Saturday, July 02, 2005

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th everyone. I'm heading to the Hudson Valley of New York for my annual family picnic.

Hope to be writing the word "frogmarch" a lot when I get back.

Karl Rove, I hope you're not sleeping well tonight.

Unlikely I'll blog again before Tuesday.

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

when first we practice to deceive. {always thought this was Shakespeare, but the internets reveal it to be Sir Walter Scott (Marmion, 1808)}

Who Told Rove?

One of Digby's commenters points the finger at John Bolton:

As long as we're enjoying ourselves speculating about frog marching and the like, here's an interesting theory from super-smart commenter Sara:

Has anyone here carefully read Joe Wilson's Book?

He provides plenty of carefully crafted information -- for example see p. 443-445.

Wilson indicates that the work up on him beginning March, 2003, turned up the information on Valerie -- which was then shared with Karl Rove who then circulated it through Administration and neo-Conservative circles. He cites conservative journalists who claimed to have had the information before the Novak column.

So the question is -- in the work-up process beginning about March 2003, who had the information re: Plame?

I think it was John Bolton. At the time he was State Department Deputy Secretary with the portfolio in WMD and Nuclear Proliferation. Assuming that Valerie Plame's identity was that of a NOC (No Official Cover) the information about her would have been highly classified, compartmentalized, and only those with a need to know would know. Bolton's Job probably gave him that status. However to receive it he would have to sign off on the classification -- that is he would have to agree to retain the security the CIA had established.

At the time, Bolton had two assistants who also worked in the White House in Cheney's office, David Wurmser and John Hannah. Their names have been around as the potential leakers -- Hannah if you remember is the guy who kept putting the Yellow Cake back in Bush's speeches even though Tenet had demanded it be removed.

So -- I think we have a game of catch going on here -- or maybe some version of baseball, and the scoring is Bolton to Wurmser and Hannah, to Cheney (and/or Libby) to Rove.

I suspect getting Rove on Perjury is more or less step one in walking back the path of the ball.

Lest there be any doubt about Bolton's true calling, remember, he was king of the Florida Recount.

Stay tuned, folks, it's going to be quite the ride.

Does Derek Jeter Know About This?

Forget Fame and Fortune, Trade Talk Is Personal
Sheffield has been the heart of the Yankees for the past two seasons.

No wonder the Yankees are on life support. They've got a bad ticker.

Rove Crime: Perjury?

Via Atrios, TalkLeft has a good discussion of what Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald may be trying to get with those reporter's notes:

What Does the Government Really Want from Miller and Cooper?

Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has stated in court pleadings that he already knows the identity of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper's sources regarding the senior white house official who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to Robert Novak.

Miller did some reporting for a story but never wrote an article. She has maintained she intends to go to jail rather than reveal her source -- though Fitzgerald has indicated in court filings that he already knows that official's identity.

So, why is it so necessary for them to provide the information?

As the Wapo article suggests, the investigation has moved from one involving the identity of the White House official to one involving perjury - i.e., a cover-up. The source may have been questioned in front of the grand jury and lied.

Knowing the identity of the source is not enough for a perjury conviction. There must be two witnesses to the perjurious statement. Telephone records would not be enough, because they only provide the number dialed, not the identity of the person speaking. Matthew Cooper's and Judith Miller's e-mails and notes may provide that corroboration.

Two witnesses to get Rove for perjury. Because he said this:

I don't know who the White House official is, but the higher up he is, the more likely the prosecutor would want two live witnesses, not just documents, to support a perjury charge. What do you think of this possibility, from American Prospect in 2004?

Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column. He also told the FBI, the same sources said, that circulating the information was a legitimate means to counter what he claimed was politically motivated criticism of the Bush administration by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

President Clinton was suspended from the practice of law by the State of Arkansas for five years for perjury, and disbarred by the Supreme Court. And his perjury had nothing to do with the workings of government, or intelligence, or national security.

