“Senator Stevens’ campaign for re-election is continuing to move full steam ahead. Our office has been flooded today with calls and emails from supporters urging the Senator to press on. The message from them is clear: Alaska needs Ted Stevens in the U.S. Senate.”
While everyone's looking at Iraq's effect on American politics -- and whether or not John McCain and Barack Obama are converging on a policy that combines a flexible timetable with a vague, and long-lasting, residual force -- let's take a look instead at Iraqi politics. The picture isn't pretty.
Slipped through the cracks Stories we missed this week: McCain's anti-feminism, only girls being born in northern Greenland, and game heroines in metal thongs.
by Logan Scherer
For women, McCain makes all the wrong moves: Kate Sheppard's scathing analysis of McCain's anti-feminist politics isn't just revealing -- it's scary, including McCain's desire to reverse Roe v. Wade and his ignorance about pay equity. It's not that McCain doesn't want change. It's just that, for him, change is going back to the good old days when he was a fighter pilot dating an exotic dancer named "Flame of Florida."
They'll ask, but don't tell: It's a crime to be gay in Iraq, where homosexuals are subjected to horrific treatment. Armed Islamic groups and militias frequently target gay men and women who live under a constant fear: coming out is a death sentence. Two gay men speak about the brutal abuse they endured after being kidnapped. "I would rather commit suicide than allow my family to find out I am gay," said one.
Today, in totally bizarre news: Scientists are trying to explain reports from the U.S. Air Force base in Thule, Greenland, where only girls are being born. They believe organic chemicals like pesticides that enter the food chain through the blubber of marine animals and then spread to the human bloodstream are to blame. And it's not just northern Greenland that's seeing this baffling trend. According to recent studies, the gender ratio is unbalanced in other areas with indigenous people who depend heavily on marine animals for food.
Putting the change in your changing room: It's about time dressing rooms stepped into the 21st century. Bloomingdale's New York is one of the first American stores to experiment with new fitting-room technology, which includes an interactive mirror and webcam, a touch screen that allows shoppers to invite friends, and a site that suggests recommendations. Privacy is so last year: You'll never have to be alone in the dressing room again.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches GI Joes Barbie dolls Chocolate Chip cookies Scientology Tupperware The Air Force The CIA Nachos Both of Barrack Obama's parents Credit cards The Area Code String bikinis Minute rice LSD The Cobb Salad Pop Tarts The Discovery of the DNA Double Helix Ronald Reagan Snow White and the 7 Dwarves Hula hoops Medicare Nike shoes The Pentagon Burger King Teflon Gatorade Slinkies Disney World and Disneyland CocaCola in a can Sweet n' Low tylenol Batman KFC Rubik's Cube Breast Implants The Atom Bomb Pizza Hut Frosted Flakes Alaska Velcro Air bags NATO The UN FM Radio Israel Rock and Roll Birth control Spaghetti-O's Pinocchio Bambi Wizard of Oz Golden Gate Bridge Lincoln Tunnel Plutonium Indonesia Pakastan Iceland Nylon Color TV Dick Cheney Penicillin Margaritas Zip codes Rocky and Bulwinkle Bill O'Reilly copy machines six packs of soda/beer The GI Bill of Rights 5 out of 9 of the Supreme Court Justices satellite photography The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Newt Gingrich Stress as a medical condition Polyester Silvio Berlusconi - Italian Prime Minister The discovery of oil in the desert The words "acorn squash", "brownnose", "freelancer", "high beam", and "women's room" Buddy Holly American Express card Mensa International LP music records The lubricated Condom Automatic transmissions Title LXII, Chapter 646-A of New Hampshire State Law - designates guidelines for all handling/displaying of the flag Bob Dylan Ralph Lauren Woman's Day magazine The Magic 8 Ball Jack Nicholson Duct Tape Alcoholics Anonymous TV commercials Kraft Macaroni and Cheese War of the Worlds 49 of our 50 Governors Scrabble Baskin Robbins The TV dinner Shopping Carts Grapes of Wrath The Marijuana Tax Act - before marijuana was illegal The illegality of marijuana Cheerios Defibrillation on people (shocking people when their heart stops) Spam Bugs Bunny The Polio vaccine AARP Mount Rogers Teflon Superman The Hindenburg disaster Ballpoint pens Frozen waffles Getting a pizza delivered The Czech Republic Computers York Peppermint Patties
THE best thing to happen to John McCain was for the three network anchors to leave him in the dust this week while they chase Barack Obama on his global Lollapalooza tour. Were voters forced to actually focus on Mr. McCain’s response to our spiraling economic crisis at home, the prospect of his ascension to the Oval Office could set off a panic that would make the IndyMac Bank bust in Pasadena look as merry as the Rose Bowl.
On the issue of gasoline prices, Republicans think they have a winner in their call for new drilling and Democrats are playing defense. Democrats need—this is a technical term—a lot more oomph. Al Gore wants to help them.
