Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Election 2008 voter tally

Voters lost out big time in this debate if Chuck Todd's question tally is accurate. Voters deserve to hear what each candidate has to offer to the campaign and the important issues of they day. Democratic primary voters should hear of each candidates' planned "bridge to the future" (if I may borrow from Bill Clinton's campaign) and then choose which one best reflects where they want to go.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Word Count:Debate

Let's hope MSNBC compensates for this tomorrow by giving the other five candidates, particularly those it had for the most part avoided - Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Bill Richardson some airtime.

Debate Tonight

The seven remaining Democratic candidates for president will participate in a debate tomorrow in Philadelphia. The debate, which is hosted by MSNBC's Brian Williams and Tim Russert, will be aired at 9:00 PM ET on MSNBC.

Another Reason for Border Control

For anyone who thinks border control isn't serious, read this.
Those who sneak into our country deny us the opportunity to screen for contagious diseases and protect us from them. They deny us the opportunity to screen for terrorists. And they force us to pay for their health care and their children's education.

Had we screened everyone who came in pit HIV numbers might have been lower. The case for border enforcement is strong. The case for ignoring border enforcement weak.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Giuliani: Two Different Perspectives

1. He's the secular moderate that conservative evangelicals fear.

"Hilariously enough, some other big names on the right, typified by Sean Hannity of Fox News, are capitulating to the Giuliani candidacy by pretending that he, like the incessantly flip-flopping Mitt Romney, is reversing his previously liberal record on social issues. The straw they cling to is Rudy's promise to appoint "strict constructionist" judges to the Supreme Court.

Even leaving aside the Giuliani record in New York (where his judicial appointees were mostly Democrats), the more Democratic Senate likely to emerge after 2008 is a poor bet to confirm a Scalia or Alito even should a Republican president nominate one. No matter how you slice it, the Giuliani positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control remain indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton's."
- Frank Rich in The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times.


2. He's a conservative who every now and then diverges from the conservative party line but only mildly so. Giuliani is bridging the gap with conservatives on those occasional and minor points of disagreement.

"If you've managed to keep liking President Bush, you'd have no trouble loving President Giuliani.

Consider the first of our freedoms: free speech. One emblematic act of Giuliani's mayorship was his 1999 attempt to censor an art exhibit because it featured a painting of the Virgin Mary that used an unusual form of mixed media -- clumps of elephant dung, to be precise. (Others were also upset by the cutouts of female genitalia.) Giuliani, a Catholic who attended parochial schools and once aspired to the priesthood, understandably took offense. But he then converted his religious sensibilities into policy, unilaterally withholding a $7 million city subsidy to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When that failed to get the painting removed, he tried to evict the museum from its century-old home. Ultimately, after losing in court, he was forbidden to retaliate against the museum. So much for moderation."
David Greenberg in The Washington Post

One columnist says Giuliani is a conservative; the other a moderate. One says Giuliani will nominate judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy it helps protect while the other says he will appoint the judicially conservative nominees who will overturn that ruling as well as others impact privacy rights.

Frank Rich's viewpoint is shared by many journalists and it is the one most political pundits who watch these shows have grown accustomed to. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani governed New York City as a liberal to moderate Republican, endorsing Governor Mario Cuomo's unsuccessful bid for re-election in 1994, supported strict gun laws like the Brady Bill, spoke out against a partial birth abortion ban and signed New York City's gay friendly domestic partnership rights into law.

Giuliani's divergence from conservative orthodoxy is well documented and for those of us who think the Republican Party had been hijacked by Christian theocrats, appreciated but it is only one side of Giuliani. Giiuliani's tough stance on torture and hawkish foreign policy are presented as deviations from his eight years in office . He is, it is asserted, moving to the right to placate the Republican Party's conservative base.

David Greenberg's op-ed in The Washington Post should put that theory to rest. Giuliani governed New York City as an urban law and order conservative who rid Time Square of porn shops, offered the police unqualified support against charges of police brutality and racism when some of its number were caught engaging in some of the most brutal of crimes against people of color, and introduced the "broken windows" theory of crime to New York City with then police commissioner William J. Bratton. The mayor's professed support for the Bush administration's policy on torture should be viewed with this in mind. As New York City's mayor, Giuliani backed the institution that provided law and order over a suspects' civil rights. One would expect a President Giuliani to side with the army or

Civil libertarians should recall his many run-in with the Brooklyn Museum of the Art when it displayed an exhibit that Catholics deemed offensive - a picture of Mary with elephant dung. As New York City's mayor, Giuliani threatened to withdraw its funding and terminate its lease. Conservatives who applauded when he threatened the Museum should ask whether they thought the censorship of anti-Muslim cartoons is acceptable.

Giuliani's support for school vouchers may be a concern to some libertarians but others would have no problem with offering parents the financial means to select a school for their children on their own. Conservatives no doubt would support his effort in that regard.

Mr. Greenberg accurately recounts proof of Giuliani's conservative approach to law and order issues but understates the differences he has with social conservatives. Giuliani once praised former President Bill Clinton for vetoing a partial-birth abortion ban passed in a Republican-controlled Congress and supported taxpayer-financed abortion procedures for the poor.

In his attempt to portray Giuliani as a conservative on social issues, Greenberg tries drive a wedge his personal pro-gay attitudes expressed when he moved in with a gay couple to the political stances he took as a mayor. Giuliani's support for gay couples could not have been any clearer. He marched in gay pride parades and legalized gay domestic partnerships. As New York City's mayor, Giuliani expressed support for civil unions.

The mayor has since backtracked from that support. When New Hampshire's Governor signed a civil unions bill into law Giuliani said the governor went too far, expressing support for domestic partnerships. At a speech before the National Rifle ASsociation Giuliani retracted his support for gun control but defended his record on the grounds that he was New York City's mayor and fighting high crime. The former mayor, while maintaining his support for abortion rights, has reversed himself on partial birth abortion and pledges to nominate judicial conservatives like Antonin Scalia and John Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court.

These pledges are more accurately viewed as Giuliani's peace offering to the religious conservatives that he disagrees with on abortion and gay rights. He promises to offer them justices that might reconsider longstanding constitutional jurisprudence so that in the areas where their views are widely respected (the rural west and south) they can impose their moral standards on the occasional dissenter living among them while preserving the liberal jurisprudence now in effect in the cities, northeast and west coast.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Karbala

We are about to hand the Shiite-dominated province of Karbala over to Iraqis this week. Major General Rick Lynch said an Iraqi Security Force of 10,000 could maintain order. The general says rival Shiite militias "sometimes" resort to violence as they vie for power but suggests it "is not of the magnitude" that got him concerned. American troops will remain to provide any assistance should the Iraqi Security Forces prove themselves incapable of restoring order.

That's one way to look at it. Maybe we are slowly and gracefully extricating ourselves from a pending battle we cannot win and let the Shiite militias fight among themselves for power.

More on Turkey

It should come of no surprise to readers of this blog that the Iranian foreign minister is accusing our government of supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK. Outlandish though it may be the claim was used to drive a wedge between the United States and Turkey.

Turkish minister Ali Babacan did not back the Iranian foreign minister's claims but that was to be expected. His government has no interest in severing its ties to the United States, the European Union it wishes to join, or its neighbor Turkey. Babacan's statement defending the Bush administration's anti-PKK credentials, however, was tepid at best. It would like the United States to pressure the Iraqi Kurds they have protected from Saddam Hussein's wrath to crack down on PKK insurgents operating from their autonomous enclave.

