Filtered news 3/1

Reminder of disclaimer: No original reporting here -- I'm just cutting and pasting interesting things from the Net. --RKing

Arthur Schlesinger Jr. has at the age of 89. According to the Times , he had a heart attack at a restaurant in Manhattan and died at . If you're not familiar with Schlesinger or know him only as a name, take the time to read the Times . This is one of those passings that, in a small but deep way, marks the passing of an era.

BERRY: During our February 8th broadcast, the hosts of this program mistakenly stated that financier George Soros "cheerfully" and "willingly" went to work for the Nazis after his native Hungary was occupied during World War II, when Mr. Soros was 13 years old. The hosts also mistakenly stated that Mr. Soros "ran around Hungary with Nazi officials, serving eviction notices to people who were going to be shipped out on the death trains," and that he did so "to further his own career." These statements are not accurate, and KSFO regrets that they were broadcast.

Who supports our troops? Through the lens of his own personal recovery from a traumatic brain injury , ABC’s Bob Woodruff last night examined the dealing with injuries to their loved ones. While the Department of Defense reports that there have been about , Woodruff reported — through an internal VA document — that more than 200,000 veterans have sought medical care for various ailments. When Woodruff confronted VA Secretary Jim Nicholson about the disparity in the administration’s figures, Nicholson responded that Americans are probably “surprised to know that 200,000 come to the VA for some kind of medical treatment. That’s probably more than they think.” But Nicholson quickly downplayed the high numbers, claiming a lot of veterans simply “come in for dental problems.” Nicholson’s attempts to diminish the seriousness of the issue are insulting. According to the VA internal report, the injuries afflicting veterans are quite serious in nature:

Mental disorders: 73,000
Diseases of nervous system: 61,000
Signs of ill-defined conditions: 7,000
Diseases of musculoskeletal system: 87,000.

Despite the increasing numbers of wounded and injured veterans seeking care, the Bush administration has laid out plans to two years from now.

Soldier, heal thyself! “Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media,” the Army Times reports. Soldiers said an official told them “they with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.” Nice. Stick them -- sick and injured vets -- in a rotting, rat-infested hole and then tell them to clean up and shut up. Again, I ask: Who supports our troops?

And when did they know? After last week's revelations about the soldiers were receiving as out-patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates :

I'm grateful to reporters for bringing this problem to our attention, but very disappointed we did not identify it ourselves.

Yes, who could have imagined that the wounded men and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq were facing another war, this one against neglect and bureaucracy? Today we that the answer is, just about everybody:

Top officials at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, including the Army's surgeon general, have heard complaints about outpatient neglect from family members, veterans groups and members of Congress for more than three years.

And last week, as damage control efforts kicked in, the Army's surgeon general, Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley, was how high up the responsibility went. Kiley responded, "I really can't say." And today we learn why Kiley refused to assign blame:

But as far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army's top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews....Kiley, his successive commanders at Walter Reed and various top noncommissioned officers in charge of soldiers' lives have heard a stream of complaints about outpatient treatment over the past several years.

From the Army's surgeon general, to Commanders at Walter Reed, to Inspector Generals, to Congressmen, conditions at the "crown jewel of military medicine" were long known. And since this scandal was made public, what actions has the Pentagon taken? A first sergeant has been relieved of duty and Secretary Gates appointed a review group to "inspect the current situation at Walter Reed." More promising is a hearing scheduled by the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. And while fixing what is broken at Walter Reed (and military medical facilities across the country) must be their primary concern, hopefully they will also be asking, "what did they know and when did they know it?" And maybe they can start with Donald Rumsfeld.

Last October, Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed by a friend concerned about outpatient treatment. [...] At the end of the meeting, Rumsfeld asked one of the staff members whether she thought that the soldiers her husband was meeting on his visits had been handpicked to paint a rosy picture of their time there. The answer was yes.

But perhaps she forgot to mention it to him.

He'll be unemployed by the end of the week “In the ,” Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said yesterday that “Osama bin laden is in Pakistan actively re-establishing al Qaeda training camps.” He also admitted to the Senate that the “term of the Iraqi conflict.”

Another GOP smear exposed The Politico editor John Harris acknowledged “with pride and remorse” that he is the author of the “slow-bleed” phrase that the right wing is using to attack Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) Iraq plan. “As happens all the time in journalism, this was a decision — made on the fly and under deadline — .”

