Good Gods, another of these already? Here's a quick link-dump of blogger comentary and news stories, all of which I intended to get around to posting about but then didn't. Also, consider this a chance to blogwhore or link-dump in comments. I'll update the post with them as we go.
Over at TPM Cafe, Cscs notes the details in the announcement that Iran is ramping up its nuclear capabilities. Short version - no need for preemptive strikes.
John McCain not only wants to ignore the Iraqi parliament (sovereignty, they don't need no stinking sovereignty!), he also says Petreaus made him take those 100 troops and attack 'copters to that Iraqi market and he would be happy to go back there without the military escort. Well, that would be one way to cut the GOP primary field.
Talking of sovereignty...American troops are hassling Iraqi parliamentarians in the Green Zone. One trooper told the Iraqis, snarkily, "You can call General Petraeus on the phone and demand an apology." Nice public relations, guys, that should convince them the Americans are there to help, not rule.
And in yet another sign of the (lack of) competence of the Bush administration's efforts in Iraq, State and the DoD are fighting a turf war over Iraqi industrial reconstruction. Policy appears to be that the Iraqis will be easier to manage if we keep them poor and underemployed. That's worked so well so far.
No wonder active-duty generals are thinking about voting with their feet.
Dick Cheney, the administration's very own diva, says his Middle east tour went well. But he's just not a stadium act like the guy who is following his footsteps.
Deputy AG Paul McNulty is resigning to spend more time with people who won't try to sideline him on minor issues like hiring his own staff. Nico at Think Progress has the details. And as one of his commenters says "for this being a witch hunt and show trials, there sure are a lot of NeoCon loyal bushies jumping ship."
In Karachi, the entire Sindh province and the capitals of all three other Pakistani provinces, a quarter of the nation's population observed a general strike today in protest over the bloodshed begun by pro-Musharaff gunmen in Karachi on Saturday.
Kevin Drum strikes to the heart of the foreign policy challenge for the U.S. in Pakistan: "For all that groups like Hamas or Hezbollah or the Revolutionary Guard are dangerous and destabilizing, my sense has long been that they pale in comparison to the ISI. Letting them get more control of a nuclear-armed state could be disastrous beyond anything we can imagine from those other groups. Unfortunately, it's all but impossible to figure out what set of policies would best constrain the ISI and propel Pakistan along a more moderate, less Islamist course." Maybe a beginning would be supporting those in Pakistan who actually believe in a non-Islamist democracy. No? Certainly, the military ruler is looking to many of the middle classes who supported his coup as if he has passed his sell-by date.
Real reporters and politicians actually turn to Matt Drudge as a source in and of himself. So, what kind of ethics keeps the Drudge Report honest? Sadly, none.
What have you got?
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Statement from Senator Reid:
WASHINGTON, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today, announcing the introduction of two amendments to the Water Resources Development Act that would allow Senators the opportunity to vote to change course in the war in Iraq, while also expediting Senate consideration of the Iraq war supplemental:
Two weeks ago President Bush vetoed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill, a bill to fully fund the troops in Iraq and change the course of that conflict. Late last week, the House sent a new bill to the Senate, and we received that legislation within the past hour. So the ball is now in our court, the Senate's court.
I've had a number of conversations with Senator McConnell the last several days. I spoke to him earlier today at some length. Democrats and Republicans agree the Senate needs to get a bill into conference as soon as possible, and we need to work together to make that happen.
As important as it is to get a bill to conference, we've not, on this side of the aisle, lost sight of the fact that the American people have concluded the President's Iraq policy has failed and are demanding a new way forward on behalf of the American people.
In an effort to ensure quick Senate passage of our conference vehicle later this week, as well as to give Senators an opportunity to express their views on the President's Iraq policy, I will offer two important amendments to the Water Resources Development Act.
The first amendment is Feingold-Reid. This amendment would immediately transition the mission of U.S. forces in Iraq to force protection, training Iraqi security forces and counterterrorism with a goal to safely redeploy troops not conducting these missions by March 31 of next year. The Feingold amendment enforces this timeline by prohibiting the funding of troops in Iraq not engaged in these three missions starting April 1, 2008.
I will also offer Levin-Reid, which is consistent with the bipartisan legislation approved by Congress with one major change it permits the President to waive the timeline for redeployments. It has in it some things that have received broad support from members on both sides of the aisle ensuring that our troops are ready when they are sent into battle, limiting extended and repeated deployments of our troops, and holding the Iraqis accountable with real consequences.
