Friday, February 15, 2008

Where The Rubber Meets The Road (2/16/08)

As reported in last Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress were recorded on major roll-call votes last week (a day late, I know).


$170 billion stimulus: In a 380-34 vote, the House sent President Bush an economic stimulus package that will deliver one-time payments in the hundreds of dollars to 137 million U.S. households. The bill also will provide at least $46 billion in one-time business tax breaks.

A yes vote was to approve the package (HR 5140).

Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.) Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), H. James Saxton (R., N.J.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Not voting: Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.).
As you can see, Joe Pitts did the best thing he could for his constituents this week (and to help Bruce Slater, by the way, click here).

Higher education: In a 354-58 vote, the House passed a bill renewing the Higher Education Act through 2012 at a cost of $97.4 billion. The bill would use federal Web sites and other publicity to hold schools publicly accountable for their overall costs and tuition increases. It would also seek to control textbook costs and penalize states that reduce student aid.

A yes vote was to pass the bill (HR 4137).

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Gerlach, Holden, LoBiondo, Murphy, Saxton, Schwartz, Sestak and Smith.

Not voting: Pitts.
More about Patrick Murphy’s involvement with this bill is noted here (a post from earlier this week).


$170 billion stimulus: In a 81-16 vote, the Senate passed a $170 billion antirecession bill that will provide 137 million households with one-time payments of $300 or $600 plus $300 for each dependent child. The bill also will grant $46 billion in business-tax breaks.

A yes vote was to approve the economic stimulus package (HR 5140).

Voting yes: Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D., Del.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).
But the Senate version removed the 13-week unemployment extension approved in the House, as noted here (heckuva job, Harry).

Four-year FISA extension: In a 49-46 vote, the Senate failed to get 60 votes for advancing a bid to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for four years rather than six years.

A yes vote backed a four-year sunset.

Voting yes: Biden, Carper, Casey, Menendez and Lautenberg.

Voting no: Specter.
Here is more on this amendment; I believe it was the first FISA-related amendment voted on in the Senate as part of the process that led to passage of that rotten bill that received Jay Rockefeller’s approval before it was returned to the House (a hazmat bag would have been appropriate for it).

This week, both chambers sought to renew the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act before it expired on Friday. At week's end, Congress began a weeklong Presidents' Day recess.

Wolf “So Poor And So Black” Blitzer Returns to NOLA

More anguished ponderings from one of our country’s pre-eminent corporate media shills thus ensues (here).

And as noted here, the NBA will hold its All-Star game in New Orleans this weekend, where the Hornets, the home team, are actually playing some pretty good basketball.

And according to legendary New York Knicks great (and Louisiana resident) Willis Reed…

“…sometimes you read, look at television, I see the same footage every time. Every time it comes on the air, I see New Orleans still under water. New Orleans is not still under water. But people think that.”
That’s important to note, sure, but it’s also important to note how far New Orleans has to go; kudos to the NBA, though (including LeBron James here) for trying to give the city a shot in the arm, as opposed to the snub it received from the Commission on Presidential Debates last year (here).

And this New York Times editorial today tries to “light a fire” under FEMA and get that beleaguered agency to find new housing for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who lived in trailers contaminated by formaldehyde fumes. The editorial also notes the results of the trailer testing (519 out of 140,000, with 35,000 still occupied) conducted by the CDC at FEMA’s request, though this notes that there are “no federal guidelines or scientific standards on formaldehyde levels in such trailers.”

As the Times editorial also tells us, though, FEMA head R. David Paulison “pledges to find these people new housing before the summer months, regardless of cost. He’d better. Louisiana’s summer humidity will make formaldehyde accumulations far worse.”

Update 2/18/08: Wow, class move, Wolf (seriously here).

