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May 04, 2007

A Tale of Two Georges
Posted by Heather Hurlburt

I’ve been accused lately of being obsessed with the New York Yankees.  But really, is there a better parallel for America's travails in the world?

A once-proud franchise, that in the 1990s seemed utterly unbeatable… in some ways (much as I hate to admit it) the symbol of baseball itself… all that prestige now lost… scraping along at the bottom of the division… the infallible suddenly fallible… decent people doing their best stymied by utter arrogance at the top… management suddenly turning against the unusual schemes and personnel that they themselves installed...

Quick test:  Yankees or US? (click on the number for the answer)

1.The numbers we are seeing today are the lowest numbers that have ever been recorded.

2.It is my understanding George has kind of backed off and left everything up to ...

Continue reading "A Tale of Two Georges" »

Climate Change Legislation: The Inevitable Comes Home
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

On April 19, Representatives John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) made public the responses of more than 70 industry groups, non-governmental organizations and labor unions to a letter from the Energy and Commerce Committee, soliciting recommendations on prospective climate change legislation.

The committee has set out to write a mandatory greenhouse gas control measure and asked organizations with a strong interest in climate change legislation to comment on a series of questions. See this link for the letter and to click to the responses--a wealth of information and opinions on the issue. I haven't read them all, but nobody's seems to be denying it anymore.

May 03, 2007

Post-Debate Spin, Part V
Posted by Shadi Hamid

Giuliani's campaign manager is on and explains that his guy "says what he means, and means what he says," whatever that means. (I just noticed that I have a lot of trouble spelling Guiliani's name correctly). Ok, maybe I wasn't paying attention in school, but what exactly are the main points of the Hyde Amendment?

Campaign manager reassures us that "every option is on the table" regarding Iran. Phew again. At least I know we'll be safe. He won't "retreat" on the war on terror, unlike those pesky democrats, especially that Reid guy who David Broder doesn't like.

Rudy gave an "olive branch" to the Democrats, says Olbermann, when he said: "Neither party has a monopoly on virtue and vice." That's quotable, at least. Eugene Robinson of WPost says that this is RG's way of deflecting criticism about his "dressing up as a woman" and marrying three times, and all that moral stuff.

Fineman: "a tentativeness to Giuliani's performance." Yes. Maybe that's because he had to share a stage with 9 other people for the first time in his life. A center of attention thing.

The "truth squad" is coming up, but I'm going to sleep. Cheers.

Post-Debate Spin, Part IV
Posted by Shadi Hamid

A "you-must-be-kidding me" alert. They discuss Guiliani and the Sunni-Shia question. Chris Matthews says sympathetically: "Everyone was learning as he answered that question." Really? after 4 years in Iraq and we're still "learning"? Olberman! Say something! Please.

Howard Fineman says that Guiliani got it "fundamentally right" and gets a "passing grade" for his wonderful dissection of the Sunni-Shia divide. Wow, this is worrying. Am I living on a different planet? Maybe I'm out of touch.

Post-Debate Spin, Part III
Posted by Shadi Hamid

They discuss McCain's badassness. He said that he'd follow Bin Laden "to the gates of Hell."

For his part, Romney informed us that Bin Laden "will die."

Chris Matthews is on now. I didn't think he did a great job, but whatever. Wasn't he an aide for Tip O'Neill? Says it was a competition to see who was toughest on terrorism, and who can slash more taxes. However, they were "absolutely useless" on the issue of Scooter Libby. Not a single person "said thumbs-down on this guy."

Why isn't Olbermann skewering the Republicans? Is he trying to be "objective"? Back to Scarborough, who is talking to Jim Gilmore, who we are led to believe was the former governor of VA. Says he's been "picking up momentum" and assures Scarb that "we're gonna come through." He's not gonna "flip and flop" either.

Scarb asks Gilmore about Guiliani. JG doesn't "think Guiliani asserts himself as a conservative." Randomly brings up Hillary Clinton. Then they move to Katrina. Stock answer. Mentions "lunatic gunman."

