Daily Archives: December 13, 2010

Steele to seek reelection as RNC chair

The former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Mic...

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As if on cue, the court jester of the RNC gets the last laugh.  RNC Chair Michael Steele has fooled the media and speculators such as myself, with his much anticipated announcement tonight.  Could it be this guy knows where all the metaphorical “bodies” are buried?  The entire RNC voting process will be interesting to watch…

Los Angeles Times

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele stunned friends and foes Monday by launching a fight to keep his job.

Steele discussed his decision during a conference call Monday night with members of the Republican National Committee.

His decision means the party will be debating the record of its first African American chairman as it takes control of the House. Steele and Republican congressional leaders have been at odds, and a bruising fight would be an unwelcome distraction.

Steele faces an uphill battle to keep his job, note party veterans, including some who say they like him personally but doubt he can win. His move sets up a battle with half a dozen rivals. //

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele stunned friends and foes Monday by launching a fight to keep his job.

Steele discussed his decision during a conference call Monday night with members of the Republican National Committee.

His decision means the party will be debating the record of its first African American chairman as it takes control of the House. Steele and Republican congressional leaders have been at odds, and a bruising fight would be an unwelcome distraction.

Steele faces an uphill battle to keep his job, note party veterans, including some who say they like him personally but doubt he can win. His move sets up a battle with half a dozen rivals. //

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Richard Holbrooke dies: Veteran U.S. diplomat brokered Dayton peace accords

Richard Holbrooke

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Sad news for the State Department and for his family…

Washington Post

Veteran U.S. diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke, 69, whose relentless prodding and deft maneuvering yielded the 1995 Dayton peace accords that ended the war in the Balkans, a feat he hoped to emulate as President Obama’s chief envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died Monday in Washington from complications following surgery to repair a torn aorta.

A foreign policy adviser to four Democratic presidents, Mr. Holbrooke was a towering, one-of-a-kind presence who helped define American national security strategy over 40 years and three wars by connecting Washington politicians with New York elites and influential figures in capitals around the world. He seemed to live on airplanes and move with equal confidence through Upper East Side cocktail parties, the halls of the White House and the slums of Pakistan.

News of Mr. Holbrooke’s death came after Obama, speaking at a State Department holiday reception, praised him as “simply one of the giants of American foreign policy.”

“Tonight America has lost one of its fiercest champions and most dedicated public servants,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement Monday night, adding, “He was one of a kind – a true statesman – and that makes his passing all the more painful.”

Mr. Holbrooke’s death could have a profound impact on the administration’s efforts to implement aspects of its strategy for the war in Afghanistan, which relies not just on military gains but development assistance and diplomatic initiatives with the governments in Kabul and neighboring Pakistan that had been his principal focus.        More…

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Boehner Cries, Claims He Doesn’t Go Tanning In 60 Minutes Interview (VIDEO

Are we in for two years of crying jags from the soon to be Speaker of the House?

TPMDC

Relevant video starts after the six minute mark:

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Texas Airport Security Insults India After Wrongfully Demanding To Search UN Envoy’s Turban

Ooops!  Those paranoid and uninformed airport security folks in Texas may have commited a serious faux pas…

Think Progress

The paranoid environment created by the 9/11 attacks has allowed for a myriad of civil rights infringements under the guise of national security. Airport security especially ratcheted up racial profiling, marking any Middle Eastern sign or symbol a suspicious target, particularly the turban. Even turbaned individuals with no affiliation with Islam or the Middle East, such as Sikh men, have become “a superficial and accessible proxy for the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks” and a “target of discriminatory conduct,” including employment discrimimation, harrassment, and violence.

But now, this long-permitted prejudice is creating diplomatic tension between the U.S. and India. Today, the Indian press reported on an incident last month in which Houston, Texas airport security officials detained Indian’s UN envoy Hardeep Puri in a holding room for 30 minutes because he was wearing a turban. As a Sikh, Puri is obliged to keep all hair intact and his head covered in public at all times. The turban symbolizes self-respect and piety — “touching of the head dress in public is not allowed” and can only be removed “in the most intimate of circumstances.”