Forever Fretting Over The Repugs - How Sad

In an otherwise highly sensible column in the February 11th-18th issue of The New Yorker, columnist Hendrik Hertzberg gives us the following analysis of the Democratic presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (links to The New Yorker site are really flaky, by the way)…

For some Democrats, a final straw has been the Clinton campaign’s sudden interest in changing the rules. In Nevada, where the state’s Democratic Party had provided special caucus sites for casino workers, Clinton allies tried to get them shut down after a union representing many of those workers endorsed Obama. The Democratic National Committee warned the Party’s affiliates in Michigan and Florida that if they moved their primaries ahead of Tsunami Tuesday (2/5) they would lose their convention delegates. They did so anyway, and now Clinton – whose name was the only one on the Michigan ballot and who carried Florida, where no one campaigned – is demanding that the two states’ delegates be accredited. Those delegates, added to the bulk of the unelected “Superdelegates,” could conceivably put Clinton over the top if Obama arrives at the Convention with a slight edge in delegates chosen by voters – a scenario that would bear an ugly resemblance to Florida, the popular vote, and the Supreme Court, circa 2000.
Sure, the Clintons have always played rough politically, but within the rules as far as I could tell, notwithstanding some of the recent missteps blown way out of proportion by Frank Rich, among others, here. And yes, Hillary’s acquisition of Michigan and Florida’s superdelegates in a primary where no one else ran would be a tawdry move, but again, a legal one as far as I can determine.

But to compare such a move to the Florida voting fiasco in November 2000?

How did the Clintons purge the Florida voting rolls in their favor as the Repugs did under Katherine Harris? (here). How did the Clintons pull a maneuver like staging a riot as the Repugs did in Miami-Dade to stop the hand recount requested by the Gore campaign? (here). How have the Clintons sought redress in the courts from like-minded partisans to achieve their goal of winning the Democratic nomination? (here).

To compare anything the Clintons have done in this campaign to the events that allowed Dubya and his minions to seize the executive branch is truly a joke.

Also (more tied to the post title here, I'll admit)…

Nothing would energize the dispirited, disoriented Republicans like running against Hillary Clinton. And a late-entry challenge from (NYC) Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his billions would be far less likely if Obama became the Democratic nominee.
I wish I could communicate how truly fed up I am with the notion that Hillary Clinton does not deserve to be the Democratic nominee because the Repugs and their acolytes would be energized somehow and less offended by the nomination of Barack Obama. Despite the odious presence of Mark Penn as well as some deep-pocketed campaign contributors, she is easily the most qualified individual of all of the candidates on either side to serve as president; if our corporate media had any sense of fairness at all, they would match her work in the White House and the U.S. Senate against everyone else and realize how formidable it truly is.

Is she the candidate of the status quo? Yeah, in a lot of ways, but the “status quo” of the Clinton presidency in the ‘90s was pretty good for yours truly and his family. Sure, there was triangulation, equivocation, and overall some stuff that didn’t make me happy (NAFTA, the supposed welfare “reform,” repealing Glass-Steagall), but at least we had balanced budgets, job growth, and responsible adult leadership, as opposed to our jobs disappearing, our economy collapsing, and war without end in Iraq as the only certainty (to say nothing of 9/11, which happened under Bush’s watch of course).

And David Sirota posts here about the reality of a potential presidential run by Michael Bloomberg; my attitude towards the notion of an automatic Bloomberg candidacy as a response to Hillary winning the Dem nomination is to sit back and have a good laugh.

Besides, as formidable as Obama is on the issues that matter to yours truly (Iraq, the economy, education, the environment, etc.), Hillary Clinton is all of that and more (as I glance at the Issues pages of either candidates’ web sites, though, I should note that I’d like to see a category called “Protecting The Constitution”; Clinton has a link called “Strengthening Our Democracy” tied to cleaning up the voting mess in this country, but as important as that is, that’s something wholly other).

And Hertzberg concludes with the following…

Hillary Clinton would make a competent, knowledgeable, and responsible President. Barack Obama just might make a transformative one.
I’d love to believe that, but notwithstanding the comparative free ride enjoyed by Obama in his campaign’s press coverage lately (which will end, I can assure you, regardless of what he does), I should just remind everyone of what Mike Papantonio said last night about what happens when Democrats attempt conciliation with the Repugs.

The Dems lose, that’s what happens. And subsequently, our corporate media will continue to portray them as weak and divided.