We'll have votes on these two amendments no later than Wednesday morning. I will work with the distinguished Republican leader to see when that can happen.
These votes represent an opportunity for the Senate to shape the important conference we hope will begin immediately upon passage later this week of the Senate version of the Supplemental. There's probably no end of amendments that could be offered. But on our side of the aisle, Democrats believe that we should do something very, very close to what was done in the bill that we sent to the President that he vetoed. And basically, that's what we have here. But in recognition that the President has exercised his veto power of a bill to fund our troops and is prepared to do so again, we give the President the ability to waive the timelines we have in the legislation.
I think it's very important to understand that transitioning in this mission to fighting Al Qaeda is part of the recognition of what we and the American people feel is important. At present, Americans troops are over there protecting the Shias, protecting the Sunnis, the Kurds, and at all times, all these different elements are shooting at the Americans.
We need to change the course in Iraq, transition the military mission there, rebuild our military power and redirect our efforts toward more effectively fighting Al Qaeda. The amendments I have offered this afternoon will give Senators an opportunity on the eve of our upcoming conference to vote on whether they agree with this need to change course to make America more secure.
In an attempt to dig CBS out of the gawd knows how many millions of dollars mistake it made by hiring Katie Couric to anchor its Evening News, CBS seems to have hit a new low - a low that is even lower than Couric's ratings. Blaming it on the assumption that "people don't want to get their news from women".
I kid you not. Sean McManus, the president of CBS News, had this to say in an absolutely disgraceful article that gives CBS a pass but attempts to shift the blame towards a "bias against women":
"It was almost a watershed event to have a woman in that chair." He added, "There is a percentage of people out there that probably prefers not to get their news from a woman."
There is a reason why the CBS Evening News ratings are at a 20 year low - that is the person who is delivering the news. The news which is being "delivered" isn't much different than the news being "delivered" by Brian Williams or by Charles Gibson. It isn't different from the other networks. It is the PERSON not the sex of the person that people don't like. Plain and simple.
It was just about a month ago when I wrote a diary called Save Face, CBS. Dump Katie. Since then, the ratings for CBS Evening News have fallen further behind NBC and ABC. It wasn't anyone else's fault when CBS decided to go for "flair" just when everyone in America was starting to wake up from their slumber and (GASP) wanted to get REAL news. It wasn't anyone else's fault when the ratings for "talking meatsick punditry" was dropping faster than Mark Foley's pants when a Congressional page logged onto AIM, yet it was CBS' decision to throw close to $15 million per year at someone controversial AND unproven.
No, it is the fault of CBS for hiring someone that was in over her head way before she even started. It is Couric's fault for not taking the job of Evening News anchor seriously. For her double standards towards Democrats, for being unsympathetic bordering on rude in her interview of John and Elizabeth Edwards, for having Rush Limbaugh on one of her initial shows without challenging him.
As for the whole "maybe people don't like watching women" thing, well I have news for you - people don't like their intelligence insulted. People don't like when "credible journalists" plagiarize. People don't like lazy journalism and allegations of "some people say".
People watched Connie Chung and Barbara Walters. People watched Elizabeth Vargas and Jessica Savitch. People would watch Lara Logan, Christiane Amanpour, Amy Goodman, Campbell Brown, Judy Woodruff, even Rachel Maddow - just for starters. It isn't about wanting to watch a woman read or deliver the news - it is about someone credible and unbiased reading or delivering the news. Period.
Sadly, in my diary from last month, I predicted (as did others) that the mistake by CBS to hire a clearly unqualified hack (whether it was male or female) would be used as an excuse to bash "women anchors". So not only did Katie Couric completely ruin CBS' Evening News - one of the most venerable Evening News shows in history, but also now has led to a doubting of women's capability to anchor the Evening News.
Nothing could be further from the truth - but in under a year, Couric has destroyed CBS Evening News even worse than anyone could have imagined. Her complete lack of focus, attention to delivering real and not sensationalized news and seriousness in her approach to the job now has network executives publicly wondering whether it is a "women in general" problem.
Nice work, Katie - you may very well have destroyed the chance for many highly qualified women to advance in the field of journalism. And the sexist bosses at CBS News now have a convenient scapegoat for their colossal lack of foresight and planning. Knowing that there would be a spotlight on this "first woman solo anchor ever" situation, there was more than a responsibility to viewers and to journalistic integrity. There was a responsibility to serious women journalists that you wouldn't screw this up so bad that it would threaten the opportunity for others after you.
