July 22, 2008
During a Senate Environment and Public Works hearing today, Jason Burnett, a former EPA official turned whistleblower testified on some of the White House's recent attempts to suppress various climate reports drawn up by the agency's staff—including a "public endangerment finding" that would have compelled the EPA to start regulating CO2 immediately. As was reported recently, after Burnett had e-mailed the endangerment finding to the Office of Management and Budget, officials at the OMB were told not to open it.
How It's Playing At Home
Mike questioned below whether Maliki's support for an Iraq exit plan nearer to Obama's ideas than McCain's could ultimately benefit McCain. Maybe by some kind of Rube-Goldberg-esque chain of political events (the man who uttered the comments was actually just wearing a Maliki mask! And he turns out to have been paid off by Atrios! And ...), but at least in the short term it hardly could have gone better for Obama.
July 21, 2008
Cool, Calm, Collected
WASHINGTON -- To win the presidency, Barack Obama needs only to battle John McCain to a tie on foreign policy and national security. That means Obama has no need for a great triumph during his trip this week to the Middle East and Europe. His goal is to look safe, sound and competent, and that's how he's playing things. More and more, 2008 is taking on the contours of 1980.
The Amazingly Superficial Race
For a slideshow of images of Barack Obama abroad, please click here. So is Barack Obama's foreign trip this week a critical addition to his presidential résumé? Or is it a farce? You'd never know from listening to the GOP. Late this spring, Republicans delighted in bashing Obama for his two-plus year absence from Iraq--the implication being that Obama wouldn't merit a Situation Room seat until he'd boarded a trans-Atlantic flight. But, as Obama's itinerary has taken shape in recent weeks, suddenly the McCain campaign has soured on the idea.
AP: Iraq's government spokesman is hopeful that U.S. combat forces could be out of the country by 2010. Ali al-Dabbagh made the comments following a meeting in Baghdad on Monday between Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama, who arrived in Iraq earlier in the day. The timeframe is similar to Obama's proposal to pull back combat troops within 16 months.
July 20, 2008
Emily Bazelon has a great New York Times Magazine article this week taking stock of what the school district in Louisville has done in response to the Supreme Court's decision last year striking down its previous racial integration plan. The basic outline of the plan has been reported elsewhere, but as Bazelon describes in detail, the district has devised a new integration scheme that takes up Justice Kennedy on his invitation to use class and geography, rather than race explicitly, as a means of integrating schools.
July 19, 2008
Dear Barack Obama
Dear Senator Obama, Welcome to Israel. When you arrive here on July 22, you will encounter a people intrigued by your candidacy and, given the current crisis of Israeli leadership, envious of your capacity to inspire. Issues that have worried some Americans about your background have scarcely been noted here. The whispering campaign labeling you a Muslim wasn't taken seriously by mainstream Israelis. Nor are we fazed by your middle name: Half of Israel's Jewish population has origins in Muslim cultures.
July 18, 2008
Barack Obama has a Catholic problem. While Catholics constitute only 23 percent of the nation’s population, their numbers are higher in such critical states as Nevada, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. And he lost badly among those voters this winter and spring. In New Hampshire, at the beginning of the primary season, Hillary Clinton took 44 percent of the Catholic vote to Obama’s 27 percent. Toward the end of the primary season, in Pennsylvania, Clinton won 70 percent of the Catholic vote to Obama’s 30.
We asked Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and Co-Director of the Princeton Project on National Security, to respond to Eli Lake's cover story on what an Obama Doctrine would look like if he were to become president. Lake suggests that Obama's approach to foreign policy would resemble Ronald Reagan's far more than Jimmy Carter's largely because Obama isn't afraid to reach out to undesirables if they could help produce a good result for the United States.
Jane Mayer's Torture Scoop
I wanted to flag a great interview with Jane Mayer I heard this morning on Democracy Now radio. I know, attention spans are short these days--but for those who want the Cliffs Notes for The Dark Side, Mayer's by all accounts extraordinary new portrait of the United States' torture program, give it a listen. The gist: Mayer reveals a secret report by the International Red Cross warned [sic] the Bush administration last year that the CIA’s treatment of prisoners categorically constituted torture and could make Bush administration officials who approved the torture methods guilty of war crimes.