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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Iran's nuclear program

As anonymous points out, just mentioning "Iran" and "nuclear" in the same sentence accomplishes the goals of the hawks, but I thought this odd article in the NYTimes trying to divine intentions was pretty interesting.

Apparently, after the expensive and diplomatically explosive development of the Qum underground site, the Iranians have now moved all their nuclear materials to outdoor storage at an aging reactor.

The question pondered by the NYTimes article is "why?"


Large sections of torture justifying John Yoo's emails are "missing" and unrecoverable.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Picture of the Day

(President Barack Obama walks between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) and House Minority Leader John Boehner at the beginning of a bipartisan meeting to discuss health reform legislation, February 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Jason Reed))

The strategy

Still not clear whether it will work, but...
The slimmed-down jobs bill that cleared the Senate on Wednesday is only the first of several the majority leader plans to bring up for votes between now and November. Reid’s thinking: He’ll either rack up a series of wins for the Democrats, or he’ll get ammunition to use against Republicans if they unite in opposition.

“One of two things is going to happen,” said Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. “Either we’re going to smoke them out on the merits, or they’re going to wear this mantle of obstructionism.”

(It's nice to know that the November elections are the focus, not, you know, the needs of the American people.)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two options

1) Watch the healthcare summit live and waste 6 hours or 2) Check news and blogs to see if anything happens.

Hmmm.... I think I'd rather have the six hours.

Crist releases oppo research

With the polling showing Rubio sliding away from Charlie Crist, this story just magically appears.
U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio charged grocery bills, repairs to the family minivan and purchases from a wine store less than a mile from his West Miami home to the Republican Party of Florida while he was speaker of the Florida House, according to records obtained by the St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald.

The rest of the article seems an effort to paint Rubio as living very high on the party.

Just interesting.

Pakistan's goals in Taleban arrests

The NYTimes has an article on the "wary" relationship between the CIA and Pakistan. After you get through the first 2/3 page trashy bits, it suggests that CIA officials believe the Pakistanis' goals in the recent arrests are to weaken the Taleban just enough to bring them to the table, but not enough to prevent them from impacting Afghanistan.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I hope he makes enough money to provide 24 hour protection for every member of his extended family.
The son of one of Hamas' founders says in a new book that he served as a top informant for Israel for more than a decade, providing top-secret intelligence that helped prevent dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

Mosab Yousef's memoir, "Son of Hamas," is being published next week in the United States....


Just before the televised healthcare summit, the Obama administration and Senate Dems pushed through the stripped down jobs bill with some Republican support.

It was not so much about the bill items themselves. It was about cracking the Repub block and claiming the mantle of "bipartisanship" before the Republican leaders sit down for the televised meet.

It undercuts the Republican leadership a bit.

Sen. DeMint attacks Crist?

What's SC Sen Jim DeMint doing running a very harsh web ad against Fla Sen candidate Charlie Crist?

Burnishing his own image?

Meaningless Poll

(CNN) - Two-thirds of Americans think that the Republicans in Congress are not doing enough to cooperate with President Barack Obama, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Wednesday morning, also indicates the public says that the Democrats should be the ones to take the first step toward bipartisan cooperation and they want the Democrats to give up more than the GOP to reach consensus.

Thought for the Day

Remember all those frontpage stories from back in 2003-2004 telling us what Democrats thought of Bush policies and Republican Congressional efforts?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Staff flees Crist

This is a really, really bad sign from the internal tea leaves of the Charlie Crist Florida Senate campaign. Staffers seem to be starting to bail out.

Steele's gold

This article is part of a much larger Republican rift over their Chairman Steele, but as fundraising is probably the primary purpose of the RNC, this kinda stuck out at me.
Just last week, RNC officials touted a January fundraising haul of more than $10 million. But after hosting the sun-filled winter meeting in Hawaii, paying for the holiday party and taking care of other bills, the committee spent almost all of it. Consequently, the RNC added only $1 million to the committee’s $8.4 million in cash, the reports show.

PS. Do the complaints against Steele always seem to have a underlying racist tinge? Lazy, lack of impulse control, "living large....? (...or is that just the Politico coverage....)

Another Pakistani Taleban capture

The Pakistanis pick up another fairly major leadership member of the Taleban.

Interestingly, the US seems totally in the dark on this one (which means the Pakistanis did this completely on their own?)

How quickly the icons change

New Mass. Senator Scott Brown was a hero just a month ago (with the moderate Brown even getting star treatment at CPAC,) but in his first major vote, he votes with the Dems on a stripped down jobs bill....

On the other hand, he just saved himself from making all those joint appearances at the fundraisers....

Karzai takes over

After his last brush with those complicated elections, Hamid Karzai issues a decree giving him total power over the appointments to the election commission.

'Death Panels'

The child custody filings show that the grandbaby Palin is being treated by government supplied healthcare under a native American program.

(I'll bet Cheney is, too.)

The court system

The Afghan born Colorado based bomb plot figure pleads guilty.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheney hospitalized

They just don't build those black, black hearts the way they used to.....

Probably some contractor's fault....


Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:

"What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? ... Is that a power that the president could legally—"

"Yeah," Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. "Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief's power over tactical decisions."

"To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?" the OPR investigator asked again.

"Sure," said Yoo.

Quote from First Read

Remember that before defeating Obama in 2012, Republicans first are going to have to find a candidate who can beat him. Will it be Romney, who finished a disappointing second to Paul in the straw poll? Will it be Pawlenty, who declared on Friday that he wants to take “a 9-iron and smash the window of big government in this country," but who was unable to tell NBC’s David Gregory which government programs he wanted to cut? Will it be Gingrich? Palin? Someone else? In short, until Republicans have a candidate, it’s silly for anyone to begin making declarations about an election three years from now.

Florida Senate - The power of the right

Just one poll and all, but take a look at this. Rasmussen has Rubio leading Crist 54-36.

Wow. That's pretty incredible.

"The Party of 'no'" has worked

About a nine months ago, I outlined a strong media/political basis for Republican obstructionism (too lazy to dig out the old post.)

It runs something like this. A national sense of political chaos will be psychologically attributed to the president in power whether they are responsible or not. Even more than a sense of gridlock, it is a sense of hostility and partisanship that does the damage as it becomes psychologically associated with the the most visible figure (Obama) so that his mere image tends to bring forth the unpleasant associations of conflict.

So, the screaming isn't about any particular issue or objection, it's about creating a mass mental environment which associates negative feelings to Obama's image. The continued tension and hostility are the effective message.

The beauty of this is that the people doing the screaming don't take the majority of the hit because their individual media presences are so much lower.

The broader environment of hostility, resonating with economic stress, creates a broader sense that something is wrong. That sense that something is wrong automatically associates with the President, not with the less defined figures of the minority.

This is one of those things that talk radio and FoxNews are great for. It's not about any one complaint, it's about the long sense of tension that their individual daily activities generate.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thought for the Day

We have come to the point where what Glenn Beck says to a partial Republican gathering is headline news. (NYTimes, WaPo, Politico....)