Sunday, December 30, 2007

The prophet Huckabee

Those who know their Bible surely know of the Maccabees. However, you may have missed the reference to the prophet Huckabee. Today on "Meet the Press", the former Arkansas governor said:

In light of the events of the last week, some of my previous comments on Pakistan seem prophetic.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Pakistan and the U.S. presidential campaign

Even as the body of Pakistan's opposition leaders and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest today, Pakistani parliamentary elections remain scheduled for January 8 -- the same day as the New Hampshire primary.

It may be counterintuitive to assert, being an election-loving, small-d democrat, but your blogstress thinks it a very bad idea to hold those elections (the ones in Pakistan) as scheduled, before Bhutto's party has a chance to reorganize itself, and the nation has a chance to calm itself.

For more on the crisis in Pakistan, and how it affects U.S. politics, you will find your écrivaine blogging at TAPPED:

Republican Candidates Wage Epic Struggle for Civilization -- and Nomination

Is Edwards Musharraf's Pick?

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto, the first democratically elected woman prime minister of a Muslim nation, has been done away with:

An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon at close range before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.
UPDATE: Posting today at TAPPED on the Bhutto killing:

Benazir Bhutto Done In: Now What?

Bush: Murderous Extremists Killed Bhutto

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Oscar Peterson is gone

Christmas Eve brought the sad news that Oscar Peterson, the great master of the jazz piano, had died at the age of 82 in his Canadian home.

Peterson's sound was distinctive, a combination of virtuosity and nuance that allowed him to move seamlessly between understated comps and solos in which a torrent of notes could spill out, sparklingly and perfectly arranged. He was a rare player who led any group in which he played, and led with subtlety. There was something in his character and playing that seemed to pull forth the essence of each musician on the stage, each becoming more him- or herself than she or he could ever be performing solo. And, all the while, he maintained a strong but sage-like presence.

At least, that's how it seemed to me, listening to recordings, for I never got myself to see Peterson play live. Shame on me for that.

My first awareness of Oscar Peterson was a once-removed discovery. When I was growing up, my father listened to a lot different music on our hi-fi, some of it jazz. Thanks to the G.I. bill, my family and I found our upwardly mobile selves crawling out from the shadow of the Bayway oil refinery and into a sparkling, new four-bedroom, split-level on tree-laden land dredged out of a swamp. Our next door neighbor was a podiatrist with a very famous patient; her name was Sarah Vaughan, and she lived in Newark.

Our next-door neighbor, whom I'll call Dr. Eisenstadt, was unlike anybody I had known in our old neighborhood. He was Jewish. In fact, there were quite a few Jewish families in our new neighborhood -- people who probably would not have been so welcome in our old one. Still, we were pretty certain that even if Dr. Eisenstadt had cured the famous and virtuotic Sarah Vaughah of toe cancer, she would not be coming to visit us in Clark, New Jersey -- at least not unless she was willing to run the risk of spending the night in jail, which was where black people who tried to drive through Clark sometimes wound up, just because.

Now, this was initially confusing to me, since we had a lot of Jews in town, and they weren't exactly white. Well, at least that what they said in my old neighborhood. But maybe here they were. I didn't know.

Like a lot of white Americans, what I knew of black people I knew through the television and the hi-fi. We had a Billie Holiday record and some big-band records featuring Ella Fitzgerald, but we had no Sarah Vaughan records.

Years later, after I had left home, I bought my father a record for Christmas. I bought it knowing nothing about it, but for the name of the vocalist, Sarah Vaughan, and a vague recognition of one of the players on the album: Oscar Peterson. It turned out to be one of Sarah Vaughan's last recordings, and it truly is, as the name for her goes, divine. The album takes its name from one of the tracks -- "How Long Has This Been Going On?" -- and teams Vaughan and Peterson with guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Louie Bellson. Peterson holds court on the title track and positively swings on a knock-out rendition of "I've Got the World on a String."

But it's on the pensive and moody tracks -- "You're Blasé", "Easy Living", "My Old Flame" -- that Peterson really works his magic, never getting in the way of the Divine One's dramatic delivery, but supporting her as if he were her empath.

