With virtually all the votes in, the Oklahoma primary produced one surprising result: Lt. Gov. Jari Askins narrowly upset Attorney General Drew Edmondson for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Though Askins' lead was a spare 1533 votes out of 260,000, Edmondson has conceded and pledged his support to Askins in the general election, reflecting the civil tone of the primary.
Meanwhile, less surprisingly, Rep. Mary Fallin won the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 55% of the vote to Randy Brodgon's 39%. And in congressional primaries, Democratic Dan Boren crushed progressive challenger Jim Wilson by better than a 3-1 margin, and will face the winner of a runoff between Daniel Edmonds and Charles Thompson. Another runoff will be held on August 24 for the Republican nomination for Fallin's old House seat, with "outsider" James Lankford edging out the early front-runner, former state legislator Kevin Calvey, for first place.
Askins won by holding Edmondson close to even in rural Eastern Oklahoma, and then overcoming his lead in the Tulsa area with a big performance in the southwest part of the state. It appears she won most of the late undecided vote.
Fallin did not at all exceed expectations, but did win a sizable majority of the state's counties, with her 14,000 vote margin in Oklahoma County (Oklahoma City) far more than offsetting Brogden's expected win in Tulsa.
Total turnout in the Democratic gubernatorial primary exceeded that of the Republican primary by roughly 19,000 votes (out of a total vote of 507,000, or about 25% of registered voters), with a handful of precincts still out. This reflected a 49/40 Democratic registration advantage, but is still good news for an embattled Democratic Party trying to avoid a wipeout this November. According to current polls, the Fallin-Askins general election should be quite competitive; according to a Sooner Poll last week, Fallin leads Askins 46-40.
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Not that the Bush-Cheney war on Iraq was about stealing Iraqi oil assets or anything. It's only a coincidence.
The Defense Department is unable to properly account for $8.7 billion out of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to it between 2004 and 2007, according to a newly released audit that underscores a pattern of poor record-keeping during the war.
Of that amount, the military failed to provide any records at all for $2.6 billion in purported reconstruction expenditure, says the report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, which is responsible for monitoring U.S. spending in Iraq. The rest of the money was not properly deposited in special accounts as required under Treasury Department rules, making it difficult to trace how it was spent.
Though there is no apparent evidence of fraud, the improper accounting practices add to the pattern of mismanagement, reckless spending and, in some instances, corruption uncovered by the agency since 2004, when it was created to oversee the total of $53 billion in U.S. taxpayer money appropriated by Congress for the reconstruction effort.
No apparent evidence of fraud? Simple accounting errors?
First, let's look at those numbers in the proper context. With lots of zeros. $8,700,000,000. Out of $9,100,000,000. Missing. Gone. Poof.
Now, let's do the math. $8,700,000,000 divided by $9,100,000,000. That comes to 0.9560. Or 95.6%. Missing. Of the Iraqi oil revenue entrusted to the Defense Department between 2004 and 2007. Which would be during the Bush-Cheney administration. Which would be mostly during the tenure of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.
Unaccounted for. Gone. Missing. Poof. Like magic.
Remember when Paul Wolfowitz said Iraqi oil revenue could finance Iraq's reconstruction? He was just a little off, on that. And it doesn't make it any easier when 95.6% of the oil revenue just vanishes without a trace. Like magic.
The Iraqis are not happy. Even Republicans should be able to understand why the Iraqis are not happy. Not that the invasion and occupation and devastation of Iraq was about stealing their oil assets or anything.
Leading members of the current Republican majority in the Texas legislature say that an Arizona-style immigration law will be at the top of the agenda of the next session of the Texas legislature. The Texas legislature will convene again on January 11, 2011. From the Houston Chronicle— “Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, chairman of the Senate [...]
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Dubbed the "the candidate hiding in plain sight" and deemed by many especially among mainline conservatives and neo-conservatives as perhaps the best hope for the GOP to win back the White House, former two term Florida Governor Jeb Bush today quashed[...]
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If I thought they had any shame, any shame at all....
Open thread below...
Nuclear weapons suck. And so with that in mind, there's a big push towards nuclear disarmament featuring major bands and a new film.[...]
