RIP Emmy-winning actor Peter Boyle, who played the dancing monster in the movie "Young Frankenstein" and grouchy father Frank Barone in the TV series "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died, his publicist said on Wednesday. The 71-year-old former Christian Brothers monk died on Tuesday after a long battle with multiple myeloma and heart disease, his publicists said. Beatle John Lennon was the best man at Boyle's 1977 wedding to journalist Loraine Alterman, then a Rolling Stone reporter. I can't tell you how many times my siblings and I would slur "puhtinondaritz!" to crack each other up.

Papal spanking Pope Benedict XVI rejects George W. Bush's claim that "God speaks through me…" The Gaelic Starover:

The Great Saudi Mystery Does anybody have a good explanation for why the Saudi ambassador to the United States just resigned his post and left the country on a day's notice? Officials are giving various unconvincing explanations, the best of which is that, in the words of an unnamed embassy official, "He wants to spend more time with his family."

Perhaps we can take that as a foreigners gently parodic homage to the American tradition of political white lies.

Ordinarily, even if there were some hidden backstory, it would likely be some palace intrigue in the Saudi royal family or some arcane point in US-Saudi relations. But look at the geopolitical context. Saudi Arabia's neighbor Iraq is in some sort of slow motion civil war. The neighbor across the water, Iran, has been empowered tremendously and stands to gain even more power if their Shi'a coreligionists in Iraq take over the country and slaughter or dominate the Sunni Arab minority. And the White House is signalling that it might opt to take the side of the Shi'a in that cataclysm and, shall we say, go along for the slaughter.

That would cut at the heart of the seven decade US-Saudi alliance, though admitteldy it's taken quite a few cuts already of late. The White House has also just been presented with the Baker-Hamilton report which has, I think fairly, been characterized as a bid to return to the earlier US policy of aligning its regional interests with those of the Sunni autocracies in the region. The White House has dismissed that out of hand.

I'm no expert on the finer points of US-Saudi relations. But I don't think you need to be to see that the underpinnings of the relationship are on the table right now. And just at this moment, the ambassador resigns and gets on the next plane home. To borrow a phrase from our judicial pals, I think any excuse that this is just some personal matter deserves the strictest scrutiny. Something must be up.

And one other thing. Many readers have written in to say that there's just no way we're going to let ourselves take sides in what would likely be at least a borderline genocidal civil war between Iraq's Sunni minority and Shi'a majority. To which, I can only say, why not? Is there anything we've seen in the last six years that makes you think we wouldn't pull the trigger on a ridiculously foolish new plan? I don't just mean that as trash talk. I think it's the only sensible way to approach the case at hand.

The main mistakes I've made thinking about foreign policy over the last half decade were, I think, all cases where there were certain outcomes I just didn't find credible because they were just too stupid and dangerous for anybody in a position of power to try. Good luck on that.

Another point, and one I'm not sure is widely appreciated. The folks who brought you the Iraq War have always been weak in the knees for a really whacked-out vision of a Shi'a-US alliance in the Middle East. I used to talk to a lot of these folks before I became persona non grata. So here's basically how the theory went and, I don't doubt, still goes ... We hate the Saudis and the Egyptians and all the rest of the standing Arab governments. But the Iraqi Shi'a were oppressed by Saddam. So they'll like us. So we'll set them up in control of Iraq. You might think that would empower the Iranians. But not really. The mullahs aren't very powerful. And once the Iraqi Shi'a have a good thing going with us. The Iranians are going to want to get in on that too. So you'll see a new government in Tehran. Plus, big parts of northern Saudi Arabia are Shi'a too. And that's where a lot of the oil is. So they'll probably want to break off and set up their own pro-US Shi'a state with tons of oil. So before you know it, we'll have Iraq, Iran, and a big chunk of Saudi Arabia that is friendly to the US and has a ton of oil. And once that happens we can tell the Saudis to f$#% themselves once and for all.

Now, you might think this involves a fair amount of wishful and delusional thinking. But this was the thinking of a lot of neocons going into the war. And I don't doubt it's still the thinking of quite a few of them. They still want to run the table. And even more now that it's double-down. I don't know what these guys are planning now. But there's plenty of reason to be worried.

Finally!! FEC slaps Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with a $300,000 fine and knocks around some liberal 527 groups, too, all for activities from the 2004 election cycle.

Corporate Big Brother Slipped into this NPR report about whether and when we spy on our allies was a quick comment about how we don't generally spy on their governments but we do engage in "economic espionage." In other words, our intelligence agencies are used to further specific US business interests by spying on their competitors.

