Saturday, December 23, 2006

And I'm back!

Catching up on news from the past week, I thought I'd start off with this brief mention of your next governor!
Kentucky Treasurer Jonathan Miller is also urging his state's retirement systems to sell off investments in companies tied to the Sudanese government. He recently addressed the issue with the head of Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System, saying, "While Darfur is halfway around the world, we can do something here to respect the paramount value of life, as we protect our investment return."

These leaders are not only making a powerful statement about the horrific violence and persecution in Darfur, they are also protecting the stability of their states' pension funds by ending relationships with companies that pose serious long-term investment risks. They have set an impressive example for other state treasurers to use the power of the purse to take action in the face of an international crisis.
It's an admirable trait that I like in any politician.

Sen. Obama will make his decision while being with family in Hawaii.

Nice move on the part of the ADL. I may be a Democrat but I will not hesitate to call out my fellow Democrats when I think that they are wrong, particularly on this issue. Here is the ADL's open letter to the former president.
We have read your letter to American Jews. As much as the tone of this letter is different from that of your book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," or your many public interviews, the damage to the good name of Israel and the American Jewish community from your unwarranted attacks remains. As does our outrage.

No matter the distinction you articulate in your letter, using the incendiary word "Apartheid" to refer to Israel and its policies is unacceptable and shameful. Apartheid, that abhorrent and racist system in South Africa, has no bearing on Israeli policies. Not only are Israel's policies not racist, but the situation in the territories does not arise from Israeli intentions to oppress or repress Palestinians, but is a product of Palestinian rejection of Israel and the use of terror and violence against the Jewish state. Nothing illustrates the stark difference better than Israel's offer of withdrawal made at Camp David and its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

Your efforts in the letter to minimize the impact of your charge that American Jews control US Middle East policy are simply unconvincing. In both your book and in your many television and print interviews you have been feeding into conspiracy theories about excessive Jewish power and control. Considering the history of anti-Semitism, even in our great country, this is very dangerous stuff.

To belatedly claim that you were really talking all along about Christian support for Israel, which you disrespectfully call "bias," neither repairs the damage of your accusations nor eases our concerns. Millions of American Christians support Israel because of their deeply felt religious beliefs and because they understand that Israel is a democracy, an ally of America, and on the front line to combat terror.

We continue to be distressed about the role you have taken upon yourself with regard to Israel and American Jews. Indeed, we know that the rabbis with whom you met in Phoenix are similarly distressed.

True sensitivity to Israel and American Jews would be demonstrated by ceasing these one-sided attacks and apologizing for damaging the good name of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Sen. Edwards will be having a town hall in Iowa soon.

In the event that you read this prior to 11:30 PM, tonight is the classic episode of Jack Black/Neil Young from last December 2005.

Virginia Sen. John Warner is looking to run for another term. Warner vs. Warner anyone?

Back to the former president, why won't he debate his book against Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz? Dershowitz asks the same question of Carter!
You can always tell when a public figure has written an indefensible book: when he refuses to debate it in the court of public opinion. And you can always tell when he's a hypocrite to boot: when he says he wrote a book in order to stimulate a debate, and then he refuses to participate in any such debate. I'm talking about former president Jimmy Carter and his new book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid."

Carter's book has been condemned as "moronic" (Slate), "anti-historical" (The Washington Post), "laughable" (San Francisco Chronicle), and riddled with errors and bias in reviews across the country. Many of the reviews have been written by non-Jewish as well as Jewish critics, and not by "representatives of Jewish organizations" as Carter has claimed. Carter has gone even beyond the errors of his book in interviews, in which he has said that the situation in Israel is worse than the crimes committed in Apartheid South Africa. When asked whether he believed that Israel's "persecution" of Palestinians was "[e]ven worse . . . than a place like Rwanda," Carter answered, "Yes. I think -- yes."

When Larry King referred to my review several times to challenge Carter, Carter first said I hadn't read the book and then blustered, "You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote professor Dershowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him." (He never did answer King's questions.)

The next week Carter wrote a series of op-eds bemoaning the reception his book had received. He wrote that his "most troubling experience" had been "the rejection of [his] offers to speak" at "university campuses with high Jewish enrollment." The fact is that Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz had invited Carter to come to Brandeis to debate me, and Carter refused. The reason Carter gave was this: "There is no need to for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."

As Carter knows, I've been to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, many times -- certainly more times than Carter has been there -- and I've written three books dealing with the subject of Middle Eastern history, politics, and the peace process. The real reason Carter won't debate me is that I would correct his factual errors. It's not that I know too little; it's that I know too much.
Haaretz asks if the former president is an anti-Semite.

Another article dealing with Carter. This is from Mel Konner.

Sen. Bayh looks solid as a running mate.
Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa has announced, and this coming week former Sen. John Edwards will declare his candidacy from the symbolic location of the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, the epicenter of Katrina's destruction. Vilsack will not get a free ride in his home state caucuses. Edwards has been working that state constantly since his second place finish there in 2004 and current polling in Iowa puts him ahead with a substantial 36 percent. We are still waiting to learn whether John Kerry and Joe Biden will try again and whether Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico will join Dennis Kucinich at the back of the pack.

Whoever is nominated, Evan Bayh will be at the top of the list of potential vice-presidential choices, where his charisma deficit will actually be an asset. The most important reason is geography. The Midwest is the battleground in present red-state/blue-state mathematics. With his innate understanding to the issues that affect our region -- agriculture, industry, job losses, immigration and education -- Bayh would be a far stronger partner than Edwards was for Kerry in 2004. Though some will disagree, his strong election record in Indiana raises the possibility that on the ticket, he might turn his home state blue.

Also, in our post-9/11 era, a national security credential is important and with his service on both the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, Bayh brings that. For Obama, in particular, that would be helpful. Add Bayh's executive experience, a governor who balanced the budget, cut taxes and left his successor a healthy surplus.

Finally, an asset not to be overlooked is the solid, telegenic Bayh family: his wife, Susan, and twin sons. When Bill Clinton chose Al Gore in 2000, the press went nuts over their families on their post-convention bus trip to swing states. Imagine the bus trip in 2008, the Obama daughters and the Bayh sons along with two attractive, accomplished wives. America will love it.
Obama tied Edwards in the latest Iowa poll.

You don't see this everyday.
More Fletcher opposition
A name from the past came forward this week to head the Kentucky Democrats' latest gubernatorial ticket.

Steve Beshear, a Lexington attorney who served in the state legislature, as attorney general and as lieutenant governor (under Martha Layne Collins), filed his running papers this week. His running mate is Dan Mongiardo, the doctor and state legislator from Eastern Kentucky who almost upset Jim Bunning for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

They will fight for the Democratic nomination with the Miller-Maze ticket, consisting of Attorney General Jonathan Miller and Jefferson County Attorney Irv Maze. On the GOP side, so far there's incumbent Ernie Fletcher and Robbie Rudolph
That covers everything, I think.

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