Friday, July 29, 2005

More Bad News for Bolton

It looks like Karl Rove is not the only one who can't remember who he was interviewed by and when. It turns out that Bush's nominee for the UN position has an equally faulty memory.

Bolton had failed to tell Congress that he had been questioned by a joint 2003 CIA and State Department inquiry into the faulty pre-war intelligence on yellow cake coming from Niger. In a statement to Congress, Bolton wrote that he had not been questioned in front of a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years. Oops!

As we all know, the joint inquiry by the CIA and the State Department was no small matter. Either way, if he forgot, or tried to mislead Congress, it is not a good sign of Bolton's abilities. Hopefully, this will put a slow down on Bush's push to sidestep Congress and put Bolton in using a recess appointment.

State Dept. Now Says Bolton Interviewed

White House Hints at Installing Bolton

A Step in the Right Direction

Senator Frist has broken with Bush and has decided to endorse expanded federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. I applaud his decision not to pander to his base, and do what he believes, as a physician, is the right thing to do. Pragmatically, Frist has come to see that the embryos that would be used in such scientific pursuit would be discarded and destroyed regardless of their non-use in research.

It is narrow mindedness that compels groups, like the Christian Defense Coalition, to publicly condemned Frist for his decision.

The Christian Defense Coalition says Sen. Bill Frist can no longer consider himself pro-life and vote to expand funding for embryonic stem cell research. The Coalition also states, Sen. First should not expect support and endorsement from the pro-life community if he votes for embryonic research funding.

Whether you believe life to begin at conception, at birth, or anywhere in between, an embryo that is destroyed is a lost opportunity to make the lives of millions of Americans better. Being pro-life should mean that you are as equally concerned about those suffering from potentially curable diseases as you are fertilized embryos.

A full two-thirds of the American populous believe that the Bush administration has been too restrictive in this area. While this may be a political move for Frist's 2008 presidential bid, it is also the right thing to do for the American people.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Swift Boat is Here to Stay

It looks like Republicans just can't stop smearing people in any way that they can. A Republican from the Ohio 2nd District started spreading blog rumors that Paul Hackett, the Democratic nominee and Iraq war vet, is lying and did not actually serve in Iraq with the marines. It goes to show their mantra... if you can't beat 'em, smear 'em.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Independent Panel Notes Poor Planning by Bush

A bi-partisan panel concluded that the chaos seen now in Iraq is due to poor post war planning by the Bush administration. This includes lack of troops, lack of adequate training, and misuse and under-estimation of the reconstruction costs.

basically, no surprises

Panel: Bush Was Unready for Postwar Iraq

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The 18 Minute Gap

Yesterday, it was reveled that then White House General Counsel, Alberto Gonzales, informed White House Chief of Staff, Andrew Card, about the newly created inquiry into the Plame/CIA leak a full 12 hours before informing the rest of the staff that all documents must be retained. Some are likening this to the 18 minute gap on tapes turned over by Nixon.

Now, you may say, "but Dingo, what is the big deal?" Well, in legal matters, that 12 hours is a huge deal. As we have recently seen from the Supreme Court Ruling on the Anderson Accounting case, that 12 hours could play a determining role in the investigation.

When the Justice Department opens an investigation into any matter, once they have notified the entity that they are investigating, that entity must cease and desist destruction of any and all documents related to that issue. Notification changes the deletion of an e-mail from an innocent click of the mouse to a federal crime. The fact that Gonzales gave Andrew Card a 12 hour heads up on the pending notification may have allowed important documents to be destroyed before the staff was 'officially' notified that they had to retain all.

It may just be an innocent "I'll do it in the morning" on Gonzales's part, put he should have never told Andrew Card that the next morning would bring an order to hold all material. It only adds to the credibility problems the White House is already besieged with.

Aide Got Early Word on CIA Leak Inquiry

By Leslie Hoffecker, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., was notified about 12 hours before the rest of the White House staff that the Justice Department had begun an investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's name, Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales said Sunday.

It was not known whether Card informed any other White House staff members before they were formally told of the investigation the next morning. The White House has repeatedly said it will have no comment on the specifics of the continuing investigation.

Gonzales also said he was among the current and former White House officials who had testified before a federal grand jury investigating whether any laws were broken when the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent and the wife of a prominent administration critic, was disclosed in July 2003.

Gonzales, who was White House counsel before being named attorney general this year, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the Justice Department call announcing the investigation came about 8 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003.

He said he asked whether the staff should be notified immediately, given that most of them had gone home, or whether it could wait until morning.

"And we were advised, 'Go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning. That would be OK.' " he said.

But he did tell one person in the White House that evening.

"I told the chief of staff," he said. "And then immediately the next morning, I told the president. And shortly thereafter, there was a notification sent out to all the members of the White House staff."

