Should We Blame Gore?

December 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Iceber-grafiti

Sean Carroll considers Randy Olson's argument that Al Gore may have done more harm than good with his climate change agenda:

Between January and September of 2010, Jay Leno made more jokes about Al Gore than about Sarah Palin. You read that right. This is while Palin was promoting books, making TV specials, stumping for candidates, and basically in the news every day, while Gore was — doing what exactly? Once Al Gore became the unofficial spokesperson for concern about climate change, it was increasingly inevitable that Republicans would deny it on principle.

(Image of the "world’s first graffiti on polar icebergs" via Buzzhunt)





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

DADT Repeal: Do Not Blame Obama

December 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

I've had many criticisms of the Obama administration's tardy and milque-toast efforts on civil rights for gays and lesbians. But at this point, the peril facing repeal of the military's gay ban is not the administration's fault. In fact, it seems to me the events of the last month or so reveal that the Obama administration has finally delivered the goods for the military, which is hobbled by this dated, counter-productive policy, and for the gay community, by moving the issue deliberately DADTCOLLINSBrendanSmialowski:Getty through the Congress before the executive branch or the judicial branch. And the fact remains that in the current Congress, we have essentially achieved repeal, with the military's support and blessing – only to be foiled by tricky parliamentary maneuvering by a hard Republican faction that is impervious to reason. That's some achievement, however tragic the possibility of defeat.

I mean: look at it. We have the support of the Joint Chiefs, the Republican defense secretary, the majority of the troops, a hefty majority of the public, a majority in the House, and 57-40 majority in the Senate and a president ready to sign the bill. What more – to be frank – could we ask of the administration? Yes, I know there are executive branch ways forward, and judicial intervention looms as well. But it is far, far, far preferable that DADT be undone the way it was done – by the Congress.

All that stands in the way is the filibuster and those Republicans supporting it. But those Republicans must surely know, as defense secretary Gates has warned, that if they do not act with care and deliberation in the Senate, the courts at some point will – with far more damage to military readiness than a careful and deliberate phasing in of this overdue reform. I suppose the far right could try and use a potential court ruling to burnish their view that the courts are the source of all evil, especially gay evil. But if they deny gays equality by the legislative route through a parliamentary maneuver that clearly overrules the plain will of the Congress and the majority of the public, they can hardly complain that a tiny minority, essentially checkmated by one faction of one party with a filibuster, would seek recourse in the courts instead. And if they really want to save the military from disruption, the path charted by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Pentagon Report and defense secretary Gates is obviously the responsible way forward.

We are so close it would be truly insane to let this moment pass. So we mustn't let it pass. I agree with Capehart here:

If Congress, particularly the Senate, doesn't want the courts to do its job for it, lawmakers should move heaven and earth to pass the stand-alone measure. Stay over Christmas. Stay over New Year's. Udall is willing to. So is Lieberman. As one activist told me this week, it would be a massive failure for Congress to walk away for the holidays while 65,000 continue to serve in silence and others aren't even allowed to serve at all.

What we all need to do is to contact Senators – especially liberal Republican Senators like Scott Brown and conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin – to ensure that the sane middle is heard this time. This is not the time for resignation or resentment or fatalism. It's the time for a final push to take the knife out of the back of a small but honorable minority of US servicemembers. Let us finally do them justice.

Yes, we can.

(Photo: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) listens while Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) speaks during a press conference on Capitol Hill December 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. By Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.)





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Poll: Blame to share if tax cuts fail

December 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(CNN) – Who will be blamed if tax cuts expire on December 31st? According to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll, it depends on how you slice it.

The political furor surrounding President Barack Obama’s deal with Republicans in Congress gives few hints about whether the proposal will succeed or fail. If the measure which includes an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for two years for all Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits for 13 months for the long term unemployed, and lowers the payroll tax by two percentage points for a year, fails and tax cuts are allowed to expire, a new poll says that there will be blame enough to go around.

When asked who would be at fault if the current Congress and the president fail to reach an agreement and let the Bush era tax cuts expire on December 31st, exactly one-third of the nation said Republicans in Congress would be most to blame.

President Obama, who drew criticism among his base for not consulting Democrats prior to brokering the deal with Republicans, receives 19 percent of blame in the poll.

