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Monday, August 28, 2006

Bush's trip to family home draws anti-war protesters

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — President Bush went to his parent's century-old summer home on the Maine coast for a little relaxation, a distant cousin's wedding and some family time. He got all that, along with a boisterous reminder nearly on his doorstep of the unpopularity of his Iraq policies.

What local police estimated were 700 anti-war demonstrators marched Saturday to within half a mile of the Bush compound before being turned back at a security checkpoint.

The compound, Walker's Point, is owned by the president's father and mother.

The protesters sang, chanted, beat drums, waved signs and played fiddles to call on Bush to bring troops home.

The group was loosely aligned with activist Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq who gained international attention when she shadowed Bush last summer while he vacationed at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll this month found that only about one-third of Americans support Bush's handling of Iraq.

A spokeswoman for Bush said he wasn't bothered by the demonstration that briefly took over the tiny, scenic downtown of Kennebunkport.

"As the president has said, Americans are free to protest," said White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino.

The president was drawn to his first visit to the family's retreat in two years by the wedding of Walker Stapleton.

He is the son of the former president's cousin, Dorothy Walker Stapleton, and Craig Roberts Stapleton, the U.S. ambassador to France who was a partner with George W. Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Walker Stapleton married Jenna Bertocchi on Saturday before about 300 friends and family at St. Ann's Episcopal Church, a stone chapel overlooking the sea.

Over the weekend, others in the Bush family also were attending a memorial service for Grace Walker, the groom's grandmother, and the christening of a baby from the Walkers' side.

The president was skipping those events. He even stayed away from the reception after the nuptials. Aides said the president feared his presence, with his large entourage and rigid security requirements, would be disruptive.

Over his four-day Kennebunkport stay, the president declined the usual golf game with his dad in favor of taking his mountain bike about a half-hour away to a federally owned stretch of woods. He engaged in at least one Bush family tradition, fishing from his father's speedboat.

Bush did not entirely escape presidential duties. On Thursday, he met with the families of five fallen soldiers. He has engaged in telephone diplomacy on the crisis in Lebanon and the nuclear standoff with Iran. He also was keeping updated on the progress of Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Bush was to return to Washington today.

President Bush’s Vision, Resolve Praised

Barry Casselman editorializes in today’s Washington Post “After we were attacked on September 11, U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly favored the pursuit of our attackers in their base in Afghanistan. Mr. Bush and his advisers realized, however, that this would not solve the new long-term threat now posed by an enemy determined not only to remove our presence from the Middle East and destroy Israel, but also intent upon humiliating and overwhelming Western culture with an aggressive and feudal totalitarian culture of their own. A war was initiated in Iraq to remove a bestial dictator and to change this totalitarian nature of the Middle East. Virtually everyone concedes Saddam Hussein's cruelty, but many in the United States and most in Europe resisted the boldness and risk the president took to alter the chemistry of persistent feudalism in the Middle Eastern Islamic world. …His opponents continue to demonize Mr. Bush. But I continue to think his strategic vision is the best one, and the risk he took was a valid one. The struggle is not over in the Middle East, contrary to the perennial naysayers, but it is a time when outcomes are uncertain and our purpose is not transparent. … Eventually, those who oppose him, and even those who may despise him now, are likely to recognize and honor his lonely and historic journey.”

Clinton And Kerry Work To Make Sure Felons Can Vote

Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, writes in today’s Wall Street Journal, “With the exception of Maine and Vermont, every state disenfranchises criminals -- some while they're in prison, others while they're on parole or probation, and still others after they've served their full terms. But that's beginning to change in some states. Governors in Iowa and Virginia have unilaterally restored voting rights to many felons, while legislatures in Maryland and Nebraska have liberalized their laws. At the federal level, a bill supported by Sens. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, among others, would force states to allow felons no longer under sentence to vote. That bill is on hold, at least while the Democrats are out of power. But lawsuits in federal courts in Florida, Washington and New York have claimed that depriving felons of the franchise violates the Voting Rights Act. This movement is in the wrong direction. We should have fewer felons voting, not more.”

Monday, February 27, 2006

I Can Still Do Math

At least at an eighth grade level, that is. I found this very easy.

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Larry Don't Live Here No Mo'!

I also wanted to post this link to a silly animation starring Larry Summers, who is resigning as president of Harvard. The animators have now added a disclaimer saying that they have no political message and made the thing way back in 2004. I think it's indicative of some of the squabbles Summers got into during his brief presidency, though. And it's also got that great Shaniqua song playing, so what's not to like?

