July 29, 2005

I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up

(Source: The Gallop Organization)

Hackett for Congress

Paul Hackett is closing in on Republican Jean Schmidt in the special election race for the open Congressional seat in Cincinnati. Republicans are running scared and pouring money into Schmidt's campaign (and of course doing everything they can to bury Hackett). Digby has a good post on why candidates like Hackett are just what our limp Democratic Party needs.

You can donate to Paul's campaign here. Time's running out (the election is this Tuesday).

I Don't Remember


The other day we had this:
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. has repeatedly said that he has no memory of belonging to the Federalist Society, but his name appears in the influential, conservative legal organization's 1997-1998 leadership directory...

Yesterday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Roberts "has no recollection of being a member of the Federalist Society, or its steering committee." Roberts has acknowledged taking part in some Federalist Society activities, Perino said...

Roberts is one of 19 steering committee members listed in the directory, which was provided to The Post by Alfred F. Ross, president of the Institute for Democracy Studies in New York, a liberal group that has published reports critical of the society.
And now we have this:
John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, neglected to tell Congress he had been interviewed in a government investigation into faulty prewar intelligence that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials in Africa, the State Department said...

(State Department spokesman Noel Clay) said Bolton "didn't recall being interviewed by the State Department's inspector general" when he filled out the form. "Therefore, his form, as submitted, was inaccurate," Clay said. "He will correct it."...

"It seems unusual that Mr. Bolton would not remember his involvement in such a serious matter," said Biden, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "In my mind, this raises more questions that need to be answered. I hope President Bush will not make the mistake of recess appointing Mr. Bolton."
It would appear that everyone associated with George W. Bush is beginning to resemble the paranoid psychotic from Peter Gabriel's song I Don't Remember:
I got no means to show identification
I got no papers show you what I am
You'll have to take me just the way that you find me
What's gone is gone and I do not give a damn
Empty stomach, empty head
I got empty heart and empty bed
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
-anything at all

Strange is your language and I have no decoder
Why don't you make your inentions clear
With eyes to the sun and your mouth to the soda
Saying, "Tell me the truth, you got nothing to fear"
Stop staring at me like a bird of prey
I'm all mixed up, I got nothing to say
I don't remember
I don't remember

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
Anything at all

I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything at all
I don't remember, I don't recall
I got no memory of anything
absolutely anything at all
I don't remember

July 28, 2005

"Admit You Lied &
Bring The Boys Back Home"

Today Show

On The Today Show last week, Elvis Costello sang The Scarlet Tide with Emmylou Harris and pointedly changed the words. Here are the original lyrics:
Well I recall his parting words
Must I accept his fate?
Or take myself far from this place
I thought I heard a black bell toll
A little bird did sing
Man has no choice
When he wants everything

We'll rise above the scarlet tide
That trickles down through the mountain
And separates the widow from the bride
Man goes beyond his own decision
Gets caught up in the mechanism
Of swindlers who act like kings
And brokers who break everything
The dark of night was swiftly fading
Close to the dawn of the day
Why would I want him
Just to lose him again
For The Today Show performance, Elvis initially sang:
I thought I heard a black bell toll
Up in the highest dome
Admit you're wrong
Just bring the boys back home
The second time he sang:
I thought I heard a black bell toll
Up in the highest dome
Admit you lied
And bring the boys back home
If you have Windows (insert snarky comment here), you can click The Today Show link and (I think) they have the video. For Macsters like myself, click on the pic of E.C. and Emmylou and watch the complete song.

(Thanks to CostelloNews.com for the tip; Lyrics courtesy of The Elvis Costello Home Page)

Quote of the Week:

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel. The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."

(...the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe) "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete...If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."

- U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour, sentencing Ahmed Ressam to 22 years in prison for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium.

July 27, 2005

Truly Disgusting (But Expected) Behavior

Republicans are "swift boating" Democratic candidate Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran who is running for a Congressional seat in Cincinnati. Steve Gilliard has more (including how to donate to Hackett's campaign) and here's Hackett's website to learn more about the candidate.


Main Entry: ob·vi·ous
Pronunciation: 'äb-vE-&s
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin obvius, from obviam in the way, from ob in the way of + viam, accusative of via way -- more at OB-, VIA
1 archaic : being in the way or in front
2 : easily discovered, seen, or understood
synonym see EVIDENT
Panel: Bush Was Unready for Postwar Iraq
An independent panel headed by two former U.S. national security advisers said Wednesday that chaos in Iraq was due in part to inadequate postwar planning.

