Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito Does Not Deserve an Up or Down Vote

Judge Alito does NOT deserve an up-or-down vote.

Harriet Miers didn't get one.

The predecent has been set.

Bush should do the honorable thing and, after realizing that Alito is too far outside the mainstream to represent all Americans, ask him to withdraw his name from consideration.

End of story.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Did Cheney and Libby Orchestrate the Outing of Valerie Plame?

By the time Libby met with Official A, he had already told Judith Miller about Valerie Plame.

On June 11 or 12, an Undersecretary of State (John Boolton) told Libby about Valerie Plame. At the same time, a CIA officer told Libby about Wilson's wife, and that she sent him to Niger.

On or around June 12, 2003, Libby and Cheney had a meeting in which Cheney told Libby that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Cheney had learned this from the CIA. They were discussing how to respond the upcoming Washington Post article by Walter Pincus, published June 12.

Two days later Libby discussed with a CIA debriefer Valerie Wilson, and expressed his anger at the stories that were coming out.

On June 19 the article in "The New Republic" came out.

Right after that, he and his Principal Deputy talking rebuting Wilson in the press.

On June 23, Libby told Judith Miller about Wilson's wife.

So here's my question:

In their meeting on June 12, 2005, or at any time prior or thereafter,
did Vice President Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby ever discuss disclosing
the fact that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA with a member of the press?


Libby's Criminal Intent

On May 6, 2003, Nicholas Kristof published an article, presumably with Wilson as a source, describing the Niger trip and suggesting the allegations were based on forged documents.

On June 12, Walter Pincus of the Post published an article describing Wilson's trip and what he had reported back to the CIA.

On June 19, 2003, an article appeared in "The New Republic" online that was very critical of the office of Vice President and said that officials knew the Niger story was a "flat out lie."

I believe for Libby, and possibly Rove and Cheney, the New Republic story was the last straw. Almost immediately, decision was made, officially, to begin sliming Wilson. We get this key quote from the indictment:

"Shortly after the publication of the article in "The New Republic," LIBBY spoke by telephone
with his then Principal Deputy and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether
information about Wilson's trip could be shared with the press to rebut allegations that the
Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA
in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not disucss the matter on a
non-secure telephone line."

Assuming this is accurate, it stongly suggests Libby was well aware he was dealing with confidential information.

He used a secure line, so was very careful with that information?


Just two, or possibly three days later, he told Judith Miller, a journalist with no clearance, that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Always Something with the Bush Family

"Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said relief agency response to Hurricane Wilma will "be better" Thursday after residents waited for hours the day before for basic supplies such as water, ice and gasoline.

"Today is going to be better, tomorrow is going to be better than today, and the day after tomorrow will be even better," Bush said during a Wednesday news conference."

Just plug in "Iraq", "Terror", "The Economy", 'The Debt", "Supreme Court", "Ethics" and anything else, and the story just pretty much writes itself with this family, doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005



"After the Revolution,
I Will Buy Fiztgerald a New Cat."

Wal-Mart Seeks "Healthy" Employees

A memorandum to the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has provoked quite a bit of reaction. It also could have implications for patient and employee privacy. The memo suggests that Wal-Mart take steps to hire healthy employees, get their employees healthier, and even discourage non-healthy employees from ever getting a job at Wal-Mart.

Not because you need to be healthy to work at Wal-Mart -- but to cut down on Wal-Mart's insurance costs.

But this is what anti-discrimination and privacy laws were designed to prevent.

We often hear that even small employers with group health plans will be unaffected by one sick employee. And that should be true for a large one, too. But what if an employer is so large that they can see extensive savings by implementing a corporate-wide, generalized effort to weed out employees who might cause their insurance rates to rise? Given the role that employers have in paying for health insurance and health care, not to mention other costs to employers from sick employees (lost time, lost productivity) this is a trend that we will see again.

Key Quotes from the Memo:

“Given the significant savings from even a small improvement in the health of our Associate base, Wal-Mart should seek to attract a healthier workforce.”

