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Kick Assiest Blog
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated
Mood:  spacey
Topic: News

>>>>>
SAUDI VIEW: A woman in Riyadh reads the paper in her home. Selected news articles in Arabic and other languages can now be read in English on WatchingAmerica.com.

Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated

Website lets Americans see what the world's non-English publications say about US policy

The headline reads, "Columbus' Discovery of America: History's 'Biggest Mistake.' " That might sound harsh to an American audience, but it's less likely to ruffle Iraqis reading it in Arabic. Another zinger, this one from Tunisia, bluntly states, "The United States: a Country Beyond the Law." A Mexican headline declares: "Time Near for Bush to Pay the Piper."

The stories offer a glimpse of how foreigners feel about the only superpower. And they were all available recently on www.WatchingAmerica.com, a website launched earlier this year that simply culls, without comment, the foreign online press for commentary about America.

Each article, posted within a day, has an English translation and a link to the original, for those fluent in foreign tongues.

Robin Koerner, cofounder of the site, sees its value as one of opening minds.

"If I want to conduct any kind of relationship, even a personal relationship, I need to know how what I say and do affects the person on the receiving end," he explains. To emphasize the point, he quotes the English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

Extend the relationship analogy to international affairs, Mr. Koerner says, and you find that knowing how the people you interact with feel about the things you do to them enables you to make better choices. "I think what we're doing is giving Americans a bit of the road map ahead."

The view from abroad is largely unflattering. Koerner estimates that roughly 5 percent of the news is positive, which doesn't mean 95 percent is overtly negative. About half is simply neutral, he says.

"There certainly isn't any American flag-waving going on [on the site]," agrees Al Tompkins, a journalism teacher at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. He says it's important for citizens to stay informed and to listen to many points of view, even if they don't like them or agree with them.

While the Internet has made access to foreign media only a click away, what makes WatchingAmerica.com especially powerful is its translations of foreign-language news into English. (The Middle East Media Research Institute - www.memri.org - also offers translations of Arabic, Farsi, and some Hebrew media reports.)

The distinction may seem subtle. But news organizations such as Al Jazeera put out different material for an English-speaking audience than for an Arabic-speaking audience. With this website, "you're getting to see what, in some cases, your enemies are saying to each other in their own languages about you," Koerner says. "That gives you insights which you cannot get from what they offer in English."

One such broadside is from the Iraqi paper Azzaman, whose story about "History's Biggest Mistake" goes on to say, "If Columbus was alive today and witnessed the scandals of abuse and torture inside the US detention centers of Abu Ghraib, Umm Qasr, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan, he would have discovered the magnitude of his error and headed back to Spain ... to apologize to the world for the wars, disasters, and calamities that he had brought forth."

WatchingAmerica.com has no paid staff, and Koerner launched it from his own pocket. The entrepreneurial Brit, who has business consulting and writing experience, paired upwith American Will Kern, a former copy editor for the International Herald Tribune, to get the idea off the ground. And computer-savvy friends "wired" up the technology.

The translations are all done using software and then smoothed out by Koerner and volunteers - often native speakers of the relevant languages. As the site's profile rises, Koerner says, more such volunteers are offering their assistance.

To become self-supporting through advertising, however, the site would need 100,000 hits a day. Right now it gets about 6,000, Koerner says. That small number represents an interesting "intellectual elite" from think tanks and mainstream media, as well as regular check-ins from the US State Department and CIA, "because we're doing some of their work for them," Koerner says dryly.

To reach a broader audience is the goal. But are Americans ready for a site like this? Mr. Tompkins of the Poynter Institute thinks not. "Americans are not incredibly open-minded about others who says critical things about America." Koerner, however, thinks that since 9/11, more Americans are ready for introspection.

What they may not recognize yet, he adds, is that people outside the US are often more affected by American policy than Americans themselves.

Last January, when WatchingAmerica.com started to link to foreign articles and translate them, the founders had no idea how the foreign media would react. But all the news organizations that have been in touch about their content appearing on the site have been "totally delighted," Koerner says, and have begun alerting him to other stories in their publications.

You've got to give some understanding to get some, he suggests. "You are breaking down the final barrier among people from around the world - the language barrier."

