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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

The Iraqi Election brings surprise…and concern……Maliki didn't win…..

[ former prime minister Iyad Allawi whose coalition won the Iraqi election last week….]

Well, well…..surprise…surprise…in a display that democracy is alive in Iraq…the countries voters have voted to narrowly NOT back its countries currently ruling coalition…….

The result of that vote will be that both Allawi and current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will be courting the countries groups to put together enough seats to rule…..

The process is new and will be sloppy and could take sometime…..while the US should be smiling…..most of the administration should be biting their nails and hoping that the Iraqi’s can put something of a governing coalition that won’t set the country backwards……

Stay Tuned……

Nothing about the coming process will be simple, not even the process itself. According to Michael Hanna, an expert in Iraqi politics and law at The Century Foundation, for instance, a recent Iraqi federal court ruling means that Allawi’s electoral edge doesn’t even guarantee him the first opportunity to form a government. Should another coalition assemble with more seats than Allawi’s Iraqiya list, it will usurp that privilege from him. And even if Allawi does go first, there’s no telling whether he can put together his own governing coalition. “Allawi’s victory is important symbolically and also represents a major political realignment but he is not yet in a position where we know that he will be the PM-designate,” Hanna says. “He and Maliki basically enter this next phase dead even.” (Read more from Hanna here.)

What does this confusion and uncertainty mean for the United States? There’s good news and bad. The good news is that U.S. officials generally feel they can work with either Maliki or Allawi, both known quantities with good relations in Washington. (This is more true of Allawi, a former Iraqi opposition leader in exile who worked closely with the CIA before the war; America has been growing impatient with some of Maliki’s recent strongman tendencies, which is not to say that Allawi is a pure Jeffersonian either.)

The bad news is that the longer it takes Iraq to form a government, and the more rancorous that process becomes, the more likely some factions are to win political leverage through violence, which is what happened after the country’s 2006 national election, fueling Iraq’s horrific civil war. Though informed opinion is divided on whether this is a realistic scenario, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility of a return to bloody anarchy.

But here lies still another uncertainty: If Iraq plunges back into chaos, how will Barack Obama react?

More……..

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March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Projections, Updates | , | Leave a comment

The Iraqi Election brings surprise…and concern……Maliki didn’t win…..

[ former prime minister Iyad Allawi whose coalition won the Iraqi election last week….]

Well, well…..surprise…surprise…in a display that democracy is alive in Iraq…the countries voters have voted to narrowly NOT back its countries currently ruling coalition…….

The result of that vote will be that both Allawi and current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will be courting the countries groups to put together enough seats to rule…..

The process is new and will be sloppy and could take sometime…..while the US should be smiling…..most of the administration should be biting their nails and hoping that the Iraqi’s can put something of a governing coalition that won’t set the country backwards……

Stay Tuned……

Nothing about the coming process will be simple, not even the process itself. According to Michael Hanna, an expert in Iraqi politics and law at The Century Foundation, for instance, a recent Iraqi federal court ruling means that Allawi’s electoral edge doesn’t even guarantee him the first opportunity to form a government. Should another coalition assemble with more seats than Allawi’s Iraqiya list, it will usurp that privilege from him. And even if Allawi does go first, there’s no telling whether he can put together his own governing coalition. “Allawi’s victory is important symbolically and also represents a major political realignment but he is not yet in a position where we know that he will be the PM-designate,” Hanna says. “He and Maliki basically enter this next phase dead even.” (Read more from Hanna here.)

What does this confusion and uncertainty mean for the United States? There’s good news and bad. The good news is that U.S. officials generally feel they can work with either Maliki or Allawi, both known quantities with good relations in Washington. (This is more true of Allawi, a former Iraqi opposition leader in exile who worked closely with the CIA before the war; America has been growing impatient with some of Maliki’s recent strongman tendencies, which is not to say that Allawi is a pure Jeffersonian either.)

The bad news is that the longer it takes Iraq to form a government, and the more rancorous that process becomes, the more likely some factions are to win political leverage through violence, which is what happened after the country’s 2006 national election, fueling Iraq’s horrific civil war. Though informed opinion is divided on whether this is a realistic scenario, it’s impossible to rule out the possibility of a return to bloody anarchy.

But here lies still another uncertainty: If Iraq plunges back into chaos, how will Barack Obama react?

