Friday, February 29, 2008

Larry Craig Seeks Interns

David Letterman shows us the ad.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Charlie Rose - PBS - European Perspective -- Priorities for the New President

Conversation with Burns, Horne and Ashe on the priorities for the new president, the state of U.S. influence, and trends affecting U.S. dominance. This is totally fascinating.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama's Kenyan Roots

Kristoff Article here.

Jon Stewart Mocks McCain at Oscars

from huff post

Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall hits the big time.. so well deserved. he is my hero.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Journey of Man

This Spencer Wells documentary on PBS is the best thing on television I have ever seen. Bar NONE. It totally moved me and made me realize how we are all connected on this planet. This documentary uses genetic data to trace human ancestors, and their trek to Central Asia, India, Australia, and Europe... This is the most fascinating documentary ever. Basically, we are all of African ancestry, and Europeans, Asians, and Americans can trace their lineage back to a group of humans in Central Asia.

wow



Friday, February 22, 2008

Sarah Chayes on Bill Moyers

February 22, 2008

BILL MOYERS: Hollywood last year gave us a record number of movies about war and terrorism but there's one film we'll see at the Oscar's this Sunday night that tells us more about the enemy we're fighting than it ever intended. CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR was described by its star, Tom Hanks, as a "serious comedy". It portrays a fun-and-freedom loving communist-loathing Texas congressman, who with the help of earmarks, slipped hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into a covert war against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan back in the 1980s.

While the movie has a happy Hollywood ending, the story wasn't over when the Afghans drove the Russians from their country. In 1988, CBS documented the real Congressman Wilson during a trip to Afghanistan where he was filmed presenting arms to the mujahideen. He even tried one on for size… Those mujahideen fighters did whip the Russians, thanks to the deadly weapons Wilson helped them acquire, especially stinger missiles that brought down Soviet helicopters. But in time those freedom fighters became the Al Qaeda and Taliban who ran Afghanistan as a theocracy and a training camp for Osama bin Laden's suicide bombers.

Now both the Taliban and Al Qaeda are back... And it's Americans, not Russians, they want to kill. The war is not going well for Americans and our NATO allies... This week was one of the deadliest yet. Suicide bombings in the country's largest cities--Kabul and Kandahar--killed over 130 Afghan civilians. The attacks occurred soon after the frank assessment of an independent non-partisan study group that said, in its opening statement: "make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan." The report lays the blame for the lack of progress on …"too few military forces and insufficient economic aid," and calls for "immediate action and attention…in order to prevent a setback to regional and global security." With conditions worsening Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dropped in for a surprise visit earlier this month and as usual offered a cheery diagnosis…

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: There is a remarkable difference for the better between the Afghanistan of 2001 and the Afghanistan of now…

BILL MOYERS: But the day before, her own State Department warned travelers against going to Afghanistan. With the growing power of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and widespread crime, violence is on the rise… an estimated 550 afghan businessmen were kidnapped last year. President Bush is sending another thirty-two hundred marines to the country, with the first deployment this spring... And Secretary Robert Gates has been making the rounds in Europe pleading for NATO to send more combat troops to the international force. There were no takers. Gates had to admit:

ROBERT GATES: Many of them, I think, have a problem with our involvement in Iraq and project that to Afghanistan.

BILL MOYERS: Meanwhile, Afghanistan is back producing opium in a big way - the world's number one supplier of heroin, according to the United Nations. Half a million acres are dedicated to its poppy fields. With a cut of those profits reportedly going to the Taliban and other rebels, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the West is facing "a classic growing insurgency".

No one has watched events on the ground in Afghanistan more closely than the American Sarah Chayes who was born in Washington D.C. She has lived in the former Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, near the southern border with Pakistan, since the weeks following 9/11. Back then, she was an NPR reporter covering the Taliban. But she soon left an award-winning career in journalism to live and work as a private citizen in Afghanistan. For almost seven years she has been helping to rebuild that country's civil society.

