Wesley Clark on the Issues

General Wesley Clark for President - Official Campaign Web Site

The Clark website has redesigned its issues page, and it looks fantastic. You can choose your state from a map and see how Clark's plans will affect your region. You can download policy papers in PDF, or you can browse the various speeches and papers online. It's also tailored to specific American communities. Check it out.

Now It's a Scandal - New evidence that a House GOP leader offered a bribe

Timothy Noah, Slate

Let's just think about the number of criminal investigations surrounding the Republicans-In-Charge. The steadfast way in which they maintain the circled wagons seems incredible to me. It's as if with one single breach, their entire criminal enterprise will crash to the ground.

The House bribery scandal has DeLay written all over it, don't you think?

Hobbits have Bluegrass roots

Lexington Herald-Leader

"Imagine that," Barnett told Davenport. "You know, he used to have the most extraordinary interest in the people here in Kentucky. He could never get enough of my tales of Kentucky folk. He used to make me repeat family names like Barefoot and Boffin and Baggins, and good country names like that."

Out the window, Davenport said, he could see tobacco barns. And suddenly, the ways of the hobbits -- their country turns of phrase, their peculiar manners and their penchant for smoking -- came into focus. Davenport then conducted a little experiment and discovered something interesting: "Practically all the names of Tolkien's hobbits are listed in my Lexington phone book, and those that aren't can be found over in Shelbyville. Like as not, they cure pipe-weed for a living."
The Shire is a place in the imagination, of course, but it's nice to know some of the influences on its construction in Tolkien's mind.

Renaming Schools Named After Confederate Leaders

Yahoo! News - Educators Debate Efforts to Rename Schools

I grew up in Alabama and attended public schools, but the schools were all named after the community. First was Westside Elementary, on the west side of town. Then the elementary system was fully integrated in my fifth grade year (some African Americans lived on the west side and attended with us, but most were at US Jones Elementary across town). So for a year and a half, I attended US Jones. Then off to Demopolis Middle and High School (until the eleventh grade, when I headed off to Birmingham and the Alabama School of Fine Arts). So my community was less stubborn than others about the entire segregation question.

The high school in particular had integrated early on. I recall being told that several influential students remained in the public system when a white flight was threatened in Demopolis. They retained their friends and the public schools thrived.

We did have a white flight school, Demopolis Academy, and I attended the first grade there because I just missed the cutoff date being old enough for public schools. I can remember going to the 12th grade classroom before classes and reading to them from their textbooks. Perhaps I was a precocious little thing, but I wasn't reading at a 12th grade level by any means! Second grade took me straight to Westside, though I'm surprised that my "credits" transferred!

My personal feeling on all things Confederate is that these people should be honored by those who wish to honor them. I don't feel that need myself - they fought for their homes and their way of life, but both were maintained on the backs of slavery. Even those who had no slaves and fought for the South were fighting for an agrarian, slave-based economy. Still, they are the ancestors of many people in the South, and they deserve some respect for that, at least. But the schools would be better named after people who represent progress for the community, and not stagnation in the past.

There are plenty of African American leaders whose names could grace these buildings. Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth are just three names that come to mind. How about Helen Keller? Albert Einstein and Galileo are just as appropriate. Heck, I'd prefer to see Ronald Reagan's name replace every Confederate leader on a Southern school - at least they'd be updated.

But how to do it? Well, start talking about how it ought to be done. That's what's going on here, and the process will take care of itself.

Bad News and Good News in Plamegate

Leaks Probe Is Gathering Momentum (washingtonpost.com)

The bad news is I was way off in my predicative calendar. I thought Rove would have been gone by now. Nope!

However, progress is being made.

The Justice Department has added a fourth prosecutor to the team investigating the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity, while the FBI has said a grand jury may be called to take testimony from administration officials, sources close to the case said.

Administration and CIA officials said they have seen signs in the past few weeks that the investigation continues intensively behind closed doors, even though little about the investigation has been publicly said or seen for months.
The CIA thinks classified information is still being released on Wilson and Plame. There's a place for powerful people who are this cynical and unrepentant, and people get frogmarched there every day...

Rush Spins His Medical Records Hearing


Rush says that his privacy has been invaded because the DA's office didn't follow the appropriate procedure in obtaining his medical records - they used a search warrant instead of a subpeona. Rush confidently posts the transcript of the hearing on his website, but the transcript reveals a lot of things.

If the state had used the subpeona route, they first would have had to inform Rush of this, and give him the opportunity of a hearing on the matter. However, as the State's Attorney James Martz points out, Rush may not be the only one under investigation. The pattern of issued prescriptions indicates not only doctor shopping, but negligence on the part of each doctor. Each doctor was supplying a bit too much for legal purposes apparently, and so the state went with the harder route of proving probable cause (rather than mere relevance) to obtain a search warrant. This would protect the records should a subpeona hearing for Rush tip off the offending doctors, and the records be altered or destroyed before the subpeona could be issued.

The search warrant process would have preserved Rush's privacy in the investigation concerning the doctors. Rush has filed an appeal and the records have been resealed (although Rush is hopping mad because the State "rifled" through them when they had the legal right to do so).

Extra bonus - Rush's take on Wilma Cline:

MR. BLACK: The question is, is there a compelling State interest to this particular investigation? And I want to go back even further in time. Wilma Cline is a person who is one of the major witnesses in this case who was a housekeeper at one time for Mr. Limbaugh in his Palm Beach house. He did a background check of her and didn't find out that her husband was a convicted drug trafficker because he was living under an assumed name and was a fugitive from a federal conviction. While cleaning his house, she found out, which was easy to discover, that he had undergone a number of these medical procedures; that they had been unsuccessful; that he had received more and more pain medication. She and her husband decided to take advantage of this by blackmailing and extorting money from Rush Limbaugh.
Oh, the poor little Rushie. The mean old housekeeper found out he was addicted to the Oxy and blackmailed him over it.

If Rush had come clean immediately - shown right off the bat how many surgeries he'd had and how he'd gotten addicted, that most people on both sides of the aisle would have rushed to his defense, right wing demagogue or not. The case could have been made, and none of this would have happened. Instead, he told his blackmailer to go score him some more of the Oxy. Don't drop the soap, Rush...

On edit: World o' Crap does a much better blog on this than I did. Check it out...