Saturday, March 31, 2007

Infrequently Should Be Never

The Corner on National Review Online: "Romney on Enemy Combatants [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Crane says he was disappointed with Romney's answer to his question the other night. Crane asked if Romney believed the president should have the authority to arrest U.S. citizens with no review. Romney said he would want to hear the pros and cons from smart lawyers before he made up his mind. Crane said that he had asked Giuliani the same question a few weeks ago. The mayor said that he would want to use this authority infrequently..."

And no executive should have that power without recourse. We fought that war circa 1776.

Flaming Fox

Jesse Jackson denounces Congressional Black Caucus Institute for wooing anti-Black FOX News - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

Rev. Jesse Jackson today denounced the Congressional Black Caucus Institute’s planned presidential debate partnership with FOX. He called for yesterday’s decision to be reversed and for presidential candidates not to attend a FOX debate.

Jackson said, “I am disappointed by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute's partnership with FOX, and strongly encourage them to reverse that decision. Why would presidential candidates, or an organization that is supposed to advocate for Black Americans, ever give a stamp of legitimacy to a network that continually marginalizes Black leaders and the Black community? FOX moderating a presidential debate on issues of importance to Black Americans is literally letting the Fox guard the henhouse – FOX should be rejected.”

Return of the Dukestir

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall March 30, 2007 03:49 PM: "There's a lot of speculation now about what might have spooked the White House about Carol Lam's expanded Cunningham investigation, if indeed that is why she was sacked. There's good reason to look at what she was investigating on Capitol Hill and also at the CIA. Indeed, some have even suggested that the White House might itself have been brought into the mix. The Hill and the CIA certainly. But there's another part of the equation others are missing: the Pentagon.

Remember, part of the brilliance of Cunningham's and Wilkes' scam (if that word can ever be associated with the disgraced Duke) was hiding their crooked deals deep in the black parts of the Pentagon budget, where thick layers of classification protected their schemes from virtually all scrutiny..."

Bush Warned About Tillman

AP: Gen. Tried to Warn Bush on Tillman | The Huffington Post: "SAN JOSE, Calif. — Just seven days after Pat Tillman's death, a top general warned there were strong indications that it was friendly fire and President Bush might embarrass himself if he said the NFL star-turned-soldier died in an ambush, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press..."

Friday, March 30, 2007

Robertson's Fifth Column

The Blog | Max Blumenthal: Monica Goodling, One of 150 Pat Robertson Cadres in the Bush Administration | The Huffington Post: "...Josh Marshall writes that Goodling may be 'afraid of indictment for perjury because she has to go up to Congress and testify under oath before the White House has decided what its story is.'

Goodling's involvement in Attorneygate is not the only aspect of her role in the Bush administration that bears examination. Her membership in a cadre of 150 graduates of Pat Robertson's Regent University currently serving in the administration is another, equally revealing component of the White House's political program.

Goodling earned her law degree from Regent, an institution founded by Robertson 'to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world.' Helping to purge politically disloyal federal prosecutors is just one way Goodling has helped fulfill Robertson's revolutionary goals..."

Poll On Investigations

Eschaton: "The Democrats' stepped-up pace of investigations has not drawn much in the way of negative reaction. Just 31% believe Congress is spending too much time investigating possible government wrongdoing, while slightly more (35%) say they are spending too little time on this, and a quarter believe that the time spent on investigations has been appropriate..." Check the link for more polling info.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Enuf With Clintons!

Listen up, Jay Leno. Fox News. ABC. The rest of you. Bill Clinton's wee-wee is old news. Find someone more interesting. C&L has an idea:

Crooks and Liars » The media’s unhealthy obsession with the Clintons’ personal life: "...Note to reporters: if you’re desperate for salacious stories about presidential candidates with scandalous pasts, there are plenty of candidates to choose from. None of them are named Clinton — and they're all Republicans."

Unequal Civil Rights

Family Research Council: Liars or just clueless? - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "...In any case, I just find it interesting that the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, vocal opponents of hate crimes laws, haven't told their followers that the current hate crimes law, the law on the books, already covers them. Funny that FRC and AFA aren't publicly calling for themselves to be removed from the existing hate crimes law. Equally funny that in 40 years that the FRC and AFA have had their own hate crime special right, none of us have ever been prosecuted for our anti-religious-right speech (when FRC and AFA claim that this is what the law does, criminalizes speech critical of the protected classes - and
God knows I'm critical of their bigoted fat class).

I'd just like to see some enterprising journalist ask the FRC and the AFA why they're against civil rights for gays, but for special rights for themselves? And if hate crimes laws criminalize speech, then why is it no speech charges have been filed in the 40 years that the law has been on the books?"

Congressional Rejoiner

James Wolcott's Blog: Rhyme Schemes (updated): Wolcott's Blog: "...Six years makes for a mighty lengthy dereliction of duty: the Republican Congress didn't 'forget' its responsibility, it refused to exercise it. It was deliberately, conscientiously, cravenly, seamily complicit, and if the Democrats hadn't taken the House and Senate that 'temporary' hiatus of responsible oversight would have become permanent, just as Karl Rove had schemed and dreamed. David Broder's career raises an interesting question: How can one reasonable man reliably get it so wrong for so long and remain at the topmast of his profession?

P.S. Ana Marie Cox, who has emerged as the cork-bobbing Dorothy Parker of the Swampland set, conveys her bafflement over the peculiar article of faith held by the bishops of punditry that a subpeona'd Karl Rove would somehow be bad for Democrats. 'It's unlikely that White House is fighting Congressional subpoenas because they think the Rove's testimony will make the Democrats look bad. Hey, you know who's probably going to look really bad if Rove testifies? Rove.' Exactemundo."

The Rot Within

Karl Rove and the China Syndrome | "If you trace any Bush scandal to its source, you'll find yourself eye-to-eye with Karl Rove. To pick just a few out of today's headlines:

The U.S. Attorney scandal? Karl Rove.

The G.S.A. powerpoint? Karl Rove.

The Pat Tillman coverup? Karl Rove.

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Bush's mega-scandal is the Iraq War. Who chaired the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which manufactured all the lies that sold the war to a nation traumatized by 9/11? Karl Rove, of course..."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

An Attack of Good Sense In The GOP!

Bob Barr Flip-Flops on Pot - Print View: "Bob Barr, who as a Georgia congressman authored a successful amendment that blocked D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana initiative, has switched sides and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

But that doesn’t mean he has become a bong-ripping hippie. He isn’t pro-drug, he said, just against government intrusion.

“I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives,” Barr said.

Aaron Houston, the project’s government relations director, said Barr brings a “great deal of credibility, particularly among people on the Republican side of the aisle...”"

The Daily Flashback: Agnew Edition

(Wikipedia): "...On October 10, 1973, Spiro Agnew became the second Vice President to resign the office. Unlike John C. Calhoun, who resigned to take a seat in the Senate, Agnew resigned and then pleaded nolo contendere (no contest) to criminal charges of tax evasion and money laundering, part of a negotiated resolution to a scheme wherein he accepted $29,500 in bribes during his tenure as governor of Maryland. Agnew was fined $10,000 and put on three years' probation..."


Think Progress: "Think Progress » Was Carol Lam Targeting The White House Prior To Her Firing?

Referring to the Bush administration’s purge of former San Diego-based U.S. attorney Carol Lam, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) questioned recently on the Senate floor whether she was let go because she was “about to investigate other people who were politically powerful.”

The media reports this morning that among Lam’s politically powerful targets were former CIA official Kyle “Dusty” Foggo and then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA). But there is evidence to believe that the White House may also have been on Lam’s target list... (Click here for the list)

...To recap, the White House awarded a one-month, $140,000 contract to an individual who never held a federal contract. Two weeks after he got paid, that same contractor used a cashier’s check for exactly that amount to buy a boat for a now-imprisoned congressman at a price that the congressman had pre-negotiated..."

For historical perspective on how this scam works, check James Burke's The Pinball Effect (p.53) for a brief explanation about Eli Whitney scamming the government for a musket contract:

" for Whitney's gun-making capability, the machinery was not yet built and he had never made a musket in his life. This didn't seem to matter much to the government, which, keen for a quick result, was attracted by Whitney's promise to make muskets with identical, interchangeable parts that could be replaced easily on the battlefield. After a smoke-and-mirrors demonstration of interchangeability to the authorities (all he did was replace a few whole locks with a screwdriver), Whitney got the contract and $134,000 to take back to New Haven and start work..."

