Saturday, March 31, 2007

"The Answer to Darfur"

John Predergast's new analysis is 21 pages, here. I know, that's a bunch. But the answer -- and I think he probably has a lot of the right ideas -- is more complex than something than can just be put in a few bullet points.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


When I read Adam Nagourney's piece in Week in Review about how Democrats shouldn't -- god forbid -- you know, hold hearings in congress that perhaps maybe dare to slightly question Bush administration behavior, I knew something wasn't quite right. I couldn't quite articulate why it was so wrong, though.

Joan Walsh, Salon's Editor-in-Chief, lays it out quite nicely.

The liberal blogosphere has been hammering Nagourney for the last few years (see, as one random example, John Aravosis here on Nagourney's coverage of Lieberman and liberal blogs in 2006). Perhaps the epitome of Nagourney was his July 2003 newsvertisement for the poor DLC, whose prime 2004 presidential candidate (Lieberman) wasn't doing so hot.

But all the criticism of Nagrouney hasn't changed much that I can see. He's still writing this garbage.

What are the implications for the coming election? I'll make one prediction. We haven't really seen the Times go after Obama yet. Right now they're being out-reported by the Chicago Tribune and others. But just you wait. When it comes to crunch time, the Times news pages will turn against any candidates much further to the left than Clinton.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

That whole US Attorneys thing

You know that whole US Attorneys thing? Pretty big deal, eh?

Do you remember who broke the story?

It was the good folks at TPMMuckraker ("They've got muck. We've got rakes."), part of the ever-expanding Talking Points Memo empire. They were writing about this stuff a couple months ago, before anyone else was paying attention. Not only did most of the mainstream media ignore it for that time, but some even denigrated their work.

CJR Daily
tells the story.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A sign of the times.

After supporting the death penalty for well over a century, the Chicago Tribune editorial page has changed it's mind, coming out against it in Sunday's edition.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Is the US still intelligence-buddies with Sudan?

A few years ago, the US would share intelligence with Khartoum -- supposedly they gave us info on Al Qaeda people. Who knows. But now that we're, like, pressuring them about this Darfur thing, surely we're not still doing all this intelligence sharing with them, right?

In Ann Curry's interview with Bashir, the Sudanese president, he said the sharing is still going on. And when Curry asked Andrew Natsios if this was true, he too said it was.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Six more months for Friedman

Tom Friedman has this thing where he says that the war in Iraq will be won or lost in the next "six months." It's been well documented.

I thought maybe he had stopped, but he was at it again -- if subtly -- in Wednesday's column.
As for General Petraeus, I have no idea whether his military strategy is right, but at least he has one — and he has stated that by “late summer” we should know if it’s working. As General Petraeus told the BBC last week, “I have an obligation to the young men and women in uniform out here, that if I think it’s not going to happen, to tell them that it’s not going to happen, and there needs to be a change."

We need to root for General Petraeus to succeed, and hold him to those words if he doesn’t — not only for the sake of the soldiers on the ground, but also so that Mr. Bush is not allowed to drag the war out until the end of his term, and then leave it for his successor to unwind.

There you have it. General Petraeus at least has a strategy and is honest, and he thinks we'll know where Iraq stands by late summer. Oh wait. That would be 5-6 months from now.

Monday, March 19, 2007

You know you're on a bad flight when...

The AP reports: Airline Passenger Awakens Beside Corpse


British Airways said in a statement that about 10 passengers die each year in flight and that while each situation is dealt with on an individual basis, safety is paramount.

"The deceased must not be placed in the galley or blocking aisles or exits, and there should be clear space around the deceased," the statement said. "The wishes of family or friends traveling with the deceased will always be considered, and account taken of the reactions of other passengers."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Obama and Palestinian suffering

There seems to be something of a tiff, at least in some corners, over Obama's remark earlier this week that in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, "Nobody is suffering more than the Palesitnian people." The comment was first reported in the Des Moines Register.

Now, when the Israel-crazies come out criticizing this, let's get clear what they're criticizing. It could be a narrow critique saying that the statement serves to minimize Israeli suffering, etc. But even when it's framed that way, it's important to look at the history to see what the Israel-crazies really do not accept -- and that's any compassion at all for Palestinians.

