Blogs

Hillary Wins Big Endorsement: Her Mother

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 12:42 PM EST

The Hillary Clinton is airing a new 30-second television ad in Iowa today that features...her mother:

DOROTHY RODHAM: What I would like people to know about Hillary is what a good person she is. She never was envious of anybody--she was helpful. And she's continued that with her adult life with helping other women. She has empathy for other people's unfortunate circumstances. I've always admired that because it isn't always true of people. I think she ought to be elected even if she weren't my daughter.

Never envious, always helpful. Insipid? A wee bit. And note that she's been helping "other women," not "other people." With Barack Obama in the lead in the first state, the Clinton campaign is obviously aiming to preserve its support among older women. Is this an indication Clinton and her strategists are worried about their base?

Update: Video of the ad after the jump.

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Political Focus on Immigration Raising Hate Crimes, Discrimination Against Hispanics

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 11:58 AM EST

A disgusting corollary to the anti-illegal immigration zeal gripping our national debate (and the minds of many Republican voters) is increased discrimination and hate crimes against Hispanics, both legal and illegal.

From a very good Washington Post op-ed on "nativist ferocity":

It's a fair guess that this cruel campaign of immigrant-bashing will eventually turn toxic for the Republican Party itself, whose own strategists (Karl Rove, among others) have long grasped the growing electoral clout of Hispanics. Those Hispanic voters, native-born or not, are anxious and angry about the intensifying nativist zeal in political rhetoric, which many are rightly blaming on the Republicans. In a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, half of all Hispanics in America reported that the debate on immigration has had a specific negative impact on their lives; 41 percent said that they or someone close to them had suffered discrimination in the past five years -- up from 31 percent in 2002.
The new data undercut the Republicans' frequent protestations that their targets are not legal immigrants but illegal ones. The attacks have become so venomous, and the policy proposals so pernicious, that, predictably, they have caused collateral damage among Spanish-speaking and non-native-born people generally. The anti-illegal-immigrant crowd would have us believe it honors and admires legal immigrants; in fact, it is making America a less hospitable place for them.

Much more after the jump...

Cheney's Holiday Party: The CIA Chief's View

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 11:33 AM EST

The WP reports:

After being grilled by the Senate intelligence committee for more than an hour Tuesday, CIA Director Michael Hayden went to Vice President Cheney's annual holiday party, where he endured more interrogation for a full 20 minutes from the Fourth Estate.
Ensnared in a scandal over the destruction of waterboarding videotapes, Hayden fielded questions -- off the record -- from eggnog-lubed reporters. He withstood the friendly Q and A with smiles and a relaxed air (aided by a nice, cold beer) until he spotted someone who could stop the torture: Cheney chief of staff David Addington. "David, save me!" Hayden jokingly shouted.
Addington obliged and physically pulled the Air Force general from the scrum of reporters. (Hayden received no assists from three Iraq war architects who also attended the party: former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, former defense undersecretary Doug Feith and their boss, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.) CIA chief spokesman Mark Mansfield told On the Hill that it was all in good fun. "He was just kidding around," Mansfield said. Hayden, who took his wife, Jeanine, to the vice president's party, was in "good spirits" all day, Mansfield said.
Hayden used Addington's helping hand to break away from the Fourth Estate interrogators because, Mansfield said, he "was out of Schlitz."

That sounds about right.

Al Sharpton Under Investigation. Again

| Thu Dec. 13, 2007 10:35 AM EST

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Federal agents issued a half-dozen subpoenas yesterday to associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton ordering them to appear this month before a New York grand jury. The feds are also looking for documents relating to Sharpton's failed bid for president in 2004 and some related business entities. Sharpton seemed surprised by it all, but his lawyer, Michael Hardy, provided the best quote of the day yesterday when he told the AP that no one was especially concerned. "I can't think of a time when the Rev. Sharpton wasn't under investigation," he said.

Ryan White's Mother Still Trying To Meet With Mike Huckabee

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 10:13 PM EST

For the second time, Jeanne White-Ginder, represented by the Human Rights Campaign and the AIDS Institute, has sent a letter to presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, asking him to meet with White-Ginder, the mother of Ryan White. White, at age 13, was diagnosed with AIDS and expelled from his school twenty-three years ago, and his case came to national attention. He died in 1990 at the age of 18.

White-Ginder, HRC and the AIDS Institute are interested in talking with Huckabee because of comments he made in 1992, when he said that people with AIDS should be isolated, even though it was an established fact that the syndrome could not be spread through casual contact. Just three days ago, the former Arkansas governor said that he stands by his belief that AIDS patients and individuals carrying HIV should be isolated.

The letter states: "We look forward to discussing our experiences and personal insight with you and your campaign. This was not and is not an issue of 'political correctness,' as you have stated previously. Rather, this is an issue of valuing science-based evidence over unfounded fear or prejudice."

Can the World Sustain the Growth of China's Capitalism?

