Friday, June 20, 2008


In a web video to supporters -- "the people who built this movement from the bottom up" -- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, announced that he will not enter into the public financing system, despite a previous pledge to do so. . . In November 2007, Obama answered "Yes" to Common Cause when asked "If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?" ABC News

District taxpayers paid more than $50,000 for 3 members of Mayor Adrian Fenty's executive staff, 10 police officers, and three detectives to travel with Fenty as he campaigned across the country for Senator Barack Obama over the past five months. According to records provided by the Mayor's office, Fenty went on six trips to places like Manchester, New Hampshire and Dallas, Texas to campaign for the presidential hopeful. . . A spokesperson for Virginia Governor Tim Kaine says Kaine took several trips for Obama, but there was no cost to Virginia taxpayers because Obama paid for a charter plane, and staff took vacation days when they accompanied the Governor. . . Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley made several trips for Senator Hillary Clinton; his spokesperson says that all expenses were paid for with campaign dollars. Mark Segraves, WTOP

The July 2008 issue of Family Circle featured an article in which each (it went to press before Hillary conceded) of the presidential candidates' significant others submitted a cookie recipe. A tipster caught a whiff of something besides sugar after reviewing Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch cookies, and quickly found the original recipe at While McCain, or [some] low-level staffer, managed to take the time to switch a few minor details in her version of the recipe this time around, there is no doubt that the recipes are the same. While Bill Clinton gives credit to the family cook, and Michelle Obama to the godmother of her daughters, Cindy McCain attributes her cookie recipe to "a good friend." Unless John McCain was a childhood friend of Milton S. Hershey or her beer baron family worked with him on a chocolate beer bar back in the day, it seems Cindy is a plagiarist of the most delicious kind. Huffington Post

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently declined to answer whether he will support Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president. McCain, the GOP presidential standard-bearer, has been one of Rumsfeld's harshest critics. McCain has said that Rumsfeld will "go down as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." . . . Rumsfeld told The Hill that he has not followed the presidential elections, but instead has been focused on work for his private foundation. Asked whether that meant he wasn't going to support McCain, Rumsfeld answered: "I have not been involved at all." Rumsfeld declined to comment any further. He also declined a follow-up request for comment on the issue to his personal office. The Hill

Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power. Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP - the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company - along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat. The deals, expected to be announced on June 30, will lay the foundation for the first commercial work for the major companies in Iraq since the American invasion, and open a new and potentially lucrative country for their operations. The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. The contracts, which would run for one to two years and are relatively small by industry standards, would nonetheless give the companies an advantage in bidding on future contracts in a country that many experts consider to be the best hope for a large-scale increase in oil production. NY Times

A Washington Post editorial reports on a meeting between the Post's editors and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, in which Zebari describes a conversation he had with Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee: "The foreign minister said 'my message' to Mr. Obama 'was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress.' He said he was reassured by the candidate's response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain. Mr. Zebari said that in addition to promising a visit, Mr. Obama said that 'if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field.'"James Taranto, Wall Street Journal

In the two days since same-sex couples have been allowed to wed in California, the number of marriage licenses issued statewide has surpassed that of an entire typical June week, according to a Times survey of the state's 58 county clerks. Just over 2,700 marriage licenses were issued in the state between 5:01 p.m. on Monday -- when the state Supreme Court's ruling lifted the ban on gay marriage -- and the end of business on Tuesday. The statewide average for a whole week in June is about 2,460. LA Times

Mayor Bloomberg [plans] to create a temporary 6.9 mile car-free route from Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street with connections to Central Park and other open spaces. The project is entitled Summer Streets, and will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays in August, the 9th, 16th and 23rd. The idea is based on the example of Bogota in Colombia, and is sure to get 1000s of eager bikers, walkers and other human-powered transport enthusiasts on the streets. Tree Huggers

About one in three people shot with a Taser by the RCMP receive injuries that require medical attention, according to a joint investigation by CBC News/Radio-Canada and the Canadian Press. In three years worth of reports obtained under Access to Information legislation, people suffered injuries including burns, puncture wounds from the probes, and head wounds from falling. In many cases, however, the person was not taken for medical treatment. CBC, CANADA

New research suggests that ocean temperature and associated sea level increases between 1961 and 2003 were 50 percent larger than estimated in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. The results are reported in the June 19 edition of the journal Nature. An international team of researchers, including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientist Peter Gleckler, compared climate models with improved observations that show sea levels rose by 1.5 millimeters per year in the period from 1961-2003. That equates to an approximately 2 1/2 inch increase in ocean levels in a 42-year span. . . The oceans store more than 90 percent of the heat in the Earth's climate system and act as a temporary buffer against the effects of climate change. ENN

Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles in April than they did in April 2007, the Department of Transportation said. Americans have driven 20 billion fewer miles overall this year, the Transportation Department says. . . That marks the sixth consecutive monthly drop and coincides with record gas prices and an increase in transit ridership, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said. April's drop is more than three times larger than the drop from March 2007 to March of this year, which was 400 million fewer highway miles. Peters said vehicle miles traveled on all public roads for April fell 1.8 percent from April 2007. CNN




At June 20, 2008 2:03 PM, Anonymous Draisine said...

Americans drove 1.4 billion fewer highway miles

Wow...almost 5 fewer miles per American for the whole month. That's like scooping a cup of water out of the ocean, and expecting to see sea levels drop. Skipping an average trip to McDonald's once a month: what a sacrifice! Finally, the million dead in Iraq and 3 million displaced Iraqis can begin to see the end of their torment, now that benevolent Americans are giving up so much to save a miniscule amount of utterly selfless, herculean conservation effort only the Bush administration could inspire.


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