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16 May 2011 14:56


Politics: John McCain is having none of this torture talk

  • I have sought further information from the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and they confirm for me that, in fact, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee… was obtained through standard, non-coercive means. … it was not torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden. I hope former Attorney General Mukasey will correct his misstatement.
  • Senator John McCain • Speaking on the effort made by some — former Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey among them — to claim that “enhanced interrogation” (or torture, as it was unabashedly known and is in many quarters still known today) was vital to gaining knowledge of Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts. This is the sort of non-partisan candor that made him popular from the start, and it’s well-founded; the effort by some to cast torture as key to the bin Laden raid, a claim made absurdly quickly after his death, when reports of what had happened in the compound were changing by the moment, was as clear and crass an attempt at hijacking a national narrative as you can get. (note: Mukasey has responded) source

10 May 2011 17:46


U.S.: Mr. Diplomat: Senator John Kerry heads to Pakistan

  • Tense times call for Kerry: The Massachusetts Senator, also head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be traveling to Pakistan this week, likely to try to smooth things over after what’s been a very rocky stretch for American/Pakistani relations. Kerry has long been a supporter of the aid the U.S. has been providing Pakistan — as we mentioned yesterday, it totals $18 billion over the last nine years — so one might expect a pacifying tact on this visit. Also, in your alternate political history update, we could be halfway through President Kerry’s second term right now.  source

22 Mar 2011 14:45


Politics: Sen. Scott Brown splits with GOP on Planned Parenthood

  • unsurprising The GOP’s big win in the midterm elections was, most would agree, secured by economic strife. Despite this, they’ve has spent a lot of effort pushing hard on left/right wedge issues, abortion being one.
  • surprising! GOP Senator Scott Brown, who’s garnered a reputation lately as an independent mind, said the party’s plan to cut funding to Planned Parenthood “goes too far.” Scott Brown, walking the walk! source

16 Feb 2011 15:39


Politics: Sen. Scott Brown revisits childhood physical, sexual abuse

  • Hats off to Scott Brown: Discussing traumatic events from one’s life is never easy, especially to a large, disparate public. Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown is doing just that. An upcoming 60 Minutes interview will touch on his sexual abuse at the hands of a camp counselor when he was ten, as well as physical abuse by multiple stepfathers. Brown, a moderate GOP senator who has earned much respect during his year in office, deserves an immense amount of credit for this, hopefully giving an example to youth in the same position to report abuse. source

10 Aug 2010 21:34


U.S.: Alaskan legacy: Why Ted Stevens was the Robert Byrd of Alaska

  • From frozen tundra, we built airports, roads, ports, water and sewer systems, hospitals, clinics, communications networks, research labs and much, much more.
  • Former Sen. Ted Stevens • Speaking during his unsuccessful 2008 Senate campaign. Stevens, perhaps the most well-known politician in Alaska until Sarah Palin came along, was a tireless advocate for his state. While the many earmarks were controversial, it earned him some high marks amongst the people in his home state. He defended the earmarks in part because the state was relatively new, the government owned most of it, and there were numerous strategic reasons for modernizing Alaska. The state legislature responded by making him the “Alaskan of the Century” back in 2000. The scandals and flub-ups he faced late in his career (including the embarrassing “series of tubes” incident) put a negative mark on a popular politician, but ultimately, he was cleared of the ethics charges against him, leaving his reputation relatively in check. Still, a sad end for an iconic senator. source

10 Aug 2010 21:05


U.S.: Ted Stevens plane crash: Why flying in Alaska is almost necessary

  • As we’re sure you’ve heard, Ted Stevens died in a plane crash. Looking beyond the man’s history (a long-standing Alaska senator who finished his career in scandal) and the crash itself (which killed five and injured four others, including a top aerospace executive), it’s good to point out a little bit of the culture around why Ted Stevens, who was 86 years old at the time of the crash, was in a small plane in a remote region of Alaska, rather than, say, on the road. Simple answer: It’s pretty much the best option available. source

Alaska: A state built for small planes

  • 1.3 the number of pilots per 100 people in Alaska source
  • » Why? Simply put, Alaska has a very complex geography which makes it impossible to drive to the many small towns that pepper the state. So instead, they fly. In fact, there’s a whole cottage industry around flying in small aircraft, or air taxis, as the natives call them. So, as a result, it has a higher pilots-per-capita than any other state by far.

Stevens: Synonymous with planes in Alaska

  • Stevens was no stranger to planes, or plane crashes. In 1978, Stevens survived a plane crash in Anchorage that killed his first wife, Ann. It’s also worth pointing out that Ted Stevens has an entire airport named after him, the “Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.” Will they keep the name? It’s going to be a strange reminder of a man who died in a plane crash.

10 Aug 2010 10:03


U.S.: Ted Stevens in plane crash? Friends fear he was aboard the plane

  • They’re not out there alone right now. There’s people that are providing support. From what I’m told, there are survivors on this aircraft. I don’t know how many could be fatalities at this point.
  • Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Guy Hayes • Regarding the crash, which many fear could’ve included Ted Stevens. While it’s claimed that some people survived the crash, it’s too early to know who. Stevens, the longest-serving GOP senator in history, lost in the 2008 election amid myriad ethics charges. The charges were dropped months later in the wake of prosecutorial misconduct. source

02 Jul 2010 21:12


U.S.: Obama’s eulogy for Robert Byrd was pretty darn touching

  • He said: ‘There are things I regretted in my youth; you may – you may know that.’ And I said: ‘None of us are absent some regrets, senator. That’s why we enjoy and seek the grace of God.’
  • President Barack Obama • Giving the eulogy at Sen. Robert Byrd’s funeral in Charleston, West Virginia on Friday. He further noted that his indiscretions were made up for over time. “As I reflect on the full sweep of his 92 years, it seems to me that his life bent towards justice,” he said. Bill Clinton also spoke a little too, noting his KKK affiliation directly – he was the only speaker that did. But then again, a black president spoke at his funeral. So that’s definitely something to be said about the power of redemption. source

28 Jun 2010 08:20


27 Jun 2010 20:34


U.S.: Robert Byrd, one of our greatest natural resources, “seriously ill”

We hope he pulls through OK, but we bet that every newspaper in the country has an obit written up on the 92-year-old Senator. You know, just in case. source