT's Caucus blog:

Spontaneous combustion! We’re here at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s big dinner and out of the masses of 3,000 people, who have been listening politely to Dennis Kucinich, Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson, comes a huge surge of people toward the stage for the next speaker — Barack Obama.

An announcer tries to get them back to their seats. "For safety concerns, before we can proceed, please take your seats," says a disembodied voice. A mild buzz kill. The crowd moans but doesn’t really disperse. Then Mr. Obama strides to the podium, the crowd remains packed around the stage and the room is electrified.

"O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma," they roar.

Barack Obama's campaign won the organization battle at the 100 Club. They got signs into his supporters' hands, and must have issued instructions to not save the sign-waving for his speech. So visibility through the night was theirs. But the swell and crackle of energy in the room when he spoke? That was organic, and it was overwhelming. Every time Obama started to lose me with a line I've heard one time too many this long campaign season, the crowd would bring me back in.

On the shuttle back to the parking lot, it's impossible not to notice that Obama's supporters are decades younger than those of other candidates. And I think, Obama may not be my favorite on a policy level, his speeches may often leave me cold, but he could be a transformative candidate and president.

(For more on the 100 Club, see Todd Beeton's posts here and here at MyDD.)

Categories: Politics

[Promoted from the Diaries by Meteor Blades because plenty of such stories don't have such comparatively "happy endings."]

On Thursday, after spending 27 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit, Charles Chatman walked free.  The world -- or the world outside of jail, that is -- was a different place than that he had left nearly three decades ago.  After only using spoons in prison, he had to relearn how to use a knife to cut his steak.  The judge for his case even had to teach him how to use a cell phone -- a newfangled technology, for 47-year-old Chatman -- so he could call his family.  Chatman is the 15th wrongfully convicted prisoner in Dallas County who has been exonerated by DNA evidence since 2001.  

Categories: Politics

This morning the U.S. military revealed that nearly two weeks ago an Iraqi soldier turned against the American troops with whom he was on patrol in Mosul, killing two of them for "reasons that are yet unknown" according to the news release. From the AP:

Three other U.S. soldiers and one civilian interpreter were wounded in the Dec. 26 attack, the military said in a statement. The shooting occurred as American and Iraqi soldiers were conducting operations to establish a combat outpost in Ninevah province in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi soldier who allegedly opened fire fled the scene but was identified by other Iraqi army personnel and was then captured, the military said. Two Iraqi soldiers are being held in connection with the incident.

The U.S. military identified the two Americans killed as Capt. Rowdy Inman and Sgt. Benjamin Portell, both of whom were assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

Reuters adds:

The U.S. military said it was not clear why the Iraqi soldier had opened fire, but two Iraqi generals told Reuters the attacker had links to Sunni Arab insurgent groups.

It is believed to be the first reported incident in which an Iraqi soldier has deliberately killed U.S. servicemen since Saddam Hussein was toppled in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003...

The patrol "was attacked by gunmen and the soldier abused the situation and killed the two soldiers. The soldier was an insurgent infiltrator," (the commander of the Iraqi army's 2nd Division, Brigadier-General Mutaa) Khazraji said.

Brigadier-General Noor al-Din Hussein, commander of the Iraqi Army's 4th Brigade, 2nd Division, told Reuters: "The shooting was deliberate. It was not an accident."...

The two generals said the U.S. military were allowing the Iraqi military to handle the investigation.

The Pentagon initially had suppressed information about the true nature of the incident:

When the deaths of Cpt. Inman and Sgt. Portell were announced last month, the military made no mention of how they were killed other than that they died "from wounds received from small-arms fire during operations."

It's not as if the Iraqi troops themselves have not been predicting for years that they would one day turn on their American allies.

Categories: Politics

This is one of the most entertaining science related posts I read all last year. It’s raw and irreverent and should not be read by anyone who is easily offended, but with Young Earth Creationist Mike Huckabee emerging as the right-wing fundamentalist champion, it’s strangely appropriate on several levels. Here’s a taste:

For the next few hours, we would fully commit to what Bunting would later poetically call "jerking off in their fundamentalist faces." With my tiny-armed Jurassic chum riding shotgun ... It was show time...."Hiiiiiii!" I shouted like a maniac at anyone within earshot. "Yow!" I yelped in unison with one firm clap of my hands. I bounced in the wheelchair with glee, for I was among God’s special people. I almost envied them in a way. Unencumbered by reason and logic, their minds drowned with sweet ignorance and incredible fairytales, they were the true freaks.