That's why, at the big pro-Israel demo in DC in April 2002, the crowd booed when Paul Wolfowitz said that "Palestinians are suffering and dying as well. It is critical that we recognize and acknowledge that fact."

And that's part of why the U.S. Congress -- so defferent to the Israeli-crazies -- doesn't pass resolutions expressing sympathy for mass Palestinian casualties.

But back to what Obama said. It's good that he said it, and it could, perhaps, provoke productive discussion. I want to see people examine the statement for its merits -- if folks are going to criticize it, I'd like to see them lay out the case that, in fact, some people other than the Palestinians are suffering the most in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

more dems and gays

When Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that he believed homosexuality is immoral, both Clinton and Obama initially sidestepped questions about whether they agree with him on that specific question. Subsequently, both said that they did not.

Patrick Healy has the rundown on who who said what when.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

One way streets vs. two way streets

A superb 5 minute video regarding one way and two way streets in Park Slope.

woo Democrats. not.

"If recent events are any indication, national Democrats aren’t in any hurry to lead the battle to advance LGBT rights now that they control both congressional chambers and are fielding strong 2008 Democratic presidential contenders," writes Laura Kiritsy in Bay Windows (skip down to where it says 'Dems using the gays. Again').

She notes:
  • When Rep. Marty Meehan said he wanted to hold hearings in his subcommittee (part of Armed Services) about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Pelosi intervened and questioned why this was the first thing he wanted to do as chair.
  • Hillary Clinton gave a talk to HRC, but didn't publicize it.
  • When Ann Coulter essentially called John Edwards a faggot, Edwards (and HRC) criticized it, but failed to speak more broadly about anti-gay speech or link anti-gay speech to anti-gay violence.

That war in Lebanon

There's been a bit in the news in recent days about Ehud Olmert's leaked testimony to the Israeli commission examining the failures in their war last summer. He said that they had plans for war ready months in advance. He said this was so that they'd be 100% ready to respond to an incident such as a kidnapping of one their soldiers.

Ok, but the other way to look at it is that they planned out a war they wanted to have, and just needed an excuse to begin it. Jonathan Cook lays out the argument.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

DOT proposes making 6th & 7th aves one-way

As first reported by Streetsblog, the Department of Transportation is proposing to change 6th & 7th aves in Park Slope (between Flatbush and Prospect Ave) so that 7th would be one-way southbound and 6th would be one-way northbound.

See the report in Streetsblog and all the follow-up comments for why this is an unbelievably terrible idea.

Obama on Israel

Last month, the Hill reports, Senators voted on a bill by Feinstein and Leahy that would limit the kind of cluster bombs that the U.S. can sell to other countries. We wouldn't be able to sell the older kinds that often fail to explode, leaving lots of little bomblets for kids to stumble on. It's hardly perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

Since the big cluster controversy last year was about Israel's use of (U.S.-supplied) cluster bombs, Senators apparently worried that supporting the Feinstein-Leahy bill would be considered anti-Israel. All the republicans and 15 Democrats -- including Clinton, Biden and Dodd -- voted against the bill. But Obama voted for it.

The Hill notes that Ha'aretz ranked Obama 17th out of 17 presidential candidates on Israel-friendliness.

That's where the good Obama news ends. On Friday, he spoke to a regional AIPAC gathering in Chicago. The most thorough and useful press account is the one on the Ha'aretz website. Here's the full speech.

Richard Silverstein offers a thorough analysis of the speech, finding some good tidbits among the very bad. It's worth a look. Reading his analysis, it reminds me that Obama is still probably the second-least-bad of the Democratic candidates on this issue (behind Kucinich of course).

For the bigger-picture history of Obama and Israel, the must-read is Ali Abunimah's How Barack Obama learned to love Israel, published today. Abunimah says that Obama was once a supporter of Palestinian rights, but has been transformed in the last few years.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

all those cars in Brooklyn

Where is everyone driving? Yo, can't they take the train?

A study released by Transportation Alternatives this week found that 45% of all traffic in Park Slope is just cars looking for parking spaces.

-press release
-full report

They recommend placing electronic parking meters that can charge different rates at different times, targeted to keeping 15% parking vacancy at all times, peak and non-peak.

watch out!

Seen on 34th street, on Thursday: