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