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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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Spakovsky Withdraws as FEC Nominee

By Paul Kiel - May 16, 2008, 5:10PM

After a five-month standoff, Hans von Spakovsky has withdrawn his name as a nominee to the FEC. The move likely clears the way for the deadlock over the FEC to be resolved.

You can read his resignation here.

"It is with regret that I write to request that you withdraw my nomination," Spakovsky wrote in a letter to the President today. In his letter, Spakovsky explains that Democrats' opposition to his nomination has caused a battle that has been "extremely hard on my family and quite frankly, we do not have the financial resources to continue to wait until this matter is resolved."

Democrats have opposed Spakovsky's nomination ever since last year, but it was the opposition of Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), who refused to allow any vote on the nominees together, that ultimately led to his withdrawal. Republicans, on the other hand, refused to allow Spakovsky to be voted on separately....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran

White House Weighs Striking Iran's Nuclear Complex, Which Could Trigger 3rd War In Region

June 24, 2008

(CBS) Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves Tuesday night on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The trip has been scheduled for some time but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex.

CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn't want to wait for a new administration.

"The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize," Oren said. "Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran."

Israel's message is simple: If you don't, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel can not do it alone.

"Keep in mind that Israel does not have strategic bombers," Oren said. "The Israeli Air Force is not the American Air Force. Israel can not eliminate Iran's nuclear program."

The U.S. with its stealth bombers and cruise missiles has a much greater capability. Vice President Cheney is said to favor a strike, but both Mullen and Defense Secretary Gates are opposed to an attack which could touch off a third war in the region.

U.S. intelligence estimates Iran won't be able to build a weapon until sometime early in the next decade. But Israel is operating on a much shorter timetable....(Click here for remainder of article).

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CO-Sen: Second Straight Poll Puts Udall Up 9 Points

by Jonathan Singer, Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 11:47:11 PM EST

Though the Senate fundraising efforts on this site are focused on the Road to 60 ActBlue list, which includes the races that will take the Democrats right up to the threshold of a 60-vote filibuster-proof supermajority in the chamber (yes, this is a plug for the list -- go make a contribution today, even of $5, $10 or $25), that doesn't mean we won't be paying attention to all of the other races.

In Colorado, for instance, nonpartisan polling released last week showed Democratic Congressman Mark Udall leading former Republican Congressman Bob Schaffer by a 9-point margin. Today the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released its own polling on the race that found the exact same spread:
After months of defending his links to big oil companies and battling scandals over ties to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff and convicted felon Bill Orr, Colorado Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer has fallen nine points behind Democratic Congressman Mark Udall, according to a new poll taken for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Udall leads Schaffer 46% to 37% in the new poll, which was conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research group.
[...]
The poll also shows Udall with more intense support than Schaffer, with 57% of his voters saying they strongly support him, as opposed to only 43% of Schaffer voters who strongly back him. Sixteen percent of respondents to the poll said the country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 72 percent who said it was moving on the wrong track. The poll of 807 likely voters was taken June 15 to 17 and has a 3.5% margin of error.
(Click here for remainder of post).

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Obama dismisses Dobson criticism about Bible

Obama says Dobson 'making stuff up' in claim candidate distorted the Bible

SARA KUGLER - AP News
Jun 24, 2008 21:51 EST


Barack Obama said Tuesday that evangelical leader James Dobson was "making stuff up" when he accused the presumed Democratic presidential nominee of distorting the Bible.

Dobson used his Focus on the Family radio program to highlight excerpts of a speech Obama gave in June 2006 to the liberal Christian group Call to Renewal.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane before landing in Los Angeles, Obama said the speech made the argument that people of faith, like himself, "try to translate some of our concerns in a universal language so that we can have an open and vigorous debate rather than having religion divide us."

Obama added, "I think you'll see that he was just making stuff up, maybe for his own purposes."

In his program, Dobson focused on examples Obama cited in asking which Biblical passages should guide public policy. For instance, Obama said Leviticus suggests slavery is OK and eating shellfish is an abomination. Obama also cited Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, "a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application."

"Folks haven't been reading their Bibles," Obama said in the speech.

"I think he's deliberately distorting the traditional understanding of the Bible to fit his own worldview, his own confused theology," Dobson said.

Asked about Dobson's assessment, Obama said "somebody would be pretty hard-pressed to make that argument" that he was distorting the Bible.

Obama supporters also responded to Dobson....(Click here for remainder of article).

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More Phony Myths

By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: June 25, 2008


Karl Rove was impressed with Barack Obama when he first met him. But now he sees him as a “coolly arrogant” elitist.

This was Rove’s take on Obama to Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club Monday, according to Christianne Klein of ABC News:

“Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

Actually, that sounds more like W.

The cheap populism is really rich coming from Karl Rove. When was the last time he kicked back with a corncob pipe to watch professional wrestling?

Rove is trying to spin his myths, as he used to do with such devastating effect, but it won’t work this time. The absurd spectacle of rich white conservatives trying to paint Obama as a watercress sandwich with the crust cut off seems ugly and fake.

Obama can be aloof and dismissive at times, and he’s certainly self-regarding, carrying the aura of the Ivy faculty club. But isn’t that better than the aura of the country clubs that tried to keep out blacks? It’s ironic, and maybe inevitable, that the first African-American nominee comes across as a prince of privilege. He is, as Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic wrote, not the seed but the flower of the civil rights movement....(Click here for remainder of OpEd).

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Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape

By DAVID STOUT
Published: June 26, 2008


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, on Wednesday that sentencing someone to death for raping a child is unconstitutional, assuming that the victim is not killed.

“The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

The court overturned a ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court, which had held that child rape is unique in the harm it inflicts not just upon the victim but on society and that, short of first-degree murder, no crime is more deserving of the death penalty.

Justice Kennedy, while in no way minimizing the heinous nature of child rape, wrote that executing someone for that crime, assuming that the victim was not killed, violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Moreover, Justice Kennedy wrote, sentencing someone to death for raping a child could have terrible, unintended consequences, given the years that typically go by between a crime and the execution of the defendant....(Click here for remainder of article).

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