Yesterday, ThinkProgress on military readiness from candidate George W. Bush in 2000: "So let’s get something straight right now. To point out that our military has been overextended, taken for granted and neglected, that’s no criticism of the military. That is criticism of a president and vice president and their record of neglect." So when the right talks about “slow bleed,” or tries to cover up their neglect of the military by citing the stellar performance of our soldiers, remember who’s .

Feeling safer? Bush to veto 9/11 bill Hey remember how the war on terror is, like, the worst war this country has ever faced? Remember how WWII and the Nazi threat (and its millions of murders) pales in comparison to the scary scariness of a bunch of A-rabs cradling AK-47s and RPG-7s in caves?

Remember?

Well, apparently that scary after all. At least compared to those even scarier union workers.

The U.S. Senate began debating legislation to bolster America's security on Wednesday with the White House threatening a veto because one part would extend union protection to 45,000 airport workers [...] The overall bill would implement many of the stalled recommendations of the bipartisan commission created after the September 11 attacks. The measure refines other recommendations and imposes new ones, such as the labor provision, and would let state and local governments share information with federal authorities, build better communication systems and provide grants to help high-risk areas prepare for disasters. But White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said if the labor provision remains in the legislation, "the president's senior advisers would recommend he veto the bill." Thirty-six Republican senators sent a letter to Bush on Tuesday saying they would provide the needed votes to sustain a veto in the 100-member Senate.

Got that? Terrorism is the GREATEST THREAT EVER to face this country. But apparently, implementing measures that would make our nation safer from terrorists will get vetoed and upheld by at least 36 Senate Republicans simply because 45,000 airport workers would be unionized. They are putting the nation's safety in peril over the GOP's ideological jihad against unions. Not that this would be the first time that ideology trumps our nation's security.

You are what you eat “The federal agency that’s been front and center in warning the public about tainted spinach and contaminated peanut butter is conducting just half the food safety inspections it did three years ago. The cuts by the Food and Drug Administration come .”

Since the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy went into effect, the Pentagon has dismissed , many of whom have key specialty skills such as training in medicine and language. At a time when the military faces a , the Pentagon cannot afford to dismiss as it is doing under the current policy. Today, Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) reintroduced the , a bill that would allow gays to serve openly in the military. Joining Meehan at a press conference today was retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first American soldier to be seriously wounded in Iraq. A gay man, Alva did not admit his sexual orientation until he retired from the military, but Alva has since become a strong advocate for repealing the policy. Good Morning America told his story this morning. In an interview not included in the televised report, Alva told ABC News about that he was gay:

“I told tons of people,” he said, with a laugh. “A lot of my friends, my buddies, my closest Marines, people I had served in combat with. Straight guys, married, with children and everything, three of them which I have become their sons’ godfather now. Everybody was just respectful and was just like ordinary. ‘That’s it? That’s your big news?’”

Alva says that while anti-gay language wasn’t exactly unheard of in the Marines, generally he thinks troops are ready for gays and lesbians to serve openly.

“Being on the front lines and serving with the people who even actually knew that I was gay, you know, that was never a factor. We were there to do a job. We were [there] to do a mission. I don’t think people would have a hard time with it because they know that the person right next to them is going to be there to protect them, in our terms, ‘have their back.’”

Learn more about the effort to lift the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy .

What liberal media? MSNBC host Chris Matthews is obsessed with Bill Clinton’s sex life. Over the last four weeks, Matthews has incessantly raised baseless speculation that President Clinton may have an extramarital affair or engage in inappropriate behavior that would impact Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). He has called Clinton’s sex life the “800-pound gorilla stalking behind” Hillary Clinton, and suggested it would sink her presidential campaign. Earlier this month, Matthews asked about Bill Clinton’s “personal behavior” 10 separate times in a single interview. Matthews’ baseless speculation has the effect of turning President Clinton into a liability for progressives, and Matthews isn’t alone. In December, the Washington Post questioned whether Bill Clinton will be the “” in Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy. But as Media Matters documented, “nowhere does the article offer to his wife or that the public sees in him the ‘massive and messy distraction’ the article suggests the ‘media-industrial complex’ sees.” A Feb. 15 Gallup report found that Bill Clinton’s approval rating, “more than six years after leaving office, is .”

Quotes:

MATTHEWS: I love the way you smile. I’m just thinking, is Bill Clinton going to stop trying to play Holly Golightly up in New York. I’m just wondering when he stops that, if he’s doing it, she’ll be better off.

