Archive for May, 2009

Getting to the raw heart of things in Canadian politics

Any public officeholder who reads the article below, gleaned from the Canwest News Service, is hereby barred from whining about the hazards of the rubber chicken circuit:

Canada's governor general, Michaelle Jean, with a bite of fresh seal heart/Associated Press

Canada’s governor general, Michaelle Jean, with a bite of fresh seal heart/Associated Press

Canada’s Governor General began her Arctic tour by gutting a freshly slaughtered seal, pulling out its heart and eating it raw, according to media reports.

Michaelle Jean, the Queen’s representative to the country, did it as a gesture of solidarity with the country’s beleaguered seal hunters, the reports said, adding that Jean expressed dismay that people would call the traditional hunting practices inhumane.

After eating the heart during a stop in Nunavut’s Rankin Inlet, Jean wiped her blood-soaked fingers with a tissue.

On Tuesday, Jean arrives in Kugluktuk, Nunavut.

It’s the tissue that makes the story. The BBC elaborated on the economic angle, and the fact that the governor-general found the experience …

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Limbaugh on Sotomayor: A ‘reverse racist,’ like Obama

Media Matters, the liberal blogging site that monitors conservative dialogue, is the first we know of to post audio on Rush Limbaugh’s judgment today on Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Says Limbaugh:

“Do you think we should go to the mat stopping Sotomayor? Do you think we ought to go to the wall to oppose her? And I said, “Absolutely we should.” Once again an opportunity to draw the distinct contrast that exists between conservatives and those in the Republican party to President Obama.

“I doubt that Sotomayor can be stopped. She should be — she is a horrible pick. She is the antithesis of a judge. By her own admission and in her own words, she has been overturned 80 percent by the Supreme Court. She may as well be on the Ninth Circus Court of Appeals given all the times she’s been overturned…..”

And in another clip:

“Here you have a racist. You might want to soften that and you might want to say a reverse …

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Handel gets some Democratic respect; Deal gets the cash

Republican candidate for governor Karen Handel gets some grudging love today. From Democrats.

Blog for Democracy was specifically talking about what you might call the candidate’s Maggie Thatcher moment, when — at the state GOP convention — Handel invited rival John Oxendine to combat at close quarters with her “ox” video and a challenge to “bring it on:”

Seriously, this woman knows how to fly into the storm. I’m in awe of this approach. Her campaign is shaping up to be a case study in how to run as a woman for statewide office. Nothing soft or sweet about it. No rocking chairs on the porch or cookies in the oven. ….

Somehow this candidate, whose bio is a train wreck, who’s been a ridiculous and fiercely partisan SOS, who’s been counted out of the Governor’s race from the get go, is pulling this off.

I’m still not voting for her, but something tells me she’ll have Republican and Democratic heads on plates (or worse), before it’s over.

The icon presented with the DFB …

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Some people had a better Memorial Day weekend than others

This from the Sudan Tribune in Khartoum:

Senator Johnny Isakson and Senator Bob Corker, whose visit marks the latest in a series of moves on the part of the US to reengage in a bilateral dialogue, arrived in Khartoum on Sunday at noon….

Isakson and Corker also met with Foreign Minister Deng Alor, who was twice in Washington in 2009. According to press statements made by the US legislators after the meeting, they discussed implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and humanitarian issues in Darfur.

The visit complements the approach taken by the US State Department, which has chosen a diplomatic tack over military threats earlier made before his election by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials. Today a British scholar and commentator on Darfur issues, Alex De Waal, characterized the approach of US Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration as one of “unclenching the fist.”

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Reaction to Sotomayor: Conservative groups attack, but the GOP front line holds back

Sonia Sotomayor wasn’t a nominee for more than an hour before Democratic and Republican talking points began circulating.

They’re something to pay attention to. If nothing else, they free you from the burden of watching cable news.

Not all conservatives are playing along with a cautionary Republican game plan. Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic lists the groups using a statement Sotomayor made in 2005, during a panel discussion at Duke University, in which she said that the U.S. Court of Appeals is “where policy is made.”

The clip is already on YouTube.