About 3 in 10 Americans said they’d blame Democrats, who voted on Thursday to reject the deal brokered between Obama and the GOP.

Combining the values for liberals in Congress and the president reveals that almost half the nation would place the blame on Democrats for failing to reach a compromise with the GOP. One in ten said all parties would be at fault.

The White House has been actively engaged in drumming up support for the tax deal, which also includes a 35% estate tax on inheritances worth more than $ 5 million dollars.

The McClatchy-Marist poll was conducted among 873 registered voters from December 2-8, 2010 via telephone. It has a sampling error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.

Check out CNN’s new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.


CNN Political Ticker

Liberal Columnist Mike Barnicle: Obama ‘Deified’ in ’08, Media ‘Largely to Blame’

December 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Liberal columnist Mike Barnicle confessed Friday that the media "deified" Barack Obama during his 2008 Presidential campaign. Both Barnicle and former MSNBC host Donny Deutsch, on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," admitted that Obama had no executive experience when he took office as president and that hurt him in his first two years in the Oval Office.

"This guy took office, he had never really run anything in his life, and it's very easy to be an ideologue," Deutsch said of Obama. "And he learned," he added. Barnicle noted that Obama "has never been executive, he's never run anything, he's never managed anything."

"Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough questioned why Obama took so long to focus on a job-centered agenda rather than liberal policies such as health care and cap-and-trade. Barnicle confessed that Obama "was glorified and deified during his campaign, largely by the media. We have to admit that, I mean, we have to plead guilty to that."
 

read more

NewsBusters.org blogs

Video: Latma-Who’s To Blame For The Fire?

December 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Technorati Tag: and .


Daled Amos

Social Conservative Bryan Fischer: Blame The Gays For WikiLeaks

December 9, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Bryan Fischer, the “Director of Issues Analysis” for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, wrote on his blog this week that gays — not Julian Assange — are responsible for the thousands of government documents released by Assange’s WikiLeaks.

More specifically, Fischer assumes that the alleged WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning was “at minimum” seriously confused about his sexuality. He then really stretches things when he suggests that Manning leaked the documents to wage war on the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

In Fischer’s own words:

Regardless, he is a one-man argument for keeping open homosexuals from serving in the military in the first place. If the 1993 law – which flatly prohibits homosexuals from a place in the armed services – had been followed, there would be no PFC Bradley Manning and no WikiLeaks.

Apparently Fischer isn’t the only one who feels this way. Ann Coulter also wrote last week that Manning’s supposed homosexuality is to blame for his alleged decision to leak the documents, calling him a “poster boy” for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Fischer has a history of making homophobic remarks on his blog. Just last week, he wrote that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t fund AIDS research.

“Homosexual activist groups likewise are pushing a lifestyle that kills,” Fischer wrote, on World AIDS Day, no less. “If anybody should be obligated to pony up funds to mitigate a health crisis, it ought to be the organizations that are responsible for advocating the very behavior that created and perpetuates the epidemic.”

And back in November, Fischer wrote that awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Salvatore Giunta “feminizes” the medal, because the soldier hadn’t killed enough people.

The AFA is a major social conservative group, and at the Values Voter Summit this fall, Fischer appeared on the same stage as big-time Republicans like Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Morals, Morals, Morals! Conservatives Gather For Values Voter Summit]

h/t Wonkette







TPMMuckraker

Egypt’s shark week: Mossad to blame?

December 7, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Five
tourists have been attacked by sharks (with one killed) over the past week in
the waters off Egypt’s Red Sea coast, a vacation area especially popular with snorkelers
and scuba divers. And nobody knows what to do.

Despite the
frequent depiction of the
cartilaginous fish as terrifying man eaters, these kinds of attacks are
actually very rare. The Egyptian government has brought in experts from
around the world to help solve the shark crisis. So far no one has arrived at a
definitive conclusion, but possible explanations include over fishing in the
Red Sea, an excess of resorts along the coast, and the effects of climate
change
.

There’s
another theory floating around, though: Israel’s infamous intelligence agency
is behind the attacks. Ahram Online reports (and refutes):

Speaking on
the public TV program "Egypt Today" yesterday, a specialist
introduced as "Captain Mustafa Ismael, a famous diver in Sharm El
Sheikh," said that the sharks involved in the attack are ocean sharks and
do not live in Egypt’s waters.