Christian Science Monitor ~ Susan Llewelyn Leach ** Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated

Posted by uhyw at 5:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 5:06 PM EDT
Communist Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors

A socialist candidate for mayor of Seattle is asking the city Ethics and Elections Commission to conceal the names of his campaign donors from public disclosure.

Chris Hoeppner, a member of the Socialist Workers Party, wants an exemption similar to one granted earlier this year to Linda Averill, another socialist candidate running for City Council.

City rules normally require candidates to disclose the names of donors who give more than $25. If donors give more than $100, their employers also must be disclosed.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that exemptions to contributor disclosure laws are justified in cases where fear of harassment or threats of violence against unpopular viewpoints creates a chilling effect on the willingness of people to associate with a political party or ideology.

Hoeppner is hoping for such an exemption at a special meeting of the ethics commission today.

The ethics commission granted Averill, a member of the Freedom Socialist Party, such an exemption after she won a federal lawsuit against the city in 2003.

Averill is running this year against City Council President Jan Drago. She has raised more than $9,300 so far and her contributors are identified only by code in her campaign filings. For example, her biggest donors are listed merely as "C12" and "C5," who both work for "E4."

Hoeppner said his attorney will present evidence to the commission that his donors, too, would legitimately fear harassment if identified by name. He pointed to past instances of socialists receiving threats and to the bombing of a socialist party headquarters in Pennsylvania last year.

Hoeppner, 55, is a laid-off meat packer who advocates strengthening unions and the withdrawal of "imperialist" U.S. military forces from nations including Iraq, Cuba and South Korea.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is running for a second four-year term. With a couple weeks until the July 29 filing deadline, he faces little in the way of organized opposition.

Besides Hoeppner, Nickels is being challenged by Christal Wood, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council two years ago, and Richard Lee, who hosts a public-access cable television show devoted to conspiracy theories about the death of rock star Kurt Cobain.

Seattle Times ~ Jim Brunner ** Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors

Also seen at the fruitckake commie lib loser website...
The Militant ~ Connie Allen ** Socialist Workers Party mayoral candidate in Seattle

Posted by uhyw at 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 4:24 PM EDT
Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: News

Jenna Bush, right, daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush, hands out postcards of her pets to dancing children during a visit to the Equal Opportunity for All Trust Fund with her mother, U.S. first lady Laura Bush, not pictured, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wednesday, July 13, 2005. >>>>>

Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - In front of the television cameras, Jenna Bush listens silently to Tanzanian orphans who have been left by AIDS with no family. Across the continent in South Africa, twin sister Barbara quietly cares for children afflicted with the devastating disease.

First lady Laura Bush's trip to Africa this week has brought her 23-year-old daughters back into the spotlight that they have shunned for most of their father's presidency. The trip also found them — at least by Wednesday — dealing with it in different ways.

Jenna Bush has emerged as a prominent, if quiet, partner in her mother's African goodwill tour. Accompanying Mrs. Bush as she left South Africa for Tanzania and the trip's final stop in Rwanda, Jenna decided to begin taking part in all her mother's events.

It was a reversal from the early part of the trip, when both she and Barbara did everything they could to remain unseen and unheard.

On Wednesday, Barbara remained behind — and behind the scenes — in Cape Town, South Africa, where she has been working as a hospital volunteer with young AIDS sufferers and other patients.

Laura Bush said Jenna was comfortable with assuming a more public role — and wanted to demonstrate the commitment of her father's administration and her country to this impoverished continent.

Back in Washington, Jenna has followed her mother into the teaching profession, and will continue this year working at a public charter school that serves inner-city elementary-age students.

"She thinks that her presence is ... important to let American kids her age, young people her age — as well as African girls her age — know that her generation is also committed," the first lady said on the plane that brought her and her daughter here from Cape Town.

Indeed, dressed in a colorful print skirt, aqua sweater and white T-shirt, Jenna appeared poised and relaxed as she stayed by her mother's side here, from an airport greeting by dozens of traditional African dancers to an evening dinner at the presidential compound with Tanzanian first lady Anna Mkapa. She didn't seem troubled that photographers angled to document nearly her every move.

