“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations, tells Financial Times, Iran has right to uranium enrichment.

Right on cue, Kerry throws his weight behind the Obama opening to Iran. At a minimum Iran will be building nuclear power plants. Too bad the Democrats are not as enthusiastic for nuclear power plants in the US.


Senator opens Iran nuclear debate
By Daniel Dombey in Washington Financial Times
Published: June 10 2009 23:33 | Last updated: June 10 2009 23:33

One of the most senior Democrats in Washington has dismissed a key element in the west’s long standing strategy on Iran’s nuclear programme as “ridiculous”. His comments throw open the debate about how far the US and its partners should go in seeking a compromise with Tehran after on Friday’s presidential election.

John Kerry, chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee and the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, told the Financial Times in an interview that Iran had a right to uranium enrichment – a process that can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons grade material.

The US and the world’s other big powers have repeatedly demanded that Tehran suspend enrichment – a policy pioneered by the former Bush administration that has since been given the force of international law by successive United Nations Security Council resolutions.

“The Bush administration [argument of] no enrichment was ridiculous . . . because it seemed so unreasonable to people,” said Mr Kerry, citing Iran’s rights as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. “It was bombastic diplomacy. It was wasted energy. It sort of hardened the lines, if you will,” he added. “They have a right to peaceful nuclear power and to enrichment in that purpose.”

His comments come as Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran’s president, faces off against Mir-Hossein Moussavi, his main challenger in an increasingly intense re-election battle, with the first round of voting taking place on Friday. They also come amid increasing nervousness in Israel about the US stance on Tehran, in light of a series of warnings by Obama administration officials against an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, which Washington believes would be counterproductive.

Enrichment – championed by Mr Ahmadi-Nejad, but supported by almost all of Iran’s political class, with wide popular backing – is at the heart of the Iranian nuclear dispute.

Although the UN Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment date back to March 2006, Tehran has systematically accelerated its nuclear programme, producing 1.3 tonnes of low enriched uranium hexaflouride – more than enough, if further processed, for one nuclear device.

Mr Kerry argues that in the wake of the former Bush administration’s failure to enforce the “red lines” it set Iran, Barack Obama needs to build an international coalition around an enforceable demand that at the minimum would provide more information about the nature of Iran’s programme.

He added that he had sent Mr Obama his suggestions in a memo.

The president himself, who Mr Kerry helped rise to national prominence, has steered clear of specific statements favoured by former president George W. Bush over whether Iran should cease all enrichment. Instead he has stressed his goal of ensuring Tehran does not become a nuclear weapon state and called for negotiations, which Washington hopes will begin once the Iranian elections have concluded.

“We are willing to have direct negotiations with the Iranians . . . without preconditions,” Mr Obama said at the weekend, arguing Tehran needed to give the world confidence it was not seeking nuclear weapons.


  1. They're behind the curve.

    Ron Paul is on the crest of the wave--

    I would treat [Iran] the way we treated the Soviets. We talked to them. The Soviets had 30,000 nuclear weapons,” Paul said, maintaining “Iran is not going to bomb anybody.”

    “They deserve a little bit of protection for themselves. They have nuclear weapons to the north, to the south, to the east, and to the west, and all they do is get beat up. There are a bunch of bad people over there, but there are a bunch of bad people all over the world.”

    By this reasoning, who shouldn't have nuclear weapons?

    Just like I don't want to be the only person without a gun, no country should be without nuclear weapons!!

  2. What do you want? They're appeasers and they say "we are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference, and thus to contribute to assure the peace..."

    Peace in our time.

  3. It's going to end badly, I'm convinced of that.

  4. We got a loud mouthed thug in the neighborhood. He has threatened the little Jewish family that lives on our block. The thug has ratcheted up the threats and has been acting increasingly irrational.

    We all know where this could go but we have to wait until someone is dead before we can act. No more preemption. No siree, we don't do that and we don't water board either because that is torture and it would be better to let one hundred thousand die than to "torture" one person.

  5. We are led by mighty men of high character. Moral men, stout men, good men, brave and true.

  6. Bob's got the right idea. If only we could get the deranged to aim at one another. Never seems to work that way.

    That speech in Cairo...They knew about the likely outcome in Lebanon well in advance. I guarantee it. It was intended to be a two-fer.

