Monthly Archives: June 2007

Saturday Blogwhoring Thread

Tell us what’s on your mind — and your blog!

A.

Your President Speaks!

Oh, my, this is going to be a long one. Today, in Newport, Rhode Island, at the Naval War College.

Where They’re At

Those who go to school here are at a great place.

In Case You Didn’t Know

Remember, when I mention al Qaeda, they’re the ones who attacked the United States of America and killed nearly 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. They’re part of the enemy.

Other Words

According to a captured document — in other words, according to something that we captured from al Qaeda — they had hoped to set up its — a government in Anbar.

What We Finally Got

We finally got the troops there.

What Americans Have Got

Americans have got to understand it takes a while to mobilize additional troops and move them from the United States to Iraq.

A “Courier” is a “Senior Leader”

Last week our commanders reported the killing of two senior al Qaeda leaders north of Baghdad — one who operated a cell that helped move foreign fighters into Iraq, and another who served as a courier for the same cell.

Proof Of Progress

In the mixed Shia-Sunni neighborhood of Rashid, our foot patrols discovered a wall with two Arabic sentences spray-painted on them. It’s just a small example. It certainly didn’t get any news, but it says, “Yes, yes to the new security plan. No difference between Shia and Sunni.”

There Is Tensions

And so there’s still sectarian tensions.

What The Iraqis Have Got

Have to be making tough decisions — the Iraqis have got to be making tough decisions towards reconciliations.

The Global War On Plurals Begins

I speak to the Prime Minister and I speak to the Presidency Council quite often, and I remind them we expect the government to function, and to pass law.

The Global War On Plurals Continues

We expect them to pass law.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Our success in Iraq must not be measured by the enemy’s ability to get a car bombing into the evening news. No matter how good the security, terrorists will always be able to explode a bomb on a crowded street.

If The Middle East Know

The extremists under this, that if the Middle East knows — if the Middle East know that the Iraqis succeed, it’s going to be a terrible blow to their ambitions. That’s what they see.

Iraqi Insurgents = Al Qaeda = Hesbollah = Hamas = Iran

But they also feel the same way about Afghanistan, where the Taliban, one-time allies of al Qaeda, is trying to murder its way back into power; or in Lebanon, where extremists are trying to bring down that nation’s democratic government; or in the Palestinian territories, where terrorists have set off a suicidal war; or in Iran, where the government pursues nuclear weapons while its president declares that Israel must be wiped off the map.

Like I’d Just Told You

September the 11th, we saw how a failed state, like I’d just told you, can affect the security at home.

Not Only Great, It’s Good!

Our military is not only great, it’s good, good-hearted people, all volunteers, who said, I want to serve in the face of danger.

Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da Da-Da Mic Man!

Yes, sir. You’re the guy. Are you the mic man, or are you the questioner? Well, you’re the questioner. Mic man, okay. Yes, sir.

Great Britain Have A Fantastic Country

We’re going to have to continually press. This means good intelligence, good special ops, working with allies like Great Britain — who have been a fantastic country to work with, by the way, just got to pressure them.

Tastes Great, Less Filling

It’s amazing how the Navy has been able to accomplish more with less. Perhaps that’s what you’ve been able to — that’s less manpower, more mission, better use of equipment, the capacity to manage manpower better.

The Global War On Plurals Continues

The main thing for militaries, as we head into the 21st century, is constantly adjust to meet threat.

Loves TheNickname

By the way, named a Navy man today, sent his name up to the Senate for confirmation as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen; and Vice Chairman is going to be a Marine named “Hoss” Cartwright.

Transformative Events We Have Done

One of the major transformative events we have done is we have begun to reposition our troops in Europe. The Cold War is over, it ended. And therefore the troop posture doesn’t need to be the way it has been throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. That’s transformative.

The Capacity To Base Out Of Home

That also frees up money for capital investment, as well as different places where — let me just say, the capacity to base out of home is going to save us a lot of money and save you a lot of wear and tear.

In Many Times

The volunteer army only works well if we take care of the wives and husbands; the spouses. And one way to do that is to reposition our forces to meet the threats of the 21st century. Well, it turns out, in many times — it means they have to be based here, and be then in a capacity to move quickly to deal with the threats.

There Is More Questions

Surely there’s more questions than that.

What “All The Time” Is

I talk to General Petraeus all the time. I say “all the time” — weekly; that’s all the time — on secure video from Baghdad.

