Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Judge Orders Guantanamo To Release Five Terror Suspects In "Major Blow" To Bush Policy
In the first case of its kind, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the government's evidence linking the five Algerians to al-Qaida was not credible as it came from a single, unidentified source. Therefore, he said, the five could not be held indefinitely as enemy combatants, and should be released immediately.
"To allow enemy combatancy to rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with the court's obligation," Leon told the crowded courtroom.
As a result, he said, "The court must and will grant the petitioners and order their release."
As for the sixth Algerian, Belkacem Bensayah, Leon said there was enough reason to believe he was close to an al-Qaida operative and had sought to help others travel to Afghanistan to join the terrorists' fight against the United States and its allies.
One of the men to be released is Lakhdar Boumediene, whose landmark Supreme Court case last summer gave the Guantanamo detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment.
The Algerians' attorneys said they would appeal Bensayah's detention but hugged each other and colleagues in congratulations after Leon's ruling.
"It's a relief," said attorney Robert C. Kirsch.
Katie Couric Talks Palin Interview With David Letterman
Pelosi To Automakers: "Until They Show Us The Plan, We Cannot Show Them The Money"
"Until they show us the plan, we cannot show them the money," Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said at a hastily called news conference in the Capitol.
She and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Congress would return to work in early December to vote on legislation if the General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC produce an acceptable plan.
The decision averted a likely defeat of legislation providing $25 billion loans for the industry. Reid and Pelosi both said there was no plan in circulation that could pass both houses of Congress and win President George W. Bush's approval.
While the decision headed off the defeat of one bill, it did not necessarily translate into passage of a different one.
As a result, the fate of hundreds of thousands of auto workers and even of an iconic American industry hangs in the balance.
Dead San Diego Marine again denied Medal of Honor
Rep. Duncan Hunter and other politicians had appealed a decision to instead award Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Navy Cross, the second-highest medal the Navy can bestow for valor.
Peralta's nomination was tainted by reports he was hit in the head by friendly fire shortly before an insurgent lobbed the grenade, but witnesses described how the mortally wounded Marine deliberately grabbed the grenade and pulled it to his chest to protect fellow troops from the blast.
In a letter dated Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said five independent experts — three medical doctors, a general and a Medal of Honor recipient — reviewed the forensic evidence and unanimously found it did not meet standards because they could not be sure Peralta acted deliberately.
California's senators and five San Diego-area representatives wrote to President George W. Bush, asking him to reconsider the decision and recognize Peralta's sacrifice to his comrades and his country.
"Intentionally absorbing a grenade blast to protect one's comrades in arms has been traditionally recognized by awarding the Medal of Honor," they wrote.
Kerry poised to cap long journey
Aides to Kerry said he is already laying out a broad agenda for the committee, beginning with new legislation to strengthen the United States' hand against terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan; provide oversight of efforts to end the war in Iraq; and seize what he sees as a new opportunity to curtail the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
WORLD LEADERS DON'T SHAKE BUSH'S HAND
President-elect Barack Obama is poised to restore the United States' image in the international community, but experts say the president-elect must show the world that his actions will live up to his rhetoric.
Receiving a warm welcome is not the same as maintaining one, and Obama has a lot of work to do to improve the U.S. brand.
Read the whole story here.
New friendly fire coverup: Army shreds files on dead soldiers
Editor's note: On Oct. 14, 2008, Salon published an article about the deaths of Army Pfc. Albert Nelson and Pfc. Roger Suarez. The Army attributed their deaths in Iraq in 2006 to enemy action; Salon's investigation, which included graphic battle video and eyewitness testimony, indicated that their deaths were likely due to friendly fire.After Salon published Benjamin's Oct. 14 report, the Army ordered soldiers to shred documents about the men. As proof that they were ordered to destroy the paperwork, a soldier saved some examples and provided them to Salon.
By Mark Benjamin Pages 1 2 3
Revealed: Secret Gitmo Camp Opened To Defense Lawyers
Two military lawyers for Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged plotter of the Sept. 11 attacks, were granted 90 minutes on Tuesday evening to view Camp 7, a section for "high value" detainees that has been shrouded in mystery since it opened two years ago.
