Monthly Archives: October 2005

Friday Ferretblogging: Fitzmas Edition

1. No, it doesn’t hurt them to hold them like that.

2. Yes, the antlers do come off.

3. Yes, we are expecting that when the revolution comes this image will be used to justify the ferrets’ violent overthrow of the human regime.

4. But it’s Fitzmas, and we wanted them to share in the celebration.

A.

Why Libby Matters

Steve explains.

BTW, those of you who monitor conservoblogs like the Power Tools and others, feel free to post gems of commentary and insanity when you find them.

A.

Stirring Words from Your President

From Holden:

In Florida, yesterday:

And it’s an amazing spirit after a disaster, and that spirit is the spirit of people willing to give of their time.

I think the Fitzmas spirit is about to persuade Irving L. “Scooter” Libby to give some of his time.

Seperated at Birth

From Holden:

You be the judge.

Kennedy assasination figure David Ferrie:

Bush appologist/fascist sibling Bay Buchanan:

FIRE THEM

Enough with the stupid pet tricks.

If they know enough about Rove and Libby’s involvement in the leak to know they have to line up replacements for them in case they’re indicted, they know enough to know Rove and Libby are risks to our national security and should no longer be working for the government.

Fire them now.

Restoring honor and dignity my shiny metal ass.

A.

Speaking of Indictments…

From Holden:

Let’s not forget the hot water in which Tom DeLay finds himself submerged.

A Texas grand jury asked Thursday for all e-mail sent and received in 2002 by three indicted associates of Rep. Tom DeLay as part of an investigation into an alleged campaign finance scheme.

The latest subpoenas request correspondence to and from e-mail addresses belonging to John D. Colyandro, James W. Ellis and Warren RoBold. The grand jury did not ask DeLay to provide any e-mail.

[snip]

Among the information being requested by the grand jury are records from DeLay’s political committee in Texas, including billing information and subscriber and recipient details.

The grand jury also requested again phone records from DeLay’s daughter, Danielle DeLay Ferro, a political consultant who worked for DeLay’s Texas committee.

Stocking Stuffer

From Holden:

A nice little present we can savor until St. Fitz arrives.

In a case that some have called a showdown over voting rights, a U.S. appeals court yesterday upheld an injunction barring the state of Georgia from enforcing a law requiring citizens to get government-issued photo identification in order to vote.

The ruling allows thousands of Georgians who do not have government-issued identification, such as driver’s licenses and passports, to vote in the Nov. 8 municipal elections without obtaining a special digital identification card, which costs $20 for five years. In prior elections, Georgians could use any one of 17 types of identification that show the person’s name and address, including a driver’s license, utility bill, bank statement or a paycheck, to gain access to a voting booth.

Last week, when issuing the injunction, U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy likened the law to a Jim Crow-era poll tax that required residents, most of them black, to pay back taxes before voting. He said the law appeared to violate the Constitution for that reason. In the 2004 election, about 150,000 Georgians voted without producing government-issued identification.

To Sever

How much severance should Judy Miller receive?

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is in talks to sever her ties with the paper, an ignoble end to a 28-year run that has brought the paper significant prize and peril.

According to a lawyer familiar with the matter, the talks were at a standstill late yesterday because of a wide gap between Miller’s demands and The Times’ offer for her to leave.

Let me do some quick math.

She lied to her editors. Look. You can fuck up, as a reporter. You can get something wrong, you can get something really wrong, you can get something 180 degrees wrong. But so long as you own up to the mistake and how you made it, you probably aren’t going to get fired for it. You might get reprimanded, you might get moved off the story, you might get demoted to night cops and morgue duty, you might even get suspended. But fired for an honest mistake? Rare.

But if you steal documents and say somebody gave them to you, if you promise somebody confidentiality and then tell your boss they agreed to be named, if you say you know something when really you’re just guessing, if you make up a name for somebody you didn’t interview, if you ever, ever, ever lie to your editors about a story or how you came by it, your ass is on the street.

At any other newspaper in America, that’s what would be happening to any other reporter right now. No severance, no “talks.” Fired. Shitcanned. Chucked. Sacked.

Look, everybody fucks up a story now and again. Lord knows I had some fairly epic mistakes in my career, things that still make me want to crawl under the bed and cry just from thinking about them. But what Judy Miller did wasn’t a mistake. She didn’t slip, trip and fall into bed with the White House.

