Filtered news 4/12

This hurts. Really hurts.

Wisconsin's U.S. attorney Steve Biskupic has been a frequent topic here. That's mostly been because of a case Biskupic brought against a state bureaucrat named Georgia Thompson last year. The prosecution, which broadly implicated the Democratic governor Jim Doyle, was frequent grist for Republicans in political ads against Doyle. But though Biskupic somehow scored a conviction, the case was forcefully overturned on appeal last week. The evidence, one of the circuit judges said, was "beyond thin." Because of this, , here might be a prime example of a "loyal Bushie." But . There's strong evidence that, as a result of complaints from Karl Rove and President Bush himself, Biskupic was inches away from being purged last year. The real question becomes -- what saved him? The Thompson prosecution?

What Tommy Thompson gave us Each year, tens of thousands of Americans “find themselves disabled and unable to work. After going through the process to get Social Security disability income, most are shocked to discover that they have to , the federal health program for elderly and disabled people.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a on the FBI’s shift away from white collar crime since September 11.

Thousands of white-collar criminals across the country are no longer being prosecuted in federal court — and, in many cases, not at all — leaving a trail of frustrated victims and potentially billions of dollars in fraud and theft losses.

It is the untold story of the Bush administration’s massive restructuring of the FBI after the terrorism attacks of 9/11.

Five-and-a-half years later, the White House and the Justice Department have failed to replace at least 2,400 agents transferred to counterterrorism squads, leaving far fewer agents on the trail of identity thieves, con artists, hatemongers and other criminals.

Two successive attorneys general have rejected the FBI’s pleas for reinforcements behind closed doors.

Read the full piece . and have more.

It's so hard to find a babysitter these days This in the Post reads like a joke piece ...

The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.

The article's not the problem, mind you, but the subject matter. This is truly DC-czarism, 'we can't figure out what the hell we're doing so let's appoint a new bubble on the flowchart' run amok. Instead of 'czar' maybe we can just call the person 'training wheels'? Someone to oversee wars, the Pentagon, the State Department and everything else? Don't we elect that person every four years?

It reminds me of this November 2005 from The Onion ...

In response to increasing criticism of his handling of the war in Iraq and the disaster in the Gulf Coast, as well as other issues, such as Social Security reform, the national deficit, and rising gas prices, President Bush is expected to appoint someone to run the U.S. as soon as Friday.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a better sign -- though wrapped in a humorous package -- of why this president really can't be trusted to be in charge of anything and why the Republic is genuinely in peril as long as this pitiful goof remains in office. Bush wants to find a general to do his job for him. But he can't get anyone to agree to do it.

What liberal media? AP: GOP says there's in the US Attorney Purge. So that's what we're going to go with.

: the Bush administration guts the FBI and creates a fraudster's paradise.

Messing with the wrong guy. Silly David Gregory of NBC should know better than to try and slide a right-wing talking point---"Why is it appropriate to have Democratic leaders pursuing a shadow foreign policy"---past former ambassador Richard Holbrooke. You'll . Anyone know how to tie a tongue splint?

Vee haf vays of making you honor zuh Jeb Two weeks ago, the University of Florida voted to Jeb Bush an honorary degree. By a 38-28 vote, the faculty Senate rejected the former governor’s nomination, citing concerns about some of Bush’s education initiatives, including his dismantling of affirmative action programs in the state:

In higher education circles, Bush’s greatest criticism came over his “One Florida” plan, which ended race-based admissions in state universities. Black enrollment dropped at UF and statewide after the change took effect, as critics predicted.

Bush’s policies of “ according to students’ standardized test results and using vouchers to send certain students to private schools at public expense” also contributed to the rejection of his nomination. Upset by this lack of Jeb Bush adoration, the conservative-controlled House Schools & Learning Council voted yesterday to force the university to rename its education school the “.” Over the faculty’s opposition, the school will now have “to erect ‘‘ noting the college’s new name and include the revised name in all university documents, including catalogues and brochures.” The lawmakers acknowledge they “” to the faculty’s denial of Bush’s honorary degree.

Indolent Lymphoma Fred Thompson has an Obviously he should quit his job, drop out of public life, spend time with his family, devote himself exclusively to his treatment, etc...

Do the surge math As everyone knows, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today that regular Army units would begin serving 15-month tours in Iraq instead of their usual 12-month tours. But just in case the connection to the surge isn't obvious to everyone,

Gates said the change is necessary to prevent five Army brigades from deploying to combat before they complete a desired 12-month rest period at home and to give predictability to soldiers and their families.....He said the longer deployments also will allow President Bush's "surge" strategy in Baghdad to last a year in case such high force levels are needed in Iraq.

The surge, of course, consists of five brigades. What Gates is telling us is that the Army didn't have those brigades, and the only way they got them was by lengthening the normal tour of duty in Iraq to 15 months. It's not plausible that the Pentagon didn't know this when the surge was announced. They just decided not to announce it at the time. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess why.

Thoughtfulness police. So The New York Times ran a lengthy article on the urgent need to clean up the veddy, veddy uncivil discourse in bloggerland. Um, Digby? Would you ...

[I]t's quite clear that mainstream media have either ignored, pandered to or actively embraced hate radio for almost two decades now. Nary a peep has been said about the relentless, daily drumbeat of demagoguery and loathing of their fellow citizens that these talk show hosts vomit onto the public airwaves for anyone with a radio to hear. [...]