As Joe Wilson has been hoping, “[W]e can get Karl Rove frogmarched out of the White House in handcuffs." Would there be a perp walk more sweet for Democrats?

Thou Shalt Not Kill

In Mississippi, Soaring Costs Force Deep Medicaid Cuts

HAZLEHURST, Miss., July 1 - Starting Friday, most Medicaid recipients in Mississippi will be limited to five prescription drugs at a time, with no process for appeal. The cap appears to be the most restrictive in the nation, but is just one of many measures being taken by states seeking to rein in soaring Medicaid costs.

It will hit hard for people like Erainna Johnson, 42, left legally blind by a stroke in 1997. She takes 19 medications - already more than the previous Medicaid limit of seven - relying on family members, her church and free samples from doctors to make up the difference. "Sometimes I just crack my pills in half, honestly," she said, sitting in the living room of her trailer here.

Mississippi is among many states moving aggressively to contain Medicaid costs, saying severe measures are necessary if the program is to continue. In Missouri, new cuts also took effect Friday in an effort to reduce the rolls; for example, a single mother of three in Missouri is now ineligible if she makes more than $350 a month. About a dozen states limit the number of prescriptions offered to adult patients, but almost all provide for an appeal process or allow doctors to override the limit.


Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican who backed steeper cuts to Medicaid than those enacted, said the Legislature had come up with the limit on prescription drugs on its own. But, he added, "states are limited in their options as far as cost control."

Haley Barbour (former chairman of the Republican Party) is a "fervent supporter" of Mississippi's law requiring the Ten Commandments to be displayed in public buildings.

A model of the Ten Commandments on gray tablets sits in a corner of the governor's office at the Capitol.

So, did they change his copy to "Thou Shalt Not Kill Rich People"?

Where are those "culture of life" politicians now? George? Bill?

Hey, Hey, Haley Bay-Bay, How many old folks did you kill today?

Traitor: It Takes One to Know One

MSNBC Analyst Says Cooper Documents Reveal Karl Rove as Source in Plame Case

Well, well, well.

The political hack who impugned the patriotism of liberals is about to be outed as the Benedict Arnold for our age.

Hang him high, I say. Make an example. Hard time. Crack cocaine kind of time. Guantanimo would be appropriate given the crime.

See how he likes Duncan Hunter's orange glazed chicken now.

Friday, July 01, 2005


No, this isn't a fundamentalist post. WWJDD stands for "What Would Johnny Damon Do". I just bought a WWJDD shirt on ebay, which shows our Caveman standing in the classic Jesus pose, one hand raised palm up, the bleeding heart in his chest.

So, WWJDD? Go to the All-Star game, apparently. The gang on NESN are reporting that a late surge of votes -- probably helped by the local TV guys all going on at 6 & 11 last night encouraging Sox fans to to vote for him -- has put Johnny Damon on the American League All-Star team.

OK, I admit it, I voted my 25 times between 11:25 and 11:40 last night. The guy is having an all-star year. And the World Champion Boston Red Sox deserve as many All-Stars as possible.

This Is Terrible

Just so we don't forget, "This is terrible!" were Sandra Day O'Connor's words upon hearing that the networks had called the 2000 race for Al Gore (remember him, the guy who won by 500,000 votes or more?)

(Click on the link, above, to see pics of the five Bush voters from Bush v. Gore in clown makeup.)

So, she picked the guy who will replace her despite the fact that he didn't win the race.

That's the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor. Like a butcher with his finger on the scale, she tilted the scale in favor of the side she favored. She was in the seat of justice, but she didn't wear the traditional blindfold.

And unbelievably, we can (and probably will) do worse.

David Sirota prophesies that

With Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's resignation today, I have a prediction: O'Connor and Chief Justice William Rehnquist will both retire...Karl Rove will have Bush put up one crazy, wild-eyed conservative lunatic in the John Ashcroft mold, and one hard-right winger who seems "moderate" compared to the crazy...the lunatic goes down to defeat, but the hard-right winger gets through, and Bush replaces the lunatic with another hard-right winger as a "compromise."