  • A freaky storm with wind gusts well over 100mph lashed the San Francisco area leaving one-million residents without power. But I suppose when you live in a shake-n-quake prone, mud-sliding, blazing fire-trap of a region, perched on top of a violent boundary between two tectonic plates, you can handle a little wind and rain.
  • There is currently a 1 in 78 chance [Correction: 1 in 28 chance] that space rock WD5 will hit the planet Mars at the end of this month. It could produce the kind of spectacle that would allow us to finally know; are any of those F/X cinematic meteor impacts even close to the real thing?
  • Last but not least, I award this slot to Pure Pedantry’s timely Friday rant called "I Hate You Iowa Caucuses."

Categories: Politics


Hillary's aides point to Obama's extremely progressive record as a community organizer, state senator and candidate for Congress, his alliances with "left-wing" intellectuals in Chicago's Hyde Park community, and his liberal voting record on criminal defendants' rights as subjects for examination.


Hillary Clinton's campaign seems determined to convince Barack Obama's detractors in the blogosphere that he is so a liberal after all [...]

Progressive record? Heaven forbid! I thought he didn't have experience.

One does get the sense that Hillary's operation is just throwing mud against the wall to see what will stick. Obama needs the independent vote in NH, and the Clinton campaign is obviously trying to scare them away from Obama.

If she succeeds, they'll end up voting for McCain helping to give Republicans their strongest general election candidate. Seems kind of self-defeating, doesn't it? But she needs to stem the bleeding. So suddenly, we have a situation in which the best interests of the Democratic Party is at odds with her short-term interests.

Categories: Politics

January 4, 2008


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

This evening's Rescue Rangers are vcmvo2, Patriot Daily (mentoring blue jersey mom and plf515), jennyjem, ezdidit, YatPundit, Got A Grip and joyful, with watercarrier4diogenes at the editor's desk.

Tonight's diaries cover a variety of interesting issues not covered by the MSM with the kind of research, perspective and analysis we see here every day.  A pity, isn't it?

va dare has Top Comments - 1.04.08 - One Day At A Time, Sweet Jaysus!.

Enjoy and please promote your own favorite diaries in this open thread.

Categories: Politics


"Respect the Caucus!"

CHEERS to the biggest winner.  Last night was a major test for an African-American who was unproven on the national stage of American politics.  Many dismissed the campaign as a fool's errand.  Others crowed about the unstoppable Clinton juggernaut.  But in the end, the voters spoke loud and clear: "You're goddam right Oprah matters!!"  The skinny guy with the funny name did okay, too.

JEERS to our not-so-noble opposition.  The self-described America-lovin', troop-supportin', flag-wavin', tax-cuttin', chest-thumpin', blastocyst-preservin' party showed up in half the numbers as our team last night.  Which I guess now makes 'em the cold-fearin', La-Z-Boy lovin', Teevee watchin', democracy-shunnin', duty-shirkin' party.  They must be proud.

JEERS to comedy denied (hat tip to jnhobbs for the linky).  Dammit, Fox!  You missed a golden opportunity for big laughs last night by not allowing Bill O'Reilly to play in the sandbox with Brit Hume and his Droopy Eyed All Stars.  Think about that: they sent their highest-rated news guy home because putting a live microphone in his hand to cover the news would risk making the network look silly.  As if that horse hadn't left the barn ten years ago.

CHEERS to a match made in hell.  The Republican establishment wined and dined the evangelical fundamentalists, then climbed into bed and made sweet, sweet love (with the lights off while thinking about Jessica Simpson) for 25 years.  Last night the God Squad announced---via Huckabee's win---that they were pregnant with GOP power.  That's gonna be one ugly kid.  And one horrified daddy.

Cheers and Jeers---with more throbbing Iowa coverage---continues in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Categories: Politics