Critics often derided Peterson for being all hands and no soul. I think they missed the point. Peterson just needed other musicians in order to be his best. He allowed their emotions to fill him up, and then passed them back to their owners in a richer, deeper form.

I return to Clark once every couple of years. It's a suburb of Newark, the city that gave us Sarah Vaughan, and Elizabeth, which was once a bustling center of Jewish life. I've yet to run into any black people in Clark. But there were more than a few jazz-lovers nestled in that cul-de-sac, and more than a few sighs, I'll wager, when news reached the white people's swamp that Oscar Peterson had died.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Night Before...

Alex Rossmiller has crafted a delightful parody of Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas" -- better known as "The Night Before Christmas" -- one that features in its cast of characters not reindeer, but presidential candidates. Herewith, a taste, from Alex's posting at AmericaBlog:

More slick than an oil spill the candidates seem
As the White House draws near in their eyes there's a gleam.
And they pander and fundraise and talk themselves out
In the hopes that the voters will lose any doubt.

Now Rudy! Now Romney! Now Edwards and Clinton!
Obama! Fred Thompson! But will anyone listen?
To the top of the polls! To the top of the caucus!
Now speechify, argue, make white papers glisten!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE THING

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Burning down the house


Since Hurricane Katrina struck, the cost of renting an apartment in New Orleans has gone up by 45 percent.

More than 200,000 of the city’s residents have yet to return home, unable to afford the soaring rents, and with little in the way of job prospects. Ain’t nothin’ comin’ easy these days in the Big Easy.

But some people just can’t seem to get the message. Go figure; there are still some poor people – mostly black people whose Gulf Coast roots go back some 400 years – who want to stay. Looks like the only way to get rid of them for good is to raze 4,500 units of public housing, and let developers replace it with “mixed-income” (read: too costly for the people who used to live here) neighborhoods.

Is your blogstress too cynical? Too conspiracy-minded? Perhaps.

But yesterday, the frustration of New Orleaneans spilled out onto the streets when they suspected just exactly the scenario your cybertrix has spelled out, especially when they found themselves locked out of the city council meeting at which the decision to raze the apartment buildings – deemed worthy of preservation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The building where the meeting was being held was filled to capacity but, according to the Associated Press:

Protesters said they pushed against the iron gates that kept them out of the building because the Housing Authority of New Orleans had disproportionately allowed supporters of the demolition to pack the chambers.
Note that the city council is all white. Mayor Ray Nagin is not, but he did not show up for the meeting.

From the Associated Press via the New York Times.

From the Los Angeles Times via Frank Gilligan, your blogstress’s partner in musical crimes.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The electability ruse

Your blogstress is getting mighty tired of the way in which the presidential candidates are questioning each other's "electability". I mean, how do you know when somebody is electable? When he or she gets elected, that's how!

As your cybertrix has mentioned before, the "electability" ruse is nothing more than an appeal to voters' prejudices, be they racist, sexist or religionist in nature. From the Republicans, I expect no less. But from Democrats, it's especially bad juju.

To that end, your Webwench talked earlier this week with Helen Miller, one of two African-American women in the Iowa State House of Representatives, about how Barack Obama's admission of drug use during his youth is being deployed against him by the Hillary Clinton campaign as a form of racial code.

For more, read "The Real Race Card" at The American Prospect Online.

In a somewhat frightening development, you can read a paean to Obama by David Brooks, the New York Times's resident conservative columnist, by clicking here.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Where there's smoke...

As your blogstress writes this, thick grey smoke is pouring out the window of Vice President Dick Cheney's office suite in the Old Executive Office Building.

Gosh, I hope those visitor logs showing who came and went (Jack Abramoff?) from the veep's office are okay.

In case you missed it, a federal court ruled Monday that the executive branch gotta give up the goods on the visitor logs, whose release the White House had sought to prevent under the claim of -- what else? -- executive privilege.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Proud to be a Jersey Girl

From the Newark Star-Ledger:

Assembly votes to abolish death penalty

by Tom Hester and Tom Feeney

TRENTON--After more than two hours of emotional debate, the Assembly voted this afternoon to deliver to the governor's desk a bill that would make New Jersey the first state to abolish the death penalty in more than 30 years.

