“Hundreds of U.S. Marines have been killed or injured by roadside bombs in Iraq because Marine Corps bureaucrats refused an urgent request in 2005 from battlefield commanders for blast-resistant vehicles,” an internal Marine Corps study found.
On his blog, Paul Krugman writes today that “the plunge in consumer confidence in recent weeks is pretty startling.” Krugman says that, according to the University of Michigan index, “consumer confidence is now lower than it ever was during the 2001 recession and aftermath.”
According to Krugman, “bit by bit, the evidence is mounting that the wheels are coming off this economy.
I’d like to associate myself with Mike Lux’s puzzlement over this line of argument from Hillary Clinton:
Speeches don’t put food on the table. Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill up your prescription, or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night. My opponent gives speeches. I offer solutions.
And, clearly, speeches don’t put food on the table. But it’s not as if Hillary Clinton doesn’t give speeches. Giving speeches is part of being a presidential candidate. Indeed, it’s also part of being president. And, again, both candidates deliver speeches. So it would seem that Clinton is accusing Obama of giving speeches well. I’ve written previously about this implicit appeal to a conservation of virtues principle from the Clinton campaign — the smart girl must be ugly, the guy who gives good speeches must not have policy proposals — and it doesn’t makes less sense, rather than more sense, when Clinton makes the argument more directly.
Obama does, after all, have an energy plan and a jobs plan and a health care plan. It’s true that he doesn’t have much experience as a legislator, but he has more experience in that role than Hillary Clinton has. Now obviously she’s free to argue that his health care plan is worse than hers (I think it is) or that her environment/energy plan is better than his (I think it isn’t), but the fact that he’s a better orator just doesn’t count as evidence for the inferiority of his proposals.
Earlier this week in an interview with BBC News, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended torture, saying that it would be “absurd” to say the government can’t “smack” a suspect “in the face.” In light of these remarks, the National Lawyers Guild today called on Scalia “to recuse himself from any case coming before the Supreme Court involving the constitutionality of torture as an interrogation technique.”
UPDATE: The AP notes six other occasions in which Scalia’s comments have prompted calls for his recusal.
Looks like John McCain is poised to secure the George H.W. Bush endorsement. It’s hard to see what kind of reassurance this is supposed to give the Mac-hating conservatives since these are generally these folks hate Papa Bush, too.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a member of the Air Force JAG Corp., has repeatedly broken with his party’s ranks in the past, condemning waterboarding as “clearly illegal under domestic and international law.”
When the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill — which contained a provision banning waterboarding — to the floor this week, Graham was absent from the vote because he was in Iraq. When contacted by ThinkProgress this week, Graham’s office said the senator would have voted against the anti-waterboarding bill.
Asked to explain Graham’s change of heart, the spokesman said, “He disagrees with applying the Army Field Manual to the CIA. The CIA is a completely different operation.”
In the Congressional Record on Feb. 13, Graham explained his opposition to the bill, claiming the Army Field Manual would limit the CIA’s operations:
I believe in flexibility for the CIA program within the boundaries of current law. The CIA must have the ability to gather intelligence for the war on terror. In this new war, knowledge of the enemy and its plan is vitally important and the Army Field Manual provision will weaken our intelligence gathering operations.
In Oct. 2005, however, Graham was singing the Army Field Manual’s praises when he said it is sufficiently flexible for intelligence gathering:
You can change the Army Field Manual to adapt techniques to the war on terror. There is a classified section of the Army Field Manual. There is nothing about its adoption that limits the ability to aggressively interrogate people to get good intelligence.
It appears that the Graham, as well as Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are willing to ditch their consciences in favor of backing President Bush’s misguided national security priorities.
This is negative advertising at its best:
It’s an attack, it’s negative, but it’s reasonably fair. I’m just not sure I totally grasp why the contrasts on the issues have been been wrapped up in this silly debate argument.
Late last week the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), made up of over 500 organizations (including Fortune 500 companies like Google, universities, non-profits, etc.), presented a letter to Congress encouraging them to extend the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy.
As we’ve noted, the tax credits are at risk to lapse, which would just be a generally bad idea – for the economy, for renewable industries, for the potential job creation, and for the greenhouse gas reductions that the impacted projects could be making.
Pulling a few points from their letter:
That in addition to the 116,000 wind and solar jobs at risk.
ACORE points out in its article an invasion I’d also like to emphasize – the first week of March, Washington, DC hosts WIREC – the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference. The utility and attendance of the event I could hardly begin to describe. DC will be flooded with information and opportunity on renewables, and there will be so much to do (between panels, exhibits, side events, etc.), I don’t know how one could begin to create a schedule.
That is the same feeling our Congress should feel – overwhelmed by the interest and opportunities of the future. Hundreds of companies and utilities have expressed their desire to see regulatory global warming legislation. And now hundreds more have signed on to encourage the solutions. Yet we still can’t seem to extend these credits – not even pass something new, just extend something that’s been around the last 7 years of this administration and beyond!
It is no joke that the missing ingredient is political will, and it’s spoiling untold amounts.
– Kari M.
The blog of travel site Kayak.com currently has a post up highlighting “semi-illegal” vacations for people who want to live life “on the edge.” Their top choice? A get-away to Mexico City to simulate the experience of being an undocumented immigrant, complete with actors posing as border control agents “shooting (blanks) at you“:
The Mexico City trip has now been taking off the post. ThinkProgress spoke with a Kayak.com representative who simply said that it had been removed because of “complaints.” The trip, however, was also highlighted in a Kayak.com e-mail today.
UPDATE: Unlike Kayak.com’s billing of the vacation as one that will “scare you senseless,” guides for trip describe it “as an homage to the path immigrants have beaten across the border.”
The second edition of The American Prospect‘s Wire dialogue is up.