Friday, December 08, 2006

Other news today...

One final down, five finals to go! So while I will be busy over much of the weekend working on a paper, I thought I would blog some of the goings on right now.

Senator Jim Bunning, like his fellow Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, has declined to endorse indicted Governor Ernie Fletcher's campaign for re-election saying that he wants to see how the race plays out before making such an endorsement.
"I'm not going to support an incumbent Republican governor until I know whether (U.S. Rep.) Anne Northup might run or (U.S. Rep.) Hal Rogers might run," Sen. Jim Bunning of Southgate said yesterday. "I want to find out who the players are."
A certain book by a certain former president has caused a lot of controversy. I'm not surprised and I say that a as a staunch pro-Israel Democrat. If you want a good book to read on Israel, I suggest reading The Case for Israel by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz.
Kenneth W. Stein, a professor at Emory University, accused Carter of factual errors, omissions and plagiarism in the book. "Being a former President does not give one a unique privilege to invent information," Stein wrote in a harshly worded e-mail to friends and colleagues explaining his resignation as the center's Middle East fellow.

Stein offered no specifics in his e-mail to back up the charges, writing only that "in due course, I shall detail these points and reflect on their origins."[...]

Criticism of the book, primarily from Jewish groups and leaders, began even before it was published, and it became an issue in the midterm elections last month. The New York-based Jewish Daily Forward noted in October that Democrats were trying to distance themselves from its reported contents as Republicans were seeking to widely disseminate Carter's views in an effort to win Jewish votes.

Speaking to the Forward about Carter, Republican Jewish Coalition executive director Matthew Brooks said the coalition had "not shied away from shining a light on some of his misguided and outrageous comments about Israel in the past. . . . So far, there's been nothing but silence on the part of the Democratic establishment in terms of holding Carter accountable."

Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York, told the Forward that the "book clearly does not reflect the direction of the party."

Since then, the controversy has only grown. In a widely published commentary last weekend, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that Carter's "use of the loaded word 'apartheid,' suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa, is especially outrageous."

In a statement issued Monday, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles contended that Carter "abandons all objectivity and unabashedly acts as a virtual spokesman for the Palestinian cause."

In a telephone interview yesterday, Stein said that Carter had "taken [material] directly" from a published work written by a third party but that legal action was being contemplated and he was not yet at liberty to make the details public. He said accounts in the book about meetings he had attended with Carter between 1980 and 1990 had left out key facts in order to "make the Israelis look like they're the only ones responsible" for the failure of peace efforts.
Israeli officials responded to the recommendations by the Iraq Study Group. I'm not surprised by the comments. It's expected and I'll say it again: how does one have peace talks with countries that are supporters of state-sponsored terrorism.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he was open to talks with Syria, but “the way Syria is acting these days, especially its subversive action in Lebanon and its support for the extremist Hamas, does not project the possibility of negotiations taking place in the near future.”
Two Jewish members of the House of Representatives will be chairing some very important committees when the 110th Congress starts up in January.
The nod Wednesday from Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) virtually guarantees that Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a staunch defender of Israel, will chair the International Relations Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who is well known for his outspokenness, will chair the Government Reform Committee when Democrats assume control of the House in January after winning midterm elections.

They join Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Democratic Caucus chairman and fourth-ranked Democrat in the House.

Two Jewish congresswomen, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), are among the nine deputy whips.
Senator Evan Bayh was one of 29 Senators who have called for "full funding of the Grants to State Library Agencies Program."
“As we enter a more knowledge-based economy, libraries provide an increasingly vital resource for Hoosiers young and old to access essential literacy, educational and career development services,” Senator Bayh said. “Fully funding the Grants to State Library Agencies program will help ensure that Hoosiers from all economic backgrounds have access to the technology and information they need to develop important job skills and keep learning throughout their lives.”

A strong believer in the educational importance of libraries, Senator Bayh has consistently supported increased funding for libraries, especially for technology and literacy programs. For the past two years, Bayh has joined his colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support efforts to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act to help libraries close the “digital divide” and allow libraries to improve their services. He has also urged that Congress boost funding for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program to help students increase their literacy skills and develop a love for reading.
In his farewell speech, retiring Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), one of the most partisan Majority Leaders, called for the Senate to work together.
Apparently taking the Democrats' pledge of civility seriously, Sen. Harry M. Reid of Nevada bearhugged a startled Sen. Bill Frist yesterday, as Frist, the outgoing majority leader, bid farewell to his colleagues on the Senate floor. As the two men firmly shook hands, the Democrat unexpectedly reeled Frist in closer. After an awkward two-step, Frist even hugged back a little.

The fuzzy moment starkly contrasted with Democratic Senate leader Thomas A. Daschle's farewell two years ago -- when few Republicans even showed up. Frist's goodbye was positively warm and was attended by about 25 Democrats. Even liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) showered praise on the GOP leader. And all gave him a long standing ovation.

Frist, retiring from the Senate after limiting himself to two terms, delivered a final address to a hushed gallery, urging his colleagues of 12 years to work together and warning against "destructive partisanship."
I didn't watch Leno but this quote is making the rounds.
Jay Leno: “And Indiana Senator Evan Bayh announced he is starting a presidential exploratory committee. Right now, the two Democrats throwing their hat in the ring are Tom Vilsack and Evan Bayh. To give you an idea of how unknown these guys are, their Secret Service codenames are Tom Vilsack and Evan Bayh.”
The press has labeled Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as rivals.

I'm with the President on this one. Is that a surprise?
“The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is important to be solved,” Bush said. “I´m committed to a two-state solution. I believe it is in Israel’s interest and the Palestinian people’s interest to have two states living side-by-side for peace.” But he was adamant that he would not engage Iran and Syria until those countries stopped backing terrorists. “If Syria and Iran is not committed to that concept, then they shouldn’t bother to show up,” he said.
If you want to know more on why I feel the way that I feel on this issue, then read this.
Israel and the international community say the isolation of the Palestinian Authority will not end until the government, led by Haniyeh’s Hamas Party, renounces terrorism and recognizes Israel. Haniyeh’s refusal to do so led Palestinian moderates to break off national unity talks. Haniyeh described Iran, which has contributed millions of dollars to his government during its isolation, as the Palestinians’ “strategic depth.”

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