More……..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Projections, Updates | , | Leave a comment

Whitman is spending a boatload of money in the California race for Governor…..

Meg Whitman

From PoliticalWire……

Whitman’s Unprecedented Ad Blitz

The San Jose Mercury News notes that since the begininng of the year, Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor in California spent $27.2 million — more than $4 a second.

“At that pace, in the time it takes to read this sentence aloud, the campaign will have spent another 50 bucks to pulverize her already-battered GOP opponent, Steve Poizner, whom she’s beating by 50 points in the polls.”

You know the Dog thought Jerry Brown had this locked up……

No more…..

While I think voters will eventually come home to Brown…..Whitman’s money could be the food for a upset……

She’s got the GOP nomination locked up…That’s for sure

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Polls, Projections, Updates, Women | , , | 1 Comment

The Cheerleaders of the 2010 March Madness Teams…….

While basketball players remain at the center of March Madness, the stunning ladies on the sidelines keep their team's motivated and upbeat. The News honors the cheerleaders and their work during the NCAA Tournament.

While basketball players remain at the center of March Madness, the stunning ladies on the sidelines keep their team’s motivated and upbeat. The News honors the cheerleaders and their work during the NCAA Tournament.

From The New York Daily News…..

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/galleries/cheerleaders_of_the_2010_ncaa_tournament/cheerleaders_of_the_2010_ncaa_tournament.html#ixzz0jX2jNTBF

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Education, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Travel, Women | , | Leave a comment

The Tea Party movement…. young, inexperienced and underfunded spells trouble for the GOP……

My partner Daniel….Is hoping for a windfall in November elections…..

He feels that the countries voters will be mad at Obama and Healthcare…..mad enough to vote Republicans into majorities in the House or Senate…….

I don’t thing that’s gonna happen…For one…I think the Healthcare Bill is going to be ancient history by November…Number two…the President seems to be holding his own after last weeks good performance…And number three is the emergence of the Tea Party movement…..

Because most of its members come from the Republican party ….. the GOP gets a split from its base……and from that split we are seeing numerous local candidates springing up to run for office…..almost all are new..but strongly motivated….and almost all have little or no funds….but as is the case in Nevada Senator Reid’s case…running a Tea Party candidate may do nothing more than provide Democrats with chance to keep more seats than Daniel thinks the GOP will be able to take ……

I keep reminding Daniel about AL Gore and Ralph Nader stealing his best chance to win the Presidency…..

The question is being asked as homegrown candidates confront brute realities of politics: reluctant donors, limited party support, inexperienced staffers and the uphill fight against incumbents

Grassroots support remains vigorous, as evidenced by the thousands of tea-party activists who gathered Saturday in Searchlight, Nev., to protest the health-care law and urge the ouster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Yet despite thronging primary races across the U.S., true tea-party candidates have stumbled at the polls. In the March 2 Texas primary, 18 incumbent Republican House members faced multiple challengers, including a flock of tea-party faithful. The incumbents won handily, with only one garnering below 60% of the vote.

“The problem with the tea-party movement is it has inspired too many candidates,” says Patrick Hughes, a candidate with tea-party backing who was trounced by Rep. Mark Kirk in the crowded Illinois Republican Senate primary. “The movement will fail if it can’t coalesce behind candidates who can win.”

Organizers hope public anger over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul will help tea-party candidates who fiercely opposed the plan. Many are now promising to help repeal the law if they win, and are using the bill to try to drum up support from donors.

The movement began last year as a backlash against the growth of the government, federal bailouts and the national debt. The next big test comes in May, when 10 states hold primaries, including the tea-party hotbeds of Indiana and Ohio. The Republican establishment is watching to see if tea-party voters fall in line behind the national party’s candidates.

Handicappers are predicting heavy Democratic losses in November. Democrats hope the tea-party surge will soften that blow by diluting Republican campaign coffers and pulling mainstream conservatives to the right, imperiling their chances in the general election.

House and Senate Races in 2010

[races2010promo]

The whole House of Representatives and a third of Senate seats are on the ballot in 2010. See which races are considered closest.

“This is great news for us,” says Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The DCCC has launched a Web site to highlight divisions in the GOP primaries.

More……..

From the Wall Street Journal…..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Counterpoints, Daniel G @ PolitcalDog, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Projections, Updates, Women | , , | 2 Comments

Student Loan Bill passed with the Healthcare Bill…..

