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Archive for June 25th, 2008

Bonus Quote of the Day

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:44 am by HL

Bonus Quote of the Day
“I am not seeking any other position…This is totally Senator Obama’s decision and that’s the way it should be.”

— Sen. Hillary Clinton, quoted by the New York Times, on whether she wants to be Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate.

Quote of the Day
“President Clinton is obviously committed to doing whatever he can and is asked to do to ensure Senator Obama is the next president of the United States.”

— A statement from Bill Clinton’s office, quoted by Time.

Update: Obama lavished praise on both Clinton’s after this statement was released.


Late Night: Yearning For Sanctuary In A Land Of War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:43 am by HL

Late Night: Yearning For Sanctuary In A Land Of War
A caravanserai is a place of sanctuary and rest along the Silk Road, a trading route from China to Rome, which went through the heart of Afghanistan. The National Gallery of Art in DC currently has an exhibition of artifacts from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, and it looks extraordinary: Dating back 2,000 years and more, the works belong to the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, whose motto is “A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive.”…

A caravanserai is a place of sanctuary and rest along the Silk Road, an ancient trading route from China to Rome, which went through the heart of Afghanistan. The National Gallery of Art in DC currently has an exhibition of artifacts from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, and it looks extraordinary.

Dating back 2,000 years and more, the works belong to the National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, whose motto is “A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive.”…

Ranging in date from 2200 BC to AD 200, the objects present a rich mosaic of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage and are drawn from four archaeological sites. The works include gold bowls with artistic links to Mesopotamia from Tepe Fullol in northern Afghanistan; bronze and stone sculptures from the site of the former Greek city of Aï Khanum; bronzes, ivories, and painted glassware imported from Roman and Indian markets discovered in Begram; and more than 100 gold ornaments from among the 20,000 pieces known as the “Bactrian Hoard,” found in 1978 in Tillya Tepe, the site of six nomad graves.

Maps will illustrate the locations of some 1500 archaeological sites, ancient cities, the routes known as the Silk Road, and regions that relate to the artifacts….

The people of Afghanistan have survived multiple wars and invasions over the years. They have a rich cultural heritage dating back many, many centuries, that was influenced, in part, by traders from the outside who traversed its landscape on the path of riches trading silks and other commodities along the way.

When you think about the breadth of this historical and philosophical crossroads, it is an amazing amalgam of some of the richest civilizations that the world has ever seen. And then, you glimpse what they are facing in the present:

The grim facts: Instability and an expanding insurgency in the south is keeping 40,000 children out of school in Kandahar province. Out of 360 existing schools, most built since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001, only 232 were open as of last month; the rest were either put to the flame by anti-education, anti-government militants, shut down because parents fear exposing their children to violence, or closed due to the absence of teachers, themselves routinely threatened with death, often enough slain to make the bloody point.

The situation is particularly wretched for girls: only 35 per cent of enrolled students in Afghanistan are female. Currently, one-third of schools operated by the Ministry of Education are boys-only. Further, many parents don’t want their daughters being educated by male teachers, yet only 28 per cent of teachers are women.

With fighting now a daily occurrence in the five southern provinces – bombings and improvised explosive devices on the roads and gun battles – it is simply not safe to attend school, though many districts struggle on, holding class for hundreds of students at a time under outdoor tents.

“It has been very hard, but we are trying to give ourselves a future,” says Sadia Rochi, who has been teaching English at the centre for the last 18 months. “You have to be very brave to be a teacher in Kandahar these days.”

Ehsan, centre director, adds that it’s not just the Taliban who thwart educational objectives in Afghanistan. “The warlords, including some in the government, don’t like the idea of enlightenment either. For them, it’s better to keep Afghans in the dark.”

That the Afghan people struggle to continue to learn, to reach for something better, that these people are still yearning for sanctuary and light in a land so crisscrossed by war, so mired in intimidation and fear, is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

(YouTube — Loreena McKennitt — Caravanserai.)



What Obama Said About Telco Immunity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:42 am by HL

What Obama Said About Telco Immunity

On February 26, 2008, Senator Barack Obama said:

The American people must be able to trust that their president values principle over politics, and justice over unchecked power. I’ve been proud to stand with Senator Dodd in his fight against retroactive immunity for the telecommunications industry. Secrecy and special interests must not trump accountability. We must show our citizens – and set an example to the world – that laws cannot be ignored when it is inconvenient. Because in America – no one is above the law.

(Emphasis supplied.) That was then. What about now Senator Obama? Please also note that in October 2007, Obama’s spokesman said:

To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.


The Old Ways

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

The Old Ways
As Ezra suggests, the bizarre lengths to which long time newspaper people defend The Way Things Are Done because That’s The Way Things Are Done are really kind of weird. And we don’t have to talk about more fundamental issues like false balance/”objectivity” as a lot of it is simply stylistic and doesn’t really involve any deeper (right or wrong) principles.