There Is A Lot Of Discussions

There’s a lot of discussions about troop positioning; what will our footprint look like.

David Patreus Wears The 18-Hour Bra

David Petraeus is the commander on the ground and he’ll have the full support.

You Know, The Folks

It’s the way it’s been throughout the — you know, I told you that, and rightly so, that — look, I had a decision to make: more troops to secure Baghdad and Anbar, or pull back and hope for the best? I made a decision to put more troops in. That was in close consultation with the Pentagon and in particular with the — you know, the folks who have been charged with operations in Baghdad.

What Our Military Is Undergoing Through

And I think people recognize that obviously — you know, our military is undergoing through a lot of hard work and pressure.

It’s Like, Wow

I know the focus is on the military; it’s, like, on TV everyday, I understand that.

An Ungrateful World

You bring up the Navy ships, Comfort, for example, is just — saving lives in South America and Central America. I remember going to see — Laura and I went to Guatemala. We went to this remote region and ran into some military docs and nurses that were just providing essential health care. It’s really effective diplomacy to help a mom deal with a child’s sickness. And we do a lot of it. We get no credit for it, but we do a lot of it.

I Worry About The Struggle Will Cause

I worry about the struggle — which is going to take a while — will cause us to lose our confidence in the ability to help others realize the blessings of liberty.

Captain Marvel

I marvel at the fact — or I used to marvel at the fact that my dad fought the Japanese as a United States Navy fighter pilot, and his son sits down at the table to work to keep the peace. It’s an amazing — to me it’s an amazing irony, I guess is the best way to describe that — that a fellow’s father fought him, and I’m working to keep peace.

What Liberty Has Got

Liberty has got the capacity to change enemies to allies.

Hopeless Idealist Commander Guy

Some say that’s — you know, he’s a hopeless idealist guy.

Slapping Down The Rabble At The Naval War College

That’s not a seersucker suit, is it? It’s coming back, yes. They’re coming back.

What We Are

I think more markets — listen, we’re 5 percent of the people, that means 95 percent of the market should be available to our goods and services.

Jenna’s Motto

When you’re good at something, you ought to make it easier to sell it.

He Meant “Traitor”

So I’m a big trader — a free-trader.

A Choice

Now the Congress is going to have an opportunity to determine whether or not they’re going to be protectionist in nature and whether or not they’ll turn — this country will turn its back on our friend or not.

Ode To Mr. Rogers

The free trade vote has a lot of strategic implications because in the neighborhood there is a person who is undermining a democracy, and therefore we need to be concerned about the loss of democracies in our neighborhood.

That Initiative Is All Done

And we’re working very closely with Brazil, for example, on a lot of initiatives, starting with the biodiesel initiative. It’s an interesting initiative, by the way. That has got — that initiative is all done because of national security interests and economic interests as well as environmental concerns.

In A Flight Suit

And Brazil makes a lot of ethanol and we’re beginning to make a lot of ethanol; it’s in our interests to share technologies to promote others so we become less dependent on oil — skipping around here.

The Undemocracy

There’s only one non-democracy in our neighborhood: that’s Cuba.

Or The CIA

One day, the good Lord will take Fidel Castro away — no, no, no — then, the question is, what will be the approach of the U.S. government?

There Is Not Any Issues

We’re working, by the way — back to your question, can we do more than one thing at one time — we’re working very closely with the Navy and Coast Guard to make sure that there is not any issues when it comes between the United States and Cuba, should there be a — when there is a transition.

Ode To Joseph Goebbels

Now, we’re not doing a very good job with the propaganda battle around the world. We created it, and we’re losing.

Hard Kweschins

Q Mr. President, it was my great privilege to be a representative of the Royal Navy here at the Naval Command College class of 1994. It’s a huge privilege, clearly, to be here today, as well. We support and admire your country’s commitment and sacrifice in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world in the war on terror. But it strikes me that what you described today is very much a land-orientated campaign. What, if any, impact is that land campaign focus likely to have on your propensity to invest in a maritime strategy in the future, please?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, thanks. Yes. Now who exactly invited you here? Thank you, sir. Never mind, just kidding. It is a land-based campaign, because that’s where the enemy is. They hide in caves, and they hide in remote regions, and they try to destabilize countries. They try to create chaos. You’ve got to understand, chaos is the friend of these radicals. The more chaos there is, the more likely it is they’ll be able to find a place to roost.