Pelosi On Bush: God Bless That "Total Failure" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got personal today in comments on President Bush. In an interview she called Bush a "total failure" on issues ranging from energy to the economy to the war. "God bless him, bless his heart," she said.
During a speech Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama laid out his vision for America’s role in the world, focusing specifically on Iraq and Afghanistan.
“George Bush and John McCain don’t have a strategy for success in Iraq – they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn’t leave when violence was up, and they now say we can’t leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops ’surrender,’ even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government – not to a terrorist enemy.”
You can read the entire transcript here. You can also read Senator Obama’s New York Times op-ed here.
The Real Legacy of the Reagan Revolution By Robert Scheer — McCain campaign co-chair Phil Gramm is right: We have “become a nation of whiners.” But who is whining more than the bankers that former Sen. Gramm’s financial deregulation legislation benefited? The very bankers who now expect a government bailout, such as those at UBS Investment Bank, where Gramm found lucrative employment. * * *
On The McLaughlin Group, John McLaughlin said: "Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside -- that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?" Read more
Bush's Banned Interview: An Insight Into Insanity by Ben Cohen
While surfing the net on 'Stumble', I came across an interview with President Bush on Irish television that caused a bit of a storm in 2004. The interview conducted by the tenacious Carol Coleman of Radio Television Ireland was not aired on American television, and Bush's press officers apparently complained vociferously about the rigorous questioning.
The video shows Bush at the absolute peak of his arrogance -- convinced of his own rhetoric about Iraq, flooded with confidence from international subservience to American power, and high off a crushing military victory that reinforced his childish fantasies of American power and preeminence.
The problem was, Coleman was having none of it, and what transpired was a unique insight into the warped brain of the least respected and most hated president in the history of the United States.
"Mr. President," she asked the stone faced Coleman. "You're going to arrive in Ireland in about 24 hours' time, and no doubt you will be welcomed by our political leaders. Unfortunately, the majority of our public do not welcome your visit because they're angry over Iraq, they're angry over Abu Ghraib. Are you bothered by what Irish people think?"
Other than stutter, the president managed only to answer in vacant homilies about 'the great values of our country.'
"We are a compassionate country," he asserted. "We're a strong country, and we'll defend ourselves -- but we help people."
And that was about the depth of his explanation for the invasion of Iraq. Supremely satisfied with his own answers, Bush expected Coleman to be bowled over with his 'good ol' plain speakin' English', but Coleman, not infected with the American media's insatiable appetite to service power, had other ideas.
She continued to grill Bush about the rising violence in Iraq, increased world wide threat of terrorism, and failure to find the weapons of mass destruction. Flustered and unaccustomed to serious challenges to his power, Bush displayed flashes of anger, and an increased reliance on catch phrases to argue the unarguable.
"These people are willing to kill innocent people," he answered testily in response to questioning about the Iraqi death toll. "They're willing to slaughter innocent people to stop the advance of freedom. And so the free world has to make a choice: Do we cower in the face of terror, or do we lead in the face of terror?"
Coleman cut through the simplistic slogans about evil doers and freedom loving Americans and continued to ask Bush serious questions about the illegal war he had just launched. It fast became evident that this was a man who really had no idea what he was doing -- someone so removed from reality that he failed to even understand what he was being asked.
The world in Bush's mind exists of good and evil, right and wrong, and America and everyone else. He could not fathom anyone disagreeing with his nobility, and simply refused to acknowledge that a different account of reality existed.
The interview took place almost four years ago, but is the perfect illustration of a man elected purely on name recognition, dirty money, and no discernible talent. Four years ago, there were still enough Americans who believed Bush's infantile bluster was charming and direct. Now, even Republicans do not waste their time with him, quietly wishing he would disappear and stop embarrassing their party.
The interview with Coleman should go down on record as definitive proof of Bush's utter incompetence, a priceless picture of a madman who had no business occupying the highest office of the land.
RED CROSS FINDS BUSH GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES In a secret report last year, the Red Cross found evidence of the CIA using torture on prisoners that would make the Bush administration guilty of war crimes, The New York Times reported Friday.
He was a nice man, seemed like a loyal and devoted husband, father and friend. If you left out the other part, about how he was a very good baseball player in his day, Bobby Murcer probably wouldn't have minded much.
Phil Gramm will have none of your complaints: Get over it! Stop whining and eat your gruel. This recession’s all in your head. No one (not even John McCain, who tended toward the rapturous when describing Mr. Gramm’s economic bona fides) could mistake this sour-visaged investment banker for a populist.
The Death of Reaganomics By E.J. Dionne — The biggest political story of 2008 is getting little coverage. It involves the collapse of assumptions that have dominated our economic debate for three decades.
This may come as a shock, but a prominent anti-homosexual Republican attorney general has apparently been caught having homosexual sexual intercourse with his homosexual gay male assistant. Bonus: The dude’s wife caught him, in their bed. This is the rumor that the AG’s office has officially denied, so now of course everybody is spilling the sordid details.