By a vote of 44-36, the Assembly joined the Senate in approving a bill that would replace New Jersey's never-used death penalty with life in prison without parole. Gov. Jon Corzine said hours before the debate began that he expects to sign it in the next two or three days.

[READ MORE]

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If you had any doubt that Shaheen's comments were part of a strategy...

...along comes the smarmy Mark Penn, a top advisor to Hillary Clinton's campaign, using his star turn tonight on "Hardball With Chris Matthews" to reintroduce the notion of Obama having used drugs, he was careful to use the word "cocaine." And everybody knows what kind of cocaine black people do -- rhymes with "black" (even though that wasn't the kind that Obama said he did).

This is really despicable.

Meanwhile, Billy Shaheen has "resigned" as co-chair of Clinton's national campaign. Wanna bet he'll be back?

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Enough with the steroids report coverage!

Really! Any number of other things this week deserved this level of coverage, like, say, the apparent obstruction of justice committed by the CIA with its destruction of tapes it made of its own torture of foreigners it has taken prisoner.

I wish George Mitchell would go back to doing something meaningful.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Lost the final post

A technical problem with Blogger has led to the evaporation of your blogstress's final post on the debate. Please forgive, mes amis.

Do allow, nonetheless, your Webwench to recount one of the better moments of the debate. The moderator, Des Moines Register Editor Carolyn Washburn, asked Barack Obama, what with all the former Clinton administration figures he has advising his campaign, how he represented change. Hillary Clinton could hardly contain herself, and began laughing uproariously. "I want to hear this, Barack," she said.

To which Obama replied to this effect, "And I'll be happy to have Hillary advising me, too." "Hillary, I'm looking forward to having you advising me, as well."

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
New Year's Resolutions

Hillary: exercise and do the best job possible for the American people

Edwards: remember that every night, a child goes to bed hungry

Dodd: Help America reclaim its moral authority

Richardson: Same one I have every year: to lose weight. Help end the rancor. "Stay positive."

Biden: The same one I make every year, to "remember where I came from." Seemed to make an allusion to the loss of his first wife and daughter.

Obama: To be a better father. "...not to be timid, not to be distorted by the fears of losing..."

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Biden on race

Made to defend some rather insensitive comments that he has made, even recently, about race, Biden defended himself by invoking his legislative record on civil rights. After which, almost unanimously, the candidates all made noises of concurrence.

Obama, whose cleanliness and articulateness, as invoked by Biden, created a bit of an uproar some months ago, lept to Biden's defense, saying, "I will provide some testimony, as they say in church."

Guess Biden doesn't have a chance at winning the nomination. But rumor has it he may just get the Des Moines Register's endorsement.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Leadership and character

Reminded that the secretive process by which she went about creating her original health-care proposal while serving as first lady, Clinton said that she learned a lot from that process -- foremost, that a good communications process is important.

Promised a "transparent" government.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Your first priorites as president

Obama: 1) End the war, 2) Restore the Constitution, 3) your ecrivaine's issues with short-term memory is preventing her recall.

Biden: 1) Implement the Biden plan (end the war), 2) End torture

Richardson: 1) End the war in Iraq, end torture

Dodd: 1) Change the discourse, shrillness; "change the nature of our conversation", 2) "give you back your Constitution," 4) diplomacy in the Middle East

Edwards: 1) End the war, 2) Close Guantanamo, 3) restore civil liberties, but we need to take back America from the corporate interests

Clinton: 1) I will begin to end the war in Iraq, 2) restore the Constitution

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Education

Edwards: Create a National Teaching University, modeled on the military academies. Graduates would be assigned to needy districts. Your blogstress likes this idea quite a lot.

Richardson: Pre-K for everybody. Scrap No Child Left Behind. Minimum salary for teachers: $40,000. Teach art in schools.

Moderator just asked Richardson to comment on the state of education in New Mexico, Richardson said it's been tough to raise test scores in NM because of unique population demographics -- more than 40 percent hispanic and 11 percent Native American -- but that they're going up.