FRONTLINE WORLD followed Chayes as she negotiated with Afghan bureaucrats and warlords to literally rebuild a village. Chayes later organized the Arghand Cooperative to offer Afghans an alternative to working in the poppy trade. Composed of men and women, her coop produces skin-care products from local herbs and botanicals in the region around Khandahar, where she lives. Along the way, Chayes wrote, THE PUNISHMENT OF VIRTUE, about the resurgence of the Taliban. Welcome to the JOURNAL.

BILL MOYERS: Are there any good tidings from Kandahar, where you lived?

SARAH CHAYES: You know, there-- there's a sort of litany that public officials, when they do want to put a 'happy face' on things always run through. Like, there are schools, and there are people in schools, and there are kids in school. That's true. The roads in town are paved. The road to Kabul is paved. But there's almost always like a flip side to these stories. It's great to have paved roads in town. But the road to Kabul, I can't drive it anymore. I could drive up to Kabul before it was paved because it was safe enough to drive up there. But now, you're going run into Taliban check-points in two or three provinces, between Kandahar and Kabul. So I can't drive that road.

BILL MOYERS: You're at-risk there, right? Why do you keep going back?

SARAH CHAYES: I think it's really important. I think that where this world is going in the 21st century, is partly going be determined by what happens in Afghanistan. And I just can't imagine anything that would be more important to devote yourself to.

BILL MOYERS: Why is Afghanistan so important?

SARAH CHAYES: You know, there's a title of a book that's come into parlance now. Clash of Civilizations. There are a lot of people, I think, both in the West and in the Muslim world, who believe in clash of civilizations. Who want to see the world as a place dominated by two irrevocably hostile blocs. I don't want to live in that kind of world. I think that we live in an interconnected world full of rich, flawed, varied civilizations that are inextricably intertwined. And, so what I'm doing in Afghanistan, is working for that intertwined world. Working--

BILL MOYERS: You're going thread it.

SARAH CHAYES: Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: But, you know, some people do miss the 'Cold War.' They miss that two super powers.

SARAH CHAYES: In that regard, I would say that Osama bin Laden and certain members of our government are actually on the same team. Because they're working toward, they want to split the world apart, into two poles that are enemies. I'm on that other team.

BILL MOYERS: When you left National Public Radio back in 2002, didn't Karzai's brother ask you to join in helping to build a civil society?

SARAH CHAYES: Yeah. Well, it was his uncle first, who just popped this question. "Wouldn't you come back and help us." Like, how do you say no to that one? And then I did work with president Karzai's older brother, who had founded a non-profit organization called Afghans for a civil society.

BILL MOYERS: Oh, yeah. You were there for the fall of the Taliban.

SARAH CHAYES: Just after.

BILL MOYERS: Just after.

SARAH CHAYES: Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: Just after the fall of the Taliban. And now, six years later, they're back?

SARAH CHAYES: yeah. I mean, you know, these are districts that are in the hands of the Taliban. There's a district I used to go to frequently. We would gather herbs for our essential oil distilling up there. And now there was a deal between the district chief, the government and the Taliban saying, "so long as you don't kill the police, we'll let you go wherever you want." Now what has started to happen, couple of things have happened. One is people are just so disaffected with the government that we put in power.

BILL MOYERS: Ordinary people.

SARAH CHAYES: Ordinary people.

BILL MOYERS: Disaffected?

SARAH CHAYES: Yeah. Their government is shaking them down. I have people telling me, "We get shaking down by the government in the daytime, and shaken down by the Taliban at night. What are we supposed to do?"

BILL MOYERS: This is the Karzai government.

SARAH CHAYES: That's correct.

BILL MOYERS: This is the government the United States put in power.

SARAH CHAYES: That's correct. It's basically a criminal enterprise. And we haven't really asked it for any accounts in any serious way. And that's where the average person in Kandahar is totally perplexed. They assume that this degree of corruption, which is everywhere. You hear about it in the police department. It's not just the police department, it's in customs. It's in any adminis--You have-- you want to get a driver's license. You have to fork over money. Teachers. Yeah, kids are in schools. Teachers aren't in schools. Because their salary is $50 a month. And so they can't afford to teach. They need to do something else. In order to make enough money, they'll teach in a private school. Or they'll raid the international development assistance that's provided to students through the schools. For example, you'll have-- let's say each student is supposed to get five kilos of rice. The principal of the school is going to skim off one of those kilos and then sell. So that's 2,000 kilos he gets, if there's 2,000 kids in school. Then he sells that on the market.

