Defense Secretary Robert Gates is “considering sending some 3,000 additional marines to Afghanistan to boost forces ahead of a Taliban spring offensive. … Currently, there are 26,000 US troops in Afghanistan, most of them under the 40,000-strong NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.” Last year was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion.
Bill Richardson’s out of the Democratic race. He looked good on paper.
Controversial private security firm Blackwater Worldwide “has ramped up its lobbying representation on Capitol Hill” by hiring the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice to “lobby the government on contracting and other issues.” “Womble Carlyle is the third lobbying firm to be hired by Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater since October.”
The U.S. military announced today that nine soldiers were killed in the past two days as American forces engaged in a new drive to kill and capture insurgents in the Iraqi province of Diyala. On Tuesday, three soldiers were killed and two were wounded while “six soldiers were killed and four were wounded Wednesday in a booby-trapped house.”
The AP reports that New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is ending his campaign for the presidency “after twin fourth-place finishes that showed his impressive credentials could not compete with his rivals’ star power. Richardson planned to announce the decision Thursday, according to two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision.”
UPDATE: According to MSNBC, the Richardson campaign is denying the AP story.
UPDATE II: MSNBC has now reported that Richardson plans to announce his decision to drop out on Thursday.
Number of Iraqis killed because of violence since the start of the war in March 2003 through June 2006. “The estimate comes from projections by the World Health Organization and the Iraqi government, based on door-to-door surveys of nearly 10,000 households. Experts called it the largest and most scientific study of the Iraqi death toll since the war began.”
An anonymous commenter on a previous blogpost asks,
“GM has alway said that the battery might not be ready…. GM never lied about it but like always lots of people like to knock GM. Why not pick on Toyota for a while.”
I’ve got no problem picking on Toyota, too. Toyota continues to use the Prius to cover a multitude of sins. They are selling larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles than ever; they slap a hybrid drive into a $100,000 Lexus, achieve minimal fuel savings, and earn more green kudos all while continuing to spread disinformation about the value of true electrification by advertising their hybrids as half electric cars “you never have to plug in.” Of course the truth is you can’t.
But unlike GM, Toyota hasn’t promised a plug in car. They haven’t had to. (Although they built a damn good one when they were forced to. Read all about it here.) While I have no doubt Toyota will release a plug-in car as soon as someone else does, until then they will join the “batteries aren’t ready” chorus.
It truly is, not surprisingly, all about the bottom line. Every automaker wants to continue selling only internal combustion engine cars (hybrids included) because they believe that is the best route toward the greatest profitability in the near term. Needless to say this hasn’t proven true in GM’s case. They couldn’t have been in worse shape had they continued even very limited production, and sale, of the EV1. It would have been their Prius, only better.
– Marc G. Plugs and Cars Blog
Rudy Giuliani’s biggest fan, Pat Robertson, on the failure of his 2007 forecast of a nuclear attack on an American city to come true: “”So did I miss it? Possibly, or, on the other hand, did God avert it? Possibly. But whatever, it didn’t happen, so I think we can all rejoice.”
Today at a campaign event in Michigan, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to clean up the political discourse. He argued that he knows how to “reach across the aisle” and treat Democrats with respect:
“I’m going to raise the level of political dialog in America,” McCain, R-Ariz., said at a campaign rally in central Michigan, “and I’m going to treat my opponents with respect and demand that they treat me with respect.” [...]
“We’re going to get a dispute and a debate done, but in a respectful fashion,” McCain said. “And I know how to reach across the aisle to [the Democrats], and I’ll ask you to tell them to reach across the aisle to me.”
McCain’s record of dealing with his fellow lawmakers, the press, and members of the public, however, has been considerably less than respectful. In 2000, Newsweek dubbed him “Senator Hothead” for his vicious temper. Some examples of McCain lowering the level of America’s political dialogue:
– In a “heated dispute over immigration-law overhaul” last year, McCain screamed at Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), “F— you!” He added, “This is chickens- – - stuff. … You’ve always been against this bill, and you’re just trying to derail it.” [5/19/07]
– In a discussion over the “fate of Vietnam MIAs,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked McCain, “Are you calling me stupid?” “No,” replied McCain, “I’m calling you a f—ing jerk!” [Newsweek, 2/21/00]
– Discussing his recent trip to Iraq on The Daily Show in April, McCain told host Jon Stewart, “I had something picked out for you, too — a little IED to put on your desk.” [4/24/07]
– After Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) criticized McCain for his comment to Stewart, McCain told ABC News, “And all I can say is, to Murtha and others, Lighten up and get a life.” [4/26/07]
– Speaking to Fox and Friends in March, McCain noted that he allows “jerks from the media” to come on board his bus, the “Straight Talk Express.” [4/28/07]
– At a GOP meeting in fall 1999, McCain “erupted” at Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) and shouted, “Only an a–hole would put together a budget like this.” When Domenici expressed his outrage, McCain responded, “I wouldn’t call you an a–hole unless you really were an a–hole.” [Newsweek, 2/21/00]
– In September, a high school student asked McCain whether the senator was “too old to be president and too conservative to be respected.” McCain “jokingly” responded by calling the student “a little jerk” who ought to be drafted. [9/4/07]
After the dust-up between McCain and Domenici, a senator told Newsweek that he didn’t want McCain “anywhere near a trigger.”
A reader remarks. “Here’s one prediction for a potentially game-changing event on the Democratic side that can come at any time, and I won’t venture a guess as who would ultimately benefit: a Gore endorsement.” It seems to me that were Gore to endorse, he would almost certainly endorse Obama and that might do him some good, but my sense is that Gore’s trying to be less-and-less involved in US politics.