Obama: Early childhood education critical. Sacrifices from the American people: Get parents "re-engaged in instilling in their children a sense of excellence."

Dodd: Parents are the first teachers. My sister just retired from teaching 42 years in the inner city of Hartford. (Read: I know what I'm talking about.)

Clinton: Bring classrooms into the 21st century; they look too much as they did when she was in school. No unfunded mandates.

Edwards: Allow workforce to stay well-educated. Your cybertrix presumes he means life-long learning.

Biden: My wife's a teacher. (Read: I know what I'm talking about.)

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Statements: Clinton and Dodd

Hillary: Change -- some believe you get change by hoping for it. I believe you get change by working for it. (Take that, Barack!)

Dodd: I've served in the military and I've been a Peace Corps volunteer.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Hillary makes a funny

During yesterday's Republican Des Moines Register forum, when asked for a show of hands as to whether or not they believed global warming to be a problem, the candidates, led by former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, refused.

So, Hillary just asked the moderator if she would like a show of hands on the same topic from today's group.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Energy

Everybody: We like it clean.

Hillary: We need to sell conservation and clean energy as "a new form of American patriotism."

Obama: "[Clean energy] is a moral imperative." Need to talk not just to the Sierra Club, but to confront those who don't like the message. Mentioned that he unveiled his energy plan before the automakers in Detroit, and "the room was very quiet."

Edwards: Moral imperative, yeah! I'm your guy on moral imperatives.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Where's Kucinich when you need him?

I need a UFO sighting -- now!

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Statements: Biden and Richardson

Ut-oh. Biden's quoting a hymn, quoting lyrics about lifting up on eagle's wings. Note that Biden is a Roman Catholic, not a people known for our great tradition of fabulous hymns. (Catholic congregations don't sing; they mumble.)

Richardson: Smart pandering, thanking the people of Iowa for the fabulous process by which they go about selecting a presidential nominee. Got a laugh.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
NAFTA

Hillary says that "right here in Iowa, there are people who are winners and losers because of trade [deals]." NAFTA needs to be improved. Said we need an "equivocal" trade policy; I think that's a rare gaffe. Your blogstress suspects that she meant "equitable."

On the subject of gaffes, Edwards made a big one that he caught himself, in which he essentially said we want to leave the nation in worse shape than we found it. Got a laugh.

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Human rights

Everybody's for them.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Statements: Obama and Edwards

One of the odd factors in these Des Moines Register fora is the intermittent sprinkling of candidates' general statements throughout the program. First up were Obama and Edwards.

Obama: Dr. King, bring everybody together.

Edwards: End corporate dominance of government, corporate corruption.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Health care

Obama: preventive health care critical. "If we had the same obesity rates of 1980, it would save Medicare a trillion dollars." Also need to have the ability to negotiate with drug companies.

Richardson: Preventive medicine the key.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
China

Richardson: Ban bad imports, but recognize that China is a major power. Oh, and they're our bankers.

And that tells us what about how you'd deal with them?

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Richardson: Military needs more dough

As does veterans' care, he says. He's right, at least about the vets, but he doesn't say how that squares with his balanced-budget promise.

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Live-blogging the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate
Balancing the budget

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is a bit noncommittal on this one, which is realistic considering the years of deficit spending we've endured during the Bush assumption of power.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is more macho: it's a big priority of his.

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden is making sense along the same lines of Obama's sense-making.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd chides Richardson, saying the federal government is more complicated than a state government.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards tries to move the discussion off of deficit spending to addressing the "structural deficiencies in the economy." (That should be a cinch!)

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton took the opportunity to remind everybody how great the economy was when there was "fiscal responsibility" exercised by the White House. And when might that have been? Not "very far" back, said Clinton. Like "the 1990s."

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Live-blogging time-delayed

Apparently there is no more important story on earth now than the apparently earth-shattering news that baseball players have been using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs for the last several decades. And so the unveiling of the Mitchell Report has knocked the Democratic debate off cable news until 3:00 EST, at which time, your blogstress will happily begin blogging.