BILL MOYERS: Right.

SARAH CHAYES: And then he distributes, you know, some of it to teachers.

BILL MOYERS: Does the government look the other way? Or is the government participating in it?

SARAH CHAYES: Well, every government official that I know is participating. So, with the exception of President Karzai himself, personally. How can he possibly not know? If I know. But it's not just them, what about us? We put-- us, the international community, we put these people into power. They wouldn't last a day if we weren't backing them up and propping them up in a way. So my question is, why is it that we don't begin putting some pressure on them to treat their citizens with common decency?

BILL MOYERS: What is life like under this kind of circumstance for ordinary people?

SARAH CHAYES: Well, in our case, for example, we import two products to make our soap. Most of our ingredients are local. But we import coconut oil and palm oil. So I know the cross border tribes. I can run that stuff across the border …

BILL MOYERS: This is the Pakistan border.

SARAH CHAYES: Correct.

BILL MOYERS: Yes.

SARAH CHAYES: Any time I want to. I said, "No, I'm not going do that. I don't want to pay customs, you know." So we deliver the oil to the customs. And then, there's this whole rigmarole about how we have to have this agent who's going go to-- you know, he's going get our stuff out of customs. And we're going have to pay him. There's no list that says, "this much of the truckload is your goods, and, therefore, you owe this much customs on these goods. You just get a bill from this guy. Which is astronomical. He's going to kick back half of that to the customs agents. And if you refuse to go that route, then all of a sudden, your stuff is held up, and it needs to get sent to Kabul to be tested for health reasons and all this stuff.

BILL MOYERS: Are the basic needs of ordinary people being met?

SARAH CHAYES: Well, currently, there's enormous inflation. The price of wheat has doubled. Now this is a global problem. But the price of wheat has doubled in about the last six months. And that means, that a government salary, which is at, let's say, $50 a month. That buys you not one sack of wheat. And an extended family is going eat three sacks of wheat in a month. So that means you've got a whole system that obliges people to be corrupt.

BILL MOYERS: But as I listen to you, I keep thinking, we've given, the United States and the international community, has given over a billion dollars to the government of Afghanistan. What's happened to it?

SARAH CHAYES: Well, for example we have one machine that really needs decent electricity.

BILL MOYERS: In your co-op?

SARAH CHAYES: In my co-op. We're getting three, four hours of electricity every three days. It'll come on any time. You don't know when it's going come on. So it'll come on at 1:30 in the morning, and the guys stay the night on rotation. So whoever the poor fellow is who had to spend the night that night, it's like, I'm knocking on the door, and it's like, we have to get up because there's electricity. So then we'll run the machine until 6:00 in the morning when the electricity ends. Now, okay, they're working on it, but it's six years after the fall of the Taliban. These are the things that people are wondering. If we're not there to provide reliable infrastructure, there's another real issue which is employment. And this is a kind of economic ideological problem. That when we talk about development aid, we talk about public facilities. And it's sort of against our religion to think about building a factory that would actually employ people. But Afghans don't understand that. They say, "Why aren't you people building any factories?" That's why I made my little soap factories. Because so many people were saying, "what are you foreigners doing here, if you're not employing people? Getting people off the streets."

BILL MOYERS: So what …

SARAH CHAYES: So, we're not doing those things. And we're not providing a government that they can you know, feel any pride in. So that's where you go starting to hear people say, "what are you people doing for us."

BILL MOYERS: So, put on your old reporters hat.

SARAH CHAYES: Right.

BILL MOYERS: Follow the money. Where has that billion dollars gone that we have been providing?

SARAH CHAYES: You know, you can drive around the streets of Kandahar. You can drive around the streets of Kabul, and you see some massive buildings. Massive buildings. You see the price of property in Kandahar is probably close to the price of property in New York City.