Unostentatious nonverbosity. Washington State is taking steps to simplify the language it uses when contacting residents about official state business:

In the 18 months since Gov. Chris Gregoire ordered all state agencies to adopt "plain talk" principles, more than 2,000 state employees have attended classes on writing letters, announcements and documents in everyday language. So words like abeyance, cease and utilize are out, replaced by suspension, stop and use.

Gregoire says it's "a long-overdue initiative, but it's bearing fruit. ... When we just talk in a way that takes our language, government language, and throws it out, and talk in language everyone understands, we get a whole lot more done," she said.

Of course, such measures can go too far, as in the now famous "Hey assmunch, where's your damn permit" letter. But 'A' for effort.

Pet peeve update As long as we're on language: The ugly bastardization of the word "tour" which is now spoken by the tragically hip and illiterate as if it sounds like "door" (rather than sewer) has spread cancer like to the word "lure." Yesterday a CNN reporter said the word "luring" as if it sounded like "adoring." I have to punch something....

Oh, the heaviness of their work “Of the 383 pieces of legislation that were signed into law during the two-year 109th Congress, more than one-quarter dealt with naming or renaming federal buildings and structures — primarily post offices — after various Americans.”

Whoa! How'd that happen?! President Bush, at the Pentagon (emphasis added): "I thank these men who wear our uniform for a very candid and fruitful discussion about how to secure this country and how to win a war that we now find ourselves in."

You go brother! Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to roll out his proposal for universal health care today.

Well said Charles Rangel: Bush is in "deep shit."

Corruption watch Pachacutec explains: "The Justice Department announced new rules yesterday that will make it harder for prosecutors to bring criminal charges against companies, bending to intense pressure from business groups that claim the government has overreached in its pursuit of financial malfeasance….read on"

Ya think? Americans overwhelmingly say the growing gap between rich and poor has become a serious national concern. “Almost three-quarters of Americans believe inequality is a major issue, versus 24 percent who don’t think so, according to a new Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll.”

When failure is obvious 28 percent: Number of Americans who approve of President Bush’s handling of the Iraq war. Just 34 percent believe the United States is winning the war

History will not be kind (but it will be accurate) 54: Percent of Americans who believe “Bush will be judged as a below-average or poor president, more than double the negative rating given any of his five most recent predecessors. Just 19 percent expect him to be seen as outstanding or above average, placing him last among the six.”

McCain attacks free speech John McCain has made clear that he doesn’t like the blogosphere. Now he has introduced legislation that would treat blogs like Internet service providers and hold them responsible for all activity in the comments sections and user profiles. Some highlights of the legislation:

– Commercial websites and personal blogs “would be required to report illegal images or videos posted by their users or pay fines of up to $300,000.”

– Internet service providers (ISPs) are already required to issue such reports, but under McCain’s legislation, bloggers with comment sections may face “even stiffer penalties” than ISPs.

— Social networking sites will be forced to take “effective measures” — such as deleting user profiles — to remove any website that is “associated” with a sex offender. Sites may include not only Facebook and MySpace, but also, which permits author profiles and personal lists, and blogs like DailyKos, which allows users to sign up for personal diaries.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that this proposal may be based more “on fear or political considerations rather than on the facts.” When he introduced his legislation to the Senate, McCain offered no evidence that children are being victimized by people who post comments on blogs. McCain’s legislation could deal a serious blow to the blogosphere. Lacking resources to police their sites, many individual blogs may have to shut down open discussion.

Pork watch Just about everyone is holding their collective breath to see how serious Democrats are about earmark reform. So when Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the man who put the pork in "pork barrel" announces he's going to forgo this year's earmarks for his beloved West Virginia, that's a huge symbolic gesture.

DHS makes arrests based on skin color A troubling report from the DHS immigration raids yesterday, from the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune. In this case, DHS agents allegedly separated workers by their skin color -- light-skinned were considered citizens, dark-skinned got scrutiny. Predicatably, they swept up at least one dark-skinned U.S. citizen up with immigrant workers:

If only for a few minutes, Maria felt like an ''illegal alien'' in her homeland - the United States of America. She thought she was going on break from her job at the Swift & Co. meat processing plant here [in Hyrem, Utah] on Tuesday, but instead she and others were forced to stand in a line by U.S. immigration agents. Non-Latinos and people with lighter skin were plucked out of line and given blue bracelets. The rest, mostly Latinos with brown skin, waited until they were ''cleared'' or arrested by ''la migra,'' the popular name in Spanish for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), employees said. ''I was in the line because of the color of my skin,'' she said, her voice shaking. ''They're discriminating against me. I'm from the United States, and I didn't even get a blue bracelet.'' . . . Women were crying as they were handcuffed with plastic ties and put on the buses. Some weren't allowed to get their belongings from their lockers. Maria, who declined to use her last name, argued with an agent because she was getting the coat for her 34-year-old niece, Blanca, who was arrested. ''She [the agent] told me, 'Do you think it's going to be cold in Mexico?' '' Maria said, holding back tears.

