Archive for October, 2008

30
Oct
08

The Economist Endorses Obama

The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

30
Oct
08

Frickin’ HILARIOUS

30
Oct
08

Don’t Vote???

28
Oct
08

Sarah Palin is a “Whack Job?”…Well her Campaign Thinks So

One of John McCain’s advisers recently called his running mate Sarah Palin a “diva” after she went off-script at a rally, and suggested she was looking after her own political future over the current campaign. Now another adviser ups the ante in a conversation with the Politico’s Playbook, labeling Palin a “whack job.”

28
Oct
08

News Orgs Investigate Possibly Fatal ’64 Car Crash Involving John McCain

From Huffington Post…

For the past two months, a major American magazine and an allied news service have been engaged in a legal battle with the United States Navy over records that they believe show that John McCain once was involved in an automobile accident that injured or, perhaps, killed another individual.

Vanity Fair magazine and the National Security News Service claim to have knowledge “developed from first-hand sources” of a car crash that involved then-Lt. McCain at the main gate of a Virginia naval base in 1964, according to legal filings. The incident has been largely, if not entirely, kept from the public. And in documents suing the Navy to release pertinent information, lawyers for the NS News Service allege that a cover-up may be at play.

“Plaintiffs have also obtained documents showing that law enforcement officers were ordered back to the accident scene to retrieve personal physical effects. The Navy has never publicly acknowledged this information,” one document reads. “This request involves federal government activity, as it addresses what may be an attempt by the Navy to protect by concealment the involvement of a former Navy officer, sitting Senator and Presidential candidate in a serious incident involving the injury or death of another human being.”

The first request for information concerning duty assignment logs to Portsmouth Naval Hospital — where McCain was allegedly brought after the accident — came in the form of a Freedom of Information Act request on August 28, 2008. The Navy acknowledged receipt of the request and advised that it had located the relevant information a few weeks later, only to deny the FOIA on grounds that it didn’t prove an “imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual” or satisfy the criteria of “a breaking news story of general public interest.”

“The patient admission record logs that you seek are exempt from release,” wrote G.E. Lattin, Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General, “as information in personnel and medical files, as well as similar personal information in other files, that if disclosed to a requestor, other than the actual person in which the information is pertaining to or next of kin, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

NS News Service and Vanity Fair appealed the decision and asked for expedited treatment of the case, as the end of the presidential election loomed. But the Navy denied that request as well.

“It appears to be a deliberate refusal to provide clearly releasable information concerning assignments to Portsmouth Naval Hospital,” wrote legal representatives for the two news organizations. “Allowing the Navy to extend its time to respond beyond a date when the documentary facts of this matter would be available for public consideration prior to the national election on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 would violate the spirit, as well as the provisions of the FOIA.”

Staff for National Security News Service and the company’s lawyer both refused to discuss the proceedings. And there are only parcels of information concerning the story that can be gleamed from the court documents.

At a minimum it seems clear that Vanity Fair and NS News Service have launched an investigation “disclosing first-hand witnesses’ recollection of an automobile accident in which then Lt. John S. McCain III was involved. Those witnesses specifically recall McCain’s assignment to that [hospital] facility with the other person involved in the accident.” This episode in McCain’s life has, it seems, not been made public, and the plaintiffs suggest that the Navy may be attempting to actively restrict information about the incident.

“The subject matter of the documents is a matter of current exigency to the American public,” reads a document filed by legal representatives for the news service, “because the requester is preparing a current news report addressing whether the Navy continues to conceal the involvement of a Navy officer in a serious automobile accident in July 1964.”

22
Oct
08

Props to These People for Having an Open Mind

This is what democracy is supposed to be. These people actually listened, considered and were open to the possibility of change. They didn’t support a candidate. They actually chose one. And while I’m happy this year they are voting for “my team,” they also inspired me to be more open in my own political life.

I thought we were making an ad campaign about Obama. But I think we ended up making an ad campaign about the essential ingredient that makes democracy work: an open mind. We don’t belong to our political parties. Our political parties belong to us.

21
Oct
08

Palin Thinks VP “Controls” the Senate…(sigh)

Yesterday, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sat for an interview with KUSA, an NBC affiliate in Colorado. In response to a question sent to the network by a third grader at a local elementary school about what the Vice President does, Palin erroneously argued that the Vice President is “in charge of the United States Senate“:

Q: Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the Vice President do?”

PALIN: That’s something that Piper would ask me! … [T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.

Watch it:

Indeed, while Palin suggests that questions about what the Vice President does is something only her daughter Piper would ask, Palin herself asked this very question on national television in July. Apparently, she still hasn’t learned the correct answer.

Article I of the Constitution establishes an exceptionally limited role for the Vice President — giving the office holder a vote only when the Senate is “equally divided”:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

Moreover, the U.S. Senate website explains that the modern role of Vice Presidents has been to preside over the Senate “only on ceremonial occasions.” ThinkProgress contacted Senior Assistant Paliamentarian Peter Robinson, who also disputed Palin’s characterization of the Vice President’s role:

In modern practice the Vice President doesn’t really control the Senate. … If anyone has a responsibility to try to govern the Senate, it’s the responsibility of the two leaders.=

The following statement is from Jim Manley, spokesman to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

This comment is all the more puzzling because this is at least the 2nd time she has said this. Gov Palin needs to re-read or perhaps read for the first time the Constitution. While the Vice President presides over the Senate, he or she is not in charge of it. Article 1 says The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate is part of a co-equal branch of the federal government.




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