Polispeak: July 2006: Archives

July 31, 2006

FDA To Consider Morning-After Pill OTC Sales genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

Morning-after Pill

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it is ready to consider over-the-counter sales of Barr Laboratories morning-after pill...a move that surprised many observers given the protracted delays that have raised concerns that the agency is allowing politics to guide medical decisions.

Despite the announcement, there is reason for skepticism since President Bush's nominee to head the Agency; Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach is scheduled to appear for confirmation hearings. Two Senators, including Hillary Clinton, have vowed to block the nomination until the agency makes a decision on over-the-counter sales. Read the full article here.

Barr’s application for over-the-counter approval of Plan B has been pending before the F.D.A. for three years and has sparked considerable discord within the agency. It has also become a proxy fight in the debate between foes and supporters of abortion rights.

In December 2003, an F.D.A. advisory committee voted 23 to 4 to approve Barr’s application with no age restrictions. Six months later, however, a top agency official rejected the application, citing concerns that the pill would be available to young teenagers.

Internal F.D.A. documents show that agency officials suggested to Barr that it rewrite its application to allow over-the-counter sales to adult women while still requiring younger teenagers to get a prescription. Barr did that, but in January 2005, the statutory deadline for an F.D.A. decision passed without a decision.

In a letter to Barr today, Dr. von Eschenbach indicated the F.D.A. would not approve Plan B for over-the-counter sale for girls under 18. “We believe that the appropriate age for OTC access is 18," he wrote.

While the F.D.A. has insisted that its decisions to reject or delay the Plan B application were the result of scientific or regulatory concerns, a Congressional investigation found last year that top agency officials decided at one point to reject the application before its staff’s scientific review was even complete.

Senator Clinton and Senator Murray issued a joint statement that accused the agency of making the announcement as a further effort to stall the approval of the pill. They indicated they would still block the nomination until such time as a decision was finalized.

Thought Theater previously reported on the controversy surrounding the agency and the approval of the pill for over-the-counter sales here.

Daniel DiRito | July 31, 2006 | 1:16 PM | link | Comments (0)
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South Dakota Voters Oppose Abortion Ban genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

Abortion debate

A recent poll indicates that voters in South Dakota are not in favor of the recently enacted ban on abortions that many feel could become a key component of efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade. The full article can be found here.

The statewide survey of 800 registered voters found 47 percent opposed the strict ban, while 39 percent favored it. The remaining 14 percent were undecided. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The Legislature voted overwhelmingly earlier this year to make abortion illegal in all cases -- including rape and incest -- unless the procedure was necessary to save the woman's life. It was to become law on July 1, but opponents gathered enough signatures to delay it and to let voters decide in November whether the ban should take effect.

If voters reject the abortion ban at the ballot box, they would effectively repeal it.

The poll also indicated that voters were more favorable to a ban on abortions if the law would provide for exceptions in cases that involve rape or incest. Should the current measure be rejected in November, a new bill would likely be submitted to the legislature with exceptions for rape and incest in order to make it less likely to be rejected by voters in the future.

Daniel DiRito | July 31, 2006 | 12:52 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 30, 2006

Rice Cancels Remainder of Middle East Mission genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Condi Rice

On the heels of an errant bombing in Lebanon that is believed to have killed in excess of 50 civilians, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided to return to Washington without completing the balance of her diplomatic mission. After the bombing, the Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora called for nothing less than an immediate cease fire, a move that signaled little room for further negotiation at the moment. MSNBC has the full story here.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity about the diplomatic situation, said Rice would work from Washington on a U.N. Security Council resolution to end the crisis.

Rice said on Sunday she was “deeply saddened by the terrible loss of innocent life" after an attack on a village in southern Lebanon. But she did not call for an immediate cease-fire in the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militias.

Israel’s attack, which killed scores of civilians while they sleep, led Rice to cancel an expected visit to Beirut for a meeting Sunday with Lebanese Prime Minister Faud Saniora. Rice said she called Saniora to postpone; angry Lebanese officials said it was their government that called off the meeting.

The bombing mishap is expected to harden calls for a cease fire as well as continue the trend of growing public outrage within the region at the continued actions of the Israeli army. Since the start of the conflict, when Hezbollah provoked Israel by abducting two Israeli soldiers and killing three others, public opinion has shifted from anger at Hezbollah to anger at Israel which has made it more difficult for Israel and the United States to delay efforts to bring the military actions to an end.

Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2006 | 9:05 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Minimum Wage Hike Passes With Huge Tax Cuts genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Tax cuts

In an expected move, House Republicans passed a minimum wage increase but the measure includes significant changes in the estate tax structure...removing the tax altogether for many wealthy Americans and capping the tax rate at 30 percent for estates exceeding 25 million dollars. The Washington Post has the full article here. Thought Theater previously discussed the measure and the tactics being employed by the Republican controlled House.

The House, at about 1:30 a.m. yesterday, voted 230 to 180 to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, from the $5.15 rate on the books since 1997. The bill also would exempt from taxation all estates worth as much as $5 million -- or $10 million for a married couple -- and apply a 15 percent tax rate to inheritances above that threshold and as much as $25 million. For estates exceeding $25 million in value, the tax rate would be 30 percent.

Most congressional Republicans support the estate-tax cuts and oppose the minimum wage increase. Most Democrats take the opposite positions. Democrats said they saw a two-edged strategy in the GOP decision to couple the issues.

Democrats' eagerness to raise the minimum wage might attract enough support in the Senate as well as the House to pass the estate-tax cut, a major GOP goal. But if Senate Democrats block the bill because of their aversion to the estate-tax cut -- as their leaders have vowed to do -- House Republicans may at least be able to blunt Democratic accusations that they made no effort to help the working poor.