The paper confirms that the federal agents took an undisclosed number of people away in buses away to an undisclosed location.

DHS raid nabs legal immigrants Union officials are outraged over a massive immigration sweep yesterday, which sent 1,000 Homeland Security Department agents -- some in riot gear -- to meatpacking plants in six states to round up immigrant workers suspected of using fake identification, but may have picked up legal workers in the process. "Stormtroopers came in with machine guns, rounded [the workers] into the cafeterias, separated identified citizens from non-citizens, and then they took away all green cards and put non-citizens onto buses," regardless of the immigrants' legal status, Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UCFW) told me this morning. Cashen said that reports from all six states confirmed that legal immigrants were among those taken away, and have not been returned. "We're still trying to find out where the buses went," she said. "Children have been left at church day cares. Nobody knows where these people are." Recently unsealed court documents show that DHS had identified 170 identity-fraud suspects it wished to apprehend, but that the agency wanted to round up as many as 5,000 other workers because it "further expect[ed] to apprehend persons who are engaged in large-scale identity theft[.]" Union officials say the total number of detained workers may be higher than 5,000. (Update: We've uploaded those court documents to our document collection here.)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not released official tallies from the raids, but have promised to do so at a 10 a.m. press conference in Washington. UFCW is holding a press conference at 9:30 to discuss what they believe to be heavy-handed tactics used by the federal government.

"Warmest Autumn in forever." Europe---which should be in winter's grip by now---is scratching its head over trees that are flowering, bears that aren't hibernating, and ski slopes that are still green. What are you up to, Lichtenstein??

Did the Rev. eat soy? NY TIMES: "The senior pastor of a suburban Denver evangelical church resigned Sunday after admitting to having had sexual relations with men. The move apparently came after the pastor was confronted by another minister in his church who had been alerted by an anonymous caller, The Denver Post reported. The resignation of the pastor, the Rev. Paul Barnes, from the pulpit of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel megachurch in Englewood came by way of a tearful, 32-minute videotaped address to his congregation…read on" I'm telling all the great and wonderful religious leaders of our land to stop eating soy now—while you still have your congregations left (see below).

The wingnuts are out in force this holiday season and today they bring us " The Gay Soy" OMG I never realized. You know I did add a little soy milk to my coffee (I had no more regular milk left) and suddenly—(bad joke) Thankfully, James Rutz of WorldnutDaily tells us that Soy sauce is OK.

Soy sauce is fine. Unlike soy milk, it's perfectly safe because it's fermented, which changes its molecular structure. Miso, natto and tempeh are also OK, but avoid tofu.

Whew, I was nervous there for a second…

The fix is in By now, we're all familiar with the way the Bush administration "fixed" intelligence around the war they wanted (in the words of the Downing Street Memo), but we're less aware of how much else involving the war and occupation of Iraq was "fixed" in the same way, including the invasion itself, or of the fact that the "fixing" has never ended. Tom Engelhardt revisits a forgotten story from the pre-invasion moment -- the way in a massive Pentagon war game in 2002 a retired general, using the kind of tactics the Iraqi insurgency would pick up the next year, defeated a Rumsfeld-style simulated war against Iraq -- and the way the Pentagon created a success story out of this disaster by "fixing" the war they were about to fight. It ends on the way the Iraq Study Group "fixed" its own conclusions from the very start by severely limiting the range of opinions among its participants and experts. He concludes his little "political bedtime tale" this way: "Unfortunately for the Bush administration, it turned out that, while you could fix the war games and the intelligence, you couldn't be assured of fixing reality itself, which has a tendency to remain obdurately, passionately, irascibly unconquerable."

What liberal media? Mary Cheney is pregnant and soon the world will be home to another bouncing baby quail-hunter. Despite my disagreements with the Cheneys on other matters, I'm thrilled for Mary and her partner, Heather. And so is the American Psychological Association:

Not a single study has found children of lesbian or gay parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth.

