Well, our old thread was just fine 'til you went and had it burned down.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, is likely to be indicted in an ongoing public corruption scandal, according to a fellow Republican congressman, Jim McCrery of Louisiana.
Ney has been linked by prosecutors to Jack Abramoff, a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty to charges this week that include mail fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. He also is linked to Abramoff's associate, Michael Scanlon, who pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to bribe a member of Congress and other public officials.
"He'll probably be indicted," McCrery speculated Friday.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (UPI) -- Iraqi police officials said Saturday unidentified gunmen have kidnapped an American female journalist after killing her Iraqi translator in Baghdad.
They said the driver of the bus in which the journalist and translator were riding managed to escape the incident when he fled and sought the help of a police patrol that happened to be in the same area at the time.
The woman and the translator were attacked by gunmen in the Arab Sunni district of al-Adel in western Baghdad as they were heading to meet the head of the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, Adnan al-Dulaimi.
The name of the journalist was not released.
Suddenly, the man who handed out campaign cash like Johnny Appleseed is watching those ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR gifts being sent back to charity like Christmastime fruitcake. Even HILLARY CLINTON'S got some hot Abramoff cash to shed.
Everybody is giving away their money, giving it away. Hillary Clinton even giving A THOUSAND BUCKS away.
There are some outlying names that keep popping up. Hillary Clinton gave back ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS today.
Friday, January 06, 2006
A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.
The ceramic plates in vests currently worn by the majority of military personnel in Iraq cover only some of the chest and back. In at least 74 of the 93 fatal wounds that were analyzed in the Pentagon study of marines from March 2003 through June 2005, bullets and shrapnel struck the marines' shoulders, sides or areas of the torso where the plates do not reach.
Thirty-one of the deadly wounds struck the chest or back so close to the plates that simply enlarging the existing shields "would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," according to the study, which was obtained by The New York Times.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, called Cunningham a friend and colleague in a statement Tuesday that emphasized his accomplishments as a fighter pilot.
"We, his remaining friends, have spent the last day with Duke praying and talking about a new chapter in Duke's life, a chapter of service to God," Hunter said.
Cunningham, who was in his eighth term, is free as he awaits sentencing Feb. 27. He faces up to 10 years in prison for tax evasion and conspiracy, having admitted taking $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for steering government contracts to coconspirators.
Wonder what else he said into the Dukestir's little microphone...
WASHINGTON - In an ominous election-year sign for Republicans, Americans are leaning sharply toward giving Democrats control of Congress, an AP-Ipsos poll finds. Democrats are favored 49 percent to 36 percent.
The poll was taken this week as Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud and corruption charges and agreed to aid a federal investigation of members of Congress and other government officials.
President Bush's job approval remains low - 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll. About as many approve of his handling of Iraq, where violence against Iraqis and U.S. troops has been surging.
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA., January 5, 2006—Pat Robertson expresses his deep sadness over Ariel Sharon’s life threatening stroke and concern for Israel’s future security.
On The 700 Club broadcast this morning Robertson said he has met with Sharon at significant times and considers him a friend. Robertson, an ordained minister and bible teacher, has been a life long supporter of Israel and has continually expressed grave concern over dividing the land of Israel. Robertson pointed to the book of Joel in the Old Testament to show a biblical perspective of God’s view of Israel and efforts made from people who try to divide God’s land:
“In the book of Joel, the prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has ‘enmity against those who divide My land.’ God considers this land to be His. When you read the Bible, He said this is my land. For any Prime Minister of Israel who decides he will carve it up and give it away, God said, “No, this is Mine.”
According to his spokesperson, Angell Watts, Robertson is simply reminding his viewers what the Bible has to say about efforts made to divide the land of Israel.
She also expressed Dr. Robertson’s outrage at People for the American Way, who have a clear left-wing political agenda and who, on an ongoing basis, lift his comments out of context and widely circulate them in an attempt to discredit him.
Washington's power players have always bragged about being well-wired, but for disgraced former congressman Duke Cunningham, "wired" wasn't just a figure of speech. In a week when legislators are focused on the question of who else might be brought down by ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s cooperation with prosecutors as he seeks lenient sentencing over his two federal guilty pleas this week, sources tell TIME that ex-Rep. Cunningham wore a wire to help investigators gather evidence against others just before copping his own plea.