(Alas, the hard drive of her ailing G3 Mac is too overburdened to accommodate simultaneous streaming and blogging.)

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Oh, goody! Another debate!

Your blogstress is pleased to announce that her devotees will enjoy the benefit of her shrewd, real-time analysis of the Democratic-Des Moines Register debate this afternoon, 2:00 P.M. (EST).

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Clinton camp:
Obama's former drug use a problem

With the latest CNN/WMUR poll showing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a dead heat among New Hampshire primary voters, you knew the gloves were bound to come off. And they have.

Yesterday, Billy Shaheen, a national co-chair of Clinton's New Hampshire campaign and husband of the former NH Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, questioned Obama's "electability" because of his former drug use.

Your blogstress had no use for Chris Dodd's attempt to leverage the latent sexism of some in the Democratic base when he cast aspersions on Hillary Clinton's "electability," and she has none for Shaheen's apparent appeal to any submerged racial prejudice that may exist among the voters in a state where nary a black person is to be seen. Because of Obama's racial identity, the question of drug use will undoubtedly link in some minds with the stereotyped image of the black drug-thug. And that's a despicable thing to use as a wedge in a Democratic primary.

For more depth, devotees can read your Webwench's post on the subject at TAPPED.

Herewith, the report on Shaheen's remarks from Alec MacGillis of The Trail at WashingtonPost.com.

For a little background, check out this excellent piece by the Post's Lois Romano.

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Live-blogging the G.O.P.-Des Moines Register debate
Thank Goddess; they're finished

A boring debate in which no candidate hurt himself too badly. Most interesting ideas: Huckabee on education and health care; Ron Paul on monetary policy.

For Giuliani, not such a great outing. Thompson revived concerns about his knowledge base when he couldn't really find anything to say about NAFTA. (He was answering a question about how he would change the agreement, given the chance.)

No questions for Huckabee about Zev Chafets's provocative New York Times Magazine piece. Bummer.

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Rudy: cellophane man

"I've led a transparent life."

Even when obscure government offices were used to pay the security costs for his mistress.

Oy.

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Live-blogging the G.O.P.-Des Moines Register debate
More Alan Keyes, please

Otherwise I might just fall asleep.

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Live-blogging the G.O.P.-Des Moines Register debate
Huckabee sounding like Obama

"We are a polarized nation country. And that polarized nation country has led to paralyzed government."

Went on to say something like he wants to be the president of all the people of the United States.

Also called on Republicans and conservatives to stop fighting with each other.

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Huckabee sounds great on education

Though perhaps a little nellie on all that arts education stuff. I mean, what good Republican wants his red-blooded boy learning about areas in which homosexuals hold court? I mean, you can't even show them a picture of Michelangelo's David without applying a fig leaf.

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Hunter: Good teachers run out by unions

That's what Rep. Duncan Hunter just said happened to Jaime Escalante, the teacher of cinematic fame who taught calculus to poor kids in Los Angeles.

I don't know that it's true or untrue, but I was initially confused that a Republican was standing there lionizing teachers. Of course, he chose one who had been "run out by the unions."

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Soon I'll have to call it nap-blogging

Yawn.

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Live-blogging the G.O.P.-Des Moines Register debate
Alan Keyes: still bonkers

He has one of two answers to every question: 1) the people with whom stand on this stage are stealing taxpayer dollars; 2) Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I gotta eat the worms because I represent YOU.

NOW ARE YOU LISTENING??!!!

Addendum: At least he's not talking about Mary Cheney's sex organs, as he did in 2004.

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This just in: Global warming is "real"

...and made worse by humans. At least according to Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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Thompson: I wanna be like Mitt

Make that, "Rich like Mitt."


Asked about a fair tax structure, Romney said he wasn't staying up at night worrying about the taxes that rich people are paying. Of course, Romney has put his own millions into his own megabucks campaign, and he's still got pretty deep pockets.

In reply, actor and former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson said that he'd like to have Mitt's problems.

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Romney: Cut pregnancy-prevention for teens

Asked whether he would be willing to go into deficit spending to pay for important priorities, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said that he would cut programs that weren't working -- for instance, teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Jeez, ya think they're not working because they're "abstinence only"? Nah....