I don’t know……

The Dog has three sons that have gone on to college…..I have student loans and so does my wife…

I hope we can get some relief thru this new package….

Cause we’re gonna be paying these things for a long…long ….long time……..

Since the bank-based loan program began in 1965, commercial banks like Sallie Mae and Nelnet have received guaranteed federal subsidies to lend money to students, with the government assuming nearly all the risk. Democrats have long denounced the program, saying it fattened the bottom line for banks at the expense of students and taxpayers.

“Why are we paying people to lend the government’s money and then the government guarantees the loan and the government takes back the loan?” said Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the Education and Labor Committee.

Democrats celebrated the legislation, a centerpiece of President Obama’s education agenda, as a far-reaching overhaul of federal financial aid, providing a huge infusion of money to the Pell grant program and offering new help to lower-income graduates in getting out from under crushing student debt. Still, the final bill is less ambitious than the original proposal.

Congressional allies of the student-loan industry attacked the overhaul as an overreaching government takeover. The legislation substitutes an expanded direct-lending program by the government for the bank-based program, directing $36 billion over 10 years to Pell grants, for students from low-income families.

“The Democratic majority decided, well look, while we’re at it, let’s have another Washington takeover,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee and a former federal education secretary. “Let’s take over the federal student loanprogram.”

Even as the Democrats’ decision to attach the student-loan overhaul to the health care package virtually ensured its passage, banks fought fiercely up to the last minute, prompting some lawmakers, like Senator Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, where Nelnet has its headquarters, to cast their vote against the overall bill.

Although private banks will no longer be allowed to make student loans with federal money, many will continue to earn income by servicing those loans.

More……..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Education, Family, Government, Law, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates, Women | | Leave a comment

Duke Wins over Baylor!….will be back the Final 4 in the NCAA Mens College Basketball….

[ Duke Players rejoice at the teams win…… which puts them in the Final Four NCAA Mens Basketball Championship…..]
The Dog frankly didn’t think they’d get this far…again…..

But the Dog is tickled pink to be wrong……YES!
Watching the game didn’t make me think it would happen either……Until the last few minutes when Duke did a nice run that took them up 10 points…and sealed the deal……
………while this Duke team is hardly among the Blue Devils’ best, it has Krzyzewski back in the Final Four for the 11th time and his first since 2004. He last won a national title in 2001.

Nolan Smith had 29 points for Duke and Jon Scheyer added 20 in the South Regional final before 47,492 fans in Reliant Stadium. The Blue Devils will play Saturday against second-seeded West Virginia (31-6) in the national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I can’t put it in words,” the Duke senior forward Lance Thomas said.

Playing about 185 miles from Baylor’s campus and in front of the former President George Bush, Duke was booed from the moment it stepped on the court. Trailing by 61-60 with 3 minutes 36 seconds left, the Blue Devils tied the score on a free throw by Smith.

That started a 12-1 run that Duke used to break the game open and put away feisty Baylor, which had been seeking to advance to its first Final Four since 1950. During the spurt, the Bears took poor shots and lacked discipline, the latter of which is a frequent criticism of their coach, Scott Drew, who appeared to be outcoached by Krzyzewski.

Trailing by 3 at halftime, Duke tied the game at 35-35 on the first possession of the second half on a 3-pointer by Scheyer. Baylor then surged to a 5-point lead before the Blue Devils used an 8-2 run to reclaim the lead at 45-44 on a pair of free throws by Smith with 16:15 left.

The Bears briefly retook the lead before Duke scored 4 consecutive points for a 49-46 lead……

More……..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, PoliticalDog Calls, Sports, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Charlie Crist will stay in the Race in Florida for the Senate……..

The Dog has cautioned Daniel several times that Crist would not make any political moves despite bad poll numbers until he finished debating  his GOP opponent Marco Rubio…..

After the two stepped off on their first debate Crist has announced that he’s NOT backing out of the race……

More……..

Please read the comments to the linked piece…they are interesting

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio debated Sunday morning on Fox, where the two Senate hopefuls sparred over everything from the stimulus to the price of Rubio’s haircuts.

Crist also confirmed that, despite Rubio leading the governor by double digits in the Republican Senate primary race (an average of 25.4 points in March, according to Real Clear Politics data), he would be running as a Republican and not entering the race as an independent. And if elected, he said, he would not ditch the office to run for the Oval Office in 2012.

