Tour de Who?

From Scout: Well the next three weeks I’ll be glued to OLN watching the Tour de France. But it will be a much different Tour than what I was anticipating due to cycling’s biggest doping scandal to date I believe. This really is huge. The 2 top contenders were implicated in the doping scandal and are out of the Tour. Here are the riders booted out so far…Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) Ivan Basso (CSC) Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile), Francisco Mancebo (Ag2r) the entire Astana-Wurth team including Alexandre Vinokourov and Joseba Beloki. Those are some big names in the sport. Basso and Ullrich … Continue reading Tour de Who?

‘Retroactive Treason’

Molly Gordy: I was doing an investigation on another topic in Washington Heights, a section of Manhattan primarily populated by immigrants from the Dominican Republic. I noticed that the largest money-wiring stores had closed. Residents said they’d been shut down by the feds and their owners arrested for laundering drug money. I called the joint federal-city task force that investigates money laundering. After trying to dissuade me (“It’s not a story” etc) they realized that a story in a major paper might help them get permanent funding for their experimental program tracking drug money moving overseas. They gave me the … Continue reading ‘Retroactive Treason’

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Most of today’s gaggle was taken up with questions about the stunning loss the Bush Assministration suffered in the Supreme Court. Pony Blow’s line is that it’s not a stunning loss, just a minor change in direction, but no one is buying that.

First off, we now know why Chimpy was so completely uninformed during his little presser with the Japanese PM.

Q Can you describe for us — the President mentioned the drive-by briefing —

MR. SNOW: Yes. I conducted that. I helped conduct it.

Overreah, or Reacharound?

Q This administration has said that under the Constitution, at a time of war, the President has had very far-reaching power to protect the American people, and the Court seems to disagree and says the President overreached in that power.

MR. SNOW: You know, it’s — overreached is the headline, it’s not the way it’s been written by the Court. I mean, I’ve got the opinion here, and I’d defy anybody to come up with a very quick and simple analysis of the varied holdings in here. You’ve got people agreeing and disagreeing in part. So I think what the Court is saying is that it wants to make sure that there’s congressional authorization, and it also is concerned about comporting with the Geneva Conventions and also the Uniform Code of Military Justice. And those are matters that will be taken under advisement.

Q And those are things that this White House has basically said it did not have to do, that executive has the authority to pursue this war without dealing with those other institutions.

MR. SNOW: The Court disagreed with that.


Q Then as far as the congressional oversight, could you just flesh out for me —

MR. SNOW: It’s not oversight, it’s authorization.

Q Authorization. Could you flesh out for me what that does —

MR. SNOW: I wish I could. I think what it means is that they want to make sure that Congress authorizes, pursuant to Congress’ obligations when it comes to declaring war and laying conditions for a war, it wants Congress to authorize the way to proceed forward in terms of bringing to justice those who have been brought in from the battlefield.

Q So doesn’t that, by definition, mean the administration overreached in setting up its initial approach?

MR. SNOW: I think it would say that the administration — the Supreme Court has disagreed with the approach we’ve taken. You may — I don’t know how you’d say “overreached.” Apply whatever adjective or whatever verb you want, the Supreme Court has said that it disagrees with the way in which the commissions were convened, and has laid down some guidelines for proceeding.

Obsession continues, Read More…

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Civil War

From Holden: Oh, it’s on, baby. It is on. And US forces are stuck in the middle. Intense clashes erupted today between Shiite and Sunni Arab fighters in a village north of Baghdad, highlighting the sectarian violence that is fracturing Iraq. American soldiers also took part in the battles, but it was unclear exactly what role they played. One local resident, Abdul Hadi al-Dulaimi, said that the village, which is mostly Sunni Arab, was being raided by Shiite policemen working with militiamen to take revenge for a recent suicide bombing. American troops were siding with the Shiites and had deployed … Continue reading Civil War

Right Not Popular

From Holden: I suppose because they are ugly and everyone hates them. An odd thing seems to have happened to mighty right-wing talking head media juggernaut. They are still talking, but fewer people seem to be listening — at least on the Internet. [snip] During the past three months, for instance, traffic ranking has declined 18 percent. He still huffs and puffs away daily on radio, but advertisers might want to double check the size of his audience. If the bottom has dropped out on him online, it likely has had a similar trend line with his radio show. … Continue reading Right Not Popular

War Crimes, Bitch!

From Holden: Marty Lederman at SCOTUSblog says the Hamdan Decision is “HUGE”: The Court appears to have held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today’s ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely,” and that “[t]o this end,” certain specified acts “are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever”—including “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in … Continue reading War Crimes, Bitch!

