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IL-II: Another GOP Open Seat

The hits keep on coming for House Republicans who watched another member -- Illinois Rep. Jerry Weller -- announce he will not seek re-election in 2008.

Weller's announcement, which was made just weeks after a Chicago Tribune story that raised questions about land owned by the Congressman in Nicaragua, brings to eight the number of House Republicans headed for the exits. (It also came on the same day Politico's John Bresnahan and Patrick O'Connor detailed the rising tensions between House Minority Leader John Boehner and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole.)

And, Weller's seat -- like those held by Reps. Deborah Pryce (Ohio), Rick Renzi (Ariz.) and Jim Ramstad (Minn.) -- is almost certain to be competitive between the two parties. While the district was made slightly more Republican in the 2001 redistricting process, it's still relatively evenly divided along partisan lines.

Here's our sketch of the district:

Geography: The population hub of the seat is Joliet -- home of the prison where Jake Blues was incarcerated -- in the northeast corner of the district. But, thanks to a creative redistricting pen, it snakes southward all the way to the outskirts of Bloomington, Illinois.

Election Results: Weller, who formally announced his retirement last Friday, has held the district with relative ease since 1994 especially after redistricting made it more strongly Republican. President George W. Bush carried it 50 percent to 48 percent in 2000 before the redraw and 53 percent to 46 percent after it. Weller took 55 percent in 2006 against a little-known challenger, and given his potential ethical complications would likely have faced a more serious race in 2008.

Candidates: On the Democratic side, the leading choice appears to be state Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson who has a trip planned to Washington to talk with party leaders about the race. On the Republican side, state Sen. Christine Radogno is the most oft-mentioned name. Radogno took 41 percent -- roughly 1.4 million votes -- in her failed run for state treasurer in 2006. Radogno's big problem? She doesn't currently live in the district. Other GOP names mentioned include Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland, state Rep. Renee Kosel and state Sen. Gary Dahl.

Outlook: Another major problem for Republicans. In a neutral political environment Republicans would likely start off as the favorite to hold the seat but the current environment is anything but neutral. Much depends on whether each side gets their first-choice candidate and how much or little the political landscape changes between now and Election Day. The x-factor? If Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) is on Democrats' national ticket it could give his party's candidate a major boost in this seat.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 24, 2007; 1:43 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: Tom Davis and the Politics of MoveOn Bashing


'petra2' writes:
I've always voted Republican in elections -- going all the way back to Reagan. And guess what, barring something unforeseen, I'm planning to pull the lever for Hillary in November of 2008 (and yes, folks, I know there's that little matter of her having to win the nomination). I like Obama, too, but he's frankly a bit too far to the left for me. John Edwards just seems tired, and all the Republicans running are incredible pander bears (pandering to the extreme right wing, that is). It is somewhat disconcerting to have yet another dynasty member as our next president. But the times we live in are too critical NOT to choose the best person for the job. I don't care if she's not warm, or not spontaneous, or not likable. Dogonnit, she's clearly the most polished, intelligent, hard-working, well-prepared, and competent candidate running. We can't settle for anything else. I'm personally hoping for a Hillary-Obama ticket in 2008.
'freespeak' writes:
The question is, can anyone stop Clinton?
I say, if they can, now is the time to step up to the plate. She just did five talk shows in one day and hit it out of the ballpark.
Batter up?
I'm a proud supporter of Hillary Clinton (and an Independent from New Hampshire).
I don't understand who these people are, who have these 'HORRIBLE' memories of the nation under the leadership of Bill Clinton.
When Clinton left office, 70% of the nation thought we were going in the right direction.
Currently, 70% of the nation thinks we're going in the WRONG direction.
The people who have bad memories of the Clinton years think Bush is doing' a heckuva job!
I get it.
'charly_n' writes:
After the 2006 midterm election, I think Hillary couldn't choose a more perfect year to run for president.
The whole country is now leaning toward Democrats. People are just so unhappy and fed up with the Republican Party which has controlled the country for almost 8 years now. Any Democrats (yes even Hillary) has better chance to win 2008 presidency than any republican. I don't see all these unhappy Americans who clearly want a change in direction in 2006 would vote for another republican again over Hillary.
In 2006, we all saw a lot of good republicans lost their seats to some never-heard-before Democrats because of this effect.
I'm certain that Hillary will prove everybody wrong and she will become the first woman President.
'jnurse' writes:
All you Hillary haters on here are just mad because your candidates have been getting stomped by her for almost a year now. Underestimate her at your own expense. The woman is brilliant, and more politically skilled than her husband. In the general election, she is going to do the Republicans, what she has done to her fellow Democrats for the past year, and that is make them luck unprepared to lead the free world. In November 08, voters are going to be faced with a choice: vote to make history with electing the first woman and also change the course of the past 8 years, or vote for more of the same with a boring white male who backs all of Bush's policies. I think that we have 51% of America that will vote for the former. If you disagree, just wait and see. Her campaign has been flawless, and will continue as such... Enjoy the shadow.
'winngerald' writes:
petera1, no one could say it better than you did! The Republicans view her as a "bogeyman" because she fights back against their smears...and because they have sunk way below their previous depths to a point where they have NO positives to run on...they depend on nothing more than the modern equivalent of inciting mobs with pitchforks and torches into voting AGAINST anything/anyone from gays to non-Christians to communism to deficits (at least until Darth Cheney declared that deficits are GOOD when they're run up by Republicans) to Bill Clinton. I think their formerly mindless followers are wising up to the fact that their party has not been their friend. The left-wing fringe Democrats are so desperate to put a rehabilitated image of "liberalism" on a pedestal that they aren't bothering to notice that the nation isn't becoming, necessarily, more "liberal" as much as it is becoming "anti-right-wing-conservative"...and they hang their hats on my--yes MY--Senator Obama to be their champion without bothering to look at his actual history here in Illinois. He is NOT exactly a "liberal", and he hasn't proven that he can LEAD, let alone be an executive. You can't base your entire candidacy on a) not supporting the Iraq invasion during your tenure in the Illinois State Senate (which can't even manage to do the State's business right now), and b) NOT being Hillary. Edwards would be in the single digits were it not for sympathy for his wife (if it weren't for her tragic cancer, she'd make a better candidate), and ALL of the Republican candidates are flip-flopping jokes worse than fish just pulled out of the water.
You are absolutely right in pointing out Hillary's reelection support in highly-Republican Upstate New York...THEY have had her representing them for almost 8 years, and their Republican support of her says all that needs to be said. Her Republican Senate colleagues speak highly of her, too...she is OBVIOUSLY NOT a polarizing figure, but the fringes in both parties still try to paint her as one for the very simple reason that they are trying to beat her in the upcoming elections...and because she DOES know what she's talking about and DOES have more than basic competence, the only way they can beat her is to plant the red herring that many people have preconceived notions of not liking her. They are TRYING to scare support away from her without letting people see her for herself...without her being filtered and framed by the fringes of both parties. And they seem to forget that Bush was reelected with some very high negatives...people are so numbed by the partisan sniping of the past 12 years and incompetence of the past 6 years that personal negatives don't matter to them nearly as much as much as intelligence and competence do.
I hope that these people start pulling their heads out of their backsides pretty darned quick...and stop living in the past...and stop spewing the old venom that no one is interested in hearing anymore. The Nation has work to do, and no one is better versed, better educated, and better qualified to lead it out of the Republican-created nightmare...ready to roll up sleeves and get to work on Day 1...than Hillary. And when she DOES get elected, I hope that the Republicans give her the deference due her as President that they never gave her husband but expected for his successor for the 8 years to which we have been subjugated. They had their chance, and they've perverted everything they've touched. It's time for a woman to clean the White House!
'jmmiller' writes:
"As a moderate Republican, I find the remarks about Hillary being too divisive either unreflective or disingenuous. Of all the Democratic candidates, she is the one I would consider voting for because she is the only one who takes seriously America's role in the wider world. It strikes me that a lot of the animosity towards her is from the far left that wants to return to the labor glory days of the 1930's. They're upset because she won't hew to the MoveOn orthodoxy. The netroots who are drunk now with their power better get some religion soon - a perception that the Democratic nominee is too closely associated with them will be poison in the general election."
'ogdeeds' writes:
jeez...get over it...for every nasty accusation hurled at Clinton, you can find an equally nasty (if that is how some choose to see it) issue in someone else. All this talk about her taking big $ from corporations, is what she does with it that matters. Mostly what I hear her talking about is helping families, children, and the middle class. And oh, by the way, she also has to be president to all those other groups (lawyers, lobbyists, teachers, carpenters, rich CEOs, etc., etc.)Which some of you may or may not like, you know, like other Americans? The last thing we need is another president who only wants to be president to his base. Clinton is inclusive, and will lead for the good of all Americans as well as putting our country back where we deserve to be....respected and (jealously) admired, both for our greatness, and for the goodness we represent...and let me tell you, goodness does not include invading other countries under the guise of "protecting America" - just so one uninformed and ideological president can play out his ideological fantasies of 'transforming the middle east'...what a joke (instead of going after bin laden, the one who attacked us on 9/11 - oops, sorry, some of you still believe Iraq was connected to 9/11) we need someone like Hillary...thoughtful, knowledgeable and smart.
'wesfromGA' writes:
One has to smile at all the "I'll never vote for her" postings. If you are a Republican you were never going to vote for her anyway, if you are one of the distinct minority of Hillary haters on the left of the Democratic Party the essential silliness of this position will soon become apparent if she gets the nod. On present evidence this seems highly likely much to the chagrin of Mr. Balz and the media world who want a horse race because it sells newspapers and air time which is why there is all the parsing in his piece although he accepts the most likely outcome. Absent a major slip up there seems little doubt she has it wrapped up. Contrary to some assertions above she does not do conspicuously worse than Edwards or Obama against any member of the Republican field. On the contrary she does better than either of them and while they have been stuck for months in the mid twenties and mid teens for months she has steadily improved her position and has now been sitting in the low forties for weeks. In Iowa she has come from behind and leads in most polls. Why? Because she is self evidently the best candidate. She has a formidable machine, plenty of money and a few more difficult to pin down advantages like Gender and the presence of Bill who is widely respected much to the chagrin of the right.
The right must have choked over their coffee when Greenspan recently gave Bill stellar grades and of course they responded as they always do by launch personal attacks (there's a typical example in today's post from Novak).
There is no question she is going to get the nomination and a 60% chance she's going to win the presidency. Even some right wingers like Karl Rove are gloomily admitting it.
All the negative comments about Hillary on this board are from disgruntled Republicans who do not have a great choice in their party and will elect a nominee called "none of the above" because Republicans will stay home in 2008.
What a stark contrast there is in the Republican nomination and the Democratic nomination campaigns. Republicans know fully well after G. W. Bush we can only have a Democratic President and its going to be Hillary this time!
People and the writer of this article give undue importance to the Iowa caucus. Isn't it time to break the back of this myth of Iowa's importance? They haven't picked a winner since 1976. And Clinton and Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in Iowa. Enough with the rural pandering.
I fondly remember the Bill Clinton administration years as pretty good ones in spite of the personal attacks from the right. The personal problems were Bill's not Hillary's. She had to deal with him and the public and she did it expertly with a win as a junior Senator in NY and a re-election where she won 67% of the vote, with 58 of 62 counties including the MOSTly Republican "red" counties in upstate NY.
In the General election Hillary will beat the pants off any Republican nominee trying to keep us fighting the Iraq war.
People forget that Giuliani dropped out in that first Senate race not because of prostate cancer, but because he saw the writing on the wall, which was a certain defeat and an end to his political dreams.
We may have the re-match that we never had. Rudy vs. Hillary. Single point campaign of 9-11 against well rounded Hillary.
When Bill Clinton left the White House we were a nation at peace, we had a sizable surplus, we had a growing economy, and today he is the most popular politician in the nation if not the world.
Maybe that is not such a bad thing to return to. But the reality is that Hillary is not Bill. She is by all accounts smarter and definitely won't have the personal problems that Bill had. She is a master politician and is becoming a master speaker as attested to by looking at her in some of her live appearances and on yesterday's sweep of the Sunday news shows.
It is Hillary's time and it is the time for a woman to be the US President. It is time to break the highest glass ceiling in the US. I predict that many Republican women will join because they have said "I have never voted or never voted for a Democrat in my life, but if Hillary is the candidate and I have the chance to see a woman US President in my lifetime, Hillary will have my vote!"
People underestimate the positive change that will occur around the world in the way the United States is viewed when we elect Hillary. She will be symbol for women everywhere.
It's time to give up the sniping and for some women to stop venting their jealousy, which is really what it is when they complain not about her policies but about her personal choices as relates to Bill.
It's time to think about the nation and Hillary will be good for the nation and the world.
'jmartin' writes:
For people that say Hillary unelectable? Let's see.
In the September 2007 poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, Hillary 49% vs. Rudy 42%. Hillary 50% vs. Fred Thompson 41%. Hillary 51% vs. Romney 38%.

