Friday, October 21, 2005

Our Government at Work (or not)

Filling his belly was apparently more important than saving lives in New Orleans for "Heckuva Job Brownie," as this story illustrates.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Rove and Scooter, Sittin' in a Tree, K I S S I N G

I admit it, I read a lot of blog material. It is all speculation (yes, I know that's what I do, too). However, this guy makes a compelling conspiracy theory case for the Rove/Libby/Plame/Wilson story (hey, whatever happened to Bob Novak?).

Here it is in part. For the full story, go here --

I have seen the spawn of Rove’s tortured mind and watched a hundred of his political scams unfold and I am confident I know how this one played out. Rove might have brought it up with his fellow big brains in the White House Iraq Group, a propaganda organization set up to disseminate information supporting the war. There was likely a consensus to move the plan to smack down Wilson out of the White House. Rove always keeps a layer of operatives between himself and the person he gets to pull the trigger. Libby was probably told to manage it out of the VP’s office to protect the president because Karl always takes care of his most prized assets. Libby then likely ordered John Hannah and possibly David Wurmser to call the ever-friendly Judy Miller at the New York Times and columnist Robert Novak to give them Valerie Plame’s identity. Rove knew that Miller would call Libby of Aspen for confirmation and his old friend Novak was certain to call Rove who, as an unidentified senior White House official, would confirm the identity on background only. Because Novak is a partisan gunslinger, he wrote more quickly than Miller and when she saw the firestorm his story created, she backed off and has since been trying to cover for herself and Libby. Miller’s later claim that she cannot remember who gave her the “Valerie Flame” name is as much dissembling as Rove’s unconvincing argument that he “forgot” he met with Time reporter Matt Cooper. Karl Rove can remember precinct results from 19th century presidential elections. He neither forgets nor forgives.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

FU (that's Follow Up) Richard Pombo

Here is an email (from March 2005) that Rep Pombo sent me after I expressed my feelings to him about Tom DeLay and his ethics charges and possible indictments (which have come to pass) --

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about recent allegations regarding House Majority Leader Tom Delay. I appreciate hearing from you.

I want to bring to light the truth about what is really happening. This is a highly coordinated attack, organized by liberal Democrats and their allies to stop the work of the House of Representatives. It is sad to say the liberals have become the party of no -- no ideas, no solutions and no agenda.

Because of their lack of any positive agenda for moving the Nation forward, they have turned to the last option they have left – making baseless ethics complaints about their fellow Members of Congress. As detailed in recent articles in The Washington Post and The Hill, Congressman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), a former Clinton advisor and now chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is formulating a plan to run campaigns in 2006 focusing on bogus charges of ethical corruption, not issues.

I am saddened to see that in these times when our Country is faced with many important issues – issues on which the Republican Party has set out a positive, forward looking agenda – the liberals have nothing to offer. I welcome a healthy debate on Social Security reform, energy policy, tax reform, foreign policy and other issues facing the Nation.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you again as issues arise in the 109th Congress.


I wonder if Rep. Pombo will be quoting The Hill now, after it ran a story about his alleged travel transgressions? I doubt it.

Richard Pombo -- Travel Transgressions?

Richard Pombo, a member of the US House of Representatives, and defender of Tom DeLay, is becoming mired in his own travel scandal -- read full story here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Finally -- This Guy Had Dirt All Over Himself

It's about time that this guy withdrew his name for deputy AG. He not only is linked to an indicted lobbyist as well as torture policy, but also he is a Tyco lawyer. Tyco, if you remember correctly, is one of many companies to take part in fraudulent activities. Several Tyco execs are on their way to the pokey.

Tyco is also a very big company that is incorporated offshore (Bermuda) and doesn't pay any US taxes, which is BS.

Full story of withdrawal here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

How do you spell "Supreme Court?"

Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005
Spellbound: Today's Washington Post devotes five pages to the Miers nomination, but if you're in a rush, just read these two sentences:
"As Bush's staff secretary, she was known to correct spelling, grammar and even punctuation errors in memos to the president. But she has no judicial experience and not much appellate experience."
Never mind experience—President Bush wants nominees who understand that Supreme Court Justices don't legislate, they punctuate.
But wait—the president already put a stickler for spelling, grammar, and punctuation on the bench: John Roberts. At Hogan & Hartson, Roberts stuck clients with enormous bills by asking associates to rewrite briefs over and over until they were free of typographical and grammatical errors. In the Reagan administration, his snide memos mocked others' grammar. During his confirmation, he made sure journalists reported that as a youth, he never lost a local spelling bee.
In almost every respect, Miers would seem to be no John Roberts. But when it comes to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, Roberts may have met his match.
Will this shared obsession enable Roberts and Miers to bond on the bench—or is it more likely to cause a painful rift or even proofing gridlock? After waiting so long to change the Court, will the right wing's hopes be dashed by internecine dueling over the most elitist of concerns, proper punctuation?
We, the People: On matters of spelling, the Founders are little help, because they wrote the Constitution before many conventions of modern spelling took hold in the 1800s. Luckily, most spelling disputes can be resolved by simply looking in a dictionary.
Strict constructionists have a much tougher time, however, resolving questions of grammar and punctuation. As the flawed but amusing runaway British bestseller Eats, Shoots & Leaves observed, the laws of grammar and punctuation aren't really laws at all. On the contrary, they're judgment calls subject to a great deal of interpretation—rather like most Supreme Court questions.
Worse still, from the conservative standpoint, the conventions of grammar, punctuation, and even spelling change over time, as social conventions change. To be sure, an effective grammarian who capitulates to the will of the people can do real harm. History would not remember Justice Brandeis fondly had he written in DiSanto v. Pennsylvania, "The logic of words should yield to, like, the logic of realities."
On the other hand, a stickler who holds onto conventions of punctuation the public no longer shares may leave the law less clear than he or she found it. Consider one of the great Constitutional mysteries, the 2nd Amendment: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Few sentences have done more to shape our current political landscape, and by extension, the current makeup of the Court. Yet you don't even have to be a Supreme Court Justice to see that the 2nd Amendment is largely a punctuation problem. Removing the first and third commas clears matters up quite a bit.
Eats, Shoots & Clams: It's bad enough that John Roberts was confirmed without revealing his judicial philosophy. It's worse that all we know of Harriet Miers's views is this Post quote from her sometime beau, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan "She's a Terrible Cook" Hecht: "I know what her judicial philosophy will be, and when [conservatives] find out what this president knows about Harriet, they are going to be happy as clams."
But on top of everything else, now we have no earthly idea what their grammatical philosophies are, either.
Harriet Miers has never been a judge, and probably has no judicial philosophy. John Roberts may be hiding his, or may not have one himself.
By contrast, both Miers and Roberts obviously have strong views about grammar and punctuation. Those views will affect every sentence they write for the next 30-40 years. If they're both such sticklers, we have a right to know the philosophy behind their stickling.
Where do they stand on the serial comma ("disappointed, depressed, and demoralized" or "disappointed, depressed and demoralized")? With respect to the third person indefinite pronoun, do women have equal rights ("every Justice knows his heart" or "every Justice knows his or her heart" or "every Justice knows her heart")?
Finally, how can Ms. Miers reconcile her alleged dedication to established rules of grammar with her decade-long dedication to one of the worst grammatical evildoers in American history?
The White House has an obligation to release every document that Harriet Miers has written, edited, or let go by without a mark. Conservatives are already dumbstruck that Bush didn't pick another Scalia. Harriet Miers will never survive if they find out she's no William Safire, either. ... 11:39 A.M. (link)
** Update: Former Supreme Court clerk, future Supreme Court Justice, and fluent English speaker Robert Gordon reminds me that in her maiden speech yesterday, Miers got off to a rocky start in her bid to become Associate Grammarian:
"The wisdom of those who drafted our Constitution and conceived our nation as functioning with three strong and independent branches have proven truly remarkable."
Chief Justice Roberts might allow the controversial use of "proven" in place of the older and more established "proved," but any stickler who says "The wisdom ... have" listens too much to George W. Bush. Of course, in our obsession with grammatical correctness, we shouldn't miss the larger point: Even without the error in verb agreement, it would be a lousy sentence. ... 1:29 P.M.

Link here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Have This Theory

I am beginning to believe that Bush may not be dumb as dirt, maybe crazy like a fox. His nomination of Harriet Miers may be a Trojan Horse.

Here's the theory:

He nominates a "moderate" female with no apparent judicial agenda (or so it seems at first blush). This nomination pisses off everybody. Liberals say, "She has no experience. There is nothing to go on here." Conservatives say, "She's too close to the middle. The President should have nominated somebody with conservative views, like he promised."