Dubai Ports and the Extra 45 Days

I happen to know a lot about this for reasons I don't want to disclose on the blog. Anyway, there now seems to be some clamoring for an extended review process of the Dubai Ports World acquisition of control of six US ports, as the New York Times is reporting:

An objection from any member of the interagency committee would have started, as required by law, an additional 45-day review. Such a review is being urged by governors and members of Congress.
That interagency committee is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and its role is defined by statute in section 2170 of an appendix to Title 50 of the United States Code. Section 2170a says:

The President or the President's designee may make an investigation to determine the effects on national security of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers . . . by or with foreign persons which could result in foreign control of persons engaged in interstate commerce in the United States. If it is determined that an investigation should be undertaken, it shall commence no later than 30 days after receipt by the President or the President's designee of written notification . . . Such investigation shall be completed no later than 45 days after such determination.
In short, there's the initial 30-day review, and if there are still national security concerns, there's an additional 45-day investigation, which is what a lot of people are suggesting now for Dubai Ports. The odd thing, though, is that such an additional 45-day investigation is actually required by statute when the foreign entity acquiring control of sensitive US assets is owned by a foreign government. Dubai Ports World is owned by the UAE government. This is in section 2170b:

The President or the President's designee shall make an investigation . . . in any instance in which an entity controlled by or acting on behalf of a foreign government seeks to engage in any merger, acquisition, or takeover which could result in control of a person engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that could affect the national security of the United States.
As the statute defined that term "investigation" in subsection a, it refers to the additional 45 days.

The bottom line is that the 45 days is supposed to be a requirement in this instance, not optional. If the members of the Bush administration's CFIUS didn't do the extra 45-day review here, they simply did not follow the statutory mandate, which requires a minimum 75-day total time reviewing anything that could become owned by a foreign government, regardless of how concerned they are about national security in any particular instance.

You know, reading the law really does help sometimes! I am tempted to attack the massive amount of other misinformation that is out there on this story, but I have probably said too much already.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Those Controversial Cartoons, Again

Glenn Reynolds has posted two of them. "Hardly worth rioting over, in my opinion. But the people who do this sort of thing don't care much about my opinion. So why should I care about theirs?"

I have already said that I find this to be an exceedingly dumb controversy in a world full of stupid controversies. Now we'll see if the crazies threaten Reynolds or hack the instapundit.com site.

Don't the rioters in the Middle East realize that the American public's attention moved on once the vice president shot somebody? That was a much more fun story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Question I was waiting for Matt Lauer to ask

When he was interviewing the female halfpipe gold medalist, Lauer really should've thrown in, "Dude, where can I score some weed in Torino?" I don't think she would've missed a beat.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lynn Swann is Stupid

Lynn Swann, his path now cleared to be the Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, had his big national interview debut yesterday with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's This Week. He used the occasion to declare himself pro-life and also to reveal that he didn't understand the basics of Roe v. Wade:

In his interview with Stephanopoulos, Swann appeared to be unfamiliar with the way the Roe decision worked. Swann has been criticized for his lack of political experience and apparent reluctance to discuss policy issues in detail.

"Well, if the Supreme Court overturned (Roe v. Wade), then, they've basically overturned it," he said. "They've basically said that, you know, you can't have an abortion."

When Stephanopoulos informed him that a high court vote overturning Roe would leave it up to individual states to regulate abortions, Swann replied: "Well if they send it to the states to decide ... as opposed to making a decision that abortions are illegal, then I would sign [legislation] making abortions illegal."

Idiot! All that Roe v. Wade says is that states cannot categorically ban abortion. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then individual states will be free to ban abortion entirely, or retain abortion as legal, as they see fit. If you are going to run for office on a pro-life platform, you might want to educate yourself a wee bit on the law of abortion.

When asked the next obvious question in this area by Stephanopoulos, Swann confirmed is idiocy by saying that he had no idea what the hell stem cell research was all about. Ladies and gentleman, your next governor of Pennsylvania.

Dick Cheney Shot a Guy!

I'm late to the party, but what a ridiculous news item. Our vice president really is a terrible human being, and I shouldn't find this so funny considering a guy was shot. Whatever, this should teach these stupid old farts that they shouldn't be waddling around in the woods shooting at birds anyway.

Here's Joel Achenbach:

As you know, quail hunting is what passes for military service in the upper ranks of the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney knows what it is like to fire a weapon in anger, particularly when the birds flush from the bracken unexpectedly. George W. Bush has flown airplanes, many of them folded from his personal stationery. Donald Rumsfeld has piloted boats and submarines through seemingly impenetrable mounds of suds. And so on. ...

I find the story reassuring. Cheney is a man who doesn't just talk the talk. No, if he's going to send American soldiers into harm's way, where they might be shot at any moment by a deranged fanatic, he's also going to do the same thing to his close personal friends.

Read the post above it mocking the Winter Olympics too, Achenblog was on fire today.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Give Him a Gold and an Oscar

The American guy who won a gold medal in the really long speed skating event a little while ago (in TV time) said afterward that the victory was extra special to him because it was the thirteenth anniversary of his grandmother dying of brain cancer. In fact, he said he wrote her name on his skates today, and he added that he and his coach were crying before the race began.

They just finished up a report on Michelle Kwan who, after a difficult practice, had tears welling up too. I foresee a dramatic comeback for Kwan as she beats back injury to compete in the figure skating. If she medals, there won't be a dry eye in the house!

Who does NBC have as a screenwriter for the Olympics this time around? Could this possibly be more maudlin? Unfortunately it's snowy here so I haven't been out drinking.