September 2007 poll by CNN/Opinion Research Corp.: Hillary 50% vs. Rudy 46%, Hillary 55% vs. Fred Thompson 42%. Same poll, Obama 45% vs. Rudy 49%. Obama 53% vs. Fred Thompson 41%.

Inevitable? Perhaps not. Unelectable? Not that either.

Posted by: Ajay Jain, Dallas, USA | September 25, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Dear Friends:
No send another invitation. Send some history books, have a moment of silence that lasts his whole visit, invite every other Arab nation to a Black tie dinner for a fiest and their wives at the White House and then to the U N to discuss world caution in trade, industry, oil, gas, solar, development, protection of the natural fauna of the land, air, and waterways, the rain foresst protection of their and protection of action in space, Agiculture and land use world wide and future travel and transportation and communicate.

Dear Friends:

Friends around the world.

It is intriqueing yet incorrect that you pretend the Iranian economy is not impacted by war. It is and where to you get your supplies and weapons. Is it China or from some other illegal source.

You are wrong that President George W Bush Jr. is attempting to state or convince the world that he has some plan for the Iranian. He knows you have your own government and does not want another nation that is regrouping to be overtaken by some other force the alkida or Bin Ladin. Bin Ladin is a criminal who pretends that he is a man of faith. He is nothing when he follows a paper written by someother man who is nothing but a combination of thoughts, religions and criminal objectives for what a class, an audiance. He is the falsehood, his work is the attempt to disrupt all faiths including the Arab. Maryterdom is a christian word. Why would he ever use it to imply a goal or reward for murder. God does not teach murder in any faith. Martrys are not murders in any faith.

The sole purpose of Bin Ladin and all terrorists is to divide and destroy the good people of Iraq. They are one of the oldest societies in the world and they want them destroyed and divided. Together in their true form of prayer they can then cause and bring about with the power of God a nation powerful, educated, historical and a threat to those who want their land. Their nation for the terrorists.

President George W Bush JR and the USA and citizens there of do not have a purpose to continue in Iraq nor to govern any other foreign nation. It is the objective and always has been to reward and respect citizens of all other nations. To respect your government and economics and education as you may decide. It is Bin Laden who attacked the USA on 9/11 and we will not ever forget that a man two faced and a face of evil can be like a garbage can. One who took the good of an education from the USA and destroyed its good meaning and all he learned.

Bin Laden you know history, then you know that Abraham was a brother to another nation.

You cannot change that. But the person you took and pergered his writting is an illegal writer a great pretender. You are one that uses something else you learned in the USA, the media, sience, medicine, and drama.

You also learned of Hitler. Your are a dramatic copy cat of him and will be destroyed. All who follow you and any terrorists of any nation is in fact following the false angel or the devil.

You are a false hood.

May there be no dust on this earth of you or your offspring for you are the Satan that has revealed your attempt and purpose to destroy all faiths including the Koran or ARAB Faith.

You are visible in the mountains of Pakistan and the rivers and streams and under the soil. And Iran will come to know the true destructive force of which you falsely teach.