Some of the memo's recommendations:

• Design all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g. all cashiers do some cart gathering);

• Offer savings via the Discount Card on health foods (e.g., fruits and vegetables);

• Offer benefits that appeal to healthy Associates (e.g., an education offering targeted at students)

Other key quotes:

“A healthier workforce will lead to lower insurance costs, lower absenteeism through fewer sick days, and higher productivity.”

“It will be far easier to attract and retain a healthier workforce than to change behavior in an existing one.”

“These moves would also dissuade unhealthy people from coming to work at Wal-Mart.”

Monday, October 24, 2005


Yep, even the iron Lady herself has turned on the war
in Iraq. Claims she was never for it.

"I was a scientist before I was a politician. And as a
scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof -
and then you check, recheck and check again."

"The fact was that there were no facts, there was no
evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the
most serious decision you can take is to commit your
armed services to war from which they may not return."

-- Margaret Thatcher

If they lost her, they've got big problems.



What did the head of Canada’s spy agency say Iraq has

(A) “A fledgling democracy”

(B) “An experiment in developing a civilization”

(C) “A relatively peaceful war zone”

(D) “A place I hope to vacation – someday”

(E) “The envy of the Middle East”

(F) "A post-graduate faculty for terrorism"

Answer: F


It's Always Miller Time

Bill Keller, posted on, his thoughts on the whole Judith Miller

Emphasis added:

10/21/2005 4:06:23 PM

Memo from NYT executive editor Bill Keller

“In the end, I’m pretty sure I would have concluded
that we had to fight this case in court. For one
thing, we were facing an insidious new menace in these
blanket waivers, ostensibly voluntary, that
Administration officials had been compelled to sign.
But IF I HAD KNOWN the details of Judy’s entanglement
with Libby, I’d have been MORE CAREFUL in how the
paper articulated its defense, and perhaps more
willing than I had been to support efforts aimed at
exploring compromises.

Dick Stevenson has expressed the larger lesson here in
an e-mail that strikes me as just right:

“I think there is, or should be, a contract between
the paper and its reporters. The contract holds that
the paper will go to the mat to back them up
institutionally -- but only to the degree that the
BARGAIN, specifically to have conducted him or herself
in a way consistent with our LEGAL, ETHICAL, AND
with the paper about sources, mistakes, conflicts and
the like, and generally to deserve having the
reputations of all of us put behind him or her. In
that way, everybody knows going into a battle exactly
what the situation is, what we’re fighting for, the
degree to which the facts might counsel compromise or
not, and the degree to which our collective
credibility should be put on the line.”

I’ve heard similar sentiments from a number of
reporters in the aftermath of this case.

There is another important issue surfaced by this
case: how we deal with the inherent conflict of
writing about ourselves. This paper (and, indeed, this
business) has had way too much experience of that over
the past few years. Almost everyone we’ve heard from
on the staff appreciates that once we had agreed as an
institution to defend Judy’s source, it would have
been wrong to expose her source in the paper. Even if
our reporters had learned that information through
their own enterprise, our publication of it would have
been seen by many readers as authoritative -- as
outing Judy’s source in a backhanded way. Yet it is
readers, especially when rival publications are
unconstrained. I don’t yet see a clear-cut answer to
this dilemma, but we’ve received some thoughtful
suggestions from the staff, and it’s one of the
problems that we’ll be wrestling with in the coming

Best, Bill”


Fascinating. My translation:

“Judith Miller, through an endless series of lies,
deceits, and underhanded behavior, has not only
prevented the Times from reporting news for the last
few years, and compelled it to actively print lies,
she also forced every employee of the paper to sink to
her level, and get them to defend her, at the cost of
the own reputations. Further, she may have embroiled
the Times in criminal conspiracy and coverup, and to
this very day refuses to be honest with her colleagues
even after they have fought for her at great cost to

Because of a complete lack of a sense of ethics or
management at the Times, a once fine newspaper is now
regarded a cheap, bought-and-paid-for propaganda tool,
used to destroy innocent people who would dare
challenge a government misleading its own people to go
to war. Once no longer trusted, an information source
can not function. The New York Times has shredded its credibility
through misplaced loyalty and fear of political payback.
Its shattered remains litter the sidewalks of New York, as do the careers
of everyone once associated with this travesty.”