Planning for reconstruction should match the serious planning that goes into making war, said the panel headed by Samuel Berger and Brent Scowcroft. Berger was national security adviser to Democratic President Clinton. Scowcroft held the same post under Republican Presidents Ford and George H.W. Bush but has been critical of the current president's Iraq and Mideast policies.

"A dramatic military victory has been overshadowed by chaos and bloodshed in the streets of Baghdad, difficulty in establishing security or providing essential services, and a deadly insurgency," the report said.

"The costs, human, military and economic, are high and continue to mount," said the report, which was sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent foreign policy group.

Two years after a stunning three-week march on Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi military forces have been unable to secure and rebuild the country, and reconstruction has fallen victim to a lack of security, the report said.

The White House has reacted to similar criticism in the past by saying there was significant postwar planning.

In a speech last month to soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., President Bush pointed to the Iraqi elections and efforts to improve roads, schools and basic services. "Rebuilding a country after three decades of tyranny is hard, and rebuilding while at war is even harder. Our progress has been uneven, but progress is being made."

The report said the critical miscalculation of Iraq war-planning was the conclusion that reconstruction would not require more troops than the invasion itself.

Not only are more troops needed but they should be trained for postwar duty, the task force said.

In Iraq, the task force said, postwar requirements did not get enough attention, and there were misjudgments, as well. This, the report said, "left the United States ill-equipped to address public security, governance and economic demands" after the war.

And this, in turn, undermined U.S. foreign policy and gave an early push to the insurgency in Iraq, the task force said.

In Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, the report said, the postwar period has been marked by inefficient operations and billions of dollars of wasted resources.
How could anyone (ANYONE) continue to believe in this Administration?

July 26, 2005

Top 8 Songs* Not On My iPod

01) "Take My Breath Away" by Jessica Simpson
02) "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot
03) "Daughters" by John Mayer
04) "I Just Wanna Live" by Good Charlotte
05) "I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin DeGraw
06) "Don't Tell Me" by Avril Lavigne
07) "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5
08) "I Drove All Night" by Celine Dion

Sony/BMG would have to pay me at least $10 million to get these songs anywhere near my computer.

*(source: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer)

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Summer Edition


I've been pretty lucky with my book choices so far this summer (with the exception of Bellow's "Seize the Day." Sorry but I just can't get into him). Highlights include

Cloud Atlas

...perhaps the perfect summertime novel for liberals: Metafiction to the max, it traces the rise and fall of civilization via a journal, a collection of letters, a mystery, a movie bio/proposal, an interview and an oral history. It's fun, challenging, sad, ultimately uplifting and a total page-turner. I also loved


...which could best be described as

Straight Man +Money +Homer

(oops, wrong Homer)
+ Homer1

It was written by Steve Tesich, best known for his Oscar-winning original screenplay for Breaking Away, and was published after his death.

And: I'm almost finished with

The Known World

A novel about free black slaveowners, 20 years before the Civil War. Absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking.


Believe it or not, my wife and I have only seen one movie so far this summer...but it was a great one:

Me and You

It had no superheroes and no explosions. However, there was some sex and a car chase involving a goldfish. Oh, and it had this:
For more, go here.


TV just doesn't seem the same without Lost and 24...we've yet to find any "Appointment TV" replacements this summer. The final season of Six Feet Under has been, more or less, a bummer. At this point, my wife and I are hoping that the entire Fisher family dies in a freak accident when the show finally comes to an end (it would be a fitting bookend to all of the freak accidents that have begun each episode). In the meantime, we've been filling our weekly TV-viewing requirements with, of course, The Daily Show, and the funniest hour on TV, Reno 911 & Stella (Tuesdays, 10-11p, Comedy Central):


It hasn't been the strongest summer for new music. The new Brian Eno was disappointing; try his second collection of odds and sods, Curiosities 2, instead:


It's available here.

The only disc that's truly been rocking my world this summer is The Secret Machines' new ep, "The Road Leads Where It's Led"

Secret Machines

It's mostly a collection of covers, but boy do these New Yorkers know how to cover. Check out their version of Dylan's Girl From the North Country.

