The Skinny: The Trouble With Hillary

The Skinny is Hillary Profita's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

The Los Angeles Times splashes the results of a Campaign 2008 poll across its front page, putting all of our endless wonder to rest about the American public's thoughts on the upcoming election.

The results: "Democrats have an overwhelmingly favorable view of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, but she would be soundly beaten if she ran for president against Republican Sen. John McCain now," (a notably useless hypothetical, since the voting takes place two years from now) according to the LA Times/Bloomberg poll. Also, Mitt Romney probably has a chance to "give Clinton a run for her money."

The findings here appear to reiterate the obvious points that have been repeated ad nauseum on "Meet The Press" and similar programming for several months: that some Democrats "fear that despite Clinton's strength within the party, she is too polarizing a figure to win the White House."

And that McCain, "although mistrusted by some in the GOP and expected to face a spirited fight if he seeks the nomination, would be a strong general election candidate because of his appeal to independent voters."

Actually surprising is that Sen. Barack Obama doesn't make an appearance in this article until paragraph 10, and despite weeks of being lavished with national media love, the Illinois Democrat "remains obscure enough that 40% of the Democrats surveyed said they did not know enough about him to have an opinion on him."

Are these people doing something with their Sunday mornings that doesn't include Tim Russert? Good God, it seems like they're not even watching "Late Edition." Scary stuff.

Sunny Iraq

As President Bush continues to conduct meetings with advisers regarding options for Iraq, the meetings' content continues to leak for display on the front pages. "Sources familiar with the White House's ongoing Iraq policy review," informed the Washington Post that the Joint Chiefs of Staff "do not favor adding significant numbers of troops to Iraq" and are recommending that the military change it's primary mission "from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists."

Under the plan, U.S. troops would be removed from Iraqi cities and "consolidated at a handful of U.S. bases while day-to-day combat duty would be turned over to the Iraqi army," writes the Post. Gen. George Casey "is still considering whether to request more troops, possibly as part of an expanded training mission to help strengthen the Iraqi army."

USA Today's front page displays some more leakage, this from "four administration officials," echoing similar details of a plan. Writes the paper: "A proposal developed by top U.S. commanders in Iraq would significantly redeploy troops from a combat role to training and advising Iraqi forces."

USA Today includes a "general outline" of the proposal, which was provided by one official and confirmed by three others and includes information similar to that in the Washington Post's piece, but with bullet points.

In The AIDS Fight, Some Good News

Two clinical trials in Kenya and Uganda revealed that circumcision made men about 50 percent less likely to contract HIV than those who aren't, news that ends up on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post this morning.

The studies were halted several months early because of the results and circumcisions were offered to all of the participants after it was deemed "unethical to withhold a procedure that might prevent an often-fatal disease," writes the Post. The Times writes that based on the news, "the two largest agencies dedicated to fighting AIDS said they would now be willing to pay for circumcisions," in high-risk countries.

But questions still remain as to whether the procedure can be safely provided to a wide net of people, as many of those with the illness are "poor Africans with scant access to safe, modern medical facilities," writes the Post.

Junk Justice

'Tis the season for year-end lists of things. Even organizations that we've never heard of are offering convenient list-ercized collections -- like the American Tort Reform Association, which released it's 2006 list of Judicial Hellholes yesterday, according to the Wall Street Journal's Law Blog.

Judicial Hellholes are defined as "places where judges systematically apply laws and court procedures in an unfair and unbalanced manner, generally against defendants, in civil lawsuits." Would you like one more reason not to visit West Virginia sometime soon? Yahtzee! It's number one on the list. You can visit Law Blog for the rest of them.

There is, however, kind of good news, says ATRA's general counsel: "Overall, the type of extraordinary and blatant unfairness that sparked the Judicial Hellholes project and characterized the report over the past few years has decreased across-the-board."