Toss all the old conventions out the window. Do not want.


The Real Pro-Life Candidate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

The Real Pro-Life Candidate
It’s pro-choice policies that result in dramatic declines in the need for abortion, and it’s the pro-choice candidate who truly value life.


Obama Asks Donors To Help Hillary Pay Off Her Debts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Obama Asks Donors To Help Hillary Pay Off Her Debts
The Obama campaign is offering a major olive branch to Hillary Clinton and her supporters. On a conference call with his top fundraisers, Obama asked them to help raise money to retire Clinton’s $10 million in debts to vendors –…


AEY May Still Have Government Contracts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

AEY May Still Have Government Contracts
Does arms dealer AEY, Inc., still have some U.S. defense contracts? Even though it’s been on a U.S. State Department Arms Trafficking Watchlist for three years? Even though it’s been under federal investigation for several months? Even though its president…


The Correction Almost Complete?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

The Correction Almost Complete?

When tracking polls noted a momentum shift to Obama earlier in the month, I noted this did not look like a post-nomination “bump” that would fade, but a longer-lasting “correction” as Clinton backers gradually joined the Obama campaign.

Two recent polls further that notion: Newsweek’s 15-point Obama lead, and LA Times/Bloomberg’s 12 point lead. Both polls show a declining number of Clinton voters (18% and 11% respectively) switching parties for McCain.

But also notable is the low numbers for McCain and the somewhat high numbers of undecideds. Obama garners “only” 51% and 49% in the two polls, while is mired in the mid-30s. (It’s possible that pollsters did not “push” undecided voters to say which way they “lean.”)

Based on the LA Times report, conservative voters appear disoriented, dismayed and discombobulated.

Moreover, McCain suffers from a pronounced “enthusiasm gap,” especially among the conservatives who usually give Republican candidates a reliable base of support. Among voters who describe themselves as conservative, only 58% say they will vote for McCain; 15% say they will vote for Obama, 14% say they will vote for someone else, and 13% say they are undecided.

By contrast, 79% of voters who describe themselves as liberal say they plan to vote for Obama.

Even among voters who say they do plan to vote for McCain, more than half say they are “not enthusiastic” about their chosen candidate; only 45% say they are enthusiastic. By contrast, 81% of Obama voters say they are enthusiastic, and almost half call themselves “very enthusiastic,” a level of zeal that only 13% of McCain’s supporters display.

When [Ralph] Nader and [Bob] Barr are added to the ballot, they draw most of their support from voters who said they would otherwise vote for the Republican.

When Nader is getting more Republican support than Democratic, you know the conservative base is seriously fractured.

For some perspective, in 2004, John Kerry got 15% of the “conservative” vote, while Bush got 84%. Obama is matching Kerry, while McCain is underperforming with conservatives by 26 points.

Obama’s base is nearly consolidated. McCain’s base is not.

On one hand, you might expect some of that unenthusiastic vote to come back to the Republican fold, allowing McCain to at least get back in the 40s.

But if McCain increasingly seems like a sure loser, conservative support could continue to bleed, leading to greater numbers of protest votes and no-shows.

There are surely more undecided independent voters that Obama can win over to widen his margin. He has not reached his ceiling.

While McCain is caught needing to win over both undecided independents and conservative base voters. And after eight years of failed conservative policies, there is no overlap between the two camps. It’s a near-impossible task.

Yes, yes, it’s early. Anything can happen. Always true.

Everyone is going back to Dukakis in 1988 who had huge leads after he wrapped up the Dem nod.

But as I noted before, Dukakis’ early leads were before the conservative attack machine revved up.

Conservative-style attacks lines have already been pursued against Obama — from the Dem primary, from McCain and from other Republican and conservative groups.

After Obama has absorbed the attacks, he remains substantially ahead. What’s been thrown at him so far has only made him stronger.

This is nothing like 1988.


UK ‘terror cams’ spy on everyone

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

UK ‘terror cams’ spy on everyone
UK ‘terror cams’ spy on everyone

Gay Mormons slam LDS vote missive
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will officially urge its members to take the church stance on marriage rights to the voting booth this November, a leaked letter reveals.


Imus on the defense: I was making ?a sarcastic point.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 25th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Imus on the defense: I was making ?a sarcastic point.?
On his radio show this morning, Don Imus continued to defend himself over racially-charged comments he made on his show yesterday about Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Imus claimed he was trying to make “a sarcastic point” that the police are “picking on” Jones. Watch it: Asked about Imus’s initial comments […]

On his radio show this morning, Don Imus continued to defend himself over racially-charged comments he made on his show yesterday about Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. Imus claimed he was trying to make “a sarcastic point” that the police are “picking on” Jones. Watch it:

Asked about Imus’s initial comments yesterday, Jones told reporters that he is “truly upset” and that he hopes “the station he works for handles it accordingly.” “I will pray for him,” said Jones.