So there's a protracted struggle over this nomination. Everybody gets his panties in a bunch. This stirs furor from the right that builds a very strong opposition to the nomination and the call for Bush to make good on his claim that he would nominate a "strict impreter of the Constitution."

So, Bush will flip-flop (though it will not be called such) and pick some Antonin Scalia / Clarence Thomas morphed clone that totally scares the bejesus out of the Liberals.

And so they should because here's the punchline.

Since the Senate is controlled by the Republican Party (ie, they have the majority) and current Republicans vote the party line, the new nominee will be confirmed rather effortlessly, similarly to Roberts.

Who might it be? I don't know, but it won't be Harriet Miers.

At least in theory :)

More Miers

The most compelling reason to NOT confirm Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court is her religious beliefs. Now, before you all go nuts over this statement, let me say this:

For a country that is based on a constitution that clearly drew a line between church and state, we sure seem to want to bring them both together. We say, "In God We Trust." "Under God..." Ten Commandments on federal property. We swear on the Bible in court.

Miers seems to be of the very religious persuasion. It is quite scary to be faced with having her rule on issues of such magnitude as those that come before the Court. Supreme Court Justices, perhaps, should be of an agnostic view on God. It should be a case of "Don't ask, don't tell" with respect to one's religious nature. I don't want to know that a person has gone to church "faithfully" for 25 years. I would rather they didn't.

Religion tends to cloud one's logic. For it is flawed logic, ie faith, that compels one to believe in God. There is no proof. But one just believes. If one believes in all that God purportedly has proclaimed, why not "believe" that homosexuality is wrong, or that abortion is immoral?

People who blindly believe anything cannot be trusted to make rational decisions, much less formulate the "laws of the land."

Cheney and Miers -- Strange Bedfellows

What do Dick Cheney and Harriet Miers have in common?

Way back when, Bush asked Cheney to find the best running mate out there for the 2000 presidential election.

Bush asked Miers to find a suitable replacement for Supreme Court Justice O'Connor.

In both cases, each found him/herself the best person to fill the role that Bush needed to fill.

Interesting, huh?

I wonder if Bush asked "Heckuva Job Brownie" to find a replacement?

Tom DeLay Should Just Resign, But He Won't

Read here for a brief review of the latest on DeLay, former exterminator-turned-politician.

Conservatives and Liberals Alike Do NOT Like Harriet Miers

George Will paints a compelling picture for dismissing Ms. Miers from her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Basically, Will says Miers is not qualified. Chromosomes do not make a Supreme Court judge.

Harriet Miers' View on Torture?

Little talked about, but perhaps it should be. When Alberto Gonzalez left as President Bush's chief counsel for the Attorney General's office, Harriet Miers filled took over his post. What does she have to say about Gonzalez's rhetoric / justification for torture at places like Gitmo and Abu Ghraib?

Since she never renounced what AG (get it, Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General, AG?) said, she must agree with it. At least implicitly. And if she does disagree with it, why hasn't the torturing stopped?

Read Ted Rall's take here.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It IS just me

I almost entitled this piece, "Is it just me, or...?" but I changed my mind because I think it IS just me.

The dialogue goes something like this:

A: Is it just me, or are Americans waking up to the idea that the current administration is incompetent, hires incompetent cronies, and has no plans about anything other than tax cuts and war?

B: Is IS just you. Americans shouldn't have to pay taxes and we will preempt anybody who threatens us.

Or, how about this one?

A: Is it just me, or is it getting hotter in here (referring to global warming)?

B: It IS just you. Global warming doesn't exist. The bible doesn't mention it, nor does the Constitution, so it cannot be. Besides, those scientists, they don't know anything.

Is it just me, or are the only literary works the president has ever picked up, much less read, the bible and the Constitution?

It IS just me. He must have read something. It just wasn't any security memoranda.

Position: Supreme Court Justice: No Experience Necessary

Must be loyal
Must be a Texan
Must be a Bible thumper

That is the job description for becoming a Supreme Court Justice. Or so it would seem. Having never been a judge is actually a plus in this administration's mind, since there are no pesky court documents or positions on which to base an opposition.

I wonder if "Heckuva Job Brownie" is re-thinking his resignation?

I guess Bush just reiterated that everybody can aspire to anything in this country, so long as you know the right people. No experience is necessary, nor any apparent intelligence, morals, accomplishments. Just loyalty to those in power. Oh, yeah, and give me some money. Then I will help you out.

Full story here.