johnBinVA's blog

Ugly Americans

I expect to hear indignant denials, from those who say they only object to the immigrants "illegal" status. Right. This doesn't just exist in Colorado, it's nationwide in the anti-immigrant sentiment.

-RP couldn't fix the link.

Not a Viable Nation

It is now wonder Jimmy Carter saw mass defections from his staff when his last book came out. It's easy to criticize Israel's actions over time and in retrospect - as Carter has done. But he implicitly makes it seem like "Palestinians" can be trusted to act like adults more than Israel. Easier still if you ignore the Palestinian's actions and inability or unwillingness to control the terrorists within its borders. The elected government is unable to even talk. Why then is there support for this group to have a nation when they cannot even show interim signs of viability? Sadder that it is hopeless.

Republican's Would Be Well Represented

I would love to see Sam Brownback nominated by Republicans. He may be the only candidate that could turn off enough of the electoral middle to allow Hillary to be elected - if she is nominated. While Hillary would be a unifying figure for the fractured right, Brownback would send many former "Reagan Dems" back to the fold. Other than Mitch McConnell, I can think of no more distateful repub Senator now that Santorum, Allen, and Helms are gone. Am I missing anyone?

Never Coming Back Again

Katrina has hastened the inevitable - New Orleans will wither on the vine faster than it was doing before due to Katrina.

"The new doubts, surprisingly, are largely not based on the widespread damage caused by the flood. Rather, crippling problems that existed long before Hurricane Katrina are mostly being blamed for the city’s failure to thrive.

In this view, the storm was merely a grim exclamation point to conditions decades in the making. Before the storm, some economists say, New Orleans may have had more people than its economy could support, and the stalled repopulation is merely reflecting that."

The scapegoats will certainly not be NO itself - this will be laid at the feet of the federal government and whites in general.

Surge?

Novak's math makes it seem like it will be a hard sell in the Senate to keep more Republicans from openly splitting with Bush (and McCain, on this issue). He says Bush will have a hard time finding support from more than 12 of the 49 Republican senators when pressing for a surge of 30,000 troops. Add Lieberman and you have 13. That is only a political poll in the end , as Bush needs no Senate approval for this sort of buildup. But I sure hope he comes up with more measurable goals than "create stability". A short troop surge is the most dangerous, according to Kagan and Keane.

If Maliki cannot confront the Shi'ite militias, then there is no reason for Sunni's to support him further.

Reform Proposals

Dick Morris has written an article on a potential set of steps to be taken on cleaning up Congress if the 110th is serious about it. I don't expect to see much of this as I find both parties to be inherently corrupt. Don't bother attacking Morris - it's too easy. If you find his proposals off the mark, let' s hear it. If you can suggest others, let' s hear it. For those not inclined to click before commenting, here is a snapshot:

1. Ban spousal and family employment by campaign committees and PACs.
2. Ban immediate family members of senators or congressmen from lobbying Congress.
3. Restore presidential power to line-item veto earmarks in appropriations bills and reverse the anti-impoundment legislation passed during the Nixon administration.

Market Indicators for Violence

Call it violence futures. Or leading indicators of what Iraqis themselves expect is coming.

* “I bought this for $450 last year,” he said of the rifle. “Now it costs $650. The prices keep going up.”
* .....Glock and Walther 9-millimeter pistols, and pristine, unused Kalashnikovs from post-Soviet Eastern European countries. These are three of the principal types of the 370,000 weapons purchased by the United States for Iraq’s security forces, a program that was criticized by a special inspector general this fall for, among other things, failing to properly account for the arms.

(Don't forget that the leadership of the 109th Congress wanted to get rid of the special IG.)

For Shame, New Orleans

William "Cold Hard Cash" Jefferson has won his runoff election. New Orleans, you should be ashamed if you even have the capacity for shame. I hope Nancy Pelosi was not bluffing when she said that he won't get a seat on any committees if he is returned. (I didn't know that could be done.) This victory for a bribe-taking sleaze ball helps the right tar the rest of the Democratic party with the same brush that tarred the right over the last year....you know the list of names. This confirms what many in the center-left and center-right believe and have believed for a long time: that there is no mantle of respectability for either party to claim. That is not new. What was potentially new was the chance to change the direction.

Ice Cream Before Spinach

Sad. The departing Republican Congress punts an unfinished budget - its main job - on to the incoming Congress...but not before passing the goodies its base craves more than a budget; tax break extensions. David Obey got it right when he called their inability to craft a passable budget "a blatant admission of abject failure by the most useless Congress in the modern era."

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