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This Story has Legs September 6, 2007

Posted by judylobo in Politics.
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legblogpic.jpgThe arc of Senator Larry Craig’s story is having one of those media moments that covers the gamut of tabloid publications from hard news to tabloid fodder. In the ongoing change of mind, position and wide stance angles, Craig placed a phone call to his lawyer that turned out to be to a wrong number. Is everybody incompetent in Washington? By the way, one of his lawyers is the guy who represented Michael dog killer Vick. Listen to the audio here:

Homos, Hypocrites and Haters: If you’re going to be a hypocrite, it pays to be a straight hypocrite. Just ask Rudy Giuliani. Check out this article in the Nation by Timothy Patrick McCarthy who teaches American history, literature and public policy at Harvard University. He is co-editor of The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition (New Press). He is also gay, and has always been gay.

– A salute to the career and a sad farewell to Luciano Pavarotti.

– Salon.com’s continuing coverage of the Repuganant debates (there are so many debates I think it could be its own TV series) allows us to not watch the debates because Salon will analyze and spit out the condensed version for us. Thank you Salon.com.

Bullets over Baghdad – Have you heard this one? The wars in iraq and Afghanistan have created a shortage of bullets across the nation. This is affecting police departments everywhere. US soldiers are now firing 1 billion bullets per year. Aurgh!

– Ever wonder why Bush thinks he is doing a heckuva job?
Free Speech – How Bush avoids dissent.

The Bush administration may not know how to plan for a hurricane or a war, said The New York Times in an editorial. But never let it be said it can’t plan a political rally. As a result of a lawsuit by two protesters and the American Civil Liberties Union, the White House has been forced to release a manual that details how President Bush’s speeches and other public appearances have been “micromanaged and laboriously controlled for the past five years to weed out the merest whiff of protest.” All those attending Bush public events, the manual instructs, are to be carefully chosen, with attendees searched for concealed anti-Bush banners. Seats closest to the stage are to be reserved for “extremely supportive” fans of the president. In the terrible event that a heckler somehow gets within earshot of the media covering the speech, a “rally squad” is to surround him waving pro-Bush placards and chanting “USA! USA!” Every modern administration has stage-managed public events to some degree, of course, but this White House’s obsessive suppression of dissent is “out of place in a democracy.”

It’s even creepier than that, said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate.com. Dissent wasn’t banned at these rallies just for the sake of creating an image of a president “universally adored” by his people. It was also banned “to protect the tender sensitivities of the president himself.” Protesters, the manual commands, were also to be kept out of range of the presidential motorcade, thus sparing Bush the unpleasantness of knowing there are people who disagree with him. Now we know why Laura Bush says she doesn’t believe her husband’s abysmal poll numbers, said Tim Grieve in Salon.com. The first couple travels everywhere in a bubble of stage-managed love. Bush himself has said that one “‘amazing’ part of the presidency” is the support he gets on the road from ordinary Americans. “Amazing? Not so much.”

There’s a bitter irony here, said USA Today in an editorial. The White House’s Presidential Advance Manual was released to the public only after a lawsuit was brought by a West Virginia couple, Nicole and Jeffrey Rank, who were handcuffed, arrested, fingerprinted, and briefly jailed for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts at an Independence Day speech the president gave in 2004. After the Ranks had been hustled away, Bush told the extremely supportive crowd this: “On this Fourth of July, we confirm our love of freedom, the freedom for people to speak their minds. … Free thought, free expression, that’s what we believe.” Too bad he forgot to tell his advance team.

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