****************************************************

Q Mr. President, I just returned from a week at the United States Army War College in Pennsylvania on national security. I walked away with so much more pride in our military. I would follow them anywhere. My question is: At the beginning of your speech — that you said that you consult with the military. With all due respect, sir, how much do you really listen and follow them?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, a lot.

****************************************************

Q Thank you very much. Our family was touched by 9/11, and I want to thank you very much for the support of the 9/11 families. Peter Dutton is my name. I’m from the Naval War College faculty. I wanted to ask you about your thoughts concerning strategic culmination. Are we —

THE PRESIDENT: Strategic —

Q Strategic culmination. In other words, are we getting to the point where we’re unable to continue to affect world events in other areas other than the Middle East because of our huge commitment there to the Middle East?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I appreciate that. Obviously, we’re constantly balancing — the first mission is, succeed in Iraq; let me just put it to you that way. And — yes, I think we are. I think we’re capable of dealing with more than one event at a time; witness the fact that we’ve got a lot of troops in Afghanistan.

More Than Not Being Stone Dead

Via virgotext’s excellent pride series which you all should be reading if you aren’t, here’s an incredibly beautiful story:

The tired (but happy) subway ride home. The speculating about whether the hullabaloo was worth it for the kids: questionable; depends on the age; will probably phase in and out. Speculating on the worth for the self: are you kidding? Even if you’re so exhausted you can’t stay up late and write down all the thoughts that have been occurng to you, it’s worth it. Has been for the past umpty-ump (for some of us, twenty-three) years, through various sweeties and none, through one political affiliation or another, active or dormant.

Until it feels this way, any day of the week, any week of the year — the relaxed sense of belonging, everywhere, that you have amongst your kindred on this day — you have to go. Majority status for a minority community, just this one day. Sip long and deep from this trough this day, so’s it’ll last you another 364.

A.

Friday Ferretblogging: Puck Edition

I got a large box in the mail the other day. Puck decided to investigate.

They weren’t the biodegradable peanuts, so when he started to chew on them, we had to take them away. Woe.

A.

Surge…here

Michael at 2 Millionth Web Log directs our attention to the surge in killings in American cities and a few other things…

But…as people have pointed out, as New Orleans goes, so goes the
nation. The problems that have plagued the Crescent City–problems
residents have been told are their own fault–are showing up elsewhere.
Hmmm…

Maybe the problem ISN’T with the citizenry, but with the
government that constantly blusters about “protecting the American
people,” but never actually DOES much of anything when the chips are
down…well, never does anything except blame the victims…who just
happen to BE the American people.

Read him now

Oyster calls Matt at Fix the Pumps blog…”Louisiana’s most important blogger.”

This is vitally important stuff, people. Matt’s attention to
this issue has uncovered important facts that need widespread exposure,
and fearless investigation. New Orleanians deserve the unvarnished
truth about the flood control improvements being undertaken by USACE,
and the nation deserves an honest accounting of how its tax dollars are
being spent. Will we get these things if we don’t demand them?

YRHT salutes Matt’s analysis and activism on this crucially important topic. I encourage everyone to listen to what he’s saying.

Please go read and pass along the latest at Fix the Pumps.I have to say my fear is people will “discover” Matt’s work after something terrible happens.

Journalism & Punditry

There’s a whole lot going on here.

True reporters hate TV blathering gasbags and don’t acknowledge there’s any bleed-over from the work of the one to the “conventional wisdom” of the other. They don’t pay attention and they don’t push back, more properly, their editors don’t push back when they see their reporters’ work being misrepresented on Press the Meat and other such bloviation fora. Which is why you get two narratives out there, the one that’s supported by sober, well-informed reporting that benefits us all, and the one that’s full of stuff “everybody knows” like how Whitewater was a scandal and Joh Kerry lied about his medals before he threw them away.

Partly it’s the lure of being on TV that keeps them in line, the idea that the highest ambition a reporter can have is to sit next to Timmeh or Chris Matthews or Greta and have everyone and their mother look on in envy. That kind of exposure leads to book deals and money, and cross-platform promotion, and yeah, sure, it pollutes and destroys the work and turns every story into an attempt to fame-whore your way onto the evening news (someday I will get around to telling the tale of why I left journalism), but it might also be the only way you could get any job security at all, and newsrooms aren’t exactly places to make yourself comfortable these days. Consultants are crawling up everybody’s ass about new media and integration and convergence and most of them only half-understand any of it.