At a Catholic-run AIDS prevention and treatment center, she handed out gifts of pens, postcards of her pets, bookmarks and spiral notebooks to several children orphaned by AIDS. The children, some of whom are also afflicted with the disease, sat on benches overlooking a dusty courtyard and told Mrs. Bush and Jenna how the charity is helping to support them and get them drug treatment.

Later, at a social services organization for the rural poor, Jenna snapped up beaded jewelry — two necklaces and a bracelet — made by poor Tanzanian women trying to support their families. She mingled among children dancing, singing and Hula-Hooping for the first lady's entourage and passed out more of her trinkets.

As for Barbara, Mrs. Bush said she was due to return to the United States later this month after spending several weeks working in the South African hospital with some friends. She didn't elaborate on what was next, and the White House wasn't revealing what — if any — plans Barbara has made.

The first lady said both her daughters, who graduated from college last year — Barbara from Yale and Jenna from the University of Texas — feel strongly about helping others.

"It is certainly part of the age. They're idealistic and they wanted to help," Mrs. Bush said. "But it's a particularly American character and I admire that very much in my own girls and in the young people I've met around the country."

The press-shy Bush twins campaigned cross-country last year for their father's re-election, even putting on a nationally televised joint comedy schtick at the Republican National Convention. But afterward, the girls perhaps best known for their party-hopping, fashion-forward ways went back under wraps where they have mostly been — aside from some legal run-ins over underage drinking and occasion gossip-column accounts — since their father took office in 2001.

So it was no surprise that Jenna, accompanying her parents to a summit of world leaders, kept a low profile in Scotland. Or that the twins, united in Africa when Jenna and Mrs. Bush met up with Barbara for a private weekend safari, made every effort to avoid notice.

Jenna and Barbara hustled up the plane's back stairs to dodge official tarmac ceremonies and skipped all their mother's public appearances in Cape Town — even though a primary focus of the first lady's trip is the AIDS crisis that had drawn Barbara to South Africa. Instead, they hung out around the city and went out for private dinners with their mom.

Even on a chance encounter with reporters in the hotel where Mrs. Bush's entourage was staying, Barbara strode through the lobby with her hand shielding her face.

Jenna, however, offered a cautious "Hello." Then the next day, the same girl who once on a European trip with her mother insisted on being shielded from the cameras by a garment bag, took her place in Mrs. Bush's official delegation.

Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Jennifer Loven ** Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight

Posted by uhyw at 1:35 AM EDT
Sudden, mysterious drop in China's oil consumption
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

From China, Some Relief on Oil Demand
By Keith Bradsher

PARIS - A sudden and mysterious drop in China's oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency's estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.

After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China's overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.

The drop is the latest in a series of unclear and often conflicting indications about whether the Chinese economy is still growing strongly. Top officials of the agency said in interviews they believed that the decline was temporary and that they expected Chinese demand to rebound in the second half of the year, but added that world oil prices could take a heavy blow if Chinese use did not increase.

The International Energy Agency, supported by the governments of the world's leading consuming nations, has recently become known for warning that the world does not have enough oil and calling for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to push its member countries to increase their output. But William C. Ramsay, the agency's deputy executive director, said Wednesday that there were signs that worldwide production capacity was starting to move ahead of demand for the year, and he expressed surprise that oil prices had nonetheless stayed high.

"There are not the conditions out there right now that should lead to these kinds of prices," he said in an interview in his office here.

The international oil market has gotten out of line with the availability of oil, he said, adding: "It gets in one of these bullish moods and it has to be dynamited out of it. The fundamentals are not disquieting."

While many traders have expressed concern about China's announcement a week ago that it was close to completing the first of three oil tank farms for a strategic reserve, Mr. Ramsay said he doubted that Chinese officials would opt to fill the reserve quickly as long as oil remained around $60 a barrel. [In New York on Wednesday, oil for August delivery declined 61 cents, settling at $60.01 a barrel.]

China's strong demand for energy has helped push Cnooc, one of its leading oil companies, to make an $18.5 billion proposal to acquire Unocal of California.

Officials of the International Energy Agency said there were four possible explanations for China's drop in oil demand in the second quarter, the most probable being that this was a temporary decrease. The most likely cause, said Fatih Birol, the agency's chief economist and head of economic analysis, was that China had not been allowing the domestic price of electricity and many refined products, like gasoline and diesel fuel, to rise nearly as quickly as world prices. This has caused power-generating concerns and service stations to sell less electricity, and less gasoline and diesel fuel, so as to limit their losses.