President George W Bush Jr. is our president and does want to negotiate with Iran when they are purposfully honest. But you have given missles and supported bombing in Several other nations including Lebanon which is in our scriptures and in historical teachings. He is one president of this time. You tried to destroy and theaten the children and people of the USA on 9/11 Bin Laden, but did not succeed. We the people of the USA are who you were educated from, and we are alive and still fighting and will until you are dead. Wanted dead or alive yet with a reward for any one with information leading to his capture.

You see president of Iran and Komini we have not issued a wanted dead or alive for you. We have tried to talk. Intelligently and respectively for we are concerned for the largest and the smallest of all nations. Not with purpose to govern but for reasonable peaceful resolve.

Our futures are now for our children and offspring of the future.

The borders you accused Britain of crossing, Iran crossed illegally. For you are not respecting the Iraqi people, their borders and their nation and new constitution respectfully and proudly voted on by all their citizens and people. They are a nation, with a new consititution one they decided on. They are a proud and strong people that will survive time as per history. Do not be that which is the will of Satan for God may open the ground of which you stand on.

We the people of the USA will return home. The quicker peace and no war and resolve within and by all the intellectually intelligent Arab world or nations the sooner this will happen and the stronger you will be.

A larger threat has shown it's face the illegal chemical destructions of China in food, product and rain. This is a threat to all the world including the ARAB people and nations. Their economic growth and gold and consumption of oil will destroy.

We the people of the USA have choices to decide to buy or not as does every other nation.

Historically the peaceful intelligent ARAB and Israel nations have survived time and will as is written.

Sharon W

June 30, 2007 2:09 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Posted on June 30, 2007 14:09

sharon walker:
Dear Friends:

Iran has made a statement that they would blast Israel if they attacked or bombed them. I declare that is not very nice. A light bulb goes off just thinking and or saying such a thing.
Why in Virginia my grandmother would say such a thing Darling you should not be worrying your little head about.

Now why don't you gentlemen be sociable and talk nice. There are storms all over the world and your Great ancestors were relatives.

I know you are not like Osama Bin Laden a rather crude, highly insulting, cowardly person who is deceiptful and certainly would not be a guest at our home front. Now you have come to our nation and have talked and unlike the jabbering Venezuelian Chavez, you have tried to think through things. However, making a threat before the act is like a gentlemens quarrel. Surely you are not anything less than educated, you have shown manner, you have shown you are a leader, and willing to talk and appear before the public, unlike the mannic depressed, schizophrenic, paranoid, pedephillia that Osama Bin Laden is.

There is no warrant for your arrest and no reward for you. Oh please be gentlemenly, I know all those little children in Iran need to know you are a titled and intelligent man.

We have been taught to respect those who are our off distant nations people and God taught us he does have a place for those he chooses.

A light bulb a computer, cells, solar power magnified. You know the small security cameras and those long light bulbs. Perhaps in the nations of the world someone can invent a cheaper more efficient light bulb. The children of Iran I hope they like all the children of the world each and every one tries to compete for the world competition of the Olympics. Perhaps one day the Olympics could be in an Arab nation.

The Arabian horse with the chariots the world knows the Arabian is one of the stonger of breeds and who is the worlds best dresser, rider, trainer and olympian. Bring it back to the Olympics Iran. You and all the Arabian I would like to see entrants in every event. Swimming modify the suits.

The world would like to see your countries peacefully. Your people visited from afar more. Can this be???

God Bless you.

Sharon W

September 19, 2007 7:32 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Posted on September 19, 2007 19:32









September 21, 2007 7:33 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Posted on September 21, 2007 19:33

sharon walker:
Dear Friends:

You know the question is why is Iran advancing when ......?
Well Well Well?
Brilliant question ummmm!!!
This is one of the oldest societies in the world, they have colleges, they know how to cook, buy, trade, legally and understand illegal trade, they know how to keep illegal activities outside of their society when they want to from guns, to drugs, criminals, invasions from Mexico, Bad products from China, their leader goes to one of the most argumentive, satiric nations of the world that does try to examine all sides and factors whether they agree or not. Their leader does not hide in the dark. He has taken unknown about of jabs even from schoolastic leaders, they and he has gone into the U N and would stand up for protection of the world if they saw fit including the Jungles of Amazon for clean air, they have bought the best of automobiles with the cleanest of air and have agreed to sell oil in a world that also asks for clean oil and gasoline and filters in automobiles even if the cost went up for the best product.

This is a nation that has many goods and services, and has explored the universe or outer space without blowing up their trash.

How has this nation like other nations of the Arab world progressed and succeeded in being economically what they are? Are you kidding!!!

Get with this century!!!! Modernization is not only in one nation but many.

Now they also can deny or try that Hitler existed. Birth records are there, his active military is a record, lives, burials, graves including some Arabs that were caught and would not do what he wanted were there, Oil you see, Germany traded for oil also whether it was Iran or another. My ex husbands step grandmother a woman from Poland who lived in Connecticut, USA had the burned numbers on her wrist. She was a soft spoken, honest, christian woman, catholic, she wore long sleeves and barely wanted to talk about it. Banks throughout the world and history and all other evidence in nations all over the world are not lying. Neither was she!!!

Mahmouund Ahmadineyad you may have been protected from this tragic and ugly time of history but it occurred due to a terrible man who was manic depressed, schizophrenic, paranoid and sexual abuser. This man committed attrocities of which no person or persons should ever experience.

His intent was to commit these until all the Jewish in the world and then Arabs ( their genetic brothers ) He believed races that should not exist.

Denial also occurs phsychologically for painful history and for not the want of. It also can be due to not exploring, reading, and or researching. He did not see the numbers burned on the Arabs wrists and other things that also occurred to Christians all over the world from this person.

The News week or Sacramento Bee suggested that Mahmoud is Hitler. This is not so. A lack of understanding and denial even if possibly for political reasons is not the same as the collective heyonous acts of Hitler that is like Osama Bin Laden.

How loud can I say this?
Get educated your self and do not ask such a leading assuming and ignorant question.

Papers, and Blog questioners and News Media take a more responsible position. You are to report not make news and not assume. Or you can be held liable. Ignorance as you suggest can lead to false teaching to the young of history and politicians.

Such as Was the News Week kidding when they said that President said that Hillary has won the Democratic Election? Ladies and Gentlemen, first to the Spanish as the paper suggests, this is the party election competion that is now on. If you do not understand that go back to school.

Just because the Republicans are not willing to attend a debate with the Democrats is not wrong, it is because their party can debate. Get to know the party. Both. Then vote!!! Do not be a robot.

As to the comment by the News Week, The races for each party are still just beginning. Obama do not give up. The President of the United States of America is not suggestive nor is he predudice as the News week might suggest.
Americans are you predudice ( Spanish Americans )
Black and White? Race???

Hillary what a bust, what a disgrace that you allowed the artist strip, and make a bust of you.
Art it is not!! Disgrace it is. For you are a mother, for your daughter, for the state of New York, for the Senate and the title you hold, for the previous Presidency history as the wife of the President of one of the largest nations of the world. And you want to be the President of the United States of America. Giving away it all!
Kick in the rear jack ass!!! China kick backs for trade has cost this nation how much money?
Where did all this money go? Legal fees for the bag lady???? No more!!! No more!!!
Viet Nam we still do not have health care.
Agent Orange!! Where are you. Right Bill is high and he went some place else.

China, Nafta ( they do not care ) Mexico oh to Japan auto.

GM on line for a strike!!! Home Run!!! All the way, it is a great day for a Bond Market.

Hey first time home buyers do not believe the Sacramento Bee or any other paper that says it is hard for you. Good credit, a job, real estate loans are available for up to 100%, special bond issue are there, FHA, in if applicable VA and prices are down. BUY LAND, HOMES AND COMMERCIAL. SACRAMENTO BEE RENTAL OR LANDLORDS WHO HAVE THE MONEY HELP TO MAKE HOMES AVAILABLE FOR RENT. RENTALS FOR FAMILIES, WHO LOST THEM DO TO CHINA. RENTALS FOR THE SINGLES, WITH OR WITHOUT AIDS, FAMILIES AN SINGLES THAT ARE HANDICAPPED AND OR MENTALLY CHALLENGED. SINGLE WOMEN THAT ARE ABUSED. THIS PRESENT GOVERNMENT IS PAYING FOR THIS AND


I love you Gerry Seinfield, I say you realized that the Sacramento Bee made the front page.

