My fellow Salto-ites will probably throw rotten fruit at me for posting this, but here is Alexander Cockburn on Ron Paul:
Huckabee's single rival as a genuinely interesting candidate is another Republican, Ron Paul, who set a record a few days ago, by raising $6 million in a single day. Unlike Huckabee, Paul's core issues are opposition to the war and to George Bush's abuse of civil liberties inscribed in the U.S. Constitution. His appeal, far more than Huckabee, is to the redneck rebel strain in American political life the populist beast that the US two-party system is designed to suppress. On Monday night Paul was asked on Fox News about Huckabee's Christmas ad, which shows the governor backed by a shining cross. Actually it's the mullions of the window behind him, but the illusion is perfect. Paul said the ad reminded him of Sinclair Lewis's line, that "when fascism comes to this country it will be wrapped in a flag and bearing a cross." In the unlikely event they had read Lewis, no other candidate would dare quote that line.
Obviously I'd never vote for Paul, and I wouldn't want him as president, and I know he disagrees with me on 90% of the issues, but...having an outspoken anti-imperialist and pro-civil liberties candidate in the race seems to me to be a good thing.
Seven people have been fired over electrical shocks given to two emotionally disturbed teenagers at the direction of what turned out to be a prank caller, the operator of the group home where the incident occurred said Thursday.
A state agency concluded that six staffers at a Stoughton residence run by the Canton-based Judge Rotenberg Education Center had ample reason to doubt the orders to administer the shocks.
On Aug. 26, a caller posed as a supervisor and said he was ordering the punishments from the two teens, ages 16 and 19, because they had misbehaved earlier in the evening. But none of the staffers had witnessed any problems, and other boys said the two teens had done nothing wrong. One boy suggested the call was a hoax.
The teens were awakened in the middle of the night and given the shock treatments, at times while their legs and arms were bound. One teen received 77 shocks and the other received 29. One boy was treated for two first-degree burns.
Ambinder: "Buried in the latest CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire is this intriguing stat:
On the question of which candidate would do a better job on health care, Clinton has always led. But in a month that saw Clinton deride Obama's plan for its lack of a mandate, the gap has narrowed by 16 points. All the other issues were relatively static.
Still, Clinton has a sizable, 21-pt advantage. But perhaps the increased attention to Obama's plan helped Democrats become more familiar with it.
BTW: 40% of New Hampshire voters say they're undecided and only 4% claim they'll be influenced by Iowa..."
Andrew Sullivan endorses Ron Paul for the GOP. I think they're all bad, but at least Romney isn't an obvious warmonger (eliminating Giuliani and McCain), isn't a lunatic (Paul), and seems bright (Huckabee). But whatevs. They're all losing to the Dem.
All love stories are beautiful at the beginning, and what we're witnessing now is the beginning of a new one: America and Barack Obama. The story begins with the world spinning off its axis, the country mired in dark times and the way of the fresh-faced savior seemingly blocked by a juggernaut agent of the Status Quo. Only in the end, in the moment that sportswriters die for and that comes once a generation in politics if we're lucky, the phenom rises to the occasion, gets the big hit in the big game and becomes a man before our very eyes. The old power recedes, and the new era is born.
That's grand language for a forum as vulgar and profane as presidential politics, but this is the moment that Barack Hussein Obama was born for, and it really is happening before our very eyes. Like Kennedy or Reagan or even Bill Clinton, Obama is a politician whose best chance for success has always been on the level of myth and hero worship; to win the Democratic nomination, he must successfully sell himself not just as a candidate but as an icon, a symbol of the best possible future for twenty-first-century multicultural America and an antidote to both the callous reactionary idiocy of the Bush administration and the shrewd but soulless corporatism of the Clinton machine.
With just weeks to go before Iowa, Obama is succeeding at that sales job, thanks in part to an unexpected avalanche of positive press and in even greater part to Hillary Clinton's recent performance as a creaky, suddenly vulnerable establishment villain. In just a few weeks, the first real votes in this insufferably long process will finally be cast, and when they are, the Powers That Be may find that they waited too long to get the real show started — that the long wait gave America just enough time to decide that it's ready to move on to something new.
For most of this campaign season, I doubted that Obama really was that new something. Now I'm not so sure he isn't. Whoever Barack Obama is, there's no doubting the genuineness of his phenomenon. And maybe, who knows, that's all that matters.
The key to this controversy was "the insinuation that Obama will be asked if he was a drug dealer." The racial undertones are ugly, and the voters noticed. Watch this vid. Make sure you see the end. More on a possible impact on the black community here. [Note: Sullivan is an Obama guy. Take everything with a grain of salt.]
Ezra Klein on the changing dynamic of the Dem race.
"Said pollster Keating Holland: "This race is not over by a long shot. Forty-three percent of Democratic primary voters, and a whopping 55 percent of GOP voters, say they are still trying to make up their minds."
It works this way: Employers would offer the "bond" to prospective employees, who would pay an annual premium and earn interest the company would match on their investments. If the employees never sue the employer, they get the principal, interest and employer contributions back about six months after leaving the company to coincide with the period within which they could file suit. If they do sue, they forgo their investment. The bond is priced such that theoretically, job applicants with litigation in the back of their minds would opt not to purchase it, and the employer wouldn't hire them.
It's actually quite a brilliant idea. By shifting costs to the employee, this could be much easier and more economical than actually curtailing overt discrimination in your company. Shareholders love that shit.
Should these become widespread, I fear that they would soon be referred to as "the ironically named 'antidiscrimination bonds'".
Manchester's Verizon Center has, undoubtedly, seen many iterations of the wave. I suspect, though, that the occasion of a visit from Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey marked the first time the arena hosted a wave performed by an audience divided equally between middle-aged ladies in Christmas sweaters, hipsters in cords and ringer-tees and men of indeterminate ages bundled into parkas. Almost all of the 8,500 people packing the Center were white — and they were there to see two black people. Neither of whom would sing or throw a ball.
Hillary comes across as cold, distant and conspiracy-minded, more like Richard Nixon than her sunny, charming husband. During the Clinton presidency she oversaw a disaster (the effort to sell Hillarycare) and argued hard against welfare reform, one of the promises on which he had campaigned. She is a hard-nosed competitor with a tough and seasoned staff.
But her record is weak, her personality off-putting and her support thin. If she wins the nomination it will be because her rivals – namely you – were weak when you confronted her and could not look her in the eye when you did. She is beatable but you have to raise your game. Iowa is your great chance for a breakthrough. Win it convincingly and you can build on it in the contests that follow. Lose it and victory becomes much more difficult.
‘It’s the next best thing to having a system in a car.'
"A new biker gang is roaming the streets of Richmond Hill, Queens. This crew of mostly teenagers can be seen riding along 103rd Avenue just west of the Van Wyck Expressway. The bikes roar, but the booming sound has nothing to do with engines — because there are no engines. They are ordinary bicycles, not motorcycles, although these contraptions look and sound more like rolling D.J. booths. They are outfitted with elaborate stereo systems installed by the youths."
'Cultural guerrillas' cleared of lawbreaking over secret workshop in Pantheon
"For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome. Under the supervision of group member Jean-Baptiste Viot, a professional clockmaker, they pieced apart and repaired the antique clock that had been left to rust in the building since the 1960s. Only when their clandestine revamp of the elaborate timepiece had been completed did they reveal themselves."