Friday, June 29, 2007

Democratic debate on PBS...

I saw the Democratic Debate broadcast on PBS from Howard University last night. In my view Travis Smiley did a better job as moderator than either Matthews or Blitzer in the previous debates. All candidates had an opportunity to make a contribution.

Unfortunately, because of the format most candidates were limited to sound-bite answers. There was almost no exchange between candidates. However the contributions had more substance than in previous debates. Maybe the fact that the discussion focused primarily on domestic issues made this possible.

There were no real winners or loosers. I was impressed by the performance of Edwards. He seemed more confident and relaxed than in previous debates. I thought Hillary's performance in New Hampshire was better than last night...because she interjected some humor and levity. Obama seemed to hesitate on some answers but that may simply be his style. Richardson has not yet hit his stride. Anyway, we are going to see a lot more of these candidates. I could vote for any of them over any Republican candidate!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blair new Middle East envoy...

When the Israeli government was bombing Lebanon back into the stone age last Summer Tony Blair kept his mouth shut out of respect for his friend George Bush. After all, Bush was rushing cluster bombs to the Israeli's in support of their efforts. Is it any wonder that many in the Arab street have a deep suspicion of Tony Blair and his motives.

In my view the appointment of Blair as special envoy to help the Palestinians makes little sense. His reputation is tarnished because of his advocacy of the war in Iraq and his silence in the face of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. His chances of success are slim.

It doesn't take a PhD in political science to understand that what is needed to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is someone who is viewed as even-handed. Tony Blair does not fit the bill.


It looks like the mandate given to Blair is very limited. His primary focus will be helping the Palestinians deal with pressing humanitarian problems. He will not be negotiating a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A very sad story...

I th0ught twice about posting this link to this story in the International Herald Tribune. It is the saddest story that I've ever read about the casualties of the Iraq War. As I read it I was full of both pity for a family who are suffering more than any family should have to suffer. And it adds to my anger at Bush and his NeoCon friends for getting us into this f**ckin war.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Moore takes his message to DC...

Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan was among lawmakers who joined filmmaker Michael Moore for a rally on Capitol Hill.
Moore's new film "SiCKO" is an indictment of the health insurance system in America. Moore, along with a movement of nurses and doctors, have been rallying around the film and are using it to pressure politicians and citizens to take a stance.
The effort to smear Moore by the insurance companies has already begun. I expect the filmmaker will fight back. Maybe we'll have an interesting debate on health care in the United States.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another fallen hero...

Members of the US Army Old Guard Caisson Platoon transport the remains of a US military veteran before a funeral service at Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
14 US soldiers have died in scattered attacks in Iraq over the last two days.
In the meantime, the leading Democratic candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) continue to advocate leaving a "residual force" in Iraq indefinitely. They talk of leaving 20,000 to 30,000 troops. Who is going to provide protection for these troops? How are we going to be able to keep the supply lines open? I think that at that point we'll be told to get out.
(Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Husband missing in Iraq; Wife facing potential deportation at home...

This is a story that comes close to home. The Latino community in my neighboring city of Lawrence have been trying to cope with the news that one of their own, Alex Mimenez, is one of the two missing soldiers in Iraq. Now comes the news that his wife is facing deportation.

Yaderlin Jimenez's husband, Army Spc. Alex R. Jimenez, a Purple Heart recipient, disappeared when his unit was ambushed by insurgents May 12. Mrs. Jimenez status hangs in limbo.

At a dramatic hearing in immigrant court April 29, 2006, where Jimenez appeared in full-dress uniform alongside his wife, Judge Philip J. Montante granted the couple a temporary reprieve — putting a stop to the proceedings until Jimenez returned from what would be his second tour of duty.

Why wouldn't our government want to treat this woman in a decent manner since it seems most likely that her husband gave his life fighting for the United States government?

A local television station is reporting this morning that Homeland Security has backed off on the effort to deport Yaderlin Jimenez. Both Senator Kerry and Senator Kennedy had intervened on her behalf.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

No endgame in sight...

I just watched Frontline on PBS. The program traced the successive failed strategies in the Iraq war from 2003 up to the present time. What was most surprising to me was to learn that most of the political leaders and the generals thought that we would be out of Iraq in about six months.

In the months leading up to the invasion many predicted exactly what would happen. I remember Nelson Mandela predicting that the invasion would have a total destabilizing effect. At the time he was ridiculed for making what the war-mongers perceived as an anti-American statement.