Speak out for and against those that love the Star bucks coffee. While it is over priced and promised to reward with diabetes, they are paying $1.50 approximately a month to a person who picks and grows coffee in Africa. They are unprotecting the Amazon Jungle, Scars like the roads in the Camelback mountain in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, AZ may occurr. Oil in the little rivers of the Amazon. Oh God!!! Oh God!!!
How much is a cup of Starbucks???

My credit limit is not that high. Oh says the street person neither is mine. Take a bus. SAve the Air. Seinfield knows the Sacramento Bee, Oh they printed on September 23, 2007 the article about Starbucks. Cheers your crew speak out. Howabout it day time and night time TV.
60 minutes or 60 years how long could it take to destroy the Amozon Jungle, Animals and African fauna and the ocean. Water you see every drop even in the jungle is dear.

Oh God!!! Then there are patents, what no laws?
What about royalties!! Hey I do not want Starbucks to go out of business. I know the owner is a million donates and all and American.
But Rubbermaid and all the rest wake up. This happened to the Africans in early history of the British and India. Now correct this wrong, son.

There is a Bible story of all coming to the fields to work at different times of the day and they are each paid the same wages. This is a teaching for equal pay and representation to brothers and sisters all over the world.

Oh God! The food of the day WATER. Keep it clean. Hillary you do not have a clue. Do you drink or Chelsea or Bill Starbucks?

You have no clue bring it to the UN.

Families and national leaders all over the world including you Iran speek out. Protect the jungle and water and air of all the world. It runs and goes into all nations in one way or another.

Iran and the Arab world any China products or guns. Are they safe? Water, cancer, air.

September 25, 2007 2:00 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Posted on September 25, 2007 14:00

sharon walker:
Dear Friends:

New York duck is Bin Laden coming down the runway!!!

Is he drawing in on another group? In Britain and or the States? How about Iran now that his speech is made? Paranoid that Osama Bin Laden is, he knows not history!! Nor the Future!!!

Brace your selves another group of terrorists talking on a cell. Phone it in if you hear it.
Please!!!!! Hurry where ever you are.

Southwest in the business world, meeting are sometimes held on a plane one on one. Not having a reserved seat can mean defete of your purpose. Which was to be a business service flights and to make it quick and cheap. For the cost of peanuts, Oscar Meyer snack packs, small with just a film across the top. Change the candy to a small mint, a teeny little pack of peanuts, or California Raisins or dried fruit. A go and great for stalled or delayed flights.

Watch for activities pilots of all American Flights and all over the world.
When you take off!!! Pilots, crew and passengers think of youselves on a flight like 9/11. Who was there for you as President of the USA? George W Bush Jr.

Now pretend I am a little girl who likes to bake and date and mad my boy friend got a new girl friend. Would you want me as your President, I have no experience to defend. my name is HI,
Hill over there ry.

NO NO Bad choice. I want someone with experience and who wants to protect this nation and who will stand up for my family, constitution. Got this my rights, Religion and Race.

Oh Columbia, drug wars, bad choice, tell your children to protect their nation. Business stay away from China products pollution, Peru to Japan and his daughter, see the Sacramento Bee a No NO. Or the world will go away. Do not buy Japanese Cars. They are owned by China. Did you not know. The change in rule from British to China. Now the communist country is in their control. What is in the product and the air of the autos of Japan and China? Small particles of lead???????????????

Send my Blog comments to as many as you can.

September 25, 2007 3:33 PM | Report Offensive Comments

Posted by: sharon walkr | September 25, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Good item, Chris, with some good points. The Democrats would have a great candidate in Sen. Halvorson, and since the Democratic party in this state has been ascending in power for a number of years now, there is a real chance that she could be elected. The Republican party has had so many scandals and problems in Illinois that they are in a total state of disarray. Both the Illinois Senate and House have strong Democratic majorities, every constitutional office is held by a democrat, both national Senators are democrats -- it is difficult under these circumstances to recruit any Republican candidates with a real chance of winning.

Posted by: JP | September 25, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

We don't need term limits; they are horrible. We do need enforcement of some Post blog rules here though. Forgive my being Gen X or Web 0.0, but has it become unfashionable to post comments that have something to do with the initial entry? Have Americans become that stupid?

Another Post blog mentioned some more potential GOP House retirements: Chris Shays, Bill Young, Ralph Regula, Don Young, Barbara Cubin, Tom Davis, John McHugh, Mike Castle...any thoughts on other potential retirements? Who they'd benefit? How many this cycle will end up having? Cubin seems like the rare one (with Renzi) that would help her own party. And most of those seats would go Democratic or have very competitive races at least. The anonymous GOP insider quoted saying the only safe Senate seats in 08 are the ones not on the ballot seems to encapsulate the current situation well.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 25, 2007 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to any political blog entry making relevant reference to Joliet Jake. :) Perhaps we'll see Joliet Jerry Weller sometime soon. He best get himself to church.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | September 25, 2007 3:10 AM | Report abuse

Elias, there is help. Please visit

One day at a time, my friend. One day at a time...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 6:05 PM | Report abuse

newbies are fascists fascists are everywhere

Posted by: rufus | September 24, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Yup. Long off-topic posts = spam.

But hey, I was mocked as a 'newbie' for urging people to stay on topic a few weeks ago. So what do I know, right?

Posted by: Scott in PacNW | September 24, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

fascists fascists everywhere

Posted by: rufus | September 24, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

drindl, maybe she was just real cute...

Posted by: Mark in Austin | September 24, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"republicans don't care about stuff like that?"

I think Republicans call them 'freedom fighters'.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

'that I forgot who Weller was by the time I got to DCAustinite's post.'

Yeah, that's the problem with the long posters, I have short attention span myself and I think I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome on top of it -- or Mouse Finger, or whatever you call it.

This did catch my eye about Weller though, that he was married to the:

'daughter of brutal military dictator and death squad leader, Efraín Ríos Montt.'

Good lord. How did people like that get elected in this country? Is it just that press is so lazy people don't hear about it, or people are so lazy they don't read about it, or god forbid, republicans don't care about stuff like that?

Posted by: drindl | September 24, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse


Plz take cntrol of your blog and remove the cut/paste nonsense that is making my mouse work overtime.

Good riddance to Weller - We really need term limits as it always seems that just when the members of the house win that 4th term, the invincibility factor makes them put the hand out for deals/cash with their benefactors.

Posted by: I am Mad at Chris Cizzzz | September 24, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I quickly read through and saw that bsimon, proud, and DCAustinite had posted. I read those. Actually, it took me so long to scroll through the cut-and-pasted blognotes that I forgot who Weller was by the time I got to DCAustinite's post.

Thanks to the three of you and anyone else I missed who was not reposting other blogs for trying to keep the thread alive.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | September 24, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Rudy calling for a 'ban' on criticism of Gen. Petreus. Here's his history:

Rudy's singular assault on expression has, in fact, caused the Thomas Jefferson Center this year to create a new form of reproof -- the Lifetime Jefferson Muzzle. In the Mayor's case, the particulars are as chilling as they are novel. Notably, the Giuliani Administration has shown its disregard for -- or inadequate understanding of -- free speech principles by:

-refusing to permit more than 20 taxi drivers to assemble for a protest against proposed city pick-up and drop-off rules (a federal judge ruled that action unconstitutional);
-imposing strict licensing rules on sidewalk artists, and limiting severely the number of such artists who could display their work near the Metropolitan Museum of Art (a policy struck down by the federal court of appeals as a violation of artists' rights);
-imposing a $45 a day permit fee on street musicians, which a federal district judge held excessive and far beyond any actual city costs;
-barring city employees from talking to reporters without specific approval - a policy which the federal appeals court found in violation of public workers' free speech rights;
-directing the transit authority not to display on city buses ads bought by New York Magazine which contained a gentle if critical caricature of the mayor's quest for publicity (an order held by federal district and appeals courts to be in violation of the First Amendment);
-barring a Lutheran church group from demonstrating and conducting an AIDS education program in a city park (a ban which a New York state appellate court held in clear violation of free speech);

much more here:

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

'In July 2004, Weller announced that he was engaged to three-term Guatemalan Congresswoman Zury Ríos Montt, daughter of brutal military dictator and death squad leader, Efraín Ríos Montt. They later married.'