If just O'Connor retires, it will be much the same strategy - first nominate a wild-eyed lunatic. It's a win-win for Bush - either the lunatic gets appointed, or the lunatic loses, and then Bush puts up someone a shade less crazy - but equally as conservative - as the "compromise." The media will play along with this storyline, billing the second nominee as "moderate."

The entire effort will be backed up with a huge amount of corporate money. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Big Business has already announced its intention to push hard for an ultraconservative nominee, as the Court has increasingly weighed in on corporate issues. For instance, as the newspaper notes, "now for the first time, the National Association of Manufacturers, which represents big corporations, is creating a committee of executives to screen the business rulings of prospective nominees."

All of this will put massive pressure on the Senate to ultimately confirm a right-winger. Let's hope Democrats are ready for this two-step.

Update: Head over to Hullabaloo for a more complete recitation of O'Connor's comments on the Bush-Gore election results.

O'Connor Takes Riggins Advice*

O'Connor to Retire From Supreme Court

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court and a key swing vote on issues such as abortion and the death penalty, said Friday she is retiring.

O'Connor, 75, said she expects to leave before the start of the court's next term in October, or whenever the Senate confirms her successor. There was no immediate word from the White House on who might be nominated to replace O'Connor.

Since a woman is retiring from the Supremes, and not Injustice Rehnquist, will Bush replace her with another woman? Can you say Edith Jones (subject of an earlier post)? Or will Torture Guy get the nod?

I hope Harry Reid's gambit of naming the Senators he would agree to put on the Court works.

Reid later offered four names of people he said would be good for the court: GOP Sens. Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Mike Crapo of Idaho and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

It would be nice to get a justice who isn't to the right of Attila the Hun for once. I could live with Lindsey Graham. Not my first choice, but no Clarence Thomas, either.

*The infamous John Riggins, Washington Redskin Hall of Fame running back, met Sandra Day O'Connor at a party, and, having imbibed too much, greeted her thusly: "C'mon, Sandy baby, loosen up. You're too tight."


I learned this new word today, from the Rain Storm Gazette:

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Talkin' them Chimpeachment Blues

Duncan notes a Zogby poll that says 42% of Americans want impeachment if it is found that Bush misled the the nation about the reasons for going to war in Iraq.

Ahead of the curve, Veterans for Peace has drawn up Declaration of Impeachment and a petition to support it (as of this posting, it looks like the on line petition is still under construction).

Get some.

Chimpeach the Smirking Chimp. Limpeach Dick Cheney. This would make me so very, very happy.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Venus is Back!

Venus ends Sharapova's reign to reach final

One of the best women's matches I've seen in a long time. Both players playing from the baseline, but with huge aggressive strokes. Shriek! Shriek! Shriek! from both of them. Venus completely disguised her poor second serve with a high percentage of first serves. She hit so many winners that Sharapova was knocked completely off her game.

Nice to see Venus focused on her tennis. She is still a great talent. During the match, the commentators talked about her sister being killed two years ago and it made me think, how would I have reacted if one of my siblings had been killed when I was in my 20s? I'd have been devastated. So I'll stop complaining about the Williams sisters spending too much time on non-tennis-related pursuits. I just hope they do what Venus did today & come back to championship level tennis. We miss them.

Small Town NY Views Iraq

Bush evokes mixed emotions
Families of local troops approve, criticize speech

One girl's story:

Army Spc. Isaac Nieves, 20, of Unadilla was one of more than 1,740 Americans who died in Iraq. He was killed by a roadside bomb April 8, 2004.

His 15-year-old sister Kimberly said it didn’t matter what the president had to say.

"We don’t support the war," Nieves said. "We lost our brother in it."

