Heartwarming and heartbreaking

Heartwarming: The Associated Press reports on the wonderful news of a Chinese woman who had been trapped for 50 hours in earthquake rubble last month just gave birth this week to a bouncing healthy baby girl. It wasn’t a premature baby, either – in fact, the mom was 8 months pregnant when she was trapped underneath that rubble. It’s a miracle the baby was born with no health issues. By the way, I won’t quote from the AP story directly, considering I don’t know how much they’d charge me for it.

Heartbreaking: A two-year old boy was beaten to death on the side of the road by his 27 year-old “father” Saturday night in Turlock, CA. At least six others, including a volunteer firefighter, witnessed the beating but did not step in to stop the deadly attack (via MM). Some tried to “talk” him out of it, but no one physically intervened. Make sure to read the story in full as it reveals in detail how it wasn’t just the beating that was (obviously) senseless, but how devastatingly senseless the reactions of the passersby were, too.

Kucinich: I’m not giving up on impeaching Bush and Cheney

Even though the last time around he voted against his own measure, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Moonbattia) is vowing to fight on with more articles of impeachment against President Bush if he has to in order to get Congress to ‘act.’ Via Mary Ann Akers at WaPo’s “Sleuth” blog:

Kucinich tells us he’s giving the House Judiciary Committee 30 days to act on his resolution proposing 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush or else he’ll raise even more hell on the House floor. Thirty-five articles was just the tip of the iceberg. If Judiciary does nothing, he’ll go back to the House floor next month armed with nearly twice as many articles.

“The minute the leadership said ‘this is dead on arrival’ I said that I hope they believe in life after death; because I’m coming back with it,” Kucinich vowed in an interview with the Sleuth this week. “It’s not gonna die. Because I’ll come back with more articles. Not 35, but perhaps 60 articles.”

But before he stages Night of the Living Impeachment Part II in the House chamber, the former presidential candidate says he’ll meet with House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) this week to try to convince him to consider just one little article of impeachment against Bush for waging a war “based on lies.” Take one, any one, Chairman Conyers, but please – just take one!

“It only takes one of the 35 articles to establish an impeachable offense,” Kucinich explains.


And here is Kucinich’s ultimate impeachment fantasy: “What I would hope for, is that if articles of impeachment are forwarded to the Senate against the president, that the vice president would understand that he will come under scrutiny too, and that he would resign so that the president could appoint someone who could take his office if he were forced to leave.”

Watch video of Denny K.’s comments to the WaPo here:

Go Dennis Go! Keep putting your fellow Dems in the hot seat :D . It’s a “debate” conservatives certainly welcome. As I’ve said before, if Dems really do believe Bush is a war criminal, why not perform their duty in holding the Executive Branch accountable for their “crimes”?

C’mon, Dems. You know you want to.

Democrats: Let’s nationalize oil refineries

Yeah! Considering how efficiently the government runs everything else, this one should be a no brainer. 8-|

Back to reality, today the Prez. smartly called (again) for an end to the ban on offshore oil drilling as part of what the USA Today calls a “four-point plan for more domestic production.” McCain is also newly on board with domestic oil drilling, a position he hasn’t long held. Larry Kudlow says that no matter the reasons, McCain’s switcheroni on offshore domestic drilling is a “welcome development.” Yeah, but, is it sincere? Furthermore, will he have any crediblity at all when he debates this issue with Obama, considering just as recently as three weeks ago McCain wasn’t as gung-ho about domestic drilling as he is now (done some poll watching recently, Senator?)?

Suffice it to say that most conservatives who are supporting McCain right now aren’t doing it because they think he’s going to stick to his guns regarding his latest position on domestic oil production. I’ll stick with supporting him based on his foreign policy/GWOT strengths, thank you very much. His commitment to winning it is one of the few McCain commitments I’m confident he’ll stick to.

Anyway, here’s the speech President Bush gave today outlining his plan, and here are the details of the plan:

1. Increase access to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Experts believe that areas under leasing prohibitions on the OCS could produce about 18 billion barrels of oil. Actual resources may be greater, but we will not know until exploration is allowed. The problem is that Congress has restricted access to much of the OCS since the early 1980s. Since then, advances in technology have made it possible to conduct oil exploration in the OCS that is out of sight, protects coral reefs and habitats, and protects against oil spills. With these advances – and a dramatic increase in oil prices – these Congressional restrictions have become outdated and counterproductive.