BILL MOYERS: So who's living in those buildings? Who's using those buildings?

SARAH CHAYES: Government officials and drug traffickers. So it's either the opium money, or it's the development money. And we're not following that money trail. The same problem in Iraq. I mean, there's just millions of dollars that are kind of leaking out of the system.

BILL MOYERS: So, has this become an opium economy?

SARAH CHAYES: Definitely, it's an opium economy. And it's totally integrated into the economy. It's a normal aspect of the economy. And you can feel it. For example, in opium harvesting season, we needed one of our herbs. We needed somebody to -- basically wild crafting to harvest herbs up in the hills. We couldn't get anybody because there were you know, buses at the Helmand, is the province right next door to us where most of the opium is growing. And there would be, you know, from the Helmand bus depot, they would just drive people straight out into the fields. Because, and the price of labor was going up. Normally, labor is unskilled labor is $4 a day. It was $20 to $25 a day in opium harvesting season. It totally absorbs all of the available manpower. Now, the cliché that I don't subscribe to is that the Taliban are running the opium business.

BILL MOYERS: Because that's what we hear.

SARAH CHAYES: Yes. They're not.

BILL MOYERS: That's what's said official.

SARAH CHAYES: No.

BILL MOYERS: You don't think they are?

SARAH CHAYES: No, no, of course not. It's a business. It's businessmen.

BILL MOYERS: Criminal gains.

SARAH CHAYES: They're just businessmen. They happen to traffic opium rather than trafficking, you know, cars, or trafficking televisions. They're businessmen who buy and sell opium. And it's a slightly complicated buying and selling. But, in fact, they've got some really excellent business practices. Like they provide credit to farmers. So, for example, one of the reasons that so many people grow opium is, there is no available access to credit. Ordinary credit. Not just business credit. But like, I mean, I suspect most of the people listening to us, have a credit card in their pocket. Afghans need credit, just as much as we do. They can't get it. And so, they borrow money. They need to marry off their sons, for example. It's going cost them $5,000 or $10,000. They have to pay a bride price. They have to have a feast for the entire village. They have to-- you know, where are they going get that money? So they turn to the opium trafficker, who lends them money. And he demands repayment in opium.

BILL MOYERS: So what happens if the American ambassador there, who's a big advocate of aerial spraying to destroy the poppy fields. What happens if he succeeds? What happens if the United States government sprays all the poppy plants and kills them, as happened in Colombia. What do the farmers do?

SARAH CHAYES: They join the Taliban. I mean, it's the biggest gift we could possibly do for the insurgency. What else would they do? They're furious. Their livelihood is taken away. Their children might be poisoned. Or they might think their children are poisoned. They join the Taliban. They take revenge.

BILL MOYERS: So if people were not growing poppies, what would they be growing?

SARAH CHAYES: What exists down there is very valuable crops. Almonds, apricots. It's fruit crops mostly. To me, the way to attack opium is to compete with it. Like let's make it possible to make a living and not-- you don't have to import some exotic new plant. They've got almonds, they've got apricots, they've got pomegranates. They've got cumin, they've got anise seed. Wild pistachios. We're putting all this stuff in our soap. Why isn't there a fruit juice factory in Kandahar? It's the pomegranate capital of the world. You know, everyone's talking about pomegranate and antioxidant. You know, qualities of pomegranates. That it's the Garden of Eden of pomegranates down there. And what's amazing is, with all this money that you mentioned being spent over there, you can't get any money to do stuff like that.

BILL MOYERS: We've also given a lot of money to Pakistan, across the border.

SARAH CHAYES: Right. Correct.

BILL MOYERS: To help fight the insurgents, right? What's happening to that money?

SARAH CHAYES: Well, we're paying a billion dollars a year to Pakistan, which is orchestrating the Taliban insurgency. So, it's actually us-taxpayer money that is paying for the insurgents, who are then killing, at the moment, Canadian troops. Now if I were the government of Germany or France, I'd have a hard time putting my troops in that kind of equation. I would demand from Washington, that Washington require a lot different behavior from Pakistan.