Did I miss anything?



August 31, Marty Bahamonde, FEMA Regional Director frantically e-mailed
Mike Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that "estimates are many will die within hours."

"Sir, I know that you know the situation is past
critical," Bahamonde wrote.

Three hours after sending that e-mail,
Brown's press secretary wrote back that
Brown couldn’t response immediately.


(A) He was speaking with the White House about
response coordination with military.

(B) He was working with the state National Guard
authorities on rescue efforts.

(C) He was busy directing the Coast Guard relief and
supply mission.

(D) He was in a meeting with local police, fire and
rescue departments.

(E) He was organizing a massive effort with the Red
Cross, other charities, churches, businesses, and

(F) He was eating dinner.

Answer: F

"We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a
location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service
from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you."




Wolf Blitzer recently hosted a show on CNN where he
and guests, including Pat Robertson, seriously debated
the question, as headlined, “Are We Living in the End



Et Tu, Burt?

"I heard Colin Powell tell the United Nations there
are weapons of mass destruction. I totally believed
him. I love this guy. He's like a hero. This was such
a bad, bad blemish mark on his life, that he was so

"Then we go into Iraq. It looked like the heroic,
right thing to do.”

“It was the wrong thing to do. There was fabricated
information. There are no weapons of mass

–– Burt Bacharach

"Stuff just kept going more wrong and more wrong here
as I was writing."

"Who Are These People?" sung by Elvis Costello,
expresses his disillusionment with the war in Iraq,
and forcefully asks, "Who are these people that keep
telling us lies and how did these people get control
of our lives and who'll stop the violence 'cause it's
out of control? Make 'em stop."

Friday, October 21, 2005

Judith Miller's Amnesia Worthy of Soap Opera

"When asked if she had ever left the impression with sources, including Mr. Libby, that she had access to classified information after leaving her assignment in Iraq, Ms. Miller said she could not recall.

“I don’t remember if I ever told him I was disembedded,” she said. “I might not have.” But she added, “I never misled anybody.”

-- Katharine Seelye’s, New York Times, October 20

"New York Times reporter Judith Miller told the federal grand jury in the CIA leak case that she might have met with I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby on June 23, 2003 only after prosecutors showed her Secret Service logs that indicated she and Libby had indeed met that day in the Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, according to attorneys familiar with her testimony."

-- Murray Waas in National Journal

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Court: Spyware Can Be Trespass

In a federal case pending in Illinois, (Sotelo v. DirectRevenue) a judge has accepted the idea that placing spyware can result in a tort claim of trespass to chattels.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant deceptively placed software on his computer, which allowed them to track the user and place targered pop-up ads on the computer.

The court denied a motion to dismiss the claim of trespass to chattels. The court accepted the claim that the allegation of the placement of, and damage done by, the spyware interfered with the plaintiff's personal resources to the degree required by the tort.

Pirro Breaks Out the Child Molesting Talking Points

According to Newsday, on Tuesday Jeanine Pirro said in a speech, "That's a difference between Democrats and Republicans _ we don't want them next door molesting children and murdering women," referring to sex offenders.

Apparently this was in a Chemung County Republicans. She was referring to legislation that would civilly confine violent sex offenders after their prison sentences end, which is pending in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly.

It may seem a little early to break out the child molesting talking points, but the election is the first week of November.

Of 2006.

Yes, it is a little early for such talk and Clinton's people had a response:

"Ms. Pirro's comment is an affront to common decency and an outrageous insult to the five and a half million law-abiding Democrats in our state. With statements like these, Ms. Pirro's campaign is rapidly going from an embarrassment to a disgrace."

-- Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson.

The next day Pirro's campaign manager, Brian Donahue, she does not believe Democrats want sexual predators living next door to anyone. Well, that's just great! "This quote is out of context."

Aren't they always?