2/26/2007

MATTHEWS: Here to dig into all are the HARDBALLers, the Washingtonpost.com’s Chris Cilizza and Lynn Sweet of “The Chicago Sun-Times.” Lynn, “The Washington Post’s” Ann Kornblut is on this program a lot, wrote this big piece this weekend about, once again, Bill Clinton’s the target of conversation. Is this going to go away, or does he have to issue a statement of some kind, I’m not going to be a problem for my wife’s campaign? How’s this going to end, this buzz?

2/25/2007

MATTHEWS: Tuesday, and then Maureen Dowd of The New York Times published Geffen’s piercing critique of Hillary and husband Bill. Quote, “‘I don’t think anybody believes that in the last six years, all of a sudden, Bill Clinton has become a different person’…

MATTHEWS: After The New York Times, Michelle, a couple of–couple of months ago wrote that big front page piece saying the Democrats are worried about Bill Clinton’s personal behavior right now, not ‘98. The Clinton response to that, the campaign response is ‘That’s personal, that’s private.’ That’s a fallback position from ‘There’s no trouble there.’ It’s like saying, ‘Don’t talk about that stuff, whatever it is.’

Ms. NORRIS: Well, you…

MATTHEWS: Is that going to work?

2/23/2007

MATTHEWS: Mike Barnicle, I didn’t think the Bill and Hillary issue would get — the husband issue would get so hot so fast, and now you got this guy, David Geffen, a liberal money-raising guy out in California, Hollywood, in Tinseltown, raising the issue of Bill Clinton’s personal behavior so early in the campaign.

2/23/2007

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Below the belt? Is it wrong for a Democrat like Barack Obama to say Bill Clinton’s personal behavior could be a great Republican issue in 2008? …

MATTHEWS: Does your side, the Clinton side, believe it’s a foul for any shot against Bill Clinton, the fact that he was impeached or anything to do with his personal behavior? You believe that’s a foul? …

MATTHEWS: Has anyone in the campaign, you or John — does Ann Lewis or Howard Wolfson — Howard Wolfson — does anybody have the status to walk up to Hillary and say, you have got to get Bill together on this; he could distract from this campaign; let’s make sure a winning campaign doesn’t become a losing campaign because of personal behavior?

2/15/2007:

MATTHEWS: It’s like she didn’t know anything about Bill and his behavior? How many times is she going to be confused by men?

2/8/2007

MATTHEWS: Is your friend Bill going to be in this campaign? Going to be busy with the campaign, not get any distractions going with other things?

MCAULIFFE: He`s going to be very busy.

MATTHEWS: No distractions? He`s writing a book.

MCAULIFFE: He`s got a distraction right now. He`s writing a book for the next two months.

MATTHEWS: Will he distract our attention from his wife by misbehavior?

MCAULIFFE: No sir.

MATTHEWS: He won’t? He’s going to be a good boy?

MCAULIFFE: His wife is running for president. He`s going to do everything — he`s the most popular man in the world today.

MATTHEWS: It doesn’t kill me if he does distract from this campaign. We do not want to go back to 1998. Some people do.

2/2/2007

MATTHEWS: Is Bill Clinton going to be a problem in this campaign?

LEWIS: Absolutely not.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself?

LEWIS: Bill Clinton has been around — in the first place, he’s been around the world saving lives.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself?

LEWIS: He’s going to do what he does best.

MATTHEWS: Is he going to behave himself…

LEWIS: Yes, he is.

MATTHEWS: … not cause a publicity that gets her embarrassed? …

LEWIS: There’s no there there. No. I think Bill Clinton is going to continue doing his work, going around the world, saving lives.

MATTHEWS: So he’s going to behave himself.

LEWIS: He’s going to be out on the campaign trail…

MATTHEWS: And he’s going to behave himself so Hillary can be the first woman president.

LEWIS: You’re all going to be applauding…

MATTHEWS: I think it’d be great for the country … if we were not once again distracted…

LEWIS: So do I.

MATTHEWS: … by what you call private life. And I think the way to avoid getting distracted is to have nothing there to distract us.

LEWIS: Well, I agree with that. But we just spent how many minutes of this segment, three minutes, talking about there should be nothing to distract us? Why don’t we stop talking about it and talk about the issues?