BILL MOYERS: But the money's supposed to be to stop the Taliban in Afghanistan.

SARAH CHAYES: Has anybody done very strict accounting on where that money is going? I suspect that if you start looking at some of the receipts, you'll find that there's money missing. I mean, I find it really amazing that, for example, recently, there was a cross border raid, that killed an Al Qaeda commander named Al-Libi in Beluchistan province of Pakistan. Now, the entire Taliban top command, or at least the top command of the part that's operating in the south, is based on Beluchistan provide. People know exactly where they are. Why has we never required those guys heads from Islamabad? Or why have we not considered taking them out ourselves? It's been very clear to me, watching since 2002, that Pakistan has been buying us off, by a well-timed delivery of an Al Qaeda operative, which has then caused us to look the other way about the Taliban.

BILL MOYERS: Isn't it because we were so concerned the government was so concerned with fighting the terrorist, that we made this alliance with Pakistan in order to try to find Osama bin Laden, and to prevent the spread of terrorism.

SARAH CHAYES: Correct. And we made an alliance with these thugs than we then placed into positions of power. So it's sort of like a--it's like a western movie. You know, you've got a posse. You're going go out after the outlaws, so you gather together a posse and it's usually a posse of criminals, right? But in a western movie, you don't then put the posse on the city council. You know.

BILL MOYERS: So who is the sheriff?

SARAH CHAYES: We're the sheriff.

BILL MOYERS: We are?

SARAH CHAYES: In this particular metaphor, we're the sheriff, right? We're going go out after the outlaw, Osama bin Laden. We gather this posse of Afghan criminals to gallop off with us. And then we put them in positions of the governor. We make them into the governor, the mayor, the, you know. And we don't ask them anything about how they're governing. We don't demand-- all we say is, we have to support the Afghan government. We have to support the Afghan government. And so we've fed them money, we've fed them arms, and then we say to the people, "okay, you're supposed to hold your government accountable." they're looking at these thugs with the whole power of the entire world, is what it looks like to them, behind them. And the Afghan people say, "you want us to hold them accountable?" So this, I think, is really the root of the problem.

BILL MOYERS: Why is the southern part of Afghanistan so important to us?

SARAH CHAYES: It's kind of like the marrow of the country's bones. Afghanistan was founded in Kandahar. Later the capital was moved to Kabul. It was really the capital, the Taliban's capital. It's also the part of the country that the Pakistani government has been able to control most successfully by-proxy. So, this is why 99 percent of the people in Kandahar believe that we are allied with the Taliban. Everybody thinks that America is allied with the Taliban.

BILL MOYERS: Because we're supporting Pakistan?

SARAH CHAYES: That's right. That's right.

BILL MOYERS: So what's our bind in southern Afghanistan?

SARAH CHAYES: I think there are two binds. One is our relationship with Pakistan, which is a contradictory one. And the other is our unwillingness to hold Afghan public officials to any standard of decency in government. We keep hearing in the west, about the democratically-elected Afghan government. And, oh, no, we can't get in there and interfere with any of these people, because they're the government of a sovereign country. Well, you could have fooled the Afghans. The Afghans-- the only person who's really elected, who has any power, is president Karzai. But every other government official that Afghans interact with on a daily basis, they didn't elect. And they don't have any recourse. They've got no way of lodging a complaint against this person. Or nobody who can put any leverage on them. And that's the other bind. We're only fooling ourselves when we talk about this democratically-elected Afghan government.

BILL MOYERS: And yet you're still there trying to make soap.

SARAH CHAYES: Yeah.

BILL MOYERS: Yeah. How's the co-op doing?

SARAH CHAYES: It's a split screen. Here we are on television. It's a split screen. The co-op is doing great. It's doing incredible. We are flooded with demand. We can't produce up to the demand.

BILL MOYERS: For the soap, you make.