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Title: Let Me Roll ItArtist: Paul McCartney
video details and more
I'll probably be kicking myself myself for a long time for missing Paul McCartney's first show in Nashville last night. Of course, $250 is a lot to spend on concert tickets when the kids need to eat and grad school is looming. Here's a little taste of what I and a lot of us missed out on.
You can run racism, but you can't hide. The field is very fast, and thanks to his Air R track shoes, he will run you down and catch you.
And now this wonderful op-ed in The American Spectator from Jeffrey Lord, a former hotshot in the reagan White House:
"It isn't true.
Shirley Sherrod's story in her now famous speech about the lynching of a relative is not true. The veracity and credibility of the onetime Agriculture Department bureaucrat at the center of the explosive controversy between the NAACP and conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart is now directly under challenge. By nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court. All of them dead.
But first, it's important to say this.
After Shirley Sherrod's firing I wrote a column congratulating Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for removing her -- based on a viewing of the now infamous edited Breitbart clip. I was wrong. I should have waited to see the entire video or read the transcript before writing a word. So my apologies to Ms. Sherrod.
I have now done exactly what I should have done originally. So there's no mistake about "selective editing" of videos or speech transcripts, here is a link to the website of the NAACP, where they have made a point of posting the full video of Shirley Sherrod's speech. I have seen the entire speech as supplied by the NAACP. The now-famous speech runs just over 40 minutes. If you don't have the time, here is a link to the printed transcript of her speech supplied by a site called American Rhetoric Online Speech Bank. The transcript is taken in full from the video version of her speech, which American rhetoric also supplies. I have read the transcript as well.
Let's get to this.
In her speech, Ms. Sherrod says this:
I should tell you a little about Baker County. In case you don't know where it is, it's located less than 20 miles southwest of Albany. Now, there were two sheriffs from Baker County that -- whose names you probably never heard but I know in the case of one, the thing he did many, many years ago still affect us today. And that sheriff was Claude Screws. Claude Screws lynched a black man. And this was at the beginning of the 40s. And the strange thing back then was an all-white federal jury convicted him not of murder but of depriving Bobby Hall -- and I should say that Bobby Hall was a relative -- depriving him of his civil rights.
Plain as day, Ms. Sherrod says that Bobby Hall, a Sherrod relative, was lynched. As she puts it, describing the actions of the 1940s-era Sheriff Claude Screws: "Claude Screws lynched a black man."
This is not true. It did not happen. How do we know this?
The case, Screws vs. the U.S. Government, as she accurately says in the next two paragraphs, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Which, with the agreement of all nine Justices of the day -- which is to say May 7, 1945 -- stated the facts of the killing of Bobby Hall this way:
The arrest was made late at night at Hall's home on a warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a young negro about thirty years of age, was handcuffed and taken by car to the courthouse. As Hall alighted from the car at the courthouse square, the three petitioners began beating him with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. They claimed Hall had reached for a gun and had used insulting language as he alighted from the car. But after Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying. An ambulance was called, and Hall was removed to a hospital, where he died within the hour and without regaining consciousness. There was evidence that Screws held a grudge against Hall, and had threatened to "get" him.
The very first paragraph of the Supreme Court decision states:
1. Upon review of a judgment affirming the conviction, for violation of § 20 of the Criminal Code and conspiracy thereunto, of local law enforcement officers who arrested a negro citizen for a state offense and wrongfully beat him to death, the judgment is reversed with directions for a new trial.....
The next time Ms. Sherrod visits Washington, she can take a trip up to Capitol Hill.
First, she can visit the Supreme Court of the United States, and ponder the connection between progressivism and racism. Take a look inside the ornate chamber where on May 7, 1945, Justice Hugo Black, a lifetime member of the Ku Klux Klan honored with a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, an honor made possible because he used his racism to support the New Deal, voted to overturn the conviction of Sheriff Claude Screws for beating Bobby Hall to death.
Then a short stroll adown the street and she can visit another of Capitol Hill's enduring monuments: The Richard B. Russell United States Senate Office Building. As she strolls down its old marble corridors, surrounded by the offices of powerful United States Senators and their staffs, she perhaps can take the time to reflect once again on the night her father was murdered. And that the very building in which she walks is named in honor of the progressive/racist Democrat who was without doubt responsible for helping lots of Georgia farmers on a scale even Sherrod might not be able to imagine. But to do that he had to help create and nurture the atmosphere that made her father's death -- and that of Bobby Hall -- possible.
