Posted: 06 Jan 2009 09:41 AM PST
Blagojevich appoint Roland Burris to be the replacement as the junior senator from Illinois, despite senate Democrats objections and claiming his credentials were "not in order", they did not allow Burris to claim the seat today.
Former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris was denied entry to the Senate chambers Tuesday as he tried to claim the seat once held by President-elect Barack Obama.
The battle continues on.
In related news, Senate Democrats also hold off on seating Al Franken.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges.
Posted: 06 Jan 2009 06:41 AM PST
January 6, 2009; Page A13 of the Washington Post, Op-Ed Columnist Richard Cohen has some words to say about the current Israel/Hamas conflict.
Nearly a year ago, I was in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, where, on almost any day, you could see the current war coming. "The next Middle East war may start over Sderot," I wrote back then. I came by my prescience the hard way -- in a bomb shelter. That day, three Qassam rockets had hit the city. It took no genius to see the imminence of war. It takes real stupidity to blame it on Israel.
That was just the first paragraph from someone who was there, who witnessed the mindless terror those rocket attacks have caused to civilian populations of Israel.
He goes on though:
I get the impression that Israel is expected to put up with this. The implied message from demonstrators and some opinion columnists is that this is the price Israel is supposed to pay for being, I suppose, Israel. I am informed by a Palestinian journalist in a Post op-ed that Israel is trying to stop "amateur rockets from nagging the residents of some of its southern cities." In Sderot, I saw homes nagged to smithereens.
There is more, read his whole column but a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Cohen for saying what needed to be said and from giving people a firsthand account, not from Israel, not from Hamas, nor the people in Gaza, but from someone who has seen, with his own eyes, the destruction that proceeded the most recent events.
Funny how the world ignores the whole situation for years, when thousands of rockets are falling on Israel from Hamas in Gaza, yet when Israel fights back, all of a sudden everyone wants to focus on it.
Mr. Cohen is tight, "It takes real stupidity to blame it on Israel."
Posted: 06 Jan 2009 06:07 AM PST
Leon Panetta, former Clinton administration Chief of Staff, has been chosen by Obama to be his next CIA director, which in turn is pulling in some criticism from Senate Democrats such as Dianne Feinstein and Jay Rockefeller.
The concern by Feinstein, who is the Senate's incoming Intelligence committee chair and Rockefeller who is the current Chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, seems to be Panetta's lack of intelligence or counterterrorism experience, as explained by The Caucus.
President-elect Barack Obama has selected Leon E. Panetta, the former congressman and White House chief of staff, to take over the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization that Mr. Obama criticized during the campaign for using interrogation methods he decried as torture, Democratic officials said Monday.
Feinstein was quoted by CNN's Political Ticker as saying in a prepared statement, "My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time."
MSNBC First Read, shows Rockefeller's concerns:
An aide to current Chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, tells NBC News that while the senator has tremendous respect for Leon Panetta, the aide said he believes the CIA director should go to someone who has significant intelligence experience and someone from outside the political world of Washington D.C.
Feinstein also says she had not been notified of the Obama pick ahead of time.
More on Leon Panetta's congressional work can be found at Wiki.
During his time in Congress, his work concentrated mostly on budget issues, civil rights, education, health, and environmental issues, particularly preventing oil drilling off the California coast. He wrote the Hunger Prevention Act (Public Law 100-435) of 1988 and the Fair Employment Practices Resolution. He was a major factor in establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
More from The Caucus:
Mr. Panetta has a reputation in Washington as a competent manager with strong background in budget issues, but has little hands-on intelligence experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take control of the agency most directly responsible for hunting senior Al Qaeda leaders around the globe, but one that has been buffeted since the Sept. 11 attacks by leadership changes and morale problems.
Commentary Magazine seems to put it best with a little snark, stating "Two Democratic Senate Intelligence Committe veterans, Sen. Diane Feinstein and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, slam the Panetta pick. They apparently think we need an intelligence professional to run an intelligence agency. How whacky is that?"
Reactions from both sides of the blogosphere can be found at Memeorandum.
Posted: 05 Jan 2009 12:41 PM PST
A link and a teaser but the whole thing needs to be read so handing it over without my own commentary.
Link is Wall Street Journal.
Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.
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