When asked
by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out,
"no, who let them in."

Urged to
elaborate, Ismael said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in
Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its
back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt’s waters only.

"Why would these
sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until it entered Sinai?"
said Ismael.

Earlier
today, General Abdel Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, backed
Ismael’s theory. In a phone call to the TV program, he said that it is possible
that Israeli intelligence, Mossad, is behind the incident and that they are
doing it to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry. He added that Egypt needs
time to investigate the theory.

The shark attacks
have the potential to do some real damage to Egypt, where tourism is pillar of
the economy and an important provider of jobs. But the idea that Israel (which
is currently dealing with its own Nature Channel-worthy crisis) is
behind the attacks is pretty farfetched.

FP Passport

BELLEMARE’S SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON ‘PROCEDURAL’ PROBLEMS: INDICT, QUIT AND BLAME THE SYSTEM!

December 5, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Special Tribunal Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare may not have enough evidence for an indictment. (AFP photo)

“Among dozens of evidentiary problems are the issue of several false witness, compromised physical evidence from the crime scene, serious contradictions regarding the weapons used to assassinate PM Hariri, failure to give sufficient attention to photos and video footage from the crime scene,  or conduct autopsies of the victims, presence of residues of enriched uranium reported by doctors who examined bodies of victims.”

by: Franklin Lamb

Beirut

It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that Special Tribunal for Lebanon  Prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare ever met,  U.S. Senator Wayne Lyman Morse (Dem. Oregon), one of three Senator’s to vote against Lyndon Johnson’s fake Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorized the US military to bomb North Vietnam a generation ago and a  leading American legal scholar.  One can’t help thinking that Bellemare could use Morse’s  counsel on the subject of what some are calling  the Rafiq Hariri murder,  “ a Trial of the Century” while some international lawyers fear it could be a “Trial for a Century.”  Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem called the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)’s pending indictment “an act of aggression against Hezbollah and Lebanon.” Others are calling the ITL project Israel’s 6th war against Lebanon.

Wayne Morse was the Senate’s acknowledged expert on courtroom Procedural Rights of the accused, whether in local, national, or international courts and in one famous Senate debate, the former law school Dean told his colleagues:  “ Senators,  I don’t have to remind you that without full Procedural Rights none of us have Substantive Rights in any Court of law, Local, State, National or International.”

What Wayne Morse meant of course was that the outcome of any Court or Administrative proceeding is largely  pre-determined by the  Procedures adopted by the tribunal.  And that is a major problem for those wanting the  Special Tribunal for Lebanon to represent justice and for Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare personally, who, said to be increasingly aware of the STL procedural pitfalls now reportedly wants out of what has increasingly become a farce dressed up to look like a Hall of Justice.

Prosecutor Bellemare, appears to be getting ready to heed his family’s wishes, advice of colleagues, and his own sinking feeling  about prospects for success with the Hariri case. He may be planning to do what many a Prosecutor has done with a seriously defective  case that he is being forced to bring to indictment by “superiors”, even when he has serious doubts about its viability:  indict and quit and let the “system” deal with the aftermath.  Perhaps citing  family or health issues “Bellemare will likely issue indictments to please the Americans and Israelis and then he  may well get out of town, knowing that this case is  thoroughly politicized and polarized and becomes more so every day. According to a senior lecturer in International law at the LSE any indictment will be DOA (dead on arrival) and many at the STL realize this. The reasons include the growing  doubts among STL and International lawyers regarding the scarcity of  probative, relevant or material telecom data evidence to convict anyone.   State Department lawyers realized this months ago but did not calculate the growing Lebanese and now international skepticism  over the path the STL is taking.  Time is running out for the indictment seekers.  Tel Aviv and Washington want the indictments out by December 15, before the STL, UN, State Department begin to shut down for the Holidays until after New Years.  The clock is ticking.  On 12/3/10 the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat reported on the intensifying  Saudi-Syrian efforts at a resolution while at the same time there is a widening split between US-Israel efforts on the one hand for a fast indictment and France and Saudi Arabia who was the indictment delayed.