Many Chinese power stations have stopped burning fuel oil to produce electricity because the prices they are allowed to charge per kilowatt are not high enough to cover the cost of importing fuel. Chinese refiners have been selling part of their output overseas at higher prices than they can get in the highly regulated domestic market - where gasoline, for example, now sells for $1.63 a gallon.

China's consumption of fuel, a portion of overall oil consumption, plunged 19 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, said Jeff Brown, an oil-demand analyst here, while growth in refined fuel consumption slowed to a crawl.

Mr. Birol said that artificial energy shortages caused by distorted prices were the most likely basis for the curtailed availability of fuel, especially diesel.

But while diesel-fuel shortages and lines of trucks at empty service stations were a visible problem in China in April, they were not evident during trips over the last three weeks through southern China and to Beijing, and there has been little talk of continuing shortages in news media on the mainland or in Hong Kong.

When told this, Mr. Birol said there had been a vigorous debate in the last two days within the International Energy Agency over how to explain the decline in Chinese consumption, and he acknowledged that other, longer-term explanations were possible.

These include the possibility that the overall Chinese economy is starting to slow, that China is generating more of its electricity from coal instead of oil, and that China is improving energy conservation in response to high prices.

Economic statistics have been contradictory. Exports are still growing rapidly. But energy-intensive production of steel, cement and other construction material has started to slow as the government cracked down on real estate speculation.

In the last year, China has considerably expanded the production capacity of its coal mines and, just as important, the capacity of its railroad system to haul coal to markets. It has also exhorted businesses and households to use less energy, through steps like setting thermostats higher so air-conditioning systems do not have to work as hard.

NY Times ~ Keith Bradsher ** From China, Some Relief on Oil Demand

Posted by uhyw at 1:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 1:40 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Bill Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories


Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks

WASHINGTON - Former President Clinton, defending his senator-wife's statements on abortion, said Wednesday that Democrats are held to a double standard.

The comment came during remarks to Campus Progress, a left-leaning student group. He said young people in his party should speak directly to conservative voters.

He contended that Republicans have defined the abortion debate in a way that boxes in Democrats.

"So for example, if you're a Democrat and you have sort of normal impulses, you're a sellout, like when Hillary said abortion is a tragedy for virtually everybody who undergoes it, we ought to do all we can to reduce abortion," Clinton said.

"All of a sudden," he continued, the media began asking, "'Is she selling out? Is she abandoning her principles?' But if John McCain, who's pro-life, works with Hillary on global warming, he's a man of principle moving to the middle."

"It's nuts," the former president said.

A speech by Sen. Clinton in January in Albany, N.Y., led to a flurry of speculation that she was shifting slightly to the right. In that speech, she called abortion a "sad, even tragic choice" and said her husband's administration had done a great deal to reduce the number of abortions in the United States.

Conservatives and abortion-rights foes portrayed the speech as a sign that she was edging toward the middle with an eye toward the 2008 presidential campaign. Her supporters, however, said she was simply repeating positions she had stated since her 2000 campaign for the Senate.

On the Net: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Devlin Barrett ** Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks

Posted by uhyw at 11:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 1:24 AM EDT
Sen. McCain stars in boob raunch fest movie... Wedding Crashers
Mood:  silly
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff


SEN. MCCAIN STARS IN BOOB RAUNCH FEST

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- who once held hearings chastising Hollywood studios for producing R- rated films and marketing them to teens -- is now playing a part in one!

Opening this weekend, WEDDING CRASHERS, a movie packed with raunchy moments and bare-breasted beauties bedding down with the guys.

And Senator John McCain!

"In a summer full of sequels and remakes rated PG-13, we feel an original R-rated comedy will stand out," said Rolf Mittweg, president of worldwide distribution and marketing at NEW LINE.

Executives at the studio made a deliberate decision to swim against the current and fill the movie with four-letter words and lots-a-sex.

McCain joked on Tuesday, "Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and me - we're all pretty much starring roles." McCain said he couldn't resist a chance to appear in a Hollywood movie because "it impresses my kids."

