Going to be a travel day tomorrow, so it’s possible that there won’t be any posts until late in the day. On the other hand, it’s possible that I’ll do something early tomorrow.
Number of Americans who believe Iraq is in a civil war, up from 56 percent in April, according to a new CNN poll.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who recently mended fences with that “agent of intolerance” Rev. Jerry Falwell, appears in and narrates a new ad for Sen. George Allen (R-VA).
The genocide in Darfur has killed at least 255,000 people — the equivalent of nearly two times the number of U.S. forces now in Iraq.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made a major speech on the issue to the Africa Society. Rice announced no new commitments or policy proposals to end the violence. Instead, she bragged that Bush officials are “bend[ing] every fiber of our being to ease the suffering of people of Darfur.”
That is flatly false. As Darfur expert John Prendergast has detailed, the administration “has made some noise about Darfur over the last two years,” but has repeatedly failed to act. Some key instances:
No real funding for peacekeepers: The United States, along with the Europeans, “have left the African Union force in Darfur in a state of limbo, not giving it the requisite resources and political support needed to protect the people of Darfur.”
No targeted sanctions on genocide leaders: The United States “crafted a U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized targeted sanctions in early 2005, but has since imposed sanctions on only one regime official, a retired air force commander. This leaves Khartoum with the correct impression that there will be no accountability.”
A draft bipartisan House committee report has found “hundreds of contacts between top White House officials and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates” which “raise serious questions about the legality and actions” of those officials. “Bush administration officials repeatedly intervened on behalf of Abramoff’s clients,” Roll Call reports.
UPDATE: Watch ABC’s report on the new contacts from World News Tonight.
Romm predicts that the US space program will be essentially abandoned by 2025 because we will recognize that every available dollar must be put into combatting the effects of global climate change.
I believe that, thanks to the refusal of this administration to take any concrete action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, come 2009, the next President — and every subsequent President — will have to make action on climate a larger and larger priority in the federal budget. And if we don’t follow the advice of NASA’s James Hansen and aggressively deploy GHG-reducing technologies in the next decade, then, come the 2020s, we will be so desperate to deal with global warming that we will divert funds from many discretionary areas of the budget, such as the space program.
A NASA scientist came up to me afterwards to make sure that I was not speaking about abandoning NASA’s terrific work on Earth sciences, which has helped make everyone aware of the climate problem. Not at all. Though, sadly, again, the Bush administration has been busy cutting back that valuable research in order to fund the manned space program, including its plans to put humans back to the Moon and Mars. And yet, ironically, thanks to the Bush administration, it is increasingly doubtful we will put humans on Mars this century, at least.
This may well be a suprising point for many Americans — and I count myself as a space enthusiast — but on our current path of reckless disregard for the climate, the manned space program faces the certainty of slashed budgets.
We have passed the point at which avoiding catastrophic warming can be done easily. When the country final does confront the reality that business-as-usual energy policy risks 80-foot sea level rise as NASA itself warned this week, we will dramatically realign our priorities. At that point, which will almost certainly come by 2025, it is inconceivable we would ever spend the many tens of billions of dollars needed to put humans on Mars.
I will post a link to the video of this talk when it is available.
“there was no way to measure if more Islamic extremists were being created than killed in American-led operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Reuters reports. “Asked about a U.S. intelligence report that concluded the Iraq war had spread Islamic radicalism, Rumsfeld said intelligence could be faulty and sometimes ‘flat wrong.’“
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), who famously suggested the U.S. wouldn’t have “all these problems” had Strom Thurmond been elected President, said today that the religious differences among Iraqis makes the conflict very difficult for him to understand:
“It’s hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what’s wrong with these people,” he said. “Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli’s and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me.“
Speaking shortly after a meeting with President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Lott added that Iraq wasn’t among the White House’s priorities.
“No, none of that,” Lott told reporters after the session when asked if the Iraq war was discussed. “You’re [the media] the only ones who obsess on that. We don’t and the real people out in the real world don’t for the most part.“
Why is Mark Foley sending emails from his personal address to a sixteen year-old former page asking the page to “send me an email pic of you as well”? According to Foley’s office, it’s because “it is their policy to keep pictures of former interns and anyone who may ask for a recommendation on file so they can remember them.” And I’m sure most former interns get personal, slang-laden emails from Rep. Foley to make sure that happens.
The ABC News item doesn’t mention it, but Foley is one of Washington’s “widely-rumored-to-be-gay” politicians, which provides the crucial context. Raw Story has the emails and will post them soon.
“A 16-year-old male congressional page concerned about the appropriateness of an e-mail exchange with a congressman alerted Capitol Hill staffers to the communication,” ABC News reports. “In the series of e-mails, obtained by ABC News, between the page and Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL), Foley asks the page how old he is, what he wants for his birthday and requests a photo of him.”