Update: Picked up the new Bob Mould last week. It's not "Capital G" great, but good Bob is better than most people's best efforts. If you're a true fan, I suggest you buy the limited edition double disc boxed set:


(Disc 2 has 6 other new songs plus 3 remixes which lean more toward Bob's recent noodling with electronica. The 6 new ones make it worth the extra dough. Plus, you get extra artwork with half-naked pictures of Bob...not that there's anything wrong with that). Click the cover below for a sample from Disc 1:

Body of Soung

Listening Accessory:

It's a waterproof case for my iPod. Click it if you're interested in buying one. It comes in handy, especially when you have a dog like this:

Toast on the Water


Probably the main reason we don't get to many movies is because we prefer a slow, relaxing evening filled with good food as opposed to eating stale popcorn in the dark. And, fortunately, we've been blessed with a great new restaurant in our neighborhood:

Aroma, located at 36 E. 4th St. in the greatest city in the world. It's tiny so you might want to call ahead: 212-375-0100 (tell 'em "Neil" sent ya).


This will do:


Cheers! Enjoy the rest of your summer...


Untitled, Will McRobb (2005)

July 25, 2005

July 24, 2005

P.S. - "Bush honesty rating drops to lowest point"
...only 41 percent give Bush good marks for being “honest and straightforward” — his lowest ranking on this question since he became president. That’s a drop of nine percentage points since January, when a majority (50 percent to 36 percent) indicated that he was honest and straightforward. This finding comes at a time when the Bush administration is battling the perception that its rhetoric doesn’t match the realities in Iraq, and also allegations that chief political adviser Karl Rove leaked sensitive information about a CIA agent to a reporter. (The survey, however, was taken just before these allegations about Rove exploded into the current controversy.)

July 22, 2005

Larry Johnson...

No, not the former New York Knicks forward who made a game-winning, 4-point play against the Indiana Pacers in the 1999 NBA playoffs. This Larry Johnson:
"an American, a registered Republican, a former intelligence official at the CIA, and a friend of Valerie Plame."
Listen to his Democratic Radio address here.

July 21, 2005


You were expecting a non-partisan, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-Geneva Convention, pro-civil liberties, pro-separation of church & state, Hispanic lesbian?

July 20, 2005

Why Does The Bush Administration Hate The CIA?

18 July 2005


The Honorable Dennis Hastert, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader, U.S. House of Representatives
The Honorable Dr. William Frist, Majority Leader of the Senate
The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader of the Senate

We, the undersigned former U.S. intelligence officers are concerned with the tone and substance of the public debate over the ongoing Department of Justice investigation into who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, wife of former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak and other members of the media, which exposed her status as an undercover CIA officer. The disclosure of Ms. Plame’s name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.

The Republican National Committee has circulated talking points to supporters to use as part of a coordinated strategy to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. As part of this campaign a common theme is the idea that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was not undercover and deserved no protection. The following are four recent examples of this “talking point”:
Michael Medved stated on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005, “And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day.”

Victoria Toensing stated on a Fox News program with John Gibson on July 12, 2005 that, “Well, they weren't taking affirmative measures to protect that identity. They gave her a desk job in Langley. You don't really have somebody deep undercover going back and forth to Langley, where people can see them.”

Ed Rodgers, Washington Lobbyist and former Republican official, said on July 13, 2005 on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, “And also I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don't think there's any meaningful investigation about that.”

House majority whip Roy Blunt (R, Mo), on Face the Nation, July 17, 2005, “It certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of topsecret definition on things longer than they needed to. You know, this was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day.”
These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security.

We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.

We also believe it is important that Congress speak with one non-partisan voice on this issue. Intelligence officers should not be used as political footballs. In the case of Valerie Plame, she still works for the CIA and is not in a position to publicly defend her reputation and honor. We stand in her stead and ask that Republicans and Democrats honor her service to her country and stop the campaign of disparagement and innuendo aimed at discrediting Mrs. Wilson and her husband.

Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government’s protection of their covert status.

For the good of our country, we ask you to please stand up for every man and woman who works for the U.S. intelligence community and help protect their ability to live their cover.

Mr. Brent Cavan, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Vince Cannistraro, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Michael Grimaldi, former Analyst, CIA
Mr. Mel Goodman, former senior Analyst, CIA
Col. W. Patrick Lang (US Army retired), former Director, Defense Humint
Services, DIA
Mr. David MacMichael, former senior estimates officer, National Intelligence
Council, CIA
Mr. James Marcinkowski, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. Ray McGovern, former senior Analyst and PDB Briefer, CIA
Mr. Jim Smith, former Case Officer, CIA
Mr. William C. Wagner, former Case Officer, CIA

(Letter courtesy of Talking Points Memo)

To paraphrase Janeane Garofalo from a pre-election Daily Show appearance, if you support Bush, you have "a character flaw." And apparently, you don't give a crap about national security either...