For all those people who said this scandal was not "a follow the money" scandal, you might want to do a rethink on that.

FBI Agent Told To Zip It

FBI agent told to keep quiet over attorney firings | Top News | "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An FBI agent was warned to keep quiet about the dismissal of a U.S. attorney after he told a newspaper her firing would hurt the agency's ongoing investigations and speculated politics was involved, a U.S. Senate panel heard on Tuesday.

FBI Director Robert Mueller defended the handling of the incident, saying: 'I do not believe it's appropriate for our special agents in charge to comment to the media on personnel decisions that are made by the Department of Justice...'"

Symptoms v. Disease

Daily Kos: Trying to unload Bush: "...But ultimately, Bush is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The cause is conservatism. How can an ideology that holds as a truism that government can't work, work? If Republicans ran the country smoothly and ably, it would lay waste to their claims that government is the enemy and can't make people's lives better. In that regards, Bush hasn't been incompetent. He's been wildly successful.

So yes, what we have just witnessed is the logical conclusion of effective conservative governance, and things would look the same way today whether we had President McCain, President Lott, President Jeb, President Romney, President Thompson, or whichever other anti-government Republican we slotted in.

This is what conservatives want for America. We're seeing it in the most vivid of colors. Blaming Bush for doing exactly what conservatives wanted to the country would be like, well, blaming Gonzales for doing exactly what Bush ordered him to do."

Wall Street Darwinism

AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth:

"Class action lawsuits are all the fault of investors and have nothing to do at all with getting ripped off by greedy executives who propped up bogus data to make their companies look hot. Uh huh. Damned investors! How dare they ask for real data that is accurate. How dare they ask for accountability when a company crashes. Having participated in a class action lawsuit against a book-cooking bunch of swindlers and over-payed incompetent execs, I only received pennies on my investment but I still believe this sends the right message to companies that manipulate the books for the greed of a few individuals... "

Obama Challenges Bushdarwinism

Obama accuses Bush of 'social Darwinism' at union forum | The Huffington Post: "WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of pursuing a policy of 'social Darwinism' that leaves every man and woman struggling.

'It's a strategy that we've seen this administration pursue over the last six years, that basically says government has no role to play in making sure that America is prosperous for all people and not just some,' Obama said to applause during an appearance before the Communications Workers of America..."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

DoJ Firing Poll

Crooks and Liars » Maybe it’s not a political loser after all

'...In fact, the results weren’t even close. Asked whether Congress should investigate the White House’s involvement in the controversy, 72% said lawmakers should pursue the matter. Asked if White House officials should invoke executive privilege or answer all questions, 68% prefer the latter. Asked if Congress should issue subpoenas to force testimony, 68% said yes. And by a 2-to-1 margin, poll respondents said the U.S. Attorneys were fired for political reasons, not job performance.

Glenn Greenwald concluded: "I would never dream of coming to this blog and just start making assertions that 'Americans believe X' or 'Americans oppose Y' unless I had actual evidence to support those claims. That’s because I would not expect readers of this blog to view what I write as being credible if I just spewed assertions with no empirical basis like that. No credible blogger would do that. Why don’t pundits on MSNBC — including the Managing Editor of Time Magazine — recognize those same basic constraints?"'

Finding Me

I went to read more about Ann Althouse's meltdown (click the next link and you can begin the journey to the revelation) but then I found a near perfect description of me:

Shakespeare's Sister: "...As it happens, I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes in privacy rights—which is why I'm pro-choice, support same sex marriage, believe drugs should be legalized, and endorse right to die policies...and that makes me a modern progressive. I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes that everyone can help themselves, given equal opportunities—which is why I support well-funded schools, equal educational opportunities everywhere in America, a strong social safety net, workers' rights, reforming all-or-nothing welfare, jobs programs, and affirmative action until we don't need it anymore...and that makes me a modern progressive. I'm an old-fashioned conservative who believes in family values—which is another reason I'm pro-choice (or, pro-family planning, along with comprehensive sex education) and another reason I support same-sex marriage, along with same-sex parenting, adoption, and fostering, and I support family-first legislation for working parents and elder-care providers, including extended leave for births and deaths and illness, and I relatedly support universal healthcare...and that makes me a modern progressive. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It's obvious why the conservative blogosphere doesn't welcome me as a modern conservative..."

And I'm with Taylor Marsh on guns.

The Edwards' Choice

The Blog | Barbara Ehrenreich: Catty About Cancer . . . | The Huffington Post: "...All right, I have a stake in all this. For my money, John Edwards is the best candidate out there. Clinton has Iraqi and American blood on her hands; Obama has yet to lay out clear economic alternatives; and, although they might once have been Republican moderates, McCain and Giuliani are shamelessly snuggling up to the Christianist Right. I like Edwards because he's taken up the banner of the little guy and gal in America's grossly one-sided class war. He's laid out a plan for universal health insurance; he wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the rich; he shows up at workers' picket lines.

I met him on a panel last fall, he is good-looking enough to merit Coulter's suspicion that he can't possibly be straight (though, really, Ann, if you want to crank up your 'gay-dar,' you should get away from those pimply right-wingers and meet some new guys.) He's modest, low-key, friendly, and, although he's wealthy now, he spoke movingly from his family's experience of poverty.

As for Elizabeth Edwards, all I know is this: When I was being subjected to chemotherapy six years ago, the one thing that kept me going was work. Every morning I would go down to my desk in the basement to confront the computer screen and the stacks of books and papers around it. "

Climate Surprise

From the "Surprise! Surprise!" Department comes this: The Blotter: "Bush administration officials throughout the government have engaged in White House-directed efforts to stifle, delay or dampen the release of climate change research that casts the White House or its policies in a bad light, says a new report that purports to be the most comprehensive assessment to date of the subject..."

The Daily Flashback

Think Progress: "...A vigorous defender of executive privilege today, Lott — like Tony Snow — has flip-flopped on executive privilege. Lott led the charge against President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky saga, seeking out everything from tapes to sworn testimony from the White House. In March 1998, Lott appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press and lambasted the Clinton White House for invoking executive privilege:

LOTT: I think they’ve made a mistake by [invoking executive privilege]. I think it will damage the credibility. It looks like they are hiding something, so I think they shouldn’t have done it. I think it’s an improper use, and the courts will have to decide whether or not that’s a proper use. And it may wind up in the Supreme Court, like it did in the Watergate matter..."

Monday, March 26, 2007

Novak : Bush Described As Incompetent

Robert D. Novak - A President All Alone - "...The I-word (incompetence) is also used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally. Several of them I talked to cited a trifecta of incompetence: the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the FBI's misuse of the USA Patriot Act and the U.S. attorneys firing fiasco. 'We always have claimed that we were the party of better management,' one House leader told me. 'How can we claim that anymore?...'"

The ever-sharp Prince of Darkness, trailing the news cycle by only 122 light years or so, forgot just a few other examples of Bush incompetence: like Iraq, like Katrina, like I'm already tired of thinking about it. See this.

Why Gonzogate Matters

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall March 25, 2007 11:28 PM:

"...But none of what we're seeing here is at the margins. What we seem to see are repeated cases in which US Attorneys were fired for not pursuing bogus prosecutions of persons of the opposite party. Or vice versa. There's little doubt that that is why McKay and Iglesias were fired and there's mounting evidence that this was the case in other firings as well. The idea that a senator calls a US Attorney at home just weeks before a federal elections and tries to jawbone him into indicting someone to help a friend get reelected is shocking. Think about it for a second. It's genuinely shocking. At a minimum one would imagine such bad acts take place with more indirection and deniability. And yet the Domenici-Iglesias call has now been relegated to the status of a footnote in the expanding scandal, notwithstanding the fact that there's now documentary evidence showing that Domenici's substantial calls to the White House and Justice Department played a direct role in getting Iglesias fired.

So what you have here is this basic line being breached. But not only that. What is equally threatening is the systematic nature of the offense..."

