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Rachel Carson, Betty Friedan and Jane Jacobs opened vast new
possibilities for social transformation by writing about widespread
attacks on nature, women and the poor.

The editors at the New York Times belatedly decided that SenatorRuss Feingold's censure resolution is front-page news after all. Onlytheir storytoday has a cute twist: Censure is actually good news for the Republicans. The very notion that Bush should be called to account inflames the right-wingers and this will get the "conservative base" tovote in the Fall.

That is the logic being peddled by the White House, Republican NationalCommittee, right-wing frothers and other authoritative sources.

The Times swallowed whole, without chewing. Play it out. IfBush got impeached, bingo for the GOP. If indicted by a renegadeprosecutor, even better. If he is subpoened by a Spanish magistrateinvestigating "crimes against humanity," well, you couldn't top that.Meanwhile, the Warrior President is sinking of his own soggy substance.

With Bush's popularity dropping and Iraq in chaos, Democrats must provide clear leadership without making themselves targets of political assassination by the right. How can they do that when the master story in the media depicts a party in disarray?

OK, kids: With conservatives on the hunt for dangerous left-wing academics, take this SAT (Save America from Treachery) test. See if you can tell the difference between a terrorist and a truth-teller. First prize: A three-day getaway in Baghdad. Fail and go to jail.

In a 1990 cover story for The Nation, Contributing Editor Kai Bird called Jimmy Carter "the very model of an ex-president." He described his work on human rights, education, preventive health care, and conflict resolution as a "return to the populist warpath, telling people what he perceives to be the hard truths on the larger issues."

Bird noted that his take on Carter wasn't altogether too common: "…he was never a liberal as defined by the party's traditional liberal constituency groups."

Yet more than 25 years later, Carter has become the moral standard-bearer for the progressive Democratic flank. As Patrick Doherty's recent Tompaine.com blog "

The failure of a complaisant, Republican-controlled Congress to enact
meaningful changes to the Patriot Act means that midterm elections are
the only true path to reform.

The case of an architect who lost lucrative contracts because of his
interest in the Palestinian cause underscores how Americans are
becoming inured to enforced patriotism and ideological litmus tests.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie was a big hit in London, but the New
York Theatre Workshop backed off from producing the play. Why is it so
hard for Americans to have a healthy debate about Palestinian human
rights?

The Republican National Committee has made a remarkable discovery. U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who has long been thought to be an outsider in the Senate Democratic Caucus, is not a maverick at all.

It turns out that Feingold is a "Democratic leader" who, according to RNC researchers, is pretty much setting the party's agenda.

In one of a series of talking-points memos distributed from the Republican headquarters in Washington since Feingold proposed on Monday that the president should be censured, the senator's photo appears next to a bold headline that declares: "THE DEBATE IS OVER: DEMS FIND THEIR AGENDA." A subhead reads: "Dem Leaders 'Ecstatically' Embrace Sen. Feingold's Plan To Weaken The Tools To Fight The War On Terror."

Want another way, other than Bush's rock-bottom poll numbers, to measure the depth of the Republican crisis?

Take a look at what happened late Wednesday night out here in California. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's centerpiece proposal for re-election went down in smoking flames -- mostly because of Republican opposition.

During his January State of the State address, Arnold had proposed an FDR-scale $222 billion plan for the rebuilding of California's infrastructure. The ambitious and popular plan, the most massive in state history, which would have built new roads, levees, schools, bike and foot paths, parks and rail lines was a shrewd political move to the center by a governor whose previous set of conservative "reform" proposals were shredded last fall in a special election.

John Bolton's grandstanding vote today opposing the establishment of a UN Human Rights Council might please hard-core isolationists. But no one else.

Major League Baseball owners may gripe, but the World Baseball Classic
provides a glimpse of an alternative future for our national pastime.

The patient reader can find much to entertain and enlighten in theNew York Times, if one searches diligently. I came acrossthis pearl today, entitled "Editors' Note."

"The cover photograph in The Times Magazine on Sunday renderedcolors incorrectly for the jacket, shirt and tie worn by Mark Warner,the former Virginia governor who is a possible candidate for thepresidency. The jacket was charcoal, not maroon; the shirt was lightblue, not pink; the tie was dark blue with stripes, not maroon."

