Filtered News 1/27

Cool Hand Luke, Fast Eddie Felson, et al. Happy Birthday to actor and Paul Newman. 82 candles on the cake today (with a side of Newman's OwnTM Gourmet Popcorn...yum). In the DVD player tonight...ummmmm...oh, .

Dubya ignores a good example Publicly rebuking the United States, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will take the extraordinary step of to Maher Arar today. The U.S. government continues to insist it did nothing wrong.

Bush to Congress: Back off, .

The corruption continues What in the hell is about?

"On Jan. 4, Mr. Rumsfeld opened a government-provided transition office in Arlington and has seven Pentagon-paid staffers working for him... The Pentagon said former secretaries are entitled to a transition office to sort papers, some of which can be taken with them for a library, for archives or to write a book."

Seven U.S. government employees, paid for by our taxes, are working on Rummy's potential book? Senator Levin, perhaps it's time for an inquiry.

Why do they hate the working poor this much? Number of amendments offered by conservatives to the minimum wage bill, including to abolish the federal minimum wage. In a dramatic floor speech (go to 4:30), Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) said today that conservative senators appear to be waging a “.” The next vote on the bill will be on Tuesday. (Show your support for a minimum wage increase .)

“A lot of people have tried to explain liberals. It’s a tough thing to do because people who aren’t liberal, it’s tough challenge to try to get outside yourself enough to understand these people. . Most of them don’t really matter, don’t amount to much, and resent anybody else who does.”

A top conservative Capitol Hill staffer tells Politico that would oppose Bush’s escalation if their vote matched their comments in private meetings. “The White House is trying to but they really don’t know how to handle this,” the staffer said.

My man! Senator Feingold is going to hold a hearing next week on for the Iraq war.

"Congress holds the power of the purse and if the president continues to advance his failed Iraq policy, we have the responsibility to use that power to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq," Feingold said in a statement released by his office on Thursday. "I will soon be introducing legislation to use the power of the purse to end what is clearly one of the greatest mistakes in the history of the nation's foreign policy."

At the same time, House Dems are considering , according to Rep. Steny Hoyer.

After a series of congressional hearings on the war, "we will then explore appropriate ways to affect the policy and strategy being pursued in Iraq," Hoyer said in a speech at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

"Possible vehicles" include spending bills for military and diplomatic activities in Iraq "and possibly a revised authorization for the use of military force in Iraq that more accurately reflects the mission of our troops on the ground," he said.

Both are welcome advances in the discussion. The House leadership plans to follow up with an identical, non-binding resolution in opposition to the escalation. But, it's good to see the discussion advance from the symbolic (which has a certain importance, particularly in the Senate chamber) to the practical--getting us the hell out.

Of course they are Fox News the controversial scene that was cut out of the anti-Clinton docudrama "Path to 9/11."

Dubya is an evil man Let's make it even : the Bush administration now explicitly claims that it has the authority to kill anyone on earth, for whatever reason it deems sufficient. Again, I know it's hard even for their political opponents to see our leaders as among world history's villians, but while Bush hasn't quite joined the club in terms of numbers of people killed (though the numbers certainly aren't low), you'd be hard pressed to find anyone else who so deformed the very idea of the law by claiming that what are truly outrageous powers are somehow perfectly normal and even justified by a document as sensible as the US Constitution. No, even that's not plain enough: According to the American government, the life of any given human being is legally worthless.

Augmensurgcalation : the administration looks to "shatter Iran's growing confidence" by stepping up the fight in Iraq.

For your viewing pleasure “White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials — including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett — in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.” Rove and Bartlett have already been subpoenaed by Libby’s attorneys, Newsweek reports, and while it’s not certain they will testify, “the odds increased this week after Libby’s lawyer, Ted Wells, laid out a defense resting on the idea that his client…had been made a ’scapegoat’ to protect Rove.”

Lies and the Lying Liars .

: the administration looks to "shatter Iran's growing confidence" by stepping up the fight in Iraq.

Ahhhh, it had to happen. As you know, the current US attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas is White House toady Timothy Griffin -- appointed without the benefit of senate confirmation under Arlen Specter's handy provision of the USA Patriot Act. Now an alleged crack cocaine dealer is . Even crack dealers care about the constitution.