The problem with Iraq is not the failed strategies followed after the invasion. The real problem was the decision by the NeoCons and Bushco to try to change the face of the Middle East through the use of force. The program on PBS tonight confirmed my belief that it's time to cut our losses and bring our troops home. What do you think?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

More chaos in the Middle East...

When Hammas won a democratic election the United States and Israel decided to institute a financial boycott of Palestine. This resulted in a humanitarian disaster...incredible hardship in Gaza and the West Bank. The theory was that we don't deal with "terrorists." Now we see the results in Gaza.

I know very little about the ins and outs of foreign policy but I knew our response to the Hammas victory would have serious consequences. At this stage the U.S. government has almost zero credibility when it comes to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately, I don't see any of the front runners for President in either party having a more enlightened policy towards the Middle East.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Libby going to jail...

Looks like Schooter Libby will not stay free pending his appeal. I'm guessing his appeal was not helped by the fact that some of Schooters friends wrote nasty threatening letters to Judge Walton. Not a good idea.

I think there is a very good possibility that Bush will give Libby a pardon before he sets foot in the slammer. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Breaking News: Remants of Famous Shiite Shrine Destroyed...

This is very bad news. Early morning blasts today destroyed two minarets at the same Shiite shrine in Samarra where an attack last year demolished the mosque's gilded dome and plunged the country into a wave of deadly sectarian violence.

The 9 a.m. explosions at the revered Askariya shrine in Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, is the sort of event that could spark a spiral of retaliatory bloodshed.

This latest development is likely to make it more difficult to draw down U.S. troops. Not a good situation. Maybe we should just pick up and leave. What do you think?

Monday, June 11, 2007

A crazy idea...

This weekend I was down in New Jersey celebrating the 95th birthday of my aunt with members of her extended family. Was out of contact with the blogosphere and developing news. When I got back last night I found out that the big story over the weekend was the recommendation on CBS by Joe Lieberman that we bomb Iran. What's up with this guy? Has he really sold his soul to the Israeli lobby in Washington. Doesn't he know that his advocacy of regime change in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of almost 600,000 people.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The twins...

These guys look pretty happy. Not thinking about the mess they created in Iraq I'm sure. They must have celebrated a lot last night since Bush had a sick stomach this morning.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Scary stuff...

Almost all the Republican candidates in the debate on Tuesday night indicated they would be willing to bomb Iran. Some seemed eager to get the opportunity. And Fred Thompson, appearing on a Fox Cable News interview said he would also bomb Iran. Do these guys have any idea of the catastrophic consequences of such action? Over half a million people have been killed in Iraq and they want to extend the war to another country.

Update: I noticed also that most of the Republican candidates in the Tuesday debate indicated their support for the idea of giving Libby a pardon. Not much respect for the judge or the jury that were involved in his trial.

Should Libby be pardoned?

Christy Hardin Smith has this excellent post up at Firedoglake this morning on the possibility of a pardon for Schooter Libby. Well worth a read. There will be a lot of pressure on Bush to keep this guy out of jail.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Our Next First Lady?

Photo shows social-christian conservative Fred Thompson, who believes in traditional marriage (he's "pro-traditional-marriage"), pictured with his current wife -- 25 years younger than he, 4 years younger than his own daughter -- after the 2006 White House Correspondent's Dinner.

"Hollywood Fred" is expected to officially become a Republican candidate for President in the near future. Will his trophy wife be an asset or a liability?

Update: I need to make a clarification/correction. According to a person who posted a comment the eldest daughter of Thompson died in 2002...and his youngest daughter is only four years old.

Update 11: The photo was not intended to be sexist. It was an attempt to say something about right-wing politicians who do a lot of moralizing for others. Newt Gingrich would have been a better example.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Democratic Debate....

Watched the two-hour Democratic Debate last night. Left me hoping that Al Gore might get in the race. I'm reading his best-selling book, Assault on Reason, and I am most impressed with his understanding of what is going on in America today.

Maybe the sponsors of these debates should consider devoting all the time to one topic such as the Iraq War or health care. The candidates last night were limited to brief sound-bites on multiple subjects and the result was almost a total lack of substance.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Search continues for missing girl...

This photo of Madeleine McCann was taken during the family's current holiday at Praia da Luz in Portugal before the three-year-old disappeared. The search continues for this girl who was taken from her room one month ago. (Photo courtesy of the Guardian).