The move, by Republicans, is simply an attempt to neutralize an issue they see as a vulnerability this November. They see a benefit whether the bill is passed or rejected in the Senate. If the bill is rejected they believe they can argue that they sought to help low wage workers but the Democrats refused to endorse the proposed legislation. If the bill is passed, they not only enacted a minimum wage increase but passed their long sought estate tax reform. This will be a key test for Senate Democrats and may signal whether the Party can muster the consensus needed to defeat this measure as well as begin the process of speaking with a strong and united voice.

Daniel DiRito | July 30, 2006 | 8:37 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 28, 2006

We Don't Torture...But We Need A Bill To CYA? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Liberty as victim

The recent Supreme Court ruling on detainees held by the United States stated that they were to be treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions guidelines and that they were entitled to be processed under current military legal proceedings or some other legitimate legal process that Congress may choose to enact. The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Gonzales, in light of the ruling, is discussing new legislation to shield those who were responsible for the handling of the detainees during the period of time that was the focus of the Supreme Court ruling.

An obscure law approved by a Republican-controlled Congress a decade ago has made the Bush administration nervous that officials and troops involved in handling detainee matters might be accused of committing war crimes, and prosecuted at some point in U.S. courts.

Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant U.S. personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. That law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war and threatens the death penalty if U.S.-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment.

Prior to the passage of the McCain bill establishing guidelines on torture and the proper handling of detainees, the Bush administration repeatedly asserted that the U.S. did not engage in torture. Nonetheless, once the bill was passed, the administration attached a signing statement to the bill that basically exempted the President from the legislation should he determine a situation was a matter of national security. The signing statement along with the Supreme Court ruling has apparently raised concerns that there may be ample evidence to make accusations of war crimes. The larger problem, in my opinion, is the added damage the legislation sought by Gonzales would do to an already dismal view of the United States around the world.

Gonzales told the lawmakers that a shield is needed for actions taken by U.S. personnel under a 2002 presidential order, which the Supreme Court declared illegal, and under Justice Department legal opinions that have been withdrawn under fire, the source said. A spokeswoman for Gonzales, Tasia Scolinos, declined to comment on Gonzales's remarks.

The Justice Department's top legal adviser, Steven G. Bradbury, separately testified two weeks ago that Congress must give new "definition and certainty" to captors' risk of prosecution for coercive interrogations that fall short of outright torture.

Language in the administration's draft, which Bradbury helped prepare in concert with civilian officials at the Defense Department, seeks to protect U.S. personnel by ruling out detainee lawsuits to enforce Geneva protections and by incorporating language making U.S. enforcement of the War Crimes Act subject to U.S. -- not foreign -- understandings of what the Conventions require.

The Supreme Court, in contrast, has repeatedly said that foreign interpretations of international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions should at least be considered by U.S. courts.

The law that concerns Gonzales was sponsored by a conservative Republican legislator, Walter B. Jones, from North Carolina, and was motivated by his conversation with a pilot who had been a prisoner of war during the Vietnam era. Clearly, the Jones bill, as with the McCain bill, were enacted because it is prudent to oppose torture in order to minimize the likelihood that our own soldiers would be subjected to such treatment and to allow the U.S. to bring charges should American soldiers be mistreated.

The law initially criminalized grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions but was amended without a hearing the following year to include violations of Common Article 3, the minimum standard requiring that all detainees be treated "humanely." The article bars murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." It applies to any abuse involving U.S. military personnel or "nationals."

Since September 2001, however, Bush administration officials have considered the law a potential threat to U.S. personnel involved in interrogations. While serving as White House legal counsel in 2002, Gonzales helped prepare a Jan. 25 draft memo to Bush -- written in large part by David Addington, then Vice President Cheney's legal counsel and now Cheney's chief of staff -- in which he cited the threat of prosecution under the act as a reason to declare that detainees captured in Afghanistan were not eligible for Geneva Conventions protections.

But the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld effectively made Bush's order illegal when it affirmed that all detainees held by the United States are protected by Common Article 3. The court's decision caught the administration unprepared, at first, for questions about how its policy would change.

Several officials said the administration's main concerns are Article 3's prohibitions against "outrages upon personal dignity" and humiliating or degrading treatment.

While I fully appreciate the outrage that followed 9/11 and support the objective of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice, I simply can't endorse the abandonment of our long held principles to achieve that outcome. The costs of such actions are more and more apparent as each new violation is exposed. At some point, the damage to U.S. credibility and moral authority will be such that we can no longer be an influence for integrity and democracy within the world. It is simply too high a price to pay.

Daniel DiRito | July 28, 2006 | 12:01 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 27, 2006

Republican Ploy May Allow Vote On Minimum Wage genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Empty pockets

It appears that Republican leaders in the House may allow a vote on increasing the minimum wage. However, as the final version of the bill is negotiated, it appears that Republicans may attach small business tax cuts to offset the increased costs. As I analyze the measure, it seems like an opportunity for Democrats to turn the tables on Republicans. I'll explain after excerpts from the article that can be found here.

Republican leaders haven't yet decided on how far to boost the federal minimum wage, now at $5.15 an hour, or which tax cuts will be included in the package, Madden said. Democrats and some Republicans are pushing to boost the wage to $7.25 over 30 months.

Republicans are under pressure to accept an increase pushed by Democrats as the November midterm elections loom and lawmakers prepare to accept a $3,300 automatic pay raise for themselves.

"We aren't quite there yet but we are getting very close,'' Republican Representative Sherwood Boehlert of New York said in an interview today. “If we don't deal with it, some people would argue it's going to hurt some Republicans,'' he said.

House Democratic leaders say the pairing of a wage increase with tax cuts threatens the prospects of the legislation, because many Democrats may not be willing to support further tax reductions that could yield a larger federal budget deficit.

