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If the Democrats are afraid to filibuster then they've already lost the filibuster

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I was talking over dinner with Jamal Simmons, the former press secretary for General Wesley Clark's presidential campaign. Jamal made an interesting point about the filibuster issue, and GOP threats to repeal the right to filibuster from the Senate rules if the Democrats ever use it.

To paraphrase Bismarck* (and Jamal), there is no point in having a filibuster if you're afraid to ever use it. That is not an argument for using the filibuster against Judge Alito, but rather to say that fear of the GOP "going nuclear" and changing the Senate rules in order to take away the filibuster is hardly a reason NOT to use the filibuster if you think you should. On the contrary, if the Dems cave to a threat by the GOP to get rid of the filibuster, then for all intents and purposes the filibuster is already gone.

If you're afraid to use it lest you lose it, then you've already lost it.

(*The Bismarck quote is: "You can do everything with bayonets, but you are not able to sit on them.") Read the rest of this post...

Libby and Cheney used to Carpool

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So how close is Libby to Cheney? According to the Washington Post:
No one would ruminate on the record about Libby's motives, but there is speculation that perhaps Libby is falling on his sword to protect Cheney, not only his boss, but also a personal friend. The two ride into work together in Cheney's motorcade most mornings. Although Libby testified otherwise under oath, his own notes indicate that it was Cheney who first told him that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. What is not known is whether Cheney was aware of -- or sanctioned -- Libby's effort to discredit Wilson and his wife.
Aww, how cute. They used to carpool together. But hey, indictment of Libby isn't a big deal.

You can try with Scalito to "push the reset button" Mr. President, but as more and more of this comes out at trial, it's going to be death by a thousand cuts. And don't worry, we'll be there to pour salt in every single one of them. Just to make it hurt. Read the rest of this post...

Everything is A-OK at the White House

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They don't need to make any changes...and they can't talk about it anyway:
The White House on Monday rebuffed calls for a staff shakeup, the firing of Karl Rove and an apology by President Bush for the role of senior administration officials in the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Three days after the indictment and resignation of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, the administration said it would have to remain silent as long as there was an investigation of the leak and legal proceeding under way. Bush ignored reporters' questions during an Oval Office meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi.
Plus, now that Bush has kissed the butts of the theocrats by giving them Scalito, everything is peachy keen in his world, again. So now he can once again ignore these realities:
Friday's indictment of I. Lewis Libby and the continuing investigation of Rove were a blow to Bush's already troubled presidency. The president's approval rating has tumbled to the lowest point since he took office and Americans are unhappy about high energy prices, the costly war in Iraq and economic uncertainties.
Read the rest of this post...

Alito is the GOP

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Make no mistake. George Bush picked a nominee who truly represents his vision of both the GOP and America. And, his party's leaders have reacted as expected:
Senate Republicans leaders welcomed President Bush's nomination of federal appeals judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court today and called for quick confirmation, but Democrats described the pick as a sop to the extreme right and warned that they would not act hastily.
And the GOPers want the fight:
Republicans said that any attempt to deny Alito a yes-or-no vote would return the Senate to the brink of a showdown that was avoided last spring only when seven lawmakers from each party brokered a compromise. This time, they said they would crush Democratic opposition.

GOP lawmakers sounded relieved to be rid of the Miers appointment, which collapsed last week after it became clear she faced an uphill climb in winning confirmation.

"Let's give Judge Alito a fair up-or-down vote, not left or right," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
The question is whether the American people are where Bush and the GOP are. And, this is a question for the GOP "moderates" like Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. They cannot claim to be pro-choice and vote for a Supreme Court nominee who wants to end the right to choose. It's not much more complicated than that. Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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So, if you care about basic rights in America, it has been a scary Halloween. Read the rest of this post...

Alito supported discrimination against people with AIDS

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From the Rude Pundit.
...according to the Washington Post, on September 24, 1986, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sam "Motherfucker-in-training" Alito helped author a Justice Department policy that "said that discrimination based on insufficient medical knowledge was not prohibited by federal laws protecting the handicapped. Employers, it said, may legally fire AIDS victims because of a 'fear of contagion whether reasonable or not.'" The Justice Department's position was rejected by many states, including some that reacted by barring discrimination against people with AIDS. Alito, whose work helped foster some of the hysteria about AIDS during the Reagan era, said, "We certainly did not want to encourage irrational discrimination," but the reaction to it "hasn't shaken our belief in the rightness of our opinion."
Read the rest of this post...

Oh that's right, only Republicans can kill nominees based on their "conservatism" or lack thereof

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Lindsey Graham must be feeling some heat because he's crawled back under his arch-conservative rock of late. His quote in today's NYT is cute, but absurdly hypocritical, considering the GOP just torpedoes Harriet Miers because she wasn't far-right conservative enough.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, fired back Sunday, saying that if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, "the filibuster will not stand."
You see, Republicans can shoot you down for being "liberal," and they can shoot you down for being conservative but not far-right extremist conservative. But if Democrats have concerns about which way you lean politically, well that's just uncalled for.

Terri Schiavo, here we go again. Read the rest of this post...

The Democracy Alliance is giving millions to...

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The same old people, I hear.

I just got word, from a reliable source, that the Democracy Alliance, a new coalition of rich liberal donors, has selected these new "upstart" organizations as their beneficiaries:
- Center for American Progress
- Media Matters
- America Votes
Lovely. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those fine organizations. If they had to give to established groups, I can't think of 3 more worthy. But it would be nice if these donors would start earmarking some of their funds for proven activists who need 1/100th of the money the large groups are getting. (A certain $17,500 we still need for a new server and platform comes to mind...) Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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If Scalito turns out to be as bad as initial reports indicate, would you support a filibuster?

I would, in spades. Read the rest of this post...

God hates jack-o-lanterns

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Some holiday spirit from the radical right lobbying group Focus on the Family. Apparently, Halloween is evil so they need to give their followers something more Christian-right to do with the kids.

My favorite line is the one about how knifing a pumpkin's guts is like what Jesus does to you to get rid of sin. Okay...:
What to Do About Halloween

The Pumpkin Gospel

What you need:

* pumpkin
* newspapers
* sharp knife
* spoon
* large bowl
* candle
* matches
* Bible

What to do:

Prepare a place for your pumpkin carving. Set newspapers on a table and get out the knife, spoon and bowl. Cut an opening in the top of the pumpkin. Have your kids pull out all of the seeds and scrape out the inside of the pumpkin.

What to talk about:

* How is the stuff we pulled out of the pumpkin like sin in our heart? (They’re both yucky; sin is inside us; it’s sticky and smelly.)
* How is the way we cleaned out the pumpkin like the way Jesus cleans us out when we confess our sins? (All the yucky stuff is taken away; Jesus scoops out the sin.)

What to do:

Draw a happy face on the pumpkin, then use the sharp knife to carve it out. When you are finished, read aloud 2 Corinthians 5:17 and/or Ephesians 2:10.

What to talk about:

* How have we made this pumpkin a “new creation”? (It has a face now; it used to be just a pumpkin, but now it’s a jack-o’-lantern.)
* How do we become a new creation when Jesus comes into our hearts? (We learn to love Him more; we’re no longer filled with yucky stuff; we become God’s children.)

What to share:

When Jesus comes into our hearts, we become new creations, just as our pumpkin became a new creation. Read Matthew 5:14-16. Then light a candle and place it in the pumpkin. Turn off the room lights so everyone can see the candlelight coming through the pumpkin’s face.

What to talk about:

How is the way the candlelight comes through the pumpkin like the way God wants our light to shine? (God wants others to see how much we love Him; God wants our light to be seen by others.)

What to do:

Sing age-appropriate songs such as This Little Light of Mine (younger children) or Shine, Jesus, Shine (older children and teenagers.)
Read the rest of this post...

Alito is a Chertoff crony, big surprise

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God forbid somebody get chosen who's actually not a Bush administration crony. Read the rest of this post...

Alliance for Justice's preliminary report on Alito

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Here. Read the rest of this post...

Would Rosa Parks vote for Judge Alito?

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The question crossed my mind today, what with Alito conveniently doing a photo op by Rosa's coffin. Read the rest of this post...

I'm watching Rosa Park's memorial service, live, on C-Span

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Put it on, it's really good.

You can watch it live online. Read the rest of this post...

Alito, the Army Reserves, and Vietnam

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Oh yes, it's that old story again. How did a guy who's draft number was 12 get a coveted spot in the reserves, which basically meant no duty in Vietnam?

Just askin'. Read the rest of this post...

October deadliest month in Iraq in a while

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Did we win yet? Read the rest of this post...

Scooter has a court date

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Book 'em.

Bush can try to distract us, but Reuters reports that Scooter has a court date this week:
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, who was indicted last week in a CIA leak investigation, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday for an arraignment, a court official said on Monday.
Read the rest of this post...