Congressional Quarterly quotes Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch, using another Sotomayor quote: “Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

But CQ, and others, are also talking about a reluctance among Republican leaders to immediately condemn the nomination of the first Hispanic woman to the U.S. Supreme Court:

Obama has handed …

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Your morning jolt: The unmentioned topic of science education, and Georgia Republicans in the GM fight

Many things to catch up on today:

— The state of Georgia spent $1.8 million to attract 14,300 or so to a huge biotech conference in Atlanta last week.

The event was pronounced a resounding success. Gov. Sonny Perdue, who was named governor of the year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, danced with a robot, according to my AJC colleague Dan Chapman.

The Legislature’s proclivity to inject itself into the stem cell debate was mentioned in the hallways, but was not an official topic.

Another glossed-over topic was a state-by-state analysis of biological science education in American high schools, sponsored by the same outfit that named Perdue its favorite governor.

Georgia finished at the bottom, in a “lagging performance” category that also included Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia.

— Jon Lewis of WSB Radio ran into former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes on the Memorial Day circuit. Barnes appears to …

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The video behind the ‘baseball bat’ remark

Five Atlanta cops wounded while on duty went public last week with their charges that a hostile worker’s compensation system has questioned the need for oxygen, delayed the repairs of a wheelchair leading to broken bones, cut off vital drugs and delayed a surgery, resulting in bedsore-like infections.

As my AJC colleague Bill Torpy pointed out Sunday, four are in wheel-chairs. One is brain-damaged.

You’ve heard about Sgt. Scott Kreher, the Atlanta police union leader was so frustrated that, at a City Council hearing last week, he said he’d like greet Mayor Shirley Franklin with a baseball bat.

He apologized, but has been suspended. Franklin’s office has promised to persue the matter.

But you may not have seen the 10-minute video that started the furor, by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. “Each one has wondered if a city employee and workers compensation company wish they would hurry up and die,” the video begins.

See it here:

Writes Torpy:

On …

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Going home

Dad, now 85, left high school early for the U.S. Army, five months before Pearl Harbor.

Though none of them were born in this country, four of the seven Galloway brothers would scatter themselves across the globe during World War II. Dad, an Air Corps mechanic, was the only one to carry a sketchbook.

The cartoonist Bill Mauldin was something of a hero. Lined notebook paper would do in a pinch. Above is a rescued drawing from Dad’s return trip in ‘45. That mountainous lump in the background is the Rock of Gibraltar.

In the upper right hand corner are traces of a laundry list written on the other side — a brief catalog of one young warrior’s requirements for conquering the world: Four undershirts, four shorts, two handkerchiefs, two dress shirts, four pairs of socks, and two coveralls.

Have a thoughtful Memorial Day.

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Sonny Perdue puts a CNN veteran in charge of Georgia Public Broadcasting

Early this spring, Gov. Sonny Perdue made a quiet stir in the state Capitol with his selection of former CNN executive Teya Ryan as the head of Georgia Public Broadcasting.

The governor broke two unspoken rules along the way. First, the five previous people in charge of bringing Ken Burns or Clifford the Big Red Dog into your home had been state bureaucrats.

Teya Ryan, president and executive director of Georgia Public Broadcasting

Teya Ryan, president and executive director of Georgia Public Broadcasting

The idea of putting an experienced broadcaster in charge of a state-owned network of nine public TV stations, 18 radio stations, an educational video arm and a web site actually qualifies, by Georgia standards, as revolutionary.

But it was the second violation that left Republican lawmakers, in particular, irate. Perdue passed over several GOP-credentialed nominees pushed by GPB’s board of directors — which has the formal authority to make the appointment — to get to Ryan.

Resentment was exacerbated by the fact that, in a world bisected by Fox …

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On segregated high school proms

In the Sunday’s New York Times Magazine is piece on the segregated high school proms in Montgomery County, down in southeast Georgia.

It ends with this painful paragraph:

In the meantime, a girl named Angel checked her cellphone to see if any of the white kids had texted from inside their prom. They hadn’t. Angel shrugged. “I really don’t understand,” she said. “Because I’m thinking that these people love me and I love them, but I don’t know. Tonight’s a different story.”

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