In Support of Freedom of the Press…Nixon on the NYT

From Scout: “Hell I wouldn’t prosecute the Times. My view is to prosecute the Goddamn pricks that gave it to ’em.” –Richard Nixon (Nixon Tapes) As much as the press has brought this upon themselves for not standing up to this administration I do feel compellled to offer support to the New York Times. The hate being spewed at the Times is irrational, undemocratic and unforgivable. So I offer this 2 minute video which includes Richard Nixon speaking in 1973 about secrecy and leaking to the newspapers. (the NYT which printed the Pentagon Papers) It shows how far down we’ve … Continue reading In Support of Freedom of the Press…Nixon on the NYT

Kerik To Plead Guilty

From Holden: The man George Bush chose to oversee the reconstruction of Iraqi police forces and to succeed Tom Ridge as head of Fatherland Security is set to plead guilty to corruption charges. Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, is close to reaching an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to having accepted improper gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars while he was a city official in the late 1990’s, two people with information on the plea negotiations said yesterday. Under the proposed agreement, Mr. Kerik would plead guilty to failing to report accepting roughly … Continue reading Kerik To Plead Guilty

A Coalition Weaker than Limbaugh’s Dick

From Holden: When Eastern European states eager for enhanced trade relations with the US start pulling out of Iraq you know the game is over. Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said Thursday he had ordered the defense minister to withdraw Romania’s 890 troops from Iraq because of high casualty levels and the cost of the operation. “The death and serious injury of Romanian soldiers is becoming a concern,” said Tariceanu. He said he had informed President Traian Basescu of his decision and would also inform U.S. authorities. Defense Minister Teodor Atanasiu said the operation would save Romania $980 million. “The … Continue reading A Coalition Weaker than Limbaugh’s Dick

Terrorist State

From Holden: Juan Cole clearly describes the harm done to American interests by the actions of our Israeli allies: I am upset about the renewed crisis in Palestine because it is an emotional issue and will spill over into Sunni Arab Iraq. It is likely that pro-Palestinian Sunni guerrillas will kill some US troops specifically to avenge the people of Gaza. This is one reason I am complaining about the massively disproportional character of the Israeli response. It has the potential of further endangering American lives in the region. Personally, I don’t see how knocking out power to half the … Continue reading Terrorist State

Short Odds

From Holden: The folks at online gambling site have posted the following odds related to the further adventures of Limpy Limbaugh: Which drug/medication will [Limbaugh] be caught with next? Marijuana: 2/1 LSD: 8/1 Cocaine: 4/1 Heroin: 6/1 Morphine: 1/1 Viagra: 4/1 Extasy: 12/1 Mushrooms: 10/1 Will he serve jail time because of drugs? Yes: 6/5 No: 5/8 I’d put my money on Morphine and No. Continue reading Short Odds

Do You Get It Now?

Link. “What we’re talking about is people who are leaking classified information. It’s not news. It’s classified information our government is using to fight terrorists,” said House Speaker Dennis Hastert, of Illinois. “Loose lips kill American people,” he added. The nonbinding resolution, released later in the day, said the House “expects the cooperation of all news media organizations in protecting the lives of Americans and the capability of the government to identify, disrupt and capture terrorists by not disclosing classified intelligence programs such as the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program.” You know, wasn’t too long ago Daniel Okrent was wanking away … Continue reading Do You Get It Now?


From Scout: Lynn Elber of AP has a profile of CNN’s Jack Cafferty at (via mediabistro) Here are some quotes from Jack… –“I think that’s what viewers pick up,” he said. “I’m not some hair-sprayed, programmed anchorette who’s wound up for an hour, wheeled into the desk and sat there and the computer turns me on and off and the script comes out like it’s supposed to.” –“I thought (anchor) Wolf Blitzer was going to eat his script when I asked if Tom DeLay had been indicted yet, because he hadn’t been,” Cafferty recalled, adding: “If he hadn’t been … Continue reading Cafferty

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Finally! Pony Blow had some Good News! on Iraq for us in today’s gaggle:

MR. SNOW: Meanwhile, the U.S. military says that, in fact, it will meet its training goal for Iraqi security forces by the end of the year.

But upon further examination, the news is not that good after all.

Q Tony, I was at the briefing at the Pentagon yesterday by General Dempsey, and it was actually a very sobering briefing, because when he talked about the Iraqi troops, he talked about their lack of equipment, the problems with attrition, and in response to my question, the biggest problem, leadership, not being able to find good leaders to lead the Iraqi troops that we train. And when he talked about them being equipped and ready for the end of the year, wasn’t ready to do anything independently — he said independent is not a word that applies now or anytime soon to these Iraqi forces.

MR. SNOW: That is correct.

Q Is the President concerned about the lack of progress, even more than three years into this?