I don't like to think that the U.S. supports a terrorist group," he was quoted as saying in The International Herald Tribune. One would hope not. Cemil Cicek, Turkey's deputy prime minister said the United States hasn't done enough to reign in the PKK forces now operating in northern Iraq.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shifting Priorities

Well, it may not be a change in heart but the split in the evangelical community in its priorities is fine by me. Banning gay marriage won't stop the wildfires in California or save us from what increasingly looks like a boondoggle in Iraq.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Weekend Preview

I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. FOX News Sunday on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Laura Bush, Bobby Jindal. (a) First Lady Laura Bush on the Middle East and her tour for breast cancer awareness. (b) Louisiana Governor-Elect Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) on his agenda. (c) FOX News panelists Brit Hume of FOX News, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio and Juan Williams of National Public Radio. (d) Power Player of the Week - Michael Kahn of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Chris Wallace hosts this show, which is re-aired at 6:00 PM ET on the FOX News Channel.


2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Topic This Week - "Meet The Candidate" series, decision 2008 political punditry. (a) Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) on his campaign for the White House. (b) columnist William Safire and reporter Tom DeFrank on Decision 2008. Tim Russert hosts this show which is re-aired at 10:00 PM ET on MSNBC.


3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Topics This Week - John McCain's White House run, wild fires, a new film on the Iraqi insurgency. (a) Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on his campaign for the White House, immigration, Iran and Iraq. (b)Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Representative (and presidential candidate) Duncan Hunter (R-California) on the wild fires in California and the federal response to them. (c) Political Round table - Paul Krugman, Chrystia Freeland, and George Will on this week's politics. (d) Voices - filmmaker Molly Bingham on her new film on the Iraqi insurgency, "Meeting Resistance." (e) In Memorium. (f) Sunday Funnies. George Stephanopoulos is hosted.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET): Topic This Week - Campaign 2008. Guests will include Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) Bob Schieffer hosts this show.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET): Topics this Week - Iran, California wildfires, and Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. (a) Mohamed ElBaradei on the Iranian nuclear threat. (b) Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) on the California wildfires. (c) former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arizona) on his campaign for the White House. Wolf Blitzer hosts this show on Sunday mornings.


II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL NEWS SHOWS


1. "Big Story Weekend" on FOX News Channel (Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM ET):
Not posted yet. Julie Banderas hosts this show.


2. "Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):
Topics This Week - the Clinton couple in the spot light and the GOP race for the White House. (a) the media spotlight on the Clintons - helping or hurting Senator Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House. (b) GOP - why it is becoming a two-person race. (c) Ups and Downs for the week. Co-hosted by Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke.


3. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - California wildfires, Lt. Michael Murphy's reward, quick news takes. (a) media pointing the blame for the California Wildfire devastation. (b) press coverage surrounding Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy. (c) quick news takes. Panelists include conservative columnist Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton of Newsweek, American University communications assistant Professor Jane Hall, Neal Gabler of the Norman Lear Center, and host Eric Burns.


4. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Hillary Clinton's decision to stay with Bill, Iran. (a) a potential path to war with Iran. (b) Hillary Clinton - women on her decision to stick with Bill Clinton. Panelists this week include David Gregory of NBC News, Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, David Ignatius of The Washington Post, Katty Kay of the BBC, and host Chris Matthews.


5. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
CNN does not provide its viewers with a preview of the topics which will be discussed on this program which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings. Howard Kurtz hosts this show on Sunday mornings.


III. WEEKEND FEATURE NEWS PROGRAMS


1. "20/20" on ABC (Friday at 10:00 PM ET):
pre-empted but will return on November 2. John Stossel hosts this show.


2. "48 Hours" on CBS (Saturday at 10:00 PM ET):
"An Eye For An Eye" - a children's eye doctor is murdered in Tucson and the investigation leads through a web, drugs and revenge. Peter Van Sant reports.


3. "CNN Special: Planet in Peril" on CNN (Saturday at 8:00 PM ET):
Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Corwin investigate global warming.



4. "CBS Sunday Morning" on CBS (Sunday at 9:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - dreams, Anthony Hopkins, "Lars and the Real Girl", Harper's Bazaar, pumpkin contest. (a) Cover: Dreams - Dr. Emily Senay examines how and why we dream. (b) Almanac - Harvard University founded. (c) China: Postcard from Beijing - Barry Peterson sends a postcard from Beijing. (d) The Movies - David Edelstein reviews "Lars and the Real Girl"
. (e) Passage or Milepost - topic to be determined. (f) Music: Neil Sedaka. - Russ Mitchell profiles Neil Sedaka. (g)Harper's Bazaar - Tracy Smith reports on fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. (h) Profile: Anthony Hopkins - Rita Braver profiles actor Anthony Hopkins, who is working on a new movie. (i) Opinion - Ben Stein on Berlin. (j) Geist: Pumpkins - Bill Geist enters the war of a pumpkin competition.


5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Afghan President, honey bee demise, Nicholas Sarkozy. (a) Bombing Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells Scott Pelley he wants the United States to stop its use of air strikes because they are killing too many civilians. (b) What's With The Bees? - Steve Kroft reports on the colony collapse disorder infecting honey bees. (c) Sarko L'Americain - Lesley Stahl profiles French President Nicholas Sarkozy. (d) Commentator - Andy Rooney.



5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Afghan President, honey bee demise, Nicholas Sarkozy. (a) Bombing Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells Scott Pelley he wants the United States to stop its use of air strikes because they are killing too many civilians. (b) What's With The Bees? - Steve Kroft reports on the colony collapse disorder infecting honey bees. (c) Sarko L'Americain - Lesley Stahl profiles French President Nicholas Sarkozy. (d) Commentator - Andy Rooney.

The Weekend Preview

I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. FOX News Sunday on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Laura Bush, Bobby Jindal. (a) First Lady Laura Bush on the Middle East and her tour for breast cancer awareness. (b) Louisiana Governor-Elect Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana) on his agenda. (c) FOX News panelists Brit Hume of FOX News, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio and Juan Williams of National Public Radio. (d) Power Player of the Week - Michael Kahn of the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Chris Wallace hosts this show, which is re-aired at 6:00 PM ET on the FOX News Channel.


2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Topic This Week - "Meet The Candidate" series, decision 2008 political punditry. (a) Senator Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) on his campaign for the White House. (b) columnist William Safire and reporter Tom DeFrank on Decision 2008. Tim Russert hosts this show which is re-aired at 10:00 PM ET on MSNBC.


3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Topics This Week - John McCain's White House run, wild fires, a new film on the Iraqi insurgency. (a) Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) on his campaign for the White House, immigration, Iran and Iraq. (b)Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Representative (and presidential candidate) Duncan Hunter (R-California) on the wild fires in California and the federal response to them. (c) Political Round table - Paul Krugman, Chrystia Freeland, and George Will on this week's politics. (d) Voices - filmmaker Molly Bingham on her new film on the Iraqi insurgency, "Meeting Resistance." (e) In Memorium. (f) Sunday Funnies. George Stephanopoulos is hosted.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET): Topic This Week - Campaign 2008. Guests will include Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) Bob Schieffer hosts this show.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET): Topics this Week - Iran, California wildfires, and Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. (a) Mohamed ElBaradei on the Iranian nuclear threat. (b) Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) on the California wildfires. (c) former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arizona) on his campaign for the White House. Wolf Blitzer hosts this show on Sunday mornings.


II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL NEWS SHOWS


1. "Big Story Weekend" on FOX News Channel (Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM ET):
Not posted yet. Julie Banderas hosts this show.


2. "Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):
Topics This Week - the Clinton couple in the spot light and the GOP race for the White House. (a) the media spotlight on the Clintons - helping or hurting Senator Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House. (b) GOP - why it is becoming a two-person race. (c) Ups and Downs for the week. Co-hosted by Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke.


3. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - California wildfires, Lt. Michael Murphy's reward, quick news takes. (a) media pointing the blame for the California Wildfire devastation. (b) press coverage surrounding Medal of Honor Recipient Lt. Michael Murphy. (c) quick news takes. Panelists include conservative columnist Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton of Newsweek, American University communications assistant Professor Jane Hall, Neal Gabler of the Norman Lear Center, and host Eric Burns.


4. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Hillary Clinton's decision to stay with Bill, Iran. (a) a potential path to war with Iran. (b) Hillary Clinton - women on her decision to stick with Bill Clinton. Panelists this week include David Gregory of NBC News, Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press, David Ignatius of The Washington Post, Katty Kay of the BBC, and host Chris Matthews.


5. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
CNN does not provide its viewers with a preview of the topics which will be discussed on this program which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings. Howard Kurtz hosts this show on Sunday mornings.


III. WEEKEND FEATURE NEWS PROGRAMS


1. "20/20" on ABC (Friday at 10:00 PM ET):
pre-empted but will return on November 2. John Stossel hosts this show.


2. "48 Hours" on CBS (Saturday at 10:00 PM ET):
"An Eye For An Eye" - a children's eye doctor is murdered in Tucson and the investigation leads through a web, drugs and revenge. Peter Van Sant reports.


3. "CNN Special: Planet in Peril" on CNN (Saturday at 8:00 PM ET):
Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Corwin investigate global warming.



4. "CBS Sunday Morning" on CBS (Sunday at 9:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - dreams, Anthony Hopkins, "Lars and the Real Girl", Harper's Bazaar, pumpkin contest. (a) Cover: Dreams - Dr. Emily Senay examines how and why we dream. (b) Almanac - Harvard University founded. (c) China: Postcard from Beijing - Barry Peterson sends a postcard from Beijing. (d) The Movies - David Edelstein reviews "Lars and the Real Girl"
. (e) Passage or Milepost - topic to be determined. (f) Music: Neil Sedaka. - Russ Mitchell profiles Neil Sedaka. (g)Harper's Bazaar - Tracy Smith reports on fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. (h) Profile: Anthony Hopkins - Rita Braver profiles actor Anthony Hopkins, who is working on a new movie. (i) Opinion - Ben Stein on Berlin. (j) Geist: Pumpkins - Bill Geist enters the war of a pumpkin competition.


5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Afghan President, honey bee demise, Nicholas Sarkozy. (a) Bombing Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells Scott Pelley he wants the United States to stop its use of air strikes because they are killing too many civilians. (b) What's With The Bees? - Steve Kroft reports on the colony collapse disorder infecting honey bees. (c) Sarko L'Americain - Lesley Stahl profiles French President Nicholas Sarkozy. (d) Commentator - Andy Rooney.



5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Afghan President, honey bee demise, Nicholas Sarkozy. (a) Bombing Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells Scott Pelley he wants the United States to stop its use of air strikes because they are killing too many civilians. (b) What's With The Bees? - Steve Kroft reports on the colony collapse disorder infecting honey bees. (c) Sarko L'Americain - Lesley Stahl profiles French President Nicholas Sarkozy. (d) Commentator - Andy Rooney.

Immigration Priorities

If anyone in the middle needed the proof that the amnesty-supporting senators are not serious about border enforcement, (well, save for Senator Arlen Specter), one need only look at the vote on the DREAM Act which would have legalized those illegals who were brought into this country at the age of 16 or below and seeking a college education or joining the military. It wold not grant states the right to give such illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates (that abomination can be found here)

Bills granting illegal immigrants a "pathway to citizenship" seem to have Congress' attention. Bills that regulate or otherwise restrict illegal immigration do not.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Iraq, the Kurds, and Turkey

The Bush administration will be forced to pick between NATO ally Turkey and the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan if the two sides do not resolve their ongoing dispute. Turkey's parliament gave the government the approval it sought to invade Iraq if the P.K.K. continues to launch its attacks from Iraqi soil with impunity. To date, the Erdogan government has shown remarkable restraint but a counter-strike launched by the Turks might escalate this into a full-blown crisis.

As I have said on previous occasions, Turkey's interest in containing the Iraqi Kurds' nationalist project to Iraq draws them closer to the Iranians and the Syrians, which both have a sizable Kurdish population seeking autonomy. Turkey offers NATO's second-largest military contingent and a strategical partner for potential U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

The Kurds, for their part, are the least anti-American of the three factions vying for control of Iraq's oil supplies and power in Baghdad. They control the most stable of the three developing ethno-sectarian regions of Iraq but their support is limited.

Our push for national reconciliation has been hindered in no small part by the Kurds' objections to de-Baathification reform, an oil revenue distribution law, and a delay in a vote on Kirkuk's status.

Stabilizing Iraq requires Iraq's split into three relatively autonomous regions designed to protect the three rival factions from oppression. Stabilizing the region requires not only a reconciliation plan for Iraq but also a resolution over the Kurdish problem.

Ideally the three countries which have sizable Kurdish populations would at minimum offer their minorities a degree of cultural autonomy without redrawing the political boundaries in the Middle East but we hold no such leverage over the Iranians and the Syrians, let alone the Turks. The Turks might conduct short raids into Iraq but probably won't occupy the Kurdish region for any significant period of time if they can at all help it. They know that such an effort could be as self-defeating as the one the Israelis undertook in southern Lebanon last year but the Kurds' failure to curtail the PKK's attacks will breed further resentment towards them and, so long as we remain there supporting them, us.

Abandoning the Kurds would make us look bad given their support for the occupation but the status quo is unsustainable but the failure to get any of the Iraqi factions together behind a national reconciliation effort could provide us with a graceful exit strategy. We could make protection for the Kurds contingent upon their cooperation in stabilizing Iraq. Failure to support a hydrocarbon law, de-Baathification reforms, a delay in Kirkuk's status, and the PKK's containment.

Sooner or later we will have to leave Iraq. The Kurds could decide whether the respect of their autonomy will outlast our presence in Iraq.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Osama bin Laden

Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden apparently has called for Sunni insurgents in Iraq to present a united front in the war against the United States and its western powers. He urged them to admit to past mistakes that have led some tribal leaders to ally themselves with the United States' coalition forces, and "avoid extremism among men and groups.

The terrorist organization's inspiration leader is presumed to be hiding in Pakistan after American forces removed the Qaeda-friendly Taliban from power. He must, rightly or wrongly, consider our recruitment effort with the Sunni tribes a success story in the making and is consequently seeking a compromise among the opposing groups.

He would be mistaken. Our successes will not outlast the occupation until Iraq's Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni factions agree on a negotiated political settlement.

Bin Laden says his followers in Iraq should "avoid extremism among men and groups." HIs statement would appear laughable under normal circumstances had he not called for and praised those who brought the World Trade Center down, killing thousands of American citizens.

Iran's Kurds

The administration is playing with fire if this report in The International Herald Tribune concerning our alleged support for the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, which seeks Kurdish independence for Iran's Kurds. Supporting this organization since they conduct raids against our known enemies while condemning the PKK now fighting our NATO allies exposes us to charges of imperialism and since the PJAK has some close ties to the PKK we inadvertently help them.

Our NATO allies oppose efforts to redraw Iraq's political boundaries in the Iraqi Kurds' favor since it would provide the Turkish Kurds the inspiration they would use to create an autonomous Kurdish enclave of their own in southeastern Turkey. For similar reasons they don't want Iranian Kurds to succeed in winning a virtually independent enclave of their own in northeastern Iran. Their interests are bound to Iran's interests, Syria's interests and Iraq's interests. Aiding the PJAK will only turn our one Asian NATO partner into a foe.

Student-Professor Romance?

Professor Paul R. Abramson of UCLA says colleges and universities should lift the ban on professor-student dating if the student is neither in nor expected to attend class. Students and professors of the same age, he says, should be permitted to engage in non-exploitive romance.

Colleges and universities generally prohibit or at minimum impose severe limitations upon these student-professor relationships in order to protect the students from biased evaluations and to protect the integrity of the institution. Students who are romantically involved with their professor subject their academic performance evaluations to strength of the professor's romantic attachment and all that it entails while the professor exposes himself to accusations of favoritism and the school to scandal.

