Wednesday, October 25, 2006



POLITICAL WIRE reports that Barack Obama "was stumping in Iowa this
weekend, with US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) by his side. The ostensible
purpose of the trip: promote Iowa Democratic candidates in the 2006
elections. First elected to the Senate just two years ago, the
charismatic Obama previously discounted any interest in seeking the
White House in 2008. His comments this weekend opened the door. 'My only
attentions right now are focused on '06. Whoever is looking toward 2008
without focusing on 2006 makes a mistake,' said Obama, without
disclaiming any interest in 2008". . . ONE OF THE SERVICES that George
Bush and American Idol have performed has been to make it seem possible
for anyone to be president, even a freshman senator with only two years
under his belt and several terms in the Illinois state legislature. Rude
as it may seem to some, it is worth noting that to date Obama has done
practically nothing and the presumption beneath his toying with a White
House run suggests and ego seriously out of control.



[The first of a new series]

CLIFFORD W. THORNTON, JR. - who is the Green candidate for governor of
Connecticut - is a retired African-American businessman, whose mother
died of a heroin overdose when Mr. Thornton was 18. As a result of this
loss, he wanted drug laws to be harsher. Now he believes that if heroin
use had been legal, and supervised by doctors, his mother might have
lived a relatively safe and healthy life.

Cliff Thornton is the founder of Efficacy, a non-profit organization
that has been concentrating efforts on drug policy reform.

Prior to working full-time in drug policy, Mr. Thornton was a
middle-level manager with Southern New England Telephone Company in
Connecticut. He was in charge of the delivery of all internal
telecommunications to the corporation, serving some 10,000 employees
with a $50,000,000 annual budget, supervising 23 people. He worked at
SNET for 25 years. He served as Vice President of the Greater Hartford
Festival of Jazz for three years. This three-day event attracted
approximately 75,000 people every year with a mere $50,000 budget. He
also served as Parliamentarian of the Greater Hartford African American
Alliance and was president of Jazz Radio New England.

Thornton taught a graduate level course entitled "Illegal Drugs and
Public Policy" at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and helped
shape the Unitarian Universalist statement of conscience on drug policy

Thornton has lectured widely in the U.S., Canada, England and New
Zealand. A native of Hartford, Mr. Thornton now lives in Glastonbury,
CT, with his wife Margaret. He has five grown daughters.



A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL - Post office naming is now the most common form
of legislation, according to the Congressional Research Service. An
analysis by The Hill shows that in 15 years the two parties have
achieved parity in the practice. Of the 267 naming bills passed since
the beginning of the 102nd Congress, 133 were sponsored by Democrats and
134 were sponsored by Republicans.



INSTITUTE FOR SOUTHERN STUDIES - Despite strong early support for the
Iraq war in the South, the region's opposition to the war now matches
national levels –- and by some measures frustration is higher in the
South than elsewhere in the country. Those are the findings of a new
public opinion poll run by the Institute for Southern Studies and the
School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State

57% of Southerners believe the U.S. "should have stayed out of Iraq,"
compared to 44% who think the U.S. "did the right thing" by taking
military action. Nationally, 58% of the public believes the U.S. should
have stayed out and 43% now agree with military action.

Southerners are skeptical about the goals of the Iraq mission. 29% of
Southerners agree with the Bush Administration's position that "Iraq is
the central front in the war on terrorism," compared to 25% nationally.
But 30% in Southern states –- the same as the national average –-
believe the main reason the U.S. is in Iraq is "to ensure access to

By at least one measure, Southerners are more frustrated with the war
than their counterparts in other regions. Asked if they were "proud" or
"sad" about Iraq, a surprising 62% of respondents in the South said they
were "very sad" about the course of the war, compared to only 56% in
other regions of the country. Only 10% of those surveyed in the South
say they are "somewhat proud" or "very proud" of the Iraq mission –-
slightly less than those polled in other states.

30% of those polled in Southern states say the U.S. should "withdraw
completely" from Iraq. Those in non-Southern states were less likely to
call for a total withdrawal of U.S. troops (26%), but more likely to
think U.S. troop levels should be decreased "some" or "a lot" – 34% in
non-Southern states, compared to 26% in the South. Put together, 56% of
Southerners and 59% in other regions support a decrease or withdrawal of
U.S. troops.



ROBERT BARNES, WASHINGTON POST - Six years ago, former Reagan Navy
secretary James Webb was a Republican, and he opined that President Bill
Clinton's administration was "the most corrupt administration in modern
memory." He made the comments at a news conference endorsing Republican
George F. Allen for the Senate, and renouncing his past support of
Virginia Democratic Sen. Charles S. Robb. Today, Webb is a Democrat,
running against the incumbent Allen. And Webb's campaign said last night
that Clinton has agreed to headline a fundraiser for Webb this fall at
-- just to complete the circle -- Robb's house in McLean. "I think he
has said it was a different time when he made those comments," said Webb
communications director Kristian Denny Todd. "It was a very different


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