Sources familiar with the situation say Cunningham, a California Republican who pleaded guilty Nov. 28 to taking $2.4 million in bribes — including a yacht, a Rolls Royce and a 19th Century Louis-Philippe commode — from a defense contractor, wore a wire at some point during the short interval between the moment he began cooperating with the feds and the announcement of his guilty plea on Nov. 28.
The identity of those with whom the San Diego congressman met while wearing the wire remains unclear, and is the source of furious — and nervous — speculation by congressional Republicans. A Cunningham lawyer, K. Lee Blalack, refused to confirm or deny the story, and wouldn't say whether Cunningham will implicate any other members of Congress. The FBI is believed to be continuing its probe of defense contractors involved in the Cunningham case. An FBI spokesman declined comment. Asked whether Cunningham, an ace Navy fighter pilot decorated for his service in Vietnam, had worn a wire, the spokesman said the response from a higher-up was, "Like I'd tell you."
All I can ever get is that they want a show about a good family that goes to church and is very happy. Maybe little Theodore is tempted to steal a gumball from the candy store one day but then his minister shows him how wrong that would be, and then Wallace is tempted by the bad girl in the miniskirt but after praying for guidance he realizes it's best to take his long skirt-wearing Bible school partner "good girl" Mary Catherine to the prom instead.
In other words, Leave it to Beaver with a lot more church in it. But that's boring, and more than that not particularly inspiring. What could actually show religion in a positive light without being totally boring is a show which in not entirely simple ways demonstrated how religion played a role for people with complicated and even rather shitty lives. A bit of drama AND some religion.
So I'm a bit puzzled by the reaction to this Book of Daniel show. Sure it sounds like it'll be a little light on the "hate the gay" message they demand and maybe a bit heavy on the tolerance messsage for Republican Jesus, but it certainly doesn't sound like a show which is going to show religion in a negative light.
Though, I'll be watching Battlestar Galactica. After I go see that gay cowboy movie.
"I will do everything in my power to stop anything beneficial to New Jersey, period. I will use everything I have until New Jersey lives up to their commitments," said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican and third-ranking official in the Senate chamber. "Every single thing that benefits New Jersey in particular I will do everything I can to make sure that it gets slowed down or stopped."
But, more to the point, why do these Republican members of Congress need laws to make them act ethically? Stop being sleazebags, stop travelling the world on everyone's dime, and stop letting big donor lobbyists write your goddamn bills.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I wasn't trying to claim Robertson really does represent them. I was just suggesting that maybe they should try to find someone who does. And, no, I don't think Christians, or even "conservative Christians," are monolithic any more than any other large subgroup, but if all the ones on TV are off the map I'd quite like it if there were some better representatives. And, if I'm wrong and all the ones on TV *aren't* off the map then let me know who I'm not aware of.
There's a difference between conservative Democrats, or even corporate whore Democrats*, and Fox News Democrats. As Kos notes, Petey's smart enough to know this, so why does he pretend not to?
*No, corporate whore Democrats are not "free market" Democrats. Corporate whore Democrats are the ones who write special legislation for favored sectors at the expense of workers and consumers. See Bill, Bankruptcy.
Mr. Cafferty: Your rude, disrespectful and disparaging remarks against a man of the Cloth shows the ignorance and darkness of your own soul... You prove every time you speak against Pat Robertson and those with his views that you have no understanding of God, His Bible - the Word of God, or his people. I suggest you be very careful what you say against a man of God or against God's people... God will deal with you and you will wish that you had not done so.
A senior us intelligence official tells us that our colleague Christianne Amanpour has never been targeted by the National Security Agency and nor has any other CNN journalist. The NSA as you know is the eavesdropping intelligence agency - the US government's big ear - and from time to time the offical says wiretaps overseas or other intercepts turn out to include Americans or what they call US persons which includes people who work for us companies and does so inadvertently. But if the NSA finds it has tape and trasncript of such a person by law it is required to be immediately erased, deleted, gotten rid of. US intelligence officials rarely comment on who they may or may not have collected information about, but because of all the web blogosphere attention this was getting today, this senior official was willing to look into it for us, and to be quite clear in his denial -- frankly, I get the impression the NSA is as puzzled by Andrea Mitchell's question, and NBC's decision to put it out on the web, as we were.
(end of transcript thanks to pseud in NC)
Unless of course the Bush administration orders otherwise, remember?
...John has more.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 - Colin Powell said nothing - a silence that spoke volumes to many in the White House today.