    Now the election in Iran. And boy is it quiet in DC.

    If New Guy wins, the earth will have shifted under a lot of feet in a lot of places.

  7. If New Guy doesn't win and the popular mobilization continues beyond the election, ditto.

  8. And because we all need a good laugh now and then, check out John Cole's post at Balloon Juice at 4 PM yesterday.

    Non-political and you won't regret it.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Here at the bar, trish, it was assumed by almost all that the Hezbollah factions would emerge from the Lebanese elections, victorious.

    This was the projected outcome from most of our "Friends of Israel".

    The odds of the US backed Government winning, less than that of pigs flying.

    Obama must be credited with the turn around, being as he is the President, he did give the speech and the projected outcome was dramaticly changed.

    Go Team Obamamerica!

    If the urban population of Iran becomes politically motivated the long term shift could be profound, even if Abracadbra pulls out a victory.

    Rally caps on!

  11. The NPT allows Iran the entire fuel cycle, it always has, no news there.

    Exactly right, bob, the US had no right or authority to stop other countries from developing nuclear energy, or developing the full fuel ctcle. In fact, the Treaty says they'll get assistance in the development of clean and inexpensive nuclear energy, from the IAEA.

  12. As Iran approaches its presidential election, the country is more divided than at any time since the revolution.


    For the outside world, it is the fiery rhetoric that everyone hears.


    At every rally, the women, clad in the long black religious cloak - the chador - press forward with scrawled notes for the president.

    Divided Iran

  13. Obama must be credited with the turn around-and the projected outcome was dramaticly changed.


    Oh, B.S.--the muzzies voted just as they do, some of the Christian vote was more than expected.

    And the Russians offered them the whole cycle, for free. We probably did too, I can't recall. It's bombs some people are concerned about, Rat, bombs. Except for people like Ron Paul, who think the bombs would be in good hands with Ahmadinejad.

  14. Christian voters gave March 14 its victory. Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) lost considerable support among Christians, but because of the Doha redistricting, still won more seats than his party did in the 2005 elections. Districts he won overwhelmingly in 2005, he won in 2009 with only a small margin.

    Districts in north Lebanon in which he allegedly had significant support ended up electing March 14 candidates with a comfortable margin.

    Charles Chuman, pajamas media

  15. Meanwhile, Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Gibran Bassil claimed on Tuesday that according to a recent investigation, Israel garbled cellular networks in Southern Lebanon, beginning three days before the June 7 parliamentary elections.

    Speaking at a press conference, Bassil said that following the probe's findings, he had requested that Lebanon's foreign minister report the alleged disturbance to the relevant international bodies.

    "There are known sources of interference from the sea and air," he said, mentioning his appeal some two months ago to take notice of such possible interferences. Bassil added that land lines were also affected, although to a lesser degree.

    Call for Action

    That's Hezbollah's area, isn't it?

    In the south.

  16. We had that possibility well discussed, prior to that election, bob. No BS, just good international politics on the part of the State Dept and the President.

    It was a coup, that speech by President Obama, in Cairo. He whipped the Iranians in Lebanon, at the polls. That was not the forcasted outcome by the Friends of Israel, here at the EB.

    It'd only happen, that HB could lose, if pigs flew.

    They have flown. That's the facts, at the EB, there is no denial of that.

    The Iranians do not want to be dependent upon their old enemies in Russia for their energy production. Just as the EU countries are discovering, Russia is not a stable supplier of energy.

    The Iranians have large uranium deposits of their own and are gong to exploit them. Not be at the short end of the energy supply stick.

    They never agreed to give up the complete fuel cycle, the IAEA agreed to help them produce it.
    The Treaty is quite straight forward. They are not in serious violation or breach of it.
    No more than the US is and has been. By the letter of the Treaty, if not the spirit.

    Excavate baby excavate!

  17. The American Medical Associatin is finally weighing in on ObumbleCare--

    The introduction of a new public plan threatens to restrict patient choice--

    AMA Opposes ObumbleCare

  18. Yeah, sam, south of the Litani, that's Injun Country, to be sure.

  19. I've been here practically every day, I can't recall any in depth analysis or predictions of the elections in Lebanon.

    I think you're putting lipstick on a pig :)

  20. What I find a little hard to believe is it seems the elections were more or less above board.

    Jimmah was there, of course, keeping an eye on things.