SARAH CHAYES: For the soap, which we export to the U.S. and Canada. And my folks are getting more and more proud about the job that they're doing. They're seeing this as a vessel that can carry them across these troubled waters to some kind of future. But we're in an atmosphere of war. Three of my guys, I had to move them into town, because they're at too much risk in their villages.

BILL MOYERS: In their what?

SARAH CHAYES: In their villages. One of them was laid-in-wait for by Taliban last week.

BILL MOYERS: Are they tempted to join the Taliban?

SARAH CHAYES: No. But, I did ask one of them--one of my guys has an orchard. His sharecroppers were killed in one of these drive-by incidents. There was an improvised bomb that hit a Canadian armed vehicle. The scared Canadian soldiers fired. Killed a sharecropper and his 7-year old son. The 12-year old son survived. We started talking about this in the cooperative. And I asked my other guys, "you know, well, if that happened to you, if your brother, for example, got killed in one of these things, what would you do?" One of them said, "I would resign on-the-spot, and I'd pick up my gun and start shooting Canadians." Then I said, "what if it was the Taliban who killed your brother?" And he said the same thing. So this is another way that I can see this whole thing coming apart. It's a kind of privatization. You know. You've got people now with blood feud against NATO troops because of things like, you know, civilian casualties. These are people who need-- it's blood debt. They need to recoup that debt. And they're not going to be persuaded out of that.

BILL MOYERS: There's a thin line. As I listen to you, there's a thin line we sometimes walk, we human beings, between hope and folly.

SARAH CHAYES: Hmm.

BILL MOYERS: Are you very close to that line?

SARAH CHAYES: I don't think that hope is relevant. I think determination is all that counts. You just have to try. It doesn't matter if you hope you're going succeed or not. You have to keep trying.

BILL MOYERS: Sarah Chayes, good to see you.

SARAH CHAYES: Okay.

BILL MOYERS: Even as Sarah prepares to return to Afghanistan, the bad news there keeps unfolding. The Red Cross says the humanitarian crisis is growing as civilians caught between security forces and the Taliban flee their homes. That's a photograph of one refugee camp near Kabul. Last week severe winter weather and a shortage of food caused over 100 children to run away from an orphanage; they were trying to find warmth and something to eat. Those angry Afghan men in that photograph were said to be shouting anti-American slogans after nine policemen were killed in a raid conducted by U.S.-led forces looking for the Taliban. The commander of NATO forces there, General Dan McNeill said recently that to defeat the tribal resistance, the U.S. would need 400,000 soldiers. Charlie Wilson won't be around to help this time. He retired from Congress and became a lobbyist for the defense industry. His firm also received $30,000 a month to represent Pakistan in Washington.

That's it for the JOURNAL. We'll see you next week. I'm Bill Moyers.

One of Hillary's Finest Moments

I almost cried here. Wish she could have shown more of this:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama's Ego

I have noticed that once in a while, Obama's ego gets the better of him. He needs to keep that in check.

Hillary

I will totally be on board if Hillary wins this. I have said it before on this blog, we had/have an embarrassment of riches in our candidates. Dodd, Biden, Clinton, Obama, Edwards,... all in my mind stellar candidates.

I like the Clintons.. even adored them.. still like them a great deal. I would be unhappy if she were the nominee, because of Obama, but I would get over it and support her.

Yet, somehow, the clintons of the 90s are different than the Clintons of now. Unfortunately for her, she has failed to inspire. She is supremely competent and amazingly knowledgeable. Its almost sad that she can't win on those merits. She lacks what Bill has.. I can't describe it.. she lacks a certain gravitas, an umph factor that Obama has in droves.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

McCain Laughing at Us

Josh Marshall, at TPM, my hero, says this:

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination, it seems clear that that victory won't be celebrated any time soon. The writing could be on the wall on March 5th. But even if that's the case, the race seems unlikely to be settled for some time after that. And there's of course the possibility, though I think it's not likely, that the fight could go all the way to the convention.

And during that time, who takes on John McCain? McCain is already making a number of position changes that are getting little or no media attention. He's caught up in some very questionable campaign finance gambits. And he's launching daily and fairly harsh attacks on Barack Obama, as he's wise to do as long as the Democrats are distracted by their own primary fight.