Steve’s right when he talks about the collegiality of newsrooms and the sense of loyalty people within them have for one another. And reporters who do good work tend to get leeway, they do tend to be allowed to rabbit-hole off on stories on their own. But there are some things that trump that. There are some unbreakable rules. Don’t fuck your sources. Don’t make shit up. And don’t ever, ever, EVER lie to your editors, not and expect them to watch your back when things go bad.

She better have pictures of Pinch and Keller and a very young male goat, because otherwise there’s no excuse for them engaging in “talks.” There’s no excuse for them doing anything other than throwing her lying ass out on the street.

Severance? She’d be lucky if they didn’t sue her to recoup the last three years of her wages.

A.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Today’s gaggle was all about Harriet. I think I can boil it down to one succinct question.

Q Is it safe to say the next nominee is not going to be a White House employee? (Laughter.)

He’s Lost the Photographers

From Holden:

The fabulous watertiger observed yesterday that Chimpy has lost the photographers, and is she right or what?

U.S. President George W. Bush attends the White House Conference on Helping Americas Youth at Howard University in Washington, October 27, 2005. The President made the appearance shortly after accepting Harriet Miers withdrawal from being considered for the position of Associate Supreme Court Justice. [emphasis added]

REUTERS/Larry Downing

The Wages of Incompetence

From Holden:

CNN:

BREAKING NEWS President Bush “reluctantly” accepts Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’s request to withdraw her nomination.

I for one had hoped that Miers would hang on a bit longer. Chimpy did us a great service by nominating her and shattering his base.

His next choice might be the winger we fear, but on the other hand with Karl Rove busy fending off Fitzi and the White House in disarray he might blow it a second time.

A Confederacy of Criminals

From Holden:

Looks like Lester Crawford was forced from his post as head of the EPA FDA because he hid assets from the government, assets in the form of stock in corporations his agency regulated.

Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, or his wife sold shares in companies regulated by the agency in 2004, according to financial disclosure forms.

The sales may have played a role in Dr. Crawford’s sudden resignation from the agency last month after only two months as its leader.

The latest disclosure form, signed by Dr. Crawford on June 28, shows that he or his wife sold shares in 2004 in companies including the Sysco Corporation, a large food supplier; Kimberly-Clark and Teleflex Inc., which have medical-products divisions; PepsiCo Inc. and Wendy’s International, which sell food products; Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which includes pharmacies; and Embrex, an agriculture biotechnology company where Dr. Crawford was once a board member.

[snip]

Embrex, Kimberly-Clark, Pepsico and Wendy’s are not on a form listing the Crawfords’ 2003 holdings, although that form states that the Crawfords sold shares that year in Wendy’s and Sysco valued at $1,001 to $15,000.

Dr. Crawford was quoted by Forbes.com last month as saying that he had sold all of his interest in Embrex before he went to work for the F.D.A.

[snip]

The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to examine the circumstances surrounding Dr. Crawford’s resignation. It specifically asked that his financial reporting be examined.

Dr. Crawford’s wife, Catherine W. Crawford, has disputed reports that his resignation was related to his not fully disclosing information about his finances to the Senate. But her brother, William W. Walker III, said she had told relatives that an unintentional failure to disclose financial holdings led to the resignation.

Another Budget Buster

From Holden:

The Republicans are tapping the federal coffers to help the super-rich again.

A little-noted provision in the tax relief package to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina is shaping up as a windfall for charity and a drain on government coffers.

It allows donors who make cash gifts to almost any charity by the end of this year to deduct an amount equal to virtually 100 percent of their adjusted gross incomes, double the normal limit of 50 percent of income. The tantalizing prospect has set off a financial scramble among some wealthy donors and charities vying for their dollars.

“I just keep thinking there’s got to be a catch, they can’t really be doing this,” said C. Kemmons Wilson Jr., a Memphis businessman whose father was the founder of Holiday Inns Inc.

Mr. Wilson said that he and his siblings gave away several million dollars a year and that the amount could double this year because of the provision. “How many sales does the government have?” he said. “This is a big sale, and you bet I’m going to go.”

[snip]

Because of the strong interest, experts say the government may forgo more tax revenue than Congress anticipated when it passed the legislation. Based on information from 2002 tax returns, Robert F. Sharpe Jr., a fund-raising consultant whose clients include the American Heart Association and the University of California, Los Angeles, estimated that the provision would spur $4 billion to $10 billion in additional giving this year; 2005 giving was already expected to exceed last year’s total of $248 billion.

Mr. Sharpe said the additional giving would result in $1 billion to $3.5 billion in lost revenue for the Treasury, more than the $819 million Congress anticipated.