Mr. Bush, Rosa Parks' dead corpse is not a photo op

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How fortunate for President Bush and Judge Alito that Rosa Parks chose to die last week. I mean, why spend money on an expensive public relations stunt with flags and soldiers when you can get the whole kit and caboodle for free?

Rosa Parks' body is not a prop for partisan publicity stunts. Well, it wasn't definitively one until today. When the Congress decided to let Rosa Parks lie in state in the US Capitol building, I admit to worrying, just a bit, that this was more GOP publicity stunt than a truly heart-felt gesture to honor one of the heroes of the civil rights movement. After all, the GOP is not beyond using dead women - well, brain-dead women, at least - as props for their political passion play. So it was understandable that more than a few of us were a bit uneasy about the GOP suddenly wanting to honor the US civil rights movement only months after one in four Republican Senators refused to sign a resolution against lynching.

And now we know the rest of the story. Bush's Supreme Court pick, Judge Alito, will be visiting the Hill today and, oh what a coincidence, he's going to pay homage to Rosa Parks in state. Oh, and, gosh, do you think there will be cameras there to capture the Kodak moment?

Now, maybe this isn't a stunt to use Rosa Parks' corpse as a tool to further a far-right extremist agenda that she would never endorse in a million years. But if that's the case, that this is simply a heartfelt gesture to honor a great woman, then I'd like to know if Judge Alito was coming to Washington anyway to pay homage to Rosa Parks, whether or not he was going to be the Supreme Court nominee. If not, then this is a PR stunt.

Oh, and one final question for Judge Alito. Did he ever visit Rosa Parks when she was alive? Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Lots to discuss. Read the rest of this post...

PFAW's extensive fact sheet on Sc-alito

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Here Read the rest of this post...

Harry Reid on Sc-alito

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Reid Statement on the Nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court
Washington, D.C. -- Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.

The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.

I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.

Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.

Justice O'Connor has been the deciding vote in key cases protecting individual rights and freedoms on a narrowly divided Court. The stakes in selecting her replacement are high.

I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the Court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers.
Read the rest of this post...

Schumer, Kennedy blast choice of Alito

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Key Democratic Senators on the Judiciary Committee aren't happy. Game on.

``It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us,'' said Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., pulled no punches. "Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not on strength."
Read the rest of this post...

White House, Frist politicizing Rosa Parks Tribute with Alito

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AP reports that Alito is being taken to the Capitol for a photo op at the casket of Rosa Parks:
Wasting no time, the White House arranged for Alito to go to the Capitol after the announcement.The schedule called for Senate Majority Leader Bill First to greet him and accompany the nominee to the Capitol Rotunda to go to the coffin of the late civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.
That is especially callous given Alito's record on the bench, via Think Progress:
ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]
Read the rest of this post...

Scalito: "Activist Conservativist"

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Bush just lied saying that Scalito didn't want to make the laws from the bench. Not so say those who have tried cases in front of him. From US News:
Alito's conservative stripes are equally evident in criminal law. Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who has known Alito since 1981 and tried cases before him on the Third Circuit, describes him as "an activist conservatist judge" who is tough on crime and narrowly construes prisoners' and criminals' rights. "He's very prosecutorial from the bench. He has looked to be creative in his conservatism, which is, I think, as much a Rehnquist as a Scalia trait," Lustberg says.
With the nomination of Scalito, we can see Republican's true colors:
  • Replace O'Connor with a woman? Bah, who needs that, let's go with a man who wants to curtail women's rights - it'll make Sandra proud she decided to leave during Bush's administration!
  • Don't like "activist judges"? Too bad, this one's a Republican, so he's OUR kind of activist judge.
  • Believe in separation of church and state? Screw off, we want our Ten Commandments.
Republicans believe in nothing. It's war. Read the rest of this post...

Scalito had major conflict-of-interest issue

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Another ethically challenged Bush appointee according to the Washington Post:
Three years ago Alito drew conflict-of-interest accusations after he upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit against the Vanguard Group. Alito had hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with the mutual fund company at the time. He denied doing anything improper but recused himself from further involvement in the case.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars and it didn't raise ethical concerns for him. So how much did he have to have invested with Vanguard before it became a conflict-of-interest? This should get an enormous amount of scrutiny. Read the rest of this post...

Scalito's extreme right wing record

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Legal scholar Jonathan Turley just told the Today Show that there would be no one to the right of Alito on this Supreme Court. He also said Alito was the choice of the right wingers to overturn Roe v. Wade. Think Progress has already posted some of the key cases from Alito's judicial record. You'll want to take a look:
ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]
Read the rest of this post...

Bush playing solely to base with Alito

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By choosing Alito, Bush is responding to the right wing theocrats who control his presidency:
With the embarrassing withdrawal of the Miers nomination last week, the rising death toll in Iraq and Friday's indictment of top vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Bush's approval ratings are at the lowest point of his presidency. Polls show Democrats and most independents don't approve of his job performance, leaving the conservative wing of his party the only thing keeping Bush afloat politically.
In fact, yesterday, Minority Leader Harry Reid warned specifically about Alito:
"That is not one of the names that I've suggested to the president," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told "Late Edition" on CNN. "In fact, I've done the opposite. I think it would create a lot of problems."

Reid said Bush would be making a "mistake" were he to settle on a hard-liner simply to appease the far right in his party, especially after conservatives' wrath undermined Miers' nomination.
The White House is trying to spin him like Roberts, but he is really a Scalia. Bush's approval rating is 39%. If he wants a battle, let's give him one. Read the rest of this post...

Bush to Nominate "Scalito" - It's War

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If you're a woman, you better get permission from your husband before you take off your burka. From AP:
President Bush will nominate Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, rebounding from a stinging rebuke over his first choice by tapping a conservative federal judge to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate.
While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush's allies on the right, Democrats have served notice that his nomination would spark a partisan brawl. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito's nomination would "create a lot of problems."

Unlike Miers, who has never been a judge, Alito, a 55-year-old jurist from New Jersey, has been a strong conservative voice on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since former President George H.W. Bush seated him there in 1990.

So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Liberal groups, on the other hand, note Alito's moniker and say his nomination raises troubling concerns, especially when it comes to his record on civil rights and reproductive rights. Alito is a frequent dissenter on the 3rd Circuit, one of the most liberal federal appellate benches in the nation.

In the early 1990s, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

"The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems Â? such as economic constraints, future plans or the husbands' previously expressed opposition Â? that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion," Alito wrote.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court where the justices, in a 6-3 decision struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist cited Alito's reasoning in his own dissent.
Well folks, after 40 years, the game is finally on. Miers wasn't Conservative enough, so they pick a guy who wants to bring Taliban-style rulings to our Supreme Court. This is the big fight folks and this one, we're going to win. Bully Bush is weak, and it's time we gang up and take him on.

Ready for hand-to-hand combat? It's time to take these bullies on "big time"! Read the rest of this post...

Italy to pull out of Iraq?

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It sure sounds like it. Berlusconi will meet with Bush and is making every effort to distance himself from the Iraqi disaster, now saying that he tried to convince Bush not to go to war. Uh huh, right. Berlusconi has to get out of Iraq, a war that has never had much support in Italy because that at least removes one of his problems at home. Curing the sick and feeble Italian economy is much bigger so he still has an even larger mess to clean up which won't happen easily or quickly.

Sorry George but the Coalition of the Going is about to grow once again. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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And off to bed. Joe should be picking up the early morning from Maine, where he's spending the week. Read the rest of this post...

Murray Waas on Cheney's new chief of staff, David Attington, and his role in RoveGate

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More from Murray. Read the rest of this post...

Bush vetted next Supreme Court pick with Concerned Women for America

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It's official. Harriet's replacement will be the radical right's candidate. So we go from a middle of the road Reagan Republican appointee, Sandra Day, to a far-right Terri Schiavo nutjob.

The American people didn't vote last November for more Terri Schiavos. Read the rest of this post...

Rosa Parks lying in state, live online

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Strikes me as a bit odd, being able to watch live footage of Rosa Parks' coffin lying in state. I mean, it's a good thing that people can pay their respects online, and it permits the entire world to be there, live, but still, something about this is odd.

Anyway, you can watch too via the Washington Post's Web site, the live video feed is their top story on the left-hand side of the page right now. Read the rest of this post...

Sunday Night Open Thread

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I'm feeling generous tonight Mr. President. You had a rough week last week, some (like your poll numbers) might even say your worst ever. So, I'll reccomend a shot instead of a girlie drink. It's how your administration looks right now:

2 cl vodka
2 cl sweet and sour mix
2 cl triple sec
ice cubes

Fill the shaker half with ice cubes, and add the ingredients. Shake well. Serve in a shot glass.
Open thread away! Hitting into my Sunday night HBO. Read the rest of this post...

E&P on David Brooks' growing madness

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It's good
Brooks’ latest work follows by just three days his column profiling Bush’s second-term malaise and how he can repeat the Reagan resurrection—-without once mentioning the war in Iraq. “The Bush administration is not in quite the same bind the Reagan administration was in,” he wrote. “There is no one big scandal.” Brooks willfully ignores that even if Plamegate is no Iran-contra, Bush is beset with a far worse scandal than anything Reagan faced: misleading his country into war, a war that is still going on, with no end in sight and American boys coming home in body bags almost every day.
Read the rest of this post...