"Let's Keep Our Eye on the Ball"

So sayeth Attaturk at Rising Hegemon who doesn't want to give Judge Roberts a "free pass" but feels the "time for getting worked up about this guy is as things emerge." What we need to continue to focus on are the continuing revelations about Rove, Plame and, yes, war crimes:
"And why exactly? Because in my opinion the gingerbread house of Chimpy is about ready to crumble, as it should, built upon the foundation of war crime. If that happens, John Roberts will take care of itself. We need to push it over the precipice, and they are dangerously close -- and they know it, the entire GOP establishment knows it. Freeper, or moderate GOPer, they all know that desperate measures are necessary to save it.

But they may not be able to, without making matters even worse for them.

We can see the writing on the wall if what Murray Waas reports is correct":
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said...
"As Digby notes, this is what ended up getting Martha Stewart entered in prison craft fairs.

After months and months of thinking that Bush and his cronies would never be "THAT" deceitful, the public is waking up and contemplating the truth that, yes indeed, Bush wanted this war by hook, crook, and whatever lie he could sell it on. And after Exhibit No. 1 being the lack of WMDs, Exhibit No. 2 being the now obvious lack of planning, comes the clincher the smoking gun, the deliberate outing of a CIA Operative as a means of punishing an ACCURATE critic of Bush's claims about African Yellow Cake purchases."
So, let's focus people. We already know that the press has a difficult time walking and chewing bubblegum at the same time:
(from CNN) Kagan: Well, the announcement of a Supreme Court nominee would certainly shift the spotlight away from Karl Rove and the CIA leak investigation. Rove's reported leak of an operative's identity to a journalist has been a distraction for the Bush administration in recent days.

Franken: Speaking of the Karl Rove matter, of course, that is news that is considered at the moment so yesterday. We've moved on. And of course, they're going to have big news tonight.

July 19, 2005

July 18, 2005

All Hat

From Bloggermann:
"...(Karl) Rove did more damage to your safety than the most thumb-sucking liberal or guard at Abu Ghraib. He destroyed an intelligence asset like Valerie Plame merely to deflect criticism of a politician. We have all the damned politicians, of every stripe, that we need. The best of them isn’t worth half a Valerie Plame. And if the particular politician for whom Rove was deflecting, President Bush, is more than just all hat and no cattle on terrorism, he needs to banish Rove -- and loudly."
(Photo courtesy of some German site I couldn't even begin to translate)

July 15, 2005

Luke, I Am Your, Um, How Do I Put This Exactly?

(Halloween comes early for a friend of a friend's dog)

Nobody (NOBODY) Does It Better

The Rude Pundit on Karl Rove, America's favorite Turd Blossom:
"The reason Rove must be destroyed - which means he needs to be sent up for something more than perjury because simply that would allow him to be a paid consultant for the rest of his life - is that a destroyed Rove would be a maelstrom in the White House. If you remove the center from a system, a system must collapse. And so would end the Bush presidency, for Bush without Rove is like a dalmatian without an owner - so stupid from overbreeding that if it ain't got someone to tell it what to do, it'll just sit in a corner and shit itself endlessly..."

Good News/Bad News

The bad news? The new set sucks. The good news? The Daily Show is still the funniest and smartest show on TV. For those of you who weren't able to tune in this week, the kind folks over at onegoodmove have not one but two excellent clips about Karl, Scotty and the "Best Leak Ever."

Chertoff to City: Drop Dead

Yes, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff really said this:
"The truth of the matter is, a fully loaded airplane with jet fuel, a commercial airliner, has the capacity to kill 3,000 people. A bomb in a subway car may kill 30 people. When you start to think about your priorities, you're going to think about making sure you don't have a catastrophic thing first."
Chimpy sure knows how to pick 'em...

July 13, 2005


The GOP thinks Karl Rove "deserves a prize" for "Truth-Telling" and Fox News brainiac John Gibson thinks Rove "deserves a medal" for outing Valerie Plame. Via Oliver Willis (with video):
Let me repeat: John Gibson, anchor at the FOX News Channel, says he believes that we ought to expose our covert government agents and harm national security...as long as it benefits Republicans.
I don't even know where to begin...