The loose cannon of recent revelations about possible Lebanese traitors working with the US Embassy and even Lebanese governmental officials to aid Israel in  attacking Lebanon while using their positions to prevent the Lebanese Armed Forces from performing its most basic function which is  to defend Lebanon may weaken the rush to indict.  Serious questions are being raised about the future of “Embassy Beirut”  from revelations contained in current and soon to be released Wilkileaks, according  to a UN Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer.

Based on phone and internet discussions with international lawyers at the London School of Economics, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and colleagues who work in the area of Public International Law an emerging consensus is developing concerning perhaps fatal procedural issues that continue to arise at the STL.  Such problems, which make it unlikely that the Hariri Assassination  case will ever go to trial.  Some international lawyers who have worked on international tribunals, are familiar with Rules of Procedures at the ICJ and the ICC  and are following the STL are increasingly concluding that there will not be a Trial.

The first “Procedure Rule” for the STL was adopted as urged by the US State Department  for the   Tribunal to be sanctioned under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.  This allowed UN forces to enforce any ruling issued by the Tribunal with the use of maximum force it deemed necessary.  Since then a number of Procedural rules have been adopted in order to assure that Hezbollah is found to be  a terrorist organization.  Among those made public to date is the decision to try those accused in absentia, a rarity in international tribunals that obviously does not allow the accused the chance to present a defense. This was exactly Kofi Annan’s fear as he objected to  elements in UNSCR 1757. STL rules for admission of evidence, pleadings, hearsay evidence, demonstrative, circumstantial direct evidence are being broadened and to date, surprisingly  have not been effectively challenged by lawyers from the  195 UN Member States.  Some resistance from amicus curie international lawyers is starting to jell and this growing skepticism is another reason for the ‘rush to indict’ pressure from Washington, Paris and London among other locals.

International tribunals are intended for crimes against humanity, serial war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes like massacres  but not for an individual case of assassination. The  claimed justification that Hariri’s assassination threatens global security is obviously baseless. Bhutto was assassinated but she never got an international tribunal nor did Omar Karameh who was also assassinated  while in office. If anything, the Hariri case belongs in the International Criminal Court which was established in 2002.

International lawyers are comparing the STL with the tribunal for former Yugoslavia is dangerous. Shortly after an indictment was issued in that case, 8000 Muslims were slaughtered in Srebrenica, under the eyes of international forces. One analyst asked  “Do “they” want civil war to break out in Lebanon after the indictment, is this their scheme?”

Among dozens of evidentiary problems are the issue of several false witness, compromised physical evidence from the crime scene, serious contradictions regarding the weapons used to assassinate PM Hariri, failure to give sufficient attention to photos and video footage from the crime scene,  or conduct autopsies of the victims, presence of residues of enriched uranium reported by doctors who examined bodies of victims,  the errors involved in the arbitrary arrest of  four generals as ‘suspects’, rush to judgment concerning the involvement of Syria, staff leaks to preferred media outlets  sloppy investigative work including the harassment of  college students on campus and women at  a  South Beirut gynecological clinic, failure to seriously consider evidence of Israeli involvement, among many others

In Lebanon, the Lebanese Forces and March 14 regard the STL as more important than stability.  So does Hilary Clinton in her statement of 12/3/10. They want the indictment to be issued so that they study it and then say if they agree to it or not. But based on what? They couldn’t decide on how to try false witnesses for six months (because obviously this will make some March 14 heads roll) so  they may be incompetent on this issue as well. On 12/3/10 the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat reported on the intensifying  Saudi-Syrian efforts at a resolution while at the same time there is a widening split between US-Israel efforts on the one hand for a fast indictment and France and Saudi Arabia who was the indictment delayed.

In addition to Bellemare’s departure, some staff and STL  insiders reportedly believe that President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Antonio Cassese must step down  given his pro-Zionist activities and his often expressed views that , the armed resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan should be tried for “terrorism”. These views are seen as corrupting the judicial process given Cassese key role in making procedural and evidentiary rulings as the case proceeds.