60 Minutes Open Thread

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Use this thread to discuss the Wilson piece on 60 Minutes. Read the rest of this post...

New Supreme Court nominee could come tomorrow

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And Harry Reid is already sending out warning signals on Judge Samuel Alito, who has been dubbed "Scalia-lite":
A judge on the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's.

"That is not one of the names that I've suggested to the president," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told "Late Edition" on CNN. "In fact, I've done the opposite. I think it would create a lot of problems."

Reid said Bush would be making a "mistake" were he to settle on a hard-liner simply to appease the far right in his party, especially after conservatives' wrath undermined Miers' nomination.
Bush is probably going to try to appease the hard right, they are all he has right now. Looks like the Democrats are ready for that fight. Read the rest of this post...

Talk grows as to whether Bush should fire Rove

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Of course, Bush would have to actually keep his word if he were going to fire Rove. And if we've learned anything this past year, it's that Bush's word is meaningless when cronyism comes into play.

Anyway, whether Karl should be fired is the talk of the day. Good.

Speaking of which: Tell me again WHY this man still has a codeword (we assume) security clearance? I had one of those clearances and I can tell you that were I ever under investigation for leaking the name of a CIA agent, there's a snowball's chance in hell that I've have been allowed to keep my clearances, let alone continue having access to some of the most highly classified intelligence in this country. It is simply outrageous that during wartime the Bush administration has such a lax attitude toward state secrets.

GOP: The Party of Treason. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Just got back from a very nice brunch at a fellow blogger's place. Anything new and scary happening? Read the rest of this post...

For us it may have been Fitzmas, for Time Magazine, it's Valentine's Day

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Titled Mr. Fitzgerald Goes to Washington, Time sends Patrick Fitzgerald the biggest Valentine in the world:
Last summer in the Sierra Nevada in California, he wielded an ice ax to scale the treacherous slopes of Mount Whitney, at 14,491 ft. the highest peak in the lower 48 states. He has gone bungee jumping in New Zealand. He hang glides. All of which would be only mildly impressive if he weren't also scared of heights, notes David Kelley, a close friend and former colleague in New York. "He sees the challenge and wants to take it on," says Kelley.
Other than that hideously kiss up Entertainment-Tonight-style paragraph, the rest of the piece is pretty interesting.

I've been working on a bigger piece to digest last week, but it's going to take me a little while longer. Suffice to say I'm quite satisfied with the indictment of Scooter. As any scholar of war will tell you, it's always to your advantage when your enemy's camp is in disarray. With Scooter and Miers, it's a nice one-two punch of disarray.

And we're not done yet - it was just the first day of Fitzmas, just the Partridge in the Pear Tree. I can't wait for 5 gold rings (perhaps they are handcuffs?)! Read the rest of this post...

Of course FItzgerald didn't charge anybody with violating the secrecy statutues - Libby obstructed the entire investigation

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Fitzgerald mentioned this on Friday, but it's worth repeating, since the Republican surrogates are now suggesting that no "real" crime occured because Fitzgerald has yet to charge anyone with leaking classified information.

Scooter, and possibly others (Official A comes to mind), obstructed the investigation. They lied to the investigators and thwarted the effort of the investigators to find out the truth. It wouldn't be surprising that when the key witness is lying and refusing to come clean, to this day, that the investigation hasn't yet charged anyone with the underlying crime. I mean, duh. As Fitzgerald noted, this is why perjury and obstruction of justice are such serious crimes. Scooter is literally stopping Fitzgerald from finding out what happened. So to suggest that Scooter's apparently-successful (so far) effort to obstruct the investigation by lying somehow proves that Scooter and Rove didn't violate any secrecy laws, well, that's just absurd.

And Al Capone was innocent of being a mobster, by the way. After all, they only got him on tax evasion, so that proves the prosecutor concluded he was innocent of everything else. Read the rest of this post...

Amb. Joe Wilson on CBS' "60 Minutes" tonight

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Don't miss it. Read the rest of this post...

Reid: Bush should apologize and Rove should resign

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He's right. As Reid said this morning on ABC's "THIS WEEK," Bush and Cheney both came out and praised "Scooter," rather than apologizing for the crimes his own staff have committed. Shameful. Read the rest of this post...

Senator Cornyn R-TX says it's okay for Karl and Scottie to talk

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Senator Cornyn is on THIS WEEK this morning saying that Fitzgerald's investigation proves that Rove broke no laws and did nothing wrong.

Great, then the White House's surrogates are saying the investigation is over and Rove has been exonerated. And finally Karl and Scottie can come clean with everything they know that happened. Did Karl lie to Scottie? Did Scottie lie to the press and the country? Did the president lie when he said he wanted to get to the bottom of this and he already knew it was Karl? Did Cheney lie when he shut up for 2 years while he knew Scooter was the leaker?

Thank you, Senator Cornyn. We now know it's okay to demand answers from the White House since Karl has been "exonerated." Read the rest of this post...

American's really don't trust Congress either

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AP/Ipsos new poll has bad numbers for Congress on honesty and ethics. Not much of a surprise with DeLay and Frist in charge. The key is how the Democrats make it work for them:
Only one-third of Americans give Congress good ratings for its ethics and honesty, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that found more evidence of the public's longstanding disdain for the legislative branch of government.

Investigations of two top congressional leaders have drawn more attention to Congress' low standings, though analysts say other factors such as the Iraq war and gas prices are likely contributors to the dip this year in Congress' ratings.

Almost half in the poll, 45 percent, give Congress poor marks for its honesty and ethics, and 21 percent said congressional ethics were neither good nor poor.
Read the rest of this post...

Sunday Morning Open Thread

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What will this week bring? Read the rest of this post...

The WMD threat in Jordan and other WMD lies

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The Libby indictment is making plenty of people re-examine some of those terrifying WMD stories that have cluttered the media during recent years. Just like the WMD story from Iraq, guess what? Yep, same old, same old. The GOP crazies had been looking for stories that would scare the hell out of Americans and get them lined up behind their agenda and they needed something shocking to do this because how else could you mobilize support for such radical policies? With the absolute failure to deliver any results with WMD in Iraq, they tried (and still try) to locate and suggest other WMD threats around the world, preferably in locations and situations that are impossible to prove with Syria often making the list.

Almost forgotten in the pack of lies strategy has been scary story of a WMD plot in Jordan and talk of the 2 mile mushroom cloud. Perhaps the reason is has been forgotten is because again, it was a pack of lies meant only to scare people despite a lack of evidence of any serious WMD threat. Now that is it obvious to anyone not wearing blinders that the neocons have been manipulating the American public through the media to wreak fear across the land, the MSM is revisiting some of these so-called plots and exposing them for what they really are...lies.

Looks like the high times of the smear and fear crowd are slipping away. Read the rest of this post...

Wash Post/ABC Poll: Bush's ethics worse than Clinton's, Approval rating at all-time low

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I think the voters want a do-over.

And he's at a new all-time low in job approval.
In the aftermath of the latest crisis to confront the White House, Bush's overall job approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polls. Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.
Good poll, across the board. Check it out. Read the rest of this post...

Happy Day Before Halloween

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Boo! Read the rest of this post...

Hey W, Security requires a secure White House staff, too

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In the radio address today, Chimpy pontificated about what it takes to be secure, but neglected to mention the total failure of national security on his staff:
Our security at home is directly linked to a Middle East that grows in freedom and peace. The success of the new Iraqi government is critical to winning the war on terror and protecting the American people. Ensuring that success will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve, and it will involve more risk for Iraqis and for American and coalition forces.
Our security at home is directly related to having a White House that doesn't harbor treasonous traitors. Read the rest of this post...

Saturday night open thread

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I've got some posts saved up, ready to be posted. But it's Saturday night, I'm heading to a Halloween party in a bit, and figured it would be a lot more interesting for folks to chat. So chat. Read the rest of this post...

Tamiflu, Relenza and the avian flu vaccine

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Roche recently met with Senator Schumer and they are now finalizing meetings for as soon as next week to review outsourcing possibilities with four generic drug manufacturers that could help increase production of the antiviral Tamiflu. Tamiflu is not a cure but so far has been the most effective weapon against avian flu.

GlaxoSmithKline is prepared to start testing a vaccine next year though it is likely two years away from availability to the market. Meanwhile Glaxo is increasing production of Relenza, their antiviral drug and I have heard that Glaxo is also discussing outsourcing production.

The administration and the GOP love to talk about "market forces" so considering the fact that the avian flu has been widely discussed for at least the last five years, are they really taking full advantage of "market forces" with their last minute buying spree, which only provides medicine for a couple percent of the US population? Who is profiting here and why? Sure, the US government is funding vaccine projects today but this is not a quick-fix solution and it will take time. It's anyone's guess just how much time we have to solve this problem. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Ok, I want to know what people are wearing for Halloween. Seriously, any cool costume ideas? Read the rest of this post...