On The Bush Crime Family

The Blog | Steven Weber: Omertå | The Huffington Post: "...Dons Bush and Cheney, their various consiglieri, capos, soldiers, bought-and-sold judges, street corner dealers, fencers and bag men have virtually rubbed out the very idea of a democratic society and erected in its place a cheaply made (outsourced, naturally) two dimensional proxy, complete with undulating red white and blue backdrop. For millennia thugs have employed as motivators Fear and Profit to gain dominion over those who just want to live in peace and security and who, at the end of the day, just want to be left alone. We continue our fealty to Omertå at our peril because---make no mistake---the thugs mean to scuttle this country. That's their plan. It's no accidental result of well intentioned but poor planning. Because while they say they do, they actually have no political affiliation, they worship no god, they respect no law, they hold no love for America land of the free home of the brave. They saw an opportunity and, planning very carefully, seized it..."

Concern Trolls Are Breeding

Crooks and Liars » Couric channels Limbaugh: "Isn't it nice that Couric asks all the questions Limbaugh and conservative critics have been attacking them with? I guess it's fine as long as she masks them as if she's being a compassionate journalist. Couric should at least have the guts to tell her audience who is actually criticizing them..."

C&L has video and Firedoglake is also following this issue.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Impeachment and Hagel

Hagel: Bush impeachment an option - Politics -
"...GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a frequent critic of the war, stopped short of calling for Bush’s impeachment. But he made clear that some lawmakers viewed that as an option should Bush choose to push ahead despite public sentiment against the war.
“Any president who says, I don’t care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don’t care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed — if a president really believes that, then there are — what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that,” said Hagel, who is considering a 2008 presidential run..."

Hamlet In Congress

James Wolcott's Blog: Wolcott's Blog: "Tiptoe through the Tutus

Congressional Democrats ought to form their own ballet company--that's the counsel coming from the Washington sages this Sunday. When Democrats were in the minority, they were dismissed and mocked as ineffectual, irrelevant, and directionless. Now that Democrats chair committees and wield gavels, the Beltway punditry want them to rise on tiptoe and tread gingerly through the maze of mousetraps the pundits have scattered across the floor. From the ultimate concern troll to Egbert the Egghead to Noron today on Chris Matthews' show, the message is that Democrats have to be 'careful' not to 'overreach' and 'go too far.' If I could trademark the phrase 'The Democrats need to be careful...,' I could retire in a few years to Cape May and build bat houses for needy bats. For six years we've had no Congressional oversight whatsoever over the rot and ruin of the Bush administration, and as soon as the first flexings of oversight are made, we get a plethora of Poloniuses dribbling advice (and as Saul Bellow reminded us, one of the nice things about Hamlet is that Polonius gets stabbed)..."

Impeach somebody. We want somebody in the dock.

The Daily Flashback

Scoobie Davis Online

"...The Clinton Body Count

Soon after Bill Clinton entered the White House in 1993, reports emerged, mostly in the fundamentalist Christian and right-wing media, that Bill and Hillary Clinton were cold-blooded killers who were bumping off dozens of political enemies and political friends (e.g., Vince Foster and Ron Brown) who knew too much. These incredible tales became known as the "Clinton Body Count" (CBC). The Clinton Body Count was spread on web sites like the Free Republic and on right-wing talk radio (notably on Rush Limbaugh's and G. Gordon Liddy's shows). Jerry Falwell sold CBC-themed VHS tapes on his Old Time Gospel Hour television program. Billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife also funded efforts to spread this hoax. Although much of the right wants to forget about it, CBC is still a staple on Internet sites like Free Republic and on talk radio..."

Podhoretz: Inhofe Wrong

The Corner on National Review Online: "Boxer vs. Inhofe: Inhofe Was Wrong [John Podhoretz]

My fellow conservatives are going crazy with this clip of California's Democratic Senator, Barbara Boxer, having a tussle with Oklahoma's Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe. The thing is that Inhofe was behaving boorishly toward Gore during his questioning. He'd ask questions, Gore would answer them and then Inhofe would whine that Gore was eating up Inhofe's time. It was very discomfiting, and Boxer was in the right to bust him on it... "

Saturday, March 24, 2007

How Much Pot Will Kill You?

Informative post and clear graphic over at Sullivan's place: The Daily Dish.

The Gag of Law

My National Security Letter Gag Order - "...Living under the gag order has been stressful and surreal. Under the threat of criminal prosecution, I must hide all aspects of my involvement in the case -- including the mere fact that I received an NSL -- from my colleagues, my family and my friends. When I meet with my attorneys I cannot tell my girlfriend where I am going or where I have been. I hide any papers related to the case in a place where she will not look. When clients and friends ask me whether I am the one challenging the constitutionality of the NSL statute, I have no choice but to look them in the eye and lie.

I resent being conscripted as a secret informer for the government and being made to mislead those who are close to me, especially because I have doubts about the legitimacy of the underlying investigation..." [my bold]

Irony Crisis In Moonbatia

Brits in the Gulf: Playing with Fire - The Smirking Chimp: "...The Royal Navy may be helping Iraq prevent smuggling along its coast, but by cruising around in those disputed waters, the British warships and marines are also asking for trouble."

So let's blame victims for getting kidnapped?

Caught: New Wrinkle In Gonzogate

Documents Show Gonzales Approved Firings | The Huffington Post:

"WASHINGTON — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales approved plans to fire several U.S. attorneys in an hourlong meeting last fall, according to documents released Friday that indicate he was more involved in the dismissals than he has claimed.

Last week, Gonzales said he 'was not involved in any discussions about what was going on' in the firings of eight prosecutors that has since led to a political firestorm and calls for his ouster..."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Another Veteran Outrage

How Specialist Town Lost His Benefits

"... But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town's wounds were actually caused by a "personality disorder." Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits.

Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans' rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.

They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it's doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses..."

Twin Caverns

Is this a GOP plot? Why is every picture on the internets' tubes shot from this angle?

Maybe Mr. Lynch can do a television show about those two black holes. Can we please have no more pictures lensing up Rep. Waxman's nose? Pass the coffee and cherry pie.

Hammering US Attorneys

Burnt Orange Report: :: Why did the Tom DeLay investigation stop? Or, there is more than one way to skin a US attorney:

Click the link to discover the answer.

Another Crook Goes Down

TPMmuckraker March 23, 2007 08:58 AM: "Former Deputy Interior Secretary Steven Griles will plead guilty to one count of obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff corruption investigation, The Associated Press has learned..."

Jack still should not get his sentence reduced.

Snow Updates Constitution

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » Oversight over the White House

"...Keep in mind, based on Snow’s comments today, this isn’t the executive privilege argument, this is the executive privilege argument on crack. The principle of executive privilege, while fluid, addresses a president’s need for candor from advisors. As the president said the other day, “[I]f the staff of a President operated in constant fear of being hauled before various committees to discuss internal deliberations, the President would not receive candid advice, and the American people would be ill-served.”

So the White House doesn't respond to the will of the people, eh? If Congress jerks funding for the White House...

Brain Pain

Brain Injury Said to Affect Moral Choices - New York Times: "Damage to an area of the brain behind the forehead, inches behind the eyes, transforms the way people make moral judgments in life-or-death situations, scientists reported yesterday. In a new study, people with this rare injury expressed increased willingness to kill or harm another person if doing so would save others’ lives..."

Write your own political snark.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Compassion From These Conservatives

Taylor Marsh: Fox Expects Edwards 'Sympathy Surge': "...You'd think on a day like today, when John and Elizabeth Edwards come out with such grace and courage, Fox 'News' could manage to be magnanimous. One day, that's all we're asking. But not even a life threatening disease can make Carl Cameron step away from his political pimping for the president and his party. What a tiny, little, itsy bitsy man Cameron is.

As managing editor of Fox 'News,' Brit Hume should haul Cameron into his office and demand him apologize to the Edwards. But we all know he won't. Now we know that Fox is not only a Republican tool, but also is an organization with people in charge who lack compassion, grace, humanity and every other word that connotes the lack of feelings for other human beings who are experiencing yet another crisis in their lives. Cameron is a disgrace. Hume took a moment during the discussion to acknowledge Elizabeth Edwards, but then presided over a 'sympathy surge' discussion, which was truly despicable. Fox 'News' has no shame or heart, but also lacks the humanity required of great news organizations."

