Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Is the Constitution a partisan, Republican document? GOP candidates sure seem to think so--they have been relentless in asserting that they would "follow the Constitution" in pursuing goals from overturning Roe v. Wade (Mitt Romney) to restoring the gold standard (Ron Paul). And for decades, conservative judges such as Robert Bork and Antonin Scalia have been backing these claims up, advocating for a version of constitutional "originalism" that lines up quite nicely with the Republican platform. This rhetorical onslaught seems even to have convinced Democrats, who have been skittish and uneasy about embracing the Constitution.

But the Republican hammerlock on the document was weakened in three minutes in Iowa on December 13, three minutes that could change constitutional debate in America. Spurred by the tremendous unpopularity and dubious legality of the Bush Administration's efforts to enhance its own power at the expense of both Congress and individual rights, the Democratic presidential candidates made an explicit promise to America: In their first year in office, they will give the United States its Constitution back.


Why hasn't Joseph Biden gotten more of a hearing?


After the longest shopping season in history, Americans are not ready to buy. The oscillating poll numbers seem to reflect not changing enthusiasms but unease over their choices in both parties.

As Clinton and Giuliani slide, Obama and Huckabee gain traction, Edwards and McCain come back from oblivion, and Mitt Romney keeps barely running in place, voters are vacillating in the face of campaigns that stress opponents' weaknesses and gaffes rather than their own visions for the future.

It's noteworthy that the front runners are being overtaken by doubts about their character and temperament and that Obama and Huckabee have both benefited by being newer faces in their fields.

As residents of Iowa and New Hampshire get ready to make their choices, the most excitement is being generated by "none of the above."


If you’re sympathetic to Clinton, her eight years in the White House offer her the kind of experience and insights that few presidential candidates can even hope to match. If you’re unsympathetic, Clinton shouldn’t count her eight years in a ceremonial position in which she made practically no substantive decisions relating to foreign policy or national security, did not receive intelligence briefings, and did not, as some former officials put it, "feel or process the weight of responsibility."

It’s the same background, but it’s up to you which version to prefer.

I find it both offensive and crippling when both career people and political people are worried about getting subpoenaed, it’s hard to get a lot accomplished.


If the 2008 presidential candidates are forced, kicking and screaming, to debate science, what questions should they be asked?

An impressive array of scientists, academics, politicians and journalists have joined Science Debate 2008, the grass-roots group urging the candidates to have a debate on science and technology. I can’t imagine the candidates’ handlers are happy with this prospect, given how much extra work it would mean for them in bringing the candidates up to speed. Politics attracts lawyers and liberal-arts majors, not science whizzes. And I imagine Republicans might be especially leery — to conservatives, the “scientific community” doesn’t sound like a welcoming crowd. But it might actually be a smart political move. Given how often the GOP is criticized for scientific ignorance, expectations would be so low that a Republican wouldn’t have to do much to exceed them.


If a nuclear war between Israel and Iran were to break out 16-20 million Iranians would lose their lives - as opposed to 200,000-800,000 Israelis.


Circulation, the medical journal for the American Heart Association, created a stir when it reported a study of 22 heart transplant patients who were given a dose of dark chocolate or fake chocolate. Just two hours after eating the real thing, patients had measurable improvements in blood flow and vascular function and less clotting, compared to placebo chocolate eaters, who experienced no changes.


Cartoon by Ben Sargent/Universal Press Syndicate

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