Sunday 2 September 2007

Washminster Returns

Washminster is back! After a pleasant stay in South Devon (where the weather was pleasant - and I enjoyed a few pasties and icecreams), I am back to work and Washminster returns on a daily basis.

During my stay I visited Plymouth and the site from which the Pilgrim Fathers finally left England on the Mayflower. Being the major port on the South West coast many others left from the same spot - including the settlers of the Roanoake colony in 1585 http://www.nationalcenter.org/ColonyofRoanoke.html

So what's being happening during Washminster's absence? I've spent this morning reading the New York Times and Washington Posts of the last week.

Alberto Gonzales has finally announced his resignation as US Attorney General. We have learnt that the Justice Department is to investigate whether his sworn statements to Congress were "intentionally false, misleading or inappropriate".

Larry Craig, Senator for Idaho, has also announced his resignation, after a sex-related arrest. Another champion of family values goes down!

Unrelated to any scandal, Senator John Warner has announced that he will not stand for re-election in 2008. This well liked Senator, who was Navy Secretary, Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a Senator for 30 years (and former husband of Elizabeth Taylor) - will be missed. His decision not to stand also opens an interesting contest next year in the Commonwealth of Virginia - no doubt a story Washminster will be returning to.

Concerns about the dates of the primaries and caucuses have increased - with most of the democratic contenders signing a 'Four-State Pledge', promising not to campaign in states holding primaries before the traditional first-states of Iowa; New Hampshire; Nevada and South Carolina. There are threats to cut delegates from Florida & Michigan who are planning to break the 'protected window' which ensures that no other state can select delegates before 5th February (which itself will become 'Super-Duper Tuesday' as states rush to hold their primaries on that date).

A bill to mandate the screening of veterans (sometimes refered to as the suicide prevention bill) is being held up by a single Senator, Tom Coburn (Rep-Oklahoma) because he fears that the medical records might be used by other agencies to deny some veterans from obtaining firearms.

Over 50 members of Congress have visited Iraq over the summer - on Congressional Delegations (known as 'Codels'). For more details visit http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/world/middleeast/26visits.html?th&emc=th

So now we know!