His predecessor, Madeleine Albright, was a bit riled after hearing an exceedingly upbeat 40-minute briefing to 13 living former secretaries of state and defense about how well things are going in Iraq. Saying the war in Iraq was "taking up all the energy" of President Bush's foreign policy team, she asked Mr. t Bush whether he had let nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea spin out of control, and Latin America and China policy suffer by benign neglect.
"I can't let this comment stand," Mr. Bush shot back, telling Ms. Albright and the rare assembly of her colleagues, who reached back to the Kennedy White House, that his administration "can do more than one thing at a time."
The Bush administration, the president insisted, had "the best relations of any country with Japan, China and Korea," and active programs to win alliances around the world.
That was, according to some of the participants, one of the few moments of heat during an unusual White House effort to bring some of its critics into the fold and give a patina of bipartisan common ground to the strategy that Mr. Bush has laid out in recent weeks for Iraq.
But if it was a bipartisan consultation, as advertised by the White House, it was a brief one. Mr. Bush allowed 5 to 10 minutes this morning for interchange with the group - which included three veterans of another difficult war, the one in Vietnam: Robert S. McNamara, Melvin R. Laird and James R. Schlesinger. Then the entire group was herded the Oval Office for what he called a "family picture."
I try not to comment on all of the ridiculous things that come out of Pat Robertson's mouth because 1) he's a moonbat who seems to be reading a very different translation of the Bible than I am, and 2) most evangelicals, even conservative ones, don't think of him as a spokesperson who represents their views.
So who would represent the views of conservative evangelicals better than Pat Robertson? It's a serious question - I have no idea - but most of the prominent media figures who are supposedly representing those views don't seem to be significantly different from Robertson to me, though maybe I'm just not picking up on the differences.
I'm not trying to be snarky here, it's a serious question. I'd quite like the views of religious conservatives to be represented by people who are less nuts than Pat Robertson even if I subscribe neither to their religion nor the politics. Let's put these people on TV!
Haven't paid them a visit in awhile and I see they changed things around a little bit. It's really as if someone set out to find a way to make blogs and blogging look as idiotic, poorly written, and banal as possible and succeeded at that task spectacularly.
It is that deeply irrational, fear-driven view of the world which has to be undermined in order to make headway in convincing Americans that this Administration is engaged in intolerable excesses and abuses of its power. The argument which needs to be made is the one that we have seen starting to arise in the blogosphere and elsewhere: that living in irrational fear of terrorists and sacrificing our liberties and all of our other national goals in their name is the approach of hysterics and cowards, not of a strong, courageous and resolute nation.
Several weeks ago, Digby wrote a widely-discussed post describing how Bush followers are driven by their all-consuming and pitifully child-like fears of terrorists, leading them to consent to any measures taken by George Bush as long as he promises to save them. And this weekend, Kos wrote a similar post, in which he contrasted the classic and previously defining American bravery of Patrick Henry with the frightened Bush followers who beg the Government to restrict their liberties in exchange for saving them from the terrorists.
If the blogospheric reaction of Bush supporters is any indication, this argument is as politically potent as it is self-evidently true. Kos’s post provoked shrieking seizures among the tough-guy, blindly loyal Bush followers -- the ones who revealingly give themselves play name like Rocket and Captain and who never tire of touting their own toughness. In response to Kos’s post, they squealed and they yelled and they called him all kinds of names – they did everything but refute the argument.
And notably, in their anger, there was none of that smug bravado or all-too-familiar attacks on the courage of Bush opponents, because with this plainly accurate depiction, they stand revealed as being driven by nothing other than limitless, irrational fear. They are scared and they want to continue to implant their extreme fear into our national policies and onto our national character.
Go read the rest....
So, what do I mean when I write "mainstream media?" Basically I'm referring to the larger supposedly non-ideological print outlets (papers like the Times and the Post, magazines like Time and Newsweek), National Public Radio's news/talk programs, PBS's Newshour, CNN, MSNBC, the news programs of the 3 major national networks, etc... It's not a pejorative. It's just a classification.
I don't know what's more pathetic, Jack Abramoff's sleaze or Republican paralysis in the face of it. Abramoff walks out of a D.C. courthouse in his pseudo-Hasidic homburg, and all that leading Republicans can do is promise to return his money and remind everyone that some Democrats are involved in the scandal, too.