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 8:20 PM EST

china1.2.jpgOver the past year, China's environmental devastation has quickly morphed from a future concern into an immediate crisis. The country's skyrocketing economic development, fueled by multinational corporations, has wreaked environmental havoc on the country (and the rest of us). It's now much easier for Americans to buy cheap cashmere sweaters and Ikea dining sets from China—"cheap" for consumers, at a big cost for Mother Earth.

For more on China's environmental demise and the effect it is having on the globe, see Mother Jones' January 2008 feature. And don't miss this revealing photo essay as well as various sidebars exploring Chinese citizen protests, deforestation, and other issues.

The country's environmental problems, in part, stem from governmental rule and lack of accurate information. Fortunately, international NGOs have been instrumental in gathering and disseminating trustworthy data for Chinese non-profits, and public awareness is growing on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, but it needs to grow faster. Chinese's per capita income is only 1/10 of Americans', which means if they ever reach our level of wealth and consumption, several Earths will be needed to provide resources.

Stay tuned for ongoing coverage on this subject at The Blue Marble. Here's a teaser. You won't believe which country Chinese president Hu Jintao said should be responsible for cutting the world's CO2 emissions. Take a guess in the comments.

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Clinton Supporter Raises Idea of Young Obama Dealing Drugs

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 7:22 PM EST

billy-shaheen.jpg Earlier today Billy Shaheen, Hillary Clinton's New Hampshire co-chair and husband of former N.H. governor Jeanne Shaheen, was thinking out loud about electability. He made these comments about Barack Obama, who just climbed into a tie with Clinton in N.H. in a CNN poll that had Obama down 20 points in September:

"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is [Obama's] drug use."

Okay, fair enough. In making the case that his candidate is more electable, it is reasonable for Shaheen to point out that Obama has spoken openly about using marijuana and cocaine in his early years. That is something the GOP will likely jump on, after all. Shaheen continued:

"It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'... There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Hey now! That's some strong stuff! Just because Shaheen wrapped his comments in a blanket of sympathy (or supposed sympathy) doesn't hide the fact that he just raised, for the first time in the campaign, the possibility that Barack Obama was a drug dealer.

young-obama.jpg And this is probably so obvious I don't need to say it, but I will. Any comment along these lines is racially coded. No one—no one—would ask if Mitt Romney slung rock if he were to admit he did drugs as a kid. Same with John Edwards or Hillary Clinton. But for many Americans the young Obama, who went to Columbia and Harvard Law, fits into their mental picture of what a drug dealer looks like.

Shame on Shaheen. I really hope this wasn't coordinated within the Clinton campaign. Right now they're saying, "These comments were not authorized or condoned by the campaign in any way."

Obama's response, after the jump.

Ike Turner Dies at 76

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 7:11 PM EST

There's really no better way to put it than the AP opener:

Ike Turner, whose role as one of rock's critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Wednesday at his home in suburban San Diego. He was 76.

Ike Turner was involved in a record that some historians call the first, or one of the first, true rock songs: "Rocket 88", by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Turner used a distorted sound on the guitar, something that reportedly happened by accident when one of the guitar amps fell over. If that's true, what an accident, right? But of course, he was a real jerk to Tina, and you can't help but think about Laurence Fishburne's harrowing portrayal of the guy in "What's Love Got to Do With It." While Turner always denied abusing his wife, I think everybody believes Tina on that score, and jeez, who doesn't love Tina Turner, it's like beating up the Statue of Liberty. So, rest in peace.

Here's Ike and Tina doing "Proud Mary."

Tibetan Ice Cores Missing A-Bomb Markers

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 7:04 PM EST

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Ice cores drilled last year from the summit of a Himalayan ice field lack the distinctive radioactive signals that mark virtually every other ice core retrieved worldwide. That radioactivity originated as fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests during the 1950s and 1960s. These markers routinely provide researchers with benchmarks to gauge new ice accumulation. Scientists with Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center believe the missing signal means the Naimona'nyi ice field has been shrinking at least since the A-bomb test half a century ago—foreshadowing serious water shortages in the future for more than 500 million people on the Indian subcontinent.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to hamstring the Climate Change Conference in Bali, resisting emissions cuts. Doesn't this qualify as some sort of peace crime?

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

Arctic Waters Warm Alarmingly, Delaying Winter

| Wed Dec. 12, 2007 6:36 PM EST

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We're hearing about the record-breaking iceless summer of 2007 in the Arctic, worse even than it first seemed. Now we're learning that these ice-free waters have deprived the Arctic of much of its natural insulation, enabling sea surface temperatures to rise 5-degrees C above average in one place this year—a high never before observed, says Michael Steele, oceanographer with the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory.

Superwarming surface waters affect how thick ice grows back in the winter, as well as its ability to withstand melting the next summer. Already this year the winter freeze-up in some areas is two months later than usual, boding poorly for next summer. The ocean warming might also be contributing to changes on land, including novel plant growth in the coastal Arctic tundra.

Steele is lead author of "Arctic Ocean surface warming trends over the past 100 years," accepted for publication in the American Geophysical Union's Geophysical Research Letters.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.