Partly, it’s the idea that people are smarter than they are and can distinguish between Russert and real reporters without being explicitly told anything. Which is such unbelievable crap, but it perpetuates itself, this idea that if we don’t lower ourselves to talk about it, the problem will just resolve on its own. It doesn’t work for strep throat or cancer and it isn’t working here, either. Journalism as a trade, as a craft, has been bunkered down in the root cellar for a couple decades now, while journalism the “profession” has been upstairs kicking democracy’s ass. Bunkered down against job cuts, against corporate greed, against the constant refrain that it’s the newsroom that’s the problem, against howling right-wing bias junkies, against just about everything’s that’s a cosmetic problem while everything that’s an actual problem gets ignored.

Until journalism and journalists start defending themselves, from being lumped in with Timmeh and the like, from having their work mis-characterized and misunderstood, from being kicked in the face over and over and over in service of fame and just assuming that someday the world will wake up, until that happens, there’s still going to be two narratives out there, the writers of both pushing their own and pretending the other doesn’t exist.

A.

Friday Dog Blogging: Mitt’s got a problem edition

Let’s talk Mitt’s dog.

It starts with Seamus the Irish setter.Background here
Ana Marie Cox has more today on Mitt’s yellow lab named McKenzie

Oliver Willis says this story has legs. I think Mitt’s claim that Seamus enjoyed it, only makes it worse. Can he get anymore tone deaf?

I find this whole thing just creepy…Santorum like creepy. The story itself is creepy. That someone thought this was a good story to push forward is creepy. But what do you guys think?

added: BwahHaaa…Michael Berube on Giuliani’s car trip

Rising Tide II

Maitri has info on the Rising Tide II conference in August.

Go to New Orleans and join in!

Upsetting

“You promised me my life, but you lied. You think life is nothing but not being stone dead.”
— Saint Joan

I’ve been following this horrible story about the high school student whose picture of himself and his boyfriend kissing was blacked out of his school’s yearbook. Mercifully, the superintendent who screwed up has now apologized to the kid and to the entire LGBT community for her actions, but this one thing keeps bugging me:

Russell Garris, the assistant superintendent who oversees the city’s high schools, brought the photograph to Bolden’s attention Thursday afternoon. He was concerned the picture would be controversial and upsetting to parents, Bolden said.

And it’s bugging me because I’m sure this isn’t the last time the perceived sensibilities of some imagined concerned parent (when did THAT become code for “nosy interfering needs-a-life bigot,” by the way?) are used as an excuse to suppress someone’s expression or trample on his rights or invalidate his life in the eyes of the world at large. I’m sure this isn’t the last time the catch-all of “it could upset somebody, seeing you being you and all that, out in the world, and stuff” will be applied to tell somebody he should keep his entire life out of the rest of the world’s way. I’m sure this isn’t the last time people are going to be told that they alone out of everybody have an obligation to shut up and not upset anybody. To not be “controversial.”

It ties into the whole idea of civility that the political blogosphere hashes over every single day, the growing consensus that anything that gets you het up enough to raise your blood pressure and your voice is automatically bad, automatically rude, automatically enough to get whatever you’re saying disqualified from interested ears. We’re not supposed to get angry. We’re not supposed to get upset. And what I’d really like to know is, why the unholy blue hell not?

I mean, when did human beings become such wusses? Why are we all so scared of a good fight? Why must “controversial” become “a reason something should be suppressed” instead of “a reason something should be shouted from the rooftops until everybody figures it all out?” Why must parents not be upset? Why must senators and congressmen and bloggers be polite to each other and not say “fuck?” Why do we have to water down life until there’s nothing worth rousing ourselves for, nothing worth getting upset over, nothing worth fighting for anymore? Why do we have to live like that?

And why does our desire to live like that trump somebody else’s desire simply to live? Why is the tranquility of some imagined parent’s beautiful mind placed above a young man’s right to immortalize his high school years how he chooses? Why does some imagined parent (I keep using “imagined” because I’ve seen no evidence any actual parent was irreversibly harmed in the publication of that photo, or even ruffled all that badly) get to decide what he or she sees and is upset by? Being upset does not constitute legitimate injury. Being upset does not constitute superiority, authority, control of any kind. Being upset does not mean somebody else has to change his actions or his life or even his yearbook photo, because being upset is not anybody else’s problem. If we could just burn that into the landscape somehow, together with the idea that being upset? Not actually the worst thing in the world. Not compared to having your high school yearbook photo in all the papers and on all the TV stations (the horror) and becoming known nationwide as the person whose love life got singled out as wrong. And upsetting. I think that’s actually substantially worse than being unnerved for a few minutes by a picture of some boys in a liplock.