Basically, the Republicans appear to be trying to back Democrats into a corner while allowing their own House members in tight races to vote in favor of the wage increase. If the bill were to fail because Democrats opposed added tax cuts, Republicans could neutralize the wage issue for the November election while providing needed cover for their House members.

If I were asked how the Democrats can turn the tables on the Republicans, I would argue they need to point out the hypocrisy evident in the GOP's tax cutting strategy. By giving small businesses tax cuts to offset the wage increase, they are actually enacting a subsidy that is ultimately funded through taxpayer generated revenues...in essence they are creating a new tax funded social program...even though they repeatedly espouse the need to cut back on such funding. The measure would ultimately becomes an added burden for the already struggling middle class while at the same time shielding corporations from sharing in the cost of the much needed wage increase.

As such, the proposed bill would continue the trend of fostering profits for the wealthy while shifting further burden for government funded programs to the average middle class taxpayer...who already pays a disproportionate share of the federal tax burden. The Democrats need to reframe the tax equation for the voters by pointing out that the total dollars needed to run the government have not actually been reduced...the burden for that funding is merely being shifted amongst the various income brackets...which is a tax increase…because it either takes more money from some income brackets or creates debt that has to eventually be repaid.

As the national debt increases, the economic growth needed to sustain the debt will eventually be eclipsed...leaving little choice but to collect more revenues...which will no doubt have to come from higher taxes. Until that point is reached, the government is subsidizing the wealthiest Americans while continuing to tax average citizens at virtually the same rates...what little reduction they may be receiving is likely offset by inflation, especially in the form of energy costs (which are creating record profits for large corporations).

The bottom line is that Republicans are not the Party of tax cuts...they are the Party that restructures tax burdens in order to provide added wealth to those who already posses the lions share of the wealth...while at the same time creating astronomical debt that will ultimately be apportioned to all Americans...a simple case of double dipping in my estimation.

Daniel DiRito | July 27, 2006 | 5:52 PM | link | Comments (2)
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Al-Qaida: Planting The Seeds For A "Holy War" genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Holy war

Ayman al-Zawahri has issued a new video calling on Muslims to rise up and defeat all those who are aligned with Western civilization. Clearly, al-Qaida sees the turmoil in the Middle East as an opportunity to recruit new members...and by portraying the struggle as a religious war they are much more likely to be successful. The current world conflicts may be the beginning of a much broader struggle that could potentially expand well beyond the confines of a war on terror. The Associated Press has the full story here.

CAIRO, Egypt -- Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq."

In the message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahri, second in command to Osama bin Laden, said that al-Qaida now views "all the world as a battlefield open in front of us."

"It is a jihad (holy war) for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails ... from Spain to Iraq," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere." Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims for more than seven centuries until they were driven from power in 1492.

He also called for the "downtrodden" throughout the world, not just Muslims, to join the battle against "tyrannical Western civilization and its leader, America."

"Stand with Muslims in confronting this unprecedented oppression and tyranny. Stand with us as we stand with you against this injustice that was forbidden by God in his book (the Quran)," al-Zawahri said.

Kamal Habib, a former member of Egypt's Islamic Jihad militant group who was jailed from 1981 to 1991 along with al-Zawahri, said the al-Qaida No. 2's outreach to Shiites and non-Muslims was unprecedented and reflected a major change in tactics.

"This is a transformation in the vision of al-Qaida and its struggle with the United States. It is now trying to unite Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims and calling for non-Muslims to join the fight," he said.

The rhetoric seems to be an attempt to recruit from all the various sectarian groups as well as Muslim's native to other regions, likely a key to being able to successfully execute attacks around the world. In the United States, there is ample concern that U.S. born sympathizers will establish terrorist cells in order to conduct attacks. Recent terrorist activity in other regions seems to indicate that al-Qaida is achieving success by attempting to characterize this conflict as a battle of religions.

While I understand Israel’s right of self-defense, it seems apparent that a larger issue is unfolding. Since 9/11, a point in time when the U.S. had the sympathy and support of much of the world, the effort to extinguish terrorism has unfortunately been transformed into an ideological conflict with religious beliefs as the point of focus. Sadly, the Bush administration has fueled the conflict with ill-advised remarks such as the oft cited use of the term "Crusade" and increasing accusations of Islamic extremism...instead of remaining focused on the illegitimacy of terrorist acts. This administration seems determined to jump over the politics of this conflict despite their obvious existence.

The invasion of Iraq marked an important turning point in the war on terror. When the invasion began, the argument made by the administration that Iraq had WMD's, although subsequently found to be inaccurate, kept the conflict focused on terrorism. As it became evident that there were no WMD's and that the Bush administration had manipulated the intelligence to support the invasion, two unfortunate things occurred.

First, the motives of the U.S. were suddenly met with suspicion, thereby allowing al-Qaida and others opposed to Western culture to begin the process of reframing the conflict for their supporters. Second, once the administration realized that the WMD rationale would no longer suffice, they shifted the focus to spreading democracy...with the argument that democratic states don't, by their design, promote the conditions that lead people to support or engage in terrorist activities. While that argument may be valid, it was a key tactical error because it allowed our extremist opponents to reframe the conflict on an even broader basis. All of a sudden, the U.S. efforts to defeat terrorism could suddenly be characterized as the exportation of Western beliefs and culture...and of course an affront to Islam.

The U.S. continues to ignore the well established realities of the tipping point perspective. While we believe our efforts to bring democracy are noble and that in time the benefits and the outcome will be positive and accepted, we ignore the environment and the associated perceptions that support a movement in an equally motivated, but opposite direction. Once that perception becomes reality in the minds of those we seek to influence, the battle is virtually lost. Unless people accept and adopt that which we offer or impose, the noble intention is irrelevant. Further, if the noble effort becomes the language that permeates the oppositions rhetoric, the noble goal is self-defeating.

