John McCain’s wife Cindy was recently approached by producers of the TV show “Dancing With The Stars” and asked to go on the show. A source told the New York Post, “Just before Thanksgiving, Cindy McCain started talks with producers to appear as a dancer on the show. She wanted to do it very badly.” But this week, Sen. McCain “put the kibosh on it.” A spokesperson for TV channel ABC, which broadcasts the show, said they would “not comment on casting rumors.”
This should hardly come as a surprise since if you ask me Barack Obama has always been pretty clear about it, but for the record he’s still planning to end the war in Iraq:
his first full day as president, Barack Obama will meet with high-ranking military officers to discuss the Iraq war, a conflict he has vowed to end after six years of fighting, a top adviser to Obama said Saturday.
Wednesday’s meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other military commanders and aides will fulfill a key campaign promise and bring the war back to the political forefront after months of being overshadowed by the economy.
Michèle Flournoy, who Obama has tapped to be Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (the #3 job in the Pentagon), was involved with the production of a think tank report that was relatively hawkish on Iraq in terms of residual forces, but appeared to back away from that position at her confirmation hearings.
Faiz Shakir says Nancy Pelosi’s not necessarily willing to close the door on Bush-era crimes:
“I think that we have to learn from the past and we cannot let the politicizing, for example, of the Justice Department, to go unreviewed,” Pelosi said. “Past is prologue. We learn from it.” Asked if she wants to see investigations, Pelosi responded, “Well, I want to see the truth come forth.”
Presidential leadership is obviously a very important part of getting things done in the United States, but on a variety of issues progressives are more likely to see the House leadership take up our causes than the White House.
Earlier this week, President-elect Obama attended a 3-hour dinner party with conservatives at columnist George Will’s house, followed by an hour-long coffee meeting with liberal columnists at his transition offices. Though the conversations were off-the-record, some of the participants — Will, Bill Kristol and EJ Dionne — praised Obama on the Sunday shows this morning for how he approached the meetings.
“Suffice to say that I think he was impressive and probably we weren’t,” said Will on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Both Kristol, a conservative, and Dionne, a liberal, remarked that Obama came off as a “calm” professor when they spoke to him:
KRISTOL: You know, he is privately — this wasn’t really private — but you know, among nine or ten people, he wasn’t really that different from the way he is publicly, you know. Cool, calm, confident. He was like talking to a very intelligent, moderately liberal law professor, you know, debating a bunch of issues.” [Fox News Sunday]
DIONNE: The really striking thing is, it was like we’re around a table and it was like Professor Obama teaching a seminar on how you deal with whole lot of crises at the same time and stay calm. I mean, it was very sort of focused and easy going in the midst of all of this. [ABC'S This Week]
“He is remarkably calm, I found that last week,” added Stephanopoulos, who interviewed Obama last week. Watch it:
On Fox News Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she was open to pursuing investigations of abuses by the Bush Justice Department. “I think that we have to learn from the past and we cannot let the politicizing, for example, of the Justice Department, to go unreviewed,” Pelosi said. “Past is prologue. We learn from it.” Asked if she wants to see investigations, Pelosi responded, “Well, I want to see the truth come forth.”
Raw Story has the video.
Earlier this month, NBC’s war correspondent Richard Engel reported that Israel was waiting until Barack Obama’s inauguration to let reporters into Gaza, when viewers “simply won’t care.” Yesterday, Israel declared its war with Gaza over, meaning reporters may now be allowed to enter the strip:
With the fighting over, foreign journalists and non-governmental organisations are expected to flood into the impoverished Palestinian territory to assess the damage from 22 days of massive bombing and shelling.
With this in mind, Israel is reportedly “readying a new offensive — the battle for public opinion.” AFP reports Israel has begun compiling information to try to prove that many of the 4,000 residential buildings, 51 government buildings, and 20 mosques it hit during the offensive were legitimate targets used by Hamas militants. At least six Israeli ministers will be “fanning out to different countries to press home Israel’s view of the conduct of the war.” Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog said Israel is aiming to prevent an ‘over-dramatization‘ of the facts.”
PGL reveals that Kevin Hassett likes to embrace the full Herbert Hoover line that you fight recessions by trying to run a budget surplus. Also he doesn’t understand the difference between real growth in federal revenue and nominal growth in federal revenue. Have I mentioned that when the influential American Enterprise Institute wanted to stage a Monday event on “Responding to the Recession: Exploring the Stimulus Options” they picked Kevin Hassett to moderate. Indeed, he directs economic policy studies at AEI.
I wonder how that whole “Dow 36,000″ thing is going.
And, if you look at the over $500 billion worth of spending, a lot of it’s going to fix up federal buildings, and — and $6 billion to community action programs to do weatherization programs.
It’s just more of the same kind of wasteful spending that we have seen in the past. I was really — I was shocked.
The Republicans dumped more than $100 billion down the black hole of Iraqi reconstruction, and Bush flushed down the toilet who knows how many tens of billions of dollars of the bailout bill. But Boehner is shocked that Democrats want to spend a few billion dollars to:
- Retrofit federal buildings to make them more energy-efficient
- Weatherize the home of poor people
I actually helped oversee both of those programs when I was at the Department of Energy (DOE) in the mid-1990s. The conservatives hated them then, too. What is so galling about the GOP’s ongoing efforts to cut these programs is that not only are they job creators — they are both deficit reducers:
Last night, Saturday Night Live offered a light-hearted take on President Obama’s pledge to close Guantanamo. The fake ad spot claimed that items at Gitmo are now being offered at fire-sale prices. “Git’ mo bargains, git’ mo savings, git’ mo of everything you need!” Some of the paraphernalia available: “Hoods! Blindfolds! Shackles! Chains! Dog bones for people! If it’s used to humanely detain or interrogate prisoners, we’ve got it! And we’re passing the savings onto you.” Watch it:
Nicole Belle comments: “I know that comedy should push the envelope occasionally and make you uncomfortable, but sorry, I’m having a hard time finding teh funny in this SNL skit from last night.”
W. James Antle III writes that we shouldn’t care about the integrity of the civil service:
Given the overwhelmingly Democratic tilt of the career bureaucracy in most civilian portions of the federal government, I must say I’m not terribly concerned that Bush’s “burrowing” is going to derail any Obama administration initiatives.
I understand what Antle is saying. But by the same token would he be shrugging it off if a Democratic administration was trying to “burrow” political appointees into the upper echelons of the career military? The FBI? The CIA? I doubt it. But to avoid making the pure hypocrisy play, let’s say that for my part I think this would be a bad idea. But the non-military, non-police, non-intelligence arms of the federal government deserve to be treated as seriously as the elements of big government that conservatives find congenial.