The professor does not, it is presumed, believe it wise for students to date their own professors but he believes a student in one major could date a professor who teaches a subject he or she would not pick but a student could theoretically switch majors or take a required general education course and a professor who dates a student in another class could still, by dating a student, begin to view the students in his class as desirable if unavailable dates and consequently treat a good looking student better than the average or ugly looking student.

Barring students and professors from dating each other imposes no major burden on either of them. The student could look for a suitable partner from his or her peers or go to a bar off campus and the professors have that same opportunity. Professors and students alike have found suitable partners with no problem with these restrictions. There is no reason why these restrictions should be lifted.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Christian Right - Problems With the Republicans

Rudy Giuliani supports abortion rights and pushed for New York City's domestic partnership law. John McCain said he supports embryonic stem cell research. Mitt Romney supported abortion rights, and gay domestic partnerships before he opposed them and Fred Thompson supports the right to die - or at least the right to leave such decisions with the family. Wasn't Thompson supposed to be their champion?

I guess the Christian conservatives have a problem. None of the leading candidates really agrees with them. Whew! If only we could get these guys to back off their commitment to nominating Justices like Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito and these guys would be fairly tolerable.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Preliminary Thoughts on the Republican Debate

FOX News pundits cast tonight's debate as a pivotal debate which each "front tier" candidate should use to burst ahead of the others. Republicans and Democrats will, it is presumed, lose the American voters' attention as we get closer to the holidays.

Their contention that this debate was pivotal is disputable. The Democrats will hold their next debate in Philadelphia on October 30 and a second in Las Vegas on November 2 while the Republicans debate at the University of Iowa on November 6. Both parties will also participate in separate radio-internet debates hosted by National Public Radio.

No one candidate established himself as the established candidate in this debate. Some candidates no doubt did better than others. Former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and former Governors Mike Huckabee and MItt Romney performed well. The mayor had a couple of good lines, particularly when he attacked Senator Hillary Clinton for making costly promises we cannot yet pay for. Mitt Romney sold his business acumen and hit the Democratic Party's presumed front runner for her inexperience in the private sector. By narrowly losing the "Value Voters'" straw poll held yesterday (he came in a very close second), Huckabee had turned himself into the conservative wing's preferred candidate. The committed voters who were there overwhelmingly voted for him, and Romney narrowly overcame that deficit by winning voters online. He too, did not disappoint at the Republican debate.

Senator Thompson didn't do too bad. He offered one entitlement reform program and did not flop on the question concerning the mounting tension between the United States, Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds, but he did not shine. Mcain offered no specifics to the questions he was asked and lacked the passion and force he displayed in previous Republican debates.

The candidates did not diverge that much from their text. They for the most part supported the social security privatization accounts George W. Bush failed to pass in his first term as president. These candidates would have to offer an alternative if, as expected, the Democrats oppose it. Giuliani moved to the right on gay marriage and, for probably the first time, failed to note his support for domestic partnerships. He backed the president's plan to install our missile defense weapons program in the Eastern European NATO countries and called for an expansion of NATO to include Australia and Japan. I don't know if that expansion is warranted, but Giuliani did make some news on that front.

Representative Tom Tancredo pointed to burden poor illegal immigrants are and will continue to impose upon our hospitals and social welfare programs. And Representative Ron Paul once again called for a withdrawal from Iraq though, for the first time, in front of a hostile audience.

"Second" and "third tier" candidates raised some interesting points on social security reform, pointing to some related facets that may contribute to the problem. Ron Paul said the declining value of the dollar would lesson the value of social security checks while Hunter pointed to the decline in manufacturing jobs and the trade deficit as contributing factors. For his part, Tom Tancredo pointed to the obvious - that poor immigrants impose further burdens on the entitlement programs by taking from a system which they cannot meaningfully contribute to.

Had they not been included in the debate, a prospect some entertained on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" last week, these perspectives would not have been raised.

Campaign Shorts

Senator Chris Dodd, while campaigning in New Hampshire, said he is willing to spread the social security pain to the wealthy, and derided the Medicare Plan D "donut" hole he voted for.

Governor Bill Richardson reiterated his support for the inaccurately described "comprehensive" immigration "reform" bill granting illegal immigrants citizenship.


This may be hard to read but The Concord Monitor has posted an interview with Senator Joe Biden.

Senator Biden takes a hit for some war funding that includes safer military equipment. By the way, he will apparently unveil his health care plan at a presidential forum held at Des Moines University this Tuesday. Don't expect any major coverage on MSNBC, FOX News, or CNN.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gay Civil Rights Bill Compromise

The dispute between gay civil rights activists supporting a gender-identity inclusive employment nondiscrimination act and one that does not was temporarily resolved when the House Leadership promised to give the former the right to amend the bill to make it more inclusive.

This new bill may appease transsexual Americans who believe they are entitled to some basic protection from job discrimination without jeopardizing HR 3686, which only protects working Americans from sexual orientation based discrimination. Transsexual American supporters will have the Employment Nondiscrimination Act test voted to see if their amendment can be passed in this Democratic-controlled Congress. If the amendment does not pass, the Democrats could move on the bill without the gender identity protection.

Gay rights activists believe President George W. Bush will veto the bill in either way. The president had not, however, either directly or through the White House press secretary said so. A bill that does not include protections for transsexual Americans is expected to win more votes than a bill that does include them and such a bill would make a vote against basic job discrimination protections harder to explain. Republicans could not resort to the fear mongering associated with drag queen dress policies, men using the ladies' room, or transsexual cross dressers teaching seven year-olds in public schools.

As I said on a previous occasion HR 3686 specifically exempts all businesses from recognizing gay employers' partners if they do not recognize straight employers' non-married partners. Our Congressmen and women should vote for the bill even if it does not protect transsexual Americans from job discrimination. Change happens slowly and requires the acquiescence if not support of the American people. Gay civil rights activists have won us marriage in Massachusetts; civil unions in Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Connecticut; civil union-like domestic partnerships in California, and domestic partnerships in Hawaii and Oregon. They have won us job discrimination protections in nearly 20 states and just two months ago won us an anti-bullying measure in, of all places, Iowa.

Transexual Americans, unfortunately, have not faired as well.

This bill does not set up an affirmative action program mandating companies to meet an expected gay employee quota. It does not force legitimate private associations like the Boy Scouts from setting their own guidelines, even if they do include sexual orientation-based discrimination and it specifically exempts religious organizations - broadly defined to include educational institutions and charitable organizations that are in part or whole managed or owned by religious organizations - from the job protection mandate.

This bill simply requires employers to judge the gay or bisexual individual on the basis of his or her job performance. It expects them to be held to the same standard as anyone else. In this day and age, what could be more controversial than that?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Turkey Moving Away

"One may quarrel with the specifics of Turkish policies, but there is broad belief across the Turkish political spectrum that these policies serve the country's core needs. While the State Department may soothingly speak of "vital shared interests" in democracy, stability and counter-terrorism, all of that is mere motherhood and apple pie -- empty phrases -- when compared with conflicting concrete policies in so many key spheres. We had better get used to the fact that Turkey, strengthened by its popular democracy, is going to pursue its own national interests, regardless of Washington's pressure. Few Turks want it any other way." - Graham E. Fuller of the National Intelligence Council in The Los Angeles Times

This doesn't bode well for our efforts to block the Iranians, known sponsors of radical Islamist terrorist organizations, nuclear weapons, particularly when Iran's neighbors vow to block Americans from using their countries to launch military strikes against it.


So in sum -

1. The Turkish government no longer views Russia as a threat but as, like it does us, a strategic partner.

2. The Turkish government shares, with the Iranians an interest in containing the Kurds' nationalist aspirations. Our support for the Kurdish autonomy in northern Iraq widens the gulf between the United States and Turkey. This of course, had been noted by this blog writer before.