As a political party, the Repugs are flailing away in the water trying to stay afloat in the hope that their “fear and smear” machine will save them in November. Given that, you don’t toss them a life preserver. Do what they would do and toss them an anvil instead.

With John Edwards now sadly absent from the race, I should note that that’s something Hillary Clinton understands also. And even though he is formidable and highly qualified in his own right, as Hertzberg notes, I’ll take that over Barack Obama and his “transformative conciliation” any day of the week.

K.O.'s Special Comment on FISA Last Night

Spot-on as usual (here).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thursday PM Stuff

What I posted earlier related to Valentine's Day was a joke (however funny or unfunny is up to you), but unfortunately, this is serious (h/t The Daily Kos)...

...and even though Steny Hoyer did a good deed today in the House, this "Pap Attack" provides a cautionary history lesson with some interesting thoughts, as well as a warning for the here and now, about what happens when you try to "buddy up" to the Repugs (this should be required viewing for Barack Obama, among others).

Happy Valentine's Day '08

And who else could capture the spirit of this Hallmark holiday like Sam Kinison (God rest him, and Johnny too) - have to turn the volume up slightly.

(A repeat from last year, I know, but I think it still works.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An ’08 Dot-Bomb Blows Up For Good

Primarily for folks in this area, I should note what appears to be the passing into history once and for all of Worldgate Communications in Bensalem, Pa., noted in this Bucks County Courier Times story from last Friday.

As the article notes, the company was founded in 1995 to provide Internet and Email access through cable TV and set-top boxes provided by Motorola noted here (a company closely tied to Worldgate) and this May 1999 press release touted that its service (using its Channel Hyper Linking technology) was being deployed in thirteen countries on five continents, with nineteen cable companies signing either trial or deployment agreements with Worldgate (and as the ’97 link notes, Worldgate was portrayed in the trade press as some kind of a daunting rival to Microsoft – such heady days).

I remember Worldgate in particular because I interviewed there for a job, and you have to understand that they, along with Vertex the next exit up on the PA Turnpike, were supposed to be the leaders in the PC-Internet renaissance that was intended to establish Bucks County, Pa. as some kind of a hub of software development.

And the interview experience was one of the more interesting ones that I can recall; the hiring manager demonstrated the company’s product by pointing this rather large and cumbersome keyboard at a 19-inch T.V. screen, linking to TV programs and web addresses and accessing Email. The product actually did work reasonably well, but I thought to myself that there’s no way Mr. and Mrs. Delbert and Norma Jean White Bread America is going to bother with a contraption like this when they decide to settle down for an evening of Full House, Roller Derby or Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power.

And apparently, I was right, though based on this article, interactive Internet TV is a reality in Belgium courtesy of Siemens (ugh), and the menu selections of Verizon FIOS TV, by the way, are kind of Windows-ish in the use of drop-down lists and nested selections.

Anyway, back to Worldgate; by 2002, things were starting to slide (here, also noted in the Courier Times story), and the company dumped everything into developing the Ojo personal video phone. That never panned out either.

It’s a shame in a way because Worldgate was a comparatively minor player that made a big splash at first that they could not build upon, though they will not be around to see the eventual integration of television and the Internet; this surely will happen, though that is a bone that will be chewed upon, if you will, by much bigger “dogs” than they could have ever hoped to become.

And I guess this also means that I can definitely kiss my interview writing samples goodbye once and for all.

Huckabee’s “Own Personal Hero” Strikes Again

If I approved of violence against anyone at this site besides that Osama bin Forgotten guy, I would say that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia deserves a head slap or two (or three) for these observations noted here…

(Scalia) said Tuesday that some physical interrogation techniques could be used on a suspect in the event of an imminent threat, like a hidden bomb about to blow up.

In such cases, “smacking someone in the face” could be justified, Justice Scalia told the British Broadcasting Corporation. He added, “You can’t come in smugly and with great self-satisfaction and say, ‘Oh, it’s torture, and therefore it’s no good.’ ”
I’ll tell you what, Your Honor; stop watching "24" for awhile and take a look instead at this article from The Washington Post, in particular this excerpt...