Posted by: fyi | September 24, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"It's Word War IIIOn third visit to New York, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questions Holocaust, calls Israel racist, defends attempt to visit Ground Zero, claims Iran is misunderstood | SPEAKOUT!

• Click Here to Watch the Speech in a Separate Window
• U.S.: Iran Sneaks Missiles Into Iraq to Attack GIs


"I thought you were gone. AAHHH wwaaaaa. But, but but".

Shut UP. HAHAHAHAHA. Your party is about to be obsolete gop. At least you still have the dem's in your back pocket to keep you around, for now. The gop is done. The dem's have four years. Use your time wisely, cry baby middle school fascists.

Posted by: RUFUS | September 24, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Rufus, falling off the wagon so quickly with your multiple personality posts coupled with thinking that Cindy Sheehan could lead anything says that you really need help.

Come see us at:

Posted by: Elias | September 24, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Leader of the new left.

"Cindy Sheehan

My remarks to Rabbi Michael Lerner's Beyt Tikkun

In San Francisco on Yom Kippur 5758 (Sept.22, 2007)

I am very excited to be here again to speak to you at your Yom Kippur services. It is such an honor to be invited and to have a chance to spend some time with you at your wonderful celebration. The Universal Creator must be well-pleased with your worship here at Beyt Tikkun with Rabbi Lerner on Yom Kippur. .

Atonement is something that is so foreign to our experience as Americans. We are taught by our culture, the media, our government leaders (if not by our families) that we are to attain success at whatever cost to whomever and even to our own souls.

We see countless examples of this in our elected officials. If you want to win an election, you just steal it at any price. You disenfranchise voters, most of them people of color; you put emotionally manipulative measures on ballots regarding same-sex marriage and you convince the easily fooled voters that if you win you will end abortion and to ensure success, in case all of the above measures fail, you have supporters of your campaign write the programs for the machines that count the votes. In your mind, it's okay because the fake ends justify the criminal means.

Then, when you twice attain the highest office of the land, and indeed the highest office on the planet, you use a national tragedy to justify invasions of two countries that had nothing to do with an attack on our soil. To satisfy personal vendettas, ambitions and greed, hundreds of thousands of people are dead, and you do not have to say "sorry" and indeed, you continue to manipulate simple people by telling them that millions of people have been "liberated" from a dictator and our country is safer and freer now, never mind that you have imposed a more severe dictatorship on the people of the lands.

Corporations are now free to pollute our skies and waters and send our jobs overseas and reap profits globally off the backs of people all over the world and to the detriment of workers here in the United States. Many free-trade agreements have the effect of harming the citizens of all the countries involved for the benefit of a few Many people have lost their savings and retirement while the CEO's of these companies still "rape and pillage" like Blackbeards and receive their enormously immoral bonuses. Atonement is not even possible in these situations because the wealthiest in our country are looked up to as people who are really living the "American Dream."

Never mind that the American Dream is a nightmare to so many people all over the world, even people here in America. Unions have been busted; 45 million of us have no health insurance; (including me) the No Child Left Behind Act is designed as a recruitment tool for the military to funnel our children right into the jaws of the war machine. Even after signing the "opt out" of military recruitment, schools are still handing student's directory information to military recruiters and if schools refuse to turn their students into human cannon fodder for the unscrupulous Bush regime, they don't receive desperately needed federal funding.

Our freedoms here at home have been eroded while spreading phony freedom and false democracy to the Middle East, we have no more rights to Habeas Corpus; we can have our phone calls listened to and our emails read and slimy BushCo doesn't even have to get warrants for their voyeuristic thrills; and Congress not only refuses to hold BushCo accountable, but it has been busy legalizing the crimes of George and Dick while making itself less legitimate.

But no matter how bad we have it here, our brothers and sisters around the world, but especially in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering beyond what most of us can imagine. While my family and thousands of others here in America are feeling the pain and devastation of war, (sometimes I wonder how the body can produce so much moisture without drying up and blowing away) it is a small drop in the bucket of pain that Middle Easteners are feeling because of the illegal and immoral occupations. I met a Sunni Sheik the last time I was in Amman, Jordan who had brought a Shi'a Sheik who had survived an assassination attempt, although badly wounded, to a hospital in Amman (most of Iraqi doctors have had to flee the country). The Sunni Sheik told me that he was sorry for my loss, but eight members of his family and dozens of members of his tribe had been killed. I met another Sheik the first time I was in Amman who was sitting at home with his wife and son when American soldiers broke into his home and beat him and raped his wife in front of their son. I hate to tell General Betray-Us and the rest of the neocon crooks, events like these and raping a 14 year old girl and then burning her body after killing her entire family; massacring innocent citizens in Haditha, Falluja, Samarra, and on and on does not win hearts and minds. These horrible crimes only increase feelings of desperate hatred to the occupiers all over the Muslim world. Not just in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Other peoples in Asia, Africa and South America particularly are feeling the oppression of American imperialism and populist governments are arising in these places that are hostile to America. In Africa our brothers and sisters are dying to make diamond and other mining companies profits so Americans can have a diamond engagement ring or the minerals to power our cell phones and computers. Our brothers and sisters are dying, being torn apart and families uprooted so we can fill our gas tanks. Our brothers and sisters in Asia are slaving away for American companies so we can buy cheap (and oftentimes dangerous) crap from Wal-Mart. South America has been used as a corporate dumping ground and dumping ground for our military dictators since the Monroe Doctrine of the early 19th Century. We are less than 5% of the world population, but we consume between 25-40 percent of the world's resources.

How can we as a nation atone for these sins? Do we believe in some kind of collective responsibility for everyone who lives all over the world? Do we even believe that we can make our next door neighbors' life better when we don't even know them, or we spend 40-60 hours a week working as wage slaves so we can be better than them? How can we present ourselves as moral beings when our own nation is still torn by racism?

What are the solutions to violence and do we want to solve these problems or do we want to allow our governments to commit state sanctioned murder so we don't have to take personal responsibility for what our nation does?

We are Americans by accident of our births, or voluntary immigration and naturalization. You are Jewish because of your births, or voluntary conversion. I am agnostic because of choice. Muslims are Muslims because of birth or choice. Christians are Christians by birth or conversion. We can identify ourselves by so many ways: Mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter; Christian, Jew, Muslim, nothing; straight, gay; American, Iraqi, Israeli, Palestinian, etc; Young, old; Black, brown, yellow, or white; but there is one thing that we all are. We are all human and we all, whether we like it or not, have hearts that beat as one and come from the same mother and father and the same Universal Creator that loves us all equally and without condition.

There will come a time in the not too distant future when we here in America will be forced out of our comfort zones by violence or economic ruin if we don't voluntarily give up some of our materialism, nationalism, or just plain creature comforts to help our brothers and sisters all over the world. Everyone on this planet deserves by the bare fact of being human, the rights to security, clean water, healthy and plentiful food, education and shelter. These are the bare necessities that so many go without as we have an over abundance.

The problems are daunting, but the solutions are simple.

First of all, do not allow our children to be consumed by the military industrial complex so the war profiteers can be enriched. This is the biggest sin of my life that I will be atoning for until I die. To do this, we must repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and make education good and free for all from Kindergarten to University.

Secondly, we must repeal all free trade agreements that oppress the citizens of all countries. We must ensure that worker safety and pay are commensurate and fair wherever our corporations do business.

Thirdly, all US military bases all over the world and occupying forces must be withdrawn and brought home to the US. We have over 800 military bases all over the world, mostly with the consent of the governments, but under strong protestation of civil society.

