Daily Archives: Dec. 7, 2006

No respect from Rupert Murdoch’s mouthpiece

The cover of today’s New York Post features the faces of Iraq Study Group co-chairmen James Baker and Lee Hamilton superimposed on chimps, with the tacky headline “Surrender monkeys: Iraq panel urges U.S. to give up.” Is that any way to treat the long-awaited unanimous, bipartisan blueprint for Iraq by a special commission that counts among its 10 members two former secretaries of state, one former attorney general, one former secretary of defense, two former members of Congress and a former Supreme Court justice? The dissing doesn’t stop there: An editorial inside the newspaper is headlined “The Counsel of Cowards.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Another win of sorts for Sebelius

If the public sees the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association at all, it’s mostly on C-SPAN. So it’s not as if Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ elevation this week to the job of chairwoman of the group of 28 governors will make her a household name in the nation. But the spotlight on Sebelius should reflect well on Kansas, fueling the story line that the red state’s two-term embrace of a blue governor holds lessons for the Democratic Party as a whole in 2008. It’s also a point of pride that Sebelius is the first woman to lead the group. Expect many, though, to see Sebelius’ new party role as less about Kansas and more about her ambition, perhaps to be an ’08 running mate.
Posted by Rhonda Holman

Open thread

A time clock in the Capitol Rotunda?

It hasn’t convened yet, but I’m already starting to view the 110th Congress favorably. According to the Washington Post, members will actually be expected to show up for work.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Maryland, who will be House majority leader and is writing the schedule for the next Congress, said members should count on a five-day work week, as opposed to the Tuesday-through-part-of-Thursday schedule favored by the 109th Congress.
While there’s always the danger that so many lawmakers at work might spontaneously combust from a surfeit of hot air, it’s still better than the sorry performance of the outgoing Congress, which will have logged a total of 103 days by the time it adjourns Friday. As the Post notes, that’s seven days fewer than the infamous “Do-Nothing Congress” of 1948.
Naturally, the prospect of more work does not delight everyone.
“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” carped Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families — that’s what this says.”
Posted by Dave Knadler

If Shallenburger can’t do it, can anyone?

It’s not surprising that Tim Shallenburger is stepping down as state chairman of the Kansas Republican Party — given embarrassing GOP landslide losses in the governor and attorney general races and the defeat of incumbent Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Topeka. But these losses aren’t Shallenburger’s fault. He tried hard to reach out to disaffected GOP moderates — and was harshly criticized for it by some of his fellow conservatives.
“There’s a lot of things I wish would have happened differently — the bad press about the party split and people leaving the party,” he told Associated Press. But if Shallenburger — a former House speaker, state treasurer and GOP gubernatorial nominee — can’t mend the party, can anyone?
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

U.S. arsenal now includes a heat ray

America’s problems in Iraq probably aren’t due to low-tech weapons, but the U.S. military has a new high-tech one to use there.
Wired News reports on the Air Force’s Active Denial System, a nonlethal weapon that uses something akin to microwaves to heat the surface of the skin and prompt what the service euphemistically calls “prompt and highly motivated escape behavior.” In other words, it hurts so much, so quickly, that targets run away.
According to Wired News, the system has been extensively tested on volunteers and is supposed to produce no lasting ill effects — if used properly.
And yes, it has been certified for use in Iraq. It’ll be interesting to see how well that goes over.
Posted by Dave Knadler

Get an earful of Opinion Line

Ever wonder what Opinion Line callers sound like? We’ve started posting some actual calls on our Web site. Are any of you bloggers among the callers?
Posted by Phillip Brownlee