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The Clinton War on Economists Continues

| Tue May 6, 2008 11:42 AM EDT

Presumably, President H. Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury will be Bo Duke and her Secretary of Labor will be Norm from Cheers.

All of this is particularly funny because of this:

Background here.

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Another Example of Why You Can't Trust the Right on Politics of the Left

| Tue May 6, 2008 10:48 AM EDT

Yesterday, I made the case that those of us on the left shouldn't use the arguments of those on the right, even if they ring true, in our own internal debates. An Obama supporter, for example, shouldn't use a right-wing blogger's case against Clinton as evidence because the right-wing blogger's motives are suspect: does she really like Obama, or does she simply want to sow seeds of discord and stir up trouble. She doesn't have the left's best interests at heart, after all.

Yesterday, the Obama campaign found an excellent example of my point. Here is the text of a National Right to Life robocall being made to Democrats in Indiana:

A Gitmo Update By the Numbers

| Tue May 6, 2008 9:58 AM EDT

guantanamo-plane250x200.jpg The Washington Post reports dismaying news from Guantanamo Bay:

Nearly seven years [after 9/11] not one of the approximately 775 terrorism suspects who have been held on this island has faced a jury trial inside the [Expeditionary Legal Complex Courtroom], and U.S. officials think it is highly unlikely that any of the Sept. 11 suspects will before the Bush administration ends...
"I think it's a near-impossibility that these cases will be in court before the end of the administration," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, who has observed numerous court hearings on the island.
"Some of the detainees haven't even seen their lawyers yet, there's incredibly complicated issues about access to evidence and discovery, and as we've seen with every single case to date, it's incredibly hard to move through a system that lacks established rules and precedent," she said. "Every little detail ends up being contested, because it's an entirely new system of justice."

Here is the history of trials at Guantanamo (or the lack thereof), by the numbers:

McCain Wants a League of What Now?

| Tue May 6, 2008 9:34 AM EDT

Recently, McCain proposed a League of Democracies to replace the United Nations. It wasn't well-received:

The approach lacks any strategic framework.... How would the League of Democracies fight terrorism while excluding countries like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Singapore? What would be the gain to the average American to lessen our influence with Saudi Arabia, the central banker of oil, in a world in which we are still crucially dependent on that energy source?

McCain may now be suggesting an alternative — a League of Nations.

McCain may have misspoken. The League of Nations was established by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919-1920 and folded just after World War II in 1946. McCain was nine at the time. Perhaps he just got confused. Or maybe he's serious and he'll propose the Great Compromise next. We should see some development of this issue over the course of the day.

Update: McCain is speechifying about judicial nominees today. MyDD speculates about the possible nomination of William Howard Taft.

Does Buying Bamboo Sheets Make You an Activist?

| Mon May 5, 2008 7:54 PM EDT

We want 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!

Bush's EPA Pollutes Science

| Mon May 5, 2008 5:11 PM EDT

periodic-table-FINAL.gif

The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Check out the interactive version.

Science Soviet style! More than half the scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency report political interference in their work over the last five years. This, according to a new investigation by the Union of Concerned Scientists, follows on the heels of prior UCS investigations (Food and Drug Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as climate scientists at seven federal agencies). The earlier examinations also found significant manipulation of federal science by the Bush administration.

"Our investigation found an agency in crisis," said UCS's Francesca Grifo. "Nearly 900 EPA scientists reported political interference in their scientific work. That's 900 too many. Distorting science to accommodate a narrow political agenda threatens our environment, our health, and our democracy itself."

Among the UCS report's top findings on the EPA: • 889 scientists (60 percent) said they had personally experienced at least one instance of political interference in their work over the last five years. • 394 scientists (31 percent) personally experienced frequent or occasional "statements by EPA officials that misrepresent scientists' findings." • 285 scientists (22 percent) said they frequently or occasionally personally experienced "selective or incomplete use of data to justify a specific regulatory outcome." • 224 scientists (17 percent) said they had been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from an EPA scientific document." • Of the 969 agency veterans with more than 10 years of EPA experience, 409 scientists (43 percent) said interference has occurred more often in the past five years than in the previous five-year period. Only 43 scientists (4 percent) said interference occurred less often. • Hundreds of scientists reported being unable to openly express concerns about the EPA's work without fear of retaliation; 492 (31 percent) felt they could not speak candidly within the agency and 382 (24 percent) felt they could not do so outside the agency.

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Awkward Sports Metaphor of the Day

| Mon May 5, 2008 4:23 PM EDT

I'm going to start referring to America as the "home team."

"We're going to knock balls out of the country's park," [Hillary Clinton] says, standing in a minor-league baseball stadium, "for the home team, which is America."

In Case You Forgot John Bolton Is Crazy

| Mon May 5, 2008 4:02 PM EDT

bolton130.jpg He went on Fox News and had this to say about Iran arming militants in Iraq:

"I think this is a case where the use of military force against a training camp to show the Iranians we're not going to tolerate this is really the most prudent thing to do."

More on Bolton, plus video of the quote with the obligatory braindead+militaristic Fox News anchor at, Think Progress.

Politics, Pandering, and Policy at the Pump: Who Wins?

| Mon May 5, 2008 1:53 PM EDT

hillary-clinton-at-gas-station-250x200.jpg We've made it clear how we feel about the gas tax holiday being proposed by Sens. McCain and Clinton: It's a boondoggle.

Seemingly every economist in America agrees. But the economists are in the wrong subfield of punditry: they look at the relevant numbers, come to a conclusion, and violavoilà — their moment in the spotlight is over. On the other hand, political analysts and campaign correspondents, unburdened by facts, can and have speculated for weeks about a question like which candidate the gas tax kerfuffle helps more. I've avoided entering this discussion, because the only way to comment seriously is to go to Indiana and North Carolina and conduct in-depth conversations with dozens of voters.

But what the hell.

Clinton on Iraq: Got Some Explaining to Do?

| Mon May 5, 2008 1:17 PM EDT

There's a 2005 Face the Nation excerpt floating around the web that makes it look like Hillary Clinton was once sympathetic to John McCain's argument that a long-term occupation of Iraq isn't objectionable as long as American casualties are down.

Senator McCain made the point earlier today, which I agree with, and that is, it's not so much a question of time when it comes to American military presence for the average American; I include myself in this. But it is a question of casualties.
We don't want to see our young men and women dying and suffering these grievous injuries that so many of them have. We've been in South Korea for 50-plus years. We've been in Europe for 50-plus. We're still in Okinawa with respect to protection there coming out of World War II.
You know, we have been in places for very long periods of time. And in recent history, we've made a commitment to Bosnia and Kosovo, and I think what is different is the feeling that we're on a track that is getting better and that we can see how the Iraqi government will begin to assume greater and greater responsibility. The elections were key to that. The training, equipment, equipping and motivating of the Iraqi security forces is key to that. But so is our understanding that if we were to artificially set a deadline of some sort, that would be like a green light to the terrorists, and we can't afford to do that.

Clinton says we've been in South Korea "for 50-plus years," but doesn't explicitly say that she approves of a similar situation in Iraq. She might just be counseling caution to those who, in 2005, had already seen enough of the war. Her argument might be, in other words, "Look, other conflicts have taken decades. Let's be patient."

But this situation does raise new questions Clinton should answer. Did she ever support a 50-year occupation, or think of it as one of many acceptable outcomes? When and why did she switch to her current position?