Rep. Steve King (R, IA) apparently just announced on Twitter that he will not run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Tom Harkin in 2014. Dave Weigel from Slate retweeted the message, so I'm assuming it really is King's account, not a parody.
With King, Rep. Tom Latham, Lt. gov. Kim Reynolds, and IA Ag. Secretary Bill Northey all taking themselves off the board, who will Iowa Republicans put up against Rep. Bruce Braley (D, IA)? They getting close to the third tier now-maybe state Senators or former party officials.
As was reported earlier today on TPM, Senator Charles Grassley has sent out a press release taking credit for a provision included in the just-enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, something have to do with improving accountability of the operations of non-profit hospitals in the U.S.
Here's the link to the story on TPM
I'm passing along an interesting rumor I heard from a friend who just spent some time in Florida among state Republican officials, involving our good friends Jeb Bush and Mel Martinez.
According to the report, after the new Florida governor Charlie Crist is sworn in, Mel Martinez will resign his Senate seat to serve full-time as RNC chairman, and the new Governor will appoint Jeb Bush in Martinez's place in the Senate.
and other media outlets are reporting that the Department of Justice is contemplating treason charges against California-born Adam Gadahn, who is believed to be the English-speaking individual appearing on various Al Qaeda videos as `Azzam the American'.
His most recent appearance was last month, the first one in which he appeared un-masked. Gadahn is not believed to be in U.S. custody, so he would be charged in absentia.
I came across a story in Le Monde today that is reporting that U.S. and Iraqi troops are building a wall around the Baghdad suburb of Dora, which is of mixed Sunni and Shia population. Here's the link for the Le Monde
article (the story is in French).
This area has evidently been the target of Shia death squads many times over the last few months, and the objective of the wall is to protect the Sunni inhabitants who remain in the suburb.
I could barely find references to this story reported in the American media today--the only other media outlets that came up in a Google search were foreign websites such as Kurdish Aspect and People's Daily online (China).
As part of a `competitive' bidding process, the four companies that received no-bid contracts from FEMA to provide temporary housing to hurricane Katrina victims last year received similar contracts from FEMA this week to assist with future disasters.
It has been reported that Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner will criticize those contracts in a report due out in October. Those no-bid contracts, originally valued at $400 million had ballooned in cost to $3.4 billion over the last 11 months. The companies involved are Shaw, Bechtel, CH2MHill, and Fluor Enterprises--all apparently major contributors to the Republican Party.
I was waiting for the elevator at the end of the day, and this young man was standing a few feet away from me, talking on his cell phone. When the elevator arrived, he continued the conversation in the elevator, finishing with the comment, "I plan to go to bed early tonight."
Then it hit me--most Americans don't care about potentially being eavesdropped on illegally by the NSA, because they have gotten used to ubiquitous cell phone conversations which occur anywhere and everywhere. They get on their shiny cell phones in airport waiting areas, restaurants, subway cars, and yes tiny elevators, with no concern that their half of the conversation will be overheard by casual strangers.
They have no expectation of privacy in these conversations, so apparently they don't care if the NSA listens in too.
Anyway, that's my current hypothesis. Comments?
Florida governor Jeb Bush declared today that Katherine Harris has dropped so long in the opinion polls that she cannot possibly beat Bill Nelson this fall.
The AP story in the Sarasota Herald Tribune made it clear that Bush hopes that Florida House Speaker Allan Bense gets into the Republican primary for Nelson's Senate seat. The deadline for filing is this Friday, May 12.
In a case over a key provision of the USA Patriot Act, the Department of Justice has relented and allowed a group of Connecticut librarians to identify themselves as having been the recipients of requests for information on library visitors under so-called national security letters.
Reported in this morning's NY Times, this step not only ends this particular case but offers the prospect of shedding more light on this Administration's use of such Patriot Act provisions and the extent to which they have been to pursue cases outside of terrorism.
Now the truth is revealed. The common thread between Bill O'Reilly's `war on Christmas' and Rick Scarborough's `war on Christians' is that right-wing Christians resent the need to be courteous and tolerant of others, and claim that such expectations amount to an attack on them.
Today's LA Times article today which describes a lawsuit filed by a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, claiming that her freedom of religious expression is being hampered by school policy which requires that students be tolerant of each other.
In an editorial in this morning's Des Moines Register
, the editorial board accuses the President of declaring war on the American people.
Although clearly triggered by the recent revelations of the NSA's electronic eavesdropping on Americans without going through procedures established under FISA in 1978, the editorial cites several other actions by the Administration which demonstrate that this President believes he is answerable to no one.
The editorial calls upon Congress to reclaim its duty to find out what is going on, and bring it to a halt.
It's a pretty strong statement by the largest newspaper in the state of Iowa. I hope that more newspapers will follow suit.
In a story just posted on MSNBC
, U.S. authorities are contradicting rumors that sprouted yesterday that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate in Iraq, was killed in a raid on a Mosul safe house. The official position is now that they `just missed him.'
Despite the fact that the U.S. has eagerly trumpeted the killing of seemingly dozens of Zarqawi's `lieutenants', they do not seem eager to embrace the suggestion that Zarqawi himself might be dead.