In this nuance one can see how fine the line is that separates the perceptions of reasoned diplomacy and unbridled imperialism. The danger is such that what may have been motivated by good intentions is subsequently defined differently by the intended recipients and thus corrupted and destined for failure. Once religion is inserted into the equation, dogma and doctrine are applied to politics and the conflict will necessarily be tainted by the propensity for absolutist rationale...hence the likelihood of a holy war or a jihad.

Once this polarization is cemented into the dialogue, such conflicts are rarely resolved absent the sword and history can document this succinctly and repetitively. As both sides begin the process of demonizing the enemy and expressing their beliefs in absolutes...whether originally intended or subsequently implied, the process of moving back to diplomacy is immeasurably more difficult.

In the end, the consolidation of power in the hands of a select few...the underlying premise of the neoconservative philosophy and the converse of detente...is self-defeating. When power eclipses or abandons persuasion, the amount of power needed to maintain the status quo increases exponentially as those upon which power is being exerted or imposed believe their autonomy is subrogated to the tenets of those in power. This administration may believe that democracy is on the march...but in reality they may simply be providing the drumbeat for those that seek to see its demise.

We are told we are safer now that Saddam is out of power and that fighting the war there is better than fighting it here at home. The problem is that while we are fighting in Iraq, we are seeing the Middle East as well as a number of other countries moving towards extremist ideologies. As we are attempting to install a democracy in Iraq, radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah have captured more power...and they've done so through democratic means.

While our democracy, in the hands of the neocons, moves towards using force to export and expand democracy, those we deem as extremists are using persuasion to democratically assume power. That, in my opinion, is perhaps the epitome of irony. Worse yet, it is an indication that our foreign policy is an unmitigated failure that may well alter the world order for decades.

Daniel DiRito | July 27, 2006 | 8:11 AM | link | Comments (2)
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July 26, 2006

Poll: Americans Are Unhappy Campers Right Now genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Bad mood

The latest NBC Wall Street Journal poll indicates that voters are far from optimistic about the direction of the country as well as the prospects for the situation to improve. In an indication of the depth of the negative mood, those polled were doubtful that the situation would improve for their children. Of the 60% that feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, some 81% believe that the problem is a longer term decline. Read the full article here.

According to the poll, 65 percent say they feel less confident that life for their children's generation will be better than it was for them.

In addition, only 27 percent think the country is headed in the right direction, while 58 percent say they are less confident the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion.

And among those who believe that the nation is headed on the wrong track, a whopping 81 percent believe it's part of a longer-term decline and that things won't get better for some time. Just 12 percent think the problems are short-term blips.

President Bush continues to receive negative marks as the latest poll shows his job approval at 39%, a 2% increase over last month but not statistically significant. His handling of the war in Iraq continues to be a critical factor in his overall approvals. Only 34% believe he is doing a good job with the war while 61% disapprove. The war in Iraq continues to lead the list of issues of concern to voters with 29% choosing it as the top priority. That is an increase of 7% in the last 30 days...an ominous increase and a good indication that patience with the effort in Iraq continues to erode.

Daniel DiRito | July 26, 2006 | 6:54 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Iran's Ahmadinejad Calls For Cease Fire genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

In a curious move, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a cease fire in the conflict in Lebanon between Israel and Hezbollah. Given the belief by many Middle East experts that Iran encouraged the actions that led to the conflict, it seems a bit odd that Iran would feel compelled to comment on the issue. The Associated Press has the full story here.

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for a cease-fire in Lebanon and criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East on Wednesday, saying Washington wants to "recarve the map" of the region with Israel's help.

Ahmadinejad's nation is a major backer of Hezbollah and a sworn enemy of Israel, but he denied that Tehran provides military support to the militant group.

He said Iran only supports Hezbollah politically and morally.

Note that he clearly states that Iran's support for Hezbollah does not include weapons or other military support...only "politically and morally". Recent reports from Israel have indicated that some of the missiles fired into Israel by Hezbollah were produced in Iran. While impossible to determine the significance of the statement, one must wonder if the President is concerned that Iran may soon be the target of further actions on the part of Israel or the United States.

Some regional experts have felt that the conflict in Lebanon would ultimately benefit Iran and elevate the country's stature within the Middle East. I've read speculation that Iran may have been seeking leverage with regards to its nuclear program that has been the object of international concern. Additionally, some observers have noted that the absence of a powerful Iraq, which had previously been a counter force to Iran, has allowed Iran to assert greater influence within the region.

Daniel DiRito | July 26, 2006 | 10:55 AM | link | Comments (1)
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Gay Marriage: Washington Supreme Court Says No genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

Same-sex marriage

The long awaited ruling from the Washington state Supreme Court has just been published. The findings of the court held that the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman is constitutional and that DOMA is also constitutional and that there were no compelling reasons to uphold lower court rulings to the contrary. To read the full opinion, link here.

Washington’s long-standing definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and DOMA are both constitutional. Respondents’ numerous challenges under the state and federal constitutions all fail. We conclude that the legislature was justified in enacting DOMA to clarify and reaffirm Washington marriage law by a compelling governmental interest in preserving the institution of marriage, as well as the healthy families and children it promotes. This conclusion may not be changed by mere passage of time or currents of public favor and surely not changed by courts.

Finally, we conclude that neither the due process or right to privacy clauses in article I, section 3 and section 7 nor the equal rights amendment to our state constitution creates a right to marry a person of the same sex. Indeed, these claims are even less persuasive when viewed correctly through the eyes and understanding of those who authored and ratified our constitution (and the ERA amendment).