Amb. Joe Wilson speaks out about all the president's men

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Read it.
The grand jury has now concluded that at least one of the president's men committed crimes. We are heartened that our system of justice is working and appreciative of the work done by our fellow citizens who devoted two years of their lives to grand jury duty.

The attacks on Valerie and me were upsetting, disruptive and vicious. They amounted to character assassination. Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months.

But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime.

The war in Iraq has claimed more than 17,000 dead and wounded American soldiers, many times more Iraqi casualties and close to $200 billion.

It has left our international reputation in tatters and our military broken. It has weakened the United States, increased hatred of us and made terrorist attacks against our interests more likely in the future.

It has been, as Gen. William Odom suggested, the greatest strategic blunder in the history of our country.

We anticipate no mea culpa from the president for what his senior aides have done to us. But he owes the nation both an explanation and an apology.
Read the rest of this post...

Authorities Ignore Clear Warnings Of Terrorist Attacks

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This time, it's the 1993 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the authorities are the Port Authority responsible for security in the buildings. A jury just found them negligent for avoiding obvious security measures.
During the four weeks of testimony, the trial focused on a 1985 report by the Office of Special Planning, an antiterrorist task force convened by Peter Goldmark, who was the executive director of the Port Authority from 1977 to 1985.... After a visit to Scotland Yard in London that year, he wrote a memo saying that Scotland Yard was "appalled" that there would be public transient parking beneath a facility like the World Trade Center.

The report concluded: "A time-bomb-laden vehicle could be driven into the W.T.C. and parked in the public parking area. The driver would then exit via elevator into the W.T.C. and proceed with his business unnoticed. At a predetermined time, the bomb could be exploded in the basement. The amount of explosives used will determine the severity of damage to that area."
Naturally, the PA ignored the report, the major recommendations and most of the compromise recommendations. Wow, top officials ignoring reports spelling out what could happen if they don't take precautionary measures. Sound familiar? Read the rest of this post...

Bush Watched TV!

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Yes, in an effort to portray the President as taking this scandal very, very seriously, CNN reported that White House sources told them Bush actually watched 20 minutes of the Fitzgerald press conference...while eating. Yes, Bush looking at the TV while dining is considered a telling sign of Presidential concern. Golly, maybe when Rove is indicted Bush will pick up the Washington Post and read the stories on the front page. Any suggestions for Bush on what to do to indicate he really, really takes this scandal seriously? Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Man what a week. Read the rest of this post...

Big win on gay rights in Alaska Supreme Court

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An equal protection victory:
Gay rights advocates claimed a major victory after the state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional to deny benefits to same-sex partners of public employees.

In overturning a lower court ruling, the state high court said Friday that barring benefits for state and city employees' same-sex partners violates the Alaska constitution's equal protection clause.
And although this is just a quick synopsis from the AP, the court had a very interesting rationale:
In the 2001 Superior Court ruling overturned Friday, Judge Stephanie Joannides said the state and city did not have to extend benefits to same-sex couples, equating them with unmarried heterosexual couples who also are not eligible.

The high court said that comparison failed to acknowledge the fact that heterosexual couples can choose to get married, while homosexual couples cannot.
AP also reported that Alaska's butthead Governor, Frank Murkowski, was "outraged." Read the rest of this post...

Well, then, keep up the good work, Karl Official A

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Apparently, everyone at the White House is breathing easier now that Karl hasn't been indicted. They're also claiming that the scandal never ever interfered with his work:
Although Mr. Rove had reportedly been distracted by the investigation, several of his colleagues said Friday that in fact he had been engaged in his work all along. They denied that the case had caused any preoccupation contributing to the two central political disasters of recent weeks: the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the crash-and-burn of Harriet E. Miers's nomination to the Supreme Court.
So Karl's been engaged all along, and had a hand in both Katrina and Miers debacles. Then, keep it up, Karl. See if you can match your work product on those two stellar performances. See how much lower you can get the approval're already in record low territory.

But, don't get too cocky. Fitz is still watching you, "Offical A." Read the rest of this post...

Libby just can't remember

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I'm having flashbacks to Reagan and Iran-Contra already. I recently watched a great BBC series on the rise of the neocons and the parallel rise of the radical Muslim extremists and the neocons have been manipulating information and fighting with the CIA since the 1970s so it's no wonder he's going with the "I can't remember" defense. There have been so many incidents, it's probably hard to remember every time they smeared someone and lied about national defense. At least it's a change from the "I didn't do it"/Bart Simpson defense that they usually deliver. Read the rest of this post...

Ah, Orchid blogging!

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Geez, so busy with corruption, so forgetful of the orchids.

This is an assortment of paphiopedilums. I don't own these in the photo, took this shot at a local greenhouse. I just love these kinds of orchids - paphs - and have many. They require low light, which means they're relatively easy to grow and flower, but still, they tend to prefer to be somewhat moist all the time, not sopping wet, but moist, so they can require a bit more attention. Anyway, I think they're cool - I love the colors on the red ones.

Enjoy. Read the rest of this post...

The way Fitzgerald is talking about Rove is the same way he talked about corrupt former IL Governor George Ryan, right before he indicted him

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Fitz even called Ryan "Official A". :-)

Hat tip to Jonathan for finding this.

More on Official A here. Read the rest of this post...

It's confirmed: Rove is STILL under investigation

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I'm finally watching ABC News' World News Tonight and they're describing how Patrick Fitzgerald caught Scooter Libby lying. Scooter said that Tim Russert told him about Plame and that Scooter did not mention Plame to Matt Cooper of Judith Miller.

Then they show a clip of Fitzgerald say the following about Libby:
He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls [to the reporters], the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.
Did you catch that? Libby was the FIRST official to disclose Valerie Plame's identity outside the government to a reporter. So Fitzgerald sounds like he just confirmed that he did in fact find evidence that a second US government official disclosed Plame's identity to a reporter. We assume that the second official, of course, would be Karl Rove.

Whether or not we all just "know" that Karl disclosed her identity to a reporter, especially because the papers say his lawyer told them as much, it's quite another thing for the Republican special prosecutor to confirm that fact.

Then take a look at tomorrow's Washington Post story that just came out minutes ago (I was literally about to publish this point when Joe called to alert me to the Post article):
Karl Rove, the president's top strategist, narrowly escaped indictment after providing new information during eleventh-hour negotiations with Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald but could still be charged in the case, according to three people familiar with the talks. A source close to Rove said the senior strategist's fate will be known soon....

The 22-page indictment leaves open the possibility of more bad news to come: the specter of a public trial featuring top White House officials and the chance of more indictments in the weeks ahead....

If he decides to seek charges against Rove, Fitzgerald would present the evidence to a new grand jury because the one that indicted Libby expired yesterday and its term cannot be extended.

"The Special Counsel has advised Mr. Rove that he has made no decision about whether or not to bring charges," Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said in a statement....

A source close to Rove added, "There is still the chance that Mr. Rove could face indictment." Lawyers involved in the case said Fitzgerald is likely to put pressure on Libby to provide evidence against Rove or other potential targets.
That melds perfectly with Fitzgerald talking today about the "first" official.

And finally, why were other government officials today referred to as "the vice president, someone from the White House press office, an undersecretary at State," while Karl Rove was refered to in the indictment as "Official A." That sounds like the kind of term you use for a co-conspirator who you don't want to mention yet.

I'm not counting my eggs yet, but this is getting very interesting. Read the rest of this post...

More on Judith Miller coming clean, or not, a year ago

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QUESTION: In the end, was it worth keeping Judy Miller in jail for 85 days in this case? And can you say how important her testimony was in producing this indictment?

FITZGERALD: Let me just say this: No one wanted to have a dispute with the New York Times or anyone else. We can't talk generally about witnesses. There's much said in the public record.... I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005. No one would have went to jail. Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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What a day. Anyone watching Tom Brokaw's special on Evangelicals, "In God They Trust"? Yikes. If they have to say they aren't theocrats, they are. And they sure think they control both the White House and the GOP. Read the rest of this post...

AP's sources say "Official A" is Rove

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Karl Rove has been identified by AP's sources as "Official A" who is a prominent player in the Libby indictment:
Friday's indictment says "Official A" is a "senior official in the White House who advised Libby on July 10 or 11 of 2003" about a chat with Novak about his upcoming column in which Plame would be identified as a CIA employee.

Late Friday, three people close to the investigation, each asking to remain unidentified because of grand jury secrecy, identified Rove as Official A.
Read the rest of this post...