MATTHEWS: Well, because I want to have some assurances from people that I trust and like to spread the word that…

LEWIS: Why don’t you watch…

MATTHEWS: … he better watch it …

LEWIS: … what he’s been doing? Why not see what he’s done for the last…

MATTHEWS: I am watching, unfortunately. Anyway, thank you, Ann Lewis

1/29/2007

MATTHEWS: …So we don’t know what she was thinking. That audience, though, was keyed to laugh, thinking she was kidding about her husband’s philandering, Monica Lewinsky and all that. What I’m asking is, is she that unaware of that 800-pound gorilla stalking behind her, the baggage of her husband?

Insanity knows no limit Yesterday on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) blamed yesterday’s market drop — — on members of Congress supposedly “talking about…more regulation” and “undermin[ing] the President’s national security policy.” Gohmert said, “In two months of talking about raising taxes and more regulation and [referring to Murtha] one committee chairman talking about how he’s going to undermine the President’s national security policy — two months! — we have this terrible damage to the stock market, to the economy. Unbelievable.” He added: “I just encourage my friends across the aisle, be careful. We built a great economy. Don’t blow it quite so quickly.” Gohmert is out to lunch. Analysts say that yesterday’s market drop was to China’s market meltdown on Monday, Alan Greenspan’s recession remarks this week, and rising oil prices. Fox News uses the stock plummet to call for : Tax cuts.

Diesel launches a “” ad campaign promoting its spring/summer collection as “Global Warming Ready.” Its ads depicts “landscapes that have been transformed by environmental disaster” and models that “are dressed fashionably if barely (to accommodate the weather) and they lounge amid this hip dystopia in glamorous unconcern, fanning themselves or applying suntan lotion to one another’s tawny backs.” Watch the ad . Find out the facts on global warming at .

Sports and politics Pat Riley and the Miami Heat solidify their status as the most loathsome coach and most loathsome team in the NBA. Reuters :

Riley gave Bush a jersey and then told the audience: "I voted for the man. If you don't vote you don't count." Addressing reporters later, Riley denied that he had injected politics into the ceremony. "I'm pro-American, pro-democracy, I'm pro-government," the coach said. "I follow my boss. He's my boss."

Which serves as a perfect excuse to recall Rasheed Wallace's to a question about what he'd say to Bush when his Detroit Pistons visited the White House a couple years ago. "I don't have sh*t to say to him," Sheed said. "I didn't vote for him. It's just something we have to do." The interesting thing about the Heat's loathesomeness, in my view, is that their star, Dwyane Wade, while not my favorite player, is also totally non-loathesome. Thus, it's hard to be happy when he gets injured. At the same time, given the way it screws Riley and the rest of his crew of washed-up losers, it's hard to be upset.

Anyone for universal dental care? This is . I usually try not to be the table-pounding kind of liberal, but on some level delivering everyone a basic standard of health care is a fairly simple moral imperative, and not really this big medico-economo-whatever question.

Kill your TV The television show 24 has become a . Numerous conservative pundits have cited 24 as a sanction for harsh interrogation practices. In September, Laura Ingraham stated, “The average American out there loves the show 24. … In my mind that’s close to a against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get.”

Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan recently told the 24 producers that he was concerned that the show’s promotion of illegal torture “was having a .” In a new interview with Newsweek, former U.S. Army specialist Tony Lagouranis, who left the military with an honorable discharge in 2005, confirms Finnegans fears — that to torture prisoners:

Interrogators didn’t have guidance from the military on what to do because we were told that the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply any more. So our training was obsolete, and we were encouraged to be creative. We turned to television and movies to look for ways of interrogating. I can say that I saw that with myself, also. I would adopt the posture of the television or movie interrogator, thinking that establishing that simple power arrangement, establishing absolute power over the detainee, would force him to break. …

[We adopted mock] executions and mock electrocution, stress positions, isolation, hypothermia. Threatening to execute family members or rape detainees’ wives and things like that.

Lagouranis has teamed up with Human Rights First to advocate against torture, noting that what is seen on 24 “is not an effective technique for gaining intelligence.” Kiefer Sutherland, the actor who stars as Jack Bauer, has also said that the torture techniques employed in the show are . He recently agreed to to teach them that torture is wrong.

Corruption watch Genevieve Smith has a up about the president's ability to use administrative orders to keep pressing a business-friendly legislative agenda behind congress' back.