We add the important conclusion that this decision is required by the relevant constitutional provisions, the history of our laws and precedent in this court, and the United States Supreme Court. This decision is final. 54 The decisions of both trial courts are reversed and these actions dismissed.

On a brighter note, the Court made it clear that nothing prevented allowing for same-sex marriages through the legislative process or through voter initiatives that might be placed on the ballot. The Court sought to make clear that the scope of their ruling was to simply determine if DOMA was constitutional and not to offer their opinions as to what they may believe the law ought to be.

While this ruling will be viewed as a loss within the LGBT community, it may not in the long run be as bad as it appears. The timing of this ruling made it particularly volatile and had the court ruled against DOMA and concluded that same-sex couples could marry, it would have likely provided the Republican Party with a highly charged issue heading towards the crucial November midterm elections. Nonetheless, it is another defeat for same-sex marriage within the court setting. Despite the disappointment, polls do show that the voters are moving in the right direction with regard to same-sex marriage. Even those opposed to same-sex marriage concede that it is merely a matter of time before a majority of voters will support same-sex marriage.

In the meantime, the LGBT community and its supporters must continue to win the hearts and minds of those with whom they associate. This battle is going to be won on a person by person basis and it is essential for each gay American to engage those who they encounter in an honest and open dialogue such that it becomes evident that gays have the same concerns and endure the same hardships and have the same hopes as all Americans. Once that happens, gays will no longer be viewed in the abstract as a group of people who seek to impose an unreasonable agenda. Only then will the fear that drives opposition to same-sex marriage subside.

Daniel DiRito | July 26, 2006 | 9:10 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Conservatives Call For Rice To Be Demoted genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

There is growing sentiment and increasing pressure from a number of high profile foreign policy conservatives to reassign Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to a lower level position within the Bush administration. At the moment the consensus has yet to reach the level that was previously witnessed with the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Nonetheless, if world events continue to further destabilize, some experts believe Rice could be demoted after the midterm elections. Insight on the News has the full story.

Conservative national security allies of President Bush are in revolt against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, saying that she is incompetent and has reversed the administration’s national security and foreign policy agenda.

The conservatives, who include Newt Gingrich, Richard Perle and leading current and former members of the Pentagon and National Security Council, have urged the president to transfer Miss Rice out of the State Department and to an advisory role. They said Miss Rice, stemming from her lack of understanding of the Middle East, has misled the president on Iran and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The criticism of Miss Rice has been intense and comes from a range of Republican loyalists, including current and former aides in the Defense Department and the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. They have warned that Iran has been exploiting Miss Rice's inexperience and incompetence to accelerate its nuclear weapons program. They expect a collapse of her policy over the next few months.

"We are sending signals today that no matter how much you provoke us, no matter how viciously you describe things in public, no matter how many things you're doing with missiles and nuclear weapons, the most you'll get out of us is talk," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said.

A leading public critic of Miss Rice has been Richard Perle, a former chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and regarded as close to Mr. Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. Perle, pointing to the effort by the State Department to undermine the Reagan administration’s policy toward the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, has accused Miss Rice of succumbing to a long-time State Department agenda of meaningless agreements meant to appease enemies of the United States.

Miers & Rice

Thought Theater has previously discussed the neoconservative origins and their ascendancy to power in the current Bush administration. One of the sources of this prior posting stated the following with regards to Richard Perle:

From Le Monde diplomatica:

Richard Perle, one of the most influential neoconservatives in the current administration and an early critic of detente, is quite open about it: "We had to show that detente could not work and re-establish objectives of victory" (5). Helped by Nixon’s ignominious downfall and the accession of Gerald Ford, who became a weak and unimpressive president, the radical right rapidly consolidated its position.

It clearly appears that the neoconservatives see Rice as an obstacle to the final implementation of their foreign policy doctrine...a doctrine which views power and force as the primary tool for the resolution of conflict. They oppose the notion of detente and have spent the last thirty plus years attempting to position the U.S. as the singular superpower. Rice's close relationship with high level officials in the State Department is seen as a negative that contributes to her perceived ineffectiveness.

One is inclined to wonder if the delay in U.S. efforts to broker a cease fire in the current Middle East conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is an indication of a waning confidence in the direction of the efforts of the Secretary of State as well as some further expanding neoconservative influence with the President. The fact that the administration has indicated that there must be an enduring solution rather than any rapid efforts to negotiate a cease fire seems to support the neoconservative belief that threats must be dealt with from a position of strength...even if that includes a lengthier period of military engagement. The delay in dispatching Rice to the region seems to be significant.

A major problem, critics said, is Miss Rice's ignorance of the Middle East. They said the secretary relies completely on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is largely regarded as the architect of U.S. foreign policy. Miss Rice also consults regularly with her supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Richard Lugar and the No. 2 Republican, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The critics said Miss Rice has adopted the approach of Mr. Burns and the State Department bureaucracy that most—if not all—problems in the Middle East can be eased by applying pressure on Israel. They said even as Hezbollah was raining rockets on Israeli cities and communities, Miss Rice was on the phone nearly every day demanding that the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert exercise restraint.

"Rice attempted to increase pressure on Israel to stand down and to demonstrate restraint," said Stephen Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. "The rumor is that she was told flatly by the prime minister's office to back off."

The critics within the administration expect a backlash against Miss Rice that could lead to her transfer in wake of the congressional elections in 2006. They said by that time even Mr. Bush will recognize the failure of relying solely on diplomacy in the face of Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The direction of U.S. foreign policy appears to hang in the balance as the two sides jockey to influence the President. Should Rice be demoted after the November elections, one might expect to see the administration undertake a new round of military interventions. If the neoconservatives have their way, we may well find ourselves in the midst of a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear program.