    As for Iran, the mullahs rule, and they gave the voters three or four choices. Like here, we might one day be allowed to choose between Bwaney Franks, Chris Dodd or Nancy Pee.

  21. You must have been at the casino. bob.

    wi"o" was ranting that the elections were a joke.

    lineman came up with the pigs fly
    I said the Swine Flu.

  22. I'm one of the friends of Israel here at the bar. Some clarification seems to be needed.

    First, congratulations to the winners in Lebanon.

    Second, my little phrase that's caught on so well applied to Obama's being the prime cause of swaying the election toward the Christian/Sunni coalition. I don't recall predicting anything as to outcome, except maybe that flip remark that Obama could influence it when pigs could fly. That was just an opinion, and clearly debatable. No one would win that debate, imo.

    My thanks to bob and Trish who seem to have some more information on how the election was won.

    Popcorn and beer ready for the next one.

    Finally, thank you to rat for all the attention to my flying pigs. Truly gratifying.

  23. What's Ron Paul gonna say when we pull all our troops and Navy out of the Gulf area and a nuclear armed Iran takes over? And gas prices go to $15/gallon.

    Is Ron Paul just another anti-semitic son of a bitch? I really don't know. He got some backing from some skin group or other, I do recall.

    Iraq has gotten it's oil production up some lately, I read.

  24. I support the Casino with my money, but not with my vote.

  25. The storyline was that the ascendent Hezzbollah factions were going to win the election, then subvert the Lebanese Army.

    The counter storyline, that the Turks were reinforceing the Lebanese Army (source wi"o") and that Obama and US were working an "May Surprise".

    Bottomline is that the US policy was effective and the Iranian backed elements of lebense society did not advance, through the ballot box.
    If the HB factions had won, than the US would have lost, on Obama's watch. That did not happen, Obama's policies and statements made the difference. It is the perception that is evolving, it will become the American reality.

  26. ...It is the perception that is evolving, it will become the American reality.

    Well then, congratulations!

    Can I have a beer now?

  27. The issue becomes the US influence and how did the Obama speech and behaviours effect it.

    In Lebanon and more pointedly, in Iran.

    The majority of the urban dwellers, the urbane of Iran, do not participate in the electoral process. The rural folk do, and are amply rewarded for it.

    The effects of the sanctions and economic depirvations are being felt in the urban centers, and may provoke those folk to electoral action.

    We'll see, but for now, the media is building an edifice of incremental Obama success stories, in the foreign policy arena.

    The success of US policy in Lebanon, just another brick in that wall.

  28. Obama success, built upon the foundations laid by Bush policies.
    That the policies did not come to fruition on the electoral schedule of the US, were in that regard failures. The US paying a terrible price, for those failures.
    On the other hand success is success, even if Obama garners the credit in the name of the United States.

  29. Beijing is also eager to secure access to Russia’s oil and gas deposits, and has been a major customer of Russian military hardware.

    It will be Hu’s first trip to Russia since President Dmitri Medvedev took power in May last year. Medvedev has made one official trip to Beijing.

    Following Russia, Hu travels to Slovakia and Croatia from June 18 to June 20.

    BRIC Summit

  30. From a BC poster who actually seems to know something about the Lebanese elections--

    6. Cadmus:

    Obama and his speech were not on anyone’s mind during the elections. The media can say what it wants, but the elections were based on much more complicated and existential issues. The US government was involved, but in the same way it has been before.

    It should not surprise anyone that Nasrallah’s (Hizbullah’s Leader) concession speech was one of the most civilized you can read. He thanked his supporter, congratulated the winners and stretched out his hand in cooperation.

    Hizbullah could not loose the elections because March 14 and its supporters did not contest their seats.

    Hariri and his group could not loose, because Hizbullah, Iran and Syria did not contest their seats either.

    Those who ran against Hariri or Hizbullah had no support from anyone. There was no money no supportive talk no propaganda machines. Nothing.

    The only contest was in the Christian districts. More accurately it was against the Christians – all of them. Of course Hariri’s propagandists in the Lebanese Renaissance Foundation are going to give a song and dance about democracy and freedom. They know that when the US hears that it stops looking at anything else and just enjoys the music regardless of the facts.

