Archive for December, 2008

NY May Go For Gravitas of Bill Clinton or Mario Cuomo, Not Caroline, You Know?

December 31, 2008

Caroline, you know, has a really good heart, you know, and would make a great Senator from New York, you know.

Except in newspaper interviews, TV shots and talks with others she sounded like a lightweight or, you know, an inarticulate jerk who has no experience or reason to be a U.S. Senator.

So the Democrat Party Leadership of the State of New York has decided not to model itself after Illinois and the Nutjob Blagoyevich-Rush-Burris trio.

New York is “floating” the idea of a “caretaker” senator with the gravitas of, say, Bill Clinton or Mario Cuomo.

And, you know, that sound like a good idea for both New York and Illinois, you know?

We here at Peace and Freedom favor a special election in most of these cases of vacant seats; but in Illinois just now the legislature rejected the idea of a special election and chose to impeach the Governor and go from there.

But they ran out the clock and the Governor got the last shot off before the buzzer.

The Illinois Governor named his one-time rival Roland Burris to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

And, as David Broder of the Washington Post says, “Everyone, including Obama, has been exceedingly polite in their public comments about Burris. I have known him for years, and I like him. But I have never been confused about the level of his talent.”

Why do we allow such shenanigans?

Related:
Rethink Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats

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Sen. Bill Clinton? Sen. Mario Cuomo? Don’t completely rule it out. The former president and the former New York governor are among several boldface names being touted as possible “caretakers” for New York’s Senate seat — people who would serve until the 2010 elections but wouldn’t be interested in running to keep the job.

As the process of picking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s replacement gets messier, the option may become increasingly attractive to Gov. David Paterson, who has sole authority to name a successor.

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer

A spokesman for Bill Clinton, Matt McKenna, said Wednesday that the former chief executive isn’t interested in the job and plans to continue the work of his foundation. Cuomo declined through a spokesman to discuss the Senate seat.

A big name could have an immediate impact for New York in the Senate while letting the large field of hopefuls duke it out in 2010, according to three Democratic Party advisers in New York and Washington who are close to the discussion with Paterson’s inner circle on this issue.

Two others in the party confirmed that Paterson is still considering the caretaker option. The advisers spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to comment.

“You could find a very senior person who could serve New York well” on an interim basis, said Gerald Benjamin, a political scientist and dean at the State University of New York at New Paltz. “Then you can say to Caroline Kennedy, `You know, you’d make a good senator. Run for it.’ And you can tell everyone else that it’s a level playing field.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231
/ap_on_re_us/ny_senate_seat

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Illinois: Thanks for “Nutjob New Year” (Blagoyevich, Rush, Burris)

December 31, 2008

On December 9, Illinois Congrssman Bobby Rush said, “Governor Blagoyevich should not appoint anyone to fill Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.”

Rush said then that anyone appointed by the Illinois Governor would be “tainted.”

The December 9 remarks by Representative Rush appeared New Year’s Eve on the Fox News Channel.

Yesterday Bobby Rush strongly supported the Illinois Governor’s appointment of Roland Burris to fill the vacant Illinois U.S. Senate seat in blunt racial terms.

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference yesterday. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Rush also threatened to “take this issue to the Congressional Black Caucus” if the Senate rejected Burris.

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

Bobby Rush and Governor Rod Blagojevich are now on one side of this debate and President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Harry Reid are on the other.

As for Mr. Burris and his qualifications to serve, well, at Chicago’s Oak Woods Cemetery he has erected a granite mausoleum listing his many accomplishments.

Who else in the state of Illinois has a granite resume?

In summary, in Illinois we have a Governor that nobody much likes, allegedly tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat and has refused all advice.  Add to that a Congressman who isn’t sure what he said a few weeks ago and a nominee to the U.S. Senate with an ego and mausoleum the size of a condo.