According to a legal analysts based at the Academy of International Law at the International Courts of Justice in the Hague, the double standards in the STL are pervasive. One example cited was that the ITL leaked that investigators interrogated Hezbollah members, yet when asked if Israelis were ever interviewed the Prosecutors Office is mute. In point of fact, an event said to have weighed heavily on Hezbollah’s decision to stop cooperating with the STL was the line of questioning and aggressive treatment five of its members received when Hezbollah asked them two years ago to meet with STL investigators. Reportedly, most of the questions had nothing to do with the individuals as possible suspects in the Hariri murder but rather the questioning covered security issues, sought personal information about Hezbollah leaders activities,  typical work schedules,  places frequented, home addresses, those in the Party who were friends with Rafiq Hariri, cars they drove, where they purchased gasoline etc.

Reportedly two were asked about what Hezbollah thought about Rafiq Hariri. They reported that Hezbollah admired the Prime Minister Rafiq.  One reason is that Hariri more than once provided political counsel, sometimes cover, and insisted that the Lebanese resistance was just that, a resistance movement and hence exempted from the UNSCR 1559 and various  calls for the Hezbollah ‘militia’ to be disarmed. According to PM Rafiq Hariri’s wife Nazek, she could tell when Rafiq had met with Hezbollah officials, particularly Hasan Nasrallah, because he returned from such meetings  is a good mood and energized.  The men used aids de camp to arrange meetings that only Rafiq’s immediate family knew about.  Knowing that Israel had  total control of Lebanon’s phone system, Rafiq would sometimes ask his interlocutor, “ Do you have fruits?”, meaning was it convenient for he and Nasrallah to meet.  If it was, Rafiq Hariri would come to Dahiyeh and visit, usually in the middle of the night.  Hezbollah’s Secretary-General once wrote that he felt that PM Hariri understood Hezbollah and understood him personally.  Both, came from South Lebanon villages and from families of very modest means.  Both lost cherished sons. Both knew Lebanon’s position in the region and internal political configuration were not ideal and sometimes easy prey for foreign adventures.  Both were good Muslims. one Sunni the other Shia,  and deeply believed in dialogue and finding common ground while eschewing petty antagonism over differences in Koranic interpretation in favor of Muslim  unity and respect for Lebanon’s Christian communities.  Both appeared to relish their private conversations which are said to have ranged from internal, regional, and international politics, to family, Palestine, history, religion, telling each other jokes, and just ‘hanging out.’  By all accounts they respected one another and developed an abiding  friendship.  Both were Patriots and despite sometimes being accused  of being too cozy  with this or that external politic al power centers, both viewed themselves as Lebanese, “first, last and always”. A family member of PM Hariri remembers the Martyr Rafiq saying,  more than once to Nasrallah, “the day the government decides to disarm the Resistance that’s the day I quit politics.”

That there will likely not be a trial, the Hariri assassination case is of little concern to just about everyone, except the Hariri family who seek closure and justice. Israel and the US do not need or even want a trial anymore. Israeli Knesset member, Tzahi Hanegbi,  expressed hope on 11/10/10  that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon could open a battle with Hezbollah, amid Israeli worries of  losing a golden opportunity for a direct confrontation with Hezbollah. According to Hanegbi,  “It’s not important that the Lebanese who carried out the assassination be prosecuted. What’s even more important is to portray Hezbollah as a terrorist party which killed a popular and beloved leader in Lebanon. Gabi Ashkenazi said this week that Israel is closely monitoring the repercussion of the indictment to see if they might reach the border.

An indictment will serve US-Israel projects swimmingly  as the public quickly tires of this charade the one narrative that will be repeated for years will be:  “Shia Hezbollah was indicted for killing the Sunni Saint Hariri so let’s go hang em!” Only frustrated international  lawyers will be interested in the flaws in the case.  The important “historic fact” will forever remain the Indictment.  When the indictments are issued everyone can go home.  Other events will likely overtake this story and it will likely fade surprisingly fast for it was never much about the murdered Prime Minister and the other 20 killed and dozens injured. It was about Hezbollah being the last bone in Israel’s throat and the necessity of seeing the Lebanese Resistance destroyed by any means possible.