    Sadly the West continues to believe these guys are ignorant lunatics. The reality is that they are more machiavellian than Machiavelli himself. They are infamous for putting on a great dog and pony show and luring others into doing all their dirty work for them.

    Syria and Saudi Arabia have already kissed and made up. Saudi Arabia and Iran never really got into a fight. There has been a lot of discussions between Hizbullah and Hariri. A direct meeting was avoided to maintain the electoral pretense and keep the world fighting to defeat the FPM and its Christian allies, auspiciously to defeat Hizbullah.

    You have to realize that an opposition victory would have had to mostly come from the Christian opposition and some Sunnis and Druze, since the Shiites cannot gain any more seats to gain – sectarian limits. That would have made the new majority in its own majority Christian. This would translate into strengthening and re-establishing the authority of the Christian president and putting curbs on Islamic moves in the country.

    The Christians from March 14 would have had to declare their independence from Hariri and take a more solid stand on Christian issues and the Presidency to retain their credibility in their community. That would have meant a total loss of Hariri’s and Saudi Arabia’s control over the country. And, Hizbullah would have to abide by bring its weapons under Government control, which it has so far avoided because Hariri needs it to face off the Christians and maintain his dominance and Saudi Arabia’s influence.

  31. By Fredrik Dahl

    TEHRAN (Reuters) - Mirhossein Mousavi, seen as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's main challenger in Friday's election, advocates better ties with Iran's Western foes while rejecting their main demand -- a halt to sensitive nuclear work.

    Hoping to win votes from reformers and conservatives, the former prime minister derides Ahmadinejad's "charity economy" policies, while urging a return to the "fundamental values" of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    The bespectacled, bearded 67-year-old enjoys the support of reformist former President Mohammad Khatami and apparent backing from Khatami's pragmatic predecessor, Ali Akbar Rafsanjani.

    But Mousavi's bid to unseat Ahmadinejad could be undermined by another contender, Mehdi Karoubi, whose liberal outlook could split the vote among those avid for political and social change

    Hope and Change

    Universal appeal.

  32. con't...

    This necessitated a deal between Hariri and Hizbullah mdiated by their mutual allies Druze leader Jumblat and Amal leader and Parliament Speaker Berri. Anyone watching closely could see the signs of the deal. Jumblat was very clear when he stated a few days ago that alliances will change after the elections. Berri, who is Hizbullah’s ally a stated his support for Hariri as Prime Minister, win or loose. Hariri also openly stated his support for Berri to stay as Speaker of Parliament, win or loose. Does that sound like they were running against each other or running a show?

    The electoral battle was directed at the Christian majority districts, sparing no tool at their disposal, including threats of total destruction by Israel, threats of economic isolation and political ostracism by the US and the West, threats against the economic livelihoods of people in Lebanon and in the Arab world, billions spend openly on vote buying, etc.

    The objective was the same as in 2005. Simply put, they aimed to defeat and discredit the largest and most vocal Christian voice and subjugate the others. That way Hariri maintains his dominance and shares with his fellow mafia bosses Jumblat and Berri. Hizbullah retains its independence. March 14 allows it to do what it wants, supports it, but retains deniability, the same way it has operated for the past 4 years.

    But, it did not work out as well this time. The new electoral districts and the forceful presence of the FPM forced Hariri and Jumblat to abandon more seats to independent Christian than they wanted. They supplied the money and threats, but had to let them run. That resulted in more Christian Parliamentarians from outside he Hariri-Jumblat lackeys.

    In spite of all this and contrary to the propagandists, the FPM gained 30% more seats. The FPM actually gained 6 new seats and lost 2 that it held, for a net gain of 4 for the party itself. Its allies in the Change and Reform block gained 8 seats and lost all 5, for a net gain for the block of 7 seats. The total is 29 seats against 22 outgoing. There is also talk about FPM and its allies contesting some of the results, but that remains to be seen.

    The ability of the Change and Reform block to retain and expand its presence, has made the formation of an independent block apart from Hariri and Jumblat a necessity for March 14 Christians. It will have about 15 members and will be taking strong positions on Christian issues, particularly the Presidency, to maintain credibility.