AG in question is Troy King, who, of course, is only interested in outlawing homosexuality and sex toys. His gay lover is either a college “buddy,” or a very young youngster and “Homecoming King” from Troy University. What are the odds of a dude named Troy King getting caught in bed with a Homecoming King from Troy University? This seems like a wacky sitcom plot, on a gay porn channel. (Is this what that Will & Grace was about?)
Obama and ‘Merci beaucoup’ - the conservative outrage of the day By: Steve Benen
After some very encouraging comments on bankruptcy law in Georgia the other day, Barack Obama opened the floor to some questions. Someone asked about preventing high-school dropouts and added that she believes “there should be a push more for our citizens to become bilingual here in America.”
These comments on bilingualism seem to have caused quite a stir in conservative circles.
Obama added, “You know, no, I’m serious about this. We should understand that our young people, if you have a foreign language, that is a powerful tool to get a job. You are so much more employable. You can be part of international business. So we should be emphasizing foreign languages in our schools from an early age, because children will actually learn a foreign language easier when they’re 5, or 6, or 7 than when they’re 46, like me.”
All of this sounds pretty sensible to me. Not surprisingly, a lot of conservatives don’t quite see it that way.
Commenting on Obama’s response, Andrew Leonard said, “There’s nothing particularly exceptional about Obama’s position, unless you are an English-only partisan cowering in fear of your cultural identity being swamped by funny-looking people from strange lands. Or one of the similarly insecure patriots who believe any criticism of the U.S. is a sign of ‘blame-America-first’ treachery.”
One might be surprised at just how many folks fall into these camps. Alex Knapp notes some of the high-profile conservative bloggers who are none too pleased with Obama’s comments: Glenn Reynolds: “Barack Obama: Europeans are cooler than Americans.”
Tom Maguire: “Whoa. Reporting live from the United Kingdom, I have been assured that the typical Brit does not speak many (i.e., any) languages other than English and a smattering of American. Apparently Obama is aware that culturally, Britain is not part of Europe, and he assumes we know it as well.”
Gateway Pundit: “Obama is quite embarrassed that Americans are so boorish and refuse to speak French while traveling abroad. It’s so uncouth.”
The Weekly Standard went so far as to argue that Obama’s desire to see more American kids taught a foreign language is an example of “snobbery.”
Snobbery? Obama talked about this in the context of American competitiveness in a global economy. To care about these issues is to be a snob?
Alex Knapp, who as a conservative disagrees with Obama on most policy issues, concluded, “Frankly, all this seems to be is a pathetic attempt to feed the ‘Barack Obama is Unamerican’ narrative. A narrative that, I might add, has the result of making Americans sound like ignorant hillbillies. ‘He’s got a funny name!’ ‘He likes food that tastes good instead of crap that’s fried in lard!’ ‘He likes foreigners!’ ‘He wants to speak other languages!’ ‘He’s educated!’ ‘He played basketball instead of football!’ Embarrassing, really.”
Quite right. There’s an old joke you’ve probably heard — what do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. And what do you call someone who speaks one language? An American.
Obama thinks we’d be better off if that joke wasn’t funny anymore. I think he’s right.
Some conservatives sure do pick strange things to get excited about.
With gas prices surging, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson made $21.7 million last year; Chevron's David O'Reilly made $15.7 million. But the companies claim they're not to blame for high prices. So why the big payouts?
I was on a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado this week when Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter asked me, “Is Obama a sellout?” The question isn’t whether he is a sellout or not—it’s about what demands are made by grass-roots social movements of those who would represent them. The question is, who are these candidates responding to, answering to?
Iraq Reconstruction Corruption Katrina Vanden Heuvel: The Commission on Wartime Contracting should be a critical curb to the systemic waste, fraud and abuse associated with the wartime-support and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.
If you didn't spot this Think Progress post over the weekend — explaining how Osama bin Laden demanded $144 barrels of oil ten years ago — it is worth a read. The price for a barrel of oil this past holiday weekend was exactly what bin Laden wanted.
Far too late for it to do anybody any good, Jesse Helms has died. He has done so on Independence Day, which, since he was born too late to own slaves and in too liberal an age to allow him to outlaw sedition, will forever be his only resemblance to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.
It is rude to speak ill of the dead. Luckily, I did so ahead of time.
Helms, McCain & the White Hands John Nichols: The people who helped the late North Carolina senator run race-baiting campaigns are now helping John McCain.
I've been running VoteVets.org for a couple of years now. In 2006 and in 2008, we've endorsed a number of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for Congress. It's still a story that the press is largely interested in, and when they call me to talk about it, I always -- always -- get the same first question:
What is it about their honorable service in Iraq and/or Afghanistan that qualifies them to go to Congress?
As we head into the Fourth of July weekend of patriotic bluster and beer swilling—but before we are too besotted with ourselves—might we also for once consider our imperfections? Why not take a moment to heed the cautions of our founding father, George Washington, whose true legacy will most likely be ignored during the flag-waving weekend?