3. The Turkish government views our threats to the Syrians and the Iranians as threats to regional stability while we view the Syrian and Iranian regimes as the threat to regional stability.

Our next president faces some major unresolved and now further complicated regional problems. How do we get the Iranians to give up their uranium enrichment program without the threat of sanctions, let alone force? how will we enforce such a deal? And how do we get the Kurds to arrest the PKK terrorists so the Turks do not have their country's sovereign and territorial integrity saved. Will we side with the Turks or the Kurds if no agreement is reached?

We could thank the current administration for exacerbating tensions with Turkey.

Two Constituencies?

"In all these ways, the candidates are targeting different Democratic parties. Clinton's bread-and-butter domestic agenda and muscular internationalism match the inclinations of the blue-collar voters and seniors at her coalition's core. Obama's collaborative foreign policy and somewhat nouvelle domestic policy capture the priorities of his base, voters with more education and fewer economic needs.

Ironically, Clinton is speaking primarily to the Democratic coalition that existed before her husband's presidency, while Obama is closer to the upscale new voters that Bill Clinton attracted to the party.

Democrats will need both sets of voters to recapture the White House -- which means that, for all their tension today, if Obama or Hillary Clinton captures the nomination, the winner will need to learn from the loser before this marathon ends." - Ron Brownstein in The Los Angeles Times

Clinton Campaign Money

Does Senator Clinton get it? Her husband and former Vice President Al Gore got caught up in these campaign finance scandals when they were running for re-election. Would she not have learned from her husband's mistakes or does she not care?

The Weekend Preview

I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. "FOX News Sunday" on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET): Topic This Week - Election 2008 Presidential Campaign. (a) Senator John McCain (R-Arizona)on keeping his struggling campaign solvent. (b) former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arizona) on getting the voters' attention. (c) FOX News Panelists Brit Hume of FOX News, William Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Mara Liason of National Public Radio, and Juan Williams of National Public Radio preview Florida's Republican debate. This show is hosted by Chris Wallace. It is repeated at 6:00 PM ET on the FOX News Channel.


2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Stephen Colbert and the Clinton Political Family. (a) Comedian Stephen Colbert on the race for the White House, his "campaign," and new book. (b) Political Round table with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Kate O'Beirne, Judy Woodruff and Sally Bedell Smith. This show is hosted by Tim Russert. It is repeated at 10:00 PM ET on MSNBC.


3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET): Topics This Week - election 2008 and baseball. (a) On The Campaign Trail - Senator Joe Biden (D-Delware) on foreign policy, health care, his campaign strategy, and his career. (b) Round table panel on this week's politics include Laura Ingraham, Mark Halperin, Donna Brazile, and George Will. (d) Voice - Tommy Lasorda on book, and love for baseball. Hosted by George Stephanopoulos.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Hosted by Bob Schieffer.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET): Topics This Week - domestic spying, Iraq, the standoff with Iran, tensions with Turkey, the mortgage crisis, and Putin's power grab from the perspective of a dissident candidate. (a) Representative Jane Harmon (D-California) of the Homeland Security Committee and Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) of the Intelligence Committee on domestic spying, the standoff with Iran and tensions with Turkey. (b) Lebanese Parliamentarian Walid Jumblatt. (c) World Bank President Robert Zoellick on the mortgage crisis and corruption allegations. (d) Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbaugh. (e) Russian Presidential Candidate Garry Kasparov on Russian President Vladimir Putin's plan to run Parliament. This show is hosted by Wolf Blitzer.


II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL TALK SHOWS


1. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 2:00 PM ET):
staph bug, General Sanchez, Ellen Degeneres. (a) deadly "staph 'superbug'" - media overreaction or not. (b) General Sanchez' remarks concerning the war in Iraq - a story behind the story. (c) Talk show host Ellen Degeneres and custody over her dog. Co-panelists include Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, Jane Hall, Neil Gabler and host Eric Burns.

2. "Big Story Weekend" on FOX News Channel (Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM ET): Anchored by Julie Banderas.


3. "Beltway Boys" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET): Topics This Week - Bush's victories. (a) a look at some areas where the president has been successful. (b) ups and downs. Co-hosted by Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke.


4. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
the economy and comedic impressions as 2008 election issues. (a) the economy trumping Iraq as the issue on voters minds. (b) the influence comedic impressions could make on our views of the candidates in the race. Panelists to include Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post Writers Group, Joe Klein of Time Magazine, Erin Burnett of CNBC,Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic and host Chris Matthews.


5. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
CNN does not provide its viewers with a preview of the topics which will be discussed on this program which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings. This show is hosted by Howard Kurtz.


III. WEEKEND FEATURE NEWS PROGRAMS


1. "20/20" on ABC (Friday at 8:00 PM ET):
(a) Elizabeth Vargas interviews former 'N Sync' singer Lance Bass about his singing career, living the straight lie, and coming out. (b) the unexpected recovery of Jill Finley after she was taken off life support. (c) Kimberly Cunningham's two acquittals for the killing of her daughter's rapist. (d) global warming - John Stossel on the other side of global warming (it's not a problem) the debate.


2. CNN Special on CNN (Saturday at 10:00 PM ET):
"Keeping Them Honest: The Truth About Global Warming" - the "truth" behind Al Gore's global warming crusade. Reported by Miles O'Brien.


3. "48 Hours Mystery" on CBS (Saturday at 10:00 PM ET):
"The Sugar Land Conspiracy" - Bart Whitaker has his family gunned down and his father, a survivor, begs a trial jury to grant him mercy and compassion.


4. "CBS Sunday Morning" on CBS (Sunday at 9:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - designer babies, Frank Stella's art, the Maytag Washing Machine industry's demise, Chaka Khan, Jack Naylor's photo shot collection. (a) Cover - Build Up a Better Baby. Designer Babies. Parents now can screen for genetic disorders and choose gender for the babies they give birth to. Tracy Smith reports. (b) Almanac - Edison invents the light bulb. (c) Art - Frank Stella. Martha Teichner interviews artist Frank Stella about his change in taste. (d) Behind the Headlines - Rudy Giuliani before the Family Research Council. (e) Maytag - Clean Start. Dean Reynolds visits Newton, Iowa - home of the now defunct Maytag washing machine industry is closing the factory that made the first washing machine. (f) Sports - Uphill battle. (g) Music - Chaka Khan. (h) Commentary - Nancy Giles. (i) Photography - Camera Collection. Dan Sieberg examines Jack Naylor's 31,000 pieces of equipment and prints just before it is auctioned off. Anchored by Charles Osgood.


5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - forest fires, Valerie Plame, and plumpynuts. (a) "The Age of Mega-fires" - Scott Pelley examines the impact global warming may have on the number and intensity of forest fires in the American west. (b) "Live Saver" - Anderson Cooper on the plumpynut, a nutritious food which may be saving the Third World's children from starvation. (c) "No Ordinary Spy" - Katie Couric interview Valerie Plame, the former CIA officer whose name was leaked by White House officials seeking to discredit her husband.

Representative Pete Stark

"Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you're telling us today? Is that how you're going to fund the war? You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old, enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement," - Representative Pete Stark (D-California) as quoted on FOX News web site


Does Representative Pete Stark (D-California) really believe President George W. Bush is a serial murderer who takes pleasure in seeing American troops die in war? Could not the president decide to keep American troops in the war because he truly believes we cannot leave without Iraq blowing apart? Why did he say this? Does it not detract the voters' attention away from the debate on the war itself? Could not his statements be used by terrorists across the world as another rallying point? Couldn't the president and the other members of Congress cut other domestic programs to finance S-CHIP and the war? Does lowing a war amuse the president?

