Daily Archives: Nov. 19, 2007

Did Clinton spread rumor, or Novak and Republicans?

ObamaclintondebateSyndicated columnist Robert Novak is standing by his unsourced reporting that agents for Hillary Clinton spread a rumor that she had “scandalous information” about Barack Obama but wasn’t going to release it. “This is very similar to the kind of trick that Richard Nixon used to pull, where he would say, ‘I know some very bad information about the communists supporting George McGovern, but I can’t put that out because it wouldn’t be right, but I’m just too good of a guy,’” Novak told Fox News.
Obama called on Clinton to “either make public any and all information referred to in the item or concede the truth: that there is none.” But Clinton’s camp suggested that the rumor was spread by Republicans, fed to “a columnist of questionable credibility,” and that Obama was naive to fall for the trap.
Novak said that’s standard operating procedure. “The whole method of the Clinton campaign is when anything derogatory comes up, they say the Republicans are spreading it,” he said. “But there was no Republicans involved in any of my reporting on this.”
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Bullet evidence was full of holes

JailhandsinbarsHundreds of innocent people may be in prison based on faulty forensic evidence, yet the FBI never alerted those prisoners, their attorneys or the courts about the error, a joint investigation by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” reported. For about 40 years, the FBI believed that the lead in bullets had unique chemical signatures, and that it was possible to match that lead to a single box of bullets. But that isn’t true. In fact, it’s statistically possible that lead from a bullet can have tens of millions of matches. After the FBI learned about this mistake a few years ago, it sent out a form letter saying that it was stopping the test, but it didn’t admit that the evidence from the lab was wrong, and it didn’t advise the Justice Department to review cases in which this evidence was instrumental in a conviction.
Because of the media investigation, the FBI is finally launching a review of these cases and plans to notify prosecutors of the faulty analysis. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Network also are creating a task force to review these cases.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee

Open thread 11/19

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Who is ready to back $1 gas tax?

Gasmoney New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman laments the unwillingness of politicians of either party to back what many economists think would be the best way to move America toward energy independence: a $1 gasoline tax.
Besides decreasing consumption and our dependence on foreign oil, a gasoline tax imposed after Sept. 11 could have spurred development of a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, he argues.
He quotes energy economist Phil Verleger: “We could have replaced the current payroll tax with a gasoline tax. Middle-class consumers would have seen increased take-home pay of between six and nine percent, even though they would have had to pay more at the pump. A stronger foundation for future economic growth would have been laid by keeping more oil revenue home, and we might not now be facing a recession.”
Posted by Randy Scholfield

Class differences, not racism

A recent study shows the development of class differences within the African-American community. A greater number of blacks indicated they consider a person’s economic condition to be dependent on individual choices, not how that person’s race is viewed by society.
Some speculate that this new stance on perceived racism may come as African-Americans watch immigrants working to better themselves — and succeeding. Surveyed blacks and whites alike considered immigrants to be harder workers than themselves.
This comes as another study was recently released that found many African-Americans are unable to earn as much as their parents, falling out of the middle-class bracket.
“There is a lot of downward mobility among African-Americans. We don’t have an explanation,” Robert B. Mincy of Columbia University told the Washington Post.
Posted by Kristin Mehler

Yet another thing for the next president to worry about

Highwayconstworker During the past five years, we’ve seen an increase in infrastructure issues, from the 2003 Northeastern blackout to insufficient aqueducts in Georgia to collapsed bridges. Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate public works.
The programming started by Franklin Roosevelt to help end the Great Depression may be a classic example of “big government,” but it provided thousands with jobs at a time when they were most needed and gave our country such mainstays like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Washington Airport and several hydroelectric dams.
As American infrastructure declines and begins to fall into disrepair, we are spending more than $600 billion in Iraq, not counting interest and other hidden costs.
“Roosevelt’s basic idea — that the government should employ idle hands to upgrade the nation — should never have gone out of fashion,” said Adam Cohen of the New York Times. “The next president will need to confront the nation’s disrepair.”
Posted by Kristin Mehler

Teacher abandoned students over supplies?

Schoolsfgrade Too many teachers have to dig into their own pockets to get classroom supplies, a fact that has inspired tax-deduction legislation co-sponsored in Congress by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., as well as local fundraising efforts. And to her credit, Gayla Leeper did bring needed attention to the problem in citing it as her reason for quitting as a math teacher at Garden City High School. But couldn’t she have worked harder within the system to access the items she needed, without abandoning her students three months into the school year?
Posted by Rhonda Holman