Dr. Franklin Lamb is Director, Americans Concerned for Middle East Peace, Beirut-Washington DC, Board Member of The Sabra Shatila Foundation, and a volunteer with the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign, Lebanon. He is the author of The Price We Pay: A Quarter-Century of Israel’s Use of American Weapons Against Civilians in Lebanon and is doing research in Lebanon for his next book. He can be reached at [email protected]

===========================================================

SEE ALSO

NEW REVELATIONS ON RAFIK HARIRI’S ASSASSINATION –  by Thierry Meyssan

REVELATIONS ON HARIRI ASSASSINATION EXAMINED BY IRANIAN TV


Intifada Palestine

Is The Pill To Blame For Declining Fertility? Ctd

December 4, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Amanda Marcotte joins the chorus and lets loose on New York Mag's piece on the pill by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Grigoriadis doesn't veer from the formula one bit. Implying that women are too stupid to realize that delaying pregnancy until your 30s raises your chances of infertility? Check. Implying that infertility is a much bigger problem than it actually is in a country that has a relatively high birth rate for an industrialized nation? Check. Focusing on the complaints of side effects without checking the actual scientific studies on the prevalence? Check. Characterizing the entire female population as being exactly like your free-wheeling fun time friends in their 20s who are the kind of girls who match their pill cases to their shoes, without considering that mothers, the fiercely monogamous, and the totally unfashionable also have a need for the pill? Check. And above all, freaking out about how "unnatural" it is, as if it's somehow more unnatural than every other drug on the market, not to mention air conditioning, latex, television sets, and the wearing of shoes? Check.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Blame Jane Falsehoods

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Q: Is President Obama honoring Jane Fonda as one of the women of the century?
A: No. That was done 11 years ago by Barbara Walters of ABC News.

FULL QUESTION
A recent chain e-mail claims that Obama will honor Jane Fonda. Is this true?

Never Forgive A Traitor
For those of you too …
FactCheck.org

Blame Jane Falsehoods

December 3, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Q: Is President Obama honoring Jane Fonda as one of the women of the century?
A: No. That was done 11 years ago by Barbara Walters of ABC News.

FULL QUESTION
A recent chain e-mail claims that Obama will honor Jane Fonda. Is this true?

Never Forgive A Traitor
For those of you too …
FactCheck.org

Is The Pill To Blame For Declining Fertility?

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

New York Magazine makes the case. Phoebe offers a different explanation:

The unfortunate fact of female sexuality in our society is that too-young is very quickly followed by too-old – to conceive, or even to attract many men in the first place. 'You're not allowed to date, young lady' (from conservatives) or 'You're too young to settle down' (from liberals) segues almost instantaneously into 'What, no boyfriend?' The elusive window-of-opportunity – not the Pill, not the tendency of 20-somethings in crappy relationships to end those relationships – is the problem.

Solutions? Since the biological clock is unlikely to budge, it's clear we have to look, at least in part, at the younger end of the spectrum.

As it stands, all long-term romantic commitments begun prior to age 30 are viewed as having rushed into things. Without reverting to a system where women are stigmatized for not having settled down by 21, we could shift to one in which 23-year-old couples wouldn't be treated like experimenting middle-schoolers. I wouldn't suggest encouraging those who wouldn't do so otherwise to marry or similar at 20. I would suggest removing the stigma that says that to be well-educated and impressive and so on, you have to find 'that special someone' at 29-and-a-half, marry at 31, and reproduce before (horrors!) 35. I'd instead encourage the happy couples 18-25 that exist anyway not to end their relationships simply because 'there's so much more to experience.'

 





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Blame Canada

December 2, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The latest revelations from the Wikileaks State Department document dump include the fact that our neighbors to the north aren’t as happy with us as we’d like to believe:

In early 2008, American diplomats stationed in Ottawa turned on their television sets and were aghast: there was an “onslaught” of Canadian shows depicting “nefarious American officials carrying out equally nefarious deeds in Canada,” from planning to bomb Quebec to stealing Canadian water supplies.

In a confidential diplomatic cable sent back to the State Department, the American Embassy warned of increasing mistrust of the United States by its northern neighbor, with which it shares some $ 500 billion in annual trade, the world’s longest unsecured border and a joint military mission in Afghanistan.

“The degree of comfort with which Canadian broadcast entities, including those financed by Canadian tax dollars, twist current events to feed longstanding negative images of the U.S. — and the extent to which the Canadian public seems willing to indulge in the feast — is noteworthy as an indication of the kind of insidious negative popular stereotyping we are increasingly up against in Canada,” the cable said.