Roland Burris has erected a mausoleum listing his accompishments in Chicago's Oak Woods Cemetery.
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burris1_oconnor 

Gaza New Year Ground Offensive Probable; Israeli Troops Moving Foward

December 31, 2008

Israel sent more troops to the Gaza border Wednesday, rapidly moving forward with preparations for a possible ground offensive as the next stage of its military assault on the coastal territory’s Hamas rulers. Israel rebuffed calls by world leaders for a truce, and Hamas was cold to a cease-fire. Instead, both intensified their fire. Israel bombed a mosque that it said was used to store rockets as well as vital smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border, and the Islamic militants hammered southern Israeli cities with about 60 rockets.

Israeli troops trudged between dozens of tanks in muddy, rain-sodden fields outside of Gaza, assembling equipment, cleaning weapons and scrubbing the insides of tank barrels. Their commanders moved forward with preparations for a ground operation, said an Israeli defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.

By Ibrahim Barzak And Jason Keyser, Associated Press Writers

Israel Tanks 
AP Photo

The U.N. Security Council scheduled emergency consultations Wednesday night to discuss an Arab request for a legally binding and enforceable resolution to ensure an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. Egyptian Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz said he was on instructions from Arab League foreign ministers who met in Cairo.

Diplomatic efforts by U.S., European and Middle Eastern leaders appeared to be having little effect. A French proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza failed to gain traction. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the time was not ripe to consider it. A separate proposal by Turkey and Egypt, two of Israel’s few allies in the Muslim world, also seemed to be attracting little serious study in Israel or Gaza, where Hamas has also dismissed talk of a truce.

With a shrinking number of targets to hit from the air and top Hamas leaders deep in hiding, a ground operation seemed all the more likely. In five days of raids, Israeli warplanes have carried out about 500 sorties against Hamas targets, and helicopters have flown hundreds more combat missions, a senior Israeli military officer said on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/a
p_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

Amy Winehouse Summoned to Drug Court

December 31, 2008

British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse has been summoned to appear in a Norwegian court on Jan. 12 in her appeal against a fine in a drugs possession case, a police prosecutor said Wednesday.

Winehouse and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were arrested in the western city of Bergen in October 2007 during a concert stop on charges of possessing 7 grams (1/4-ounce) of marijuana. They were held overnight and released after paying fines of 3,000 kroner ($415) each.

The 25-year-old Winehouse later appealed the fine, claiming Norwegian police made mistakes in the case. An initial trial date in March 2008 was postponed at the request of her attorney.

Associated Press

In this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, file photo, British singer, Amy ... 
In this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, file photo, British singer, Amy Winehouse performs at the V Festival, near Chelmsford, England. Winehouse has been summoned to appear in a Norwegian court on Jan. 12 in her appeal against a fine in a drugs possession case, a police prosecutor said Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2008.(AP Photo/Joel Ryan, File)

Police prosecutor Rudolf Christoffersen says the star and her husband had been informed of the date by British police and will probably have to appear in person in the Bergen appeals court.

“She is the one who appealed, so that makes it her appeal,” Christoffersen told The Associated Press by telephone. “Often, if you don’t appear at your own appeal hearing, then the court will dismiss the appeal.”

Winehouse’s Norwegian attorney, Ole Kvelstad, has said that payment of the fine amounted to a guilty plea, which he said could have serious consequences if she sought to enter the United States. Winehouse was denied a U.S. visa this year when she wanted to perform at the Grammy awards ceremony.

Related:
Amy Winehouse: Topless Part “Looks Healthy!”
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Amy Winehouse: Turning Point?

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/
ap_en_mu/eu_norway_people_amy_winehouse

Blagojevich: Giving the Finger to Obama, The Senate, Illinois and Everyone Else

December 31, 2008

In appointing veteran African-American officeholder Roland Burris to the Senate, embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich has done more than just flout the will of the Illinois establishment, the Senate and President-elect Barack Obama. With one stunning and politically exquisite act of defiance, he audaciously reasserted his authority and designed a trap that his opponents cannot easily sidestep.

“If he was going to appoint somebody, this is as clever as he could have been — in the sense it gets him back in the limelight and it puts him on the offensive,” said Kent Redfield, a professor at the University of Illinois-Springfield and the author of several books on Illinois politics. “Burris would have been an OK caretaker appointment a month ago. And he’s an African-American from Chicago who has a clean record.”