The attorneys are trying to determine if their client is mentally competent to stand trial and to gauge the effects of the prison-within-a-prison on a man who, according to court documents, is so unstable that he believes his bed shakes and noxious odors are pumped into his cell.
Cheney Indictment Moves Forward In South Texas
Cheney, Gonzales and the others will not be arrested, and do not need to appear in person at the arraignment, Presiding Judge Manuel Banales said.
In the latest bizarre development in the case, the lame-duck prosecutor who won the indictments was a no-show in court Wednesday. The judge ordered Texas Rangers to go to Willacy County District Attorney Juan Guerra's house, check on his well-being and order him to court on Friday.
Half of the eight high-profile indictments returned Monday by a Willacy County grand jury are tied to privately run federal detention centers in the sparsely populated South Texas county. The other half target judges and special prosecutors who played a role in an earlier investigation of Guerra.
One indictment charges Cheney and Gonzales with engaging in organized criminal activity. It alleges that the men neglected federal prisoners and are responsible for assaults in the facilities.
Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary?
President-elect Barack Obama's top choice for secretary of homeland security is Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, multiple Democratic sources close to the transition told CNN on condition of anonymity.
One source said he believed the final decision depends on the vetting of the Democratic governor, much like the selection of Eric Holder for attorney general.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
How To Profit Off The War On Terror
It's Official: Axelrod Joining Obama White House
Tina Brown: Bush Library To Be "Halloween Shop Of Horrors," Presidency "A Chapter Of Hideous Accidents"
The Daily Beast founder and editor-in-chief Tina Brown appeared on "The Rachel Maddow Show" (guest-hosted by Alison Stewart, wife of executive producer Bill Wolff) Tuesday night. Brown's segment was focused on the 62 days remaining in the Bush presidency, and she did not mince words in dissecting the lame duck.
"One of the things that I'm told at the moment is that Bush is entirely focused right now on his legacy, on his library," she said. "That's all he really wants to talk about is his library. Because he's trying to build a legacy. But quite honestly, one can only think that that library is a Halloween House of Horrors. From the Guantanamo room to the Abu Ghraib room to the Hurricane Katrina room, this is going to be a very interesting library when it is built."
Brown also said that Bush's presidency has had "so many disasters" that, unlike previous lame duck Presidents, he is not "looking back in a mellow fashion on his Presidency, or even feeling that he has busy things to do so much as a President who is kind of punch-drunk with a series of debacles which even he — in his great denial and refusal to accept his own failures — has to accept at this point has been a chapter of hideous accidents, if you want to be charitable about it." LinkHere
Kerry expected to get top foreign affairs panel post
WASHINGTON -- More than three decades after he first appeared before the panel as a 27-year-old Vietnam veteran-turned-antiwar protester, Senator John F. Kerry is widely expected to be named the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a position that will give him enormous influence over international relations.
The pending announcement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which congressional aides said could come as early as today, would elevate Kerry to the top of the foreign policy establishment and give him a major role in shaping President-elect Barack Obama's foreign policy priorities.
Kerry, 64, who was elected to a fifth term in the US Senate from Massachusetts earlier this month, will be officially handed the gavel when the new congressional session convenes in January, according to multiple Capitol Hill sources. He will replace the outgoing chairman, Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Al Qaeda is genuinely concerned about an Obama presidency and views it as a strategic threat to its existence.
used a racial epithet to insult Barack Obama in a message posted Wednesday, describing the president-elect in demeaning terms that imply he does the bidding of whites.
Zawahiri also challenged Obama's policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan saying
Be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them
The press is reporting this as Al Qaeda's first direct challenge to Obama. But what does it actually say about Al Qaeda? More than anything it demonstrates that Al Qaeda is genuinely concerned about an Obama presidency and views it as a strategic threat to its existence.
First and foremost, Al Qaeda is an organization that thrives on propaganda. It paints the United States as an evil empire that oppresses its own minorities and has little regard for the rest of the world. Al Qaeda uses these types of narratives to raise funds and recruit. The Bush administration played right into this trap. Its "with us or against us" mentality and invasion of Iraq damaged America's image around the world and reinforced Al Qaeda's narrative.