Nieves said the Iraqis have not attacked people here in America and she couldn’t understand why the United States had to attack Iraq.

"I think the war is ridiculous, and there is no point in it," Nieves said. "A lot of families are going through a lot of pain.

"I think about Isaac every single day," Nieves said. "He made such a big difference in this town. He never got to meet his son. He died a month after his son was born."

And as for the president: "I don’t like him very much. He made me lose my brother," Nieves said. "He doesn’t know what it’s like to lose family in a war."

Brian Schweitzer In The News

From the American Prospect:

True West

a sample:

Schweitzer is emblematic of a new kind of western politician who is both progressive and entrepreneurial. He inherited a failing family farm and turned it around by planting, of all things, mint. By researching and then efficiently serving an untapped market, he became a millionaire, and was able to enter politics as a farmer and small-business man as well as a progressive Democrat. He shrewdly allied himself with sportsmen, not just as a gun owner but as one determined to protect the fishing and hunting environment. He was one of the first politicians to lead prescription-drug bus trips to Canada. Campaigning statewide, Schweitzer lost a cliff-hanger election to Senator Conrad Burns in 2000, then prevailed by 18 percent in the 2004 governor’s race. Two progressive Montana Democrats, Senate President John Tester and State Auditor John Morrison, are jockeying to take on Burns, who is probably the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican in 2006.

Conrad Burns is the Republican moron who is currently pushing that pesticides be tested on poor people & children.

Keep your eyes on Schweitzer -- he's going places.

Brazil Beats Argentina -- Preview of World Cup Final???

Brazil trounced Argentina yesterday, 4-1, in the Confederations Cup final. Argentina wasn't at full strength (no Crespo, for example) but neither was Brazil, as they played without Ronaldo, (who is now worried about his starting place on the World Cup squad), Roberto Carlos, and others. Ronaldo should be worried, as Adriano scored twice and played well for Brazil throughout the tournament., a gambling site, now puts Brazil as the putative World Cup favorites at 9 to 2, Argentina close behind at 13 to 2, both England and Germany at 8 to 1, and Italy and Holland at 12 to 1. I think putting England at 8 to 1 is a bit of a stretch, very optimistic, but probably is based on all the devoted England fans willing to put their money where their mouths are (I'm England 'til I die, and all that). Translated, this site would lose a lot of money if they had to pay out the real odds were England to win -- I would put them more like 25 to 1.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Journalism is Dead.

The writer of my favorite baseball blog, Joy of Sox, the best website covering the World Champion Boston Red Sox, also has a political blog, In Cold Blog. He picked up these stats from the new Ariana Huffington blog:

Number of news segments that mentioned these stories over seven weeks (May 1, 2005 to June 20, 2005):


Downing Street Memo 0 0 6 30 10 10

Natalee Holloway 42 70 62 294 148 30

Michael Jackson 121 235 109 633 286 106

Sorry if my columns don't add up. Should have taken that HTML course.

Bush Gives the Same Ol' Speech

from thinkprogress:

Bush Iraq Speech: By The Numbers

References to “September 11″: 5

References to “weapons of mass destruction”: 0

References to “freedom”: 21

References to “exit strategy”: 0

References to “Saddam Hussein”: 2

References to “Osama Bin Laden”: 2

References to “a mistake”: 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)

References to “mission”: 11

References to “mission accomplished”: 0

Monday, June 27, 2005

All the Ideology That's Fit to Print

The New York Times executive editor, Bill Keller, has announced that the paper must get more "diverse", and hire more conservatives and write more about religion.

Can you say, "complete capitulation?" Sad, really.

Billmon breaks it down: The Red State Times

And so we're starting to get reporting like this (taken from the Times Magazine's recent kissy face look at religious conservatives):

But as I learned spending time among the cultural conservatives who are leading the anti-gay-marriage charge, they have their own reasons for doing so, which are based on their reading of the Bible, their views about both homosexuality and the institution of marriage and the political force behind the issue . . . As with abortion, conservatives see gay marriage as a culture-altering change being implemented by judicial fiat.