That's a great G.O.P. talking point: some Democrats are so sleazy, they get involved with the likes of us.
If Republicans want to emerge from this affair with their self-respect or electoral prospects intact, they need to get in front of it with a comprehensive reform offensive.
Fourth, enforce House rules. There's bound to be corruption when spending provisions can be slipped into legislation in the dead of night, outside the normal oversight procedures. There's bound to be corruption when members are forced to vote on sprawling bills nobody has a chance to inspect. Instead, all legislation should be posted online for 72 hours before the vote, so the staff and bloggers can nitpick and expose.
Finally, today before noon, fire Bob Ney as chairman of the House Administration Committee. For God's sake, Republicans, show a little moral revulsion.
Back in the dim recesses of my mind, I remember a party that thought of itself as a reform, or even a revolutionary movement. That party used to be known as the Republican Party. I wonder if it still exists.
Only one side remark about Democrats in the whole piece, and not one I could disagree with.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Either way, it is some story. Andrea Mitchell has reason to think/conjecture/know that Amanpour was spied on by the administration, and for some reason as yet unknown she didn't want that little detail being public yet.
To be clear, I don't mean I hope that they were spying on Amanpour, just that there's certainly reason to be concerned that they have done such things and if they have it'd be nice if there were reasons to be optimistic that the truth will come out.
Of course will be confronted with the inevitable Sunday roundtables on the subject.
Fox News Sunday:
Hume: Why do you care about this Juan? What do you have to hide? Huh, terrorist symp?
Broder: The real crime is how the Democrats have responded to this crime.
Meet the Press:
Russert: This week, another discussion of the greatest generation and just how great they are, like my pop big Russ.
Kurtz: Some liberal journalists are unhappy that they were being spied on. Is this really a problem, Jonah Goldberg?
Unfortunately this transcript was released prematurely. It was a topic on which we had not completed our reporting, and it was not broadcast on 'NBC Nightly News' nor on any other NBC News program. We removed that section of the transcript so that we may further continue our inquiry.
We didn't cover this at any of the blogger ethics panels I went to.
Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up in this net?
Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of this program or not? I don't know the answer to that
Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been eavesdropped upon?
Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.
The first Q&A is there, the second has been disappeared. Why?
...apologies. I got this wrong from what I heard on CNN (my fault, not theirs). Supremos did transfer him to civilian court but they've made no decision on whether or not to accept the original appeal which the JD now argues is moot.
And, if it comes out that the Bush administration was spying on journalists and political opponents will the conservatarians care about that?
Remember during the election Dick Cheney said that if John Kerry got elected we'd get hit by a terrorist attack. By that reasoning the reelection of Bush was a matter of national security, and therefore according to Abu Gonzalez and Torture Yoo Bush could do anything he wanted to in order to get re-elected.
See how their logic works?
...UPDATE: NBC has removed that bit from their transcript. Sweet.
On the other hand, when China's economic power is such that when it tells Microsoft to censor stuff Microsoft obeys perhaps there is an issue there somewhere.
Magic 8 ball sez on prospect of Althouse providing a satisfactory answer to Ted's question: all signs point to no.
Maybe Altmouse can help. Certainly none of our trolls have managed to do so.
Not a single troll stepped up to the plate last night. So, consider this thread another opportunity to answer this:
Can anyone - anywhere - explain, just a little bit - just one time - how "national security has been damaged" by revelations that the Administration was eavesdropping without FISA-required warrants and judicial oversight rather than with them?
The biggest corruption scandal to infect Congress in a generation took down one of the best-connected lobbyists in Washington yesterday. The questions echoing around the capital were what other careers -- and what other familiar ways of doing business -- are endangered.
Jack Abramoff represented the most flamboyant and extreme example of a brand of influence trading that flourished after the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives 11 years ago. Now, some GOP strategists fear that the fallout from his case could affect the party's efforts to keep control in the November midterm elections.
Abramoff was among the lobbyists most closely associated with the K Street Project, which was initiated by his friend Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), now the former House majority leader, once the GOP vaulted to power. It was an aggressive program designed to force corporations and trade associations to hire more GOP-connected lobbyists in what at times became an almost seamless relationship between Capitol Hill lawmakers and some firms that sought to influence them.
Abramoff was the GOP machine.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Actually crazy Andy Sullivan said something similar about me once when I was still anonymous. He said it wasn't fair that I was anonymous because (paraphrasing from memory) that meant they "couldn't go after me personally."
...Scotty's full of shit too:
Q Scott, Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud and corruption and tax evasion here in the federal court in Washington. Already the DNC has put out a statement essentially saying that this is another example of what they are calling the "culture of corruption and abuse of power" that has been the hallmarks of the Bush administration. Any response?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've seen press reports that indicate that he has -- he and his clients have given to both Democrats and Republicans. So that's the first thing that I would say.
His clients have, but he hasn't.
"I think he's been dealt a bad hand and the worst, rawest deal I've ever seen in my life. Words like bribery are being used to describe things that happened every day in Washington and are not bribes."
Jack Abramoff will plead guilty to three felony counts in Washington today as part of a settlement with federal prosecutors, ending an intense, months-long negotiation over whether the Republican lobbyist would testify against his former colleagues, people involved with the case said.
Mr. Abramoff, 46, is pleading guilty to fraud, public corruption and tax evasion, setting the stage for prosecutors to begin using him as a cooperating witness against his former business and political colleagues. In exchange, Mr. Abramoff faces a maximum of about 10 years in prison in the Washington case.
As always, we must not forget that Dana's got a secret...
...firsts words out of Ed Henry's mouth (paraphrasing): 'Democrats too!!! Don't forget Democrats too!'
he's such a tool
Monday, January 02, 2006
I don't know why this is too hard to comprehend. It's been an obvious difference in the critique of the press since I've been paying attention to such things. The Post's ombudsman just wrote something along the lines of "the right forgets how mean we were to Clinton and the Left wants us to be an adjunct of Moveon.org."
Uh, no, the issue is that the Left remembers how shitty and unfair you were to Clinton and ALSO remembers how Walter Pincus can't get published on Page 1. It's the Right which has been spewing the "liberal media" drumbeat for decades as idiots like Bernie Goldberg were paraded around the media while the Left has been screeching Please Do Your Jobs Better.
I think at this point the only explanation is that the New Republic is about to go belly up and all their writers are angling for jobs. I know Foer in particular is smarter than this.
The issue is simple: Bush has declared that one man has the right to make the law whenever, in his determination, national security warrants it. While even I can understand the necessity of broad executive powers in emergency situations, we aren't anywhere close to being in one of those. If Bush decides that personally shooting dissident bloggers or pesky journalists in the head is in fact necessary for national security, then no one can object. The fact that he has not, as far as we know, done any such thing does not matter in the slightest. By conferring dictatorial authority on himself Bush has declared that this is, in fact, a dictatorship even if he hasn't (yet) bothered using such authorities to the fullest of his claimed ability.
It's a mystery why Russert and the gang can giggle over their little roundtables, essentially ignoring what amounts to a military coup by our own president. He's asserted the authority of commander in chief over the entire country, and not just the military to which the constitution grants him such authority. Yes, we hope and generally assume that this temper tantrum by our boy king will pass in 3 years, that the his overreach will not have long lasting effects, that the crisis will pass.
2005 was the year the president declared he was the law, and few of our elite opinion makers and shapers bothered to notice, or care.
BAGHDAD -- The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq's criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.
Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq's 26 million people.
"The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference. In an interview this past week, McCoy said: "This was just supposed to be a jump-start."
...blogger appears to be working again
Blogger is screwed up for me today. This is a test to see if I can
post by email.
If anyone working for Blogger happens to be a reader, the error I'm
getting when I try to publish is;
001 java.io.IOException: No space left on
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Vandals have twice struck a home in this Metro East town where a black Santa Claus was on display in the yard.
Vandals on Friday stole the Santa and spray-painted a death threat and racial slur on the home of William Glass. Last week, someone tied a noose around the Santa's neck and hung it from a tree.
Sunday, January 01, 2006
I once had a short (came at the end of the conversation and thus we didn't really have a chance to flesh it out) debate about bloggers and the FEC with a journalist. While it was fairly short, it still took fairly long for me to explain that whatever ethical issues we might think are important that what he was talking about involved placing requirements on "bloggers" which weren't required of anyone in the media. His position seemed to be that, by definition, the respectable media didn't have these problems.
SAN ANTONIO -- President Bush on Sunday strongly defended his domestic spying program, saying it's a limited initiative that tracks only incoming calls to the United States.
"It's seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with al-Qaida or an al-Qaida affiliate and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," Bush said. "They attacked us before, they'll attack us again."