But Al Qaeda's narrative is now under siege and it's clearly uncertain about how to react. The election of the first African American President, one with a Muslim father, flies in the face of this narrative. It shows America as an open and tolerant society - not the oppressive empire Al Qaeda would like to portray. In fact, the overwhelmingly positive international reaction to Obama's election is proof of the the threat Al Qaeda faces. As a 29 year old at a Bangkok Starbucks explained,
OBAMA TAPS DASCHLE FOR HHS:
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has accepted President-elect Barack Obama's offer to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democratic officials said Wednesday.
The appointment has not been announced, but these officials said the job is Daschle's barring an unforeseen problem as Obama's team reviews the background of the South Dakota Democrat. One area of review will include the lobbying connections of his wife, Linda Hall Daschle, who has done representation mostly on behalf of airline-related companies over the years. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorize to discuss the matter publicly.
Daschle was a close adviser to Obama throughout the former Illinois senator's White House campaign. He recently wrote a book on his proposals to improve health care, and he is working with former Senate leaders on recommendations to improve the system.
Organizations seeking to expand health coverage were quick to praise the selection.
"Sen. Daschle has a deep commitment to securing high-quality, affordable health care for everyone in our nation," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "His new leadership position confirms that the incoming Obama administration has made health care reform a top and early priority for action in 2009."
Steve Clemons and Tom Daschle on the Healthcare Crisis
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Back in Afghanistan, the mind turns to the small matter of savagery. Not the routine cruelty of war, but the deliberate inhumanity with which we behave.
The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.
Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.
Another indictment charges state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with profiting from his public office by accepting honoraria from prison management companies.
The indictments were first reported by KRGV-TV.
Source: Washington Post
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), making his second appearance on Capitol Hill since he began treatment for a malignant brain tumor in June, told reporters yesterday that he would advance a bill early next year calling for universal health care.
Some Democrats, including members of President-elect Barack Obama's circle, have begun to view expanded coverage as a longer-term goal.
The brief appearance by Kennedy, who made a surprise return in July to vote on a Medicare bill, represented an opportunity for him to show colleagues that he remains energetic and engaged, and that he intends to reclaim his committee post in January and take charge of the Obama health-care agenda. Some Democrats had speculated that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) would attempt to assume the chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) rolled out his own health-care bill days after Obama was elected, and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also expects to be a leading participant in the effort to establish universal health care.
Kennedy has a head start on them all. Despite his illness, he directed his staff months ago to begin work on legislation that would vastly expand health coverage, a career-long goal of his....
Plame, Wilson Seeking Supreme Court Review
Lawyers for former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson plan to petition the Supreme Court to review a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, among others, after a federal appeals court this week rejected a rehearing en banc.
Plame and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged Cheney and other Bush administration officials violated constitutional rights in revealing her identity as an undercover CIA officer. In a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in August affirmed a district judge’s order dismissing the lawsuit saying, among other things, the complaint failed to establish a constitutional issue. Chief Judge David Sentelle was sitting with Judges Karen LeCraft Henderson and Judith Rogers, who dissented.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington participated in representing Plame and Wilson in the suit. “The Wilsons and their counsel are certainly disappointed by the Court of Appeals’ decision, but it is not over yet,” CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan, said in a statement. “Now we will petition the Supreme Court to hear the case.” Sloan continued, “There must be consequences when government officials abuse their power and endanger national security for political ends. This is an issue worth fighting over and we will not give up.”
Protests Over a Rule to Protect Health Providers
Now it's back to her day job at the state capital in Juneau.
Within days of the McCain-Palin ticket's defeat earlier this month, the unsuccessful GOP vice presidential nominee capped her tumultuous two months on the campaign trail with a whirlwind series of national media interviews and a headline-grabbing appearance at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Florida.
Now it's back to her day job at the state capital in Juneau.
Palin's state budget proposal is due in a month, with plummeting oil prices slashing Alaska's revenues by billions of dollars.
"If You Leak, You're Gone": Obama Transition Team
Several Obama transition staffers have put a version of that quotation in transition co-chief John Podesta's mouth.
Many of the major staff appointments so far - Rahm Emanuel as chief of staff, Greg Craig as White House counsel, the fact of the Clinton meeting, along with details about internal thinking on Gitmo and other subjects - have escaped whatever barriers the Obama team has set in place.