Someone at the DNC, or other party organization should be putting together a campaign apparatus in waiting that will take on the Republican nominee until a clear Democratic winner can take over. But at the moment I'm not seeing any sign of it.

Best Commander in Chief According to Pentagon

Great article by McClatchy.

The Asian Century?

Opinion in the LA Times.

McCain VP Possibilities Analyzed

The irreplaceable McClatchy newspaper group has a rundown on the candidates.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Go Deacs

Wake Forest University beats Duke.. Awesome

Friday, February 15, 2008

Profile of David Axelrod

From the LA Times: Here

Obama on Latin America

Here is some specifics for you that INCORRECTLY say he has none:

World's Oceans in Peril. (sigh)

BBC story here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Iranians Love Americans

Anyone who knows anything about Iran, knows that Iranian people really like Americans. Article Here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Australia to Apologize to Aboriginies

About time.

Hillary

I like Hillary and will vote for her if she is the nominee. She is smart, sophisticated, dedicated, and competent.

She is however, polarizing.. sometimes through absolutely no fault of her own. You cannot say that she is not polarizing. The republicans hate her. Many Repbulicans who are disillussioned, will come out in nov. just to vote against her. 47% of the country will not vote for her.

Also, there is sheer clinton fatigue.. no more bushes.. no more clintons.

As someone said on another blog though, she would make a perfect chief of staff. She is very detail oriented. Obama, is more inspirational, and much more of a leader.

I have watched C-Span all week.. hours worth. the O is a far better speaker and far better on the cuff. he is also quite more liberal than she is, which suits me fine.

I detest the republicans sexist barrages against hillary. They wish they had a candidate as good as her. It makes me want to come to her defense.

That said, this election is about the country and if she is the nominee, it will turn into a referendum on the Clintons.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Nascar

I just don't get cars going around in circles. Someone somewhere explain this to me.

Lieberman

The best thing that can happen in November is that the Dems win a few more Senate seats so that Lieberman won't be the swing vote any more. There is talk today that he will go to the Republicants convention. UGH....

Embarrassment of Riches

The Democratic candidates were mostly all great. Biden and Dodd were total standouts. Hillary Clinton is smart, sophisticated, and by all measures, people who know her love her. Obama totally inspires and is amazing. I want Obama of course, but lets take a moment to realize how lucky we are as Democrats to have such wonderful people running.

Assembly -- Never Never

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bronski Beat -- Smalltown Boy --

Absolute Freakin Classic.

China Crisis -- Wishful Thinking

Brilliant. I adore this song.


Democratic Civil War

Frank Rich Article in the NY Times.

Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.” Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.”


The question now is how much more racial friction the Clinton campaign will gin up if its Hispanic support starts to erode in Texas, whose March 4 vote it sees as its latest firewall. Clearly it will stop at little. That’s why you now hear Clinton operatives talk ever more brazenly about trying to reverse party rulings so that they can hijack 366 ghost delegates from Florida and the other rogue primary, Michigan, where Mr. Obama wasn’t even on the ballot. So much for Mrs. Clinton’s assurance on New Hampshire Public Radio last fall that it didn’t matter if she alone kept her name on the Michigan ballot because the vote “is not going to count for anything.”

Varla and Flotilla Doing Cher's Dark Lady

Happy Heart Sung in Drag

Petula Clark's Happy Heart by Draggy From Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss


Friday, February 8, 2008

Turtles' Long Trek

Turtle's long trek from feeding to spawing grounds. These are amazing animals.

Its Always Been the Persian Gulf

Every now and then, there is a brouhaha about the name of the Gulf region between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. Its always been called the Persian Gulf, but almost everyone.

This tiff predates the revolution in Iran, and is a major source of ire for many Iranians.

By any measure, ie. historical, population size, geographic size, the term used should be Persian Gulf.

Enuf said!

Bill Clinton's Sort of Apology

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Michael Chabon Article

I loved this so much, I had to repost it.