The world is changing. I’m sorry that bums some people out, I truly am. It must be awful to be so scared of everything. But my sympathy does not extend to the point where I’ll listen to you asking that your feelings of unease about sex dictate somebody else’s sex behavior, or to the point where I’ll agree that your desire for tranquility for tranquility’s sake trumps anything important worth getting worked up about. The world is changing, and you know what? Maybe we’re all going to have to get a little upset. Maybe we’re all going to have to piss each other off. Maybe we’re all going to have to see things we don’t like, and deal with them, and argue about them, and work back and forth to advance one view or the other. Maybe we’re all going to have to jostle and shout, and push against one another, and kick and yell, because who we are shouldn’t be comfortable for everybody. That wouldn’t be right and it certainly wouldn’t be anything we could recognize as America. That would be boring. That would be pointless.

That wouldn’t be life. That would be not being stone dead. And speaking only for myself, if that’s the opposite choice, stack up the fucking firewood and drive down the stake, because I’d rather burn.

A.

Your President Speaks! Loves The Nickname Edition

Today, at the White House, urging the Senate to confirm Admiral Michael Mullen and General James Cartwright as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Obsessed With A Nickname

Mike Mullen and “Hoss” Cartwright are experienced military officers.

“Hoss’s” wife got stuck on an airplane.

I’m also nominating an outstanding military officer to serve as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General “Hoss” Cartwright.

And since 2004, he’s served as head of the U.S. Strategic Command. In that position, “Hoss” has been in charge of America’s nuclear arsenal, missile defenses, space operations, information operations, global command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and our nation’s efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction. These are vital responsibilities and “Hoss” has met them with honor, skill and integrity.

Upon confirmation by the Senate, Mike Mullen and “Hoss” Cartwright will succeed two of America’s finest military officers — General Pete Pace and Admiral Ed Giambastiani.

I call on the Senate to quickly confirm Mike Mullen and “Hoss” Cartwright.

One More Nickname

I’m also grateful to Admiral Ed Giambastiani. I just call him Admiral “G.”

Gutless Cowards

How does the Bush Assministration defend citing Executive Privilege in response to legitmate congressional subpoenas?

By trotting out an anonymous “official”!

No Precedent For Applying Executive Privilege To Testimony

Q I take it the President’s assertion of executive privilege does not cover Miers and Taylor testifying? Or is he saying that it does — since they’ve left the executive branch?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh, thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify that. The position stated in this letter and in this exercise of executive privilege is only with regard and in regard to documents; that’s the only thing at instant issue.

However, the President has advised that he would exercise executive privilege in regard to the testimony of both of those individuals if it gets to that point and the subpoenas are not withdrawn and they’re still (inaudible) at the time they’re due. The fact that they are no longer present employees has nothing to do with the principle of executive privilege and the information protection that that affords.

Q Can you give us some background on precedent on that? Have there been other examples where people who have left government have complied with a presidential order not to testify because of executive privilege?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I’m sure we could provide that for you. I’m searching right now, I’m looking across the table. Does anybody have one — yes.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: In, I believe, the early 1950s, material was sought from the Eisenhower administration pertaining to conduct at State in the Truman administration. And former — then former President Truman, himself, wrote a letter objecting to the attempt to obtain such material, and it was resolved, I believe, without turning anything over.

Q That’s documents, not people, right?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Don’t know the answer to that, I think that’s right.

Denies Chimpy’s Involvement

Q For any of you, I have a question about — as a non-legal scholar. My understanding is the evolution of the law, the executive privilege, that there are basically two forms of privilege that a president can claim. And I wanted to clarify: Is the President saying, by doing this, that he himself personally was in receipt of advice about the U.S. Attorney firings, and that’s why he’s invoking the privilege? The documents went to him; that his staff provided him with advice, and that’s what he’s protecting.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Oh no, no, that would be a misconstruction of the breadth of the executive privilege. What is related — deliberations, formulation of advice, performance of executive branch duties consistent with the President’s constitutional obligations.

Q So he is still maintaining that he had nothing to do with the actual discussions between White House staff, meaning Ms. Miers and Sara Taylor and the Justice Department related to the Attorney firings; that he had no direct involvement.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: No, there’s no change in our prior position at all.