Actors Wilson and Vaughn play divorce mediators who slip into weddings in order to seduce guests. Its slogan is "Life's a party. Crash it."

WEDDING CRASHER's director, David Dobkin, admitted that there had been some preliminary discussions about tailoring it for a less restrictive rating.

"At one point we sent the script to someone who knew about the rating system," Dobkin reported, "and he sent back a list of R-rated elements. It was a massive list. The two funniest scenes in the movie would have had to go."

During his senate hearings on Hollywood, McCain lectured Hollywood executives for pushing R-rated films:

"Motion pictures have to ability to elevate and inspire us. To weave wonderful tales, and to record our history. Clearly though, such is not the case."

Drudge Report Exclusive ** SEN. MCCAIN STARS IN BOOB RAUNCH FEST

Posted by uhyw at 11:43 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 17, 2005 5:23 AM EDT
100% Leftist ~ Sheila Jackson Lee
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

100% Leftist ~ Sheila Jackson Lee

♠ Congresswoman representing the 18th District of Texas, downtown Houston
♠ Member of the radical Progressive Caucus
♠ Member of the Congressional Black Caucus
♠ Ken Lay of Enron helped bankroll her first election to Congress
♠ Lent her prestige to 2001 anti-Jewish United Nations conference in Durban, South Africa
♠ Provided propaganda for Communist FARC guerrillas in Colombia
♠ Voted against school vouchers for Black parents in Washington, D.C.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee belongs to the radical Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. The group Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rates her voting record in recent years to be 100 percent on the left side of legislation. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In 2000 Jackson Lee joined seven fellow Progressive Caucus members and one Republican in signing a letter that called on President George W. Bush to "delink" economic sanctions from military sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. This would have allowed Hussein to receive economic aid while refusing to comply with his international agreements.

Like most leftwing Democrats, Jackson Lee voted against the use of force in Iraq. (She later voted for a supplemental $87 billion appropriation to support troops in the field.) In February 2003 she was one of six House Democrats who filed a lawsuit to require President Bush to get explicit congressional permission before invading Iraq.

Jackson Lee also voted against allowing oil drilling on a scant 20 acres of the 1.2 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), thus voting to keep America dependent on Middle Eastern oil while opposing efforts to make that region politically democratic and stable. In 2003 and 2004, however, the Houston Democrat voted in favor of the Bush Administration's national energy policy.

In 2001 the United States withdrew most of its diplomatic participation in the United Nations' World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia And Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa after it became clear that the gathering would give prominence not only to anti-American but also to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic leaders. Despite this, seven members of Congress including Congresswoman Jackson Lee attended, and along with seven other congressional Democrats lent their prestige to what became an anti-Jewish hatefest.

In 2000, 2001 and 2004 Jackson Lee voted against reducing or ending the marriage penalty that imposed higher taxes on married couples than on singles. In 2000 and 2001 she voted against the "death tax" that can force the sale of a small family farm or business to pay tax on their value of up to 50 percent when a family member dies. In 2000 he voted against reducing taxes on Social Security benefits.

The Weekly Standard reported that Rep. Jackson Lee incurred a ridiculous cost to taxpayers, and might be in violation of House ethics rules, by having an aide drive her daily in a government-leased car to and from her congressional office to her Capitol Hill apartment one block away. She once told a staffer who had failed to reserve a limousine, "You don't understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen!"

Jackson Lee has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). She voted in 2003 against banning partial-birth abortion except to save a mother's life. She voted in 2004 against making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. In 1999 she voted against banning physician-assisted suicide.

(More)
Discover The Network.org Blog ~ Lowell Ponte ** SHEILA JACKSON LEE

Posted by uhyw at 1:43 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Disney/ABC News chairman may join Dems in Supreme Court battle
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

George Mitchell: The Dems' Supreme Point Man?

The former Senate Majority Leader, now a noted peacemaker, may be tapped to help lead the party's strategy on a new high court nominee

The battle on Capitol Hill over filling one, possibly two, U.S. Supreme Court vacancies is heating up fast. Faced with a high-powered lineup of GOP tacticians and advisers, Senate Democrats are now working to assemble their own team.

One key person under consideration to lead the effort, several Democratic sources tell BusinessWeek Online, is former Democratic Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine, chairman of the board at Walt Disney and chairman of law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary. He has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Mitchell also serves on Staples' board of directors.