And so is the American Academy of Pediatrics:

[A] considerable body of professional literature provides evidence that children with parents who are homosexual can have the same advantages and the same expectations for health, adjustment, and development as can children whose parents are heterosexual.

And so are the rest of the leading reality-based children's advocacy and wellness organizations.

So who do the folks at TIME magazine scrape off the bottom of their shoe to lay down a patch of Grade-A truthiness about child-rearing by same-sex couples? A preacherman whose Cuckoosphere is so large it has its own zip code: James Dobson. His judgment from Pluto: polygamy laws be damned, Mary and Heather need to add a daddy to the mix! After all, according to Uncle Dobbie (the kind of uncle most people would lock away in the basement when company arrives), a father can be very useful for keeping the young'un from turning gay in the first place:

[T]he boy's father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger.

Excellent editorial decision, TIME. Maybe next week you can convince Senator James Inhofe to present the "facts" about global warming.

What the f.....? Last Friday afternoon---a favorite time for dumping unpleasant business because no one's paying attention---the House "Ethics" committee (including weak-kneed Democrats) gave everyone involved in the Mark Foley scandal a free pass. Sam Donaldson said it best on This Week:

"It’s a brilliant report from the standpoint of who had failed and what the problem was. But it’s like a prosecutor saying, ‘I’ve now got the evidence to charge you, but I’m not going to charge you. Goodbye! Let’s have a drink together!’ But there was no penalty even implied other than saying they’d made some mistakes. Not even a letter of reprimand for the file. And that is outrageous!"

So to recap: Covering up a blow job in the oval office is impeachment-worthy, but covering up for a sexual predator stalking teenage pages on the Internet is "NBD." You'll pardon me if I don’t LOL, you jerks.

"People are hungry for something new. They want something larger than slash-and-burn

politics that we have been seeing over the last several years, and to some degree I think

I am a stand-in for that desire on the part of the country."

-- Barack Obama, Link

Hosing down the pigsty. A couple positive signs from the soon-to-be Democratic majority: our side plans to "clear the decks" of pork from abandoned Republican budget bills...and make the page board bipartisan (and include parents of current and former pages to it). Combined, the two measures will exceed the positive accomplishments of the 109th Congress by two measures.

Pinochet's Death Spares Bush Family by Robert Parry Excerpt: The heart-attack death of notorious Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet means the Bush Family can breathe a little easier, knowing the criminal cases against Pinochet can no longer implicate his longtime friend and protector, George H.W. Bush. Pinochet also was protected from facing justice by George W. Bush, who sidetracked an FBI recommendation to indict Pinochet for the terrorist murder of a Chilean dissident and an American woman in Washington in 1976.

Knuckleheads in uniform. We pay our military leaders' salaries, right? They take an oath to put the Constitution above all else, right? There's a separation between church and state in this country, right? Well then, can somebody tell me why we have a bunch of wingnut brass extremists running around on a right-wing Christian crusade, putting religion above We the People and intimidating those in their ranks who don't pray hard enough? I’ll take that stunned silence as a "No."

What liberal media? Part II fashion (non)sense. CNN's Jeff Greenfield suggests that, because Barack Obama wears a collared shirt and a jacket, but no tie, he’ll remind Americans of evil Iranian president Ahmadinejagoff. If true, then so will Don Rumsfeld. And Hillary Clinton. And President Truman Bush. And John McCain. And Dick Cheney. And every other politician alive today. Y’know, most people don’t start drinking until after noon for a reason, Jeff.

Howler of the day. Disgraced former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wrote this in USA Today Monday:

The Congressional session that just concluded actually leaves a solid record of achievement for America. The House and Senate both worked to protect our country, crack down on crime, promote a strong economy, improve education and approve sensible judges in a fair manner.

He added: "Thank you! Thank you verrrr much! Tip your servers! Goodnight, D.C.!"

Immoral ass Officials now say Bush won’t announce his "New Way Forward to Stay The Course" until next year. No hurry. It's not like it's a life-or-death situation. Oh wait... That means a lot of additional U.S. soldiers will die for a mistake while he's slurping his virgin eggnog and "HehHehHeh'ing" by the fireside. Their moms and dads will be so thrilled.

Punching in. Bob Schieffer had some words for the Congressional Whiner Caucus Sunday on Face the Nation...