The discourse [on blogs] that everyone is so shocked to see is now uncivil and "nasty" was polluted decades ago by a bunch of rich, white businessmen who saw that they could make a very nice profit at exploiting the lizard brain of the American rightwing and help their political cause at the same time. The media thought it was all in good fun (and good for their bosses) just as they do today.

We bloggers didn't make this toxic, fetid environment, we just live in it. And toxic and fetid it is. At some point the prim and proper MSM are going to have to put down the smelling salts over the uncivil blogosphere and deal with the fact that the world they enabled with their convivial chuckling and snorting at Rush and Imus over the years has brought us to this place. The rest of us are a little busy fighting off the neanderthal thugs they helped create.

And I would only add: Thhhhppthtph! If that's not too shrill.

Who said this?

We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car....I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

Senate passes stem cell bill …but Bush will veto it. . :

For the second time in nine months, the Senate today passed a bill that would loosen President Bush's restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research, but once again falling short of the 67 votes needed to override a promised veto. The Senate voted 63 to 34 to pass the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, which would allow federally funded studies of stem cells isolated from embryos slated for destruction at fertility clinics.

The Obama smear campaign How can you tell the Republican Party is terrified of Barack Obama's rise to prominence? Following his last night, they put together a Top 10 list of his worst "fabrications." If this is his "top" 10, I must say he's in pretty good shape. Look at the : -16159">(Read the rest of this story…)

Gosh, accidents do happen, don't they? Just off the AP ...

The White House said Wednesday it had mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business. Congressional investigators looking into the administration's firing of eight federal prosecutors already had the nongovernmental e-mail accounts in their sights because some White House aides used them to help plan the U.S. attorneys' ouster. Democrats were questioning whether the use of the GOP-provided e-mail accounts was proof that the firings were political.

I guess we'll just never know since the emails accidentally disappeared. Darn. See if you can find a major news site that has picked up this development. High school English teachers have been on to this kind of excuse for the better part of a decade now. Does the White House seriously think we're going to buy this? Of course, there are always the RNC servers themselves. They ought to have these emails archived. Right?

But of course.... Fox News and Drudge that Pelosi's going to Iran -- hours and hours after her spokesperson unequivocally denied it.

This one's priceless. Remember Shirlington Limo, the slapdash outfit reportedly involved in ferrying Duke Cunningham, assorted bribers and sundry ladies of the night to poker parties over at the Watergate? They're DHS for "caving" to "political pressures" and canceling the company's contract to run its shuttle services. Stuff's tough all over.

Check out this : It finds that more Americans want Congress to withhold funding for the war if Bush vetoes the Dems' withdrawal bill.

Pentagon asswipes. Failure to provide up-armored Humvees? Bad. Failure to provide body armor? Worse. And now failure to provide our troops with fricking ? Unforgivable.

It's a start MSNBC has

Talk show host Don Imus' situation worsened Wednesday, when MSNBC announced that it would no longer simulcast the "Imus in the Morning" radio program…re

When will all the other racist talk show hosts on Conservative radio be fired? They spew garbage all day long like Limbaugh () and Beck with never any consequences. Instead, they get to go to the White House for . Two players from the Rutgers team addressed the media yesterday as the whole team held a press conference. What was impressive was Carson calling attention to the lame media we now have today… | |

Carson : I'd like to pose a question, Not a question of insult, but of pure thought Where were these major networks when the youth were making history for a prestigious university.

FOX is its usual self. : "Rutgers basketball team "acted like victims." Obama says he : Dodd still unsure what he thinks….and, advertisers keep bailing. Sprint, Amex, GM, Ditech, P&G, GlaxoSmithKline, Staples TV Newser …Media Matters

Jon Stewart and crew weigh in on the . | |

Colbert does his thing on Imus Don Imus isn't the only one for making insensitive remarks. Stephen Colbert explains his own controversial racial slur to Matt Lauer on "Today." | |

Lewis Black talks to The Progressive:

Q: What do you see as the main problem of this Administration?
Black: As much as the problem is the Iraq War, there is a bigger problem: There are unqualified, incompetent people within the government bureaucracy. There are people who spend their entire lives working within government and are experienced and know how to run FEMA, the FDA, the EPA. You can find these people and they will do their jobs well. It’s the administration’s job to find them and put them in these positions. This is what is called maintenance. What fell apart is maintenance. I lived around the government when I was a kid and I know it’s got many problems but you don’t elect people who don’t like government, because that’s what they’re in charge of. [...]

Q: Many people are finding real news through fake news with shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Why do you think that is?
Black: I call this news by default. It starts with things like when The New York Times had to apologize for the lack of research they did reporting on the Iraq War. Whether anyone likes it or not, they are the paper of record and it was their responsibility to pay attention, and the reality is that they didn’t. And now it’s started again as they start quoting these "sources" in regards to Iran’s weapons. They report, "unnamed military sources." I can’t believe they are doing this again. The New York Times said, and this is extraordinary, this is a much better presentation this time around.

Q: [W]hat about McCain?
Black: He gave up the ghost. He had his shot but Bush beat him senseless in South Carolina and now he has put his tongue so far up Bush’s ass it’s incredible. I can’t trust someone like that. If you want the Presidency that much, you don’t get it. On top of that, this kowtowing has allowed him to lose all of those things that made him interesting to both sides.

Q: Giuliani?
Black: You got to be f**king kidding me! He was my mayor and that was enough. Trust me. His arrogance as mayor was awful. "It’s me, it’s me, look at me." I’m sick of it.

Read . And bask in his tranquil subtlety.


April 12, 2007 - 7:45am