    Could this be a blessing in disguise for the Christians? Had Hizbullah and Hariri lost control would they have accepted that? Or, will there have been blood in the streets? May be this way, the spiteful enemies will be placated by the “loss” of Hizbullah, and the Christians have a chance to gradually regain ground without blood? We will see.

    Watch Jumblat and Berri for signs of new deal in the coming days.

    Here is the list of the Parties and the seats they hold in Parliament.

    Loyalists - March 14
    Future Movement - Sunni based - Saudi funded - some Christian 24
    Islamic Movements - Sunni Fundamentalists 5
    Popular Socialist Party - Druze with some Christians 7
    Independent Moslem March 14 9
    Independent Christian March 14 12

    March 14 Chrsitian Parties Total 14
    Kataeb - Christian Right Wing 4
    Lebanese Forces - Christian Right Wing - separatist 5
    National Liberal Party - Christian Right Wing - with some Moslems 1
    Hanchak - Christian Left Wing 4

    Hizbullah - Shiite Fundamentalists 11
    Amal - Shiite Nationalist 13
    Syrian Nationalist Party - Secular Christian Dominant - Believes in regional unity 3
    Baath Party - Secular - Similar to the Syrian and Iraqi Parties 1

    Change and Reform Block Total 29
    Free Patriotic Movement - Nationalist Right Wing - Christian Majority - Secular 18
    Marada - Christian Right Wing 3
    Tashnak - Christian Right wing 2
    Lebanese Democratic Party - Druze and Christian - Secular 3
    Independent Christian Opposition 3

    Total Parliament Seats 128


  33. ahem--

    Obama and his speech were not on anyone’s mind during the elections.


  35. The status que remains the same, more or less. The US is the percieved victor, in the US.
    Even if the whole deal is a dog and pony show.

    It's our dog and pony show.
    Or Condi's, at least.

    As Mr Bolton said, Obama is just another term of Bush43 policies, done poorly. From his perspective.

  36. We'll see, but for now, the media is building an edifice of incremental Obama success stories, in the foreign policy arena.

    The success of US policy in Lebanon, just another brick in that wall

    It's still a wall built on sand. We sure will see what happens...and how far that Obama peanut butter will spread on his Wonder Bread.

  37. That's not what is being reported in the NYTimes or the Atlanta J-C, bob.

    That's where perceptions are turned into electoral realities, in the United States.

    No one of import reads the BC, as proven by their ad revenues, well, their lack there of. When that was the purpose of PJ Media, to produce revenue for their members.

  38. You mean to tell me I'm not of import?

    Thou misbegotten crook-pated barnacle! Thou fobbing hell-hated malcontent! Thou wimpled elf-skinned vassal!

    What about people of export?

    Thou roguish bat-fowling pignut!

  39. And when since was Truth last beholden to ad revenues, thou pribbling sheep-biting clotpole?

  40. And can'st thou define pribbling, thou errant base-court joithead!

    Because I know I can't.

  41. Goddammit, Lineman!
    If you're gonna write,
    write in complete sentences, OK?
    to wit:
    We'll see, but for now, the media is building an edifice of incremental Obama success stories, in the foreign policy arena.
    We'll see, but for now, the media AND EB's own Desert Rat are building an edifice of incremental Obama success stories, in the foreign policy arena.

  42. - Video - Obama Says Detainees Don't Deserve Miranda Rights

    In a March 2003 interview aired on CBS' "60 Minutes" President Obama said Guantanamo detainees do not "deserve" to be read Miranda rights. Transcript of the exchange available below.
    KROFT: Some of it being organized by a few people who were released from Guantanamo.
    OBAMA: Well, there is no doubt that we have not done a particularly effective job in sorting rough who are truly dangerous individuals that weve got to make sure are not a threat to us, who are folks that we just swept up.
    The whole premise of Guantanamo promoted by Vice President Cheney was that, somehow, the American system of justice was not up to the task of dealing with these terrorists. I fundamentally disagree with that.

    Now, do these folks deserve miranda rights?
    Do they deserve to be treated like a shoplifter down the block?
    Of course not.

  43. Pignut? LOL.


    Happy Thursday, everyone.

    Six days to go.

  44. The Bard must have been a source of some inspiration for Joyce.

  45. What I fear is we will lose Trish, when the reunion time comes.

    Don't let him take you totally away from us, Trish!