When it comes to torture, however, the handbook advised that "the threat to inflict pain . . . can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain."

"In general, direct physical brutality creates only resentment, hostility and further defiance," the (CIA counterintelligence interrogation) manual said.

Intense pain, interrogators were taught, "is quite likely to produce false confessions concocted as a means of escaping from distress."
And did you think Scalia was actually done? Why, of course not…

(He also) ridiculed European criticism of the death penalty in the United States.

“If you took a public opinion poll, if all of Europe had representative democracies that really worked, most of Europe would probably have the death penalty today,” he said.
I’m not even going to try and diagram the thought process behind a statement like that, but I’ll only note that I never thought I’d get an opportunity to link to the Sunday New York Times Magazine article of January 27th by Parag Khanna titled “Who Shrank The Superpower” (haven’t actually gotten all the way through it yet – maybe someday), but Scalia’s astonishingly stupid remarks give me an excuse to do so here, highlighting this excerpt...

...Europe’s influence grows at America’s expense. While America fumbles at nation-building, Europe spends its money and political capital on locking peripheral countries into its orbit. Many poor regions of the world have realized that they want the European dream, not the American dream. Africa wants a real African Union like the E.U.; we offer no equivalent. Activists in the Middle East want parliamentary democracy like Europe’s, not American-style presidential strongman rule. Many of the foreign students we shunned after 9/11 are now in London and Berlin: twice as many Chinese study in Europe as in the U.S. We didn’t educate them, so we have no claims on their brains or loyalties as we have in decades past. More broadly, America controls legacy institutions few seem to want — like the International Monetary Fund — while Europe excels at building new and sophisticated ones modeled on itself. The U.S. has a hard time getting its way even when it dominates summit meetings — consider the ill-fated Free Trade Area of the Americas — let alone when it’s not even invited, as with the new East Asian Community, the region’s answer to America’s Apec.
Just file this under more misinformation from Scalia, who has a penchant for engaging in this sort of thing every now and then, as he also did here.

Update: Daily Kos blogger smintheus has more here - man, is Scalia "losing it," or what?

Today’s Edition Of “Opinion Writing For Dummies”

In typical fashion, Maureen Dowd again today makes a feeble attempt to generate sympathy for either Hillary Clinton and/or Barack Obama before sticking in the shiv, as it were, with a slap down at the end here, reinforcing the narrative that Obama is merely some kind of golden boy living a charmed life and Hillary is this utter pretender for the White House who has achieved absolutely nothing without the assistance of her husband.

Here is a laughable excerpt…

Instead of carving out a separate identity for herself, she has become more entwined with Bill. She is running bolstered by his record and his muscle. She touts her experience as first lady, even though her judgment during those years on issue after issue was poor. She says she’s learned from her mistakes, but that’s not a compelling pitch.

As a senator, she was not a leading voice on important issues, and her Iraq vote was about her political viability.
To make it easy for Dowd, I’ll provide this link to Clinton’s web site where she touts her accomplishments as a U.S. Senator as well as this link that discusses her activities as first lady.

And it really isn’t that hard to pick one or more topics at either location and do some independent investigation. Dowd could try a variety of online searches for different key words (Hillary Clinton, health care, 9/11, Iraq) and see what she comes up with and follow up the leads accordingly. And dare I say it – she could actually pick up a telephone and call some people for actual facts from interviews instead of spreading around utterly uninformed gossipy innuendo.

As Dowd might put it, to do any less would be her failure, not ours.

Wednesday AM Stuff

"Straight Talk" McCain had better get used to stuff like this, because he's going to hear it from now until Election Day...

Update 2/16/08: Uh oh, sounds like it's time for another blogger ethics panel based on this (h/t Atrios).

...and "The Pap Attack" tells us how our government is now targeting citizens media sites (of course).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Patrick Fights “Sticker Shock” On College Costs

This article in today’s Bucks County Courier Times notes the following…

At a press conference at (Bristol Borough Junior/Senior High School) Monday, Congressman Patrick Murphy, D-8, discussed his plan to put a “sticker price” on a college education.

