RHODA: I understand why the Democrats are caving on Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination for Attorney General.
MARY: Because Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer eat wet food the White House dumps in a bowl on the floor?
RHODA: They're not cowed by the Mukasey nomination, Mary.
MARY: Of course not. The Democrats are "idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean."
RHODA: Mary, think about it. Judge Michael Mukasey is one of them. He's a liberal judicial activist. He's pink down to his underwear.
MARY: Squirrels eat through screen doors and flop, scolding, into my mouth. Joe Lieberman punishes us because we do not love him enough.
RHODA: Mukasey is your typical liberal. That's what I mean. He's a judicial activist, not an impartial judge.
MARY: Mukasey immobilizes cab drivers and illegally rendered suspects on their backs, with their heads inclined downward, and pours water over their faces to simulate drowning. How is that "activism," Rhoda?
RHODA: Maybe that's not torture. I can see what he means -- from the liberal judicial activist point of view.
MARY: Maybe it wasn't torture when Iranian students conducted mock executions of U.S. hostages in 1979 and 1980.
RHODA: It's all relative, Mary. If Mukasey were a strict constructionist, his testimony on waterboarding would be entirely different.
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Jay Leno, Julia Dreyfuss, Ellen DeGeneres, Tina Fey and other big stars are supporting the striking Hollywood writers.
I like the chant the strikers are using:
"Hey, hey, pencils down.
Hollywood's a union town."
Hillary and Barack Obama, who have received $2 million in contributions from those in the entertainment industry, also offered support:
Barack Obama said he stands with the writers and urged producers to work with them to end the strike.
Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a contract that recognizes the contributions writers make to the entertainment industry.
Has John Edwards weighed in yet?
State elections today in New Jersey, Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi. Keep an eye on Kentucky where the incumbent GOP Governor, Ernie Fletcher, should lose big time. And, the Democrats could pick up the State Senate in Virginia -- more evidence that state is turning blue.
What else is going on?
The New York Times reports that MSNBC is so happy with Keith Olbermann, it is thinking of adding liberal shows to its nighttime lineup. The article devotes a lot of space to anonymous network execs who say Rosie O'Donnell is under serious consideration as a prime-time show host.
Two NBC executives acknowledged yesterday that they were talking to Rosie O’Donnell about a prime-time show on MSNBC.
I hope NBC is just floating her name just to gauge the reaction. It would be a huge mistake in my opinion.
MSNBC needs to stop playing catch-up and start being innovative. Surely there's someone with a modicum of journalistic credentials and a less antagonizing personality than Rosie. If they are committed to going the comedienne-day time talk route, I'd rather see them move Ellen DeGeneres into prime time. At least she's funny.
Seriously, though, who would you tell MSNBC to hire?
Western governments yesterday united in their calls for Musharraf to restore democracy to Pakistan, as the military dictator imposed a bloody crackdown on protests against his postponement of the forthcoming elections.
Hillary Clinton has blamed the Bush administration for the situation that has developed on Pakistan:
The first big street protests since Gen Musharraf assumed wide-ranging powers on Saturday were swiftly crushed. Riot police fired teargas, baton charged crowds and flung bloodied lawyers into prison vans. The interior ministry said at least 1,500 people had been picked up; opposition groups estimated over twice as many arrests.
Britain and the US urged Gen Musharraf to keep his earlier promises to restore the constitution, resign as army chief and hold elections by January.
The foreign secretary, David Miliband, suggested that Islamabad was bowing to intense international pressure to pursue an alternative course. "What's striking is that the international community and the domestic political community agreed on the steps to be taken. There was real unanimity," he said.
?Part of the reason that we?re in this very difficult and dangerous situation is because of the failed policies of the Bush administration,? Clinton told reporters on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. She said the administration has diverted resources and attention away from Afghanistan, ignored her suggestion to appoint an envoy to deal with border issues between it and Pakistan and has ?sent mixed messages over several years now to President Musharraf that has rendered our policy toward Pakistan fundamentally incoherent.? ?It?s hard to know what to do right now, given the failures of the administration,? she added.What's certainly true is that Musharraf has been put in a bind. The more the Bush administration have insisted that he pursue a basically western policy of chasing down al Qaeda, the less popular he has become amongst the Pakistan electorate.
Bush last night urged Musharraf to end the state of emergency and to hold elections, but it was notable that he did not threaten to cut off billions of dollars in US aid.
In a statement passed to The Independent, Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry, whose home has been surrounded by dozens of armed police and his phone lines cut, warned General Musharraf that he would not be deterred from launching a fresh struggle to restore the constitution and the rule of law. He also dismissed the general?s claims that the judiciary was interfering with the government?s efforts to combat terrorism.