Slimey Jack Slipping Pen?

U.S. Suggests Cutting Abramoff Sentence | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited: "MIAMI (AP) - Federal prosecutors took the first steps toward reducing the prison sentence of former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, currently scheduled for release in 2011 for a Florida fraud conviction.

Documents filed in federal court say Abramoff has provided ``substantial assistance'' in a separate Washington corruption scandal investigation and continues to work with investigators from his prison cell in Cumberland, Md..."


UFO Document Dump

France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years: "France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades."

Will Josh and the great TPM crowd jump on these and have all the good stuff extracted by 4 a.m.? Hope so!

Losing A Battle, Winning A War

The Raw Story | Democrat silenced on House floor for Katrina remark: "After questioning a Republican congressmember's 'decency' for seeking to restrict housing reconstruction funds for Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims, a Democratic Representative was barred Wednesday from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. By a vote of the House's membership, his speaking privileges were quickly restored, and the Member apologized..."

The issue had to do with Federal matching funds for block grants. Hard to come up with 50% matching funds when the town is completely destroyed-- there is no tax base in much of Southern Mississippi so the usual rules about matching funds do need to be suspended... and they were.

Following The Money

and a new angle on Gonzogate?

Prosecutor Says Bush Appointees Interfered With Tobacco Case - "...Eubanks, who served for 22 years as a lawyer at Justice, said three political appointees were responsible for the last-minute shifts in the government's tobacco case in June 2005: then-Associate Attorney General Robert D. McCallum, then-Assistant Attorney General Peter Keisler and Keisler's deputy at the time, Dan Meron.

News reports on the strategy changes at the time caused an uproar in Congress and sparked an inquiry by the Justice Department. Government witnesses said they had been asked to change testimony, and one expert withdrew from the case. Government lawyers also announced that they were scaling back a proposed penalty against the industry from $130 billion to $10 billion..."

A $120 billion savings will buy quite a few politicians...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

John Edwards Presser Scheduled

John Edwards to discuss wife's health - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate
John Edwards on Wednesday visited the doctor with his wife, Elizabeth, who is recovering from breast cancer. He announced they would hold a news conference in their hometown on Thursday to discuss her health... "

The Smell of Gunpowder

Was Carol Lam Targeting The White House Prior To Her Firing? - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

"This is a very disturbing story from ThinkProgress. Read it through carefully. $140,000 changes hands between the White House (Dick Cheney's office, to be specific) and an outside contractor who then immediately turns around and pays the same amount of money, exactly, to buy a boat for Randy Duke Cunningham. And who put Randy Duke and the outside contracter in jail? US Attorney Carol Lam. Was she onto Cheney and the White House when they fired her?"

Uh-oh. Wisps of criminality perchance. Smoking guns...

Bush's DOJ Presser

TBogg - "...a somewhat popular blogger": "...One thing that is fascinating about George Bush is how little he has grown in office. No, that's not right. It's not that he hasn't grown, he has gotten smaller; less Presidential, more sad little man watching his paper boat circle the drain. After six years of playing The Decider he should at least have a thin candy shell of gravitas as opposed to coming across like one of those guys on Peoples Court who not only has an unshakable belief that people won't see through his bullshit, but that no one will notice his artful comb-over either..."

Gore Flaking By NYT

Media Matters - The New York Times continues its War on Gore

Check this post out, especially if you are being lamblasted by GOPer Gore Talking Point Droids. The NYT and its darling Dowd apparently hate Gore. You decide.

Toad Hypocratius

NewsChannel Nashville, Tennessee - Gingrich Speaks About 2008 Race In Nashville: "NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in Nashville that the personal lives of White House hopefuls shouldn't become an issue in the 2008 campaign.

Earlier this month Gingrich said he was seeking forgiveness for his own extramarital affair committed while he pursued President Clinton's impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal... "

Well, I'm sure Bill Clinton is supportive of Toad's new-found position. So why were talking about Al Gore's power bill? Or Obama's weeds? Or Sen. Clinton's attire? Or John Edwards' house?

60's Nostalgia Moment

In the state with an almost Bridge To Nowhere, we now have a Bridge Too Far, perchance bridging trouble waters...

The Blog | RJ Eskow: 'Bong Hits' Case: Scalia and Starr Meet Cypress Hill | The Huffington Post: "...You know the details by now: Students in Juneau are dismissed from class to watch the Olympic torch pass by. Some students unfurl a banner across the street from the school that says 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus.' One student is caught and given detention. Said detention is increased when he refuses to name his co-conspirators.

(First they punish this kid for speech. Then they punish him for not speaking.)

Everybody wants to know: What does 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' mean? Personally, I'm enjoying the fact that nobody knows. The spirit of Surrealism that was pioneered by Breton and his colleagues in Paris nearly 100 years ago is alive and well in Juneau, Alaska.

This case illustrates the political usefulness of absurdity, too. It forces Starr and his colleagues (including the Administration) to argue vehemently for the suppression of speech they don't even understand. That's a perfect way to illustrate the Kafkaesque nature of all repression of our civil liberties..."

Subpoenas Approved

House OKs subpoenas for top Bush aides - "WASHINGTON --A House panel on Wednesday approved subpoenas for President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove and other top White House aides, setting up a constitutional showdown over the firings of eight federal prosecutors..."

NYT Gets Bush-Testy

The Raw Story | NY Times slams Bush's 'nasty and bumbling comments' on US Attorney firings; Calls on Congress to subpoena Rove, others: "Democratic leaders were right to reject an 'unacceptable' offer presented by the White House on Tuesday which would allow unsworn testimony by White House officials behind closed doors, and should press on with planned subpoenas for Karl Rove and others, according to the lead editorial in Wednesday's New York Times.

'In nasty and bumbling comments made at the White House yesterday, President Bush declared that 'people just need to hear the truth' about the firing of eight United States attorneys,' the Times editorial states. 'That’s right. Unfortunately, the deal Mr. Bush offered Congress to make White House officials available for 'interviews' did not come close to meeting that standard...'"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sen. Clinton Responds To YouTube

NY1: Top Stories: "Clinton says she isn't worried about the video's impact.

“I haven't seen it but I’m pleased that it seems to be taking attention away from what used to be on YouTube and getting a lot of hits, namely me singing ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ Everybody in the world now knows I can't carry a tune,” said Clinton. “I thank heavens for small favors and the attention has shifted, and now maybe people won't have to tune in and hear me screeching about ‘The Star Spangled Banner...’” "

Better by far than the last campaign hiccup.

Vote Different (Obama Ad)

I'll post the Senator's response to video in a moment.

B.O. Baking Blunder

LA Observed: Free to skewer O'Reilly: "...The croissants were not fresh enough.

Apparently, there is no room for store bought baked goods in the No Spin Zone. They must be from a bakery. And they must be baked fresh, very fresh. Which is why he insisted that a baker in Beverly Hills be summoned to create a fresh batch, just for him. Post haste.

Because Bill is just folks, you know. A regular guy.

He followed that up by demanding that a helicopter take him to Orange County for his next appearance, because he didn't want to spend an hour in the limousine the station had arranged for him. That was too much to ask..."

Yep. Just folks. No hubris in Flyover Country.

Betrayers Betraying

Bush's Politics of Betrayal - The Smirking Chimp: "What do the conviction of Scooter Libby, the revelation that wounded Iraq veterans are receiving poor treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and the firing of eight US attorneys have in common? They're further proof the Bush Administration has betrayed America.

Betrayal is a strong word that has several meanings: One is 'to be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling.' Closely related is 'to deceive, misguide, or corrupt.' Most of us who oppose the Administration blend these two notions of betrayal: unfaithfulness and deception. Believe George Bush betrayed the oath he swore to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' Used the specter of 9/11 to promote his 'wartime' power as commander-in-chief, operate as if Congress and the courts did not matter. . ."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Censoring Science

Former White House official defends editing of climate papers | The Huffington Post: "WASHINGTON — A former White House official accused of improperly editing reports on global warming defended his editorial changes Monday as reflecting views expressed in a 2001 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

House Democrats said the 181 changes made in three climate reports reflected a consistent attempt to emphasize uncertainties surrounding the science of climate change and undercut the broad conclusions that manmade emissions are warming the earth.