Every transition staffer and adviser has signed a non-disclosure agreement, and staff members are regularly warned by their superiors not to talk to the press.
My guess is that the sheer size of the universe that Obama's now dealing with - huge agency teams, reams of outside advisers being asked for their opinions - renders silence virtually impossible.
Read more about Obama's transition team here. LinkHere
Lieberman Keeps Committee Chair In Senate Vote
The Connecticut independent will lose a panel post on the Environment and Public Works panel as punishment for criticizing Obama this fall.
Lieberman's colleagues in the Democratic caucus voted 42-13 Tuesday to approve a resolution condemning statements made by Lieberman during the campaign but allowing him to keep the Homeland Security Committee gavel.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he had been very angry by Lieberman's actions but that "we're looking forward, we're not looking back."
Added Reid: "This was not a time for retribution, it was a time for moving forward on the problems of this country."
Lieberman's grasp on his chairmanship had gotten stronger since President-elect Barack Obama signaled to Democratic leaders that he's not interested in punishing Lieberman for boosting McCain and criticizing Obama during the long campaign.
Speaking to the Huffington Post just moments after it was announced that Democrats in the Senate had voted to keep Lieberman as committee chair, Dean said the party had done the right thing by not giving into urges for retribution.
"You know, the desire of revenge is great, of course. But the truth is public policy doesn't run on revenge very well," he said. "And when you see the trouble this country has gotten into in terms of foreign policy, where Bush basically ran a foreign policy based on petulance because he was mad at, for example, Mexico, for abstaining on the Security Council when the Iraq War came up, if you have to actually run the country, it is best not to do it based on feeling of anger towards your enemies."
The Democratic Party chair, who will be leaving his post this January, went on to applaud Barack Obama for putting hurt feelings aside and welcoming the Connecticut Independent back into the party fray. He also predicted that the caucus would benefit from keeping Lieberman, who spent the past year campaigning alongside John McCain, often criticizing Obama and the Democratic Party.
OBAMA'S NEW SHERIFF?
Holder, who served as deputy attorney general during the Clinton administration, still has to undergo a formal "vetting" review by the Obama transition team before the selection is final and is publicly announced, said one of the sources, who asked not to be identified talking about the transition process. But in the discussions over the past few days, Obama offered Holder the job and he accepted, the source said. The announcement is not likely until after Obama announces his choices to lead the Treasury and State departments.
Holder, 57, has been on Obama's "short list" for attorney general from the outset. A partner at the D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling, Holder served as co-chief (along with Caroline Kennedy) of Obama's vice-presidential selection process. He also actively campaigned for Obama throughout the year and grew personally close to the president-elect. Holder has not returned a call seeking comment; the Obama transition team did not respond to e-mail messages.
Hagel, Unrestrained, Lashes Into Bush, Rush And The GOP
Appearing at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advances International Studies, the outgoing Nebraska Republican leveled harsh criticism at his own party, the lack of intellectual curiosity among some of his colleagues, the Bush administration's handling of nearly every aspect of governance and -- perhaps most bitingly -- the conservative radio voices that often dictate the GOP agenda.
"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus." "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."
It wasn't all an exercise in unloading pent-up frustrations. Hagel offered praise for Robert Gates -- creating the impression that he would like the current Pentagon chief to remain at the post once President-elect Barack Obama takes office. He also deflected questions about whether he would serve in the Obama administration or what he thought of the possibility of Hillary Clinton at Secretary of State. Moreover, Hagel offered what amounted to an hour-long plea for the next administration and Congress to reconfigure the way it works together and within the international framework when it comes to foreign affairs.
"Eighty-seven percent of the American people said America is going in the wrong direction," said Hagel. "You don't need to know another number about anything, and so the election was pretty predictable: the American people don't like what is going on... they want us to start doing what leaders are expected to do, address the problems, find some consensus to governing. Get along. There will be disagreements, sure... but in the end we can't hold ourselves captives to this raw, partisan, political paralysis."
But the truly memorable bits came when -- unrestrained by formalities -- he deployed a sharp tongue while riffing on the GOP. Reflecting on the Bush administration, Hagel, one of the earliest critics of the Iraq war, held back few punches.