"She's conveying a sense of frustration associated with it because she believes that unless this legislation is passed, we are allowing sex offenders to prey on the innocent. The bill "is being held up for partisan reasons by the Democratic leadership." said Pirro's spokesman.

According to Newsday, "State Assemblyman David Koon, a Rochester-area Democrat whose 18-year-old daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1993, called Pirro's comments "total malarkey."

"Civil confinement should be out there, but it doesn't define Republicans and Democrats," Koon said, adding that "there are a lot of Democrats out there who believe in it."

Whatever the outcome of this legislation, the whole debate does suggest something about Jeanine, aside from her lack of ethics and her foundering campaign.

She should've run for a statewide office. She's a well-known prosecutor who's probably knowledgeable on criminal justice issues, which often impact other local political decision-making, like police department budgets, family court, welfare, poverty, drug policy, education, urban planning... But these are all local and state issues, as is criminal prosecution in general.

What's her stance on the war in Iraq? Scandal in White House? Harriet Miers? Federal and international environmental issues? Social Security? Federal spending? Taxes? CAFTA? The WTO? North Korea? Taiwan? Chechnya?

Jeanine: Drop out now. Run for Assembly. Then you can propose all the civil confinement bills you want.

Or maybe she doesn't really care about anything. Maybe she's just a cheap smear artist, an incompetent hack with a love of the spotlight.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Fake Tip in Holland Shuts Down Baltimore

Blame the Dutch!!

BALTIMORE, Maryland (CNN) -- Information about a possible threat that shut down the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel on Tuesday came from a source in the Netherlands, a senior U.S. official said.

The closures came about as a result of a "threat of undetermined credibility to an unspecified tunnel in the Baltimore area," said Kevin Perkins, head of the FBI's Baltimore office.

According to U.S. officials, the alert was triggered by a report that a shipment of explosives was heading into the city's harbor disguised as cocoa. The explosives then would have been used to build a truck bomb to be detonated inside the targeted tunnel, officials said.

"At this point in time we don't have any evidence that suggests this threat is credible," Perkins said. "However, we are continuing our investigation. We have to follow this to the end."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Judy Gives Herself Away

“I interviewed Mr. Libby for a second time on July 8, two days after Mr. Wilson
published his essay ATTACKING THE ADMINISTRATION on the
Op-Ed Page of The Times..."

-- Judith Miller

He did no such thing. Judy's bias is showing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bush Popularity Among African Americans Hits All Time Record


"All Time Record, Experts Say"

"According the White House, Bush's popularity among African Americans is now in the 98th percentile, which is an all-time record for any President, regardless of party. Sources in the White House say it is a reflection of all that Bush has done for blacks and other minorities, as well the American people, since he took office."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Words of Wisdom from the Next Justice

"This is the wish

That should have been sent

Before your birthday

Came and went"

John Jay
John Marshall
Salmon P. Chase
John Marshall Harlan
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Charles Evans Hughes
Louis Brandeis
William Howard Taft
Benjamin Cardozo
Hugo Black
Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas
Harlan Fisk Stone
Robert Jackson
Earl Warren
Warren Burger
Thurgood Marshall
William Brennan
Sandra Day O'Connor
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

* Harriet Miers *

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

LBJ and The Court

I saw an interesting story this weekend.

It seems Lyndon Johnson really wanted to appoint an African-American to the Court, to his credit. But there weren't any vacancies.

So he decided to create one.

He nominated Ramsey Clark to his Attorney General, then told him, "You can't be Attorney General if your Daddy is on the Supreme Court. He's gonna have to step down."

So Justice Clark resigns the Court at only 67 years of age, and Thurgood Marshall becomes the 1st black Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The LBJ was one tricky operator, that's for sure.

One of my problems with Bush is that not only do I disagree with combination of corporatism and militarism, he isn't nearly clever enough to pull something like this off.

Just Another Quiet Day In Iraq

From Juan Cole:

Guerrilla violence killed 18 persons in Iraq on Monday, including one US GI.

Protesters in Ramadi said they had not yet seen the offical text of the constitution and think the government is conspiring to keep it from them, according to the Washington Post. Many in Baghdad also say they have not seen it.