This is followed by a seemingly endless spew of bigotry and lies -- more than 8,000 words worth -- all dressed up in that Times Voice of the Narrator God prose style. This includes passages such as:

''Lifestyle'' is a buzzword in conservative Christian circles. It's a signal of the belief, and the policy position, that homosexuality is not an innate condition but a hedonistic way of living, one devoted to partying, drugs and wanton sex that ends, often, in illness and early death.


At its essence, then, the Christian conservative thinking about gay marriage runs this way. Homosexuality is not an innate, biological condition but a disease in society. Marriage is the healthy root of society. To put the two together is thus willfully to introduce disease to that root.


Once the definition of marriage is altered, in this view, you will have this group of people declaring they want to marry that group; middle-aged men will exchange vows with children or with Doberman pinschers.


This is shameful reporting, especially coming from a paper that, for all its faults, aggressively and at times courageously covered the civil rights movement -- at a time when most Americans (and not just Southerners) either supported segregation or just wished the issue would go away.

It's as if the New York Times of, say, 1963, had published a long, respectful essay on the racial views of Sheriff Bull Connor and the White Citizens Council, one that relegated Martin Luther King to the second-to-the-last paragraph, but included extended passages along the lines of:

''States Rights'' is a buzzword in conservative Southern circles. It's a signal of the belief, and the policy position, that blacks are slow, stupid and lazy, and want nothing more than to collect welfare payments and rape white women.


At its essence, then, Southern conservative thinking about race relations runs this way. God intended for the races to be separate. Racial mixing results in miscegenation. Segregation is the root of the Southern way of life and to abolish it would be willfully to introduce disease to that root

Echidne of the Snakes: New York Times: The Wingnut Edition

In other words, the Gray Lady is on her knees (take that as you wish). The wingnuts have won. I used to hear the argument that true diversity is not racial and gender based but the acknowledgement of wingnut views (such as that minorities are lazy and women naturally unable to compete) on each and every issue. But I only heard this from wingnuts. Now the New York Times is repeating the same mantra.

There Are Court Orders, and Then There Are Court Orders We Don't Really Care About

Cops Can't Be Sued for Restraining Orders

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Monday that police cannot be sued for how they enforce restraining orders, ending a lawsuit by a Colorado woman who claimed police did not do enough to prevent her estranged husband from killing her three young daughters.

Jessica Gonzales did not have a constitutional right to police enforcement of the court order against her husband, the court said in a 7-2 opinion.

City governments had feared that if the court ruled the other way, it would unleash a potentially devastating flood of cases that could bankrupt municipal governments.

Gonzales contended that police did not do enough to stop her estranged husband, who took the three daughters from the front yard of her home in June 1999 in violation of a restraining order.

Hours later Simon Gonzales died in a gun fight with officers outside a police station. The bodies of the three girls, ages 10, 9 and 7, were in his truck.

Now, if the Supreme Court issued an order and the U.S. Marshals didn't enforce it, you know there would be hell to pay. But some poor non-lawyer, non-corporation, non-insurance company with a court order? Pound sand.

That's why I always counseled abused women that a restraining order is just a piece of paper. Often it just inflames the situation with the abuser. That becomes the act of defiance for which the abuser wants to punish you. You're better off squirreling away your money & sneaking off to a safe house than getting a court order from a court system that thinks abused women and children don't count. At least the people who run the domestic violence shelter will try to help you.

It was a 7-2 decision. In dissent were John Paul Stevens, the last liberal giant on the court, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the only decent appointment Clinton made to the Court. (Stephen Breyer, Clinton's other appointment, voted with Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas, O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter against this poor woman's claim. Thirty years ago, instead of being described as a moderate liberal, he would have been a moderate Republican.)