Being a watchdog If you've ever been frustrated with the comprehensive-yet-nightmarish congressional infromation system from the Library of Congress, the new looks like it just might be the cure, bringing some of that Web 2.0 goodness to the basic task of telling you which bills are where, cosponsored by whom, who voted which way when, etc.

Quote of the day president-elect of the United Network for Organ Sharing:

"We have to guarantee to the public that we're not going to go out and kill people to get their organs."

Yes, that sounds like a reasonable PR goal to me. (Pruett was responding to a case in which a transplant surgeon in California may have "ordered excessive doses of powerful pain medication to speed the death" of an accident victim. It's under investigation.)

Immigration isn't all that evil? Say what?

A study released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants who arrived in the state between 1990 and 2004 increased wages for native workers by an average 4%.

UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri, who conducted the study, said the benefits were shared by all native-born workers, from high school dropouts to college graduates....

Another study released Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.

It sucks for the xenophobic wingnuts when their talking points are contradicted .

Two new studies by California researchers counter negative perceptions that immigrants increase crime and job competition, showing that they are incarcerated at far lower rates than native-born citizens and actually help boost their wages.

A study released Tuesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found that immigrants who arrived in the state between 1990 and 2004 increased wages for native workers by an average 4%.

UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri, who conducted the study, said the benefits were shared by all native-born workers, from high school dropouts to college graduates, because immigrants generally perform complementary rather than competitive work.

As immigrants filled lower-skilled jobs, they pushed natives up the economic ladder into employment that required more English or know-how of the U.S. system, he said […]

Another study released Monday by the Washington-based Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrant men ages 18 to 39 had an incarceration rate five times lower than native-born citizens in every ethnic group examined. Among men of Mexican descent, for instance, 0.7% of those foreign-born were incarcerated compared to 5.9% of native-born, according to the study, co-written by UC Irvine sociologist Ruben G. Rumbaut.

So they raise wages and are incarcerated at dramatically lower rates than native born Americans.

So why are we supposed to hate them so much?

So are these studies legit? I can't say for sure, but the objections offered up by the immigration hawks at the Center for Immigration Studies were so transparently lame that it suggests they don't actually have any credible criticisms of the methodology. They just don't like the results. But perhaps they'll be able to come up with something better after they've cogitated on the matter for while.

He'll flip-flop out in a minute McCain makes it official: He's for President.

Something wicked this way comes... Was it Heather Wilson (R-NM) who helped get US Attorney David Iglesias fired? As yesterday, Rep. Steve Pearce, the other Republican member of Congress from New Mexico, denies he called Iglesias to nudge him to drop an indictment on a state Democrat just in time for the November election.

We called Wilson for comment at the same time. And we haven't gotten a response. Now we learn that the Post either.

Now, the day before when TPM.com that Iglesias had emailed a friend telling him that his firing was a "political fragging", they picked that story up from the blog of Joe Monohan, a New Mexico politics insider.

A short time ago TPM Reader BL sent us a link to on Monohan's blog from December 20th. It's about Iglesias's ouster, but before the fired US Attorney issue caught on nationally. And it includes this passage ...

There was another angle that surfaced too. That one had ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson egging on Justice to axe Iglesias. Was she unhappy with the Vigil prosecution that played a role in her campaign? Was she displeased that the U.S. attorney failed to come with indictments in the investigation of the construction of two Bernalillo county courthouses in time for her to use in her difficult re-election battle with Democrat Patsy Madrid? Those were the questions being posed in light of her rumored involvement in the Iglesias matter, coming as it did from reliable legal sources.

So it seems like Wilson's meddling in this matter was at least being traded as scuttlebutt well before Iglesias made his accusations. She doesn't seem inclined to deny was one of the two callers. And she was involved in a super tight race last Fall against Democrat Patricia Madrid.

I pretty much guarantee that Iglesias's explosive claims are the story in all New Mexico politics today. We first called Wilson's office just before 2 PM and we've placed repeated calls since then. The Post apparently get an answer either. And a staffer in Wilson's DC office just told us that Wilson's spokesperson, Bryce Dustman, is in the office today.

So if Dustman can deny that Wilson was one of the two members of Congress who called him, we're all ears and we're waiting by the phone.

The silence is starting to get a tad deafening. Fired US Attorney says two members of Congress contacted and nudge him on getting a Democrat indicted before election day. Everyone seems to be denying it was them. Except for two folks. No one seems to be able to from Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) or Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM).

