People around the world who were not living in freedom in 2007, according to a new survey by Freedom House. Last year was the second consecutive year that the percentage declined, and nearly “four times as many countries showed significant declines during the year as registered improvements.”
Chris Matthews doesn’t appear to know what an ad hominem argument is. Noting that Bush’s efforts to beg Saudi Arabia to sell us more cheap oil are “pathetic” doesn’t qualify.
Not the best state for the climate/fuel economy message, obviously. Still, a bad sign for those who want this issue discussed intelligently in the campaign.
I was watching Fox news coverage of the GOP primary — why not? — and
I think it was Bill Kristol who Fred Barnes said, “John McCain is going to have to stop antagonizing conservatives” if he wants to win, since the GOP is a conservative party.
And what precisely was McCain doing to antagonize conservatives? He was “talking about climate change” and pushing the idea of “promoting green technology in Michigan.”
We have a long, long way to go, I’m afraid, before this country can take united action to save the livability of the planet for future generations.
I suppose the trouble with this debate is that while it was very annoying when the moderates were focused on inane trivia, once they moved to substance it turned out that the candidates don’t really have large disagreements on the issues.
Did Tim Russert really just ask if John Edwards speaking to Musharraf after the Bhutto assassination was part of an effort to give Musharraf “cover” of some kind? I believe he did. It would have been pretty sweet if Edwards had broken down Perry Mason-style and ‘fessed up to the fact that he and Pervez conspired to kill her. But no dice. Alternatively, Edwards could have gone with the old “Tim, you’ve asked a lot of dumb questions in your day, but this really takes the cake.”
Today on his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck went on a rant against former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, blaming him for making the Great Depression “go on and on and on for a decade.” He then added:
I have to tell you, I said on my radio show today, I`m beginning to come to a place where I just — I love my grandfather, but I just want to slap himself across the face for liking FDR. I think that was one evil son of a bitch.
Chris Achorn at My Two Sense notes that “without FDR, people wouldnt be getting social security checks, and he led this nation during World War 2, and helped defeat both Hitler and Mussolini before his death in 1945. Beck is at odds with, well pretty much everyone.”
Mitt Romney’s win looks pretty solid — 39 percent to just 30 percent for John McCain. What’s more, it would seem to be an ominous sign for John McCain that he got beaten so badly among registered Republicans. New Hampshire had an open primary, lots of non-Republicans voted, and he won. Michigan had an open primary, but not so many non-Republicans voted, so he lost. In more and more of the states going forward, however, only Republicans are going to be able to vote in the Republican primary.
Of course it’s not a two-person race, so things get much more complicated than that, but the basic shape of the river is still that Republicans need to like you if you want to win a Republican primary.
Last fall, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie awarded his former boss, John Ashcroft, a lucrative no-bid contract to “monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges out of court.” Ashcroft’s consulting company is set “to receive payments of $28 million to $52 million” in the deal, one of the biggest payouts ever reported for a federal monitor.
In an interview today, former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach said the case is suspicious because no-bid contracts are generally awarded only if there’s a strong “reason why there isn’t” a competitive process:
“When you give people government contracts, there’s usually a bidding on the contract, or if there isn’t a bidding on it, you’ve got a reason why there isn’t,” Katzenbach told PolitickerNJ.com. “…If Interior wants to go give a former Interior Secretary some big job, people can say that’s just politics and maybe it’s not that serious. But when the Department of Justice starts doing it, it suggests other political things, and that seems to me to be as wrong as it can be.”
Christie maintains that he granted the contract because of Ashcroft’s “impeccable legal credentials” and “unique” qualifications. But Ashcroft’s group isn’t even a law firm. And according to Katzenbach, Ashcroft’s resume doesn’t meet the “standards” for a $58 million monitoring contract:
“He’s a pleasant enough man. I doubt that he was an editor of the law review or a Supreme Court clerk or something of that kind — those are the kinds of standards I have.”
Both Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are now pressing the Justice Department for details on the contracts awarded to Ashcroft and other outside lawyers since 2001, and plan to hold hearings on the Bush administration’s federal monitoring process. The Justice Department has also opened an investigation.
Katzenbach said that as a former Attorney General, he would not have accepted the contract. “I suppose like any human being, I would be tempted, but I would think it was inappropriate,” he concluded.
UPDATE: New Jersey isn’t alone. The Washington Post reports today that in the past few years, U.S. attorneys in Alabama, New York and Virginia have hired “various former prosecutors and SEC officials with ties to President Bush, his father and other Republican luminaries” as corporate monitors. (via Blue Jersey)
Holy shit, Brian Williams is promising to talk about the economy after the advertising break. I was beginning to think these NBC hosts melted when they started talking about issues.
Maybe Russert should ask the candidates something more along the lines of “if you were a tree, what kind of a tree would you be?”