Don't Forget: Dick Cheney Lied

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One-time political strategist Dick Morris makes a good point in his NY Post Op-Ed: whatever the outcome of the indictments, Dick Cheney has some explaining to do. If the NYT and the grand jury is right (and there's certainly a preponderance of circumstantial evidence), Scooter's source for the info on Joe Wilson's wife was not the media but officials in the Administration and the Vice President himself. Cheney knew this and kept quiet about it for two years -- misleading the public and possibly the President.
Assuming the Times has its facts right, the burden of proof shifts to Cheney. It is incumbent on him to explain why he let his chief of staff mislead the public — for two years, including the entire 2004 presidential campaign.

There may be an innocent explanation for the veep's silence, or the Times may be wrong. But Dick Cheney owes us all an explanation.
So, Dick, got anything to say? Not to mention Scottie and the President himself. What did they know and when did they know it? Read the rest of this post...

Had Judith Miller come clean a year ago, Kerry would have won the election

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I just got a call from a friend whose wife came up with a very interesting point. Fitzgerald today said that he could have been having this press conference last October, if Judith Miller had been more forthcoming. And last October would have been right before the presidential election.

With the 2004 presidential election as close as it was, this could have easily - would have easily - swung the election to Kerry's favor. But Judith Miller didn't come forward, and Bush wasn't damaged BEFORE his re-election.

Very interesting indeed. Read the rest of this post...

Scooter speaks

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Reuters reports that Libby has issued a statement:
"I am confident that at the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated," Libby said in a statement issued by his lawyer, Joseph Tate.
Can't you just hear him blaring that old Billy Joel song "I am an innocent man"? His lawyer weighed in, too:
"To say we are disappointed is an understatement. Mr Libby testified to the best of his honest recollection on all occasions," Tate said in a separate statement.
Hmm, the best of his honest recollection seems to be what got ole Scooter in trouble in the first place. Scooter apparently has a different standard for "honest recollection" then most people. No surprise, he works for Dick Cheney and George Bush. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Have at it Read the rest of this post...

Bush speaking now

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Accepted resignation of Scooter

He's worked hard on behalf of the American people. Investigation is "serious." Now process moves into new phase. In our system each individual is presumed innocent. We're saddened, remain wholly focused on issues facing country. I got a job to do (that's quote).

That's it. Then he left without taking any questions. Read the rest of this post...

Joseph Wilson's statement

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Joseph Wilson's lawyer, Chris Wolf, just read a statement from him in front of the Federal Court Building. CNN covered it live. Key paragraph:
Today, however, is not the time to analyze or to debate. And it is certainly not a day to celebrate. Today is a sad day for America. When an indictment is delivered at the front door of the White House, the Office of the President is defiled. No citizen can take pleasure from that.
He also asked for people to respect the privacy of his wife and family. Read the rest of this post...

Open Thread

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Now that the press conference is over, what do you think? Read the rest of this post...

Fitzgerald: GOP Talking Point "Won't Fly"

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Fitzgerald was asked about a GOP talking point that the crimes charged are technicalities. He hit it out of the park: "That talking point won't fly." He said described just how serious the charges are against the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States and noted this is a "very, very serious matter."

He also said "truth is the engine of our judicial system."

Take that, Ken Mehlman. Read the rest of this post...

So, heads or tails on this press conference?

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It's not clear at all what this means for Rove or anyone else. Read the rest of this post...

Fitzgerald press conference now

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Chic-AH-go. Great accent.

Federal grand jury returned the indictment 5 hours ago.

Charges libby with 5 crimes.

Context (paraphrase): Valerie Wilson CIA officer status was classified and not widely known. Her friends, neighbors, college classmates had no idea. The fact that she was a CIA officer was not well known for her protection and for the benefit of all of us. Cover blown in July 2003. Novak not first reporter to be told. Several others told. Libby was first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June 2003.

"National security was at stake" in this case.

It's important that witnesses before a grand jury tell the truth, it's especially important in the national security area.

Fall of 2003. Clear Valerie Wilson's cover blown, investigation begins. Oct 2003 FBI interviews Libby. Focus of interview was what was it that he knew about Valerie Wilson, what he said to people. Libby gave the FBI a compelling story. Said Russert told HIM "hey do you know that all the reporters know that Wilson's wife works at the CIA." Later on he passed it on to other reporters, he said. He told the FBI he told Novak info he got from a reporter and didn't even know if it was true - he made clear that he didn't know if it was true, it was something all the reporters were saying - he said.

Later Libby went to Grand Jury, oath and testified, essentially said the same thing. Learned from VP info about Wilson's wife, but forgot. He learned it from Russert as if it were knew, he said. When he told Cooper and Miller he was just passing gossip, he said.

Would be compelling story if only it were true.

In fact, Libby discussed the info about Plame half a dozen times before his call with Russert. He didn't learn it from Russert, and it wasn't new info to him at that time.

Libby learned info about Wilson at least 3 times from govt officials.

4 US government officials told Libby about Plame, including an undersecretary of state (who was that?) and Cheney.

Basically, Libby lied about everything to the grand jury.


Q&A from reporters

Q This began as leak, yet no one charged with leaking, is it finished?

A It's not over. But the substantial work is concluded. Grand jury won't be continued. But we'll keep a grand jury open to consider other matters. In this cae, the damage was done to all of us. Why was this info going out? Was the damage intended? I can't tell you Scooter's motives - it prevents us from finding out why this leak happened. Compromising national security information is a very serious mater, and the need to get to the bottom is extremely important - anyone who would go into a grand jury and lie and impede the investigation has committed a serious crime. If what we allege in the indictment is true, he is charged with a very very serious crime.

Q Any evidence that Cheney encouraged him to leak it, or encourage him to lie?

A I'm not making allegations about anyone not charged in the indictment. We don't talk about people not charged in the indictment. Not going to comment on anyone not in the indictment.

Q Who is official A in the WH who talked to Novak, why weren't they charged?

A If we're not going to charge someone with a crime, we can't prove it, they didn't do it, or whatever, we don't talk about them. (This means that by not naming someone, that doesn't mean he found them innocent, it also means he may not have been able to prove anything).

Q Is Rove off the hook.

A Same answer as before. Not going to comment on any one name.

Q What are you still working on?

A I can't say. Then he said something about making intelligent decisions about when to end the investigation - meaning, it's not ended yet.

Q Damage to the entire nation, like what?

A Can't say. For people who work at the CIA, have to expect that classified info will be protected, info about their affiliation will be protected. They run a risk.

Q Grand jury?

A Grand jury expired. It's routine in long investigations to have a new grand jury if you need to go back to them. That's an ordinary practice.

Q Plans for a final report?

A No. Read the rest of this post...

My take

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Hat tip to Read the rest of this post...

I think I have the analogy

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If you're going to try to murder someone with a gun, the GOP will applaud that murder so long as you DON'T check whether the gun's safety is on or off. Why? Because so long as you DON'T check the safety, you have no way of knowing the status of the gun. The gun could be lethal or it could be benign as can be. And so long as you don't know for sure that it's lethal, you can't be held responsible.

My point?

If you're going to out a CIA agent and risk US national security, just make sure that you don't check in advance whether that agent is undercover. So long as you don't check, you don't know for sure whether outing her will risk the lives of every CIA agents, our soldiers, and every American. Maybe she just sweeps floors at the CIA, who knows? So long as you don't know for sure that she's a covert agent, you can't be held responsible. Read the rest of this post...

Newest GOP talking point

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Republican hack Joseph di Genova is now saying on TV that the indictment "proves" that no one in the White House knew Valerie Plame was an undercover agent so they've been exonerated.


1. You know someone is CIA.

2. You know people have no idea that this person is CIA - that's per se, since Scooter was intentionally trying to LET people know. If he thought people already knew, he wouldn't have been trying to spread the word.

3. You also know that you have no idea WHAT this person's status is - covert or overt agent.

4. You know that you have no way of KNOWING whether this person might actually be a covert agent since even if you think she's overt, she might actually be covert because that's the way these kind of sneaky things work in the world of spies.

5. So Scooter and Rove did not know for sure whether Valerie Plame was an undercover CIA agent, yet they outed her anyway. What di Genova seems to be saying, and any other Bush defenders would be saying, is that it's okay to out a CIA agent so long as you make super duper sure that you DON'T find out that agent's status, overt or covert.

So long as you don't do your due diligence, so long as you don't try to find out whether this agent might be an undercover agent and that your blowing her cover might seriously damage national security, so long as you do NOTHING of the kind to try to find out if what you're about to do may literally kill people, then there's no problem at all in your doing it.

In other words, if you want to out CIA agents and risk the lives of countless Americans while our country is at war, just make sure you don't inquire first as to whether it might be a problem. So long as you're negligent, you're a Republican hero.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've worked with a lot of CIA agents from my time working on arms control issues in the Senate, to my stint with the US embassy in Argentina, and beyond. I had security clearances way beyond top secret. The cardinal rule is that you do NOT tell ANYONE that they're CIA, regardless of their status. And if you aren't sure about their status, you sure as hell don't tell anyone that they're CIA. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove have lived in this town long enough to know that loose lips sink ships, especially when talking about CIA agents. To suggest that somehow they simply made an oopsie is an insult to everyone who has ever put their lives on the line for our country.