Here's the Post's succinct, if vaguely oblique, of the relevant reporting ...

Spokesmen for Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and the state's two Democratic lawmakers, Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Tom Udall, said the lawmakers and their staffs had no contact with Iglesias about the case. The offices of New Mexico's two other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Pete V. Domenici and Rep. Heather A. Wilson, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Heather? Pete?

A few more nuggets from the Post piece on the Iglesias charges. In his interview with the Post Iglesias on the probable chain of events that got him fired: "I didn't give them what they wanted. That was probably a political problem that caused them to go to the White House or whomever and complain that I wasn't a team player."

If you're a nervous member of Congress in a tight election and you're pissed you can't get any action out of Iglesias, you probably don't call the DOJ. You call the White House, specifically the political office. So who at the White House got called? And what did they do? House committee on whether to subpoena ousted U.S. attorneys. (D-NY): Canned prosecutors say they want to talk.

FOX Noose gets Left and Right mixed up Media Matters has repeatedly documented how major media outlets reflexively characterize conservative views as “pro-military,” and how concern for our armed forces is a conservative issue. The :

During the February 24 edition of Fox News Watch, Newsday columnist James P. Pinkerton claimed that the reason it took the media so long to report on deteriorating conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was because “the media typically come at the Bush administration from the left” by criticizing the Iraq war. “The idea of going after the administration from the right as it were,” Pinkerton continued, “that we’re not supporting the troops enough, not [providing] body armor enough, not [protecting] Humvees enough, not helping at Walter Reed enough — that is an angle that most reporters don’t naturally think of when they’re waking up” because “they come from a different ideological perspective.”

Pinkerton’s falsehood is perhaps most evident in the blogosphere. Last week, we that Walter Reed had refused to let talk show host Don Imus (a frequent advocate for servicemembers and veterans) tour the hospital and investigate conditions there.

In our , we linked to the unofficial , whose author Big Roy acknowledges that he “” Yet, on Friday, Roy wrote a post titled, “

During the past week I’ve gotten several links from some of the biggest liberal blogs/websites on the internet, , , and . These are not sites that would normally link to this blog. As anyone who reads my blog knows I routinely slam liberal politicians and media.

But these guys rose above politics to try and bring awareness to the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Some might say they’re doing it as an opportunity to slam the Bush Administration. I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s a genuine concern for active duty soldiers and veterans.

I wondered why I hadn’t received a single link from a conservative blog or website. I thought well they just didn’t like any of my posts. So I went and checked the right wing blogs I normally read when I get time, Redstate, Pajama Media, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin. Except for Ms. Malkin, not one of these sites even mentioned the Washington Post Story or anything about Walter Reed that I could find. When Malkin talks about it. She was not able to rise above politics and used it as an opportunity to slam the liberal media and democrats.

Crooks & Liars has more, including an .

Good Old Boys Club not dead yet The Washington Post reported that the FDA’s “just had more than one-quarter of this year’s $4 million operating budget .” The office had stood up for scientific research that ultimately led to the approval of . Because the remaining $2.8 million has already been spent or allocated, the funding cut will “effectively halt further operations for the rest of the year.”

The backlog of unfulfilled Freedom of Information requests “, a whopping 138% above the 1998 level. The 13 agencies that have so far reported 2006 data show a slightly higher backlog that the year before.” (More on FOIA .)

More on Gore Let's watch Maureen Dowd transform Gore into Bore -- in one quick and easy step that you can learn, too! In her column today on Al Gore, Dowd :

The man who was prescient on climate change, the Internet, terrorism and Iraq admitted that maybe his problem had been that he was too far ahead of the curve. He realized at a conference that “there’re ideas that are mature, ideas that are maturing, ideas that are past their prime ... and a category called ‘predawn.’

“And all of a sudden it hit me,” he told John Heilemann of New York magazine last year. “Most of my political career was spent investing in predawn ideas! I thought, Oh, that’s where I went wrong.”

Yeah, so Gore thinks the reason he went wrong is he's "too far ahead of the curve." What a pompous, pretentious, self-absorbed bore, right?