We must demand that the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan be brought to a swift and safe close and the mercenary soldiers and other US war profiteers be expelled from these countries so the citizens in those two countries can reclaim their jobs and their lives.

We must apologize to the world for our creeping corporate military imperialism and for our mistake of historic and horrific proportions in Iraq and Afghanistan and we must make atonement to those people in the form of reparations and any other kind of material, diplomatic or political help they need.

All torture camps must be closed and reparations should be made to the innocent and fair trials and due process should be given to others.

Our liberties must be restored at home by repealing the Military Commissions Act, The Patriot Act, and the abuse of FISA laws and the right to Habeas Corpus must be restored. We must recognize the latent racism that still exists as evidenced by Katrina and Jena, we must face that fact that we still do not have true-equality and battle to reform our own hearts and national attitudes.

To show our brothers and sisters that we care about them and justice, George Bush and Dick Cheney must be forced to withstand the constitutional remedy to such blatant abuse of office by impeachment and they must be tried in the Senate for their high crimes and misdemeanors and then be tried in international courts for their crimes against humanity.

Then when America is restored to the moral authority of a strong nation that uses its power for peace and not constant war-making we can help in other war-torn places and challenge other regimes that commit human rights' violations.

It is urgent for the sake of my children and unborn grandchildren, your children and grandchildren, and all of our children all over the planet Earth. that we lead our world to peace and environmental sustainability and not continue to drag everyone down with us in our greed and arrogance. I am positive that we can do this, but only when we recognize our individual and collective failings and work diligently to overcome them. Not only for our own souls, but for the one soul that binds all of us together as one.

There is much to atone for today, but the biggest thing I think we all must atone for is believing that we have nothing to atone for.

Recognizing ones failings and mistakes is the first step to wholeness, but asking for forgiveness and being forgiven is sacred and the way to healing and peace.

Thank you.

I really am done here. Just letting you people know why.

"ANd your accounted for. Everything that you heard.

Do not speak to folls they scorn the wisdom of your words."


Peace. Now you know. Watch the new left. The Word will flow from the bay area. Anyone stopping us needs to take a long look in the mirror and see wha tyou respresent. Party over country is treason. ALL POWER BACK TO THE PEOPLE.

Peace GOd BLess. LAst one. Now GO, peanut gallery. Or should I say pea brain gallery

God will be your judge. I was only trying to help you. And inform you. you have all been informed. Where you go from here is your choice. All I can do is cut your chain. It's for you to walk out of the cave. Peace.

Posted by: sheehan (rufus) :) | September 24, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Introducing her, Rabbi Lerner pointed out how effective the media and the political leadership of both parties have been in transforming the public image of Ms. Sheehan from an outraged mother whose son had been killed in Iraq to a "shrill" and "irresponsible" leftie whose voice should be ignored. And this parallels the treatment of Move-On, and the millions of Americans who have demonstrated against the war--so that the media and the political leadership of both parties are able to shift the public discussion from moral outrage at the war to outrage at those who challenge the war. To counter this tendency, Rabbi Lerner had invited Ms. Sheehan to talk. He also invited Nancy Pelosi, the Congressperson representing the district in which Beyt Tikkun holds its services in San Francisco, but she declined. in questions and answers after this talk, Ms. Sheehan announced that she was in fact running for Congress against Nancy Pelosi as an independent in November, 2008 in order to give anti-war voters a clear opportunity to vote for a candidate who would not equivocate.

When asked what could Nancy Pelosi do, Ms. Sheehan reminded the congregants that the Speaker of the House has the power--frequently used throughout history and especially in the last thirty years--to decline to put on the agenda of the House any appropriations bill or any other bill that s/he does not think ought to be considered. Indeed, many of the peace proposals, for example those of Dennis Kucinich and other peace advocates, have never faced a vote because the Speaker can decide not to bring the issues to the floor. If Congresswoman Pelosi were to use that power to refuse to bring any authorization for more spending on the war onto the Floor of the House for a vote until the President make a firm commitment to begin withdrawal of troops now and completed by Spring of 2008, she could force an end to the war. If she did that, and if she brought to the floor the impeachment resolutions already introduced by several Congresspeople, Ms. Sheehan would withdraw from the political campaign.

Posted by: no link. Pelosi vs Sheehan | September 24, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

bsimon - yep, you got it. I owe you one. Looks like now he's greenwald. Damn.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | September 24, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

For Christ's sake, Greenwald, get your own blog!

Weller was pretty dirty. His Nicaraugan wife is tied to the death squads, I beleive.

Posted by: DCAustinite | September 24, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"Along those same lines, this "interview" of Ahmadinejad by Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes" has to be read to be believed. As Ezra Klein says: "Pelley declined to interview Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and instead popped off aggressive statements as if he were a White House press release with a cardiovascular system."

It would be perfectly appropriate for Pelley to pose aggressive and challenging questions to Ahmadinejad. That is actually what reporters in general are supposed to do when questioning any government officials, not merely the Foreign Muslim Enemy du Jour. Fathom how elevated our political discourse would be if "reporters" like Pelley were even a fraction as adversarial and challenging when interviewing Bush officials as Pelley was when yelling at Ahmadinejad.

But Pelley did not question him so much as make a series of highly dubious war-fueling statements as fact. And far more revealing than Pelley's tone were the premises of his "questions" -- ones which blindly assumed every accusation of the Bush administration towards Iran to be true -- such as these:

PELLEY: Sir, what were you thinking? The World Trade Center site is the most sensitive place in the American heart, and you must have known that visiting there would be insulting to many, many Americans.

AHMADINEJAD: Why should it be insulting?

PELLEY: Well, sir, you're the head of government of an Islamist state that the United States government says is a major exporter of terrorism around the world. . . .

PELLEY: But the American people, sir, believe that your country is a terrorist nation, exporting terrorism in the world. You must have known that visiting the World Trade Center site would infuriate many Americans, as if to be mocking the American people.

AHMADINEJAD: Well, I'm amazed. How can you speak for the whole of the American nation?

PELLEY: Well, the American nation . . .

PELLEY: Mr. President, you say that the two nations are very close to one another, but it is an established fact now that Iranian bombs and Iranian know-how are killing Americans in Iraq. You have American blood on your hands. Why?

AHMADINEJAD: Well, this is what the American officials are saying. . . .

PELLEY: Mr. President, American men and women are being killed by your weapons in Iraq. You know this.

AHMADINEJAD: No, no, no.

PELLEY: Why are those weapons there?

AHMADINEJAD: Who's saying that?

PELLEY: The American Army has captured Iranian missiles in Iraq. The critical elements of the explosively formed penetrator bombs that are killing so many people are coming from Iran. There's no doubt about that anymore. The denials are no longer credible, sir. . . .

AHMADINEJAD: Very good. If I may. Are you an American politician? Am I to look at you as an American politician or a reporter? . . . .

PELLEY: Mr. President, you must have rejoiced more than anyone when Saddam Hussein fell. You owe President Bush. This is one of the best things that's ever happened to your country.

Scott Pelley wants Ahmadinejad to know that -- like all of us -- he "owes President Bush." Almost every word out of Pelley's mouth was a faithful recitation of the accusations made by the Bush White House. Ahmadinejad obviously does not watch much American news because he seemed genuinely surprised that someone he thought was a reporter was doing nothing other than reciting the script of the government. "

Posted by: greewald | September 24, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"But what is new, and what most certainly is worth commenting upon, is this extremely disturbing report from The New York Sun regarding the threats made by Democratic State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to use state power to punish Columbia for inviting a speaker whom Silver dislikes. Silver -- who, among other things, has long been a leader in efforts to free convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison -- did not even bother to disguise the threats he was making:

As the president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, prepares to address Columbia University today amid a storm of student protest, state and city lawmakers say they are considering withholding public funds from the school to protest its decision to invite the leader to campus.

In an interview with The New York Sun, the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, said lawmakers, outraged over Columbia's insistence on allowing the Iranian president to speak at its World Leaders Forum, would consider reducing capital aid and other financial assistance to the school.