A trove of diplomatic cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of publications, disclose a perception by American diplomats that Canadians “always carry a chip on their shoulder” in part because of a feeling that their country “is condemned to always play ‘Robin’ to the U.S. ‘Batman.’ ”

But at the same time, some Canadian officials privately tried to make it clear to their American counterparts that they did not share their society’s persistent undercurrent of anti-Americanism.

In July 2008, Canada’s intelligence service director, James Judd, discussed a video showing a crying Omar Khadr, then a teenager and a Canadian detainee at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Judd “observed that the images would no doubt trigger ‘knee-jerk anti-Americanism’ and ‘paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty.’ ”

A cable that briefed President George W. Bush before a visit to Ottawa in late 2004 shed further light on the asymmetrical relationship with Canada — a country, the embassy wrote, that was engaged in “soul-searching” about its “decline from ‘middle power’ status to that of an ‘active observer’ of global affairs, a trend which some Canadians believe should be reversed.”

How they’d go about doing that is somewhat unclear.




Outside the Beltway

King: Blame the Pentagon

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

(WASHINGTON) CNN – New York Republican Rep. Peter King is blasting the Pentagon for the release of confidential State Department documents by the controversial whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

During an interview with CNN Lead Political Anchor Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room Tuesday, the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee blamed the Defense Department for failing to secure documents that were allegedly leaked at the hands of an army private.

King asserted that the Pentagon should have had more precautions and a “failsafe” procedure to prevent the release of sensitive information, and stated that he was not convinced enough was done.

When asked who was to blame for the leaks, King responded, “the Defense Department holds ultimate responsibility.”

King added that the potential cost of Wikileaks’ access to State Department is high.

“I have no doubt someone can or will die as a result of these leaks.” King said.

He called the leak an “invitation to murder.”

When pressed on whether he’d learned of any such casualties, King, revealed that he will receive his first briefing on the breach tomorrow.

King also said that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, should be prosecuted for espionage and that Wikileaks should be classified as a terrorist group so that “we can freeze their assets.”

Calling Assange an enemy combatant, King declared his dissatisfaction at the administration’s response, and stated that Attorney General Eric Holder showed “no intensity” in his reaction to the leak.

Since this weekend, Wikileaks has published hundreds of classified U. S. diplomatic messages, the first of what the organization says is a quarter million similar documents.

In addition to being published on Wikileaks website, the documents were acquired in advance by five major newspapers in Europe and the U. S. (The New York Times, The Guardian of the UK, El Pais of Spain, Le Monde of France, and Der Spiegel of Germany.) CNN declined a last minute offer to discuss advance access to some of the documents because of a confidentiality agreement requested by Wikileaks that CNN considered unacceptable.

CNN is committed to carefully and responsibly reporting on the documents already published by Wikileaks and the five newspapers, focusing not only on what the leaked documents say, but also what their publication means for global relations and U. S. diplomacy.


CNN Political Ticker

WaPo: Blame Obama for WikiLeaks

November 30, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Marc Thiessen argues in his Washington Post column today that the Obama administration has done nothing to stop WikiLeaks,  even though Julian Assange and his cohorts are “in likely violation of the Espionage and arguably providing material support for terrorism.”  At this point Assange has probably “illegally disclosed more classified information than anyone in history.”  But something can be done.  Writes Thiessen:

“The Obama administration has the ability to bring Assange to justice and to put WikiLeaks out of business. The new U.S. Cyber Command could shut down WilkiLeaks’ servers and prevent them from releasing more classified information on President Obama’s orders. But, as The Post reported this month, the Obama administration has been paralyzed by infighting over how, and when, it might use these new offensive capabilities in cyberspace. One objection: “The State Department is concerned about diplomatic backlash” from any offensive actions in cyberspace, The Post reported. Well, now the State Department can deal with the ‘diplomatic backlash’ that comes from standing by helplessly, while WikiLeaks releases hundreds of thousands of its most sensitive diplomatic cables.

Because of its failure to act, responsibility for the damage done by these most recent disclosures now rests with the Obama administration. Perhaps this latest release crosses a line that will finally spur the administration to action. After all, the previous disclosures harmed only our war efforts. But this latest disclosure is a blow to a cause Democrats really care about – our diplomatic efforts. Maybe now, finally, the gloves will come off. Or is posting mournful tweets about the damage done to our national security the best this administration can do?”

Big Peace

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