But wait -- watch those hands...they move awful quick. Let's go back and take a look at the full and original New York magazine Dowd quoted from:

After dinner in Toronto, Gore and I walk across the street from the hotel to the cinema where An Inconvenient Truth has just finished screening. Gore is talking about his fascination with the future and what an oddball it has made him politically. “We had this meeting in London for Generation”—his investment fund—“and there was a presentation that looks at all the business ideas that can be invested in. There’re ideas that are mature, ideas that are maturing, ideas that are past their prime, venture-capital-stage ideas—and a category called ‘predawn.’ And all of a sudden it hit me: Most of my political career was spent investing in predawn ideas!” Gore laughs. “I thought, Oh, that’s where I went wrong!”

Yes, the man laughed -- he was joking! He was making fun of himself! But Dowd's quick hands excised that inconvenient fact with a bit of deft editing. (Also note that the "pre-dawn idea" concept was Gore's in Dowd's version but actually wasn't Gore's in the original.) Thus it is that an amusing moment of ironic self-deprecation was magically transformed by Dowd into Gore as Bore. Poof!

Relatedly, perhaps it should be taken as a sign of progress that Dowd described Gore as "prescient" on climate change and the Internet and said he has been "vindicated" in these areas. In the past, she's never hesitated to mock Gore's interest in these issues, whether she's Gore as "Ozone Man" or the myth that Gore claimed to have "invented the Internet." So maybe this is indeed progress.

Or here's another explanation: Maybe for the Dowds of the world, the notion that Gore should be seen as something more than a target of mockery has for too long been a "predawn idea."

Sometimes the most trivial of misrepresentations end up being the ones that, with the assiduous assistance of wingnuttia and the indifference our outright hostility of a craven mainstreammedia, end up most successfully taking on a life of their own and "defining" their victim. After all, look at the mindless media repetition that the "invented the internet" falsehood ended up enjoying -- and look at the reach and impact this media mindlessness ended up giving it. Before you know it, the "trivial" misrepresentations suddenly don't seem so trivial anymore. Just something to keep in mind.

Bush's N. Korea screw up is over the top White House: OK maybe the North Koreans after all.

You have to be relatively deep into the minutiae of North Korea policy for this story. But it's a big one. The Bush administration is now saying they're really not even sure the North Koreans have a uranium enrichment program for the production of nuclear weapons.

A 'senior administration official' tells the Times, "The question now is whether we would be in the position of having to get the North Koreans to give up a sizable arsenal if this had been handled differently."

That, as they say, is something of an understatement.

This gets a tad tedious. But bear with me because it's important.

Speaking very broadly, there are two big ways to make nuclear weapons -- with uranium and plutonium. Each involves different technical challenges and process. And each has a different bang you get versus the complexity of the task of putting the thing together.

The big issue with North Korea has always been their plutonium production. Back in 1994, they were on the brink of being able to produce bombs with the plutonium they were making. The US came close to war with the North Koreans over it. And the two countries settled on something called the '' in which the North Koreans plutonium production was shuttered and placed under international inspection in exchange for fuel oil shipments and assistance building 'light water' nuclear reactors.

We don't need to get into the details of the agreement at the moment. The relevant point is that from 1994 to 2002 the North Korean nuclear weapons program was frozen in place. The strong consensus judgment was that they had not yet made any nuclear weapons. And they could not access the plutonium they had already produced.

It was on the basis of this alleged uranium enrichment program -- which may well not even have existed -- that the US pulled out of that agreement. This allowed the North Koreans to get back into the plutonium business with a gusto. And they have since produced -- by most estimates -- at least a hand full of nuclear weapons, one of which, albeit a rather feeble one, they last October.

So now let's review that quote from the senior administration official: "The question now is whether we would be in the position of having to get the North Koreans to give up a sizable arsenal if this had been handled differently."

Frankly, it's not much of a question.

Because of a weapons program that may not even have existed (and no one ever thought was far advanced) the White House the White House got the North Koreans to restart their plutonium program and then sat by while they produced a half dozen or a dozen real nuclear weapons -- not the Doug Feith/John Bolton kind, but the real thing.

It's a screw-up that staggers the mind. And you don't even need to know this new information to know that. Even if the claims were and are true, it was always clear that the uranium program was far less advanced than the plutonium one, which would be ready to produce weapons soon after it was reopened. Now we learn the whole thing may have been a phantom. Like I said, it staggers the mind how badly this was bungled. In this decade there's been no stronger force for nuclear weapons proliferation than the dynamic duo of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

 

Published

March 1, 2007 - 8:49am

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