The law firm Kirkland & Ellis has hired former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as a “senior advisor.” The Swamp notes that the firm “has long been known as a comfortable environment for prominent conservatives” and “still employs former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr.” Given his resume, Bolton’s new job is not unusual as “many former and current legal luminaries in the Bush administration worked there at some point in their careers.”
Polluting the Earth is now a mortal sin, according to the Vatican. And you thought I was being an alarmist when I wrote Hell and High Water. This is, I suppose, the ultimate form of waste-to-energy incineration:
The original Italian interview with Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary (!) which is in charge of confession, is here. Fortunately, Bloomberg has made an English cheat sheet for the seven new mortal sins:
- ‘Bioethical’ violations such as birth control
- Morally dubious” experiments such as stem cell research
- Drug abuse
- Polluting the environment
- Contributing to widening divide between rich and poor
- Excessive wealth
- Creating poverty
I’m afraid Americans in heaven will be as rare as … as rare as … pretty much every one else in the industrialized world.
I am interested in your thoughts on the appropriate punishment for polluters. Here are “The original offences and their punishments“:
- Pride: Broken on the wheel
- Envy: Put in freezing water
- Gluttony: Forced to eat rats, toads, and snakes
- Lust: Smothered in fire and brimstone
- Anger: Dismembered alive
- Greed: Put in cauldrons of boiling oil
- Sloth: Thrown in snake pits
Assuming there is some threshold below which one’s pollution isn’t sinful, then I’d be okay with combining, in succession, the punishments for gluttony, pride, envy, and and greed. If there isn’t a threshold, then I’m thinking … heck, what am I worrying for — I’m not Catholic (don’t be fooled by my last name — it was shortened from Romanoff).
[Our guest blogger is Henry Fernandez, a Senior Fellow at the Center For American Progress Action Fund working on state and municipal issues.]
Jim Oberweis lost former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s previously solid Republican seat to Bill Foster. In so doing, he drove one more nail into the conservative anti-immigrant strategy. Oberweis is an anti-immigrant zealot who has served on the board of NumbersUSA, an organization which seeks to dramatically limit even legal immigration. (NumbersUSA is part of a coalition of organizations founded by John Tanton that have demonized immigrants who are not white and built ties to hate groups.)
Despite voters’ concerns over the war in Iraq, economic recession, and the mortgage crisis, Oberweis’ website listed immigration as his number one issue. Among other draconian positions, Oberweis calls for denying children born in the United States to immigrants the right to U.S. citizenship, something which would require revoking the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Oberweis’ staunch anti-immigrant views may have blinded him to the changing demographics of Illinois’ 14th Congressional district. Over the last decade, increasing numbers of Latinos and Asians have moved into the 14th, while the number of naturalized citizens grew from 25,224 to 40,159. The Latino population was already 18.5 percent in 2000.
Oberweis, a wealthy owner of dairy stores, was targeted by grassroots supporters of comprehensive immigration reform. They found he had the same problem as erstwhile Presidential candidate Mitt Romney — he employed undocumented immigrants while bashing them on the campaign trail. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the Chicago Workers Collaborative uncovered Oberweis’ hypocrisy. According to Joshua Hoyt, head of ICIRR:
Jorge and Rosa, two undocumented immigrants, were cleaning Oberweis ice cream stores and being paid $3.23 an hour. America does not respect hypocrites who bully undocumented immigrants and then turn around and profit from their labor; America does not respect politicians who do not tell the truth.
Many conservative politicians hope that attacking immigrants is a magic electoral bullet. But facts on the ground do not bear this out. In a precinct-level review of Latino voters, the conservative Americas Majority Foundation found that anti-immigrant rhetoric will cause conservatives to lose House seats and potentially the Presidency. The Foundation’s Richard Nadler argues that Latinos who voted for conservatives like George Bush will not vote for immigration demagogues. He concludes: “Any policy that induces mass fear in illegal aliens will induce mass anger in legal aliens (sic).”
