Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Brief - March 1st, 2008

Yesterday's big presidential primary dust-up started when the Clinton campaign released a new ad asking voters who they wanted answering the White House "red phone" when something bad happens at 3:00 AM.

It's an interesting choice in the wake of Clinton's plagiarism accusations against Obama, because as the ever-observant folks on the 'tubes have pointed out, a McCain supporter released an earlier video using exactly the same argument, albeit with lousier production values.

To make matters worse, those same persnickitty intertubers dug up video from Campaign 2004 of Bill Clinton reminding people of the difference between fear-mongering and hopeful inspiration - a clip that, after watching it, we hope the Obama campaign makes liberal use of.

Obama responded to the Clinton ad with an elegant statement asserting that it's not who picks up the phone we should so much be concerned with, as what kind of judgment that person will exercise when they do. His point is well taken, what with Mrs. Clinton demonstrating ample poor judgment these past few days: her choice to go negative and her selection of issues on which to do so. Doubly so given Obama's own long-running stance against the Iraq war.

Yesterday, capping off a month in which they have shifted the goalposts of success almost daily in a way that is eerily similar to how the Bush administration has shifted the goalposts for success in Iraq ever since "mission accomplished", was not a good day for the Clinton campaign.

And now, the news you didn't see, well, on the news:

In the Pacific Northwest
  • Take a trip back to the 1962 Seattle World's Fair in this recently digitized home video just chock-full of visual nostalgia, It's the Space Needle, before it was cliche, and the Seattle Center Flag Pavilion, when it still had flags. The cable tramway (whatever happened to that?) gliding high above the International Fountain. And a Seattle skyline so uncluttered by skyscrapers that the elevated monorail track stands out as an obvious landmark. Hat tip to Kevin Schofield for the link.
  • The Seattle Times provides a nice roundup of presidential campaign donations by technology workers living in Puget Sound.
  • Idaho lawmakers float a proposal to create a scholarship fund for nurses who agree to perform at least four years of service teaching nursing after completing their graduate degrees. Given the nation-wide nursing shortage, this proposal sounds like a winner.

Across the Nation

  • Trials of suspected terrorists have finally started at Guantanamo Bay, but that doesn't mean that justice is being served.
  • Today on BUSH-TV's long-running hit series Blame the Victim: Tanking economy is home buyers' fault.
  • Internet service providers like Comcast don't like the idea of an open Internet because it would stop them from selectively blocking websites or using bandwidth shaping to slow down sies like YouTube or technologies like BitTorrent. That's why Comcast recently resorted to paying people to attend an FCC hearing on Net Neutrality. They don't want to have an honest discussion with proponents of an open Internet.
  • William F. Buckley, godfather of the Neo-conservative movement, is dead at 82. NPR offers their usually thorough retrospective on his life and works.
  • Two items from the United Nations: Maude Barlow, who we met a couple of weeks ago, has urged the adoption of a UN Water Covenant: a global solution to the impending problem of water availability. The UN has also weighed in on the public housing crisis in post-Katrina New Orleans, calling for protection of minorities' rights.
  • An explosion in an Illinois shopping mall has injured nine people. The phrase "explosion in a shopping mall" brings to mind only two possible explanations: act of terrorism, or some kind of accident. This one, fortunately, turns out to be the latter. Without making light in any way of the horrible thing that just happened to those nine people, this does underscore that Americans are in more real danger from aging infrastructure (anybody remember the Minneapolis Bridge collapse?) than from the government's inability to legally tap our phones without getting warrants.

Around the World

  • The British Government has ordered that transcripts of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's cabinet meetings be released to the public. Why do we care? Because in those transcripts likely hides a whole lot of light that needs to be shed on the Bush administration's dealings with Blair in the run-up to the Iraq war. Or in other words, just exactly what was the full, never-been-told story behind the Downing Street Memo?
  • Four days after Raul Castro took his brother's place as Cuban President, Cuba has signed two key international human rights treaties. Although normally this would call for speculation as to whether the U.S. government would soften its stance against Cuba, this being an election year and Cuba being such a hot-button issue for many Hispanic Americans, it's probably safe to conclude that Congress and the administration will leave this one alone unless public pressure forces them to respond.
  • While legislators over on this side of the pond don't seem to have particularly noticed that the Bush administration has suspended the "Great Writ" of Habeas Corpus, a significant contingent of their counterparts in England are about to revolt against Gordon Brown's government over plans to do that very thing to terrorism suspects over there: detain them without charge for up to 42 days.

The Lighter Side

This Day in History

This was actually a pretty busy day in history. Here are some of the best bits, but a quick trip to Wikipedia for the rest wouldn't be a terrible way to spend a few minutes, either.

  • 1692: Sarah Good, Sarah Osbourne, and an Arawak Indian woman named Tituba were brought before magistrates on charges of Witchcraft, beginning the Salem Witch Trials
  • 1700: Since yesterday was the quadrennial leap-day, it seems fitting to recall that on this day 308 years ago, Sweden introduced its own Swedish Calendar, a plan to come into compliance with the Gregorian Calendar by skipping all the leap days over a forty-year period.
  • 1781: Before the Constitution we all know and love, there were the Articles of Confederation, ratified by the continental congress on this day in 1781. This document organized the 13 states into a nation, and was the law of the land for seven years until the current Constitution was ratified in 1788.
  • 1803: Ohio, now about to participate heavily in the selection of our next President, was admitted as the seventeenth state.
Finally, we're pleased to report that thanks to your help, the local netroots community had a successful "Burn Bush for Burner" fundraising drive this week. The goal was to generate two hundred and fifty donations to offset the money raised by Laura Bush's Eastside appearance for Dave Reichert. But by the end, we had brought in almost double the goal: 432 donations for a total of $21,879 in just a few short days. A big thanks to everyone who helped.

We don't know what the Reichert campaign brought in, but every time we can respond, we demonstrate the value of people powered politics.

If you have something to add, please leave a comment.


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