By Josh Kraushaar
Politico

Just days ago, as a result of criminal charges lodged against him in connection with the alleged attempted sale of the Obama Senate seat, it appeared that Blagojevich was boxed in, destined to leave office in disgrace with only the timing of his departure in question.

The state’s attorney general sought to have him declared too incapacitated to serve. The Legislature was moving inexorably toward impeachment. Blagojevich’s attorney said the governor would relinquish the responsibility of making the appointment if a special election was held instead.

But in a gambit as unexpected as it was politically shrewd, the seemingly powerless two-term Democratic governor suddenly turned the tables by picking a candidate whose stature and background….

Read the rest from Politico:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081231/pl_politico/16954

Blagojevich Caper Won’t End: His Appointee Calls Him “Reprehensible”

December 31, 2008

Lincoln may be turning over in his grave.

In the Land of Lincoln, there must have been a conversation today that ended, “Let’s get distance from the guy that appointed me to the U.S. Senate yesterday.”

Former Illinois Attorney Gen. Roland Burris was appointed to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat yesterday.

Today Burris said the appointment was “legal” and that he “has done nothing wrong” and that the behavior of the man that appointed him “is reprehensible.”

When you say things that are bizarre and have never been said by sane men before: watch out.

A cast of players in this sad comedy doesn’t know that….

A former Dean of the Harvard School of Law told us: ” innocent until proven guilty rarely applies to stupidity, a crime without a statute of limitations”….

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty.

Roland Burris said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is innocent until proven guilty

Related essays:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS
/12/31/illinois.senate/index.html

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Related:
End Crazy, Archaic Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats
.
Obama’s Peace of Mind: Rick Warren and a Holy Host of Others Still Compete to Ruin It
.
 Barack Obama’s Senate Seat Not Post-Racial?

In Illinois, The Governor is Lynching The Post-Racial President-Elect

December 31, 2008

A famous politician we once knew said: “You can’t trust anyone.  Least of all your friends.”

Barack Obama must be thinking that as he lines up his putt today in Hawaii.

Because Barack Obama is suffering just from knowing the Governor of Illinois and Congressman Bobby Rush of Illinois today.

These are the kind of wingnuts that makes one wonder….

Related:
End Crazy, Archaic Practice of Governors Filling Vacant U.S. Senate Seats
.
Obama’s Peace of Mind: Rick Warren and a Holy Host of Others Still Compete to Ruin It
.
 Barack Obama’s Senate Seat Not Post-Racial?
.
Blagojevich Caper Won’t End: His Appointee Calls Him “Reprehensible”

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Barack Obama doesn’t need this, not right now.

Already, Obama’s Hawaiian vacation has been interrupted by news of an Israeli incursion into Gaza. He faces a mounting economic crisis even before he takes office.

By Carrie Budoff Brown, Jonathan Martin
Politico

And now, just as Obama was starting to distance himself from the machinations over filling his Senate seat, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s surprise pick is dragging him back in to the home-state mess – along with the kind of hard-edged racial politics Obama tries to avoid.

Blagojevich, who has been charged with attempting to sell the Senate seat, announced Tuesday he was tapping Roland Burris, the first African-American to win statewide election in Illinois and the closest thing in the state to a black elder statesman.

But Obama is backing efforts led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to block Burris, saying Blagojevich is too tainted by corruption charges to make the pick.

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill.

It’s not clear Reid can block Burris. But Obama’s bigger headache could come from a longtime South Side congressman and one-time rival – Rep. Bobby Rush – who is unmistakably daring officials not to block the ascension of an African-American to replace Obama.

U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
U. S Rep. Bobby Rush speaks after Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announces his choice of former Ill. Attorney General Roland Burris, right, to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2008 in Chicago.(AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

“I would ask you to not hang or lynch the appointee while you castigate the appointer,” Rush said at Blagojevich’s news conference. “Let me just remind you that there presently is no African-American in the U.S. Senate.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/
20081231/pl_politico/16952

Pakistani confesses to Mumbai attacks

December 31, 2008

A militant arrested in Pakistan has confessed involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and is giving investigators details of the plot, a senior Pakistani government official said Wednesday.