[W]hen Democratic leaders announced the new Congress would work five days a week instead of the barely three days a week they worked this year, Democrats and Republicans howled. ... Earth to Congress: there are a lot of working parents who have to juggle family and work schedules. Maybe another line of work would better suit your lifestyles. ... [W]e should not only demand [Congress] work five days a week, but that members punch a time clock like many working Americans. That way, we would at least know where they are.

Smart idea. They were getting too good at chewing through their electric ankle tethers, anyway.

Arctic ice, energy and our world Think of the earth as seen from space, and the North Polar Ice Cap pops into mind's eye as familiar as a shock of pearly, white hair on Santa's head. But if new findings from a team of North American researchers are accurate, we may not have that ice cap for much longer:

ABC News -- A team of scientists from the United States and Canada has found new evidence about the rapid melting of ice in the Arctic. Data presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union suggests all year-round ice could disappear by the year 2040. The scientists also believe recent research shows a tipping point which would trigger a rapid melting is fast approaching.

That much melt water spreading over parts of the the Arctic Ocean could shut down the North Atlantic Conveyor. The last time that happened, it may have sent western Europe into a brief but intense ice age marked by a notable pulse of extinction across every clade on record. In addition, this phenomenon could also signal that the permafrost ringing the Arctic Circle is melting, which would release prodigious amounts of trapped methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

In the bigger and more immediate picture, what makes the tragedy of regional war in the Middle East a potential economic catastrophe for human civilization? What is the root source of funding for Al Qaeda and Hezbollah? Why can repressive regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan count on US support and complicity? Why can a select few nations play by their own arbitrary rules? All these world class headaches and many more share one key ingrediant with climate change: E-N-E-R-G-Y.

Can you imagine what the overall state of our national and global health would be right now, had the WH and GOP controlled Congress responded to 9-11 with a crash research and incentive program of energy efficient and alternative energy technologies --instead of a campaign of fear, secrecy, and endless war -- and funded it to the tune of the trillion or more dollars they pledged to death and destruction in Iraq, and tax breaks for Paris Hilton and Exxon? I'm not sure when boneheaded stupidity, raw greed, and willful ignorance cross over the line into criminal negligence, but that has to be pretty damn close.

The irony is that we live on a world seething with energy. From the red hot magma beneath our feet over which we majestically glide on rafts of stone, to the mountains of water and continents of air our sun and moon drag around the planet everyday. Even the matter which forms our material world is energy, frozen, condensed, and available for use -- with the right technology. The first nation that figures out how to tap into any of that in a big, commercially viable way, will inherit the new millennium. Those left behind will be heir to a future far less desirable.

The Case for the Impeachment of George W. Bush : Count 1 - Intelligence Fraud.

Dem Corruption watch We won in conservative districts and states by running populist candidates in 2006. There's no reason that we, long-term, should put up with Democrats eager to be as corrupt as the Republicans they are replacing.

One of the earliest signs that life for Democrats would be different in the majority came at a post-election event sponsored by the New Democrat Coalition, the pro-business group of centrist Democrats.

Previous affairs drew at most 20 lobbyists, but the “meet-and-greet” at Nortel’s Washington office two days after Democrats swept to power drew around 60 mostly high-tech lobbyists looking to build a relationship, according to Kevin Lawlor, the spokesman for New Democrat Coalition (NDC) Chairwoman Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.).

Worried about what the Democratic Congress may mean for their business clients, to say nothing of the new limits on member access Democrats may impose as part of an ethics reform package, lobbyists have tried hard in the weeks following the election to build new links to the new majority.

One favored path has been through moderate to conservative blocs like the New Democrats and the Blue Dogs, who are a group of budget-minded conservative Democrats mostly from Southern states [...]

Tauscher’s annual holiday party, a modest affair last year, spilled out of her Kalorama home into a white tent crammed with people.

Now I don't want to oversimplify this issue. It's actually complex. There's nothing inherently wrong with lobbyists -- at their best, they help elected officials understand complex issues. For example, the net neutrality folks have to "lobby" members of Congress about the importance of the issue, and how it affects consumers. All issue groups, friendly or not, employ lobbyists to promote their agenda.

The problem is the appearance (and oftentimes fact) that government is for sale to the highest bidder.

There's no doubt that lobbyists will flock to the people who now control the chamber. In the House, especially, the majority has free reign to do whatever it wants. And if you're a lobbyist, that's where your attention will be if you're doing your job.

So the issue isn't so much, money is flowing into Democratic coffers and "business friendly" Democrats. The issue is that this money buys government.