The great William Shatner in :

[Q:] Babylon 5 actress Claudia Christian recently gave an interview in which she accused you of once making advances on the set of T.J. Hooker.

[A:] Well, who am I to tell a lady that she's a liar. I have no recollection. I'm sure it was memorable for her, though.

Note: Time apparently sent an interviewer who had no idea that Shatner's Has Been is actually a terrific album; the best single album of 2005, as I recall. Sheesh.

Liar-in-Chief. President Bush---the first "CEO president"---promised in his Dissaray of the Union speech that he could balance the budget by 2012 without raising our taxes. The Congressional Budget Office says he's . On to Plan B for restoring fiscal sanity: Salvation Army bell ringers...with shotguns.

Escalating The AP has confirmed that lied about the deaths of five troops in an attack at the governor's office in Karbala last week.

In a written statement, the U.S. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack." Now, two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials say four of the five were captured and taken from the governor's compound alive. Three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded later that evening in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.

The U.S. officials said they could not be sure where the soldiers were shot after being captured at the compound. Iraqi officials said they believe the men were killed just before the Suburbans were abandoned. . . .

The new information has emerged after nearly a week of inquiries. The U.S. military in Baghdad repeatedly declined comment on reports that began emerging from Iraqi government and military officials which suggested a major breakdown in security at Karbala site.

The two senior American military officials now confirm the reports, gathered by The Associated Press from five senior Iraqi government, military and religious leaders. The U.S. military also has provided additional details from internal military accounts.

Presumably the nightmarish end the soldiers faced might put a bit of a damper on the prospect of sending even more troops into Iraq. Another incident to add to Senator Levin's growing list of oversight hearings.

Great Britain. Three---count 'em, three---great stories from across the Pond (hat tip to Americablog and Think Progress): 1) Catholic adoption agencies can't discriminate . 2) The 2012 London Olympics will be . And 3) The superstore chain Tesco is giving 10 million bucks to Oxford so they can determine the "carbon footprint" of food, allowing consumers to choose foods that require less energy to produce (a bowl of kidney pudding, for example, requires three tons of uranium). Meanwhile, here in America, we're debating weightier whether global warming is caused by humans or . And why you British think you're so smart.

One more time for that ole' Bush magic? You can see these rolling out the old routine to see if it can work one more time. First there was President Bush telling Congress to shove with his "" line. Then later this afternoon there was Sec Def Bob Gates saying even a non-binding resolution would 'embolden the enemy'. Calculated statements like these don't roll off these guys' tongues by chance. It's the old routine from three and four years ago -- talk tough, aggressive and confrontational, when your position is actually quite weak. Break it down and it's really no more than a . What the White House is saying is that the United States senate can't do anything does not express full support for President Bush -- even something that only expresses sentiment -- without aiding the enemy. The very exercise of the senate's constitutional authority aides the terrorists. Having this resolution passed really does worry the White House -- even if it is merely a non-binding, sense-of-the-senate resolution -- because their whole model of political control is based cowing the political opposition. That is the key. Once that spell's broken, for them it's the abyss.

What liberal media? Sunday Bobbleheads

ABC's "This Week" - Sens. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; actor Kevin Bacon.

CBS' "Face the Nation" - Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

NBC's "Meet the Press" - Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and David Vitter, R-La.; former presidential speechwriter Michael Gerson; Kenneth Pollack, a Brookings Institution analyst.

CNN's "Late Edition" - Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

"Fox News Sunday" - Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.

So, let's take these one by one.

Joe Biden - supported the war
Richard Lugar - supported the war
Duncan Hunter - supported the war
Kevin Bacon - unsure of his opinion on war.