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Live-blogging the G.O.P. Des Moines Register debate
Stop outsourcing bomb-making

That's what former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, today's It Boy among the Republican presidential hopefuls, had for an answer to a question about whether the deficit constitutes a national security issues.

Addendum: Who is making our bombs? If it's China, I hope they're painting them with the same stuff they're using on the Fisher-Price toys.

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Today's must-read
Chafets on Huckabee: The next incarnation of the religious right?

Zev Chafets has written a really smart and engaging profile of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Baptist preacher. You can find it here, or in this coming Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Huckabee has shown himself to be quite the phenom, and Chafets succeeds in lifting the veil from the charming preacher's nice-guy image to reveal a man who plays a little bit nasty when temptation calls. Last night, on MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews, referring to Huckabee's implicit sowing of doubt against his Mormon rival, Mitt Romney, gleefully read this bit from the Chavets piece:

I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. "I think it’s a religion," he said. "I really don’t know much about it."

I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: "Don’t Mormons," he asked in an innocent voice, "believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
Most significantly, though, Chavets poses the question of what becomes of Huckabee after the 2008 election (assuming that he doesn't win the presidency). Charles Dunn, dean of the Regent University school of government, suggests that the Huckabee candidacy leaves him poised to become one of the top preachers in the land. And Dunn should know how that works. Regent University was founded by Pat Robertson, who became one of the top dogs of the religious right when he used the mailing lists of his 1988 presidential campaign to launch the Christian Coalition.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

But they're trying so hard

Your blogstress finds herself a bit aghast at the ingratitude of the Republican voter, what with virtually the entire field -- except for Ron Paul -- pandering so furiously to win his vote. Honestly, what's a fella got to do?

Look at Rudy, who just this weekend told viewers of Meet the Press that homosexual acts are sinful, per Roman Catholic teaching:

MR. RUSSERT: But you don’t believe homosexuality is aberrant...

MR. GIULIANI: Oh, no, no, no.

MR. RUSSERT: ...unnatural or sinful.

MR. GIULIANI: My, my, my -- no, I don’t believe it’s sinful. My, my moral views on this come from the, you know, from the Catholic Church, and I believe that homosexuality, heterosexuality as a, as a way that somebody leads their life is not -- isn’t sinful. It’s the acts, it’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the—not the orientation that they have.

MR. RUSSERT: The Congress is discussing and...

MR. GIULIANI: Which includes me, by the way. I mean, you know, unfortunately, I’ve had my own sins that I’ve had to confess and had to deal with and try to overcome and so I’m very, very empathetic with people, and that we’re all, we’re all imperfect human beings struggling to, to try to be better.
Okay, so he said he didn't think that the homosexual orientation was unnatural or sinful, even though Pope Benedict XVI, writing as Pope John Paul II's prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith said, in the doctrine "On the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person", that while homosexual attraction is not sinful, it "is more or less a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder."

Then there's Mike Huckabee, the former Baptist preacher who, in 1992, said that AIDS patients should be "isolated" from the rest of society. This weekend, Huckabee refused to back away from those comments. You'd think that would bring the G.O.P. voters running to him, given their supposed hatred of the homosexual's sin (if not the sinner, as their spokespeople often claim).

Hey, what if G.O.P. voters don't really care that much whether someone is gay or not? What if they just want someone to come up with a way out of the economic and foreign policy mess that Bush has bequeathed us?

No wonder they're not impressed.

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G.O.P. voters not impressed

Discontent abounds among Republicans, according to the latest New York Times/CBS national poll about the presidential campaign. In a page-one story, reporters Adam Nagourney and Megan Thee explain, "Not one of the Republican candidates is viewed favorably by even half the Republican electorate, the poll found."

Democrats fare much better among their voters, the pollsters found, with more than half viewing the party's top two contenders -- Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama -- favorably. "Mrs. Clinton is viewed favorably by 68 percent of Democrats," write Nagourney and Thee, "followed by Mr. Obama, viewed favorably by 54 percent. Mr. Edwards is viewed favorably by 36 percent."

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