Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for January 9th, 2008

Rival Bhutto clan lures Benazir’s son

Posted by Charles II on January 9, 2008


Fatima Bhutto, from Jang

Dawn has an article that conveys the feudal flavor of Pakistani politics and a sense of why we should be cautious in imagining we understand what is going on:

After years of discord within Pakistan’s top political dynasty, Benazir Bhutto’s sister-in-law has stoked up the family feud by saying she wants the opposition leader’s son [Bilawal] to join her rival party [the Pakistan People’s Party-Shaheed Bhutto — named in honour of her “martyr (shaheed)” husband ].

Ghinwa Bhutto has been estranged from the former premier since Murtaza Bhutto, Benazir’s younger brother and Ghinwa’s husband, was gunned down amid shady circumstances in Karachi 12 years ago while Bhutto was still in power….

Asked how she intended to get the Oxford undergraduate to defect, she said: “I don’t know, with love and affection and education. Maybe when he comes back he might like our set-up better than the set-up of the other party.”…

Ghinwa said that she held Benazir responsible for Murtaza Bhutto’s death, while Benazir reportedly once scathingly referred to her rival as a “Lebanese bellydancer.” The infighting was set to reach fever pitch during the elections when the pair stood in the same constituency, vying for the votes of the Bhutto clan’s peasant followers in Larkana’s sugarcane fields….

[Despite having accused in print her aunt Benazir of ordering her father Murtaza cruelly murdered] A weeping Fatima however joined Ghinwa at Benazir’s graveside, and in a Pakistani newspaper column she said that although her relationship with Bhutto was “complicated,” she was now “compounded in a state of shock.”

I’m sure the Borgias found family relationships similarly complicated.

Posted in Pakistan | 2 Comments »

Doing Well By Doing Good

Posted by MEC on January 9, 2008


ReCellular, Inc., founded in Dexter, Michigan in 1991, had a good year.

In 2007, ReCellular employed 240 people at facilities in Michigan, Texas, Hong Kong, and Brazil, collected 6 million wireless phones for recycling or refurbishing, raised more than $20 million for charitable causes and diverted more than 1 million pounds of materials from landfills by recycling efforts.


Last year’s collections were the equivalent of 10 million kilograms of carbon emissions, the equivalent of powering 11,400 homes for a year, or a year’s supply of gasoline for 6,000 vehilces. The recycled phones also contained $3.8 million worth of precious metals, including gold, platinum, silver, palladium and copper.


In 2007, ReCellular provided more than $20 million for charities, including: the Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Phone Recycling, the Motorola Race to Recycle school fundraising program, Cell Phones for Soldiers, and the March of Dimes.

When you get a new cellphone, don’t just toss the old one. Find out where you can recycle it.

Even better, find out whether a local organization collects used cellphones to be reprogrammed and reused. For example, in southeastern Michigan, HAVEN needs cellphones for the women in its domestic violence shelters. Charitable Recycling has collection sites all over Michigan for deactivated phones, which are distributed to a variety of charities.

Posted in Good Things, saving the earth | 2 Comments »

John Nichols: “Primaries Gone Wild”

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 9, 2008

We could have had a non-front-loaded and sane primary season this year, says John Nichols, if not for Karl Rove:

Unfortunately, even if most of the political class is disgusted, a few key players can still thwart action. After all, it was Karl Rove who effectively created the current crisis when he blocked a Republican task force proposal to restore order with a rational and competitive primary schedule. Under the so-called Delaware Plan, the smallest twelve states would have chosen delegates in March, the next smallest fourteen in April, the next thirteen in May and the remainder in June. The schedule was designed to assure that the majority of delegates would not be chosen until the end, increasing the chance that a long, serious race for the nomination would play out over four months.

The Delaware Plan was to be debated at the 2000 convention, but Rove canceled it. “It had nothing to do with the merits of the plan,” explained former Wyoming party chair Tom Sansonetti, who headed the task force. “It was just that the convention was scripted, and there was no room for a floor fight on whether or not the Delaware Plan should be adopted or whether the party was going to stay with its present system.” The general sense among political insiders is that had the GOP embraced the reform, the Democrats would have done the same. But when the Republicans stopped talking about repairing the process, the discussion died.

Like many good ideas put on hold by Rove, the Delaware Plan or some variant merits reconsideration. It is far superior to holding a “national primary,” which was advocated for many years by progressive reformers. On the surface, a national primary makes sense, as it would allow members of each party to vote on the same day to select candidates. The problem is that in the absence of fundamental campaign finance and media reform, a national primary would replicate most of the pathologies of November elections, with soundbites and thirty-second commercials defining a big-money, small-idea race. The same goes for regional primaries. As Cobble, a strategist for Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign who is now aiding Dennis Kucinich’s quest for the Democratic nomination, says, “The idea of regional primaries taking place on or around the same day is even dumber than a national primary. Not only do candidates have to run media campaigns across various states, which creates a barrier to grassroots and insurgent campaigns; the early stages of the race–which are still likely to be most influential–can be distorted by regional issues that will differ radically if the voting starts in New England versus the South.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Hello? Brunswick? Brodkorb? Berg? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 9, 2008

The aforementioned promoters of the Greatest Non-Scandal of 2007, the heated attempt to prove Mark Ritchie guilty of, of, of something (well, besides beating Crazy Mary Kiffmeyer in the last election), now look like utter dingbats in view of the fact that (as the sane people among us had been predicting) Ritchie’s been exonerated:

The summary of the Legislative Auditor’s findings:

  • Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not misuse state resources when he organized civic education events and collected contact information from the participants. The events were appropriate activities of the Secretary of State’s office, and the contact information fulfilled a public purpose.
  • Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not violate Minnesota law when he provided the contact information to his campaign since the information is “public data” under Minnesota law.
  • Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not fulfill his legal obligation to make a full and timely response to a request for information from the Legislative Auditor.

So Ritchie was slow in responding, but the GOP operative-driven dust-up was without merit, just broken news.

It’s going to be awfully tough for Mitch Berg to accuse State Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles of being a DFL hack, since, as Charlie of Across the Great Divide reminds us, Mitch is already on record with the opposite opinion:

Jim Nobles – the state’s legislative auditor – is known as a person of scrupulous integrity; his office is no partisan hacketeria.

Of course, as The Wege notes, neither DJ Tice nor his fellow wingnuts in the comments section of TBQ in the Strib will really and truly admit that Ritchie’s been exonerated.  (So far, no mention of how Strib reporter Mark Brunswick, in the course of trying to follow the script seemingly written by State GOP Chair Ron Carey on making a scandal out of public data used for unsolicited mailings, himself went and used public data for unsolicited mailings.)  For a much more honest account, see AP writer Brian Bakst’s piece, which is the one many if not most outstate Minnesotans (and non-Strib-readers) will see in their local papers.

Posted in blogger ethics, blogs and blogging, GOP/Media Complex, hypocrites, Minnesota, mythmaking, Republicans, Silly Republicans | 5 Comments »

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