The revelation could add to pressure on Islamabad to either bring Zarar Shah and other suspects to trial or extradite them to India.

“(Shah) has made some statement that he was involved,” said the government official, without providing specific details. “I can tell you that he is singing.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

A senior intelligence officer said Shah and another suspect, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were cooperating with investigators, but cautioned authorities had not reached a definite conclusion as to their involvement yet.

He too asked for anonymity. Indian officials were not immediately available for comment.

Gunmen targeted 10 sites including two five-star hotels and a Jewish center during the November siege on Mumbai‘s financial capital, killing 164 people in a three-day reign of terror.

India and the United States say the militants who planned and carried out the attacks were Pakistani and are demanding Islamabad take action against those responsible.

The official also told The Associated Press that India has shared some evidence of its suspicions but he said it was “very very little.” Pakistan’s president and other top officials have said India has yet to provide any evidence.

Read the rest from AP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/ap_on_
re_as/as_pakistan_india;_ylt=Aq5_aV3U7w
XV0CaSoksyXWZvaA8F

Rocket Attacks Into Israel Have Already Killed Land For Peace Policy

December 31, 2008

As Arab rockets reach ever deeper into Israel, they may be weakening what for years has been a cornerstone of Mideast peace efforts — an exchange of land for peace.

Israeli hard-liners have long warned that any territories Israel vacates will be used to attack it. They can now point to the Hamas missile that slammed into a bus stop in this port city Monday, killing a 39-year-old woman. It was fired from the Gaza Strip, which Israel gave up in 2005 and is now ruled by Hamas militants who reject the very existence of the Jewish state.

Even in the midst of the war, many Israelis still argue that a peace deal with the Palestinians, which would require a withdrawal from virtually all the West Bank, is Israel’s only real security guarantee.

By ARON HELLER and MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writers
Hamas rocket hits Israeli house

Above: Aftermath of Hamas rocket hitting an Israeli house

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in defending the Gaza offensive in a speech to parliament Monday, said Israel remains committed to the idea of a Palestinian state alongside it.

Yet the missile that hit Ashdod, a city of 200,000 people, drove home a grim new reality for Alin Ben-Yosef, 32, who fled to Tel Aviv for the night with her two young daughters after Ashdod was struck.

“Tel Aviv is the safest place we have,” said Ben-Yosef, who works at a clothing store. “But it is starting to feel as if there are no safe places anymore.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081231/ap_on_re_mi_e
a/ml_israel_rockets__reach;_ylt=An44CHiIaS
O3BzS5.UszJQRvaA8F

Egypt, Dubai Cancel New Year Celebrations “In Solidarity with Palestinians”

December 31, 2008

Egypt has cancelled official New Year’s Eve events in solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinians being “massacred” in Gaza, the state-owned Al-Ahram daily reported on Wednesday.

“In solidarity with the painful events in the Palestinian territories and the massacres which Gazans are faced with … the ministries of culture and information have decided to cancel New Year’s festivities,” the paper said.

Cancelled events include a special concert by famed Egyptian singer Mohammed Munir set to be held at Cairo’s Opera House and a variety performance hosted by the ministry of information due to be broadcast on state television.

Read the rest from AFP:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?
id=081231092343.hyi46t26&sho
w_article=1

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Dubai Cancels New Year Events

By
The Times (UK)

Dubai’s opulent, multimillion-pound New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled due to the Gaza violence, leaving hordes of expatriates hastily making alternative plans.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of the Gulf state, called off festivities late last night.

He said “all public New Year’s celebrations” should be stopped “in solidarity with the Palestinian people, who are currently enduring death, suffering and destruction in Gaza”.

The city, home to thousands of Western expatriate businesspeople and tourists, usually holds spectacular public firework displays and open-air entertainments worth millions.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/
world/middle_east/article5423839.ece

New Year's Eve fireworks explode above the Sydney Harbour ... 
New Year’s Eve fireworks explode above the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. A record crowd of up to 1.5 million people have kicked off global New Year celebrations with a fireworks extravaganza over Sydney’s iconic harbour and Opera House.(AFP/Torsten Blackwood)