July 12, 2005


I've noticed that some people in the blogosphere are calling Karl Rove "toast." Personally, I'm insulted. My wife is insulted. And, most importantly, our most magnificent and noble dog Toast is insulted.

We asked Toast what she thought people should be calling Karl. She just barked at us but I could have sworn she said "Traitorous Asshole."

Go here for AMERICAblog's Benedict Rove products.

July 11, 2005

Live 8 Quicktimes

Including Roxy Music in Berlin! (I know, I'm a geek). Click here.

Update: Link is no longer functional. So much for one world...

Denials and Other Comments

Sept. 29, 2003:

Q: You said this morning, quote, "The president knows that Karl Rove wasn't involved." How does he know that?

Scott McClellan: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. ... I've said that it's not true. ... And I have spoken with Karl Rove.

Q: It doesn't take much for the president to ask a senior official working for him, to just lay the question out for a few people and end this controversy today.

A: Do you have specific information to bring to our attention? ... Are we supposed to chase down every anonymous report in the newspaper? We'd spend all our time doing that."

Q: When you talked to Mr. Rove, did you discuss, "Did you ever have this information?"

A: I've made it very clear, he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was.

July 11, 2005:

Q: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove, Karl Rove, was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose?

A: I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The president directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Q: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

A: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Q: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

A: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it nor is ... .

Q: Any remorse?

A: Nor is the White House, because the president wanted us to cooperate fully with the investigation, and that's what we're doing.
My, my, how time flies when we're telling lies. There's a lot more, courtesy of the AP.

Well, it's about friggin' time

The Gaggle finally takes McClellan to task. Crooks and Liars has the video; AMERICAblog is on top of Scotty's pile of lies.
"I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington," (Hillary) Clinton said during the inaugural Aspen Ideas Festival, organized by the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan think tank.

The former first lady drew a laugh from the crowd when she described Bush's attitude toward tough issues with Neuman's catch phrase: "What, me worry?"

A Republican National Committee official said the former first lady was "part of today's angry and adrift Democrat Party," while a spokesman for one of her potential 2006 Senate rivals said she was guilty of "insulting the president."

"At a time when President Bush and most elected officials are focused on the security of our nation, Mrs. Clinton seems focused on taking partisan jabs and promoting her presidential campaign," added New York's GOP chairman, Stephen Minarik. "Her priorities are clearly out of whack."
Republicans would never, ever stoop so low as to insult an elected official or act in a partisan manner...
""I've never been able to understand (Howard Dean's) appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell." - Vice President Dick Cheney, clearly not acting angry or adrift

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." - Karl Rove, mild-mannered architect of Republican civility, who would never "put partisan politics above the security of our nation."
...especially since the President and his men are doing such a competent job of defending us from the evildoers:
U.S. forces launched a manhunt for four "dangerous" Arab al Qaeda militants who escaped from U.S. detention in Afghanistan on Monday, hours after another search found the body of a missing U.S. commando.

In a fresh embarrassment for U.S. forces reeling from their worst combat losses in Afghanistan since invading in 2001, the four were reported missing from the heavily guarded detention center at the main U.S. base early in the morning.
And then of course there's the White House pre-London bombing budget proposal for the Transportation Security Administration:
The White House budget proposal for the TSA contained $4.7 billion for aviation security and just $32 million for railroads, subways, buses and other forms of surface transportation.
I believe I'd actually prefer a humor magazine mascot to be running our country. How could it be any worse than it currently is?

Everything You* Always Wanted To Know About The War In Iraq

...but for some reason you couldn't bother to pay attention. It can all be found in these two excellent articles:
George Packer's "The Home Front" in The New Yorker


James Wolcott's "To Live and Die in Iraq" in Vanity Fair.
The sad, drunken and clearly impotent Christopher Hitchens thought the Packer article about our "distant war" was "portentous" (I'm assuming Snitchens meant portentous as in "pompous" as opposed to "grave or serious" because, as we all know, it takes one to know one) but raw emotion + truth + excellent prose is always a good combo in my book. The Wolcott article is less raw; it somehow manages to include humourous touches about an unbelievably serious subject without offending. Well, it didn't offend me...I can't speak for the British boozehound.

*You, not you.

July 10, 2005

Time To Wipe That Smile Off Yer Face, Fatboy


From Newsweek:
It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA...