The plan, called the Truth in Tuition measure, was an amendment Murphy added to the College Opportunity and Affordability Act that passed in the House by 354-58 Thursday. That amendment needs Senate approval and will need to be signed into law by President Bush.

“It's time to be straight with American families about how much college is going to cost,” Murphy said Monday, alongside a dozen high school and college students and their parents.

Murphy's proposal would essentially force all colleges and universities, both public and private, to publicly explain the reasons behind a tuition increase.
Oh, and before you digest the latest lie from White House flak Dana Perino that the 110th is a “do-nothing Congress,” consider that the House not only passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, but as noted here…

…On January 18, 2007 the House passed legislation that would halve interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent over the next five years. This would affect the 5.5 million students who borrow Stafford loans[13] every year. The lower interest rate would save incoming college freshmen thousands of dollars over the course of their college career.[14] This plan is a drastic change from recent efforts to overhaul student loans. Only a little more than a year ago, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), then Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, assured a roomful of loan-industry officials by saying, "know that I have all of you in my two trusted hands."[15]
The House also passed the Student Loan Sunshine Act as noted here last May; I don’t know if that was a precursor of sorts to the bill passed in the House last Thursday or not.

Given all of this, I think we should “reward good behavior” as Atrios says, and to do so on Patrick’s behalf, click here.

Update 2/15/08: I really don't have anything else to say about this, but I thought it was too cool to be ignored; nothing really against the 'Jints, since they knocked off Belichick and the Pats, but it shows that Patrick never forgot where he came from.

Getting A Grip On The Clintons And Race

I thought Paul Krugman had a couple of really good posts on his blog here and here yesterday about all of the Clinton hate currently out there in the progressive blogosphere, as they say, noting the following…

It really makes me sad to see so many people get played by the media on this. If you prefer Obama, fine — but the evil, race-card-playing Clinton campaign is no more real than Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet.

And to Obama supporters, just remember: these people are not your friends. After they take down Hillary Clinton, if they can, your man will be next

Folks, you’ve been played like a fiddle by people in the media who just plain hate the Clintons. They tried to take Hillary down over her clothes, her voice, her tears. When none of that worked, they invented a race war.

There are some perfectly good arguments against Hillary — Iraq, the presence of people like Mark Penn, the big-money Dems in her circle. But this really is Al-Gore-says-he-invented-the-Internet stuff. And it’s deeply depressing to see so many progressives fall for it.
And I hope that Krugman's fellow columnist Frank Rich, among others, read what Krugman had to say; I wanted to take note of this particularly screechy excerpt from Rich's latest on Sunday…

The (Clinton) campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards. This was all too apparent in the Hallmark show (a national call-in show Hillary appeared in before Super Tuesday broadcast on the Hallmark Channel). In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.
Aside from that demeaning characterization of the fine journalist Carole Simpson, Rich is alleging here that African Americans were purposely excluded from the Clinton broadcast; of course, proof of such an odious charge would be nice, wouldn’t it?

So in light of this, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the legacy of Bill Clinton and African Americans because, while it may turn out that they as a voting group have decided on Barack Obama for president as opposed to Hillary, I would argue that the Clinton fealty towards blacks is due to a lot more than “a cold, political, cost-benefit calculus.” And with that in mind, I came across the following interview with DeWayne Wickham of USA Today here, and I’d like to note the following…

A lot of people talk about his early missteps -- one of them being withdrawing his nomination of Lani Guinier for assistant attorney general -- but one of the things your book really lays out is his appointments of blacks. He appointed so many more African-Americans than any other president.

It's amazing. It goes so deep. I'm talking about Clinton and blacks, a recent Washington Post story was talking about Bush and minorities. Disproportionately, Bush's appointments are Hispanics. If you simply compare black appointees in the Clinton and Bush administrations, you will find that there is no comparison. You have to go beyond the White House staff, as I did, and look at the whole range of appointments throughout the administration.