Amazing. Read the rest of this post...

Text of indictments are online here

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Read them and report in. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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UPDATE: CNN has confirmed that Libby has resigned.

Feel free to report on what you hear, what the press is saying, the pundits, etc.

And remember, a recent wire story had a title something like, Cheney is Bush's brain, Scooter is Cheney's brain.

The chief of staff of the REAL president of the United States just was forced to resign. That's a big deal. Read the rest of this post...

Scooter has been indicted

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5 counts for Libby:

1 count obstruction of justice
2 counts of perjury
2 counts of making false statements

Lied to FBI agents on Oct 14, Nov 26, 2003.
Committed perjury on March 5 and 24, 2004.
Engaged in obstruction of justice by impeding investigation.

Summary of indictment:

Beginning in late May 2003, two months before actual column by Novak in July 2003, Libby began acquiring info about trip to Niger by Wilson. The CIA decided on its own initiative to send Wilson to Niger after an inquiry by the VP. Libby lied about conversations he had with Tim Russert, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson's employment status was classified, her affiliatilon with CIA was not common knowledge. Revealing the agent's status has the potential to damage the national security, risk lives of that agent and other agents, damage national security.

Scooter Libby endangered national security.

"Without the truth our criminal justice system cannot serve the nation or our citizens." - Patrick Fitzgerald, today.

Alleged false statements and perjury:

Misrepresenting what it is he actually did and said with relationship to Tim Russert and Matt Cooper.

On the first false statement count:

Knowingly lied to FBI agent. Libby said that during a conversation with Tim Russert of NBC News Russert asked Libby if Libby was aware Wilson's wife worked for CIA. Libby well knew this statement to the FBI was false. When Libby spoke to Russert, Russert did NOT ask Libby if he knew the wife worked at the CIA or that reporters knew it.

Second false statement count:

Libby knew his statement about Matt Cooper was false, Libby confirmed for Cooper that Wilson's wife worked for CIA.

Perjury 1: ?

Perjury 2: Matt Cooper

I'm typing this while watching TV, so might have some of it a bit off. Read the rest of this post...

FOX: Libby has Resigned

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Fox News (via Wonkette) reports I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, has resigned. Read the rest of this post...

Wilson/Plame lawyer making statement today at 3pm Eastern

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Just got this from the Wilson/Plame's lawyer Chris Wolf, a friend of mine.
Christopher Wolf, counsel for Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph Wilson, will be making a statement on behalf of Ambassador Wilson at 3 PM in front of the U.S. Courthouse, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Remember, there were press accounts earlier this week that they were considering filing a civil lawsuit against White House officials.

So that means the documents should be released momentarily, we hope. At 2pm Eastern Patrick Fitzgerald has a press conference. And at 3pm Eastern the Plame/Wilson's lawyer is doing a press conference. Read the rest of this post...

Bob Barr blasts Bush administration over CIA leak

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Wow, he's doing an interview on CNN with Wolf Blitzer and he's painting a clear picture of why outing CIA agents is a problem. It not just makes the administration look bad on national security issues, but it tells foreign intelligence services not to trust us. He's really letting them have it. Wow. Bob friggin' Barr, a very conservative, rather nasty Republican former congressman. Read the rest of this post...

Don't mess with The Onion

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This is on The Onion's Web site today:

And it's in response to this. Read the rest of this post...

Bush gives speech on national security while waiting for indictments of staff who violated national security

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Just watched Bush on CNN giving the same old tired speech in Norfolk. How ironic that Bush is speaking about Iraq and national security on this day.

George Bush can give all the speeches he wants, but national security begins at home. In fact, it should literally begin in his house. Yet, today, we are going to get some facts on a major national security breach that occured on his watch. It looks like one of the chief architects of Bush's war in Iraq is going to be indicted today. His staff was willing to smear an undercover CIA agent for partisan political purposes. Any other president who cared about national security would consider that treason. And, let's not forget that his people smeared her because Bush and Cheney lied about the war in Iraq.

And how maddening is it that he just keeps saying that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, without realizing that's his fault. Read the rest of this post...

Announcement at noon, press conf. at 2 pm on the story that "won't go away"

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So we get the info. at noon:
The Justice Department was scheduled to make an announcement ``regarding the status of the special counsel's criminal investigation'' at noon Washington time. Fitzgerald will hold a news conference at 2 p.m.
Also, CNN's Dana Bash just read what she called a "carefully worded" statement from Rove's lawyer that said basically they've been told the Special Prosecutor made no decision on whether to bring charges and his status has not changed. Apparently, Rove is happy that he is not being indicted today. But Miles O'Brien responded that means "the story won't go away." The cloud stays over Rove and the White House as long as Karl stays there. Read the rest of this post...

Ann Coulter says this is the worst case scenario

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An indictment AND a continuing investigation.

See..... not so bad after all. If Ann is pissed, can things be that bad? Read the rest of this post...

Fitzgerald holding news conference at 2pm Eastern today

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And that's the latest Read the rest of this post...

Today we may find out if Karl Rove and George Bush are liars

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Karl Rove and George Bush said that no one in the White House was involved in outing Valerie Plame. George Bush said anyone involved would be fired. Whether or not Karl is ever indicted, Fitzgerald, by all press accounts and by the account of Karl's own lawyer's, already knows that Karl is a liar, that Karl lied to the president, and that the president lied to the nation.

Soon we will find out whether George Bush is a man of his word or whether he lies to the nation and tolerates liars at the most senior levels of the White House.

Maybe Bush will tell us it all depend what the definition of "treason" is. Read the rest of this post...

Scooter is Cheney's Rove

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I'm reading a lot of hand-wringing about Rove still only being under investigation. There is disappointment, sadness, etc. GET OVER IT.

Who runs the country? Dick Cheney. And Scooter is Cheney's Rove. Just because four years ago you didn't hate (or know) Scooter doesn't lessen the impact of today's probable announcement:
For the first time with this cabal, one of the top White House officials will FINALLY be held accountable.
With this bunch, any level of accountability is progress. So celebrate! It's just the first day of Fitzmas! Read the rest of this post...

Early AM Open Thread

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Is it Fitzmas morning yet? My adrenal glands are going to burn out waiting much longer.

Open thread away! Read the rest of this post...

Exxon Mobil delivers 75% increase in profits for last quarter

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Net income was $9.9 Billion for the quarter, despite production dropping by 4.7%. Yep, we're all in this together all right. The $9.9 Billion is a new record quarter amount for Wall Street. Read the rest of this post...

What's the Average Age Of The 2000+ US Soldiers Who Died In Iraq? 30.

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The average age of the soldiers who died in Vietnam was 19. It's a sobering statistic -- you can't help but think about all those young lives cut short.

Thanks to the end of the draft, the story is quite different -- but just as sad -- in Iraq. After 2000 deaths (and 15,000 wounded), I added up all their individual ages to find out what the average was. It's 30. (Go here for the CNN rundown, which includes photos and -- for those who still believe the myth of an undercount -- a description of where they died, usually in Iraq, but sometimes in another country or back in the US. It's heartrending)

We know they're dying faster -- it took 18 months for the first 1000 casualties and just 14 months for the next 1000. The insurgency is getting stronger and more lethal. So if that continues, we can expect to hit 3000 dead next August. (And we WILL still be in Iraq ten months from now.)

But what does it mean that these soldiers are on average 30 years old? One thing is clear: these adults have left behind a lot more widows and children. So how old are you? Read the rest of this post...

My latest thinking...

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UPDATE: This just in from the Wall Street Journal:
Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser and deputy White House chief of staff, was informed yesterday evening that he may not be charged today but remains in legal jeopardy, according to a person briefed on the matter. Mr. Fitzgerald, who meets with jurors this morning, has zeroed in on potential wrongdoing by I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, and is likely to charge Mr. Libby at least with making false statements. The testimony of reporters who have been witnesses in the case has contradicted Mr. Libby's public statements.
So, in response to points below, if this is true, then Rove is NOT exonerated tomorrow - on the contrary, they notified him that he's in the same legal position he was yesterday and last week and last year. The jury is still out, quite literally, on whether he is guilty or innocent of a crime, and they're going to keep looking at him. As I note in the end of my analysis, below, that ongoing uncertainty is NOT good news for the White House.

I agree that at first blush, if Rove isn't indicted on Friday, it could appear a victory for Rove to the public, and I'd be lying if I said I'm not disappointed.

But, and it's a big but...

Rove wins tomorrow ONLY if Fitzgerald says Rove is NOT getting indicted AND the investigation of Rove is over, not if Fitzgerald says he hasn't decided yet and needs another grand jury to continue investigating.

Now, Fitzgerald may not indicate either way if he's still looking at Rove, but of course that puts the White House in a spot because they said they were waiting for the investigation to end before answering questions about Rove. If the WH surrogates crow tomorrow that Rove won, then it's now okay for Rove and Scottie to answer the media's questions, isn't it? After all Scottie said they had to wait till the special prosecutor is done, and if the GOP claims Rove "won" then he's out of jeopardy and can take our questions.

