“You know that the Fondas and [Sean] Penns are going to say, ‘Listen, I’m as American as you are…I just see things differently.’ And I’m willing to give them the benefit of that doubt. I don’t want to say that they’re anti-American.” Moments earlier:
In comments first reported in the New York Observer, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) said Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Biden’s insensitive remarks were roundly criticized, and he has since apologized. The Chicago Tribune explained:
Note to Biden. Well-spoken black people hate it when white people call them “articulate.” It’s the modern-day version of what white people used to say back in the day when they thought that by saying “He’s a credit to his race” they were saying something that a black person would welcome hearing.
Those dated words, like Biden’s comments, were patronizing at the very least. And they also appeared to carry some pretty negative assumptions about the majority of the race.
President Bush may need similar sensitivity training. In an interview today with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Bush echoed Biden’s remarks when asked about Obama. “He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate. I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve seen him in person,” Bush said. Watch it:
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Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John Warner (R-VA) have reached agreement on a compromise bipartisan resolution opposing President Bush’s Iraq escalation policy. Levin and Warner had co-sponsored competing anti-escalation resolutions, both of which risked failing to garner enough votes to break a conservative filibuster.
CNN’s Dana Bash reported moments ago, “What is going on as we speak, behind the scenes, Wolf, is Democrats and Republicans who oppose sending more troops to Iraq are trying to figure out how to join forces, come up with one single resolution that can get them the 60 votes that they need in order to pass that resolution, making clear to the president they disagree with his plan.”
The Levin/Warner compromise is unexpected and very significant. Robert Novak reported Monday that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) had tried and failed to reach agreement with Warner late last week.
This new deal is likely to foil right-wing efforts to prevent the Senate from passing a strong anti-escalation resolution. Conservative leaders “had hoped to divide Senate opinion largely along party lines, to allow Bush to argue that any outright statement opposing his plan was politically motivated partisanship,” the Washington Post reported today.
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“Molly Ivins, whose biting columns mixed liberal populism with an irreverent Texas wit, died at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at her home in Austin after an up-and-down battle with breast cancer she had waged for seven years. She was 62.” From her final column, published January 12, 2007:
We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and trying to get them out of there.
House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) announced Wednesday that his committee would open a formal inquiry into President Bush’s use of “presidential signing statements.” “We are not going to take no for an answer,” said Conyers, vowing “to demand answers from the White House about its intention to ignore the ban on torture when needed and its right to open domestic mail when needed.”
The Bush administration claims that any congressional resolution opposing escalation would hurt the morale of U.S. troops. “It would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops,” Vice President Cheney said last week.
Cheney should spend less time on non-binding resolutions and more on equipping our forces. An audit by the Pentagon’s Inspector General released to Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) shows that U.S. soldiers have had to go without the necessary weapons, armor, vehicles, and equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan:
The Inspector General found that the Pentagon hasn’t been able to properly equip the soldiers it already has. Many have gone without enough guns, ammunition, and other necessary supplies to “effectively complete their missions” and have had to cancel or postpone some assignments while waiting for the proper gear, according to the report from auditors with the Defense Dept. Inspector General’s office. Soldiers have also found themselves short on body armor, armored vehicles, and communications equipment, among other things, auditors found.
“As a result, service members performed missions without the proper equipment, used informal procedures to obtain equipment and sustainment support, and canceled or postponed missions while waiting to receive equipment,” reads the executive summary dated Jan. 25. Service members often borrowed or traded with each other to get the needed supplies, according to the summary.
More bombshells are likely to come soon. Following a letter last year from Slaughter to the Pentagon, the Inspector General’s office reported two ongoing audits into the procurement of armored vehicles and body armor for American soldiers. “The results of those studies will be available in July and October of 2007, respectively,” Slaughter’s office says.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that it wants to “raise the application fee for citizenship from $330 to $595 and the fee for becoming a legal permanent resident from $325 to $905.” In 1991, the application fee for legal permanent residents was just $90. NALEO notes that according to “2000 U.S. Census data, about three out offour Mexican and Central American non- citizen households (74%) have annual incomes of less than $25,000.”
New Republic editor Martin Peretz not only endorses the AJC‘s “Jews who have different political opinions from ours are anti-semities” essay (naturally) but also advances the idiosyncratic view that George Soros isn’t Jewish.
“As one of the key judges at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas this weekend, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews pulled out his ‘Hardball’ best when it came time to question each of the contestants. ‘Why did Mississippi seem to do a better job than’ Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?” he asked Miss Mississippi. … ‘He asked me where Osama bin Laden is now,’ [Miss D.C. Kate Michael] said.”
I’m all for more coverage of Sun Ming Ming, the absurdly tall China-born minor league basketball sensation, and if that means more coverage of the Maryland Nighthawks in general, then so be it. But I really don’t think The Washington Post should be referring to Nighthawks point guard Randy Gill as “White Chocolate.” I mean, does the basketball world really need a second White Chocolate? I have a hard time seeing it. Jason Williams is right here in the Wikipedia disambiguation page, and if any run-amok Gill fans try to change it, I’ll just change it right back. So there.