The editors blamed this on the film. "The change escaped noticebecause of a misunderstanding by the editors." I wanted to read more.Did editors disagree on whether pink is blue? Or did Governor Warnerlook more presidential in a maroon jacket? The Times did notelaborate.

As the House considers two bills to regulate political speech on the Internet, the liberal Daily Kos and conservative Red State blogs are bedfellows, supporting a flawed GOP-sponsored bill that opens the door for soft money to buy political ads online.

As Bush continues to insist the US is bringing peace and freedom to
Iraq, his latest plan to quell the insurgency spends billions more to
stem the use of improvised explosive devices.

Watch the news out of House Speaker Dennis Hastert's office today. It may well be the site of the best the debate about the continued funding of the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

Anti-war activists plan to visit the Illinois Republican's office this afternoon and to begin reading aloud the names of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis killed in the war. They say they won't stop until Hastert meets with them to discuss the $67 billion "supplemental" military spending bill that is scheduled for a House vote late today.

They want Hastert to agree to oppose the White House's request for the additional money top fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One thing I've always found perplexing is Wesley Clark's continued high-standing amongst the progressive blogosphere. For months he's consistently either won or placed second in the Daily Kos and MyDD straw polls, for example. Yesterday our ace DC intern Cora Currier bumped into Clark in the Senate and much to her surprise, wooing Nation readers was on the General's mind. I'm posting her dispatch below:

 

I was in Senator Carl Levin's office yesterday talking to an aide when General Wesley Clark strode into the room. He was waiting for a meeting and sat down on the couch near us. Levin's aide asked where I worked and when I replied, "The Nation," Clark jumped into the conversation. Introducing himself, he said: "Now, how are we going to get Nation readers to vote for someone like me?" I didn't know what to say. "I'm a military man," he continued, "and the military scares liberals. They say, oh, no, he's bombed people. People forget that as commander of NATO I was in charge of school children, and communities." He left soon after but gave me his card. "Nation," he said again, pointing to himself.

 

Let's take our own highly unscientific straw poll. If Clark runs again, would you support him?

Bill Clinton certainly had his flaws as a President. He was a militant free trader, who used all of his political skills to win support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normalization of trade policy with China and a host of other initiatives that slowly but surely kicked the legs out from under American workers, communities and industries. His welfare, education and telecommunications reforms were bumbling at best, and more often malignant. He showed only slightly more respect for the Constitution than the current president, and his military misadventures and meddling in the affairs of other countries suggest that he had no respect at all for George Washington's warning about avoiding "foreign entanglements."

But Clinton's presidency saw significant progress on some fronts, including the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, a tax increase that reversed the growth in federal deficits that had ballooned during the spending-spree presidency of Ronald Reagan, the nation's last minimum-wage increase and a period of economic growth that lasted long enough to actually begin to modestly improve the circumstance of the country's poor. The relative health of the economy during the second term of his presidency surely contributed to the 65 percent approval rating that Clinton took with him when he left the White House, which represented the highest end-of-term enthusiasm level for any President in the post-Eisenhower era.

Clinton remains a beloved figure in many circles, and that surely accounts for the substantial continuing interest in the former president and his life – and interest that has created something of a tourist boom for tiny Hope, Arkansas, the community where the 42nd president grew up.

During the run-up to the Iraq War, the nation's leading print and broadcast media could have saved lives if they questioned the Administration's pronouncements. Instead, they were an echo chamber for the White House.

Last night I raised some strategic questions about Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold's move to formally censure President Bush. On the conclusion of Day Two of this drama, I have more questions.As one might expect, Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist immediately took up Feingold's challenge and was ready to call a vote. At a time when the President is losing on every issue around him, he would have easily won this up-down partisan vote.The Democrats, of course, dodged the whole matter. You know it's kind of hard to see the 800lb, polka-dotted elephant in the room when you have the limited vision of a jackass.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told reporters he would not comment on the issue while the Democratic leadership mulls the issue. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said, "Feingold has a point that he wants to make by introducing that resolution." And then she added nothing else/

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said the resolution "raises some very important issues," but she refused to discuss what they were. Hmmm.

Senator Russell Feingold should be praised for calling on the Senate
to censure the President for breaking the law and lying about his
domestic spying program. Instead, he's mocked by the media and
abandoned by many of his own party.