Also, I keep thinking of the Kay Bailey Hutchison fiasco earlier this week, her defense of treason comments - 80% of the public thinks the WH lied or broke the law here, I'm not sure they want anybody crowing.

Then there's the issue of the ongoing trial of Scooter. I was told you'll need another grand jury to keep preparing for trial. So the investigation continues.

And finally, I'm very suspicious as to why there have been practically no leaks for 2 years and now in the final 2 weeks they're non-stop. That's odd to me, and raises some red flags about what we're hearing. I'm still wondering if Fitzgerald isn't playing some fascinating end-game, and whether he might not seek some indictments tomorrow against Rove, and/or whether all of the leaks are just wrong.

Finally, the White House wanted this to be over. If Rove is not 100% exonerated tomorrow, then this isn't going away for the White House. Not unless Rove resigns. If he doesn't get a clean bill of health tomorrow, I really believe Rove may still resign. Think Harriet: This White House needs to move on. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Thought you might need one. Read the rest of this post...

Fitzgerald is "keeping them guessing"

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From the LA Times:
The White House -- and lawyers for White House advisers Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby -- braced for the possibility of indictments, although there were signs that Fitzgerald was keeping them guessing to the bitter end.

People close to the investigation said that, as of late Thursday afternoon, Rove had received no notice that he was going to be indicted. Some observers took that as a sign that the longtime Bush strategist might emerge from the investigation without being charged.

But others said that Fitzgerald might be waiting until Friday to alert those being charged to reduce the chances of last-minute leaks about his intentions.
Makes you wonder what Fitzgerald is up to and whether this is part of his elaborate scheme. I am inclined to think that it is. Rove's not sure he's going to be indicted, and not sure he won't be. When Karl reads the NY Times, he'll know that the investigation isn't over by a long shot. Rove, the master of mind games, is getting a taste of his own medicine. Read the rest of this post...

RoveGate update from NYTimes

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At first blush, looks like a mixed bag for tomorrow:
Associates of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, expected an indictment on Friday charging him with making false statements to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak inquiry, lawyers in the case said Thursday.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.
If this is true, there will be one major indictment tomorrow, of Libby. But it looks like Fitzgerald won't be finished. All week, we've been reading that the White House was just waiting for this to come to a conclusion so they could finally get their act together and get back to work. But if the Times is right, there isn't a conclusion yet for Karl, by any means. Another grand jury looking even harder at Karl, that means Fitzgerald has his teeth into Karl and isn't letting go (it also means we don't have to update our Treason's Greeting holiday cards - phew!). Just as importantly, Libby will be under indictment and Lord only knows what Fitzgerald is going to uncover about Cheney and the White House's role in lying to the country about going to war in Iraq etc.

I won't lie to you, I'd rather have a Rove indictment (and we still may get one - let's face it, it ain't over till the Irish prosecutor sings). But having this be a non-conclusion, having the Veeps chief of staff indicted, and having Rove REMAIN under investigation is pretty damn good. It will keep the White House in chaos for years to come. I still say it's 50-50 that Rove resigns tomorrow so that the president can move on.

Let's see what other reports start appearing tonight. Read the rest of this post...

Sulu is gay

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For some strange reason, I think I knew this a few years ago. Hmmm... Anyway, way cool. I have his private email address, gonna send him a note (the things you collect living in DC for 20 years...)
George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu in "Star Trek," came out as homosexual in the current issue of a magazine covering the Los Angeles gay and lesbian community....

The 68-year-old actor said he and his partner, Brad Altman, have been together for 18 years.

Takei, a Japanese-American who lived in a U.S. internment camp from age 4 to 8, said he grew up feeling ashamed of his ethnicity and sexuality. He likened prejudice against gays to racial segregation.

"It's against basic decency and what American values stand for," he said.
Good for him. Read the rest of this post...

AOL Hires Mary Cheney

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What the heck does Mary Cheney know about building up Web site businesses, anyway? This would make sense if AOL was looking for someone with expertise in betraying their community. Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Ok, tell me it's finally Fitzmas Eve, please..... Read the rest of this post...

Forbes magazine tells companies to "dig up dirt" on bloggers

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Forbes has a cover story this week on the "Attack of the Bloggers," and it is probably the worst article ever, in terms of getting the story wrong and hyperbole. (You have to subscribe to their site for free to read the article - it's really not worth it.)

Some of my favorite quotes:
The blog mob loves to spout off about First Amendment freedom, except when it seeks to deprive foes of the same.
Send those bloggers to Gitmo, Batman!
Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective.
Gee, FOX News, much?
"Bloggers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality," says Peter Blackshaw, chief marketing officer at Intelliseek, a Cincinnati firm that sifts through millions of blogs to provide watch-your-back service to 75 clients, including Procter & Gamble and Ford.
Did you get that? They guy they quote is a guy who sells his services monitoring blogs. Great unbiased source.

Then the article calls bloggers "online haters."

Oh, what's this? One line out of four pages that actually praises blog: "Attack blogs are but a sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere."

Uh oh, even AMERICAblog is an evil attack blog, look out!
Even mighty Microsoft, for all its billions, dares not defy the blogosphere. In April gay bloggers attacked Microsoft over its failure to support a gay-rights bill in Washington State (the company is based near Seattle). "Dear Microsoft, You messed with the wrong faggots," wrote John Aravosis, publisher of AmericaBlog, which threatened to oppose Microsoft's plans for a big campus expansion unless the company caved in. Microsoft reversed itself two weeks later, saying it supports gay-rights legislation after all. It says pressure from its own employees, not from bloggers, caused the change of heart.
Then we have another personal attack on bloggers:
But if blogging is journalism, then some of its practitioners seem to have learned the trade from Jayson Blair. Many repeat things without bothering to check on whether they are true, a penchant political operatives have been quick to exploit.
If Forbes is journalism... oh never mind. And this:
And though they have First Amendment protection and posture as patriotic muckrakers in the solemn pursuit of truth, the blog mob isn't democratic at all. They are inclined to crush dissent with the "delete" key.
But even the Constitution doesn't give a citizen the right to unjustly call his neighbor a child molester. Google and the like argue they bear no more responsibility for content than a phone company does for slander over its wires. But Google's blog business looks less like a phone company and more like a mix of reality TV and an online magazine. Bloggers provide the fare, and Google maintains it for them free of charge, sometimes selling ads.
You mean you CAN'T cry fire in a crowded movie house?! Man, I'm learning new things from this article with each paragraph.

And finally, if that weren't enough, Forbes provides a "Fighting Back" special section that tells companies who are criticized by blogs how to fight back. Among Forbes' suggestions, these are my favorites:
BASH BACK. If you get attacked, dig up dirt on your assailant and feed it to sympathetic bloggers. Discredit him.
Yes, that actually came from Forbes. That has to be the most idiotic suggestion I have ever heard. Can you imagine if Microsoft had decided to start digging up dirt on me? Oh imagine the fun we'd have had then. (To Microsoft's credit, it did not.)

Then another great suggestion from Forbes:
ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also: Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address.
Gee, so file fallacious nuisance lawsuits. Nice.

The sad part is that there are real people from real businesses reading this crap and thinking that now they understand blogs, and worse yet, now they have the weapons to fight back. Just very sad.

Oops, I'd better stop criticizing Forbes or they're going to "dig up dirt" on me. Read the rest of this post...

They killed Harriet

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From a friend:
Senator Sam Brownback

“There's precious little to go on and a deep concern that this would be a Souter-type candidate…Not much track record, people vouching for her, yet indications of a different thought pattern earlier in life." (Bush Defends Supreme Court Pick, Washington Post, 10/5/05)

Senator Rick Santorum

“I don't know yet…But I am concerned President Bush nominated someone who is a blank slate. I'm disappointed he wanted to nominate someone like that instead of someone with a record." [Santorum Touches Base, Public Opinion, 10/14/05 ]

Senator Jeff Sessions

"I am uneasy about where we are." [ ]

Senator Norm Coleman

"I certainly go into this with concerns." [ ]

Senator Trent Lott

"I do have difficulty with this nominee.'' [ ]

Senator John Thune

"There is an awful lot of Republican senators who are saying we are going to wait and see." [ ]

Phyllis Schlafley

“We expected President Bush to appoint a woman with the opposite judicial philosophy and paper trail of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Our disappointment is acute.” [ ]

Ann Coulter

“This does show the power of the radical right wing as democrats call it, normal Americans, as I call it in this country.” [CNN, 10/27/05]

“Miers is no more qualified to sit on the Supreme Court than I am to be a sumo wrestler. The hearings aren’t going to change that; the will just make it more obvious.” [Does This Law Degree Make My Resume Look Fat?, 10/12/05 ]