Philip Cooney, former chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, acknowledged at a House hearing that some of the changes he made were 'to align these communications with the administration's stated policy' on climate change..."

Gonzo Chinatown

at-Largely: Could Carol Lam have been looking into this?: "Could Carol Lam have been looking into this?

It just occurred to me that Carol Lam could have been investigating allegations of bribery stemming from a San Diego water treatment deal. I broke the story with Miriam Raftery a while back, and the WSJ later 'broke' it again (because crediting other people's work is not something the WSJ does). But why would a water treatment project be on Lam's radar?..."

Watch out for Roman Polanski.

The Stink Again

Squabbles delayed Walter Reed contract for 3 years - "WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Army contract to privatize maintenance at Walter Reed Medical Center was delayed more than three years amid bureaucratic bickering and legal squabbles that led to staff shortages and a hospital in disarray just as the number of severely wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan was rising rapidly.

Documents from the investigative and auditing arm of Congress map a trail of bid, rebid, protests and appeals between 2003, when Walter Reed was first selected for outsourcing, and 2006, when a five-year, $120 million contract was finally awarded.

The disputes involved hospital management, the Pentagon, Congress and IAP Worldwide Services Inc., a company with powerful political connections and the only private bidder to handle maintenance, security, public works and management of military personnel..."

Military Woes

From Taylor Marsh:
U.S. Military 'Death Spiral'

"...Then there's the equipment shortage. The Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard A. Cody offers a stark assessment.

The shortages have deepened as scarce equipment and personnel are funneled to those units next in line to deploy overseas, creating ever bigger holes in the units that will leave later. "It's like a hurricane drawing everything into the center of the eye," said a senior Army officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

"For the National Guard, those shortages are even more," Cody said. Army National Guard figures show that 88 percent of its units are "not ready."

Everyone needs to remember that the military "death spiral" happened on Bush's watch, a Republican administration, during the 109th Republican Congress. This is what Reid and Pelosi and the Democrats inherited just this year. It's going to be worse when a Democratic president takes over in '09. We can't let the Republicans or the American people forget what Republicans did to our military.

Again, how do we ask a soldier to be the last man or woman to die for a mistake, long after the original mission, minus the reasoning, has been accomplished?

The next question is how do we destroy our military in the process and not pay a very large price in the end? Our enemies are watching, not just in Iraq, but around the world. The answers matter.

Unfortunately, all the White House can say is "zip it."

Faithful Scam

State’s Faith-Based Office Under Investigation | "COLUMBUS (AP) - A contractor getting paid $3,500 a day to oversee faith-based initiatives for needy Ohio families spent some of the federal welfare money on downtown parking, big-screen televisions and a glowing report on the job it was doing, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Gov. Ted Strickland last week asked both the state inspector general and the Department of Job and Family Services to investigate the Governor's Office on Faith-based and Community Initiatives and its $2 million contract with We Care America, the Dayton Daily News reported..."

Wrong and Wronger

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Iraq at Four Years: The Past is Indeed Prologue | The Huffington Post: "...Here's what Richard Perle said in September of 2003: 'A year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush.'

When former Congressman Tom Andrews, now director of the Win Without War coalition, reminded Perle of this on Meet the Press, the Prince of Darkness said: 'Well, I'm, I'm not going to debate your characterization of the history of our previous exchanges, which I think are... not accurate. I never anticipated a five year occupation...'

But Andrews was quoting him accurately, so why are we still listening to Perle, a man clearly incapable of admitting he was wrong?

Let's make it a rule: until someone is willing to take responsibility for their past mistakes, they should not be allowed to consume precious media oxygen offering advice about the future

On March 26, 2003, just days after the U.S. invaded Iraq, I wrote a column about Perle ("the frothing pit bull of the Bush administration's dogs of war,") in which I detailed his myriad conflicts of interest in having a financial stake in the war effort and advising the Pentagon on policy. "Perle's abuse of the public interest," I wrote, "is in a class by itself." It was enough to make me ask, "And this is the guy our president is putting his trust in when it comes to waging war on Iraq?"

And, as a country, we're still listening to people who should have lost all credibility by now. If you were responsible for getting us into this mess, and you still won't acknowledge it, then how can you be part of the solution? If you refuse to see the past clearly, how can we trust you with the future? ..."

Comprehensive time and person line in this post.

Next Scandal?

Smithsonian Documents Detail Chief's Expenses

Invoices Include Work on Home of Secretary Small

Washington Post Staff Writer

"Internal Smithsonian documents offer a glimpse into what one senator called the "Dom Perignon" lifestyle of the taxpayer-supported institution's chief official, who turned in a $15,000 receipt for the replacement of French doors at his home and spent $48,000 for two chairs, a conference table and upholstery for his office suite.

Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small's spending has been the subject of intense public scrutiny after The Washington Post published details last month from a confidential inspector general's report delving into his $2 million in housing and office expenses over the past six years..."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gov In Porn Business?

The Impolitic: Arizona US Attorney fired for failed porn case?: "...On another note, we haven't heard much about US Attorney Paul Charlton of the District of Arizona but Mark Kernes at AVN, uncovers a connection to Gonzales' recently declared war on porn and the administration's ongoing war on some drugs (warning adult content in ads). Charlton was not on the original 'to be terminated' list and it appears he was probably fired as a result of an obscenity case after an embarassing motion to dismiss was filed by the defense.

The case centers on an adult video vendor, Five Star Video, LC, that was indicted in May 06 for interstate transportation of obscene materials, namely a certain four videos. But here's where it gets interesting. Five Star was not the only vendor. A bigger retailer, Castle Megastores was also selling and renting the same videos across state lines. Ironically, Castle was, and is, 'under the supervision of the U.S. Trustee's Office of the Department of Justice, and the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Arizona.' In other words, our government is profiting from the same videos, while indicting a competitor for violating obscenity laws... "

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Micromanaging Republicans Yo, Republicans, Micromanage This: "You've got to hand it to Republicans: When they get a word or phrase that they want to push into the public consciousness, they not only repeat it with unparalleled discipline but the parroting of the nonsensical phrase du jour starts at the very top of the party and goes right on down to your local GOP dogcatcher.

'Cut and run' was useful to them for a long time until they discovered that they were accusing the vast majority of the American people of being cowards -- so they dropped that one after voters used the last election to tell them to shut the hell up. The latest word you hear coming out of every Republican's mouth is 'micromanage,' as in the Democrats in Congress are trying to 'micromanage the military' when it comes to the disastrous effort in Iraq..."

Actor212 Talks Blogging Rituals

Simply Left Behind: Blogging Ballet: The Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy: "...See, I understand what this blog is about, and why the couple of hundred of you return, day in and day out. TBogg and them can 'report' (read that as 'rehash the news in sumamry form, like newsradio') the news(sic). I tell you why I think things happen, and try to put some sense into the world. That's why I never just post for the sake of posting a post every day (some of my midday posts will be rather short, I admit)..."

Hmm. Lotsa food for thought. The post reminds me of a now-disappeared post by jurassicpork on the politics of left-side blogging that I'm sure set a few knickers in a knot. So why do I post what I do? Good question. I started doing this blogging-stuff because I had finally gone over the edge (Katrina did me in), and I felt like I had to do something to help push the progressive agenda, or at least the parts I supported.

Then, I evolved, and what I post became those things I find interesting (politically, in this blog; though the same idea permeates my other blogs) and those things that I would like to write about if I had time. Sometimes, I do have a chance to wax-on but for the most part I am doing what Carl complains about: snippet-blogging. Even doing that, like others, I do sometimes get ahead of the blogging news curves because I also listen to tv and radio (meaning, yes, I am alive).

Well, this was a post about not much, but, on occasion, I do have something to say, sometimes intelligent, sometimes not.

O’Reilly Slip-Sliding Away

News Corpse » The O’Reilly Fracture: Ratings Bad To The Bone Blog: "Bill O’Reilly just got some more bad news (pdf). His hairline isn’t the only thing that’s receding. The February ratings show that he has the slowest growing program (11%) of all the cable news primetime programs in the 25-54 demographic. And he is clearly bringing down the Fox network because the same is true for their whole primetime block. This despite the fact that Greta Van Susteren had the 2nd highest growth (49%) after Keith Olbermann’s Countdown (61%)..." Good, snarky post. Read it all.