For two years, a federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, has been investigating the leak of Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent. The leak was first reported by columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. Novak apparently made some arrangement with the prosecutor, but Fitzgerald continued to press other reporters for their sources, possibly to show a pattern (to prove intent) or to make a perjury case. (It is illegal to knowingly identify an undercover CIA officer.) Rove's words on the Plame case have always been carefully chosen. "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year when asked if he had anything to do with the Plame leak. Rove has never publicly acknowledged talking to any reporter about former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. But last week, his lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Rove did—and that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper's lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify.

The controversy arose when Wilson wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times saying that he had been sent by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate charges that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. Wilson said he had found no evidence to support the claim. Wilson's column was an early attack on the evidence used by the Bush administration to justify going to war in Iraq. The White House wished to discredit Wilson and his attacks. The question for the prosecutor is whether someone in the administration, in an effort to undermine Wilson's credibility, intentionally revealed the covert identity of his wife.

In a brief conversation with Rove, Cooper asked what to make of the flap over Wilson's criticisms. NEWSWEEK obtained a copy of the e-mail that Cooper sent his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (The e-mail was authenticated by a source intimately familiar with Time's editorial handling of the Wilson story, but who has asked not to be identified because of the magazine's corporate decision not to disclose its contents.) Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ..."
In other words, per Digby:
"Karl Rove and others in the White House exposed an undercover CIA agent in order to cover up their lies about Iraq."
Ah, yes you say, but what about the rest of the Newsweek article which includes this:
A source close to Rove, who declined to be identified because he did not wish to run afoul of the prosecutor or government investigators, added that there was "absolutely no inconsistency" between Cooper's e-mail and what Rove has testified to during his three grand-jury appearances in the case. "A fair reading of the e-mail makes clear that the information conveyed was not part of an organized effort to disclose Plame's identity, but was an effort to discourage Time from publishing things that turned out to be false," the source said, referring to claims in circulation at the time that Cheney and high-level CIA officials arranged for Wilson's trip to Africa.
Take it away, Roger:
What the hell is this bullshit? The disclosure of Plame's identity (as the wife of Joseph Wilson) was the friggin' crime. It was disclosure of information to Cooper. Under the law, it doesn't friggin' matter (1) if there was an organized effort; (2) whether Rove intended for Cooper to publish; or (3) whether Rove's motive was to knock down a rumor. Repeat: None of those things friggin' matter. The only possible issue left is whether Rove knew Plame was a covert agent. The e-mail is silent on the matter -- although the fact that Rove didn't want his name connected to the leak strongly suggests his guilt in that regard.

This passage also illustrates the abuse of anonymous sources. If the source isn't Rove's attorney (who is quoted on the record elsewhere in the article), then there's no way he or she has first-hand knowledge of what Rove told the grand jury. So this jackass is simply providing uninformed spin - making an argument based on the language of the e-mail. Why should Newsweak give someone with no knowledge, but only spin, a promise of confidentiality?
Grrrrrrrrrr indeedy.

July 08, 2005


Untitled, Will McRobb (2005)

Many, many moons ago, I had the good fortune to guest DJ a couple of times for the best freeform radio station in, perhaps, the world: WFMU. I've decided to share my shows with you, my "online magazine" public. Click the radio for Show #1: "Here I Am, In My Room" (I'll let you know when Show #2: "Hello Out There America" is available). Enjoy...

Sully Still Can't Get His Head Out of His Ass

"The Economist makes a good point today:
What the attacks also show, however, is that well co-ordinated though the four explosions were, they were not terribly effective. Chance plays a big role in such attacks. The bombs in Madrid last year which killed 191 people might have killed many more had the station roof collapsed. The September 11th hijackings might have killed fewer than the eventual 2,752 had the twin towers of the World Trade Centre not melted down and collapsed. As The Economist went to press, the toll in the four London bombs was not clear, but the estimate of at least 33 deaths was thankfully far smaller than in Madrid. By the terrible calculus of terrorism, the attacks should thus be counted as a failure - sign of weakness, not strength.
And no WMDs. For that, relief."

Yeah Andy, I bet the people who were on this bus are relieved about this giant example of failure.

Tom Tomorrow kindly reminds us of Andy's past wankerness:
"If the terrorists leave us alone in Iraq, fine. But if they come and get us, even better. Far more advantageous to fight terror using trained soldiers in Iraq than trying to defend civilians in New York or London."