A number of articles have been written in recent months that indicate planning for such an attack has been in progress for some time. The administration has dismissed such speculation by indicating that multiple scenarios are considered with each security risk. There is little doubt that takes place on a routine basis...however it appears that there is growing pressure to transform these hypothetical models into actionable foreign policy positions. The demotion of Rice may signal that eventuality.

Daniel DiRito | July 26, 2006 | 7:10 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 25, 2006

Vatican Condems EU Stem Cell Funds Approval genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

Stem cell research

The Vatican issued a condemnation of Monday's approval by the European Union to continue funding stem cell research. The Associated Press has the full article here.

VATICAN CITY -- A Vatican newspaper on Tuesday condemned a decision by the European Union to continue funding embryonic human stem cell research, calling it the result of "a twisted sense of progress."

The 25-nation bloc agreed Monday in Brussels to keep up the funding through 2013, but only under new rules that prevent human cloning and destroying embryos.

Critics of the agreement have argued that the EU was splitting hairs in order to get the funding approved with minimal objection. The Times of Malta explains the subtle distinction as follows:

The German delegation accepted the final draft where a statement was included stating that the EU will not finance the destruction of human embryos.

But, at a press conference later, the Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocknik, said that although the EU will not be funding such research itself, the destruction of the embryo was an inevitable phase in the process. It is simply that the EU will not be involved in that phase.

Asked specifically whether this was not a "fudged" solution, given that such research will ultimately involve the destruction of embryos, the commissioner said smilingly: "I don't know what you want me to say".

Clearly the wording did not satisfy the Vatican's position on stem cell research. The approval will provide the funds to conduct the research on the cells once they have been harvested from IVF clinic embryos scheduled for disposal but will not fund the actual destruction of the embryos. Nonetheless, the approval is an important commitment to pursuing the promising research. The Vatican spokesman made the following comments.

Monsignor Elio Sgreccia, a top Vatican official on bioethical questions, described the EU decision as "grave" and said it authorizes "the use of human beings, on the basis of 'I kill you to get advantages for others.'"

"The macabre product of a twisted sense of progress," the newspaper's headline said.

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 4:44 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Dave Chappelle Plays A Black Howard Dean genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 3:35 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Bush At 37% Approval In Latest Gallup Poll genre: Polispeak

Thumbs

The slight positive bounce for President Bush seems to be on the wane. In the latest USA Today Gallup Poll, Bush's approval has dropped from 40% to 37%. While the decline is not statistically significant, it does indicate that the favorable movement may have reached a peak. Read the full article here.

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new USA Today/Gallup poll finds 37% of Americans approving of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 59% disapproving. Despite many extraordinary events dominating the news over the past weeks -- including the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Bush's high-visibility trip to Europe -- this slight drop from the 40% approval rating measured earlier in the month is not statistically significant and falls within the margin of error between the two surveys. The current 37% rating is similar to his average approval rating of 37% for all of June.

Bush's job approval rating had been showing a slow, gradual improvement from his administration's low point of 31% in early May, but seems to have reached a plateau in the 37% to 40% range since mid-June. Bush's ratings were higher in January and early February, averaging 42%.

Bush's job approval ratings continue to be highly polarized along partisan lines. The president's job approval ratings currently stands at 82% among Republicans, 27% among independents, and lower still among Democrats, at 9%. Since the beginning of July, Bush's approval rating dropped the most among independents, from 36% in early July to 27% currently.

Thought Theater has previously argued that the opportunity for Democrats in November may rest with independent voters who generally express more moderate views on a number of issues. In my opinion, it will be critical for Democrats to avoid being portrayed as moving further left than during the prior 2004 presidential election if they are to garner the support of moderate independents.

I expect Karl Rove to make every effort to characterize Democrats as out of the mainstream on a number of issues. I expect him to focus on describing Democrats as weak on defense (primarily the war on terror) and prone to abandon the war on terror in the face of current difficulties in Iraq and the Middle East.

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 12:07 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Specter Bill To Challenge Bush Signing Statements genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Gavel

In a move that may signal a greater willingness on the part of Congress to challenge the continued expansion of executive authority that has been one of the hallmarks of the Bush administration, Senator Arlen Specter is about to introduce a bill that would allow Congress to use the courts to test the constitutionality of the signing statements used by the Bush administration to minimize the impact of legislation. While this would be an important and significant move to reign in the Bush administration, Senator Specter has a history of initiating such measures and then ultimately agreeing to terms that effectively neuter the effort. The full article can be found here.

"We will submit legislation to the United States Senate which will ... authorize the Congress to undertake judicial review of "signing statements" with the view to having the president's acts declared unconstitutional," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said on the Senate floor.

Specter's announcement came the day that an American Bar Association task force concluded that by attaching conditions to legislation, the president has sidestepped his constitutional duties to sign a bill, veto it or take no action.

Mr. Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, reserving the right to revise, interpret or disregard laws on national security and constitutional grounds.

"That nonveto hamstrings Congress because Congress cannot respond to a signing statement," said ABA president Michael Greco. The practice, he said, "is harming the separation of powers."

Specter's committee came up with the 750 figure for the number of statutes passed by Congress and signed with reservations by Mr. Bush. The ABA estimated Mr. Bush has issued signing statements on more than 800 statutes, more than all previous presidents combined.

The signing statements finally garnered significant media attention when the President attached one to the McCain anti-torture bill that Bush reluctantly signed. That particular statement basically asserted that the President retained the right to use torture methods if it were determined to be essential to national security. The American Chronicle has a good analysis of the practice of signing statements and the future implications here.

From American Chronicle:

On March 9, Law was enacted declaring the Justice department MUST give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the Patriot act to search homes and secretly seize papers. Bush signed the legislation but afterward,on his signing statement wrote, the president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he (Bush) decides it could impair national security of executive branch operations.