Faux News

Watch the crawl, too.

TPM Gets Some Due

Blogs can top the presses - Los Angeles Times: "..It's 20 or so blocks up town to the heart of the media establishment, the Midtown towers that house the big newspaper, magazine and book publishers. And yet it was here in a neighborhood of bodegas and floral wholesalers that, over the last two months, one of the biggest news stories in the country — the Bush administration's firing of a group of U.S. attorneys — was pieced together by the reporters of the blog Talking Points Memo..."

It's great they're getting some attention. Way to go, guys!

Update: Josh also got a mention on "This Week"

Thomas Stays Upfront FishbowlDC: "BREAKING: Helen Thomas Keeps Front Row Seat

>UPDATE: And CNN gets a front-row seat...FOX will be in the second row. (earlier)..."

Bad Pet Food

60 million containers of pet food recalled - Pet Health -

"WASHINGTON - A major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other store brands recalled 60 million containers of wet pet food Friday after reports of kidney failure and deaths.

An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said.WASHINGTON - A major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other store brands recalled 60 million containers of wet pet food Friday after reports of kidney failure and deaths.
An unknown number of cats and dogs suffered kidney failure and about 10 died after eating the affected pet food, Menu Foods said in announcing the North American recall. Product testing has not revealed a link explaining the reported cases of illness and death, the company said..."

Friday, March 16, 2007

CNN, ABC Deception

Media Matters - CNN, ABC offered unchallenged legal analysis on Plame leak from Novak's partisan friends: "CNN, ABC offered unchallenged legal analysis on Plame leak from Novak's partisan friends

Reporting on White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove's alleged involvement in the leaking of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, CNN and ABC News presented unchallenged legal analysis from Victoria Toensing and Joseph E. DiGenova, respectively, both of whom defended Rove and were identified only as a 'legal analyst' and a 'former US attorney.' Toensing and DiGenova, however, are partisan Republicans and personal friends of CNN host and columnist Robert D. Novak, who originally outed Plame in July 2003..." and they didn't mention their spooning spousal arrangement either.

Fired Fraud Finding

Phony Fraud Charges - New York Times: "...There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in this country. Rather, Republicans under Mr. Bush have used such allegations as an excuse to suppress the votes of Democratic-leaning groups. They have intimidated Native American voter registration campaigners in South Dakota with baseless charges of fraud. They have pushed through harsh voter ID bills in states like Georgia and Missouri, both blocked by the courts, that were designed to make it hard for people who lack drivers’ licenses — who are disproportionately poor, elderly or members of minorities — to vote. Florida passed a law placing such onerous conditions on voter registration drives, which register many members of minorities and poor people, that the League of Women Voters of Florida suspended its registration work in the state.

The claims of vote fraud used to promote these measures usually fall apart on close inspection, as Mr. McKay saw. Missouri Republicans have long charged that St. Louis voters, by which they mean black voters, registered as living on vacant lots. But when The St. Louis Post-Dispatch checked, it found that thousands of people lived in buildings on lots that the city had erroneously classified as vacant..."

So the DoJ lawyers were fired for not vigorously pursuing a non-crime. I get it now.

Somebody's Been Fibbing

The Raw Story | White House official: No probe launched into Plame leak: "In testimony given today before the house oversight committee, James Knodell, Director of the Office of Security at the White House, revealed that the the administration had never launched an internal probe to determine the source for the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame in 2003. In addition to revealing a deep reluctance on the part of the administration in determining the party responsible for the leak, Knodell's testimony directly contradicted a prior statement from President Bush promising a full internal probe..."

New Scooter Poll

Poll: Americans Oppose Libby Pardon By More Than Three To One | TPMCafe: "Paging Andrea Mitchell: A new Gallup poll finds that Americans oppose a pardon for 'Scooter' Libby by more than three to one. Sixty-seven percent of respondents oppose a Presidential pardon for Vice President Dick Cheney's aide, while only 21% support one..."

WR VIP Suites

VIP ward at Walter Reed gets scrutiny - "...The large, comfortable suites on the hospital's top floor are reserved for the president, the vice president, federal judges, members of Congress and the Cabinet, high-ranking military officials and even foreign dignitaries and their spouses. The only enlisted members of the military who are eligible to stay there are recipients of the Medal of Honor.

The suites have carpeted floors, antique furniture and fine china in the dining rooms. That's a stark contrast to mold- and mice-ridden housing that some wounded troops had been found to be living in..."

"No Child" Disconnect

The Blog | George Lakoff: Making Accountability Accountable | The Huffington Post: "...The issue of accountability in these cases is especially poignant when you consider the central role of accountability in conservative educational policy. The No Child Left Behind Act is a model of shifting responsibility and accountability to the lowest possible levels. Who is responsible for making sure that schools have the facilities and the funding for highly qualified teachers? Who is responsible for making sure that poor students have enough to eat when they come to school? Who is responsible for insuring early childhood education so that young children are ready to learn when they get to school? Is it the President who proposes the national budget? The Congress that designs programs and appropriates funds? The governors and state legislatures? The mayors of cities? The school boards? The taxpayers who refuse to pay for excellent schools?

According to Bush, it is the teachers, the individual schools, and the students themselves. Most important, it is not Bush. And it is not those who set the policies and the funding priorities. It is certainly not conservative politicians who are opposed to raising tax money to pay for excellent schools. This is exactly what one would expect from the conservative ideology of individual, not social, responsibility..."

Secular Islam

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Secular Islam Summit: "I have written before about various groups of moderate Muslims and ex-Muslims standing up to radical Islamic violence. Here's another great example, the Secular Islam Summit that just issued what it's calling the St. Petersburg Declaration. I'll post the entire declaration, with which I agree completely.

We are secular Muslims, and secular persons of Muslim societies. We are believers, doubters, and unbelievers, brought together by a great struggle, not between the West and Islam, but between the free and the unfree..." (more)

Plame Talks Today

Democrats to open hearings on CIA leak | - Houston Chronicle: "WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers are eager to hear from outed CIA operative Valerie Plame as they try to make political fodder out of the 2003 leak scandal.

Plame was scheduled to testify before a congressional committee Friday, but it was unlikely the hearing would offer any new information about the Bush administration's discussions of her employment at the spy agency..."

News You Don't Need To Know

...but may enjoy anyway.
Shenanigan's Blog - "...Meanwhile, today on the Hill, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) was seen making a spectacle of herself when the unlucky lawmaker slipped and fell in what we’re told was vomit, in a bathroom in Cannon. (Some nice female dealing with the repercussions of Jason Roe’s going away party by chance?) “She made THE biggest scene in the hallway,” says a staffer who escaped the, um, regurgitation. “It’s literally all down her back.”"

File this under Karrrrrrrrma.

Happy Jack Shielded?

Bush removal ended Guam investigation - The Boston Globe:

"US attorney's demotion halted probe of lobbyist

By Walter F. Roche Jr., Los Angeles Times | August 8, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A US grand jury in Guam opened an investigation of controversial lobbyist Jack Abramoff more than two years ago, but President Bush removed the supervising federal prosecutor, and the probe ended soon after..."

Hmmm. Yah don't suppose. Naw. No connection to Rove. No connection to Gonzo.

The Ides of Anniversary

Eat The Press | Rachel Sklar: The Ides of March, Comin' Around Again | The Huffington Post

"Today marks the Ides of March, made famous in history and literature as the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated by members of his inner circle in a deed of political and personal reckoning, and also that selfsame day last year when I posted my very first blog entry to the Huffington Post. I reread it yesterday to see what the Ides had tweaked in my brain last year, besides snippets of the Shakespeare I had to memorize in Mr. Polley's tenth grade English class. Turns out I was thinking of scandal — specifically, the Jack Abramoff imbroglio and all the D.C. fatcats who had been lining their pockets with Abramoff's graft. One year later, that scandal seems almost quaint, doesn't it? Sports tickets, sushi dinners, golf jaunts — sort of pales in comparison to what's happened since (deep breath): Walter Reed; fired U.S. Attorneys; Mark Foley; Scooter Libby; bank records; Macaca; Haditha; Rumsfeld (always with the Rumsfeld), Inhohfe; New Orleans (wait, there was news from New Orleans? Precisely); Curt Weldon, Bob Ney and Don Sherwood; The One Percent Doctrine; Cobra II; Fiasco; State of Denial; The Looming Tower; Do-Nothing Congress; losing Afghanistan; the Iraq civil war; fighting over whether to call the Iraq civil war a civil war; fighting them over there vs. fighting them over here; Dick Cheney, just because . This is not an exhaustive list.