Haphazard Flight

“What I do know is that this belonging and caring is what our games are all about; this is what we come for. It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look — I know it by heart) is understandable and almost unanswerable. Almost. What is left out of this calculation, it seems to me, is the business of caring — caring deeply and passionately, really caring — which is a capacity or an emotion that has almost gone out of our lives. And so it seems possible that we have come to a time when it no longer matters so much what the caring is about, how frail or foolish is the object of that concern, as long as the feeling itself can be saved. Naivet — the infantile and ignoble joy that sends a grown man or woman to dancing and shouting with joy in the middle of the night over the haphazardous flight of a distant ball — seems a small price to pay for such a gift.”

–Roger Angell

As I write this, the Sox have won the Series, cars are driving past my house flashing their lights, horns honking. Firecrackers pop in the distance, and the cops sent to quell any potential violence are smiling, high-fiving, watching the postgame through bar windows, nightsticks still.

I didn’t love baseball always. Despite my father’s diligent attemps to teach me, I was bored too easily and got lost if there wasn’t a good story to follow. It wasn’t until college, when a dear friend used to call me up in the middle of the night and tell me about Kirk Gibson, the ’86 Red Sox, give me books about Ty Cobb and Jim Bouton, that I started to see the poetry in it, I started to understand.

Over the years I cheered for the Brewers, because I was born in Wisconsin and cheering for shitty teams is passed down through the blood. The Cleveland Indians of 1997 broke my heart (one inch more on Nagy’s glove …), the Red Sox last year made it whole again. My husband’s the White Sox fan, not me. My father, my friends, they’re the baseball fanatics, they’re the ones who can argue into the night about the infield fly rule. Baseball to me means summer more than it means statistics.

Tonight, inside the bar in Chicago they yelled like the team could hear them in Houston. The waitress couldn’t get through anymore, she just gave up and watched along with everybody else. And they stomped so that the floor shook, and nobody could hear the call. And total strangers hugged and danced, like it was Christmas, and they were all just grateful the Ghost of Christmas Future hadn’t snatched it away.

A cold rain started falling, but they stayed in the street and shouted to the sky and each other and the stars that had somehow aligned, the flight of a distant ball creating, in the midst of a time when so much seems to be going wrong, a moment of autumn perfection.

A white car rolls slowly down the street, a man hanging his head out the window. “I love you!” he shouts. I don’t think he knew who he was talking to. I don’t think it was specific. I don’t think it matters. I know how he felt.

A.

Small Men

I went looking for this today, after explaining to a non-pol friend precisely why Karl Rove was as loathed and despised as he is. Link:

And after Mr. McCain’s 2000 campaign, Mr. Weaver’s allies say, Mr. Rove ran him out of the party.

Mr. McCain said Mr. Weaver was “blackballed by the White House and the Republican establishment,” and McCain aides told The Observer that after Mr. Bush took the White House, his staff told members of Congress not to hire Mr. Weaver.

“Rove made it clear that if you want help from this President in your campaign, you’ll be careful about what consultant you hire—meaning not John Weaver,” said Mr. McCain’s chief of staff, Mark Salter.

I was a follower of McCain’s 2000 primary run, and I fell hard for him and his whole team (and yes, I know, Republican, I know, I’m over it mostly). What happened to them in South Carolina was brutal, it was unconscionable, and it was a blueprint for how Bush’s administration planned to run the country: with a vicious intolerance for disagreement, and skill at only one thing: self-preservation.

And knowing that Weaver has now supposedly reconciled with the White House, that McCain has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Dick, does nothing to change that. What happened happened. They can get over it, that’s their right. They’ll pardon me if I’m not so forgiving.

I say to everybody who claims to be shocked at this turn of events, at the state of politics today, knowing what these guys were like before, what exactly did you expect?

Joe Wilson got pissed off, tied a noose around his neck and showed up at a press conference to tell Saddam Hussein that if Hussein wanted to hang him, Wilson’d bring his own fucking rope. Valerie Plame got death threats from Al Qaeda, per Larry Johnson on CNN today, and went back to work the next day. These weren’t people who didn’t understand the importance of what they were doing.

But to Bush and his administration, everything was a cheap political shot. It’s been said of Republicans that they know how to run a campaign but have no idea how to run a country; there’s nowhere that’s clearer than it is in this case. They only have one speed: Week Before Election Day, when everything’s about getting the smear out as fast as you can to taint the public’s impression of your opponents. And man, does it ever work for them on the trail, except here’s the problem. That’s the only place it works.