Lawmakers warned about other consequences for Columbia and its president, Lee Bollinger, who has resisted campus and public pressure to cancel Mr. Ahmadinejad's appearance today, arguing that Columbia's commitment to scholarship requires the school to directly confront offensive ideas.

"There are issues that Columbia may have before us that obviously this cavalier attitude would be something that people would recall," Mr. Silver said. "Obviously, there's some degree of capital support that has been provided to Columbia in the past. These are things people might take a different view of . . . knowing that this is that kind of an institution" . . .

"It's not going to go away just because this episode ends. Columbia University has to know . . . that they will be penalized," an assemblyman of Brooklyn, Dov Hikind, who also attended the rally, said. The lawmaker said Mr. Ahmadinejad should be arrested when he sets foot on campus

Posted by: greenwald | September 24, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The gop are fascists.

"In any event, there is not much new worth saying about the "debate" over whether Columbia should have invited Ahmadinejad to speak. People either believe in the value of having academic institutions be a venue for airing all viewpoints or they do not. "

Posted by: greenwald | September 24, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Monday September 24, 2007 11:05 EST
Columbia to be punished for hosting the new Hitler enemy
All of the hysteria over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speaking at Columbia University is so tiresome for so many reasons, beginning with the fact that it is all rather transparently motivated by exactly what Juan Cole says: "The real reason his visit is controversial is that the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state."

In their minds, we are at war with Iran -- even though, in reality, i.e., according to our Constitution, we are not -- and all of the ensuing hysteria is rooted in the fantasy world they occupy in which Iran is our Enemy at War. By their nature, such fantasies cannot be reasoned with.

This desire to prevent people from speaking when they express views that one finds offensive is just always baffling. That is true in general, and includes even pettier though still inane suppression efforts such as this one, which recently resulted in the recission of an invitation to Larry Summers to speak at an event for the University of California regents. Other than converting the individual into a martyr and dramatically elevating their importance, what do people think is accomplished when a person with a certain viewpoint is denied a forum?

Posted by: greenwald | September 24, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Sunday September 23, 2007 06:21 EST
Dianne Feinstein, symbol of the worthless Beltway Democrat
In the wake of the series of profound failures that define the 2007 Democratic Congress, there is much debate over what accounts for this behavior. There are almost 300 "Congressional Democrats" and they are not a monolithic group. Some of them are unrelenting defenders of their core liberal political values and some are committed to providing meaningful opposition to the radicalism and corruption of the Bush administration. But as the sorry record of the 2007 Congress conclusively proves, they are easily outnumbered in the House and Senate -- especially the Senate -- by Bush-enabling and Bush-supporting Democrats.

The standard excuse offered by many apologists for Bush-enabling Democrats -- that they support the Bush agenda and capitulate to the right-wing noise machine due to political fear of being depicted as too liberal or "soft on terror" -- is clearly inapplicable to many, if not most, of the enablers. California's Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein provides a perfect case study for understanding why the Congress has done virtually nothing to oppose the most extreme Bush policies, while doing much actively to support it.

Feinstein represents a deep blue state and was just easily re-elected to her third term last year. She won't run for re-election, if she ever does, until 2012, when she will be 80 years old. Her state easily re-elected a Senator, Barbara Boxer, with a much more liberal voting record than Feinstein's. Political fear cannot possibly explain her loyal support for the Bush agenda on the most critical issues decided by the Senate.

Additionally, Feinstein is a 74-year-old divorced Jewish woman currently on her third husband, and it is thus extremely unlikely that she harbors any hopes of running in the future on a national ticket. She has as secure a political position as any politician in the country. Whatever explains what she does, it has nothing to do with "spinelessness" or fear. What would she possibly fear?

And yet, her votes over the last several years, and especially this year after she was safely re-elected, are infinitely closer to the Bush White House and her right-wing Senate colleagues than they are to the base of her party or to the constituents she allegedly represents. Just look at what she has done this year on the most critical and revealing votes:

* Voted in FAVOR of funding the Iraq War without conditions;

* Voted in FAVOR of the Bush White House's FISA bill to drastically expand warrantless eavesdropping powers;

* Voted in FAVOR of condemning;

* Cast the deciding vote in August on the Senate Judiciary Committee in FAVOR of the nomination of far right Bush nominee Leslie Southwick to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In 2006, Feinstein not only voted in favor of extending the Patriot Act without any of the critical safeguards sought by Sen. Feingold, among others, but she was one of the most outspoken Democratic proponents arguing for its extension ("I have never been in favor of allowing any provisions of the Patriot Act to expire."). Also in 2006, she not only voted in favor of amending the Constitution to outlaw flag burning, but was, as she proudly described herself, "the main Democratic sponsor of this amendment."

In October of 2002, she (naturally) voted to authorize President Bush to use military force to invade Iraq. She now self-servingly claims that she "regrets" the vote and was tricked by the Bush administration into believing Saddam had WMDs, yet Scott Ritter has disclosed: "This is far different from the statement Feinstein made to me in the summer of 2002, when she acknowledged that the Bush administration had not provided any convincing intelligence to back up its claims about Iraqi WMD." And when it was revealed in August of this year that Awad Allawi had hired the most influential GOP lobbying firm to help oust Prime Minister Maliki, there was Sen. Feinstein leading the way in demanding Maliki's ouster.

Time and again, not only does she vote in favor of the most right-wing aspects of the Bush agenda, she uses her alleged expertise in areas of intelligence to pressure or give comfort to other Democrats wanting to do the same. Several of the 16 Democratic Senators who voted in favor of Bush's FISA bill in August, such as Jim Webb, cited assurances by Feinstein that she had obtained Secret Information as a member of the Intelligence Committee which proved how necessary this bill was. Similarly, as a member of the Intelligence Committee, she was one of the Democratic leaders urging the confirmation of Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA Director notwithstanding the central role he played as NSA Director in Bush's illegal surveillance programs.

Her primary allegiance is to the Beltway power system and her overwhelming affection is reserved for Beltway power brokers who are her true colleagues and constituents. That is particularly true of right-wing members of the defense and intelligence communities. Here, for instance, is the praise she oozed for the illegal-surveillance-implementing Gen. Hayden when urging his confirmation as CIA Director:

"I think the most important thing is that the individual be a competent, qualified, intelligent professional, and Mike Hayden is all of those things."

She said that while she supports a civilian leader of the CIA, "I don't know a civilian that's really as well-connected and competent in the present stage of intelligence in America, and I think that's relevant."

And to explain her vote in support of Bush's FISA bill, she cited the Absolute Integrity of Mike McConnell as her reason:
I spoke with Admiral Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, at length this evening. He believes the United States is vulnerable, and that we need to move quickly to change the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The intelligence community is deeply concerned that chatter among suspected terrorist networks is up. I am concerned as well. We are living in a period of heightened vulnerability, and must give the intelligence community the tools they need to protect America. . . .

I voted for both bills because one needed 60 votes to pass. It is vital that we act now. We cannot leave the nation unprotected in this post-9/11 period.

What is so notable -- and most revealing -- about this is that Feinstein is a Democratic Senator from one of the most liberal states in the country. Conventional wisdom holds that she is a "liberal" or at least a moderate. She came onto the national scene in the 1980s as the Mayor of San Francisco, one of the most liberal large cities in the nation, and was twice re-elected by San Francisco residents.

In fairness, she casts some (usually futile) votes in favor of the standard Democratic agenda on issues such as the environment, gun control and the Military Commissions Act. And she'll listlessly participate in investigations that go nowhere, even when the White House defies or outright ignores subpoenas. But what she does with the greatest conviction is supports right-wing Bush measures and, above all else, is an ardent defender of the Beltway power establishment.

In this regard, she really symbolizes a major imbalance in the Washington political system. The right-wing Republicans in Congress have an affinity with their base and share the same basic values. One saw that quite vividly in the recent immigration debate, where most Congressional Republicans -- particularly the "conservative" ones -- embraced rather than ran away from their angry, impassioned base by blocking enactment of the immigration bill which the GOP establishment favored but which the right-wing base hated. Most conservative Senators sided with their base over the GOP establishment, as they usually do when there is a split (Harriet Miers, Dubai Port Deal, even steadfast support for the Iraq War). And they rarely repudiate the political value system of their base because they respect it and share it.