  46. Ad revenues and readership, bob, they are related, in modern America.

    Expecially amongst those that claim information dissemination as their businesss.

    That has never been the mission, here at the EB.

    And yes, bob, you are of little import. You come from a non-battleground State and your vote is certain. You are not politically motivated to take local action at the town meetings you organize to advance your economic activities.

    Neither the Democratic Congressman nor the Planning Czar of Moscow have much to fear, from bob.

    Not that is anything wrong with such apathetic political behaviour, but it does not increase your importance to the political system.

    You are, to the world at large, just another member in that fringe minority of "birthers".
    In that regard you are relegated to be amongst those that are not taken as serious, intellectually, like Von Brunn.

    To be watched, with fear and loathing, all the way to Las Vegas.

  47. Republican obstructionism does have a price

    Downballot: Time to pay up, Norm - ‎33 minutes ago‎

    MINNESOTA: “Former Senator Norm Coleman must pay his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, $94,783 to cover court costs for his appeal of the Senate election results,” the AP says.

  48. Foreclosure filings were reported on 321,480 U.S. properties in May -- a decrease of 6 percent from April, but an increase of nearly 18 percent from May 2008. The report also shows that one in every 398 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in May.

    As has been the trend for many months, Nevada, California and Florida had the highest foreclosure levels. Following them in the top 10 were Arizona, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, Colorado, Idaho and Ohio.

    "May foreclosure activity was the third-highest month on record, and marked the third straight month where the total number of properties with foreclosure filings exceeded 300,000 -- a first in the history of our report," said James J. Saccacio, CEO of RealtyTrac, in news release. "While defaults and scheduled foreclosure auctions were both down from the previous month, bank repossessions, or REOs, were up 2 percent thanks largely to substantial increases in several states, including Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and New York. We expect REO activity to spike in the coming months as foreclosure delays and moratoria implemented by various state laws come to an end."

  49. By Parisa Hafezi

    TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's presidential candidates ended a hard-fought and bitter campaign on Thursday, the eve of an election which reformists hope will prevent hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning a second term.

    The campaign has seen unprecedented political mudslinging and large rallies in Tehran by supporters of moderate former prime minister Mirhossein Mousavi, who a senior Revolutionary Guard officer accused of attempting a "velvet revolution."

    Friday's highly charged election could set the tone for Iran's relations with the West, concerned over its nuclear ambitions, and analysts say a victory for Mousavi could increase the prospect for Western investment in the Islamic Republic.

    But for Iranians it is a chance to judge Ahmadinejad's economic record and his austere Islamist social agenda.

    "I think it's a neck-and-neck race (between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi)," said one Tehran analyst who asked not to be named. "It's difficult to think either of the two candidates will get above 50 percent tomorrow."

    If none of the four candidates wins an outright majority on Friday the two leading candidates will go into a June 19 run-off, which the analyst said Mousavi had a good chance of winning.

  50. For all the good it did, Norm Coleman should have taken his wife and gone on that whirlwind learning cruise, with trish's daughter.
    He'd still have saved thirty grand or so, just the costs of paying for Franken's lawyers over the filing that frivolous lawsuit. Mr Coleman would still have aa cash surplus for trinkets, pictures and stuff.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Here is the story of a real world fellow, who took his challenges with City Hall to heart. He tilted at the windmill, and was having a good go of it, until his untimely death.

    Let's not outlaw downhill skiing, for our own good.

    Bono had ceased working as an entertainer, and he next emerged before the public in 1988, in a totally unexpected way.

    Bono by then was the owner of an Italian restaurant in Palm Springs, CA, and was infuriated by the tangle of permits that he found he'd needed from the city while trying to put a new sign up on his establishment. As a result, he ran for mayor and won

    He served a four-year term and then, in 1992, decided to run for the United States Senate as a Republican. Bono lost that race but two years later was swept into office as a congressman from the 44th district in California. He became part of Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution in Congress and was highly visible in espousing conservative positions on crime and environmental legislation, as well as (understandably) entertainment law.

  53. Salvatore Bono was born to an impoverished family of Sicilian immigrants in Detroit. Sonny Bono, as he came to be known, was a poor student and left high school well before graduating in order to earn a living. He survived by waiting tables, working in construction and as a butcher's assistant, and driving a truck, and he eventually moved west to Los Angeles.