A review of monthly traffic on 5 major progressive blogs (2 pro-Obama, one neutral, 2 pro-Clinton) reveals some interesting statistics. Beyond mere stats, though, lies a story - are the blogs that lean strongly toward one candidate or the other hurting themselves - and in the process, Democratic Party chances in November?
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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Christine Bowman
John McCain rightly has put Vietnam back on the table for discussion. We have to ask what lessons Captain John McCain learned, and whether his experiences prepared him to lead us well now.
John McCain is busy defining himself this week, taking advantage of the unending primary contest between Obama and Clinton. Strangely, McCain has decided to feature pictures and narratives of himself as a POW. His snapshots are now 40 years old.Bookmark/Search this post with: buzzflash | delicious | digg | technorati Technorati Tags: Analysis McCain Hagel Vietnam Iraq Obama Quagmire
Bloggers from every other state and territory have submitted their applications for credentials to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer, August 25-28. So all you bloggers from Alaska, Haiwaii, West Virginia, American Samoa, Democrats Abroad, and Virgin Islands, get on the stick! The deadline for applications is April 15, 2008.
The DNCC had a blogger conference call today to update us on where things stand, and at the top of that list was to remind bloggers to apply by the April 15 deadline. As kos mentioned in today's midday open thread, the DNCC is providing a great perk to state bloggers--they will be seated with their state delegations on the floor of the convention, and not relegated to the nosebleed section. Here are the criteria for state blogs:
To qualify as a state blogger, the applicant's blog must have been in existence six months prior to requesting credentials and have at least 120 politically related blog posts. Bloggers must submit their daily audience and list their authority based on Technorati stats. Bloggers may also provide examples of posts that make their blog stand out as an effective online organizing tool and/or agent of change.
The number of and access for the other pool of blogger credentials--the national and niche-type blogs--has yet to be determined, which is a little frustrating, but to the DNC's credit, they want to take care of the state bloggers first. The application deadline for the non-state bloggers is the same, April 15. Check the credentialing page for information on the process.
Important reminders about the state blogger credentials:
The DNCC will start notifying blogs about their credentials in May.
The highlight of the call was our own Scout Finch, who previewed the project she's been up to her eyebrows in, setting up the "Big Tent" new media venue, or the place where all the bloggers will hang out during convention week. It will be in downtown Denver, within walking distance of the convention, and will feature all of the wireless capacity and technical gizmos that bloggers probably won't be able to find in the actual convention all. This will include space for video and audio recording, for interviews, and just a place to hang out and eat and drink. Among sponsors and partners already lined up are Google and YouTube, with many more to come. This alone is going to make Denver worth the trip.
The Justice Department today released John Yoo's 2003 torture memo to Congress. This is the infamous memo that the Bush Administration relied on in justifying it's "harsh interrorgation techniques" on prisoners overseas. This was the memo that was in force when the Abu Ghraib detainees were subjected to cruel treatment and torture.
Shorter version: Yoo wrote the Constitution is not in play.
In the March 14, 2003 memo, Yoo says the Constitution was not in play with regard to the interrogations because the Fifth Amendment (which provides for due process of law) and the Eighth Amendment (which prevents the government from employing cruel and usual punishment) does "not extend to alien enemy combatants held abroad.":
The memo goes on to explain that federal criminal statutes regarding assault and other crimes against the body don't apply to authorized military interrogations overseas and that statutes that do apply to the conduct of U.S. officials abroad pertaining to war crimes and torture establish a limited obligation on the part of interrogators to refrain from bodily harm.
The memo also says the Geneva Conventions don't apply al-Qaida and the Taliban. [More...]
Yoo prepared the memo for William Haynes,"then the Pentagon's general counsel and another key player in the administration's legal strategy." Haynes left the job in February after it was disclosed he told a military prosecutor there could be no acquittals in the military commission trials. Bush nominated him for a federal appeals court judgeship. He wasn't confirmed.
Yoo is now a law professor at University of California at Berkeley.
Sen. Patrick Leahy said of today's release:
Today’s declassification of one such memo is a small step forward, but in no way fulfills those requests. The administration continues to shield several memos even from members of Congress.
The memo they have declassified today reflects the expansive view of executive power that has been the hallmark of this administration. It is no wonder that this memo, like the now-infamous “Bybee memo”, could not withstand scrutiny and had to be withdrawn. Like the “Bybee memo”, this memo seeks to find ways to avoid legal restrictions and accountability on torture and threatens our country’s status as a beacon of human rights around the world.
Federal officials announced today that the Bush administration “will use its authority” to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border” by the end of 2008:
Invoking the two legal waivers, which Congress authorized, will cut through bureaucratic red tape and sidestep environmental laws that currently impede the Homeland Security Department from building 267 miles of fencing in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, according to officials familiar with the plan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly about it.
The move is the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence, and it will cover a total of 470 miles along the Southwest border, the department said. Previously, the department has used its waiver authority for two portions of fence in Arizona and one portion in San Diego.
While he bypasses environmental laws today, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff lobbied for the border fence in October by stating, “Illegal migrants really degrade the environment.”
Obama picks up Lee Hamilton's endorsement.[...]
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By all accounts, he has a very good chance of getting a reversal on most of the counts he was convicted on.
Skilling could be freed from prison pending a new trial, or be relieved of criminal convictions altogether. And the government, which hasn't fared well in most other Enron appeals, could lose its biggest prize in the Enron scandal.
Thanks to an appeals ruling in a separate Enron case, issued less than two months after Skilling was convicted in 2006, legal experts say Skilling has a strong chance to get most — and perhaps all — of his 19 convictions overturned.
What was the error?
That error, as cited in Skilling's appeal, was prosecutors' contention that his behavior robbed Enron of his "honest services." The government used that argument in obtaining a conspiracy conviction that was linked to most of Skilling's 18 other convictions.
Soon after Skilling's trial, an appeals panel rejected the "honest services" theory prosecutors used in gaining convictions against participants in Enron's sale of three barge-mounted power plants — which the government alleged was a disguised loan.
The 2-1 ruling said that the "honest services" issue didn't apply because the defendants didn't steal, embezzle or otherwise take money or property, and their actions were aligned with corporate goals.
The judges hearing the appeal will be 5th Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, 5th Circuit Judge Edward Prado and U.S. District Judge Alia Ludlum of Del Rio. Smith was one of the judges on the panel that overturned the convictions of Kevin Howard, the former finance chief for Enron's broadband division. I'm a big fan of Judge Prado (he was an early vocal opponent of mandatory minimum sentences.)
As for Skilling, I think 24 years is way too harsh a sentence for any non-violent criminal. Especially when other culpable defendants get 6 years because they cooperated and told the Government's truth. I hope he wins his appeal.
Phil Ochs was still a young man when he died in 1976. But he left a rich legacy of protest music that still impacts people today. When I was a student he I saw him at all the big protest rallies– against the War in Vietnam and for civil rights. Many thought he was the [...]
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