The amazing thing about government is that the White House, the president and his staff at best can control about 10 percent of what happens in government. When they send appointees over to Treasury or Agriculture or Labor or wherever, they can focus in on the top two or three issues from the White House. The rest they have to leave to the appointees. When you have a large number of African-Americans in those positions, you can understand why in the Clinton administration, black unemployment went down, black home ownership came up, black business ownership grew. You had so many people in place dealing with a broad range of issues that impacted the ability of African-Americans to achieve in those areas.

Even though Bush did not appoint as many African-Americans, he did appoint more minorities. Did Clinton set a precedent that future presidents will have a hard time reversing?

Oh, absolutely. He broke the mold. The mold from Lyndon Johnson to George Bush I was one black in your cabinet at a time. Every president from LBJ forward had at least one: "OK, we appointed all the important people, now let's find one black who can be secretary of HUD or of HHS." Clinton, on the other hand, had many blacks in major positions in the White House. The chief of White House personnel, his budget director, his director of public outreach, his deputy chief of staff were all African-American. His liaison between the White House and the Congress -- Thurgood Marshall's son -- was African-American.

Was there a sense of sadness in the black community when he left office?

In fact, what I got from the interviews was that there's a sense of great loss more than sadness. The feeling is that we really became players in Washington politics. We weren't in the stands, we were on the playing field. Before, the struggle was to get into the arena. And now, we're back in the stands.
And more than that, I would argue that an African American presidential candidacy is the next logical step in a long-overdue process of political integration in this country that was greatly accelerated due to the achievements of people of color in general, as well as African Americans, under Bill Clinton.

Let’s consider that the next time anyone accuses the Clintons of holding “a thick deck of race cards,” OK?

Tuesday AM Stuff

Hat tips to every "A" lister in the world for these first three videos - first, the Barack Obama "Yes We Can" clip (late on this, I know)...

...and here's the sequel starring "Straight Talk" McCain...

...and a sequel to the sequel, if you can believe that...

...and as a tribute to Roy ("You're Going To Need A Bigger Boat") Scheider, here's an excerpt from "Jaws" in 1975 - sorry the volume is a bit low; in addition to being an extremely hard-working actor, he was also a vocal opponent of the Iraq war.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Putting Another Lie To Rest

I took note of the following paragraph in this article by New York Times reporter David Herszenhorn that appeared yesterday about the stimulus package that just passed out of the Senate without an extension of unemployment assistance (as noted here)…

(Harry) Reid’s critics say he can now be accused of playing politics with the nation’s economy, and of clinging to partisan differences at a time when voters across the country are clamoring for collegiality and cooperation.
Now I’m not necessarily blaming the writer here for just repeating a standard right-wing war cry without any proof (though further examination of that specious claim is certainly called for), but I should note that I can find no polling data anywhere to indicate that this country is unhappy with Dubya and/or Congress because they don’t practice “collegiality and cooperation” (a desirable state, sure, but implying that that can be measured is a bit much).

However, if anyone wants to express disapproval with Dubya or Congress on other matters, most notably the war and the economy (as noted here) – well, that’s something else entirely.

A minor point, I know, but I just wanted to make that clear.

Pundit Looniness From "Across The Pond"

Tim Hames of the Times of London proposes the idea here that Gen. David Petraeus should be named as the vice-presidential candidate for Repug presidential all-but-nominee John McCain, an idea also endorsed by Bill Kristol of the New York Times here back when he imagined Fred Thompson at the top of the ticket (Steve Clemons of The Note, though, anticipates Petraeus at the head of the Repug ticket in 2012 here).

This of course would be a total “diss” to the “values voters” who flock to the GOP in droves, for whom Mike Huckabee is plainly their man. And as at least one commenter noted, it assumes that the Mahdi Army will continue its ceasefire indefinitely in Iraq, thus providing some measure of illusory “success” concerning “the surge” (and speaking of which, it turns out here that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is delaying the “draw down” of troops here).

And as long as we’re talking about “St. McCain” here, I should link to this Daily Kos post from Kagro X with this new video – I’ll check it out and try to embed it later.

Update 2/12/08: And I meant to note earlier that things aren't going as swimmingly in Afghanistan as Hames would have us believe either (here).