Mitchell is traveling and was unavailable for comment for this story, a spokesperson said. Through an aide, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is coordinating Democratic efforts, declined to comment.

FIERCELY PARTISAN, TOO. Mitchell's recent history makes him an interesting choice, given the stakes. Since he left the Senate in 1995, Mitchell has developed a role as a global player in conflict resolution. In the late 1990s he led the negotiations that ultimately resulted in a historic peace accord in Northern Ireland. He also served as chairman of an international fact-finding panel on ending violence in the Middle East. And more recently, he shepherded efforts to win board support for Rober Iger to succeed Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney in a contentious corporate battle.

Still, as Senate Democratic Leader during the '80s and early '90s, Mitchell was a fiercely partisan warrior who often prevailed in legislative battles with a GOP White House led by President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush.

Whoever leads the Democratic team will face formidable competition. Last week, the White House appointed former Tennessee senator and actor Fred Thompson to shepherd the President's nominee through the Senate confirmation process. President Bush also named former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie to serve as a kind of campaign manager for the Supreme Court fight. Gillespie will temporarily leave his lobbying firm, Quinn Gillespie & Associates.

DEFINING MOMENTS? Bush is expected to soon nominate a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. In addition, Chief Justice William Rehnquist is believed to be considering retirement, and rumors have been flying that his departure is imminent. With the high court's future direction in the balance, partisans from both sides of the aisle say these choices could be the defining moments for Bush's second term.

Senate Democratic aides say they're also trying to pull together an "advisory group" of top operatives to work the Supreme Court fight in much the same way Gillespie is coordinating efforts at the White House. No names are final yet, but Reid spokesman Jim Manley says one person under consideration is Thomas E. Donilon, a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, and now a partner at the law firm O'Melveny & Myers.

"NO FIGHT, NO MONEY." Sources say the Democrats are interested in other prominent figures. Among them: Thurgood Marshall Jr., an attorney at the law firm Swidler Berlin and a former staffer in the Clinton Administration. He's the son of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

One campaign vet already on board for the battle is Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton. Lockhart has signed on with People for the American Way, one of the many liberal activist groups poised to try to block nominees they deem to be too conservative.

While Bush has already chided some conservatives publicly for criticizing potential nominee Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, some Democrats worry about their own activist groups trying to exert pressure on Senate leaders. "The groups on both sides have agendas other than trying to win this fight," says Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic political adviser and lobbyist. He points to the e-mail fund-raising requests pouring forth from the liberal groups: "They're all trying to raise money. The groups have an interest in having a fight. If there's no fight, there's no money."

PLENTY OF HIGH PROFILES. Still uncertain is how the Democrats would benefit from having a counterpart on their team to Thompson, who in addition to being an ex-senator is a professional actor. "The knee-jerk response is they have one [elder statesman], so we should have one," says a Democratic source. But what a grey beard could bring to this battle for the Democrats is an open question -- after all Thompson will be squiring an actual nominee on Capitol Hill. Democrats will be trying only to shape the battle. "I don't know what a Thompson equivalent would do on our side," says Elmendorf.

Also factoring into the decision is that Democrats have some of the Senate's most visible players on the Judiciary Committee -- possibly obviating the need for a media-friendly face for their effort. The Judiciary panel that will consider the nominee includes Senators Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), and Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), all high-profile, media-savvy figures. It's also unclear whether Mitchell, should he accept the role, would take time off from his other corporate duties. Still, the interest alone indicates that the stakes in this high court drama couldn't be higher.

Business Week ~ Eamon Javers ** George Mitchell: The Dems' Supreme Point Man?