Pat Buchanan

“In picking her, Bush ran from a fight. The conservative movement has been had -- and not for the first time by a president by the name of Bush… here was the great opportunity to draw all together for a battle of philosophies, by throwing the gauntlet down to the Left… He instinctively recoiled from it. He blew it.” (Miers' Qualifications Are 'Non-Existent', 10/3/05)

Rush Limbaugh

“…defeating the left has been a lifelong objective for many people, and defeating them to the point that they are not rendered absent but obsolete. And to now compromise with them or to appear to compromise with them is what looks weak to me…” [Pick Made From Weakness Is Unnecessary Roll of the Dice, 10/3/05]

Concerned Women for America

“Miss Miers’ record, as reflected in her speeches, is of promoting a leftist agenda that relies upon the courts to impose their views…We’d prefer to have someone fond of quoting Margaret Thatcher or Antonin Scalia rather than Barbra Streisand and Gloria Steinem. Some of Miss Miers’ own comments border on male-bashing.” [Jan LaRue, Conservative Women for America, 10/26/05 ]

“…Though she attends an Evangelical church known for its pro-life position, during the same time period she advanced radical feminists and organizations that promote agendas that undermine respect for life and family…” [Wendy Wright, Concerned Women for America, 10/26/05 ]

Americans for Better Justice

“Conservatives support President Bush but not Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Judge Robert Bork says, 'I don't think she's qualified" and calls Miers' nomination "a disaster on every level." And Rush Limbaugh says, "I am totally behind the president ... but I disagree with this nomination.”” [ <%09> ]

David Frum

"She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." Frum scoffed that in a White House "that hero-worshiped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal." (Mild About Harriet, Newsweek, 10/17/05)

The president's supporters had reason ''to be disappointed and alarmed.'' (When a President Is Not Spoiling for a Fight, New York Times, 10/4/05)

Joseph Cella, Fidelis

“We believe that the best interests of the country and the Supreme court would be served if Ms. Miers withdraws her nomination.” [ ]

Ken Connor, former President of the Family Research Council, Chairman of the board for the Center for a Just Society:

“The President promised to nominate jurists in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. To date, there is no objective evidence confirming that Ms. Miers holds a judicial philosophy consistent with these two Justices.” [ ]

Robert Bork

"I don't know that there is a deliberate message — I think he is just trying to avoid trouble — but the message comes through: Do not be controversial, do not express strong opinions that arouse opposition.” (The Right Sees a Strong -- and Wrong – Signal, LA Times, 10/5/05)

Gary Bauer, American Values

“With each passing day the information becomes more and more troubling. At some point, those who feel they should support Harriet Miers because they trust the White House have got to step back and take another look. At some point, the president has got to revisit this. And I think that point is now here.” [Bauer End-of-Day Email, 10/26/05]

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council

"We have a lot of respect for this president, and he has a good track record on nominations to the bench…” "But I thought he would make a nomination no one would have to question." (When 'Trust Me' Doesn't Cut It, U.S. News & World Report, 10/17/05)

Eugene Delgaudio, president of Public Advocate

"The movement has been betrayed." His organization, one of the few conservative groups to oppose Roberts' confirmation, will also oppose Miers', Delgaudio said. Public Advocate plans a rally Thursday in Washington. (Battle lines may be drawn in new spot, USA Today, 10/4/05)

Manuel Miranda, Third Branch Conference

“This is not what we fought for… How could the president have made such a decision?” (When ‘trust me’ doesn’t cut it, U.S. News & World Report, 10/17/05)

Michelle Malkin

But Mr. Bush did not promise grass-roots conservatives that he would put a Harry Reid-endorsed Cheer Bear on the court. . . . . And it's precisely Miss Miers' lack of on-the-record opinions about vital matters of constitutional law that has conservatives across the country so troubled.
Nobody asks Mr. Bush to put a "publicity hound" on the bench. But asking conservatives to trust that the blank-slate Harriet Miers not only has well-formed views on everything from property rights, the individual right to bear arms and the proper scope of privacy rights, to the Commerce Clause, racial preferences and presidential authority in wartime — but also has the intellectual candlepower to persuade her potential colleagues — based on little more than her Sunday refreshment-retrieving abilities is asking way too much. (Sunday school . .with donuts . . Washington Times, 10/7/05)

David Keene, Chairman of the American Conservative Union

“Most conservatives have stood with Bush from the beginning. Those of us who know him like him. We’ve swallowed policies we might otherwise have objected to because we’ve believed that he and those around him are themselves conservatives trying to do the right thing against sometimes terrible odds. We’ve been there for him because we’ve considered ourselves part of his team. No more.” [The Hill, Keene op-ed, 10/18/05 ]
Read the rest of this post...

"Africans will have sex with anything that has a pulse," says GOP candidate for Virginia House of Delegates

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Ah, that reaching out to minorities, thing.

His name is Chris Craddock. Cute, but dumb as a rock.

I guess now that Bush is at 38% in the polls, the GOP can always rely on that all-important Klan vote. Read the rest of this post...

Anti-Ahnold flash cartoon

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They just bought an ad for it on the blog, so I checked it out, and it's actually quite cute. So, I'm giving it a post as well. You can see it here. Turn up your sound. Read the rest of this post...

Ohio GOP "Coingate" figure indicted

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Oh Noe! Read the rest of this post...

Bush's weakness on full display

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So the right wingers are puffing up their chests and their President is looking like a real wimp:
Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' sudden withdrawal underscores the strength of the social conservatives who form President Bush's political base and the weakness of a president buffeted by one political misfortune after another.
Like father, like son. And the week isn't over yet:
...the White House is worried about the possibility of indictments Friday in a special prosecutor's investigation into whether top officials leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame as part of an effort to discredit her husband and his outspoken criticism of the Iraq war.

Adding to the distractions confronting the Bush presidency: rising fuel prices, soaring deficit spending and increasing public opposition to the Iraq war, which on Tuesday tallied the 2,000th American military death.
Read the rest of this post... weighs in

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It's good. Read the rest of this post...

Treason's Greetings

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We now have Holiday Cards and postcards for sale:

PS If you click through, you'll see that the images looks blurry on the sample products - it's not really blurry, it's just been shrunk a million times to fit on that page. On the actual products for sale it is as clear as the image above - well, it IS the image above!

Another PS - I'm personally partial to the mugs - would make nice Christmas gifts :-) Read the rest of this post...

Open thread

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Just realized it'd been a while. Read the rest of this post...

Bush is setting the religious right up

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Now that we've entered the post-Harriet world, it's time to analyze what this means.

Yes, it means that Bush will pick a far-right nutjob for the next nominee. That makes me happy. Here's why.

1. Harriet Miers' nomination was killed by the Republican party because they didn't think she was conservative enough. That means that Democrats can kill the next nomination if they think it's not liberal enough.

2. The GOP just lost all of their Supreme Court talking points. Who in the GOP is going to be able to stand up with a straight face and say "every nominee deserves an up or down vote"? Kiss that talking point good bye.

3. And who is going to be able to argue that there should be no "litmus test" on abortion and other issues? Harriet was killed because last night a report came out that she was sympathetic to a woman's right to choose. She failed their litmus test on abortion, and she was killed. That means if the next nomination fails our litmus test on abortion, we can kill the next one.

4. The Harriet debacle shows Bush to be incredibly weak. That doesn't help him at all, in anything. It will only further the public perception of him as a failing president of a failing presidency. And the weaker Bush is, the less trouble he can stir up.

5. The Democrats had the power to filibuster Bush's handful of wacky lower court nominees with impunity, there is no way they're going to have a problem filibustering those same nominees when the wacko is appointed to the Supreme Court. It will be a cake walk.

6. If Bush thought he could get a wack-job confirmed, he'd have appointed a wack-job instead of Harriet in the first place. He didn't. Nothing has changed to put Bush in a better stead now to get such a wack-job confirmed, and in fact, he's worse off because now he appears even weaker and all his talking points have been blown out of the water. So let him appoint the wack-job, and let the fun begin.

7. The religious right and "conservatives" in the GOP have shown their cards. They're nasty, vindictive, extremists who want the entire pie or nothing, and they're willing to destroy their own president if he doesn't give them 110% of everything they want. They've burned their bridges with this president, and this president is going to be around for 3 years. This should be fun.

8. Bush has shown his cards to the far right. He's not a real conservative. He doesn't like their agenda. He's embarrassed to publicly embrace it. No matter who he appoints next, they now know Bush isn't one of them and that impression - that realization - will linger for the rest of his term.

8. And finally, Bush is setting the religious right up, and that makes me smile. Yes, Bush will pick a wack-job for the next nominee, even though he knows the wack-job won't be confirmed. Bush will fight for his nominee, blah blah blah, and the nomination will fail. Then Bush will say, see, I tried - then he'll nominate Alberto Gonzales, who the religious right hates, and get him confirmed. Bush will be able to argue that he gave the religious right want they wanted and it just didn't work. Oh well, time for Alberto.

So that's why all of this makes me very very very happy. It's a big mess, and messes provide opportunities. Read the rest of this post...