Will the Democrats speak out and condemn their colleague's remarks? Why was FOX News the only cable news network to post the story on their web site? and Why couldn't Pete Stark keep his mouth shut?

Leave the vile remarks to Ann Coulter.

Clinton's Health Care Promise Not Includes Illegals?

"People who are here legally deserve some better treatment and acceptance in the law than people who are not here legally," - Senator Hillary Clinton as quoted by FOX News

Well, that's nice but here's the follow up question for her.

Would those 12-20 million illegal immigrants be given that access to her health care plan if they were legalized? She voted for the misnamed "comprehensive immigration reform" package co-sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). That bill legalized their status.

No freedom

Here is yet another example of the Iranian government's disregard for religious freedom in Iran. And yet many students at Columbia University cheered for the Iranian president. I guess there are no Christians, Jews, or dissenting Muslims in his country.

Bombing in Pakistan

No one as of yet is taking the credit for the attack upon Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. Pakistani reports suggest Al Qaeda's involvement and that is possible given her secularist values and a threat issued by Taliban commander Baitullah Masood, That no one is taking the credit as of yet (or that no one is publishing one's claim to credit) is itself interesting. Pure speculation - do the terrorists want to pin the killings of 128 Pakistani spectators on Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf? One official linked to Bhutto's party blames the Pakistani President himself for providing lax security. Still, it might be too early for reporters and government agencies to confirm any claims of responsibility.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

FISA agreement

Six years for renewal. Hmmmm. How far into a second Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Obama, Gravel, Kucinich, or Richardson term would that take us?

You have to give these Democrats some credit. They don't want to deprive a Democratic president any of the powers Bush claimed for himself.

So let's get this straight. Our government will now have the right to monitor our day-to-day conversations for security purposes without the need of individualized warrants issued by the FISA court. Privacy rights anyone? Not in America.

The New Democratic Agenda

The Democrats are planning to cave to the president on FISA. They won't cut off the funds going to a war they no longer believe in. One presidential candidate votes for a resolution condemning the Iranian Revolutionary Guard while urging the president to use any and every "diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military" instrument within their disposal. Five of the eight Democratic presidential candidates won't commit to having our troops withdrawn from Iraq by 2013.

Now House Appropriations chairman David R. Obey (D- Wisconsin) says he will support abstinence-only education funding.

Will the Democratic Party do anything to distinguish themselves from the Republicans? Were they elected to serve as a check on the president or cave into his and his party's demands?

Social Security Cuts

Oh good. One candidate, however tepidly may favor means testing
social security. Seniors making six figures don't need the taxpayer to subsidize their lifestyle.

Mitt Romney and Giuliani don't want to go near this issue since they do not want to give up their presumed front runner status. Giualiani is looking to Florida to off set potential losses in the conservative southern states. Both should reconsider and either back competitor Fred Thompson's plan or introduce plans of their own.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Romney Picks Up An Endorsement

Does Mitt Romney really want Bob Jones' endorsement?

"We're proud to have Dr. Jones' support and look forward to working with him to communicate Governor Romney's message of conservative change to voters," - , Romney campaign spokes person William Holley

A little Absurd

There is either more to this because treating the boy and girl's sexual conduct as a crime seems unreasonable.

Armenian Resolution

Going nowhere, as it should. The push for this measure condemning the Turks for an 84-year old genocide was grossly irresponsible. Passing this non-binding resolution does not save one Armenian life nor does it alert reporters to an act of genocide going on now. Darfur's refugees would find our care for an 84-year-old genocide perplexing while rival political factions vie for control in war-torn Sudan.

This blogger had from time to time cautioned against an American foreign policy driven by moral purity. Democratic reforms did not save Lebanon from an ineffective government and political divisions. It had exacerbated tensions among Iraqi's rival factions and it did not save the Palestinians from their failed state in the making. More often than not this push for democratic governance worked against us. Palestinians voted for for Hamas, which adamantly rejects Israel's right to exist. The Siniora administration failed to disarm Hezbollah, another terrorist organization that operates from southern Lebanon. Iraqi elections confirmed that country's ethno-sectarian divide.

Democrats have campaigned against the Bush administration's neo-conservative war agenda and have promised to (a) "work with our allies" and (b) to "talk with our enemies." Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) said everything would be on the table when she negotiates with the Iranians over its nuclear program and the war in Iraq. Democrats rightly say we must "engage with our allies" so that Iraq's civil war will not intensify once our troops leave.

Well Turkey is one of those allies our government has to work with. The Turkish government fears we have furthered the cause for Kurdish separatism within Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. The Iraqi government's failure to apprehend P.K.K. guerrilla forces hiding in its fractious country invites further tension between our Turkish and Kurdish allies. A pan-Kurdish movement could unite Iraq's neighbors behind the goal of quashing this movement at the very moment we are seeking at the very moment we are threatening to sanction Iran into nuclear inspection compliance.

Risking Turkey's cooperation with meaningless and ineffective resolutions like this will not help us when we seek their help extricating ourselves from Iraq.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The American-Turko-Iranian Relationship and a Resolution

Last week, members of Congress introduced a resolution condemning an an act of genocide committed 84 years ago. H.R. 106 calls upon the president to "accurately characterize the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1,500,000 Armenians" as a genocide when he delivers the President in the President's annual message on April 24.

The Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, said it would be imprudent to pass this resolution at this time. As it is, our relationship with NATO ally Turkey has been complicated by the invasion and post-war occupation of Iraq. Kurdish rebels associated with the P.K.K., have been using Iraq's relatively autonomous Kurdish region as their base from which to launch further attacks into Turkey. The P.K.K., which the United States, European community and Turkey consider a terrorist group, is fighting for the Kurdish Turks' right to self-determination.

Turkey's government looks to the west for its future. Our NATO ally seeks membership in the European Union but has so far been rebuffed. The invasion and post-war occupation of Iraq, may, however, have led the Turks to find more common ground with the Iranians. Both have sizable Kurdish populations that are seeking broad autonomy if not outright independence. If the United States cannot deliver the Iraqi Kurds' cooperation, the Turks may have no choice but invade northern Iraq.

H.R. 106 will only push the Turks further away and closer into Iran's orbit. It's 84 years too late to save any lives or compel the Turks to abandon a brutal military to have any affect on the primary.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Clinton's Latest Catch

"You just said it. She's white. I think America is readier to elect a white woman than it is a black man." - Joe Reed, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Conference

In yet another blow to Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton won the endorsement of a major black political organization in Alabama.

If the senator from Illinois entered this race hoping to capture the African American vote, this definitely serves as a wake up call.


Meanwhile, Ron Paul won a county straw poll. He didn't win any delegates from the straw poll but it gives him some bragging rights.

Run Gore. Run.

Former Vice President Al Gore has done and said nothing that would lead the pundit class to believe he will enter the race for the Democratic nomination but some Gore-supporters, in anticipation of his now confirmed win for the Noble Peace Prize, asked him to run in an ad run in The New York Times last week.

Pundits for the most part dismissed any suggestion that he will enter the race against the presumed front runner, Senator Hillary Clinton. Many say he would not trade the prestige he won for a bruising fight with a candidate known for its extensive operation research and political connections forged when her husband was in the White House. Gore, it is presumed would instantly lose that bipartisan prestige he won as he is forced to answer to the partisans and ideologues in his party.

Al Gore could, however, provide Democratic primary voters with the race the other candidates are not giving them. The former Vice President's experience at minimum rivals her own, and that makes him the candidate with the instant credibility Barack Obama and John Edwards lack and unlike them he is not tied to the war in Iraq. He, unlike John Edwards, doesn't have to apologize for a war he voted for. The former vice president has the experience Obama lacks. Pinning him with a scandal that developed during Bill Clinton's eight-year tenure as president since he could always claim Hillary Clinton as an accomplice. The focus would have to be on his behavior.

His instant recognition would make him the perfect candidate for the war.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On the Campaign Trail

John Edwards visited a high school in South Carolina to highlight his support for rural education funding, and a national teaching school dedicated to training teachers who in turn commit to serving poorer communities desperate for high quality teaching. Note too, the racial makeup of the school - 97% black. The whites, it is asserted in the article, go to a private school. How on earth are we expected to raise a color blind society when we are only exposed to people of the same color?

2. Rudy Giuliani sticks to the traditional Republican message of lower taxes, unspecified cuts in government spending, tort reform and less government regulations. The mayor won the endorsement of former Wisconsin Governor and presidential candidate Tommy Thompson.

3. Senator Hillary Clinton defended her vote for a senate amendment calling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Senator Clinton said the resolution provides an opening for penalties down the road should Iran refuse to end its support for Iraq's Shiite militias and its standoff with the Europeans over nuclear power. Clinton promised to "open diplomatic negotiations with them over all of the issues" which they disagree on. She apparently is willing to disclose what we will give the Iranians. I guess Iranian victory is not "hypothetical." Representative John Lewis' endorsement of her wasn't either.

3. Well, he's not exactly running for president but apparently this 76 Hialeah City councilman asked anyone who likes oral sex to vote for his re-election. What, is he promising oral sex to those who support him? If Senator Wide stance heard of this he might jump on the next plane to endorse.

4. Back to the campaign trail, Governor Bill Richardson was in New Hampshire, promising every child prekindergarten, free college tuition for public service, a $40,000 minimum salary for teachers, and 100,000 new math and science teachers. He says the plan would be paid for by ridding our military of Cold War weapons systems that are no longer needed.

5. Michigan Democratic won't have the selection of Democratic candidates New Hampshire and Iowa voters since most of the Democratic candidates dropped out.

6. Senator Barack Obama plugged himself as a Washington outsider and independent thinker who will do what others before him refused to do. The others, he said, had their opportunity and blew it.

7. Representative Tom Tancredo campaigned against abortion in Iowa today. He said taxpayer money should not fund clinics which perform abortions.


8. Meanwhile Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) distinguished himself from the other Republican candidates by offering a plan on health insurance coverage, promising to give everyone a $5,000 tax credit to purchase their own health insurance.

HR 3685 and WorkPlace Discrimination

"Some Republicans in the House have said they wished Mr. Frank had included the language on transgender and transsexual people because it would have made it easier for them to vote against the bill." - an excerpt from a news analysis piece in the October 12 edition of The New York Times.

Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) may be gay but his decision to split H.R. 2015 into two separate bills has landed him on the receiving end of criticism coming from gay civil rights organizations headquartered near Washington.

H.R. 3685 or "The Employment Non-discrimination Act of 2007" as it is more frequently called, would ban employers and employer referral agencies from discriminating against a person in its hiring and firing practices because of that person's actual or perceived sexual orientation.

A "person engaged in an industry affecting commerce" who employs 15 or more workers could no longer "fail to or refuse to hire," discharge, or "otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual" because of his or her perceived heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual sexual orientation.

The bill has been stripped of anything most Americans would consider controversial, depriving religious conservatives from the scare tactics they would normally use to excuse a vote against it. Private associations like the Boy Scouts will not be required to open their membership up to gays or bisexuals. The religious exemption is broadly defined to include any religious corporations, associations, societies and educational institutes in whole or "substantial part" maintained, owned, or supported by other religious organizations.

HR 3685 does not mandate, nor could it be interpreted to permit, sexual orientation-based preferential treatment or quotas akin to Affirmative Action programs now in place for racial minorities and women. It limits discrimination claims to cases where the business, through its established procedures and policies, "treat" and no just "impact" individuals differently on account of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

Section 8 would protect the employers who want to enforce professional rules "that do not intentionally circumvent the purposes of this Act" from disputes involving cross-dressing.

And it specifically includes a provision exempting all businesses from providing unmarried gay couples the employee benefits it would give to married couples if they do not otherwise provide such benefits to unmarried heterosexual couples.

If anything, this bill would force social conservatives to support a relatively non-controversial gay rights bill that might actually discourage businesses from providing any non-married couples with the benefits packages they give to their married employees or take a stand against gay people in general and let businesses do what they want, even if their policies do not encourage non-married straight couples from marrying.

HR 3686 would provide the same protections for those who might be discriminated against in part or whole because of their actual or perceived gendered identity.

The case against supporting either bill is fairly weak. Most fair-minded Americans have no problem working with their gay or bisexual co-workers knowing full their sexual orientation or gender identity has little to no affect on that individual's work performance and they can be asked to put whatever religious or moral objections they have toward such an individual aside as an act of courtesy they would normally give to the "infidel" or "heretic," or whose religious belief differs from their own.

Concerns relating to cross-dressing may doom HR 3686 to a premature end but for better or worse we do live in a country where one's professional appearance is in part determined by gender-specific clothing preferences. One can hardly expect a male who dresses as a female to be taken seriously when conducting a business transaction but again this bill could be modified to require someone who has not yet successfully transitioned to the desired sex to conform to the expected standards of his or her the perceived gender or sex.

Representative Barney Frank split the bill in two because he believes the support for the former bill (prohibiting sexual orientation based discrimination) is stronger than the support for the latter (prohibiting gender transition based discrimination).
The unnamed Republicans referred to in The New York Times believe he is right and are sorry their excuses for voting against a bill protecting gay American workers from arbitrary job discrimination have dwindled.

Some gay rights activists, say Representative Barney Frank betrayed his nondiscrimination principles by tossing the transgendered American workers he is committed to supporting aside. The defense of one group, it is asserted can not be forsaken at the cost of the other. Joe Solmonese said the Human Rights Campaign has launched a campaign to pressure Democrats into supporting the original bill, which prohibits both, sexual orientation based and gender identity based discrimination in the work place.

"Our movement is used to fighting to win our rights incrementally, often one at a time," Matt Foreman of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force acknowledged in a press statement. "We are not, however, used to — nor will we allow — having our people protected one at a time. No civil rights movement has ever left a part of its community behind, and we’re not about to be the first."

Their efforts may undo the hard-earned efforts Frank made to win what is but should not have been a politically risky move from Democrats representing moderate to conservative swing districts, let alone win enough Republicans to override a potential but inexplicable presidential veto.

Foreman's logic would have precluded senators from voting for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, earning racial minorities and women the protections they were for too long denied to white male American citizens or any liberal Founding Father who supported the rights of the working poor or women from siding with the revolutionaries in 1776. Progress occurs incrementally. The society that was ready to protect the voting rights of white privileged merchants and landowners was not ready to free the African American slaves or give women the right to vote. The society that treated women as equals in terms of voting was not yet ready to consider them man's equal in the work place.

Their shortsighted political strategy may not hurt gay Americans protected in the northeastern, mid-western industrial and west coast states who already have the job protections they need through their state and local governments but those trapped in south and farm states won't get the relief they seek.

Obama on the Offensive

Senator Barack Obama chastised rival presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton for her vote for the Kyle-Lieberman Amendment which some, including this blogger, believe authorizes President George W. Bush to go to war with Iran. He's right, except there are two problems:

One. He misspoke when including himself among the senators who voted against the Iraq War authorization bill when he was not in the senate. and more importantly;

Two. He did not show up to vote against the sense of the senate resolution concerning Iran. If it was important enough to criticize Hillary Clinton for voting against it; it was important enough to vote against it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

McCain and Gore's Prize

Senator Al Gore Jr. won the Nobel Peace prize for his support for environmental regulations designed to slow and ultimately reverse the threats posed by global warming.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the former vice president deserved the prize. Global warming poses a threat to this and other countries. The gradual rise in sea level could eventually wipe the island inhabitants in the Caribbean Island and Pacific Island countries of their homes. Developing nations like India and China are growing into Asia's economic power houses but they are doing at a high cost - their subjects' health. Since one can legitimately consider global warming a humanitarian crisis in the making, we should recognize those who raise our awareness of this issue.