On Dec. 30, Congress said, When requested, scientific information "prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted (to congress) uncensored and without delay." Bush's statement: the president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he (Bush) decides its disclosures could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

Note the assertion in the signing statement that would allow the President to withhold information from Congress if he (Bush) decides the disclosure could impair "the workings of the executive branch". That statement is so broad that it virtually allows the executive full discretion with regard to disclosure. With regards to scientific information, the Bush administration has been accused of removing data about global warming and many administration critics fear that data about efforts to curb HIV through abstinence programs has also been misinterpreted. Thought Theater previously reported on the impact of abstinence only with regard to increasing infection rates in Uganda here.

More from American Chronicle:

Enactments by the Congress are presumed to be constitutional as the Department of Justice has so often stated. In a government brief extracted from the U.S. v Morrison, the statement "It is well established that Congressional legislation is entitled to a strong presumption of constitutionality," says it all. That makes Bush's use of statements come into direct confrontation with the Justice Department.

It is unbelievable that Bush thinks himself above the law and can ignore what he decides is unconstitutional and then think his signing statement will protect him when called on the action. There is a more serious long-term danger to be considered here that is being ignored by the administration, and that is defiance of Congressional lawmaking.

It is important to note that the only time the President has used a veto to object to legislation has been with regards to stem cell research. I'm convinced that this lone veto is significant and indicates that the administration likely realizes that the signing statements will be declared unconstitutional. With that belief, it was essential he veto the stem cell bill in order to preserve the position of those who seek to overturn Roe v. Wade and ultimately outlaw abortions. A signing statement on stem cells would have potentially jeopardized that position and allowed for the further institutionalization of the current definitional factors that form the basis for the legality of an abortion...that being that an embryo is not afforded the rights of a citizen and is not construed to be the point at which we define an entitlement to those rights.

There can be little doubt that this President is motivated to utilize any and all methods to push forward those issues and beliefs that he supports. I respect his convictions and support his right to seek the enactment of his agenda...but only within the existing constitutional frame work. Unfortunately, his actions may soon be determined to be the most egregious abuse of executive authority since Richard Nixon. I'm hopeful the actions of Arlen Specter are the beginning of that process.

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 10:27 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 25, 2006

Poll: Republicans Winning Message Game? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Despite clear evidence to the contrary, a majority of Americans still believe that Sadaam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda and that U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The results point to the success of...

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 9:39 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Stem Cells: Snow Retracts "Murder" Comment genre: Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

On Meet the Press this past Sunday, Josh Bolton, White House Chief of Staff, struggled to answer the questions about the President's position on stem cell research. Bolton was obviously uncomfortable when attempting to finesse Bush's position, as previously stated...

Daniel DiRito | July 25, 2006 | 7:54 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 22, 2006

Rethinking Middle East Strategies genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Update: The following video is a great follow up to the original posting discussing our Middle East strategy. It is a good discussion between Pat Buchanan, Chris Matthews, and Bob Schrum in which they discuss the neoconservative strategy and whether...

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2006 | 2:53 PM | link | Comments (0)
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More U.S. Troops To Bahgdad genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

In a move that signals the delay of plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq, the U.S. now plans to move troops from Kuwait into Baghdad. Additionally, it appears that the plan to cancel some deployments to Iraq will...

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2006 | 8:08 AM | link | Comments (0)
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NATO Commander: Afghanistan Near Anarchy genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

While the Bush administration touts the war on terror as "democracy on the march", NATO's commander believes Afghanistan is "close to anarchy". Many have argued that the U.S. shifted efforts and resources to the Iraq invasion before having completed...

Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2006 | 7:36 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 21, 2006

Political Strategy: Examining Potential Outcomes genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The following posting is the fifth entry in a continuing Thought Theater dialogue on political strategy. The first posting, Political Strategy: The Opening Dialogue, can be found here, the second posting, Political Strategy: Beyond Extremist Labels can be found...

Daniel DiRito | July 21, 2006 | 10:21 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 19, 2006

Bush's Flawed Stem Cell Rationale genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Today George Bush vetoed the stem cell bill that had been passed by overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate. Tony Snow, the White House Press Secretary, when explaining the Bush position stated "The simple answer is he thinks...

Daniel DiRito | July 19, 2006 | 9:10 AM | link | Comments (16)
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July 18, 2006

The Daily Show: Bush Makes Move On Merkel genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2006 | 9:24 PM | link | Comments (0)
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House Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Amendment genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak

In standard election year form, the Republican Party has now completed its effort to use the issue of same-sex marriage to energize their base. The House vote fell 47 votes shy of the number needed to move the constitutional...

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2006 | 12:32 PM | link | Comments (0)
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The Daily Show: Bush Immigration Speech genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2006 | 11:11 AM | link | Comments (0)
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George & Tony: Putting Spike & Tyke To Shame genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Snapshot Thoughts & Tongue-In-Cheek

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2006 | 10:30 AM | link | Comments (0)
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IRS: Churches & Politics Don't Mix genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The IRS has issued a warning to churches that they risk their tax exempt status if they fail to observe the requirement that they not engage in political activities. The 2004 presidential election marked a turning point in churches...

Daniel DiRito | July 18, 2006 | 8:37 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 17, 2006

Halliburton's "War On Integrity" genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

It was recently reported that the no-bid contract with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root (KBR) to provide a variety of services in Iraq would be cancelled. Since early on in their contract, Halliburton has come under scrutiny for...

Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2006 | 9:33 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 15, 2006

Palestinian State: If We Build It, Answers Will Come genre: Hip-Gnosis & Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The prevailing opinion is that the Middle East is a very complex and complicated region rife with centuries of sectarian, tribal, cultural, and religious differences. I agree with that characterization with regards to attempting to summarize the area historically....