— Republicans in Congress have proposed several promising bills that would lift the legislative ban on oil exploration in the OCS. President Bush calls on the House and Senate to pass such good legislation as soon as possible. This legislation should give the States the option of opening up OCS resources off their shores and ensure the environment is protected. There is also an Executive prohibition on exploration in the OCS. When Congress lifts the legislative ban, the President will lift this Executive prohibition.

2. Tap into the extraordinary potential of oil shale. Oil shale is a type of rock that can produce oil when exposed to heat or other processes. In one major deposit – the Green River Basin of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming – there lies the equivalent of about 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil. If it can be fully recovered, it would equal more than a century’s worth of currently projected oil imports.

— Oil shale is a highly promising resource. For many years, the high cost of extracting oil from shale exceeded the benefit, but today, companies are investing in technology to make oil shale production more affordable and efficient. While the cost of extracting oil from shale is still more than the cost of traditional production, it is also less than the current market price of oil.

— Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of further development. Last year, Democratic leaders used the omnibus spending bill to insert a provision blocking oil shale leasing on Federal lands – President Bush calls on Congress to remove that provision immediately.

3. Permit exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In 1995, Congress passed legislation allowing oil production in a small fraction of ANWR’s 19.6 million acres, yet President Clinton vetoed the bill. With a drilling footprint of less than 2,000 acres – about 0.01 percent of this distant Alaskan terrain – America could produce an estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil. This is the equivalent of roughly two decades of imported crude oil from Saudi Arabia.

— Scientists have developed innovative techniques to reach ANWR’s oil with virtually no impact on the land or local wildlife. These techniques are currently being utilized successfully in other areas. President Bush urges Members of Congress to allow this remote region to bring enormous benefits to the American people.

4. Expand and enhance our refinery capacity. It has been 30 years since our Nation built a new refinery, and upgrades in our refining capacity are urgently needed. Refineries are the critical link between crude oil and the gasoline and diesel fuel that drivers put in their tanks. America now imports millions of barrels of fully-refined gasoline from abroad, imposing needless costs on American consumers and depriving American workers of good jobs.

— President Bush is proposing measures to expedite the refinery permitting process. The President proposes that challenges to refineries and other related energy project permits must be brought before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals within 60 days of the issuance of a permit decision. In addition, the President proposes that the Secretary of Energy be empowered to establish binding deadlines for permit decisions and to ensure that the various levels of approval required in the refinery permitting process are all handled in a timely way. And Congress should allow new refineries to be built on abandoned military bases.

Sounds good, but unlikely to go anywhere, based on how much opposition it’s sure to receive from the do-nothing Democrat Congress.

Obamarama news round-up

There’s lots of Barry Oh! news to cover out there, so much so that I’m going to try and condense all the stories into one post. Here goes:

O-newsFirst up, the top headline at Memeorandum this evening: “Muslims barred from picture at Obama event.” Trouble brewing for Team Obama, perhaps? The Politico’s Ben Smith reports:

Two Muslim women at Barack Obama’s rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women’s headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.

The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”


“I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to” said Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer who lives in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. “The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters.”

In Detroit on Monday, the two different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that headscarves wouldn’t be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding the hijabs, one bluntly political and the other less clear.

Verrry interesting. Now, if the Obama campaign really has instituted a hush-hush “no headscarves in pictures” policy, someone fell down on the job here. I suspect there’s no policy involved here, and instead you had a couple of overzealous volunteers not wanting to add fuel to the “Obama’s a Muslim” rumor mill by having him in a photo with any. That said, Marc Ambinder explains why this is a legitimate political issue:

Incidentally: the media covers John McCain’s volunteer/advance work very carefully; this mistake by an Obama volunteer is as egregious as anything McCain’s advance team has ever done — lime green background included.

Yeah, but don’t expect this story to garner even 1/100th of the outrage and uproar that the media generates over every little McCain “scandal.” I mean, we are talking about the Obamedia here.

O-newsIt’s “let’s feel sorry about Michelle Obama Day” today, as not only did she appear as a guest-host and get the “how dare they attack you” treatment on the liberal View show (video clips can be watched here, and a round table photo is at the end of this post), but in an interview yesterday with CBN’s “Brody File,” her hubby expressed “deep disappointment” that John McCain has not condemned the criticisms about Michelle Obama that have come from various conservatives over the last several months. The McCain campaign responded as follows:

“Senator McCain agrees with Senator Obama that spouses should not be an issue in this campaign, and he has stated that position frequently. Unfortunately, when the DNC was attacking Mrs. McCain, Senator Obama was not strong enough to stand up and speak out against the outrageous charges leveled at her by his party chair, Howard Dean. Obama’s silence speaks volumes, and it’s unfortunate that he would single out others for a standard he himself has failed to live up to.”