And subpoena season hasn't even started yet!..."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hammer To Hammer Toad

The Raw Story | Vengeful DeLay to target 'rising phoenix' Gingrich in book: Novak

'Conservative columnist and CIA leak figure Robert Novak says that disgraced ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) will, in an upcoming memoir, visit his wrath upon former colleague Newt Gingrich.

"Gingrich's attempted phoenix-like rise from his own political ashes to a presidential candidacy will run next week into a harsh assessment" by DeLay, writes Novak in The Washington Post.

"The former majority leader's forthcoming memoir," Novak continues, "assails Gingrich as an 'ineffective' House speaker with a flawed moral compass..."'

SW Medical Pot Pending

The Blog | Ethan Nadelmann: Governor Richardson Poised to be First Presidential Candidate to Enact Medical Marijuana Legislation | The Huffington Post: "New Mexico is on the verge of becoming the twelfth state to approve doctor-recommended medical marijuana for the sick and dying, and only the fourth state legislature to enact such a measure. Following intense debate, the New Mexico House passed the measure after including an amendment to prevent distribution of medical cannabis within 300 feet of any church, school or day-care center.

Gov. Richardson summed up the battle's high stakes, 'I am pleased that the Legislature did the right thing, reconsidered this important bill and supported a humane option for New Mexicans who endure some of the most painful diseases imaginable...'"

Edwards On YouTube

YouTube title: John Edwards: YouTube is Very Good for Democracy

Real Christians Stand-up?

Global warming gap among evangelicals widens - "...However, the association board not only stood behind Cizik, but also further broadened the group's agenda with a statement condemning torture, which charged that in pursuing the war on terror, the United States had crossed 'boundaries of what is legally and morally permissible.'

But one of the board members, the Rev. Paul de Vries, said, 'It ought to be God's agenda, not the Republican Party's agenda, that drives us.

'We're actually tired of being represented by people with a very narrow focus,' he said. 'We want to have a focus as big as God's focus.'"

Rove Amidship

Rove was "at the epicenter" of plans to fire U.S. Attorneys as early as January of 2005 - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

Surprise! Surprise!

'"Breaking News" from ABC. Despite all the White House spin, new e-mails put Rove right in the middle of the fired U.S. Attorneys controversy. It was Karl's idea to can all the U.S. Attorneys back in early 2005 (that was when the Bush team still believed they had a mandate). Karl and Gonzales were plotting the mass firings even before Gonzales became Attorney General:
New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show that the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than the White House previously acknowledged.

The e-mails also show that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel, weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general.

The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers, and was her idea alone.

Two independent sources in a position to know have described the contents of the e-mail exchange, which could be released as early as Friday. They put Rove at the epicenter of the imbroglio and raise questions about Gonzales' explanations of the matter...'

Owning You

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » BushCo.:

“It’s Our Due.”

"No other quote sums up the Republican attitude towards government more perfectly, not even Cheney's other one (you know which). For them, governing is not a responsibility, it's not a duty, it's not a service. It's a reward for winning. Republicans look at the American government, at the prodigious capabilities and resources it has built up over the past 200+ years, and all they can think about is how to use it to their own advantage. How they can reward their friends, settle scores with their enemies, and consolidate power so they can go on partying forever. It never even occurs to them that the government was designed for other purposes, like looking out for the disadvantaged, or protecting the environment, or catching criminals...

...The US Attorney firings are a perfect example of this Republican mentality at work. Except for the one pushed aside to make room for Rove's buddy, they were all fired solely because they weren't on board with the Republican plan, and wanted to actually prosecute cases according to the law, or some such nonsense. Obviously, zero tolerance is the only sensible policy here, because if you're not using the weight of the federal government to protect Republicans and cast suspicion on Democrats (and possibly manufacture a "Democrat Voter Fraud" narrative), then you're stealing from your employer..."

Talking Point Retort On Troops

Attytood: UPDATED: Matt Drudge rules their world...and spreads a Big Lie on Iraq

"...The thing is, I work with the casualty numbers three or four nights every week, producing a feature for the Philadelphia Daily News called the Numbers Racket. And I could tell that the figures in this Kuwait article/press release are nowhere even in the ballpark of reality. For that, we look to the indepedent Web site, which is used by many major news orgs and bases alot of its info on Pentagon releases.

This is the table of all the deaths. First, the one piece of good news. Overall deaths did drop during the period addressed by the article. But the grim news is that the totals are much, much higher than suggested in this story, that tens of thousands of Drudge readers are relying upon for talking points.

The number of American troops killed from Feb. 14 through March 13 is 73, not 17, or more than four times higher. In the prior month, from Jan. 14 through Feb. 13, which was a remarkably bloody period, 116 American troops died. So the tally did drop overall, and that's great news, by it was 37 percent, not nearly the 60 percent as the story reports. And the decline in deaths per day is even less -- because, as the article also fails to note, February only has 28 days.

Here's what I find most significant. The U.S. death rate for the 28-day period in question is 2.61 deaths a day. The daily American death rate since the war began four years ago is 2.37 deaths a day -- so even now, Americans are still dying now in Iraq at a higher-than-average rate for this conflict.

Is anyone really happy with that? As we've argued on this site almost every day since we started it, even 1 American death is one too many in an unnecessary and useless war, based on lies from the start. And now the proponents of more war continue to lie in a desperate effort to keep it going..."

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Edwards Office Hit With White Powder

WLOS-TV reports that a John Edwards' office is being processed for various substances after a letter full of "white powder" was received.


"Edwards' campaign headquarters in N.C. evacuated

March 14, 2007 21:09 EDT

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Authorities are testing a white powder found in a letter at the campaign headquarters of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

The offices in Chapel Hill were evacuated today after a staff member opened the letter and found the powder.

Chapel Hill police spokewoman Jane Cousins says the woman who opened the envelope has been interviewed by health officials and hasn't shown any problems..."

Good News From Iraq

Some Progress May Mean Hope for Baghdad | The Huffington Post: "BAGHDAD — Bomb deaths have gone down 30 percent in Baghdad since the U.S.-led security crackdown began a month ago. Execution-style slayings are down by nearly half. The once frequent sound of weapons has been reduced to episodic, and downtown shoppers have returned to outdoor markets _ favored targets of car bombers..."

Bad Banana Boys

TalkLeft: The Politics Of Crime: "Chiquita Banana has agreed to pay $25 million for paying Colombian terrorists to protect its workers in the field. It will also plead guilty to a criminal Information..." (sic)

Well, don't that just take the, er, split.

Chinese Proverb Time

Think Progress » Did White House Pull Nomination To Avoid Questions Over 2004 Minority Voter Suppression?

" Tim Griffin — a “37-year-old protege” of Karl Rove and the former research director of the Republican National Committee — has become the poster boy for the Bush administration’s politicization of the office of U.S. attorney. On Feb. 15, Griffin suddenly announced that he had “made the decision not to let my name go forward to the Senate” for approval. Instead, he will serve indefinitely as an “interim” prosecutor. By avoiding Senate approval, Griffin will also avoid having to answer questions under oath about his role in a plan to supress Florida votesprimarily those of African-American servicemembers..." (more here)

Scooter's Real Name

Eat The Press | Naming Names: What The Hell Does The "I" In "I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby" Stand For? | The Huffington Post: "...But anyway, it's official: Scooter Libby's real name is Irve."

This long post paints a very convoluted and torturous search for the truth of the "I." I wonder about the great mystery here. Don't you have to give your real name when you are deposed? How about security clearances? Why is Scooter so coy about this? It's weird. So what does "Irve" stand for? Oh, I see. The registrar misheard and wrote down the wrong name. Mama Scooter said "Nerve."

