She's for using the military... to fly her around on Air Force Two.H
ere are some recently updated stories:
- The Associated Press reports House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Bush lacks the authority to invade Iran without specific approval from Congress. In response, President Bush said:
"This may become the first time in the history of the United States Congress that it has voted to send a new commander into battle and then voted to oppose his plan that is necessary to succeed in that battle."More from The Washington Post.
- The Washington Post reports Senate Democratic leaders abruptly switched course in the Iraq war debate today, shelving a complicated non-binding resolution that has run into procedural hurdles, in favor of another non-binding House version that simply states Congress's objections to President Bush's troop escalation plan.
Unfortunately for the folks, Congress is still fooling around with cowardly and divisive non-binding resolutions that do little more than send messages of comfort to America's enemies.
When the House floated a much simpler text, Senate Democratic leaders quickly gravitated to it, believing Republicans would find it harder to block.
"On the one hand, they have their president and on the other hand, they have their constituencies," said Sen. Charles Schumer. "They're diametrically opposed to one another. And now they can't duck it any more."
- AFP reports U.S. congressional debate on Iraq took a rare turn as the Senate's leadership opted to cut into lawmakers' time off to hold a vote Saturday on President George W. Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq.
- Using an unusual medium -- a recorded interview posted on the Internet -- Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said his bill would prevent troops from being sent back to Iraq too soon or too poorly equipped. Troops being sent back to Iraq for another tour would have to stay in the United States at least one year before being redeployed. The bill would also end "stop-loss" policies by preventing the president from retaining troops, according to Fox News.
Murtha's proposed legislation drew a heated response from the House's top Republican, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, who said the bill would "cut off funding for troops in harm's way by making sure the reinforcements they need to complete their mission in Iraq never arrive."
"While American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away, it is unthinkable that the United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements, and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely," Boehner said in a statement.
- While the debate rages on the home front, the military buildup appears to be showing an impact on the battlefront. The Associated Press reports U.S. and Iraqi forces pushed deeper Thursday into Sunni militant strongholds in Baghdad - where cars rigged with explosives greeted their advance - while British-led teams in southern Iraq used shipping containers to block suspected weapon smuggling routes from Iran. Early Friday, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, was wounded and an aide was killed in a clash the previous day with Iraqi forces north of Baghdad.
Al-Masri took over the leadership of al-Qaida in Iraq after its former leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike last June in Diyala province northeast of Baghdad.
- Russia threatened on Thursday to pull out of a landmark nuclear arms control treaty unless the US backed away from plans to install its missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, FT.com reports.
- AP reports seven years after being rebuffed by the Supreme Court, anti-smoking advocates rejoiced Thursday as lawmakers renewed a push for federal regulation of tobacco, a step they say is needed to deter children from lighting up and to get smokers to quit.
"Congress has the opportunity to take a monumental step and grant the Food and Drug Administration the meaningful and long-overdue authority to regulate tobacco, which kills 440,000 people and costs our nation $96.7 billion in health care bills every year," said John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.While tobacco kills far more Americans than the war in Iraq, there is little satisfaction in the fact that congress has had little positive effect on either.
- A new report on climate over the world's southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models, states an article released by EurekAlert.
This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth's climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.
"It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now," he said. "Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It's very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth."
"The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from continental Antarctica .
"We're looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment," he said.
- This news does little to dissuade environmental activists led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore who announced plans on Thursday for a worldwide string of pop concerts in July featuring Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chili Peppers and scores of others to mobilize action to stop global warming, according to Reuters.
"In order to solve the climate crisis, we have to reach billions of people," Gore said in a statement. "We are launching SOS and Live Earth to begin a process of communication that will mobilize people all over the world to take action.
Tags: Decline and Fall of Western Civ, Open Thread, Wire, Headlines, United StatesGlobal Tags: Washington DC, News and Politics, News, Politics, Current Events, Current Affairs, Life, Culture, Buzz, Tension
- And finally, AP reports "Lost" crashed in the ratings this week, hitting an all-time low for a new episode. ABC's drama about plane crash survivors stranded on a mysterious island drew an estimated 12.8 million viewers Wednesday, according to preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research. That's well off the peak of more than 20 million for the drama that became an instant sensation when it debuted in September 2004.
Some fans and critics complain that the story has gotten confusing and unsatisfying. The show, named best drama at the 2005 Emmy Awards, was shut out at the 2006 ceremony.
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