"Yes, there have been some differences and some pretty significant ones in [the Republican Party]. But when you ask the question: 'Has [our approach] worked? I don't think many people will say it has worked," he said, adding later: "God knows I would never question the quality of our elected officials, that's why I'm so popular with many of them."
Can Mall Be Filled For an Inauguration? 4 Million May Try It.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008; A01
District and federal officials are preparing for as many as 4 million people for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, a crowd that would be three or four times larger than previous big events on the Mall.
Only a fraction of those people will be close enough to get a good look at the action. But officials are planning extra JumboTrons at the Mall and along the inaugural parade route so that spectators can feel a part of the historic day.
"The Mall actually may be the best seat in the house. . . . It'll kind of be like the world's biggest stage and auditorium on January 20th," said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D), adding that the crowd projections have emerged in briefings conducted by federal and local officials.
All plans are pending approval of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, to be set up by Obama, which determines the size and nature of the inaugural festivities, Fenty said. But District officials have met several times with the Secret Service and other agencies.
The Secret Service is taking the lead in overseeing security and other logistics. Even for a city that has hosted vast throngs for marches, protests, celebrations, funerals and inaugurations, this will be an unprecedented test of planning and resources. The question arises: Can the city handle it? Can millions of people fit downtown?
Church sign: Obama election 'is sin against the Lord'
Monday, November 17, 2008
The G-20 Washout
The financial crisis is being used by Wall Street big-wigs to restructure the economy and create a permanent class of working poor.
The G-20 Economic Summit Won't Change the "Financial Crime Scene"
By Richard C. Cook
I worked in the U.S. Treasury Department for 21 years and learned first-hand the history and operations of public finance in the U.S. I have seen the disastrous results of the debt-based financial system and how it has driven our nation, government, and people into bankruptcy. I have also seen how these simple measures of monetary reform would be easy to implement and would begin to turn the situation around within weeks or months.
A Pact With The Devil
Last month, Muqtada said, "If they tell you that the agreement ends the presence of the occupation, let me tell you that the occupier will retain its bases. And whoever tells you that it gives us sovereignty is a liar."
The Bailout's Next 60 Days
America the Illiterate
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés.
When millions watched Barack Obama give his history-making victory speech in Grant Park on election night, one thing stood out starkly - the bulletproof screen surrounding him. But just how serious is the threat of assassination to the President-elect?
The Architects of Fear:
Are all conservatives abusers? No. But many who supported the prior administration's psychopathic war on human and environmental rights demonstrate the red warning signs of the Authoritarian Personality. This makes them extremely dangerous, the more so when their rhetoric of patriotic fervor and Christian decency goes unchallenged.
All the King's Men
For all the goodwill Mr. Obama now enjoys, it's possible that if he tries to ignore the crimes of the last eight years, he will reap a whirlwind of outrage exacerbated by the befalling economic disaster, another Bush legacy. He risks becoming a one-term President, replaced in the ever more desperate hope of real change
Leading Economist Warns of Food Riots
Everyone along the supply chain should worry about their jobs. Many will lose their jobs sooner rather than later.
Lehman Administrators' Task Will Dwarf Enron, Creditors Told
Collapsed bank's creditors expect less than 10%
Speaking after the first creditors' meeting, a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers said they had identified more than $1tn (£670bn) in assets and liabilities that need to be accounted for.
Obama interview sets '60 Minutes' viewership record
Watch CBS Videos Online
Ted Kennedy Returns To The Senate
Ted Kennedy returned to the Senate today, nearly six months to the day after the seizure that led to the diagnosis of his malignant brain tumor. He was accompanied by his wife and dogs, and was greeted by over 100 staffers. Kennedy spoke about working with President-elect Barack Obama on a variety of issues, including healthcare.
"Frightened" David Frum Quits National Review
Now David Frum, a prominent conservative writer who enmeshed himself in a minor dustup during the campaign by turning negative on Governor Palin, is leaving, too. In an interview, he said he planned to leave the magazine, where he writes a popular blog, to strike out on his own on the Web. ...
"I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated," he said.
Read the whole story here.