Unfortunate, yes, but not unusual, as we all know too well by now.

O-newsAnd speaking of political spouses, ABC News’ Political Radar (and Drudge) are making a big deal out of Cindy McCain’s Good Morning America interview this morning in which she repeated her earlier comments about Michelle Obama’s “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of country” remarks that generated controversy amongst conservatives:

“I don’t know why she said what she said,” Mrs. McCain explains in an interview with ABC News’ Kate Snow airing on “Good Morning America” Thursday. “Everyone has their own experience. I don’t know why she said what she said, all I know is that I have always been proud of my country.”

Snow asked McCain if she was “insulted when Michelle Obama said she was proud of her country for the first time”, referencing remarks Obama made at a Wisconsin rally during her husband’s fight for the Democratic presidential nomination against Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.

Drudge’s headline for this story reads, “UNLEASHED” but as you can see from the excerpt, Cindy McCain didn’t bring it up – she was asked about it and responded by essentially saying the same thing she did shortly after Mrs. Obama made the statement she did. End of story. On the other hand, First Lady Laura Bush defended Obama’s Proud” remarks early last week, saying she believed they were “misconstrued.”

O-newsLast bit of news on Michelle Obama: The NYT published an article today on how Michelle Obama was undergoing a subtle general election “makeover” of sorts. Tom Maguire analyzed some of what was reported and found it – and some of the quotes contained within – lacking.

O-newsNAFTAGATE II? We all remember the merry-go-round the Obama campaign sent everyone on a few months ago when it was reported that Obama’s senior economic advisor Austan Goolsbee (who is still with the Obama campaign) told the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago that Obama’s tough stance on NAFTA was little more than tough political rhetoric not to be taken too seriously. Of course, Goolsbee and Obama both denied the story, and Obama made lame statements after the story broke in an attempt to discredit it, saying essentially that he ‘meant what he said’ (cough).

Well, now that he’s safely secured the nomination, Obama’s proving that his denials about the Goolsbee/Canadian Consulate General story were – wait for it – “just words.” Fortune’s Nina Easton reports:

WASHINGTON (Fortune) — The general campaign is on, independent voters are up for grabs, and Barack Obama is toning down his populist rhetoric – at least when it comes to free trade.

In an interview with Fortune to be featured in the magazine’s upcoming issue, the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA.

“Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric gets overheated and amplified,” he conceded, after I reminded him that he had called NAFTA “devastating” and “a big mistake,” despite nonpartisan studies concluding that the trade zone has had a mild, positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Does that mean his rhetoric was overheated and amplified? “Politicians are always guilty of that, and I don’t exempt myself,” he answered.

Flashback time – 2/28/08:

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama’s campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada’s ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

The staff member reassured Wilson that the criticisms would only be campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value.

As it turns out, about the only thing the story got wrong was who the remarks were made to and where they were made.

Liberal bloggers at both the HuffPo and The Nation are just two of many lefty blogs noting their displeasure with Obama’s general election shift to the center. Question of the day: Are these blogs just now figuring out Obama’s well-documented duplicity? I mean, most political junkies realize that “maverick” McCain is going to flip flop here and there on certain issues, but like I thought Obama was a man of “principle” who stood his ground and didn’t play those tired ol’ Washington political games he accuses his opponents of playing … :-?

O-newsObama today breathlessly announced his “National Security Working Group.” Karl at Protein Wisdom sums the group up as “Carter & Clinton retreads.” ‘Nuff said.

O-newsThe Chosen One also suggested today that Osama bin Laden may not be captured alive, but that he shouldn’t be “made into a martyr” by the US, and implied that it might be a good idea to have OBL face a Nuremberg-style trial:

Obama said he wouldn’t discuss what approach he would take to bring bin Laden to justice if he were apprehended. But he said the Nuremberg trials for the prosecution of Nazi leaders are an inspiration because the victors acted to advance universal principles and set a tone for the creation of an international order.

“What would be important would be for us to do it in a way that allows the entire world to understand the murderous acts that he’s engaged in and not to make him into a martyr, and to assure that the United States government is abiding by basic conventions that would strengthen our hand in the broader battle against terrorism,” Obama said.

Um. Um. Where to start? Jim Geraghty’s got it covered.

O-newsLast but not least, as promised earlier – the photo of today’s View panel, seen at the NYT’s Caucus blog:

Michelle Obama on The View
Does Elisabeth Hasselbeck deserve a Lifetime Achievement Award
for putting up with what she does daily on The View, or what?

Photo courtesy: Steve Fenn/ABC