However, as officials present during the incident told Turtle Bay, airport security officials ignored Puri’s religious requirements and long-standing protocol exempting dignitaries from such treatment and demanded to physically check his Turban themselves until Puri informed them that TSA regulations allow him to check himself:

Airport security agents in Austin pulled Singh aside into an enclosed glass holding room for questioning after he refused a request to remove his turban or allow inspectors to touch it, an Indian official who witnessed the incident told Turtle Bay. “He said no, you cannot check my turban,” according to the Indian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I won’t allow you to touch my turban.”

The Indian official said Singh offered to touch the turban himself and to allow the security agents to run a check of his hands for traces of explosives, but he said that one security official refused. Singh insisted that the security official had no right to check his turban, citing TSA regulations for searches of foreign diplomats. “Obviously you don’t know your own rules. Please check your rules,” he told the security agent, according to the Indian official. “The person insisted that he had to do it. He said, ‘Don’t tell me the rules.’”

The Indian official said that the security officials finally checked the security regulations and issued an apology to the Indian ambassador. He said he was unaware of whether his government had filed an official complaint with the United States over the issue.

Continue reading here…

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The Mortalizing of Barack Obama

This was one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Overreported Stories.  It’s relevant enough to uh…report on it. 

Time Magazine

A movement founded on the promise that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” was always at risk of landing with a bump. 

 As President Obama himself has noted, the infectious poetry that fuelled his 2008 campaign naturally gave way to the turgid prose of governance and its attendant compromises.

 In order to ensure congressional passage of a legislative foundation for health care reform, he disappointed progressives by choosing not to fight for the public option. And his dreams of post-partisanship were quickly dashed on the jagged rocks of a conservative backlash pressing the Republicans to resist his agenda at every turn.

Still, despite a daily dose of media predictions of doom and gloom for his young presidency, Obama’s Gallup job-approval rating never dipped into the 30% range, as it had done for two-term Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan during their first two years in office.

 Obama may never have been “the One,” as Oprah Winfrey dubbed him, but he might not be doing quite as badly as his headlines suggest.

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Gibbs’ Comments On Sanders Filibuster Show White House Toning Down Cracks At Liberal Critics

I’m glad to see that the White House has decided not to continue it’s unwarranted attacks against many of those who actually voted Obama into office…

Huffington Post

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded carefully Monday to the nine-hour filibuster Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) led Friday in protest of the tax-cut deal President Barack Obama struck with congressional Republicans.

Addressing the issue for the first time since the largely-ceremonial filibuster ended at 7 p.m. Friday night, Gibbs seemed to laud Sanders’ philosophical point but did not endorse the senator’s procedural tactic, and fell back on the administration’s position that letting all the Bush-era tax cuts expire on Jan. 1 could slide the nation’s economy back into recession.

“About Sanders,” he said. “I think the president would be the first to agree that there are aspects of this that he doesn’t like… our preferred method was to make permanent the tax cuts for the middle class. The votes weren’t there in the Senate to do that. And rather than threaten our economic recovery, the president believed that this bipartisan agreement was the best way to go.”

The press secretary did, however, attempt to strike a note of commiseration with Obama’s more progressive critics. “He respects and understand the frustration of those who have a different viewpoint on the agreement,” Gibbs said. “I think, at the same time, he believes it is important for our economy, it is important for middle class families to get [this] done.”

This slight moderation in tone has been noticeable ever since Obama blasted Democrats he called “sanctimonious” for decrying the deals he’s struck with Republicans on such issues as tax cuts and health care. The administration has been cautious about inflaming intra-party frictions. Instead of acting with alarm, Gibbs and others have stressed a shared frustration with the current tax-cut package.