Allawi Government Implicated in Massive Theft

Ever since he delivered that ridiculous speech to Congress, I had Allawi pegged as an untrustworthy prop of the Administration.

Now comes this story.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -

"Iraq has issued arrest warrants against the defense minister and 27 other officials from the U.S.-backed government of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi over the alleged disappearance or misappropriation of $1 billion in military procurement funds."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Miers Was Picked Because She is the "Right" Religion

"To persuade the right to embrace Ms. Miers's selection
despite her lack of a clear record on social issues,
representatives of the White House put Justice Hecht
on at least one conference call with influential
social conservative organizers on Monday to talk about
her faith and character. "

- The New York Times, 10/05/2005

This says alot about what's wrong with our system. She has no judicial, or philosophical, or constitutional record to speak of, so they try to sell her to their supporters with this crap about her being the "right" religion -- in other words, this all about outlawing abortion.

What's really twisted here is they want someone with very specific personal views, and they want her to impose those views, BECAUSE they are her personal views.

In other words, they want her to legislate from the bench, which is what they constantly say they DON'T want. That's truly screwed up.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Why the Right Wing is So Mad

This is zero sum game for the Right.

It's a one-time-only, lifetime appointment.

This is the whole reason they supported Bush beginning in 1998 and 1999. It's why they gave him money, volunteered, wrote letters, editorials, lied again again, It's why they stole the 2000 election, why the supported Swift Boating, the Iraq war, and the other insane nonsense Bush and Rove pull.

All so they could have this ONE thing. Justice Sunday I and II. This is what it was all about. No second chance. This was it.

And Bush blows it all by nominating a 60 year old woman who was his very efficient secretary.

It's as if Jed Barlett had nominated Mrs. Landingham.

The wing nuts went through too much crap to put up with this now.


They All Dislike Her

Senator Lincoln Chafee said he planned to apply a more skeptical standard to the next nominee because of the balance of the court and might even oppose a jurist similar to Judge Roberts. "I will be looking very carefully," he said, at the next nominee's views on privacy rights, separation of church and state and the scope of federal power.

On the conservative side of the party, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas has said he would vote against a nominee who was not "solid and known" on cultural issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and religion in public life.
"If the president doesn't nominate a solid nominee, that is going counter to what he campaigned on," Mr. Brownback said, before this morning's nomination announcement. And if such a nominee "involves a contentious battle, then let it be."

Why are Chafee and Brownback such obstructionists?

What Is John Roberts' Shoe Size?

Bush looked high and low for the most qualified person he could find to sit on America’s highest court, and settled on…. his lawyer.

Quick -- what is John Roberts' shoe size?

You don't know? I guess Bush never considered it that important.

But at a 1996 awards ceremony, he called Harriet Miers a "a pit bull in size 6 shoes."

Very funny. Cute, but like Bush's habit of bestowing nicknames, also crass and demeaning. Would he have something similar about a man?

Regarding Harriet Miers: Frankly, she doesn't appear to be qualified.

Apparently, she’s a devout member of the Bush Cult of Personality, and was even George Bush's personal lawyer in Texas. Later, after he was elected Governor, he gave the job of running the Texas Lottery.

Then she followed him to Washington, where she served as to serve as staff secretary, the person who controls every piece of paper that crosses the president's desk. Then it was on the Counsel's Office.

Apart from many years in private practice in Dallas, that's it.

This is who he picks for the Supreme Court.

No clerking with the Supreme Court. No clerking with an appellate court. No arguing before the Supreme Court. No significant legal scholarship.

Even if one is known as one of the most powerful lawyers in America -- let us say, the number personal injury lawyer in Texas, the best tax attorney in D.C., the most outstanding environmental lawyer in California, the best criminal defense attorney in New York -- this would not necessarily qualify someone for U.S. Supreme Court

Is Harriet Miers qualified for the job of interpreting the U.S. Constitution - our founding legal and political document for the rest of the country, rendering decisions that will have effects for decades, if not centuries?

At this point, the answer appears to be no.