And that responsibility was shirked in a massive way. By CBS and by Couric. That is nobody's fault but CBSs' and Couric's.
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One party districts such as my borough and the neighboring city of Pittsburgh will be voting on their effective government tomorrow morning. I should be excited as this is local political junkie crack.
I am a super voter. I am an activist. I am a door knocker. I am a precinct walker. I am a phone banker. I am not eligible for AARP. I am electorally irrelevant.
I am an oddity, an involved young voter in Allegheny County and since I am an oddity within my peer group, there is no reason for politicians to court my vote, or cater to my interests past the generic pledges of public safety and decent schools, although most are not willing to recognize the fact that I may be willing to pay the same or more in property taxes if that means the schools will be proportionally or absolutely better for the day that my wife and I do have kids.
Political campaigns and candidates may court me as an activist, but that is a different dance than the dance that candidates put on for their winning coalition of voters. The winning coalition of primary voters in this region is some combination of AARP eligible senior citizens and public sector employee unions which also means an older than me population.
Chris Briem at Nullspace looked at the 2003 municipal election primary turnout data and created an amazing chart that demonstrates how irrelevant someone like me is to the political calculus.
Look at that some. Basically for every voter under age 30 (not under 20.. under Thirty) there are 8 voters age 60 and over. There were actually two voters over 80 for everyone under 30 who cast a ballot. That really is an amazing ratio. And this is for the county as a whole. There are parts of the county much older than the average. Can you imagine what this pie chart looks like there?....
So consider you are looking for voters...Add all that up.. and if you come up with a calculated 'value' per voter of finding and convincing them to vote for you.. the ratio for those over 60 vs those under 30 approaches an order of magnitude. Not many elections outside of Pittsburgh can say anything like that extreme. Thus supervoters have even older age demographics than the averages above show.....
I think the bigger issue is that our demographics are what the nation will look like in coming decades. Extrapolating from our voting patterns will give a peak what national voting patterns are going to look like. Worth some thought.
In an election restricted to French voters aged 18 to 59, Mme Royal would have won handsomely. M. Sarkozy owes his victory to a "wrinkly" landslide with an overwhelming triumph among French voters in their sixties (61 per cent of the vote) and a jackpot among the over-seventies (68 per cent).
what happened in France was the old folks telling the young folks that the protections the oldsters enjoyed thier entire lives; the easy jobs they enjoyed their entire lives; are being taken away. It's real easy to vote for tough medicine for someone else, and that's what just happened in France.
If the French parliamentary elections return a body that Sarkozy can work with, under 60s are about to get bent over the table.
There's a lot of "death bet" BS going on in the world today. From pollution, to asset bubbles like the housing bubble, to a refusal to deal with debt and deficits, and an absolute refusal to allow taxation at necessary levels or to invest in infrastructure or education, old folks have constantly voted for not reinvesting in society. Their bet is that they'll die before the lack of reinvestment; or the lack of environmental care, comes back to bite them in the ass.
Nifty post on John Mayer’s blog (yes the singer-songwriter) about the news media: I checked into my hotel room at five in the morning yesterday and somehow left Fox News on the television. In ten minutes time I was told of six things that could[...]
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Back in the good old days when my secret identity was known only to Mrs. Atrios, I always wondered what would have happened if I had instead used a real-sounding fake name on this blog. A name in and of itself doesn't tell you anything about a person, and most names are not even unique identifiers. So the real issue isn't pseudonymity, the issue is being able to discover information - address, employer, other personal details - so that writing on the internets can have "consequences."
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BARBARA'S DAILY BUZZFLASH MNUTE
The Repuglican neoconservative movement has thus far been a "cash-cow" for their devoted followers. It is amazing to watch these opportunists who realized riches beyond expectations now trying to salvage the gift that kept on giving!!! And by the by, they will sacrifice everything and everyone to maintain their lucrative bank accounts!!!
This is long overdue.
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wrote one African-American 33-year veteran of the Justice Department upon her retirement from the Civil Rights division. The division, and the voting rights section in particular, “has seen a dramatic drain in African-American staff over the past few years. And a number of those who have remained have alleged discrimination — according to a knowledgable [...]
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The price of gas is another one of those things which doesn't really impact me much directly but which most people care about a great deal. Hit a new record.
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