In order to get the job done, to fight terrorism and actually do it well, they were going to have deal with people who disagreed with them. They were going to have to deal with people they didn’t like, and with people they didn’t want to have around, because those people were good at their jobs. They could have tolerated a little dissent from some unexciting bureaucrats who got the job done, and yeah, there would have been a couple of days of kerfluffle and then it would have been over. Instead they went nuclear on everybody who spoke out against them, on Paul O’Neill, on Richard Clarke, on John Weaver, on anybody who so much as raised his or her voice, and the list goes on.

It’s not mark of strength, it never is, to barrel down on somebody smaller than you. If you’re really the leader of the free world, if you’re really the strongest and biggest badass the land has ever known, you aren’t threatened by anybody. Least of all another American speaking his or her mind.

But they never were our leaders. They told us to be afraid, and they turned us on each other, and they gave away our money to their friends and killed our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives. They sniped and they snarled, but they never did lead us. They never brought us an inch above ourselves, or a milimeter closer together.

For all their blithering about restoring honor and dignity, for all the lofty words that come from their speechwriters’ offices, they are small men, and their vision only extends to power, not poetry. They don’t understand what service to your country means; look at their service records. They don’t understand what respect that should entail; look what they did to Max Cleland, to John Kerry. They don’t understand anything except how to step hardest on somebody’s fingers on their way up the stairs.

They got to the top, and had no idea where they were, or why. And the mountain’s crashing down on them now, so I say again, what exactly did you think was going to happen?

A.

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

First up in today’s gaggle coverage, Scotty must be letting the strain show.

Q Scott, with what looks like indictments pending in the CIA leak investigation, what’s the anxiety level like here at the White House? What’s the atmosphere in the hallways?

[snip]

Q What’s the anxiety level like as you wait through this process to see what’s going to happen?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and so we don’t have a lot of time to sit back and think about those things.

Q So you’re losing yourself in your work, is that what it is?

Dead Nominee Walking.

Q I’m going to divert momentarily. Harriet Miers — there’s a picture emerging, despite the fact that the President keeps trumpeting her qualifications, that she appears in meetings with Republican senators to be singularly unimpressive. Why is that the case, do you think? And what are you prepared to do about it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that I would agree. She has had 28 courtesy visits now with members of the Senate.

Q You can count them, but the Republicans are saying publicly that they’re not prepared to throw their weight behind her yet.

MR. McCLELLAN: I think you’re seeing a lot of members of the Senate saying, we want to hear what she has to say in the hearings, before they make a judgment. And remember, with Chief Justice Roberts, he had gone through confirmation hearings before. A couple years before he had been confirmed to the Supreme Court, so there was a familiarity with his views and his experience and his judicial philosophy.

[snip]

Q But first impressions matter, too, and they’re not just first impressions, because numerous lawmakers have had some experience with her as — in her role here at the White House, and she does not seem to be making —

MR. McCLELLAN: Not numerous. I mean, I think some have, but not to a large extent. And certainly, the senators from the state of Texas know her well and they are strongly supportive of her, and as others come to know her, I think they will be, as well. But these are courtesy visits. This is an opportunity for her just to start to get to know the members of the Senate and for them to start to get to know her. She is also providing additional information. She’ll be sending some additional responses to questions to the Senate today. And then she looks forward to going before the Judiciary Committee and answering their questions.

Q Everything is A-okay on this —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we’re continuing to move forward on the confirmation process. I think what you’re seeing is the confirmation process play out. And senators who don’t know her are reserving judgment. And we respect that. That’s part of their role to play.

And now, your Daily Les.

Q Scott, just one question today. Since I presume the President is concerned with both education and equity, the trustees of American University here in Washington fired President Benjamin Landner and gave him a severance package of $3,750,000. And my question: Is the President at all concerned about this, or sympathetic with the students and faculty who are protesting?

MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe I forgot to announce at the beginning, the American University press briefing will be later this afternoon. (Laughter.) But direct those questions over there.

This President Will Get A Lump of Coal

From Holden:

More angry Chimp photos from today’s speech to the Economic Club of Washington.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

AFP/Jim Watson

Bob’s Obsession

From Holden:

Bob Geiger, who through either guts or insanity posts his photo on his YellowDogBlog, has caught the fever.

Welcome to the obsessive club, Bob. There’s plenty of gaggle for everyone.

President Sour Puss

From Holden:

Criminy! I happend to catch Chimpy’s speech before the Economic Club in Washington at lunch today. Nothing new, just his old camapaign pseech plus a few lines from his Social Security bit from last spring. But the delivery — angry, petulant, combative. Yelling about congress passing his energy bill, screaming about No Child Left Behind.

Here are a few images from the speech. Does this look like a happy man to you?

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque