A few months ago, I asked CapQ readers to suggest a replacement feedreader to Sharpreader, which I had used for a couple of years. Several suggested Omea, which I have used ever since. I limit it to just RSS feeds and the Notes function, but it has served me very well.
One problem appears with some regularity, however. The content of the entries get scrambled, as though the Omea database has indexing issues. Has anyone else experienced the same issue, and is there a fix available for it?
The location of the US embassy in Israel has generated considerable controversy here in the US. The American government has never fully recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, preferring to let that contentious point get determined in final Israeli/Palestinian peace talks. Both Bill Clinton and George W Bush promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but neither actually took the step.
According to Arutz Sheva, the Israelis themselves pressed the US to remain in Tel Aviv (via Keshertalk):
Former Israeli Consul General to the US Yoram Ettinger revealed at the Jerusalem Conference Wednesday that Israel prevented a move that would have relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
“The US Senate was ready to do away with the waiver that allows the president to defer the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem,” Ettinger said during a round-table discussion at the Jerusalem Conference. “There were over 80 senators – enough to override any [presidential] veto.”
It was the Israeli government, Ettinger said, who intervened on behalf of leaving the Embassy in Tel Aviv. “The problem is that both houses of congress have been firmer on Jerusalem than any Israeli government since 1993.”
Ettinger did not elaborate which Israeli government it was that told Congress to stand down.
In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act. This got overwhelming approval, but it allowed the President to sign a waiver if, for diplomatic or security reasons, the move needed to be delayed. Clinton and Bush did so 12 times, delaying the move while both administrations attempted to engage the Palestinians and to eliminate their terrorist activities.
Arutz Sheva gave no reason why the Israelis objected to the move. Perhaps they recognized the provocative nature of the transfer. No other nation has its embassy in Jerusalem. Hezbollah leader promised terrorist attacks on any American embassy located in Jerusalem, but we rarely let terrorists dictate our actions anywhere. The bigger problem would be the almost-certain reaction from the Palestinians and the appearance that we had decided on the Jerusalem question without their input, something that even the Israelis know would lead to another intifada.
It looks like we’ll be staying in Tel Aviv for the foreseeable future, and that our present location suits the Israelis just fine.
I guess the Hillary Clinton campaign spent a lot of time the last few days in debate prep looking for a response with the power of her “change you can Xerox” line that flopped so badly in the last event. Duane Patterson finds this gem at the 16th minute of last night’s debate, which neatly coincides with Hillary’s long-overdue 16th minute of her 15 minutes of fame. In this clip, she paints herself as the victim of the entire debate process … and uses Saturday Night Live as proof. No, I’m not kidding (via Memeorandum):
Hillary Clinton said she was curious about the media in the last few debates always going to her first, citing Saturday Night Live and offering to give an extra pillow to Obama to make him more comfortable. Groans and boos immediately erupted from the crowd. Want to know another signal that a campaign has come completely apart at the seams? Look at the debate prep. Hillary Clinton didn’t just walk into the auditorium in Cleveland tonight and throw caution to the wind. She prepared for this debate. She had people coaching her on what to say. The ‘change is something you can Xerox’ line was scripted. It laid an egg. A week later, she tries again to make another sarcastic joke about the media’s love afair with Obama. Again, it was an awkward egg laid by Mrs. Clinton. If I were a campaign manager, and my candidate flopped like that in two consecutive debates, whoever was prepping her wouldn’t just be fired, but probably sued for oratory malpractice.
You can tell that Hillary is frustrated that Obama is skating his way through the primary season without any significant scrutiny by the press. But as vast and skilled as Team Hillary is, there seems to be no one on the payroll that has any idea how to combat it. She doesn’t possess the debate skills to put her opponent on the defensive, and when she’s speaking at campaign rallies, whatever legitimate point she makes about the media’s messianic complex with Obama gets lost in her shrill delivery.
Hillary’s failures extend beyond this, and into the absurd. What’s more, they have consistently failed along these lines since November. When she took a tumble in the debate by alternately supporting and opposing Eliot Spitzer’s plan to issue New York drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, she immediately went on the attack against Barack Obama. And how did she do it? The woman whose best literary analogue might be Lady MacBeth tried to convince people that they needed to worry about Obama’s obsessive ambitions — and used a kindergarten essay to “prove” that Obama had always wanted to run for president.
She turned herself into a satire. Last night, she went one step further: she mistook satire for reality. Perhaps Lorne Michaels wanted to atone for his $2300 contribution last year to John McCain, or maybe — just maybe — he was satirizing Hillary’s whining about unfair press treatment in that skit in addition to skewering the press. In either case, using an SNL skit to hammer debate moderators not only looks like a desperate attempt to be the victim, but also a desperate attempt to be hip.
Desperation is not an aphrodisiac. Neither is perpetual victimhood. And self-satire only works for those intent on getting a gig on a future version of Hollywood Squares.
