Blogs

Interesting New Science on the Bradley Effect

| Tue May 20, 2008 3:25 PM EDT

Ready to nerd out? Spotted on The Stump, new sociology research supporting the existence of the Bradley Effect:

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Iran's Proposal for "Constructive Negotiations"

| Tue May 20, 2008 3:00 PM EDT

Last week, Iran delivered a letter to UN officials accompanied by an offer for "constructive negotiations." According to nonproliferation expert Jacqueline Shire of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) who obtained the letter today, Iranian diplomats delivered the letter and offer to the UN director general and the UK Permanent Representative, and requested that it be shared with other UN Security Council permanent members and Germany. ISIS writes:

ISIS has obtained a copy of Iran's May 13 letter to the UN Secretary General and accompanying document titled "The Islamic Republic of Iran's Proposed Package for Constructive Negotiations."
The unofficial translation of the document, included below, numbers just over two pages and offers "wide-ranging and comprehensive negotiations" over three issue areas: political and security, economic and nuclear.

More McCain Staffers to Fall Due to Lobbying Connections?

| Tue May 20, 2008 2:05 PM EDT

mccain_closeup_250x200.jpg Today's New York Times advances the story of John McCain's myriad connections to lobbyists. First, new details on Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager. Davis is in charge of writing and enforcing the new 'no lobbying' policy that John McCain put into effect when he realized that his reformist campaign was staffed by a huge number of influence-peddlers. As you might have guessed, Davis was a lobbyist until two years ago and now finds a way to act as a lobbyist without registering as one:

...while Mr. Davis took a leave from [his firm] Davis Manafort in 2006, the company has developed a specialty in recent years in a type of lobbying for which firms do not have to register — namely, representing the interests abroad of foreign politicians and businessmen.
In recent years, the company's clients have included the richest man in Ukraine and a former premier of that country whose opponents were supported by Mr. McCain. The Washington Post reported in January that Mr. Davis also set up a meeting in Switzerland in 2006 between Mr. McCain and a Russian businessman, who has been barred from entering this country, apparently because of accusations about past ties to organized crime in Russia. That businessman, Oleg Deripaska, has denied such links.

Here's that Post story. Honest to God, Davis set up a meeting between a U.S. Senator and a Russian mobster because it was in the interest of his lobby shop. Now he's running that Senator's presidential campaign.

But the problem lies not just with McCain's top guys, Davis and senior adviser Charlie Black. Witness:

Ted Kennedy Has Malignant Brain Tumor

| Tue May 20, 2008 1:11 PM EDT

ted-kennedy.jpg Breaking news: Treatment of Ted Kennedy's seizures over the weekend revealed that the longtime Massachusetts Senator has a malignant brain tumor in his left parietal lobe. More information as it is available.

Update: More from CBS/AP:

Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said.
His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy....

Students Think Environment/Global Warming Is the Most Important Issue

| Tue May 20, 2008 12:03 PM EDT

The results of our student activism survey are already flooding in, and respondents—both current and former students—believe today's most important issues are global warming and the environment (second place: human rights). Don't miss your chance to chime in.

We're still looking for the lowdown on student activism, past and present. Been arrested and regret it? Would your school win the prize for silliest student protest? Was student activism way better when you were in school? Is your cause unique?

Help us put together our best student activism roundup yet. It's our 15th annual! Check out last year's. Answer a few quick questions and you could win some cool prizes.

Click here to begin!

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GOP to Minority Candidates: Thanks, We're Not Interested

| Tue May 20, 2008 11:18 AM EDT

Respecting our gay brothers and sisters means you have "San Francisco values." I wonder what kind of values you have when you don't respect blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Politico:

Just a few years after the Republican Party launched a highly publicized diversity effort, the GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor....
At the start of the Bush years, the Republican National Committee — in tandem with the White House — vowed to usher in a new era of GOP minority outreach. As George W. Bush winds down his presidency, Republicans are now on the verge of going six — and probably more — years without an African-American governor, senator or House member.
That's the longest such streak since the 1980s.
Republicans will have only one minority governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an Indian-American, when the dust settles on the '08 elections. Democrats have three minority governors and 43 African-American members of Congress, including one — Illinois Sen. Barack Obama — who is their likely presidential nominee. Democrats also have several challengers in winnable House races who are either black or Hispanic.

Only four black Republicans have been elected to Congress since Reconstruction. Sounds like they'll be on the wrong side of history in a few decades.

"San Francisco Values" Makes Another Appearance

| Tue May 20, 2008 11:06 AM EDT

Run for your lives, there are ethnic men in cowboy hats dancing with two women at the same time! You know what that means!

Kay Barnes may look like a perfectly nice woman (and an effective mayor of Kansas City to boot!), but don't be fooled. Sam Graves knows she loves teh gay.

Update: Does anyone else feel like they found these dancers by putting out a casting call for Black Eyed Peas look-a-likes?

Operation Get a Grip

| Tue May 20, 2008 10:53 AM EDT

OK, I've gotten another cup of coffee, and almost feel the strength to deconstruct this piece of lousy journalism.

1) This is the Jerusalem Post quoting Israel Army Radio, e.g. they didn't even report it themselves.

2) It's not only second hand in terms of one media outlet citing another; it's third hand in terms of sourcing, and all anonymous at that. The Jerusalem Post is citing Israel Army Radio which is quoting an unnamed Israeli official quoting an -- again unnamed -- "senior member of Bush's entourage" which includes a universe of people that could be say the spouse of a businessperson who was part of the delegation. Almost certainly not a government official and almost certainly not someone informed about policy deliberations. Something in the realm of idle gossip.

3) If all that didn't, this line should give you pause: "However, the official continued, 'the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice' was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being." In other words, while according to fourth hand anonymous sources Bush and Cheney believe force may be necessary, they are prevented from acting by the Secretaries of Defense and State. To begin with, Bush gets to override his cabinet heads when he wants to. Secondly, this is a line that essentially negates the first part of the story.

Lobbying Problems Force McCain to Put Straight Talk on Hold

| Tue May 20, 2008 10:08 AM EDT

In light of the continued pressure John McCain is facing to rid his staff of lobbyists and former lobbyists, the normally gregarious candidate is experiencing a fresh conversion to message discipline. From a press conference he held with reporters yesterday:

Question: What was the impetus for the new lobbying policy?