Perhaps, just perhaps, she'll even wonder if she understands just how much her own career and the things she said in that famous speech are sounding to some ears ever-so-slightly just like those of Justice Black and Senator Russell. Down the scale a bit -- a bureaucrat is not the same as a Senator or a Justice -- but still finding herself on the same scale nonetheless. A little concern for the poor folks here, a few government farm dollars and jobs over there and -- oh yes- a little dropping of the race card here and there so those jobs and dollars keep flowing.
Maybe she can even tell us why she stood up in front of the NAACP and said something that was completely, totally, untrue..." [Article] h/t to Lynne for this story.
Scary stuff! And now a prominent conservative is calling Ms. Sherrod a liar. That nigger was not lynched, he was beaten to death. I can say a lot of things here, but I won't. The writing speaks for itself.
Finally, I have been talking about his O ness and the people he surrounds himself with for months. Just a brotha looking out for another brotha. But he won't listen to me. Now, a white woman (someone much more prominent and famous than the kid) is telling him the same thing. Maybe he will listen to her. h/t to Val for this story. *Pic stolen from Comedy Central's web site.
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You'd think that the Senator from Louisiana would want to hold BP accountable. Not David Vitter. He wants to pass legislation to protect BP by limiting the company's liability by basing liability on BP's profits (and, as we reported earlier, BP had a $17 billion loss in the last quarter.)
Via Sam Stein:
Instead, the GOP has rallied around a counter-proposal, authored by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would cap an oil company's liability at an amount equal to its profits of the last four quarters. If the company had not made a profit in the past four quarters, it would be liable for $150 million (or twice the current cap).Vitter and Blunt are two of the GOP's top Senate candidates this year. Protecting BP is a top priority.
To be sure, BP still has a chance to turn around its profit margin during the next three quarters. But in terms of net earnings, it is now operating out of a $17 billion hole. If Vitter's version of economic liability legislation were the law of the land, there would be open concern about the damage payments that Gulf residents would end up recouping. As a Democratic operative working on the issue notes:When Vitter introduced the bill, we pointed out that one of the co-owners of the Deepwater Horizon rig, Andarko, had not made a profit in the last year. But with this news today, if BP doesn't overcome this quarter's losses, next year they could be responsible for a disaster as bad as or worse than the one in the Gulf and they would only be liable for $150 million if Vitter's bill were law.UPDATE: An astute reader points out that another Senate candidate, Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), has sponsored legislation similar to Vitter's in the House.
Talk about ironic: Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, says he doesn't support religious freedom for Muslims...because he doesn't want to live under "Sharia Law."
At a recent event in Hamilton County, Ramsey was asked by a man in the audience about the "threat that's invading our country from the Muslims." Ramsey proclaimed his support for the Constitution and the whole "Congress shall make no law" thing when it comes to religion. But he also said that Islam, arguably, is less a faith than it is a "cult."
"Now, you know, I'm all about freedom of religion. I value the First Amendment as much as I value the Second Amendment as much as I value the Tenth Amendment and on and on and on," he said. "But you cross the line when they try to start bringing Sharia Law here to the state of Tennessee -- to the United States. We live under our Constitution and they live under our Constitution."
That sounds about as rational as arguing that women should be forced to cover their bodies from head to toe to protect them from being forced to wear a burqa. I mean, the whole point of the First Amendment is that not only does it prohibit discrimination against all religions, including Islam, but it also prohibits the imposition of a theocracy, whether rooted in Sharia Law or the religious extremism of American Taliban figures like Ramsey.
Ramsey trails Rep. Zach Wamp in the nomination battle, but before you start wondering whether Ramsey's little burst of extremism might give his campaign renewed hope, Wamp may still have the edge on Ramsey when it comes to conservative lunacy: Wamp says that if health care reform isn't repealed, Tennessee ought to secede from the United States of America. I guess Ramsey ought to get behind Wamp's proposal, because if that happens, they won't have the First Amendment -- or any of the others -- to worry about anymore.