MR. SNOW: Well, you are defining it as a lack of progress. I think what you’re talking about is basic training levels. But the President is perfectly aware of the need for developing leadership cadres. As you know, we have embedded teams working with training mid-level officers to, in fact, become capable of serving as unit commanders in Iraq.

Q How quickly is a case of progress —

MR. SNOW: Well, you do it as quickly as you can. And there is certainly no foot-dragging on the part of our guys, or I think of the Iraqis. And, again, I think you get an interesting new dynamic with the new government, because it becomes something more tangible also for Iraqi forces. They know that they’ve got a Minister of Defense to whom they answer. They know that they have a civilian chain of command that ends up with the Prime Minister. All those — who knows what kind of impact they’re going to have. The answer is, we are still determined to do everything as quickly, but as thoroughly and effectively as possible to enable Iraqi military forces to take full control of securing Iraq. This also includes the police forces, as you know, and that’s also been part of the ongoing dialogue. But we are certainly —

Q So the President is satisfied with the current pace?

MR. SNOW: The President — satisfied or dissatisfied, they’re moving as quickly as they can. So the most important thing is our forces are doing everything they can to help Iraq get trained up as quickly as possible, period.

The Pony Blow Show continues, Read More…

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Taking the Pulse of America’s Wang

From Holden: There’s a new Strategic Vision poll of 1200 likely voters in Florida out today. As I recall Strategic Visions largely does polls for Republicans. Do you approve or disapprove of President Bush’s overall job performance? Approve 38% Disapprove 53% Undecided 9% Do you view President Bush as a conservative in the mode of Ronald Reagan? (Republicans Only) Yes 15% No 60% Undecided 25% If Condoleeza Rice were to run for President in 2008, whom would you support for the Republican nomination in 2008? (Republicans only) Rudy Giuliani 33% John McCain 21% Condoleeza Rice 14% George Allen 6% Mitt … Continue reading Taking the Pulse of America’s Wang

Doctor Shopping

From Holden: Just can’t help himself. Prosecutors in late April charged [Rush Limpbaugh] with the crime of “doctor shopping” — deceiving two or more doctors to write simultaneous scripts for pain pills — but agreed to drop the charge after 18 months if Limbaugh completed substance-abuse treatment. [snip] Limbaugh’s attorney, Roy Black, has said the two doctors prescribed the Viagra under their names to protect his privacy. Why would anyone need two prescriptions for Viagra? Continue reading Doctor Shopping

Wake me when Congress goes back to work on the people’s business

From Scout: Go read a good post on bad dreams from Oyster…. The other night I dozed off and suffered through a terrible dream. I was in Hawaii, watching a perverse marital ceremony. There were two men dressed in American flags, and they were exchanging vows on the top of an active volcano. Somehow, I “knew” that one of the grooms was an illegal immigrant. I also “knew” that the other groom had arranged his affairs so that the ‘death tax’ would absolutely ravage his large estate. Don’t ask me how. But despite all this knowledge, I was utterly paralyzed … Continue reading Wake me when Congress goes back to work on the people’s business

Supremes Invalidate Republican District

From Holden: The New York Times says that the Supreme Court threw out the map for District 23, currently occupied by Republican Congressman Henry Bonilla. Let’s see how this plays out, it would be nice to see a new map combine with the backlash against Republican immigrant-baching and put this seat in Democratic hands, although it’s a long shot as Bonilla is a strong incumbent. Continue reading Supremes Invalidate Republican District

Call It A Victory

From Holden: The Supreme Court rejected one district in Tom DeLay’s congressional map of Texas. The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out part of a Texas congressional map engineered by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, saying some of the new boundaries failed to protect minority voting rights. The fractured decision was a small victory for Democratic and minority groups who accused Republicans of an unconstitutional power grab in drawing boundaries that booted four Democratic incumbents out of office. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said Hispanics do not have a chance to elect a candidate of their … Continue reading Call It A Victory


From Holden: The British Army officer responsible for investigating British troops’ mistreatment of Iraqi’s hung himself with his own bootlace. THE head of the Army’s Special Investigations Branch in Iraq, involved in a huge workload, was found hanging by a bootlace in his barracks room, an inquest was told. Captain Kenneth Masters, 40, who commanded 61 Section of the Royal Military Police’s Special Investigation Branch, had become “stressed and frustrated”, the inquest at Swindon was told yesterday. He had been involved in investigations into allegations of abusive treatment of Iraqi detainees by British soldiers. The body of Captain Masters, who … Continue reading Horrible

Now We’re Talking

From Holden: Harry Reid vows to block all Congressional pay raises until the minimum wage is raised. A week after the GOP-led Senate rejected an increase to the minimum wage, Senate Democrats on Tuesday vowed to block pay raises for members of Congress until the minimum wage is increased. “We’re going to do anything it takes to stop the congressional pay raise this year, and we’re not going to settle for this year alone,” Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said at a Capitol news conference. “They can play all the games the want,” Reid said derisively of the Republicans … Continue reading Now We’re Talking

What We Say When No One’s Listening

I’m going to be sick.