Scarb notes that McCain said the "gates of Hell" thing with a smile. That's kind of scary. Happy warrior. McCain also managed to mention Joe Lieberman's full name three times in the span of three seconds, when asked if what Democrat he'd appoint to a cabinet position. That must have made JL all fuzzy inside.

Post-Debate Spin, Part II
Posted by Shadi Hamid

Why is Duncan Hunter in the race again?

Hunter is trying to make a point about the military. Uses football analogy, something like "you build a football team, by playing football." This is really a band of deep thinkers.

Joe Scarborough is in the "spin room." He's with Romney's Policy Chairman, Vin Weber. He's happy with his guy's performance (and rightfully so). Scarb brings up flip-flopping on abortion. Weber explains that Romney thinking about cloning and stem cells led him to reconsider his position. He got worried about the "degradation of life." Fine, but what exactly is the direct link between being against cloning and choosing not to be pro-choice?

Romney says he "changed his mind" about abortion. That sounds kind of blase. I changed my mind today about cooking. I was going to cook, but then I decided to go to a kabob cart and clog my arteries. I changed my mind today about ordering three cups of coffee. I was going to a get my third cup, but then I changed my mind (not easy). I was thinking about going to Istanbul next weekend, but I changed my mind.

Scarborough anoints Mitt Romney as the winner.

Post-Debate Spin
Posted by Shadi Hamid

Let's see. Post-debate spin on MSNBC. No one's mentioned Giuliani's stumble on the Sunni-Shia question. Can't understand why. It was so, so blatant.

Tancredo is being interviewed. Says it is not just a war on terror, but a war on "radical Islam," one might even call it a clash of civilizations....Yes, one might. Favors a policy of disengagement rather than withdrawal from Iraq and the Middle East. He's talking about "amnesty" now. Does this guy have anything else to talk about? Wow, he's so one-note.

By the way, Senator Brownback said he would support a non-pro-life President, and then, surprise, quotes Reagan, which seems to be the default position for, um, anything.

Romney Looks Presidential
Posted by Shadi Hamid

Wow. Romney's pretty damn impressive. He really does look presidential. He's a great speaker too. Put this guy next to McCain and Guiliani, and it's really no contest on the charisma-meter.

One thing kind of bothered me. He was talking about the jihadist/terrorist threat, and listed Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Iran...and then the Muslim Brotherhood? Huh? The Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s and represents the leading opposition bloc in the Egyptian parliament (with 88 members). The group has publicly committed itself to the rules of the democratic game. Anyway, it's unfortunate that Romney did the standard Republican mistake of thinking that all Islamists are a monolithic terrorist threat, when there are clear, obvious distinctions within Islamism, between radical Islamists (those who operate outside the political system and use violence) and mainstream Islamists (those who operate within the system and renounce violence). Misinformation.

Republican Debate - LiveBlogging II
Posted by Shadi Hamid

That was funny. Mike Huckabee informs us that no one knows Hillary better than him. Um, ok. Crowd laughs.

Someone said they believe in dividing Iraq into three states, also known as the Biden plan. Go Biden!

Tancredo's a really bad speaker.

Is Ron Paul a medical doctor? He's the only one that Chris Matthews calls "Dr."! Makes him sound really smart.

Did Paul just call upon the memory of Robert Taft? Sounds familiar. Wasn't he that isolationist guy? No one in the crowd probably got that. Probably better that way.

How many Reagan references can you really stand in one 90-minute period. I'm sure someone did a count.

Is it really fair that the Republicans got a Democratic moderator? Chris Matthews got a bit aggressive.

Giuliani Tanks
Posted by Shadi Hamid

I felt kind of bad for Guiliani tonight. He totally tanked on at least 3 questions. The worst was when they asked him the difference between Sunnis and Shias. You should have seen the look on his face. I was embarassed watching him try to make something up on the spot. He said something about "descent" from the Prophet, which is partly correct, but he really struggled to come up with even that.

Generally, I'm kind of surprised at Guili