Appearing on the same program, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said that Gonzales' decision to notify only Card immediately did not reflect "the soundest in judgments."

"The real question now is, who did the chief of staff speak to?" Biden asked. "Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call Karl Rove? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call anybody else? Ordinarily, you would think that he would immediately send out an e-mail to every member of the staff."

(Full Story)

Condemning Attacks is not Enough

Last week, I commented on the difficulties of quelling the radical Muslims who live in the US, UK, and other western nations and incite violence. While it is impossible to completely silence anyone in an open and free society, where freedom of speech and religion is paramount, being passive to the problem is not an option either. Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society is at least making a step in the right direction by standing up and saying condemning attacks "is not enough." Mr. Bray makes note that the best way to counteract the radical elements of Islam is to use the resources of those Muslims who reject notions that violence is acceptable in any form.

As much as we condemn those who would incite violence and preach hate, we also need to support those who are willing to preach the opposite message.

Muslim groups target youths in anti-terror campaign

From Paul Courson

Monday, July 25, 2005; Posted: 11:13 p.m. EDT (03:13 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A coalition of U.S.-based Muslim groups launched an intensified anti-terrorism campaign Monday using community groups to persuade young people their religion provides no basis for violence.

The president of the Muslim American Society, Esam Omeish, told reporters at a news conference that his group rejects attacks such as those recently in Britain and Egypt, and will "deny terrorists any religious, ideological or political legitimacy."

He said the attacks bring the spotlight back to prevention, and that such efforts must go beyond surveillance and intelligence by law enforcement.

The Muslim groups said they would intensify an effort among community groups such as religious schools, youth centers and Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America programs.

Responding to questions, Omeish and representatives of other organizations said they knew of no al Qaeda or Muslim terror groups in the United States.

"We know of no sleeper cells," Omeish said, attributing that in part to what he called the teaching of moderate, authentic Islam.

"What has protected our community far before 9/11 from extremism and violent ideology is that balanced mainstream advocacy of Islamic principles," Omeish said.

Imam Abu Malik-Johari, president of the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations, condemned any killing motivated by anger or alienation.

"People who would go out and kill anyone, of any religion, from any country, of any age, for no reason other than the fact they are angry, isolated and upset is against God by whatever name you call," Johari said.

Johari, former Muslim chaplain of Howard University in Washington, told reporters he was at a mosque last weekend where he was approached by a young person who said someone had tried to "recruit" him.

He declined to identify the youth and did not say what the recruitment involved. He said he has never learned of any recruitment for al Qaeda in his community.

But using the case as an example of what the Muslim groups plan to do to pre-empt violence, Johari said he told the youth, "You need to alienate yourself from those people."

Johari said he told the young man: "They're saying to you that they're your friend, and that you'll be their confidant, when in reality, they're going to sell you out."

Some of those speaking at the news conference were critical of the Bush administration for not including Muslim leadership in counterterrorism activities, including efforts by law enforcement to keep tabs on Muslim groups in the United States.

"This Justice Department has engaged us from the back door, rather than the front door," said Imam Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society.

"Rather than spending all their energies in terms of recruiting spies and snitchers, they need to spend more time and more energy engaging the authentic Muslim leadership" in the United States, Bray said.

(Full Story)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Why Repealing the Estate Tax is Wrong

This week, the Senate is looking to permanently repeal the estate tax. For those of you who think that the estate tax is unfair or un-American, let me try to explain to you how it works, and how repealing it would be the unfair and un-American action. It is important to know that only 2% of Americans will ever pay estate tax. This is because the first $2 million of a decedants estate is exempt from taxes already.

First, you need to understand how a persons assets are measured when they die and how they are passed on. When someone dies, the value of an asset in their estate is the value at the time they die, not the time they purchase it. For instance, if you were to buy 500 shares of Microsoft stock in 1986. The current value of that stock would be $3,600,000. The 500 shares of stock (with the nine stock splits since 1986) would now be 144,000 shares at $25 per share. If you were to sell that stock today (while alive), you would pay approximately $540,000 in capital gains tax. And, if you were to die today, your estate (assuming no other assets so as to make this simple) would be worth $3.6 million, not $10,500, the initial cost of the stock.

Now, lets look at what happens what happens with and without the estate tax.

With the estate tax - If you are married, all of your assets pass on to your spouse with no tax incurred until the death of your spouse. At the time of your spouses death, or if you are not married, then the estate tax is levied. According to the Tax Policy Center, an estate of $3.5 - $5 million dollars paid a average tax of 4.4% of the gross estate. This is because the first $2 million dollars of someone's gross estate is exempt from the estate tax. So, at the time of death, the heirs of your $3.6 million estate would pay about $158,400 in estate tax. That is $381,600 less that if you had sold your stock before death. Since your heirs paid tax on the estate of $3.6 million, they can take ownership of that stock at the current market value ($3.6 million). If they turn around an immediately sell the stock, they pay no additional tax on the sale because it has now "stepped up" in taxable basis. This means, the government views it as if they had bought 144,000 shares of stock at $25 per share. They would only pay additional tax if the stock continues to climb in value.