Q But that is — the way I’ve stated it is correct?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, state it again. I’m going to make sure — I don’t have a transcript.

Q Maybe you should get one. That would help. No — in this case, the President is saying that he had nothing to do, directly himself, with receiving advice about the firing of the U.S. Attorneys and approving the list or adjusting the list. Just because Ms. Miers or Ms. Taylor or Scott Jennings appeared in emails with DOJ discussing that, he is asserting that there is no involvement; his personal involvement did not engage in those discussions.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: He has no personal involvement. Our position has never been any different than that.

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

On Air Force One, en route to Rhode Island.

Pony Makes It Clear That The White House Claim Of Executive Privilege Does Not Apply To The Testimony Of Harriet Miers Or Sara Taylor

Q The privilege applies to the document request, but what about testimony by Taylor and Miers?

MR. SNOW: We are responding only to the subpoenas which refer to document requests.

[snip]

Q Tony, the arguments made by Fielding in the letter would apply also to this later request, right?

MR. SNOW: The Fielding letter replies only to the document requests — again, for those they needed a response today. There is an additional one where I believe Chairman Conyers, in the case of Harriet Miers, has a July 12th date. The President has instructed both Sara Taylor and Harriet Miers — that is, their attorneys — that he is asserting privilege and would want them to withhold any document production.

Q What about their testimony?

Q Yes, what does that mean for testimony?

MR. SNOW: That’s not one of the issues that’s raised by the subpoenas today.

Q It’s raised by their subpoenas, though — they’ve issued subpoenas.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, we aren’t talking about the subpoenas — I’m simply discussing — I’m not going to talk about testimony. I’m telling you what we are responding right now to the request for document production. That is what is in the subpoenas, but we’re responding —

Q (Inaudible).

MR. SNOW: Because what we’re doing is we’re responding to the precise subpoenas that we’re responding to today. They are only request for document production; that’s what we’re responding to.

Q Does that mean that you’ll respond —

Q For instance, is there a difference, though, as a principle —

MR. SNOW: It doesn’t mean anything. It just means —

Q Does it mean you’ll respond at a later date, or does it mean that you’re willing to let them testify?

MR. SNOW: It means that when we have subpoenas — we will respond to subpoenas appropriately and in due course, and that’s what we’ve done in this case. Again, the subpoenas we’re talking about today do not refer to testimony, they refer to document production.

Q Does that mean that the White House has given no instruction to Sara and to Harriet on whether they should agree to testify or not?

MR. SNOW: It’s in Fred’s letter. We have informed them that the President is asserting executive privilege and that they should not turn over documents.

Q I understand. That wasn’t my question. My question is what has the White House instructed them to do, in terms of testimony?

MR. SNOW: The White House is not instructing them. You can ask their attorneys.

Q So they’re free to testify if they want?

MR. SNOW: I’m not going any further. Again, I know you want to talk about testimony. We’re talking about document production today.

Pony Held This Gaggle Before The Spectacular Failure Of Chimpy’s Immigration Bill

Q On immigration, is the administration growing more concerned that the cloture will fail?

MR. SNOW: Well, we’ll find out. I mean, there’s going to be a vote within an hour or so. We’ll find out what’s going on.

Q I mean, is he on the phone on the plane, or has he done anything this morning?

MR. SNOW: Well, we have been in contact with members of Congress over the last couple of days, and the President has made it clear that this is very important to him. This is an issue that everybody agrees is of national importance, and therefore it is a key test of leadership to see if Congress can respond to something that the public has said overwhelmingly it considers a priority and needs addressing.

We All Know What Happened Next

Elizabeth!

Elizabethedwards

Man I love Elizabeth Edwards. She called into Hardball to confront Ann Coulter.Video at Think Progress

And do you think the public really wants polite discourse?

This is from an interview of WaPo’s Chris Cillizza by MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer. The video picks up with Brewer giving a bit of context because she wouldn’t want Ann Coulter to call her names too.

Brewer then states: “The point though is if Elizabeth Edwards really wanted to elevate the level of political discourse, woman to woman, you call up and say heh will you [Ann Coulter] go have lunch with me there’s something I want to talk to you about.”

And finally she asks Cillizza “And do you think the public really wants polite discourse? I mean aren’t we all much more fascinated by the nastiness that goes back and forth?”

Cillizza wholeheartedly agrees to Brewer’s points.

