Saturday, October 01, 2005

Why Corzine?

Sharon, of Center of NJ Life, recently attended a Corzine for governor rally. The interesting part of the post came when she admitted that it had been her first political rally. Fortunately, according to her commentary, it was a pretty good one, as any event with former president Bill Clinton would be. However, is Corzine truly worthy of one of Sharon's rare attendences? Is Corzine that inspiring, or are the Republicans simply that repugnant?

Either way, New Jersey voters seem oddly excited about Jon Corzine, a candidate who seems to be playing it pretty safe with the rhetoric lately. He leads by 10% in the latest polls and his unsatisfactory performance at the first debate hasn't seemed to harm him greatly.

What's more puzzling still is that New Jersey voters are generally unhappy with the state of their government. Only 50% of Democrats identified New Jersey as being on the right track, and only 32% of Independents and 27% of Republicans agreed.

These research firms should poll what percentage of each group hates Doug Forrester and the Republican Party. That seems to be the big number that is keeping the GOP out of Trenton.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Judy Miller Walks

Judith Miller, The New York Times reporter jailed since July 6 for refusing to identify a source, was released this afternoon following a telephone conversation with the alleged source - the vice president's chief of staff.

She is expected to testify before a grand jury in Washington, a source said, possibly as early as Friday.

Miller, whose incarceration sparked a national debate about the First Amendment and unnamed sources, spoke from jail two weeks ago with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, according to Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate.

During that conversation, Libby reaffirmed that he had released Miller from a promise of confidentiality more than a year ago, Tate said. Miller had been concerned that a Libby's blanket waiver releasing any journalist might have been coerced.

"She wanted to hear it directly from Mr. Libby," Tate said. "And he assured her that it was voluntary."

The special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, has sought to compel Miller to reveal her source to a grand jury investigating whether Bush administration officials leaked the name of a CIA covert officer, Valerie Plame.

A 1982 federal law makes it a crime to disclose the name of American covert agents.

Miller was released at 3:55 p.m., according to officals at the Alexanderia Detention Center.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Where's the Republican Response?

If you have a chance, stop by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee website.The latest article is one that rebukes Democratic complaints of cronyism and incompetency within the GOP. Ironically, hours after the article was published, their leader was indicted on charges of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.

What is the best approach for the GOP? What issue could sway distract voters from the scandal? Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast? Probably not such a good idea. Social Security reform? Not so good either. Iraq...?

The Republicans need to invent a new issue if they want to come out of the 2006 midterms alive.

Tough Times for Tommy

Tom DeLay, formerly the House Majority leader, was indicted today on charges of conspiracy to violate election laws.

Now starts the spinning. I heard Sean Hannity in the car a few minutes ago, angrily dismissing callers who called DeLay corrupt. Hannity said that he had read the indictment, and that it was baloney.

It might very well be. However, keep this information in mind when examining the case: a majority of a grand jury found that there was sufficient evidence for an indictment.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Animals in Katrina and Rita Photos

In the days following Hurricane Katrina, I remember seeing a picture inside the New York Times of a horse walking down a deserted, ransacked New Orleans street. His head was down, and his tail limp. The look on his long face was one of sadness and worry. It was a picture that may have had more of an impact on me than any other that I saw after Katrina. But it was of a domesticated animal, not a person. It was of someone - something - that had survived, not been killed. The stories from the New Orleans Convention Center horrified me, and I was disgusted and saddened by the pictures from the Superdome. Still, this picture probably made me think more than any other picture. Then, this morning, the picture to the left - from a Louisiana town devastated by Rita - was the feature image on the Times front page. It's more of an action photo than the one of the horse was, but this picture made me have similar thoughts.

We've all been in a movie theater watching a thriller or some other movie in which dozens of people are killed on screen, eliciting nothing more than grimaces or gasps. But then, a dog or a cat is killed, and you hear shrieks or moans or sniffles from someone in the audience crying.

Why do we respond to animals in this way? My guess is that it's the apparent innocence of a soaking wet dog, or a scared horse, or a herd of lost, drowning cattle that makes pictures of these suffering animals so difficult to look at. But is there something larger? Maybe we're so used to hearing on the news about people being killed and made homeless that we're numb, in a small way, to these stories of human suffering. Is it that evidence of animal suffering is less common? These questions are all very interesting to me, and I'd bet that it doesn't take an "animal lover" or even a dog- or cat-owner to have the same response to the stories and pictures of animals left behind to face these storms and their aftermaths.

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