READER COMMENTS

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Nickname: lumberjay
Review: It's President Bush's choice. He won. The three senators you mentioned on the Democrat side, the plagarist, the drunk, and the Eddie Haskell of politics remind me of how thankful I am that it is not their choice.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 6:31 PM

Nickname: tropdecul
Review: Suggest the liberals seek out Michael Jackson and use Neverland rather than Eisner and Disneyworld/land..perverted drama was never better than during the Jackson "in your justice system face" trial. What a farce! All noise and no substance is what our courts system is unfortunately all about.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 6:01 PM

Nickname: JR
Review: I want my money back for my season to Walt Disney World. I did not pay money in order for the liberal Mitchell to be a part of the Supreme Court battle. Advise who I can write to or e-mail for this refund. No politics should be involved in any organization, if they are not to make it known. J. R. Florida
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:54 PM

Nickname: Ron Boss
Review: My advice to Mr. Bush is to stand tall as he always does and give the democrats all the battle they can handle. I would remind President Bush that this is no tiime to be timid and not to back down on nominating a justice that will stand by the Constitution. Thanks.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:46 PM

Nickname: TZ
Review: Making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Republicans are going to kill the filibuster on judicial canidates for the Supreme Court and that will take care of that.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:39 PM

Nickname: JC
Review: The Democrats don't get it. THEY LOST, John Kerry did not win....They don't get to pick the NEW SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. GEORGE W. BUSH WON AND HE GETS TO PICK THE NEXT 2 SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. Get over it ..demo's YOU LOST CHRISTIANS OF C.C.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:31 PM

Nickname: Jeff
Review: Sheeze, you would think that this is like running for freakin' dog catcher in Podunk, USA. Get a grip folks, the President appoints and the Senate just gets to confirm. The Republicans should remind themselves that they won the freakin' White House, Senate and House. They are in charge and should act like it. Ain't it hilarious how the opposition forms BEFORE there is even a nominee? Give me a break, Teddy!
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:25 PM

Nickname: tom
Review: Seeing as how liberals are pulling for American failures everywhere we need strong constitutional jurists.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:17 PM

Nickname: Peter
Review: An excellent piece of reporting. Seems the Democrats are fielding the same old team with same old arguments. No wonder they are losing. But can you imagine the hue and cry if a former Republican Senate majority leader was chairman of the board of one of the three broadcast networks and weighed in on a fight like this?
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:09 PM

Nickname: JR
Review: It would be foolish for Mitchell to further associate Disney with this political battle. It will only reinforce the general belief that Hollywood is in the tank for Democrats.
Date reviewed: Jul 12, 2005 5:05 PM


Posted by uhyw at 3:44 PM EDT
Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Threatening IRS Audits to Conservative Group
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Group Says

A conservative advocacy group says it will not be intimidated by pressure from Sen. Dick Durbin's office.

Move America Forward, a group that supports the U.S. military and wants to eject the United Nations from the United States, is currently running broadcast ads criticizing Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or mad regimes like Pol Pot's.

"But these aren't the faces of torturers, the ad says: "They're the heroic men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. They're our sons and daughters fighting for the cause of freedom around the world. Support our troops, at MoveAmericaForward.com."

Durbin's office is trying to silence Move America Forward, the group says, by hinting to an Illinois newspaper (the Northwest Herald of Crystal Lake) that the Internal Revenue Service should audit Move America Forward.

Someone from Durbin's office was quoted as telling the newspaper - in connection with Move America Forward -- "Have you ever seen that H&R Block commercial where the guy leans in and says, 'I see an audit'?"

"For the office of a United States senator to threaten reprisals from the IRS against an organization that is supporting our troops in harm's way is absolutely reprehensible," said Mark Washburn, executive director of Move America Forward.

"One of the grounds used to threaten impeachment of President Richard Nixon was that he politicized the IRS and tried to use IRS audits of his political enemies to shut them down or silence them. That is precisely what Senator Durbin's office is doing now, Washburn said.

"There is no place for that in American politics, and Senator Durbin must be held accountable."

Move America Forward also accused Durbin's office of pressuring Illinois television stations not to run the television ad criticizing Durbin's remarks about U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay.

According to Move America Forward, two television stations have buckled under the pressure, including the ABC and NBC affiliates in Chicago. Both stations are refusing to run Move America Forward's ad, it says, although CBS's Chicago affiliate is running it.

Move America Forward said it will not be intimidated. It said it will continue to air the ad on Illinois network affiliates and nationwide on cable news networks despite the pressure from Durbin.