By very stark contrast, most (though certainly not all) Democrats in Congress -- particularly the most influential and longest-serving ones in the Senate like Feinstein -- have contempt for their base and share virtually none of their values. In March of last year, I had an e-mail exchange with the spokesperson for a key Democratic Senator on the Intelligence Committee regarding how bloggers and their readers could work more closely with Democratic Senators to highlight the need for the NSA lawbreaking scandal to be investigated and taken more seriously. Ultimately, they made clear that they wanted nothing to do with actual citizens who were eager to bring that situation about, as I was told:

I think there is an opportunity for us to figure out a better way to work together. But, you have to understand, my ultimate goal is to help [the] Senator [] achieve his objective of real oversight on national security matters by the Intelligence Committee.

Even with the best of intentions, I'm not convinced that bloggers can help us meet that goal. In fact, I worry about it hurting our efforts given the increasingly partisan environment.

As Digby said yesterday of Senate Democrats: "it surely seems true that they loathe the Democratic base as much as the Republicans do." Hence, Dianne Feinstein funds Bush's war with no limits while condemning MoveOn. She votes to vest vast new surveillance powers in the President. She defends and vouches for and places blind faith in the whole litany of Bush intelligence officials who have spent the last six years radicalizing this country and breaking the law.

Plainly, Feinstein does not do this out of political fear or "spinelessness," but because it is who she now is and what she believes. She and those like her are the reason why there is such a gaping disconnect between the Beltway political class and the political views of most Americans.

Most of these political officials who feed off of Washington year after year become appendages of it and vigorous defenders of nothing other than the Beltway system. They are drained of all belief, conviction and passion. And in Feinstein's case, it is particularly easy to understand why this is so. Her current husband, Richard Blum, is an extremely rich defense contractor whose companies have endless relationships with the work Feinstein does in the Senate. It is entirely unsurprising that Feinstein's affection is reserved for officials in the intelligence and defense communities because those are her social peers, the individuals with whom her husband interacts professionally and socially and with whom she most identifies.

More than anything else, Feinstein worships at the altar of the Beltway power system and its most revered members. Conversely, she has contempt for the liberal base which elects her and the constituents she represents. She long ago ceased being driven by the political values which serve as props for her campaigns, if she was ever driven by them. And that is the story of so many of the Beltway Democrats.

It really is one of the most extraordinary -- and downright embarrassing -- political facts that more Republicans than Democrats approve of the 2007 Democratic Congress. And why wouldn't they? The Democratic Congress has not restrained the Leader at all, but has done much to support and empower him. The Democratic Congress -- especially the Senate -- is controlled by the likes of Dianne Feinstein, and what Bush supporter wouldn't be satisfied with the role she is playing?

There are absolutely members of Congress who are ardent defenders of our basic Constitutional liberties and who are genuine opponents of the Bush administration. But the record of Congress leaves no doubt that they are wildly outnumbered.

It isn't only -- or even principally -- the "Blue Dogs" which make the "Democratic Congress" nothing but an enabling instrument of the Bush White House and its right-wing policies. Far worse are the establishment-defending, soul-less, belief-less, self-perpetuating "liberal Senators" like Feinstein who render the concept of "opposition party" nothing more than a deceitful illusion. Dianne Feinstein is the drained and Bush-enabling face of the 2007 Democratic Congress.

-- Glenn Greenwald


Moderate sell-outs are worse than the fascsit gop. At least the fascists stand for something, although they are scared to say what they REALLY are for. The moderates stand for nothing but money

Posted by: GREENWALD | September 24, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

It reminds me of 1996, when Montana Democratic Congressman Pat Williams decided to retire before the first election that occured after the GOP took control of Congress. He wasn't alone as several senior Democrats decided to retire.

Williams had been the 1st District Congressman for several terms. When Montana lost its second house seat after the 1990 census, he faced off veteran Republican Congressman Ron Marlenee of the 2nd District and won the new at-large seat in a close vote. Since Williams' retirement, the at-large seat has been in Republican hands. Current Republican Congressman Dennis Rehberg hasn't had a strong challenger since his initial election to the seat in 2000.

This year the only serious competitor for the seat is Bill Kennedy, one of the commisioners of Yellowstone County, Montana's most populous. But Rehberg is a native son of Yellowstone County as well. Whether Kennedy can make a serious run is going to depend on whether he can form a strong grass-roots campaign like Democratic Senator Jon Tester did in 2006 when he knocked off three-term incumbant Conrad Burns.

Of course Rehberg has no scandal cloud hanging over him the way that the Abramoff affair shadowed Burns, who was the largest single recipient of funds raised through Abramoff (his former chief of staff also worked for Abramoff).

Still, Montana has proved to be a purple state when it comes to state offices. The Legislature is evenly divided. Democrats hold a 6-2 edge in state-wide elected seats to State Government and Congress.

If Kennedy can get the footwork done to make a strong challenge, he may eck out a win if 2008 turns out to be the big Democratic year that some are anticipating.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | September 24, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Anon writes

Given that the 67 seat veto-override requirement is in the Senate and this post is about the House, your observation can best be described as 'misinformed'. Though other, stronger adjectives might be more appropriate.

p.s. proud- who called it? ;-)

Posted by: bsimon | September 24, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

You cucceded in silencing one leftist. Congradulations.

Free Speech= 0

Fascists= 1

"tO ANY AND ALL THAT WANT ME SILENCED. To everybody who thinks only the right should have a voice in this country. You have won a small battle. i am done blogging. Rejoice, everyone who is for the silencing of free speech, and is for fascism. The right is forcing Clinton on the nation. I had hope the people would not be for it. The right is forcing the democrats to run hillary. The democractic/republican party has made it's choice. It choose more of the same. We will get the same partisan bickering for four years. At that time we will revisit this again. The GOP/Democratic party bought themselves four more years of fascist rule. They choose fascism over democracy.

The political conversation is slighted so that only conservatives opinon is heard. And the left are now crazies and voice-less. You win. I'm going back under ground. I hope you are satisfied. silence the left. Just know everything you claim to be for, you are not. Free speech, democracy, republic, right AND left.

A new thrid party will burst on the scene in the next four years. It will be for the constitution. It will be a party of the people. Watch for it.

But you win. you have tilted the conversation so much to your side it is not possible for me to make any leway in this format. The government is so one sided, for republicans, they are forcing the opposition parties candidate. Does anyone see anything wrong with this?

You win. you silenced one socialist. Congradulations. Now continue destroying the country gop. Force your will down everyone's throughts. put a camera on every corner. Listen to every conversation. Just know you have used your time foolishly and selfishly.

One party rule is slavery. You may have won this small battle. You may tilt the agrument so much the other side no longer exists. But we still will exist. I will always hold the feeling I profressed here. Whether I am silenced or now i will hold these feelings. Just becasue I am no longer allowed TO SPEAK, doesn't mean that I don't hold these feelings in my head and close to my heart.

"If you can't win cheat". That is your motto. You have destroyed the media the justice depart our foreign relations, economices and you label me the bad guy. Much like Nizon had his share of public enemies (John Lennon, MLK). Were they the problem? Or where they pointing to the problem?

You win short term gop. Toast it up. Congradulate yourself. Real americans and real patriots should be crying at what has befallen us. Not laughin, not making a mockery of the public conversation.

so peace. One last time remember what I told you people. It's for real this time. The hope I had for this nation, given by the 06 elections, has been crushed by the republicans succesfully choosin gthe oppositions party for them. Sad day. goo dluck all. I wasn't lying to you. Watch for the book. Watch for the new party.



Peace. You will hear from me again. Not on this blog though. You wasted the time we had. You used your time unwisely.

Posted by: RUFUS | September 24, 2007 11:02 AM


Peace. god Bless all ."Don't believe the hype". Remember what I told you. Ignore the peanut gallery. Ingnore the fascist cry babies. They are not cry babies. They are crying and complaining their way to fascism. Don't let them win.

Posted by: LAst one. fascists pop your corks | September 24, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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