Mr Chaudhry, who is now at the centre of the crisis in Pakistan after refusing to ratify General Musharraf?s order suspending the country?s constitution, said: ?I and all the honourable judges of the Supreme Court were exercising our jurisdiction in accordance with the law and constitution and are determined to do so in the future.?
The judge, who has been a thorn in General Musharraf?s side for months and has become a rallying figure for opponents of the military regime, was sacked on Saturday after leading seven Supreme Court justices in refusing to ratify the decree that ushered in emergency rule.
In his statement he said: ?The whole of the judiciary is struggling for the supremacy of the constitution.? Any actions taken by the government under the emergency provisions were illegal, he added, as was the detention of lawyers, human rights activists and members of civil society. ?Their only sin is that they opposed the emergency.?
?We expect there to be elections as soon as possible and that the President should remove his military uniform,? Mr Bush said.
But softening his remarks, Bush also pointed out that General Musharraf has been ?a strong fighter against extremists and radicals after all they tried to kill him three or four times?.
Of course, Musharraf's strong fight against "extremists and radicals" which has almost had him killed "three or four times" has actually been Musharraf pursuing the policies of the Bush White House, which has made him desperately unpopular in Pakistan.
?We have had no assurance. We have conveyed our view very strongly to the Pakistan government,? Mr Miliband added. ?Now is the time for President Musharraf to be absolutely clear that elections will go ahead on 15 January on a free and fair basis and he will resign as head of the army.?
Downing Street said the possibility of sanctions including cutting aid to Pakistan was ?under review? but the Foreign Secretary ruled out any immediate move to cut the aid budget.
?Now is not the time for threats to aid for the Pakistani people. It is important we made the commitments we have to the doubling of aid to Pakistan,? he said.
The west is in a bind in Pakistan. Musharraf is "our" man, even though pursing "our" policies has rendered him deeply unpopular.
In memory of the passing of famed mime Marcel Marceau and in recognition of Deaf Awareness Week, today's show is silent.
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It's a slow news day for Iraq today, with the diplomatic action taking place in Washington between President George W. Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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As we watch the unfolding crisis in Pakistan with growing trepidation, we can take comfort in the words of the President of the United States:
Pakistan, by the way, is a -- Musharraf is a strong ally in the war against these extremists. I like him and I appreciate him. I'm, of course, constantly working with him to make sure that democracy continues to advance in Pakistan. - George W. Bush
Oops. Well, we can at least be assured that since Musharraf has all but declared martial law, Bush is taking a hands-on approach to keep Pakistan, our friend, our ally, the recipient of a billion of our dollars a year from, descending into a military dictatorship, right? Let's ask Dana Perino:
Last week President Bush directed Secretary Rice to call President Musharraf...
The President has directed his Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, to have that direct contact...
I'll just repeat what I just said, which is he has directed Secretary Rice to deliver the message on his behalf...
Obviously the President got briefings over the weekend...
And she is the person that the President entrusts to carry his messages for him....
But considering the stakes, it seems that Bush would pick up the phone himself doesn't it? Is the reason he isn't because the "risk of failure is too great"?
I resent that, because the President is personally engaged...
And Bush showed how deeply and personally engaged he is in dealing with this crisis later in the day:
As I said earlier in my statement, that we made it clear to the President that we would hope he wouldn't have declared the emergency powers he declared. Now that he's made that decision, I hope now that he hurry back to elections.
He hopes? Yes, and he probably hoped that the levees would hold in New Orleans. So, now that we know that maintaining democracy in Pakistan is well in hand, let's get back to our own country:
Q Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?
MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.
Shall we count the ways?
Everybody make sure you go by Kevin Drum’s place and cast your vote for the Single Wingnuttiest Right Wing Blog Post of All Time. I believe that Mr. Drum has a point when he says:But why focus on the all-time worst in the wingnut blogosphere[...]
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Chapel Hill, North Carolina – Today, Senator John Edwards released the following statement in response to the series of import safety half-measures proposed today by President Bush:
â€śPresident Bush still doesnâ€™t get it. His approach might work if the problem were a few bad apples, but the reality is far worse. The problem is a broken system in Washington where weak consumer protection regulations and bad trade deals leave our children and families vulnerable to unsafe products. Worst all of all, this is not by accident. Well-connected lobbyists who seek to protect big corporate profits fight basic protections.
â€śAny serious proposal would include at least three tough reforms. First, the Consumer Product Safety Commission should be run by someone who actually wants to make consumer products safe, not industry lobbyists. Second, the people in charge of keeping us safe should not be allowed to accept gifts and travel from corporations or their lobbyists. And third, we must ban lead in all childrenâ€™s products because there is no safe level.
â€śNow more than ever, I believe itâ€™s time for our leaders in Washington to show a little backbone, have some guts, and stand up for the safety of children and regular families, not defend the interests of lobbyists and corporations.â€ť
Tomorrow in New Hampshire, Edwards will detail his latest proposals on reforming our import safety system.