Last month, Durbin -- reading from an FBI memo on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay -- commented: "If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

Three days later, Durbin clarified but did not apologize for his comments. But a week later, Durbin formally apologized -- to people who were offended by his remarks:

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," Durbin said on June 21. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

Becoming emotional, Durbin also apologized directly to the U.S. military. "They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

On the Net:

Link to the Move America Forward TV ad

Thread about the ad from Right Nation.US Blog

Cybercast News Service ~ Susan Jones ** Durbin's Staff Trying to Silence Critics, Group Says

Posted by uhyw at 2:33 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 2:38 AM EDT
Ten Commandments for Judges
Mood:  loud
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

Ten Commandments for Judges

† By James Atticus Bowden

President George W. Bush makes one of the most important decisions defining his legacy by uttering a name. If that name for Supreme Court justice is a constant conservative to the end of the life-time term, then the Bush presidency defines the start of an era. The momentum for change, like a glacier, will creak forward. Anything less, including a scheme of one conservative for two open seats means enough conservative Christians stay home, even if Hillary runs, and liberals win the 2008 election. The U.S. Culture War widens, deepens, and threatens because the judges will get worse.

A conservative justice affirms the majority winning elections across the nation. A "moderate" justice overturns the elected will of the people. Stressing the majority with a liberal who brings more judicial tyranny is worse than frustrating the minority who have no right to rule.

There is no "consensus" judge because there is no consensus in America. Perhaps, we should build a majority to get judges to display these Ten Commandments.

I. Thou art not God. You don't know when life begins or ends. Don’t make up "rights" to kill humans or kill helpless people yourself, just because you can. The state legislatures decide legal medical procedures by exception.

II. Thou art not Priest-Kings. Don't tell people when, how, what, or where they can pray. The state legislatures settle how much public prayer, including schools, is appropriate. Quit the cultural cleansing of Christianity.

III. Thou art not Congress. Don't write laws. Don't order governments to spend money or to appropriate taxes. You adjudicate disputes; you do not create the law of the land.

IV. Thou art not the President or Governor. Don't write regulations or try to administer government, including school systems. Don't order authorities to do to anything, except to carry out the orders they asked you to sign, like search warrants, within your narrowly defined written powers.

V. Thou shalt not follow foreign laws. Don't ever decide a case based on foreign law, tradition, or public opinion. Being ruled by foreign law is as despicable as by a foreign king.

VI. Thou shalt not change our Constitution. Ever. Don't make up penumbras. Don't change the meaning of the words. Private property is a right. Individual rights aren't group rights. A plaque doesn't establish religion.

VII. Honor the Family. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Don't pretend you know better than parents.

VIII. Honor Justice. Don't let the guilty go free because of a technicality. Compensate them in prison for some legal error.

IX. Honor the Rule of Law. Rule under the law, not over the law. Don't let your politics prejudice your rulings. You don't know global warming from evolution, so don't make up science either.

X. Thou shalt post the real X Commandments. Place the key foundational law of American civilization in a prominent place inside every courtroom. Look at it often and remember how small you are in power, place and time to the greatest law-giver, God, and to this great nation of the United States of America.

Regardless of whom President Bush appoints, all the judges at every level of government should harken to these Ten Commandments for Judges. If the judiciary becomes so corrupted by power that the tyranny of the few judges becomes the dictatorship of the many, the Culture War will get terrible.

The Great U.S. Culture War is essentially a Second American Civil War (ACW II). There is practically no violence, yet, because the Constitution provides for majority rule in free, fair elections. Both sides contend for power through elections. If elections become meaningless and personal values of family, faith and security are threatened, there will be hell to pay.

Judges who kill the helpless supporting partial birth abortion or euthanasia will go too far. Judges will make biblical speech, like saying homosexual behavior is a sin, hate speech, like it is in Canada and Europe. Judges could make criticizing Islam illegal, even from inside a church, as it is in Australia. Judges make a mockery of immigration laws already. They make illegal aliens almost un-deportable with greater rights than citizens, like paying in-state tuition fees.

The President and Congress can take power away from the Judiciary by law (Article II, U.S. Constitution) or Amendment. President Bush should begin by appointing wise conservatives of bedrock convictions and conscience. Better to tame the tyrants legally, or through the civil disobedience like the Civil Rights Movement, than the bloodier alternatives.

† Someday, we, the people, win. When?

Chron Watch ~ James Atticus Bowden ** Ten Commandments for Judges

Posted by uhyw at 2:09 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 2:13 AM EDT

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