The Los Angeles Times has conducted a national poll for the presidency, and the results show John McCain leading both Democratic presidential contenders despite all of the attention on their primaries. Experience and wartime judgment carry McCain to leads over both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, although within the margin of error for the latter:
As he emerges from a sometimes- bitter primary campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain poses a stiff challenge to either of his potential Democratic opponents in the general election, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The findings underscore the difficulties ahead for Democrats as they hope to retake the White House during a time of war, with voters giving McCain far higher marks when it comes to experience, fighting terrorism and dealing with the situation in Iraq.
Both Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have made ending America’s involvement in the war a centerpiece of their campaigns. And even though a clear majority of those polled said the war was not worth waging, about half of registered voters said McCain — a Vietnam vet who has supported the Bush administration’s military strategy — was better able to deal with Iraq.
In head-to-head contests, the poll found, McCain leads Clinton by 6 percentage points (46% to 40%) and Obama by 2 points (44% to 42%). Neither lead is commanding given that the survey, conducted Feb. 21-25, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
As with any poll, the reliability depends on the sample. The CBS/NY Times poll deliberately skewed their sample towards the Democrats in order to find that Obama led McCain by twelve points. In this case, the sample also has problems. It uses 1246 registered voters, not as reliable for predictive models as likely voters, which usually puts Republicans at a disadvantage. It also only includes 290 Republican primary voters against 436 Democratic primary voters, a definite advantage for Democrats.
And yet, the results show McCain ahead of both Obama and Hillary, and not just on the war and foreign policy. He leads Obama on the economy by eight points, 42%-34%. He also beats Obama on illegal immigration. (Clinton edges McCain on both issues.) And on leadership, McCain beats both Hillary and Obama, with the survey showing him as the “strongest leader” for the country.
These results come from a sample and survey methodology that should have helped the Democrats. Imagine what a clean and balanced sample of likely voters will find.
Both Democratic presidential candidates keep harping on two topics in the campaign. They want to end lobbyist influence in Washington, and they want to keep foreigners from unfair competition in American markets. The latter message has generated considerable enthusiasm, and blaming lobbyists has always been a winning political message.
However, both need to explain how they managed to break those same promises as Senators (via Instapundit):
Both Democratic presidential candidates, who promise to curb the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington, helped enact narrowly tailored tax breaks sought by major campaign contributors.
Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has accepted $54,350 from members of a law firm that in 2006 lobbied him to introduce a tax provision for a Japanese drug company with operations in Illinois, according to public records and interviews. The government estimates the provision, which became law in December 2006, will cost the treasury $800,000.
In 2002, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced legislation at the request of Rienzi & Sons, a Queens, N.Y., food importer, according to company president Michael Rienzi. The provision, which became law in December 2004, required the government to refund tens of thousands of dollars in duty charged on imported tomato products, Rienzi told USA TODAY.
Rienzi gave $110,000 to committees set up to support Clinton’s 2000 Senate race, records show. Rienzi family members contributed an additional $52,800 to her campaigns since 2000. Michael Rienzi also said he donated to Bill Clinton’s presidential foundation, but he declined to say how much.
Got that? They both received tens of thousands of dollars from lobbyists in order to make it easier for foreigners to compete in American markets. Hillary’s change made it tougher on American tomato farmers to compete against foreign farmers, while Obama’s allowed the Japanese to expand their competition against American pharmaceuticals, although at least it created jobs in this country.
How did they manage to do that? A little-known rule in Congress allows members to create exceptions in tariff laws every two years, individually, somewhat akin to earmarks. Basically, this process exists to sell Congressional influence to the highest bidder. Lobbyists can make a fortune for their clients with a little down payment to a single Senator or Representative.
One presidential candidate refuses to introduce tariff suspensions, considering them dirty politics. John McCain has what he calls a “standing policy” that rejects private-relief bills or any bills intended for the purposes of any one person. I’d say that Obama and Hillary talk the talk, but only McCain walks the walk. I guess the New York Times missed this in their haste to tie McCain to lobbyist interventions.
UPDATE: Not sure how I mentioned Japanese farmers; need more coffee before posting. Should have been foreign farmers. Thanks to CapQ commenter DDH for the correction.
Well, it’s not what one might think. They have a correction on an irrelevant point in a completely discredited article — but at least it’s right at the top:
A front-page article on Feb. 21 about Senator John McCain’s record on lobbying and ethics, including his role in the Keating Five case, described incorrectly the reprimand delivered to three other members of the Senate in 1991 for intervening with government regulators on behalf of Charles H. Keating Jr. The Senate Ethics Committee rebuked the three senators for improper behavior, but under a parliamentary agreement the full Senate did not censure them or take any other vote on the matter.
Wow. That really builds the ol’ credibility, doesn’t it? Here we have a story that got held for months while the editors tried to build a case for their accusations. We’ve been told by no less an authority than Dan Rather that we should trust their smear because all involved are, and I quote, “very responsible journalists.”
And these responsible journalists — the ones who accused McCain of possibly thinking of having an affair with a lobbyist on the word of two disgruntled staffers who couldn’t even offer testimony that such an affair had taken place — couldn’t be bothered to fact-check the end result of the Keating Five investigation in the Senate? How hard would it have been to check their own archives for the right information?