Our media in all its glory…

 

(Length: 1:10)

Today On Holden’s Obsession With The Gaggle

Pony Sez Chimpy Is Down With The Looo-gar

Q And is the outreach going to extend to Senators Lugar and Voinovich for coming to the White House and talking about some of the concerns they’ve been expressing?

MR. SNOW: Well, we certainly are going to have conversations with them. We’re going to be talking to them. You know, it’s interesting, because I’ve been going back again over the Senator Lugar speech. Really, when you take a look at it, the one thing he rules out very quickly is the idea we just get out — don’t fund the troops, don’t have precipitant withdrawal. What he’s really talking about is the over-the-horizon strategy — and the President has used that term before — that once you have created the space in which the Iraqis, in fact, have stepped up, they’ve made the political progress, they’ve made the military and training progress, where do you go? And you get to the point where U.S. forces withdraw — again, over the horizon is the term the President has used — and it sounds like that’s a lot of what Senator Lugar is discussing, as well.

Part XXXI In The Continuing Helenization Of Pony Blow

Q What is the horizon of this administration to stop the killing in Iraq? And does the President have an exit strategy over and beyond “you guys in Iraq, shape up now,” the collaborators and so forth who were with us and supposed to carry out our mission?

MR SNOW: What the President — I think what you — you focus on exit, Helen. The thing that we’re trying to focus on is success.

Q I think that these Republicans are focusing on exit.

MR SNOW: Well, take a look again at what Dick Lugar talked about. Dick Lugar did not talk about exit. What he talked about is reshaping the way the forces are. But the one he rejected is exit. What he is talking —

Q He said that this is the word and that’s another story. They are talking about exit.

MR SNOW: No, what he’s talking about is a strategy for pulling people, again, over the horizon. Take a look at the speech and also his public statements and you’re going to find that what he’s not talking about is getting out. What he’s trying to come up with is a way of engaging regional powers and also Iraqi powers and the allies in such a way that has to deal with the ongoing problems they’ve had in terms of violence, but also build the institutions that are going to be absolutely necessary to have a safe and free and democratic Iraq.

The Soft Bigotry Of Low Expectations

Q Tony, you talked about the recent arrival of troops in the surge, and you also talked about the late start of the surge, how it’s just got underway, and you’ve got two months basically until September. Are you really setting us up for that to be laying the groundwork for support for a report from General Petraeus saying that there hasn’t been very much progress?

MR. SNOW: No.

Q Are you expecting there to be very much progress?

MR. SNOW: Again, you’ll have to take a look, but, no, this is not a way of setting up a lack of progress. We’re 12 days into the most ambitious military operation really since the intense combat hostilities, and you have seen reports from General Petraeus and General Odierno and others about significant actions on the part of our forces at Baquba, obviously in Anbar, and in Baghdad, as well.

I would expect there to be a progress report about what’s going on and what we’ve achieved not only militarily, but also what sort of things have been accomplished on the political side and the economic side. It is not merely General Petraeus, but also Ambassador Crocker who are going to be contributing to the report. What we’re trying to condition people for is a report that is going to tell us what has been happening. Again, 12 days in to the most significant military action in a very long time, and at the same time, just now getting all of our forces into place — it’s worth giving people a granular look, a detailed look at what has been accomplished and what will have been accomplished by the date.

Q Is it your view that September is too soon for such a report?

MR. SNOW: No, look, we have agreed to make reports in July and September; we’re going to do it.

Les Embarrasses Pony

Q Okay. This morning’s Washington Post headline “After Speech, Aides Scramble To Cover Bush’s ‘Amnesty’ Slip” — while we realize that anybody can make mistakes, can you tell us, just for human interest sake, which aide scrambled first, and did the President commend him or her for being alert, or not, and what was his reaction?

MR SNOW: I did, and I don’t discuss —

Q You were the first one?

MR SNOW: I believe so. I mean, look —

Q Good.

MR SNOW: — the President misspoke. It was a — you recall we issued a statement by the Press Secretary. What was interesting is that Fletch wrote that story; meanwhile I was getting a lot of people saying, what took you so long? So we were getting it from both sides. The fact is that anybody who knows what the President’s policy is knows that that was a slip of the tongue. It was overplayed on Drudge. We thought it was important to go ahead and puncture that balloon, which we did, and to move on so that people who actually knew the issue could discuss other things.

Jesus

Not what I would call “progress”.

One of Baqouba’s main thoroughfares is so packed with IEDs that the U.S. military is considering declaring it “irrevocably mined,” said Col. Steve Townsend, commander of the Army’s 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

U.S. forces would then build their own road — right alongside the mined one — and guard it 24 hours a day, said Townsend, 47, from Griffin, Ga.