NYT Editorial on Zanan

Here. It is well worth a read.

Who is More Electable?

The great Kristoff speaks.

Facebook Members Support Barack

link here, link taken from steve clemons's site

Virginia Crucial for Obama

Obama must win Virginia. He has to sweep the Potomac Primaries. If not, he will be poorly positioned for the big state races, like Ohio, where Hillary has a significant lead.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obama's Journey

Lets take a look back at Obama's journey, to just assess how amazing his candidacy is.

* His name is Barack "Hussein" Obama.. not a particulary good name if you are running for political office.

* He is facing the most formidable family in Democratic politics. Bill Clinton is/was amazingly popular and his wife, Hillary, had the status of an incumbant democrat that no one could touch. In the early debates, she did not really even address her democratic opponents head-on. It was as if she was already the candidate and she was going up against the Republicans. Addressing her democratic opponents seemed beneath her.

* She is a formidable candidate, with superlative skills, and one that can change the tenor and tone of her campaign exceedingly quickly. For example, Bill was causing her damage, and poof, he disappears for a while. She does, wrongly in my opinion, inspire rage in the Republican party. (Nothing, but nothing can unite that party, except for Hillary).

* Hillary had raised an amazing amount of money to run the campaign, and had secured all of the best democratic pollsters, wonks, etc.. basically, she had resurrected the Bill Clinton machine. She had the best of staff, experienced, and ruthless.

* Obama is an African American. There as still, I suspect, a wide swath of this country who will not vote for an African American. They are definately in the minority of voters, but I am guessing they are not an insignificant number.

* His grandfather was Muslim. The religion is the least liked of all major religions in the U.S., and ranks lower than Mormonism with the U.S. electorate.

* Against all of these odds, and against a barrage of race-baiting comments by Clintonites, mostly (BAD COP) Bill Clinton, Obama managed to hold his own.

simply amazing.

I am giving Clinton the edge going forward, but just step back and be amazed at Obama. If we do not pick him, it is our shame. If we do not pick him, we deserve what we get.

He is giving it his all, though. And that is all you can ask of him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Clinton Changes the Rules of the Game--Again

Now, Clinton wants to debate on FOX .. when she agreed she would not.

Thus, if Obama sticks with the original agreed-to plan, he will look like he does not want to debate her,or is afraid to debate her. The Democrats, if you all remember, agreed not to go on FOX to punish News Corp. and Murdoch, for his anti-Democratic stance. The network is basically a mouth piece for the RNC.

Earlier, as we all know, both Obama and Hillary agreed not to compete or contest the Fla. and Mich. primaries. She campaigned in Fla. anyway, after her trouncing in SC, and rumors are that if the delegate race is close, she will want to seat those Fla. and Mich. delegates at the convention.

So Hillary.... Stick by the rules! I just can't help but shake my head at this. How is changing the rules, halfway in the middle of a contest, fair. It just reinforces the widely held belief that Hillary, and Bill, will do ANYTHING to win.

Just when i was feeling good about her, she goes and does this.

Not to mention the NOW campaign claiming Obama is not totally pro-choice.

The Least Successful Candidate in History

Rudy Guilliani

$50 Million for just one delgate. Ha Ha

Maybe his horrific foreing policy team had something to do with it. Or maybe because his kids are voting for Obama. But in any event, this, for me is the best news this year.

Vote Obama

for a change... YES WE CAN

Monday, February 4, 2008

Erica Jong's Moving Essay on Clinton

While I support Obama, with all my might, I think this is a very touching essay about Clinton.

The Most Eloquent Endorsement of Obama

Michael Chabon's brilliant endorsement of Obama.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Poem to Heath Ledger

From Huff. post.. its here

Iran's Frail Economy

Iran's Economy Sux thanks to the Idiot Ahmadinejad.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Move-On Endorses Obama

Moveon.org endorses Obama. Its important to note the group got started after the Democrats were angered over the Lewinsky scandal.

Nobe Laureate Shirin Ebadi Interview

Interview here.

Punjabi v. Pashtuns in Pakistan

Interesting NY Times article today