Without the estate tax - If you were to die with the $3.6 million estate, the entire amount would be passed along you your heirs and the the government would continue to view it as the heirs buying the 144,000 shares of stock at $25 per share. That means, that no tax is ever paid on the stock that has risen from $10,500 to $3,600,000.

Lets step this up one more level. In stead of just using Microsoft stock, lets use Bill Gates himself. His net worth is around $58 billion the last time I heard. Most of it is made up of his own stack shares. If he were to sell his shares today, he would owe the government $870 million dollars in capital gains tax. But, without the estate tax, he would pass on the full $58 billion tax free to his kids. I can only assume that Bill Gates heirs will do just fine with $57,493,000,000. But, with the Veterans Affairs Agency $1 billion short in caring for our nations service men and women, that $870 million would do a great deal of good for them.

By repealing the estate tax, we are allowing the rich, who are already rich, to pass on huge estates tax free so their kids can enjoy a life of luxury. When a vey wealthy American dies, they already pay less tax than the normal American. It is the hard working middle class who is left to pick up the burden to fund education, Medicare, Medicade, Veterans medical, etc. that would normally receive partial funding from the estate tax.

So, what is more unfair, a veteran not getting medical attention or Paris Hilton not being able to buy yet another Prada bag?

Blawg Review

Sean at Objective Justice has posted a reveiw of last weeks blogs, including a bunch on the Roberts nomination. I recommend taking a gander.

Blawg Review #16

Friday, July 22, 2005

Can We Ever Really Get Rid of the Messages of Hate?

After the the four failed bombings in London and the shooting of one man said to be directly linked the terrorist bombings, Muslims are now concerned about a possible 'shoot to kill' policy with UK police.

My first reaction was, "well, what do you expect. Maybe you should have thought about that before you let your Clerics create a 'bomb to kill' policy."

There has been a lot of talk about the Muslim community and the radical Muslim clerics who openly preach hate toward the infidels. Overall, the Muslim communities have some huge issues to deal with. Terrorism, of course, is one. Treatment of women, another. Etc.

But, then I thought about a conversation I had yesterday. It made me wonder, how much control the average Muslim has over these radical Muslim clerics. After all, I have no control over the radical Christian leaders. The vast majority of Christians are peaceful people who condemn violence as a tool, but that doesn't stop Reverend Michael Bray of the Army of God. His organization calls those who bomb abortion clinics and kill doctors prophets and heroes.

I have always interpreted Paul’s [Paul Hill murdered a doctor on the street] deed not as an example of how any and every citizen may lawfully defend the innocent; I see him not as a citizen and defender but as a statesman and prophet. Paul did not choose to terminate an abortionist covertly so that he might repeat the good deed to future joy of many babies and their relatives. Rather, he chose to abort the abortionist in public, laying down his weapon and holding his hands to heaven as he walked away and submitted to arrest. His was the message of a prophet to the civil authorities. This is the proper legal standard. This is justice. Murderers are to be executed.

The Army of God has an entire page dedicated to Paul Hill. It calls those who kill people martyrs. I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

Not only does Reverend Bray endorse terrorism against anyone connected with abortion clinics, he also sided with Saudi Arabia and applauded when three gay men were beheaded by Saudi officials. I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

Then there is Reverend Fred Phelps who also endorses violence against homosexuals. He not only applauded the beating to death of Matthew Shepard, he wanted to erect a monument on the Idaho State Capitol grounds saying that a gay man murdered in a hate crime in Wyoming 1998, is "burning in hell." I have no way to stop him preaching hate.

I have no way to stop Jerry Fawell from saying that 9/11 was caused by God's wrath on liberals:

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

While I don't, for a second, think that the Muslim community is without fault in allowing the messages of hate and murder to flow from its mosques and schools, I also don't think it is as easy as many Americans may think it is. 95% of American Christians believe it is not ok to commit terrorism against fellow Americans, regardless of their view of abortion. But yet the message is still present. 95% of Christian Americans believe that violence against African Americans and other minorities is wrong, but the KKK and other racists groups who call themselves Christian still preach their hate and avocation of violence. If there is such little acceptance in our community for these messages of hate, how do these extremist still have such a loud voice? How would we stop them? Assassination? Is there anyway to muzzle them without sinking to their level and breaking the law? Protest? Would they even listen if we had a 10 million person march on Washington, D.C. telling these preachers to sit down and shut up? I don't think so.