“Why have those who have continually howled at our treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo met the recent kidnapping and sadistic and brutal murders of our two young soldiers with deafening silence?” the letter began. “Where is your outrage now?” It then stated that the U.S. “should” behead 100 prisoners in retaliation, as well as ” editors, commentators, college professors and left-wing congressmen who would suddenly break their silence to come out in support of these enemy jihadists. We need to stop listening to these sanctimonious hypocrites who apply the rules of war only to our side.”

The E&P piece spends most of its time talking to Mr. Wolman (full disclosure, a brief acquaintance of mine and fellow alumnus of Wisconsin) about whether he should have published the letter in the paper. So I don’t want to get into a whole thing about giving people platforms and so forth. Besides, the crack den is all over that today. Go over there and talk about it if you like.

I want to talk about the fact that that sentiment exists at all, much less that we hear about it in the pages of the papers.

I’ve long thought Americans had a schizo relationship with the press. When I used to tell people what I did for a living they had one of two reactions: they thought I was an incredibly glamorous person, or they thought I was the scum of the earth. I much preferred the latter reaction, as it was more fun to argue than to dispel illusions.

There’s more …

Continue reading “What We Say When No One’s Listening”

Disaster from Design

From Scout:

As Steve Soto from Left Coaster says, there is a very good discussion going on. Steve points to this DailyKos diary entitled “George Bush is Not Incompetent,” written by associates of the Rockridge Institute, and sums up the discussion topic…..

Simply put, in evaluating the wreckage of what the Bush Administration has done here at home and overseas, are these perceived failures the result of incompetence, or actually by design? Does the Administration allow and steer critics to a default position of attacking the competence of this crew to avoid the real story, which is that the cabal maintains a malignant view of the role and benefit of government to begin with?

3 examples are examined in the discussion one of which is Katrina. Specifically was the terrible Katrina response due to design vis-a-vis conservative policies and goals of shrinking government or the result of mismanagement and incompetence within government agencies such as FEMA? I think it is an important discussion for the reason concluded in the Kos diary…

Incompetence obscures the real issue. Bush’s conservative philosophy is what has damaged this country and it is his philosophy of conservatism that must be rejected, whoever endorses it.

I have thought the Katrina response was ultimately a matter of design for some time which a more in-depth examination of what happened to FEMA under the Bush administration would illustrate. Had people paid attention prior to Katrina or not focused on the Bush administration’s incompetence post Katrina, then the information in a 2004 article, in Gambit Weekly, entitled “A Disaster Waiting to Happen” may have have informed us by now that the Katrina response debacle was no mistake. (all quotes below are from this article which I highly recommend reading)

(Coninues…Click Read More)

Continue reading “Disaster from Design”

Changeover in White House Communications Team Complete

From Holden: First Trent Duffy left without explanation. Then Little Scottie, despite his tears, was eased out the door. Now Nicole Wallace is quitting to spend more time with her family. MR. SNOW: Personnel note — we have a personnel announcement to make. Nicolle Wallace, White House Communications Director, will be stepping down, effective Friday. We’re going to miss her. Nicolle is not only a terrific professional, but also somebody who is just an absolutely wonderful colleague. As you know, she and her husband, Mark, have been separated since he became an ambassador and is serving in our U.N. mission, … Continue reading Changeover in White House Communications Team Complete

Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Let’s start today’s gaggle coverage with a question apparently posed by Yoda:

Q The Ayatollah’s comments — a snub, do you consider them? I mean, a month ago the President offers direct talks.

Which Pony Blow completely flubs.</p

MR. SNOW: No. No. The President has never offered direct talks. Again, keep in mind what I’ve said many times, which is you’re going to get a number of voices from Iran, as the Iranian government and factions within the Iranian government try to figure out how they are going to proceed with not only the United States offer, but also the EU3, a package of incentives if the Iranians agree to renounce uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.


Q Tony, this is not just another faction. I mean, Ayatollah Khamenei is the final arbiter of state issues. He can’t be sort of dismissed as one in the chorus.

Obsession continues, Read More…

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Silly Questions

From Holden: Terrance is asking. What was Rush doing with a Viagra prescription in a country that one christian aid organization described as having the highest number of people working in the world working in the sex trade, including children? What need did Rush have to get an erection in a country which the U.S. government cites as having rampant prostitution— including child prostitution — and as one of the worst offenders in the trafficking of women and children for forced labor as sex-workers? Limpbaugh today: “I had a great time in the Dominican Republic. Wish I could tell you … Continue reading Silly Questions