Senator John McCain said the peace prize should have been awarded to the Buddhist monks facing down Myanmar's military junta. I am sure many affiliated with the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders would have made suitable prize winners as well. But they didn't. The former Vice President got the peace prize.

The senator could have acknowledged the Burmese monks' efforts without denying Gore the congratulations he is do.

The Weekend Preview

I. THE SUNDAY INTERVIEW SHOWS


1. "FOX News Sunday" on FOX (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET): Topics This Week - SCHIP, fiscal conservatism, Fred Thompson's debate performance, Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. (a) House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) on SCHIP expansion and the president's veto. (b) House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on the Republicans' new fiscal conservatism mantra. (c) FOX News panelists Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post, Juan Williams of National Public Radio, and Mara Liasson of National Public Radio on former Senator Fred Thompson's performance at the Republican debate and former Vice President Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize. (d) Power Player of the Week - not posted yet. This show is hosted by Chris Wallace. It is repeated at 6:00 PM ET on the FOX News Channel.


2. "Meet The Press" on NBC (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint talk about the controversial issues facing black Americans across the nation and their new book, "Come On, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors." This show is hosted by Tim Russert. It is repeated at 10:00 PM ET on MSNBC.


3. "This Week" on ABC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET): Topics This Week - the Democratic and Republican Parties' Congressional agendas, SCHIP, FISA, election 2008, and the war in Iraq. (a) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the war in Iraq, the presidential elections, and the implementation of Democratic Party's agenda. (b) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) offers the Republican response and their agenda. (c) "Classic Roundtable" panelists George Will, Sam Donaldson, and Cokie Roberts offer their take on this week's big political news stories. (d) Voices - not posted yet. (e) In Memorium. (f) Sunday Funnies. This show is hosted by George Stephanopoulos.


4. "Face The Nation" on CBS (Sunday at 10:30 AM ET):
Election 2008. Guests include Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) and Jim Vanderhei of The Politico This show is hosted by Bob Schieffer.


5. "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" on CNN (Sunday at 11:00 AM ET):
Topics This Week - Blackwater, election 2000. (a) Pakistani President Shaukat Aziz on his country's latest elections and the fight against Al Qaeda. (b) Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince on the controversy surrounding his private security firm's role in the shooting death of Iraqi citizens. (c) Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) on the war in Iraq, the Iranian resolution and the presidential elections. (d) CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Yellin, CNN Correspondent Joe John, and CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry. This show is hosted by Wolf Blitzer.


II. THE WEEKEND POLITICAL TALK SHOWS


1. "Big Story Weekend" on FOX News Channel (Saturday and Sunday at 5:00 PM ET): Topic This Week - student suspension and children's medicine. (a) Law Student Suspended - Adam Key finds himself in trouble after putting a Pat Robertson picture on his facebook page. (b) Kids & Health - children's medicine gets recalled. Hosted by Julie Banderas.


2. Beltway Boys on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:00 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Al Gore's peace prize and Barack Obama's battle with Hillary Clinton for the White House. (a) Obama v. Clinton: Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) beginning political fight with Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York). (b) "Comeback Kid?" - former Vice President Al Gore Jr. (D-Tennessee) and his Nobel Peace Prize win's potential use for a political comeback. (c) Ups and Downs for the Week. Co-hosted by Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke.


3. "FOX News Watch" on FOX News Channel (Saturday at 6:30 PM ET):
Topics This Week - Fred Thompson coverage, Al Gore media coverage, and gun control/high school shooting coverage. (a) the Cleveland school shootings - new round in gun control debate coverage. (b) Fred's Debate Debut - evaluating the media coverage surrounding former Senator Fred Thompson's media coverage. (c) former Vice President Al Gore Jr. in the headlines again. Panelists include Cal Thomas, Jim Pinkerton, Jane Hall, Neil Gabler and host Eric Burns.


4. "The Chris Matthews Show" on NBC (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET): Topics This Week - Iowa Caucus voting preferences and law schools. (a) Iowa caucus voters' decision - electability or likability. (b) law school's influence on Senator's Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and Barack Obama (D-Illinois). Panelists will include Elisabeth Bumiller of The New York Times, John Heilermann of New York Magazine, Anne Kornblut of The Washington Post, David Yepsen of The Des Moines Register, and host Chris Matthews.


5. "Reliable Sources" on CNN (Sunday at 10:00 AM ET):
CNN does not provide its viewers with a preview of the topics which will be discussed on this program which is hosted by Howard Kurtz on Sunday mornings. This show is hosted by Howard Kurtz.


III. WEEKEND FEATURE NEWS PROGRAMS


1. "20/20" on ABC (Friday at 8:00 PM ET):
(a) "Too Young for Hollywood" - shielding tween and teen stars from the glamor and the pitfalls of Hollywood living. Reported by Chris Connelly. (b) "How Young is Too Young to Start Studying" - good memorization is not s sign of being a prodigy. reported by Ann Varney and Bill Ritter. (c) "How Young is Too Young to Pursue a Dangerous Dream" - dangerous stunts, car racing, etc. Reported by Jim Avila and Helaine Tabacoff. (d) "How Young is Too Young to be a Prize Fighter." - teen and child boxing reported by Charles Lyons. This show is hosted by John Stoessel.


2. "CNN Special Investigations Unit" on CNN (Saturday at 8:00 PM ET):
"The Minds of the D.C. Snipers." How John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo began their killing spree in Washington, D.C. and its suburbs. Reported by Soledad O'Brien.


3. "48 Hours Mystery" on CBS (Saturday at 10:00 PM ET):
"Storm of Murder." - a film maker and a musician are among 9 victims in one week after New Orleans' descent into murder following Hurricane Katrina. Reported by Erin Moriarty.


4. "CBS Sunday Morning" on CBS (Sunday at 9:00 AM ET): The Health Show. (a) Cover Story: Heart of the Matter. Correspondent Martha Teichner visits Framingham, Massachusetts to review the Framingham Heart Study. (b) Doctor's Orders - Dr. Thomas Frieden's battle for calorie disclosure at fast-food restaurants. (c) Whiz Kids: Babies and Learning - Correspondent Tracy Smith looks at brilliant babies as they grow during their first year. (d) Road to Recovery: Levon Helm - Correspondent Anthony Mason interviews throat cancer survivor and The Band drummer Levon Helm. (e) Never To Old: Seniors and Sex - Correspondent Rita Braver talks to the author of a report who says many seniors are still having sex. (f) Inside Out: Outside Magazine - Correspondent Serena Altschul visits "Outside Magazine" founder Larry Burke, who leads the active lifestyle his magazine preaches. (g) Our Man in Paris: A Votre Sante - French health care v. American health care. (h) Intensive Care - Dr.John LaPook on global health needs. (i) On The Edge: Dorothy Hamill on depression - Correspondent Thalia Assuras profiles Dorothy Hamill Olympian figure skater Dorothy Hamill about her lifelong battle with depression. (j) Doggest Pursuit: Animals and Mental Health - taking your quirky pet to an animal behavioral doctor. Anchored by Charles Osgood.


5. "60 Minutes" on CBS (Sunday at 7:30 PM ET): Topics This Week - Blackwater, SuperMax, Joel Olsteen. (a) Blackwater - Blackwater's founder tells Lara Logan he welcomes any additional oversight the United States Government would impose upon the security firm. (b) A Clean Version of Hell - Scott Pelley interviews a former Warden and takes us into SuperMax, a maximum security federal prison holding some of the most notorious terrorists. (c) Joel Olsteen - Byron Pitts profiles Joel Olsteen, the pastor and lead preacher at Houston Lakewood Church.