The Daily Flashback

The History Channel - This Day in History - Lead Story:

"Albert Einstein Born

On March 14, 1879, Albert Einstein is born, the son of a Jewish electrical engineer in Ulm, Germany. Einstein's theories of special and general relativity drastically altered man's view of the universe, and his work in particle and energy theory helped make possible quantum mechanics and, ultimately, the atomic bomb..."

Papers Want Gonzo Gone

A short sample. Much more at the link.

Editorial Pages Call for Axing Attorney General: "NEW YORK The New York Times got the editorial ball rolling on Monday, calling for the firing of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales due largely, if not completely, to the burgeoning scandal involving the forced departure of eight U.S. attorneys. Today the notion spread across the country.

'We haven't seen a renegade U.S. Justice Department like this since John Mitchell ran it for President Nixon,' declared the Sacremento Bee. 'With a new Congress beginning to exercise serious oversight, the problems at the Justice Department and with its leader, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, are becoming clearer by the day. And what is becoming most clear is that Gonzales must go...'"

Bad Pumps For New Orleans

Click the link to get the story.
Republicans, not content with Katrina, continue their mission to destroy New Orleans, this time with faulty pumps from Jeb Bush | CorrenteWire.

Remembering Fox News

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Late Nite FDL: We’re Not Your ******* Monkeys: "...Any attempt by Democrats to make nice with Fox is doomed from the outset. The Nevada debate was a set-up, an ambush. Nevada Democrats did the right thing by telling Fox where they could stick it. We need more of this, please. And we, the netroots, need to pound this into the heads of any Democrats who will listen:

Fox News is determined to destroy you. In their ideological casino, all the games are fixed and the house always wins. Unless you're Joe Lieberman, Fox is going to find a way to discredit, drown out, and humiliate you. It is their sole purpose in the world. Nothing that they say will ever, ever truly be 'fair and balanced'..."

Bush Loyalty Oaths Next?

‘Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows - New York Times: "...While the target list of prosecutors was shaped and shifted, officials at the Justice Department and the White House, members of Congress and even an important Republican lawyer and lobbyist in New Mexico were raising various concerns.

In rating the prosecutors, Mr. Sampson factored in whether they “exhibited loyalty to the president and attorney general,” according to documents released by the Justice Department. In one e-mail message, Mr. Sampson questioned a colleague about the record of the federal prosecutor in San Diego, Carol C. Lam. Referring to the office of the deputy attorney general, Mr. Sampson wrote: “Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?” Ms. Lam was one of the seven fired prosecutors..."

Guess Who Came To Dinner

NO QUARTER: Andrea Mitchell, Intoxicated Ass Pimple: "...Now here's something that Jane did not tell (nor was there anyway she should have known). During the past 15 years guess who has been a frequent guest at the Alan Greenspan/Andrea Mitchell Passover dinner? Anyone? Anyone? Ferris?

Scooter Libby. But he was not alone. Nope. He is just one of the luminaries from Washington's politically connected Jewish community. Paul Wolfowitz has dined with Scooter and Andrea, and also Richard Perle, and also Bill Kristol. This was not just Passover. Folks, this was the uber holy day supper club for neocons. I don't know why folks make jokes about West Virginia and the in-bred. Compared to Washington, DC, West Virginia looks like a bio-diversity experiment..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Libby Poll Is Wrong !

Uh, ok, Here's part of it. Send me a memo.

Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense » Blog Archive » CNN Fuzzy Poll Math: '...Now as you know - polls use methodology so it’s important to find out just who did they ask. CNN doesn’t tell us - because it’s incredibly slanted - you guessed it - to the left. Here is the quote from the front page of the report.

“Interviews with 1,027 adult Americans, including 401 registered voters who describe themselves as Republicans Independents who lean Republican, conducted by telephone Opinion Research Corporation on March 9-11, 2007. The margin of sampling error for results based on the total sample is plus or minus 3 percentage points and for results based half-samples is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.”

First, polling on the weekend always means a left slanted poll (Republicans are never home on the weekends as they know how to enjoy life). So 1027 - 401 (supposed Republicans) leaves a split between 626 Democrats, middle of the road independents and undecided.

Not hard to see how they got 69%.

And they call themselves “The Most Trusted Name in News”.

Yeah, bogus news."'

Go figure...

Bad Perfesser Boogie

I won't excerpt this entire post but a summary: teacher is talking (lecturing? it's unclear), is interrupted by a student's political commentary, teacher fires back. So here is the link is (excerpt follows ) if you want to see the semi original account:
Collge Professor: It's All Right To Talk About Executing "Anyone Who's Ever Voted Republican" As Long As It's Said With A Smile? - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views)

"...Someone like this professor, Jessica Bryan, has no business teaching college students -- and that's not just because her Stalinesque suggestion that anyone who chooses to vote for a Republican should be murdered. College courses aren't supposed to be about indoctrinating students and if a professor is determined to "criticize and disparage Republicans" during every class -- or for that matter, "criticize and disparage" Democrats, then that shows she/he is not fit to teach.

College students all across the country are being put in a situation day in and day out, where they're forced to endure insults throughout class and either hide the face that they're conservative, or risk their grades by confronting the political ideologue teaching the class. It's ridiculous and it shouldn't continue.

That's why tenure and the idea that a college professor can say absolutely anything and get away with it because of "academic freedom," should be abolished because it puts the welfare of the teacher above the welfare of the students. Being given a room of students to teach is an enormous responsibility and professors who don't handle it properly, like Bryan, don't deserve to have jobs..."

Leaving aside those big old croc tears for the poor beleaugured GOP operative in the classroom, I've worked in an nontenured, tenuously employed environment for over 30 years, and I have a long, long list of students who have shot their ignorant mouths off in my (and yes it is mine, if only for 50 minutes at time) classroom about things of which they are often completely clueless. I have lost my temper exactly twice.

Who knows what really happened here. Maybe (and I know positively of the truth of this little fable) something like this: students smarts-off, teacher tells student to "shut his damn mouth," student runs to the Big Boss and demands firing of the veteran teacher (not me) for Gross Offense To Tender Ears. Big Boss explains to student that the teacher has not slept more than three hours a night for two years since she has the sole evening custody of her mother who is dying of cervical cancer. Student slinks away, feeling like an idiot (also, not me).

The public, and our blogger, need to recall that old First Amendment. Free speech not only extends to the student to express his or her (non-disruptive) opinions, but it also extends to the teacher, who can freely rejoin the student with outrageous opinions if he or she wishes. (One quarter I was hauled in front of the Lower Boss because I was accused, by separate students, of being a Nazi, a Communist, a Socialist, and a Republican. Lesson learned: if you plan a career in college administration, get your sense of humor surgically removed.)

So keep in mind when you hear the above sort of tales that Freedom of Speech is a broad avenue and it runs both ways.

Who's The Patriot?

The Blog | Jane Smiley: Whoops | The Huffington Post
"...When you and your relatives are fighting about who is a patriot and who isn't (you--yes, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Rice--not), you can ask them if the loyalties of our ruling class can be shown to be to us, regular US citizens, or to some other group, such as themselves--wealthy citizens and investors of all nations. After 9/11, our government gathered up the Bin Ladens and other Arab investors and sent them out of harm's way. Yesterday, Halliburton declared that it is moving its headquarters to Dubai. No prominent Republican that I know of has shipped his children off to the Iraq War. Jonah Goldberg didn't bother to sign up. Neither did Ann Coulter. Most importantly, Bush took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and he has subverted it at every turn. The Constitution represents the will of the people. It, in fact, represents the people and is their document. But this is nothing new for the corporate class. They are used to aggrandizing themselves at the expense of the nation. When Goldman Sachs demanded tax breaks from the City of New York as the price of keeping their offices there, and then turned around and handed out princely bonuses at the end of 2006, it was no surprise--corporations have no loyalties--not to their workers, not to their customers, not to their nations. And don't get me started on their perennial resistance to product safety. Every time a corporation witholds taxes owed or keeps them offshore, they are acting in an unpatriotic manner, and yet they are the first to scream when dissenters raise legitimate questions about, for example, using the American army as a band of mercenaries to conquer oil lands in the Middle East.."