Continue reading here…

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A Tribute To Elizabeth Edwards

This video says it all…



R.I.P Elizabeth Edwards

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‘I’m Not A Witch’ Quote Of The Year

Christine O’Donnell gets a dubious honor from Yale…

The New York Post

Christine O’Donnell’s TV ad declaration “I’m not a witch” during her U.S. Senate campaign topped this year’s best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

O’Donnell’s quote is cited by Fred Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School, who released his fifth annual list of the most notable quotations of the year. In the ad, O’Donnell was responding to reports of her revelations that she had dabbled in witchcraft years ago.

“It was such a remarkable unconventional quote to be a part of the political discourse,” Shapiro said.

The quote by O’Donnell, a tea party favorite running in Delaware, tied for first place with “I’d like my life back,” the lament made in May by BP’s CEO Tony Hayward after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

“People resented the fact that he was wanting to get back to his yacht races and other aspects of his normal life when those little problems were dwarfed by the magnitude of what people on the Gulf Coast were dealing with,” Shapiro said.

Shapiro noted that the top quotes stemmed from two of the biggest news stories of the year, the oil spill and the emergence of the tea party.

Continue reading here…

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Just in Case: Post-R.N.C. Careers for Michael Steele

This is hilarious…

Vanity Fair

 The end of the Michael Steele era is reportedly nigh: according to Politico and Fox News, the Republican National Committee chairman will not dare attempt another term. Steele, for what it’s worth, is keeping mum until [tonight], when he has scheduled a group phone chat. “Steele sent an e-mail to committee members Saturday night with the subject line, ‘conference call,’” Fox News reports. Politico, which characterized the correspondence as “cryptic,” posted Steele’s message. It reads as follows: “Dear Members, Please join me for a private conference call, Monday December 13th at 7:30pm (EST). For your personal conference code please RSPV to … Thank you, and I look forward to talking to you Monday evening. Michael.” Supporters of Steele ought note that the dispatch is completely gaffe-free.

In any event, we’ve already discussed who might replace Steele, and why that person might have a comparatively easier time making friends. We have not, until now, thought about what Steele might do after his tenure ends—whenever that may be. For answers, we turned to the post-R.N.C. careers of five previous committee chairman.

Steele has several options:

Wait a bit, and run for Republican National Committee chairman again: Former chairman Mike Duncan, who lost his own re-election bid to Steele in 2009, may once again vie for Republican-fundraising’s highest office.

Come out of the closet and move to Chelsea: After years of speculation about his sexuality, former chair Ken Mehlman announced he was gay in 2010, four years after the end of his R.N.C. tenure.

Join a G.O.P. fundraising organization that was founded in opposition to Steele: Ed Gillespie, 2003–2005, works on behalf of Karl Rove’s money-aggregating operation, American Crossroads. In April, a former R.N.C. member told TPM that Gillespie, Rove, and the American Crossroads gang “are gathering the sinews of power and drawing off RNC resources.”

Run George W. Bush’s re-election campaign: Marc Racicot spent one year as the head of the R.N.C. before leaving to run Bush’s 2004 campaign.

Mount unsuccessful presidential and Senate runs: Jim Gilmore campaigned in the 2008 presidential election and in the 2008 Virginia senatorial race. As Gilmore is now a footnote in a story about Michael Steele, it almost goes without saying that neither effort was victorious.

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Steele Expected to Step Down

The former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland Mic...

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele may have finally got a clue…that he’s no longer wanted or needed as RNC Chair.

After months of pontificating and touting his qualifications to maintain his chairmanship of the RNC, it appears that Steele will finally relinquish that role…

Political Wire

RNC Chairman Michael Steele is expected to announce he will drop out of the highly contested race to keep his post, sources told Fox News.

Mike Allen: “Friends warn that you never know with Steele, but confide that he has sent them the clear signal he’s dropping out. That’s based in part on the erosion, in the last week, of votes he had been counting on.”

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