Hoyt reports that the Latino vote did come out to defeat Oberweis. “There is no question immigration was central to Foster’s 5,000 vote victory. In the bellwether city of Aurora, he won by just over 3,200 votes by scoring big margins in Latino neighborhoods. Latino and immigrant activists worked hard to get this vote out.” This in a district where Hastert had beaten his last three opponents by margins of 48, 38 and 20 percent respectively.
Despite a consensual international media blackout, Matt Drudge revealed in February that Prince Harry had been “in Afghanistan for more than two months.” Gen. David Petraeus said recently he is “disappointed” that Harry can no longer serve because of Drudge’s actions:
The third in line to the throne returned early because his deployment was made public on the Internet.
“I am a bit disappointed for him that he was not able to complete it all the way through and to come home with his unit,” said Petraeus.
“I know that he will be there to greet them when they do come home and reunite with their families and I know that that will be a special moment for him and for them as well,” he added
On Friday, Vice President Cheney gave a graduation speech at the Great Lakes Naval Training base in Illinois. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Cheney “got some enthusiastic and some just-polite applause,” especially from those whom have had to serve multiple tours in Iraq over the last five years. Naval Training officer Marcus Perkins — who has served five tours in Iraq — was not impressed:
“It took him eight years to get here … at the end of his tenure,” Perkins said of Cheney. “This was more like a pep rally. He could have sent an e-mail for that.“
Of course these days everything reduces to the Democratic presidential primary. Thus, what are the implications of the “Client Nine” scandal for the race? Rosa Brooks wonders what Hillary Clinton will say:
Quick reaction: I think this is actually a complicated one for Hillary. Spitzer isn’t just any prominent Democrat who happens to support her; he’s a close ally from her adopted home state of New York. And prominent men caught in sex scandals isn’t a new one for Hillary. How she handles this will tell us something, perhaps, not just about Spitzer, but about how’s she’s come to define herself … as a woman in a world where a few too many of the prominent men around still think it’s OK to do this kind of thing.
In his new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, New York Times reporter Philip Shenon alleges that 9/11 Commission staff director Philip Zelikow had an obvious conflict of interest while serving on the panel.
Zelikow allegedly scaled back criticisms of the White House and did not inform the Commission he helped Condoleezza Rice set up Bush’s National Security Council in 2001. Zelikow also held periodic discussions with Karl Rove, which he ordered his secretary to keep off-the-record. He also helped “demote” Richard Clarke, a vocal critic of the administration’s counterterrorism policies.
This weekend on CSPAN’s Book TV, Shenon bolstered the case that Zelikow was inextricably tied to the administration. Shenon said Zelikow authored the September 2002 National Security Strategy (NSS), which outlined the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and helped make the case for the invasion of Iraq:
Zelikow was the author of a very important document issued by the White House in Sept. 2002 that really turned military doctrine on its head and said that the United States could become involved in pre-emptive war, pre-emptive defense, that we could attack a nation that didn’t pose an immediate military threat to this country.
And obviously in September 2002, it sure appeared that document was being written with one target in mind: Iraq.
The author of the NSS at the time was anonymous, Shenon explained. Commission members, including Chairmen Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton reportedly did not know Zelikow authored it when the Commission was created in December 2002. Only in the “final months” of the investigation did members discover this fact.
Zelikow’s White House ties were so pronounced that former senator Bob Kerrey threated to Kean, “It’s either him or me. Zelikow goes, or I go.” In the interview, Shenon concluded that Zelikow’s authorship of of the pre-emptive strategy “appeared to pose yet another conflict of interest for Zelikow.”
In a special “culture” edition of The Table (also a special Yglesias-free edition), Ross Douthat, Mark Bowden, and Jeffrey Goldberg talk about Season Five of The Wire:
A chance to mock someone else’s physical appearance for a change.
Earlier this week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed that al Qaeda would “be dancing in the middle of the streets” because of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) “middle name” if he were elected President. He has since stood by his remarks and rejected Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) disavowal of them. King dug his hole deeper today, telling an Iowa radio station that Obama’s middle name “isn’t just one person who was a dictator in Iraq, it’s a thread that goes through the entire Muslim world.” King has been invited to appear on CNN this evening.
Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters that indicted Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) “is no longer taking part in his presidential campaign,” but refused to say whether the congressman had “officially stepped down as a campaign co-chair.”