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 15, 2008

In Brief - March 15, 2008

In a week that saw Obama take a commanding win in Mississippi's primary, the Clinton campaign has been forced into a hail-mary strategy of doing John McCain's smear work for him. Clinton has been left with an essentially impossible task: to take the lead in anything--delegates, popular vote or states won.

All that leaves her is an attempt at a palace coup via wooing the superdelegates, but as Markos himself points out, "that path lies civil war. I doubt the supers are that stupid."

Meanwhile, here are the week's two best Democratic primary quips, as judged by an expert panel consisting solely of me:

DailyKos reader Jsn: "Saying that Hillary has Executive Branch experience is like saying Yoko Ono was a Beatle."

Sinbad (the comedian, not the legendary sailor), commenting on his 1996 trip to Bosnia with Sheryl Crow and Hillary (but not Bill) Clinton: "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you."

Around the Northwest
  • With Salmon populations in an epic crash, Federal regulators are eyeing a ban on West Coast Salmon fishing. What this would do to Washington State's economy--with salmon being our signature food and part of our tourist draw--is anybody's guess. But if I have to choose, I'd take a short-term ban with longer term easing of fishing allotments over extinction of the several Salmon species we all know and love.
  • The Allen Brain Institute, an organization co-founded by Paul Allen and Jody Allen Patton, studies gene expression in the brain. This is useful in all sorts of ways, but particularly for medical researchers studying diseases like Parkenson's and Alzheimer's. While much of their existing work focuses on mouse brains, yesterday they announced that they will be producing a new 3-d map of the complete human brain.
  • Gang violence in Portland is spiking. Already this year there have been 21 gang-related incidents in Portland. Yet, the Portland Police Department's gang unit is half the size it was in the 1990s. Police, however, are only part of the solution. As reported monday on NPR's Day to Day, police can only suppress the violence; they can't address the underlying culture of gang life that leads to it.
Around the Nation
  • Republican FISA talking points dissected, brutally and without mercy.
  • Business week has a nice article on Carbon Labeling, a subject I touched on earlier this week. Hat tip to NPI reader rolandovich for the link!
  • Underscoring the correlation between global warming and extreme weather events, Atlanta was just hit by a tornado. While we can't definitively blame this particular tornado on climate change, we can certainly expect to see the frequency of this type of event rise in the coming years.
Around the World
  • NASA's Cassini saturn probe made a remarkably close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus on Wednesday. The probe zipped past Saturn's icy moon at a distance of just 30 miles, which in spacefaring terms is almost indescribably close. So what's worth the risk of crashing a billion dollar spacecraft? Directly sampling geyser plumes eminating from Enceladus' south pole to definitively answer the question of whether Enceladus has a sub-surface ocean. Anywhere there is reliable liquid water is prime territory for searching for life, so the results of Wednesday's flyby could well determine the focus of NASA's deep space missions in the coming decade or so. There's even a blog with more up-to-date information than you'll see from NASA's press releases.
  • Iranian conservatives seem to be winning that nation's parlimentary elections. And no, that's not good news.
  • And a piece of good news: 9 year old abduction victim Shannon Matthews is found in Britain, a mile from her family's home, after a 24 day search by police.
The Lighter Side
This Day in History
  • 44 BC: Julius Caesar stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus and two other members of the Roman Senate. Say what you will about our own legislative process, but at least we don't have that degree of bi-partisan rancor.
  • 1493: Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first trip to the new world.
  • 1990: Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as president of the Soviet Union.


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