Thus it's imperative that the new Congress enact an ethics reform package with real teeth, that upholds the principles of democracy, rather than a system in which popular concerns are relegated to second-class status behind those with the open checkbooks.

Falling off your tricycle. Sunday on Meet the Press, neocon Ken Adelman, a Rumsfeld pal from way back, puffed up his chest and pointed his bony finger at "them!" for botching Iraq:

"I think if the administration had stopped the looting right away, if the administration had not made a series of absolutely mind-bending, mind-bending errors since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, I’m not sure it would’ve been as---it certainly wouldn’t have been as difficult as it is now. [...] How come this level of incompetence is just so, so awesome on this, on a very serious thing that has endangered an enormous number of Americans and cost, you know, the prestige of the United States to say nothing of the future of Iraq? It is just shameful.

(Wow, he sounds like a shrill lefty blogger.) Yet, back in '02, Adelman painted a dazzling image of victory parades down George W. Bush Boulevard:

I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. [...] Measured by any cost-benefit analysis, such an operation would constitute the greatest victory in America's war on terrorism.

Next Sunday on Meet the Press: more Wrong People of Great Importance.

Another Repug seat goes Dem So, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) upsets Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX) to settle up the last outstanding race of the 2006 midterms. Rahm Emanuel has a statement out tonight saying, "Voters sent a message in November and they sent another one tonight, that change is coming to Washington." Absolutely. But there's another wrinkle to this story. We pick up the story from Chris Cillizza in the Post ...

Rodriguez's victory is doubly sweet for national Democrats, since they not only pick up another seat but also scored another direct hit on the legacy of former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas). DeLay engineered the congressional re-redistricting in 2003 that led to a six-seat Republican gain in Texas in 2004. But those gains came at a price. Portions of the 2003 map, including the removal of 100,000 Hispanic voters from the 23rd District, were ruled in violation of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court last June. The resulting changes in the district's boundaries reinstituted a strong Hispanic presence in the 23rd and led to Bonilla's loss.


Justice is out there....somewhere Remember that story from way, way back when about that lobbying money funnelled from Guam to Jack Abramoff through a cut-out in California, an attorney named Howard HIlls? 36 separate checks for $9,000 each to slip under the $10,000 reporting limit? The Superior Court of Guam just handed down indictments against Hills and his contact on the Guam side, Tony Sanchez -- "unlawful influence, conspiracy for unlawful influence, theft of property held in trust and official misconduct."

Whack-A-Mole, Part 390. One of Saddam Hussein's nephews---nabbed for bomb-making and other assorted thuggery---escaped from jail in northern Iraq. He didn’t do it alone---he was aided and abetted by a police officer on the inside. Dammit---if only we'd had those extra 20-thousand troops in Baghdad...

You might remember "Baghdad Bob." He was the Iraqi Information Minister who issued statements before and during the invasion that were so outrageous they kept us smirking for months ("We have destroyed two tanks, fighter planes, two helicopters and their shovels!") He even spawned a popular fan site. Now, almost four years after the Worst Mistake In American History, perhaps it's time to revisit the rants of "Baghdad Bob." Was he really wrong about everything?

"I speak better English than this villain Bush!"

"You have ruined the reputation of the American people in the most terrible way! Shame on you!"

"The midget Bush and that Rumsfield [sic] deserve only to be beaten with shoes by freedom loving people everywhere."

"The American people are not stupid, they are very clever. I can't understand how such clever people came to elect such a stupid president."

Bush "knows that he is standing in quicksand when it comes to his baseless talk on Iraq"

"Even those who live on another planet, if there are such people, would have condemned this action before it started!"

Tony Norman from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has more analysis here. Watch your back, Tony Snow...we hear Bob's lookin' for a new gig.

Did they hope we'd just forget? Congressmen Demand Info On Anthrax Probe From FBI

"Thirty-three members of Congress have written Attorney General Alberto Gonzales demanding that the FBI update lawmakers on the investigation into the anthrax attacks five years ago that paralyzed the nation with bio-terror fears.

"The bipartisan letter escalates efforts by Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, and Rep. Rush Holt (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., to get the FBI to tell lawmakers what it has learned during the five-year case that remains unsolved. The FBI has refused, citing concerns about possible leaks.

"The lawmakers said any leakers of prior information about the anthrax case inside the FBI or Congress should be punished but that such concerns do not justify keeping information from lawmakers so they could perform their required oversight of the FBI's performance.

"The case remains unsolved five years later." (AP)

Submitted by RKing on