Crist also defended his acceptance of stimulus funds, and said as a senator he would have voted for the $787 billion package.

“I think it was the right thing to do at the time,” Crist said, noting that the economy “was falling off a cliff.”

“Things have started to stabilize now and they’re getting better in Florida,” he added.

Rubio contended that record 12.2 percent unemployment in the state showed otherwise. “If it’s bad for America it couldn’t possibly be good for your state,” he said.

Update…..

Links to the debate……Here…..…..and Here…..….

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Polls, Projections, Updates | , , | 5 Comments

NCAA Mens Basketball March Madness Championship Update……

+ Click on game links for box scores

March 18-19 March 20-21 March 25-26 March 27-28 April 3 April 5
1 Kansas
16 Lehigh Kansas 90-74
9 Northern Iowa UNI 69-66
8 UNLV UNI 69-67
5 Michigan St MSU 85-83
12 New Mexico St MSU 70-67
13 Houston Maryland 89-77
4 Maryland MIDWEST
3 Georgetown
14 Ohio Ohio 97-83
11 Tennessee Tennessee 62-59
6 San Diego St Tennessee 83-68
7 Oklahoma St Ohio St 75-66
10 Georgia Tech Ga Tech 64-59
15 Ohio St Ohio St 68-51
2 UCSB Indianapolis
1 Syracuse April 3-5
16 Vermont Syracuse 79-56
9 Florida St Gonzaga 67-60
8 Gonzaga Syracuse 87-65
5 Butler Butler 54-52
12 UTEP Butler 77-59
13 Murray St Murray St 66-65
4 Vanderbilt WEST Butler 63-59
3 Pittsburgh Kansas St 101-96
14 Oakland Pitt 89-66
11 Minnesota Xavier 65-54
6 Xavier Xavier 71-68
7 BYU Kansas St 84-72
10 Florida BYU 99-92
15 North Texas KSU 82-62
2 Kansas St
1 Kentucky
16 ETSU Kentucky 100-71
9 Texas Wake 81-80
8 Wake Forest Kentucky 90-60
5 Temple Cornell 87-69
12 Cornell Cornell 78-65
13 Wofford Wisconsin 53-49
4 Wisconsin Kentucky 62-45
3 New Mexico EAST WVU 69-56
14 Montana New Mexico 62-57
11 Washington Washington 80-78
6 Marquette Washington 82-64
7 Clemson WVU 68-59
10 Missouri Missouri 86-78
15 Morgan St WVU 77-50
2 West Virginia Indianapolis

1 Duke April 3-5
16 Winthrop / UAPB Duke 73-44
9 Louisville Cal 77-62
8 California Duke 68-53
5 Texas A&M Purdue 63-61
12 Utah St A&M 69-53
13 Siena Purdue 72-64
4 Purdue SOUTH Detroit, MI
3 Baylor
14 Sam Houston St Baylor 68-59
11 Old Dominion ODU 51-50
6 Notre Dame Baylor 76-68
7 Richmond SMC 75-68
10 St. Mary’s SMC 81-70
15 Robert Morris Villanova 73-70
2 Villanova

.

From CollegeHoopsnet.com…..

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Entertainment, Media, Men, Other Things, Sports, Updates | , , | Leave a comment

Barbara Bush hospitalized in Texas…..

FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2008 file photo, former first lady Barbara Bush speaks at a dedication ceremony for the George and Barbara Bush Center at the University of New England, in Biddeford, Maine. A family spokeswoman says former first lady Barbara Bush has been hospitalized in Houston, Saturday, March 27, 2010, to undergo routine tests, though doctors don't suspect anything serious. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

From the Washington Post..…..

The Associated Press
Sunday, March 28, 2010; 1:03 PM

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush remains hospitalized in Houston, where she’s undergoing what a family spokeswoman describes as routine tests.

Spokeswoman Jean Becker said Sunday that Bush has not been diagnosed with anything and doctors aren’t looking for anything specific.

Former President George H.W. Bush drove his wife to Methodist Hospital on Saturday morning. Becker said earlier that the former first lady hadn’t been feeling well for about a week, and doctors suggested she “undergo a battery of tests.”

Mrs. Bush underwent heart surgery in March 2009, for a severe narrowing of the main heart valve. She also was hospitalized in November 2008, when she underwent surgery perforated ulcer.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Breaking News, Family, Health, Media, Other Things, Updates, Women | , | Leave a comment