Jim Webb - opposed war, though not in Senate at time.
Mitch McConnell - supported the war
Arlen Specter - supported the war

Mike Huckabee - supported the war
Chuck Schumer - supported the war
David Vitter - supported the war
Gerson - former Bush speechwriter, supported the war
Kenneth Pollack - supported the war

Chris Dodd - supported the war
Jon Kyl - suppported the war
Michael Steele - supported the war
Donna Brazile - unsure if she took stand on Iraq war, but is on board

Sam Brownback - supported the war
Joe Lieberman - loves the war
Ellen Miller - N/A

What liberal media? Part II “Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.” Yesterday in the Scooter Libby trial, Vice President Cheney’s former communications director displayed notes from 2004 “about how Cheney could respond to allegations that the Bush administration had played fast and loose with evidence of Iraq’s nuclear ambitions.” Option 1 was “MTP-VP,” a Cheney appearance on Russert’s Sunday show, “I suggested we put the vice president on ‘Meet the Press,’ which was a tactic we often used.”

License to kill The White House has “authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranians who are believed to be working with Iraqi militias,” a of detaining Iranians “and then releasing them after a few days, which the Bush administration felt .”

The other old boys club “The word I would use to describe my position on the bench is lonely,” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 73, tells USA Today. “This is how it was for Sandra [Day O’Conner]’s first 12 years,” she said. “ I didn’t realize how much I would miss her until she was gone.”

JB has Bush's number ...

Future historians may draw some contrasts between President Bush's declaration that he's the one who decides troop levels in Iraq with his earlier and oft-stated insistence that commanders on the ground were asked what they needed and always got what they asked for.

I suppose he just decided to let someone else decide, and now has a new strategy. More likely, of course, he's just insisting now that he'll decide rather than let Congress do it, an easy enough point to hold when Congress doesn't want the job. It shouldn't get it, either; better to forego resolutions in favor of extensive oversight of reconstruction accounts, procurement, O&M, operations and other aspects of the war. The President won't like this either, but will have scant grounds to object.

Incidentally, Josh, you must have noticed that Bush's very expansive claims of executive authority are being made by the first President in our history to delegate to his Vice President anything close to the authority over policy and personnel that he has ceded to Cheney. Back in 1980 the GOP Convention audience was kept amused by an effort to establish a "co-Presidency" with Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, who'd have been given extensive authority if elected. Reagan decided then that it was a stupid idea; he wasn't running to be half a President. And now we have a President weak enough to make the "co-Presidency" a reality.

A weak President claiming vast powers is, if not unique in our history surely unusual.

That really does capture him: a weak and essentially cowardly man with great pretensions of power.

Bombing with your base. Think Progress---wading into the muck on our behalf---notes that conservatives are plenty pissed at Preznit for during his Tuesday speech:

In a video address entitled, "A Lifeless State of the Union," President Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said, "I believe the president failed to challenge the new majority to advance core family and cultural issues. What will become of the culture of life? The defense of marriage? And permanent family-friendly tax policies?"

He added: "Where will I go? What will I do? Oh fiddle dee dee!" Is there anything more pathetic than a rich powerful white man whining?

Cheney hiding the evidence In an interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) said that Vice President Dick Cheney exerted “” pressure on the former chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of false intelligence on Iraq. The so-called Phase II report on the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence was delayed for over two years. Two of its five portions were in Sept. 2006.

Rockefeller said that he knew Cheney attended regular policy meetings in which he conveyed White House directions to conservative Capitol Hill staffers. They “just had to go along with the administration,” he said. Here are examples of on the Phase II investigation per White House orders:

“We’ll proceed with Phase II. It is a priority. I made my commitment and it will get done.” [Press conference, ]

“I don’t know if we can get it done before the election.” [Meet the Press, ]

“That [the Phase II report] is basically on the back burner.” [UPI, ]

“I don’t think there should be any doubt that we have now heard it all regarding prewar intelligence. I think that it would be a monumental waste of time to replow this ground any further.” [U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, ]

“To go though that exercise, it seems to me, in a post-election environment - we didn’t see how we could do that and achieve any possible progress. I think everybody pretty well gets it.” [U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, ]

“I’m perfectly willing to do it, and that’s what we agreed to do, and that door is still open.” [Meet the Press, ]

“It isn’t like it’s been delayed. As a matter of fact, it’s been ongoing. As a matter of fact, we have been doing our work on Phase II.” [Senate Floor Speech, ]

“I don’t know the relevancy of that.” [CNN, ]

“We’ve been working on that. We will finish it. We had it scheduled for this week.” [Face the Nation, ]

The report was partially released on .


January 27, 2007 - 7:59am