It's close-knit. It's kind of like Wasilla, Alaska, except that it's different.
Unity march planned in response to cross-burning incident in Hardwick Township (NJ)
Thursday November 06, 2008, 2:05 PM
A family of Barack Obama supporters awakened this morning to find a burned 6-foot cross on the front lawn of their home in northern Warren County, police said.
The charred cross was partly wrapped with a homemade congratulatory banner that declared "President Obama Victory '08" and had been stolen from the lawn the night before, police said.
"Living in the 21st century, and we have to deal with this -- in America," said Gary Grewal, a native of India who lives with his wife and 8-year-old daughter on Millbrook Road in picturesque Hardwick Township.
State Police took the charred cross away in boxes to check for fingerprints or other evidence.
"We are treating it as a bias crime," said Lt. Gerald Lewis, a State Police spokesman.
Dorgan: Lieberman’s Actions Were Unacceptable For Committee Chairman»
Today on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Dorgan whether he would vote on Tuesday to allow Lieberman remain chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Dorgan said he was “concerned” and “upset” over Lieberman’s behavior during the campaign, and suggested that Lieberman’s actions were unacceptable for a committee chairman:
As a chairman of one of our significant committees in the Senate, not just going off and supporting a presidential candidate of the other side but also criticizing the candidate on our side, and also involving himself in a couple of senate races on the other side. The question is, is that acceptable? The answer is no.
Obama's White House Hires Show Respect For Congress
The latest wave, announced early Sunday morning, includes Senior Adviser Pete Rouse, who served as Senate chief of staff to Obama and former Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, who was the chief of staff to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus .
They join incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel , a Chicago congressman who is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House leadership, and White House lobbyist Phil Schiliro, who worked as Daschle’s policy director and was House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman ’s top aide before joining the Obama campaign as a liaison to Capitol Hill.
While Capitol Hill experience is not the primary reason for the appointments, the hires reflect Obama’s sensitivity to the importance of Congress in governance, according to a senior transition official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
He is intent on enacting an agenda by finding common ground with Democrats and Republicans, according to the official.
Turning to Capitol Hill for talent is a “very smart move that will only enhance prospects for significant legislative victories,” said Jim Manley, a senior aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev.
The Next RNC Chair: Captain Of The GOP Titanic?
At the same time, GOP aspirants face the possibility of a nightmare scenario: taking the helm of a party so weighed down by doctrinaire hard-liners and hectoring moralists that no one, especially an RNC chair, will be able to change course and avoid a tsunami of culturally disinhibited, secularizing 'creatives,' Hispanics, African Americans, and a young netroot-savvy demographic cohort larger than the Baby Boom.
Russia's crumbling economy provides stiffest test yet for autocratic leader
And sure enough, at a time when their country is locked in its worst financial crisis in a decade, they are more optimistic about the economy than they have ever been. According to opinion polls, 57 per cent reckon it is flourishing, up from 53 per cent in July.
The survey's findings are a triumph for the state, proving that the Kremlin has not lost its touch when it comes to manipulating fact. Obeying orders from the top, Russian television has banned the use of words such as "crisis", "decline" and "devaluation". Coverage of the mayhem in the country's stock market, where shares have fallen by 75 per cent since August, is scant.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Secret Service Informed About Store's Obama Sign
STANDISH, Maine -- A sign at a Standish convenience store has attracted the attention of federal investigators.
A reporter for the Associated Press said he saw a sign at the Oak Hill General Store for the Osama Obama Shotgun Pool, soliciting bets about when President-elect Barack Obama would be assassinated.
The sign is no longer on display and the owner of the store denied any knowledge of it.
U.S. confirms it held 12 juveniles at Guantanamo
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The U.S. has revised its count of juveniles ever held at Guantanamo Bay to 12, up from the eight it reported in May to the United Nations, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday.
The government has provided a corrected report to the U.N. committee on child rights, according to Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon. He said the U.S. did not intentionally misrepresent the number of detainees taken to the isolated Navy base in southeast Cuba before turning 18.
"As we noted to the committee, it remains uncertain the exact age of many of the juveniles held at Guantanamo, as most of them did not know their own date of birth or even the year in which they were born," he said.