[snip]

The weight of a single soldier is insufficient to trigger such bombs, which may be planted 10 feet underground and packed in makeshift casings such as refrigerators.

[snip]

On May 6, a deep-buried IED killed six U.S. soldiers from Townsend’s brigade serving in Baqouba, along with a Russian photographer embedded with them. The blast flipped their Stryker vehicle — an eight-wheeled, 37,000-pound troop carrier — upside down and tore out the interior, killing everyone inside except the driver.

Bugman Update

Tom DeLay wins a round in court in a narrow decision that “defies common sense”.

The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday affirmed the 2005 dismissal of a felony indictment against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and two associates.

In the 5-4 decision, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld Judge Pat Priest’s decision to throw out an indictment accusing DeLay and his associates, Jim Ellis and John Colyandro, of conspiring to violate state election laws. The majority said the conspiracy statute did not apply to election laws in 2002 when DeLay’s political committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, spent $600,000 in corporate money to affect the elections. The Legislature extended the conspiracy law to election violations the next year.

Despite the victory, DeLay, who retired from Congress in 2006 because of the indictments, still faces a charge of conspiring to launder corporate money into campaign donations. That indictment, which Priest upheld, is being challenged by DeLay and his associates on constitutional grounds.

DeLay’s lawyer Dick DeGuerin predicted Wednesday that it could be another year before DeLay’s legal problems are resolved.

[snip]

Earle said he would seek a re-hearing because the ruling means prosecutors cannot prevent criminals from conspiring to break laws not designated by the Legislature.

In 2002, DeLay raised corporate money, mostly from Washington lobbyists, to be spent in Texas to affect the legislative campaigns. With Republicans winning control of the Legislature, DeLay persuaded state lawmakers to redraw congressional districts to favor Republicans and reinforce his hold on his leadership post.

State law generally prohibits spending corporate money in connection with a campaign. The defendants argued they spent the corporate money to support their political committee and not directly for candidates.

DeLay’s political committee also sent $190,000 in corporate money to an arm of the Republican National Committee which, in a matter of days, sent the same amount in campaign donations raised from individuals in other states to seven Texas candidates for the Legislature, including Jack Stick and Todd Baxter of Austin.

Prosecutors accused DeLay of laundering the money. DeLay’s lawyers said the contributions were separate transactions that did not violate state election laws.

In Wednesday’s decision, the Court of Criminal Appeals had to decide whether a conspiracy charge could be applied to all felonies or only those specified by the Legislature. To side with prosecutors, the court would have had to either reverse or limit its decisions from the 1970s that the Legislature must specify that the conspiracy statute applies to felonies outside the penal code.

The court’s majority noted that the Legislature had not reacted to the rulings. Instead, lawmakers applied the conspiracy law piecemeal to various felonies.

The dissent said not applying conspiracy to all felonies defies common sense.

One of the judges in the majority said he might have ruled differently “were we writing on the proverbial pristine slate.”

Column: Bong Hits 4 Free Speech

Link:

You know, my sympathy for Frederick lies partly in my ability to remember being boneheaded enough to make a statement for the sake of doing so. My high school actually staged a protest — a civil-rights-level drama complete with walkouts — over the fact that we weren’t allowed to wear blue, denim jeans to school. One day, everybody simply wore blue jeans to school.

Oh, we thought we were so clever.

A civil disobedience spectacle over how our school-permitted clothes weren’t to our liking.

Honestly, can you think of a more perfect illustration of what a spoiled group of entitled, middle-class brats we were?

Talk about embarrassing. Blue jeans. That was our big moral stand.

But blue jeans were forbidden, so that’s what we protested — because we were young and narcissistic. And when you’re full of righteous energy with nowhere to direct it — all amped up with the desire to stick it to somebody just because you can — you end up with the great Blue Jeans Protest. Or, Bong Hits 4 Jesus.

In our case, nobody got suspended and nobody took it to court.

The teacher who’d kinda sorta suggested we do something if we were really that mad about our school’s rules came in for quite a rough PTA meeting. And the story I wrote about the whole thing for the local paper earned me an hour-long yelling session with the principal.

But we did have lots of assemblies about the appropriate ways to stand up for our beliefs — and more than a few gentle reminders that “beliefs” have to do with more than brand names.

Inspired by this post over at Blast Off!

A.