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2006 | 5:23 PM | link | Comments (9)
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George Bush Sings My United States Of Whateva! genre: Polispeak & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

I thought this was a cute video making fun of George W. and his "Cowboy Diplomacy"....

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2006 | 10:28 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Stem Cell Opponents Deceiving Public genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

With the Congress set to debate and vote on measures to expand government funding for stem cell research, those opposed to further funding have been offering false information to bolster their argument. If you listen to those who have...

Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2006 | 8:45 AM | link | Comments (1)
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July 14, 2006

DCCC Video: America Needs A New Direction genre: Polispeak & Video-Philes

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has produced a new video that will be a part of the midterm election push. It has drawn criticism from many Republicans because it has images of coffins returning from Iraq. These Republicans seem...

Daniel DiRito | July 14, 2006 | 12:09 PM | link | Comments (0)
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New Poll Data: Does It Provide Insights? genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

With the recent flurry of polling data, I thought I might attempt to look at some of the numbers in order to gauge the direction of the voters and how the data may be connected to current and future...

Daniel DiRito | July 14, 2006 | 8:27 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 13, 2006

Specter NSA Bill A Free Pass For Administration genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Arlen Specter, the master of bait and switch, is once again touting his efforts to champion a bill that he characterizes as meaningful reform and substantive cooperation on the part of the Bush administration with regard to the NSA...

Daniel DiRito | July 13, 2006 | 4:49 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Cheney: Obstacle To Middle East Detente genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The concept of detente, a feature of the Nixon years under the direction of Henry Kissinger, may be the most viable alternative to the spiraling conflict that now grips the Middle East. Standing clearly in the way of such...

Daniel DiRito | July 13, 2006 | 1:57 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Jon Stewart: Bush Shifting Policy On North Korea genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation & Tongue-In-Cheek & Video-Philes

Daniel DiRito | July 13, 2006 | 10:16 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 11, 2006

Bill Clinton Cautions Dems On Iraq & Lieberman genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Bill Clinton appeared this past Friday at the Aspen Ideas Festival. While he covered numerous topics, I took particular notice of his remarks about the upcoming midterm elections and the Iraq strategy of the Democratic Party. The remarks received...

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2006 | 8:13 PM | link | Comments (0)
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Gallup Poll Shows Bush Approval At 40% genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The latest Gallup poll indicates that President Bush has an overall approval rating of 40% while some 55% disapprove of his performance. These numbers reflect a string of recent gains for Bush who had been at a record low...

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2006 | 2:02 PM | link | Comments (1)
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Pentagon: Geneva Conventions Now Apply genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

In an apparent response to the recent Supreme Court ruling as to the handling of detainees held by the U.S. military, the Pentagon has issued a policy memo in which it acknowledges that those held at locations like Guantanamo...

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2006 | 8:33 AM | link | Comments (0)
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Rove: Bush To Veto Stem Cell Bill genre: Hip-Gnosis & Little Red Ribbon-Hood & Polispeak

President Bush has not vetoed a single bill since he began his presidency. Yesterday, Karl Rove indicated the President would use his veto power to kill any bill to expand funding for embryonic stem-cell research. The move, on the...

Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2006 | 7:47 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 10, 2006

White House Asks Judge To Dismiss NSA Suit genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

In an expected move, the White House has asked a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the legality of the Bush administration's NSA domestic surveillance program. The government argued that allowing the case...

Daniel DiRito | July 10, 2006 | 4:16 PM | link | Comments (0)
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2008 Gay Marriage Review Approved In Mass. genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Uncivil Unions

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously that an initiative to ban same-sex marriage can be placed on the 2008 ballot if it is approved by the State Legislature in two upcoming sessions prior to the election date. Read...

Daniel DiRito | July 10, 2006 | 3:41 PM | link | Comments (0)
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July 9, 2006

Hoekstra Questions Legality Of Bush Surveillance genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Representative Pete Hoekstra, the powerful Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, sent President Bush a letter in May expressing his concerns that the failure of the administration to provide Congress with information and updates on secret intelligence activities...

Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2006 | 9:49 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 7, 2006

Lieberman v. Lamont Debate Video genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

On Iraq On Being A Democrat On Party Loyalty Closing Statements...

Daniel DiRito | July 7, 2006 | 9:31 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 6, 2006

Political Strategy: Splitting The Baby genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The following posting is the fourth entry in a continuing Thought Theater dialogue on political strategy. The first posting, Political Strategy: The Opening Dialogue, can be found here, the second posting, Political Strategy: Beyond Extremist Labels can be found here,...

Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2006 | 9:50 AM | link | Comments (3)
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New York Court Rules Against Gay Marriage genre: Gaylingual & Polispeak & Uncivil Unions

UPDATE: The ruling was a 4-2 decision and the Court limited its decision to the argument that the constitution did not require that same sex marriages be allowed and they did not argue for or against the State Legislature...

Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2006 | 7:17 AM | link | Comments (0)
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July 4, 2006

Political Strategy: The Numbers Speak genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The following posting is the third entry in a continuing Thought Theater dialogue on political strategy. The first posting, Political Strategy: The Opening Dialogue, can be found here, and the second posting, Political Strategy: Beyond Extremist Labels can be found...

Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2006 | 9:41 AM | link | Comments (2)
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July 1, 2006

Time Magazine Poll: Bush Drops To 35% genre: Polispeak

Despite what many feel has been a period of better news, the latest Time Magazine Poll shows the approval rating for President Bush has dropped to 35% and his handling of the war in Iraq is now at 33%. Read...

Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2006 | 9:33 AM | link | Comments (0)
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