Very responsible journalists. Hmmm. Sure. (via Lawhawk)
Apparently, John McCain doesn’t like the asinine emphasis on Barack Obama’s middle name any more than Obama himself. After talk-radio host Bill Cunningham introduced McCain at a Cincinnati rally, the presumptive Republican nominee apologized for the disrespectful tone taken by his emcee:
McCain wasn’t on stage nor in the building when Cunningham made the comments, but he quickly distanced himself from them and the talk show host after finishing his speech. McCain spoke to a couple hundred people at Memorial Hall in downtown Cincinnati.
“I apologize for it,” McCain told reporters, addressing the issue before they had a chance to ask the Arizona senator about Cunningham’s comments.
“I did not know about these remarks but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them,” he said. “My entire campaign I have treated Senator Obama and Senator (Hillary Rodham) Clinton with respect. I will continue to do that throughout this campaign.
McCain called both Democrats “honorable Americans” and said “I want to dissociate myself with any disparaging remarks that may have been said about them.”
Asked whether the use of Obama’s middle name—the same as former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein—is proper, McCain said: “No, it is not. Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate.”
Some will ask what problem there could be with saying the candidate’s full name. After all, Cunningham and others aren’t making up names for Obama; Hussein is his real name. How can that possibly be “disrespectful”, in McCain’s own words?
The intent makes all the difference. Those emphasizing the middle name want to drive home the heritage of Obama, specifically his father. It seeks to extend the urban myth of Obama’s supposed Muslim identity. The name “Hussein” has other connotations as well, a not-so-subtle link to Saddam Hussein, one of the worst dictators in recent times.
None of this is subtle, and anyone professing innocence of these intentions are either lying to us or lying to themselves. If we need to refer to Obama, his last name will suffice, or Senator Obama, or Barack Obama. Using the full name three times in an introduction makes it quite clear that the speaker wants to invoke a less-than-intellectual response to the likely Democratic nominee.
McCain rightly disassociated himself from that kind of politicking. Given that Cunningham represented his campaign at this event, McCain made the right decision to apologize for the speech and to categorically reject the tactic. He wants to win the election by remaining on the high road, not by appealing to fear and dislike. McCain just passed his Sister Souljah test, but his staff will have to do better to avoid these tests in the future, as Allahpundit points out.
UPDATE: I’ve posted this in slightly different form at Hot Air. And yes, I know that many people have the name “Hussein” in the Arab world. So what? Is there so many Barack Obamas in America that commentators have to specify with such emphasis that they are speaking about this particular Barack Obama by using his middle name?
Of course not. They’re pandering to fear and emotion. Don’t get caught up in it.
Earlier this month, I wrote that Nicolas Sarkozy might consider showing some leadership in Europe by bolstering France’s combat participation in Afghanistan. Le Monde reported earlier today that Sarkozy has all but committed the troops to the front lines:
France may send hundreds of ground troops to east Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting al Qaeda-backed insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday.
It said the move would be part of a new Afghan policy being worked out by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers.
France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO’s Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.
“Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan,” it said.
Early last year, France withdrew 200 special forces soldiers who had been operating under U.S. command in Afghanistan, but Le Monde said Paris was now expected to sanction the return of the special forces. About 50 remained to train Afghan commandos.
Washington will welcome this news. Previously, France had led the vacillation on Afghanistan, and the rest of Europe followed. Sarkozy has very publicly stated that NATO had to start fighting to win in Afghanistan, however, and seems ready to return France to the front lines in support of the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.
This could make other NATO members very uncomfortable, especially Germany. Angela Merkel has already rejected the idea of having German troops in heavy combat areas. The French move will put more strain on the relationship between the two countries, which were so sympatico under the previous leadership of Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder that they occasionally represented each other at international meetings. Sarkozy has taken a much more pro-America stance, and Germany has grown more isolated.
Canada will now have some leeway to remain in position in Afghanistan. They had threatened to withdraw unless more European troops started participating in combat roles. France’s role to shore up the coalition could help the Stephen Harper government argue for remaining on the lines.
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As speculation increases on the VP choice for John McCain, we have begun to hear the traditional denials from the leading candidates. They want to focus on their current job, or they don’t want to presume that they will be one of McCain’s final options. One candidate has offered some refreshing enthusiasm:
Palin would make an interesting choice. She would be the first woman on a major party ticket since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, assuming Hillary Clinton fails to win the Democratic nomination. Palin could be the first Alaskan on a major-party ticket as well. She’s young and popular in the party, and her pro-life credentials are beyond dispute. She also has a history of demanding better ethics in politics, resigning a position on a state board because of ethical lapses by fellow Republicans.
However, Palin has a few drawbacks as well. She’s younger than Barack Obama and has held the governor’s office for less time than he’s been in the Senate (2006, versus 2004 for Obama). She has not served in elected office above that of mayor prior to her gubernatorial victory. She has not yet been tested in any kind of major-media election process.
Perhaps that’s why she laughs and tells Chris Cillizza that it would be “impossible” for her to get the invitation. She encourages other potential candidates — she toys with but eventually eschews the term “wannabes” — to honestly talk about their ambitions, rather than hide them under faux-modest denials. If Palin can continue to succeed in Alaska, she may find national office a lot more possible in the next few years.