A study released last week by the Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas concluded the U.S. has held at least a dozen juveniles at Guantanamo, including a Saudi who committed suicide in 2006
Gingrich: Palin Will Not Be The Future GOP Leader
Posted: 11/16/08 01:05 PM [ET]
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) is batting down the hype that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin heads into 2012 as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.
Palin energized the Republican base after GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) tapped her as his running mate and she has tried to preserve her high public profile since Election Day.
But Gingrich, an architect of the Republican revolution of 1994, took Palin down a notch, asserting that she would not become the party’s leader, as some have predicted.
“I think that she is going to be a significant player,” said Gingrich during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. “But she’s going to be one of 20 or 30 significant players. She’s not going to be the de facto leader.”
Since the defeat of the GOP ticket, Palin has pursued an aggressive media strategy, scheduling a full slate of interviews to keep her face on television.
WATCH: Obama Discusses National Security, Financial Crisis, First Dog On 60 Minutes
***UPDATE*** 9:15PM Nov. 16 60 Minutes aired its interview tonight with Barack and Michelle Obama, they're first interview since Obama won the presidential election. The interview covered many topics, including national security, the financial crisis, Obama's thoughts on Lincoln and FDR, and an update on the new First Dog. LinkHere
The cockfight among the losers has only just begun.
ELECTION junkies in acute withdrawal need suffer no longer. Though the exciting Obama-McCain race is over, the cockfight among the losers has only just begun. The conservative crackup may be ugly, but as entertainment, it’s two thumbs up!
Over at Fox News, Greta Van Susteren has been trashing the credibility of her own network’s chief political correspondent, Carl Cameron, for his report on Sarah Palin’s inability to identify Africa as a continent, while Bill O’Reilly valiantly defends Cameron’s honor. At Slate, a post-mortem of conservative intellectuals descended into name-calling, with the writer Ross Douthat of The Atlantic labeling the legal scholar Douglas Kmiec a “useful idiot.”
In an exuberant class by himself is Michael Barone, a ubiquitous conservative commentator who last week said that journalists who trash Palin (more than a few of them conservatives) do so because “she did not abort her Down syndrome baby.” He was being “humorous,” he subsequently explained to Politico, though the joke may be on him. Barone writes for U.S. News & World Report, where his 2008 analyses included keepers like “Just Call Her Sarah ‘Delano’ Palin.” Just call it coincidence, but on Election Day, word spread that the once-weekly U.S. News was downsizing to a monthly — a step closer to the fate of Literary Digest, the weekly magazine that vanished two years after its straw poll predicted an Alf Landon landslide over Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936.
It is impressive to see the number of Jews that Barack (his name means "blessed" in Hebrew as well as in Arabic and Swahili) Obama is already surrounding himself with.
JERUSALEM — Each time a new U.S. president is elected, the question that leaps to Israeli minds is, "is he good for the Jews?"
With Barack Obama's victory, however, what's good for the 5.5 million Jews of Israel has become a matter of debate.
Eight years of unflinching support from President George W. Bush has yielded no peace. So while most Israelis appreciated Bush's backing, others wonder if a tougher approach _ maybe even some arm twisting here and there _ might not have been better.
Their fear stems from the demographic threat posed by Israel's occupation of Arab lands, as the size of the Arab population approaches the Jewish one and endangers Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state. A true friend of Israel is an American leader who will work not only to protect Israel from external enemies, but to disentangle itself from the 41-year-occupation _ or so the argument goes.
For Obama, that could mean abandoning what many see as a policy of blanket support in favor of some muscular diplomacy, such as pressuring Israel to stop expanding settlements on land Palestinians claim for a future state.
"We should hope Obama will help Israel help itself, because that is how true friendship is measured. That he will criticize its policy when he must, because that, too, is a test of true friendship," wrote Israeli journalist Gideon Levy in the Haaretz daily
Adam Hanft, 11.14.2008
Am I the only person wondering why Israel isn't included in the G20? Could it be the extra cost of the Kosher food?
David Fiderer, 11.14.2008
The woman they called Flipper expressed romantic yearnings about the man named Keith. That was too delicious a morsel not to be shared by email among staffers in the U.S. Attorney's office in Alabama.