It's been a long time coming, but they finally approved it by "a sweeping majority." (NYT) The agreement "sets the course for an end to the United States role in the war and
marks the beginning of a new relationship between the countries." (NYT)
The security agreement and an accompanying document that outlines
America’s relationship with Iraq in areas such as economics, health
care and education, would grant Iraq considerable authority over
American troop operations, requiring court orders to search buildings
and detain suspects. It sets out a timetable requiring American troops
to withdraw from cities and towns by June 30, 2009, and for all troops
to leave the country by the end of 2011 unless the Iraqis and Americans
negotiate a separate pact to extend the American military presence. (NYT)
by BN-Politics | Add Attorney General Michael Mukasey to the long list of Bush Administration officials and Republicans generally (cf.) who consider themselves entitled to use tax dollars to fund their travel expenses. (McClatchy) We just learned that Palin had the citizens of Alaska paying to fly her family around. Now: the Attorney General of the United States.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey has taken personal trips on
government jets almost every weekend since he took office less than a
year ago at a cost to taxpayers of more than $155,800, Justice
Department and Federal Aviation Administration travel records show.
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by Damozel | The EU has apparently succeeded (again) in persuading Russia to leave Georgia. The Guardian reports:
Russia last night agreed to pull all of its forces out of Georgia
within a month, after an agreement in Moscow between France's
president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry
Medvedev. ..Moscow....agreed to scrap its checkpoints inside Georgia in a week and had
promised to remove all forces from areas adjacent to the breakaway
enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia within a month.
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After the last several days of gray, rainy, dreary weather-thanks to Tropical Storm Fay - I am looking forward to being out west. It is most definitely swampy here, but its not as bad as the news might make you think..like I'm not having to fend off snakes and alligators. Still, the low humidity and dry Denver climate is beginning to sound pretty good. I have all my Obama t-shirts and buttons packed including a couple from the University of Florida's Gators for Obama group. If all goes well I'll be in Denver tomorrow afternoon...
by WMD | If you think about it, the coordination required by each state party
for its delegation with the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) is an immense undertaking. Each state party needs to coordinate on behalf of its delegation with the DNCC and the convention officials in Denver.
Unless you've been living in a cave you are at least somewhat aware that the Democratic National Convention will begin later this month (less than 13 days, but whose counting?). This is big stuff for us political junkies and even more so for me personally since I am a delegate to the convention pledged for Sen. Barack Obama. With the public's enthusiasm level so high -at least for the Democrats - it seems only fair to find a way to allow others to vicariously enjoy this historic event. I've decided to do a video blog on my experience as a delegate. I will post something two or three more time between now and the Aug. 25th start of the convention, and then daily while at the convention. This first post is short and gives a simplified answer the question I'm most frequently asked, "How does someone get to be a delegate?"
by Woman of Mass Discussion | "Face it, Mom, this country is always going to be at war because that is what we're about," my son informed me at his ripe old age of 17.
A chill went down my spine, not because I was worried that he may be right. He's not, but more on that in a moment. The chill was the realization that at that moment in time, my first born was in what is called his formative years. His views, opinions and preferences are in the process of being set for life.
And at that same moment in time the dominant political, and to a large extent social, influences in our country were characterized by the poisonous ethos of neo-conservative politics that mandates American political & economic world hegemony via war. The culture (or politics) of fear was taking root in my son.
That chill remained as I realized that everything I remember learning about America during my formative years - that we were the strongest, most loved and respected country on earth - was in the process of being erased from American's collective memory.
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by Damozel | Yeah, it's pretty awful. Many blogging Dems, including some who tilt toward Obama, are lifting their eyebrows at this new riff on an old non-favorite. You can see it here or here. As The Carpetbagger Report says, "Last night’s debate was quite pleasant. It was nice while it lasted."
Harry and Louise. The infamous fictional couple used by the Health
Insurance industry to fight against health reform remain synonymous
with the power of special interest money in politics. As a result, Paul Krugman's charge (see also Ezra Klein) that Barack Obama's campaign is playing the Harry and Louise game is a serious one. (TL)
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But whyyyyyy? He's so pretty. He has such Reaganesque hair and such nice, gleaming teeth! But evidently the other Republicans don't like him. John McCain seems to have compared him to a pig. And apparently, Mike Huckabee's campaign manager has to restrain himself from knocking out Romney's nice, gleaming teeth. Look:
With so much attention recently on the sniping between Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side, the almost visceral scorn directed at Mr. Romney by his rivals has been overshadowed.
"Never get into a wrestling match with a pig," Senator John McCain said in New Hampshire this month after reporters asked him about Mr. Romney. "You both get dirty, and the pig likes it."
By Damozel | Amid news stories of a record turn-out in New Hampshire (ABC), here are a couple of points of interest which have emerged regarding Hillary's campaign----which the media, and even some of her supporters, seem to be busily writing off..
First, an interesting report of the death---a bit previously, I'd have said, but anyway---of Hillary Clinton's campaign by an "internet storm" appears in a fascinating post (complete with graphs) at The Belmont Club. D Cupples and others have pointed out how the media sculpts---if not controls---public opinion of the candidates. This piece looks into a different aspect: how the internet affects it.
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by Damozel (public domain photograph from Wikipedia Commons) | Texas, which now performs 60% of the executions in the U.S. is not "bucking the trend." Since I live in Florida, I am not in position to feel much moral superiority. But even though we perform our share of executions, at least we don't perform 60% of the country's total. (Cold comfort is better than no comfort at all.) The New York Times reports:
This year’s death penalty bombshells — a de facto national moratorium,
a state abolition and the smallest number of executions in more than a
decade — have masked what may be the most significant and lasting
development. For the first time in the modern history of the death
penalty, more than 60 percent of all American executions took place in Texas.
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