If we can't reign in our own religious leaders from preaching hate, how can we blame the entire Muslim community for not being able to reign in their radical clerics. As we see in our own community, when we are free, we can never fully rid ourselves of these preaches of hate. The Muslim community does have a lot of culpability in the current degree of hate being preached, but if we ever expect them to live in a true democracy (as we claim we do) it will be impossible for them to ever weed out all of the religious extremists, just like it has been impossible for us to do the same.

What The...

The congress has just voted to extend daylights savings, but not as far as the earlier version called for. One of the justifications for not extending it further was the effect it may have on live stock:

According to some senators, farmers complained that a two-month extension could adversely affect livestock

Since when did cows start wearing wrist watches and caring about what time 'desperate housewives' would be coming on?

Lawmakers move to extend daylight-saving time

More on Plamegate

There is an interesting story in today's Bloomberg about how Libby's and Rove's account of things are not adding up to what the reporters said. I think Lucy has some 'splanin to do.

Rove, Libby Accounts in CIA Case Differ With Those of Reporters

By Richard Keil

July 22 (Bloomberg) -- Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to people familiar with the case.

Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.

These discrepancies may be important because Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a covert intelligence agent.

(Full Story)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hold The Presses

President Bush has nominated a cross dresser to the supreme court.

[Roberts] school yearbook from 1972, his junior year, shows he played Peppermint Patty in the production of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."

Not only is this definitive proof that Roberts is a cross dresser who wears god knows what under his black robe when he is sitting on the bench. Not only does this show that he likes to wear women's' garments like Herbert Hoover, but he also likes to do it as an ambiguously gay cartoon character, thus making this revelation doubly perverse. What kind of "family values" is that, a two dimensional lesbian trapped inside a man's body. What would James Dobson have to say about this?

Who is next Mr. President? RuPaul to fill Karl Roves position? Will the insanity never end?

Three More Blasts Hit London

They (the terrorists) are not giving up, but neither are we.

Blasts Hit 3 London Subway Stations, Bus

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

This Is Not Your Grandpa's Army... Or Is It?

Army Times is reporting that DOD has requested congress to increase the age for persons to enter the army to 42 years of age. That makes Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg eligible to enlist now. Go get them boys (and yes, that includes you, Ann).

This kinda makes you wonder if a draft is getting closer to being a reality.

Uncle Sam wants you – even if you’re 42 years old
By Rick Maze
Times staff writer

The Defense Department quietly asked Congress on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.
Under current law, the maximum age to enlist in the active components is 35, while people up to age 39 may enlist in the reserves. By practice, the accepted age for recruits is 27 for the Air Force, 28 for the Marine Corps and 34 for the Navy and Army, although the Army Reserve and Navy Reserve sometimes take people up to age 39 in some specialties.

The Pentagon’s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of “urgent wartime support initiatives” sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee.

At that hearing, David S.C. Chu, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said he felt the military’s recent problems with recruiting were improving, but that additional incentives would help.

Chu mentioned the age change in passing during the hearing but gave no other details, such as whether any of the services were seriously considering recruiting 42-year-olds.

(Full Story)

H/T No Mr. Nice Guy

P.S. also take the IS IT ANN COULTER -- OR IS IT DAVID DUKE? test at his site.

My Take On Roberts

I am sure that everyone knows by now that, last night, Bush nominated D.C. circuit court Justice John Roberts to fill the vacant Supreme court seat.

My first reaction is that I was very disappointed that Bush did not name a moderate conservative to the court. I was truly hoping that Bush, for once in his presidency, would try to be a uniter, and not a divider. Now, most likely, Roberts will be confirmed with support from both sides of the isle, but this does not mean that he is a uniter. No one can argue that Roberts is anywhere close to being the centrist that O'Connor was.

Second, I will come out and say that I believe Justice Roberts to be a very intelligent and respected judge. I hold no qualms that he is intellectually qualified for the position.

Third, I do have hesitations about his pre-justice history and how he would vote in the future. This is not a, "jump on the bandwaggon and attack whoever Bush nominates," but true concern after reviewing Roberts's history. He has written briefs that oppose affirmative action, a woman's right to choose, and are anti-environmental. He has also argued for the expansion of religion in public schools, including religious ceremony and prayer. His augment in a case concerning prayer at a high school graduation was quite absurd. He argued that since attending a graduation is voluntary, prayer was not coerced. In essence - If you don't want to pray, just don't attend your own high school graduation. Lee v Weisman

Many of his private practice cases have taken the side of large corporations over the rights of individuals. He has penned several law review articles that lead me to believe that he would be even less to favor individual rights to property recently decided in Kelo v City of New London, and would even further favor the dilution of rights of property owners.

Fourth, James Dobson thinks he is an excellent choice. Anyone Dobson thinks is a good choice, can't be a good choice.

This will be fought out over the blogs and airwaves for weeks to come. I am sure that Bush could have picked someone who would have been much more amicable to both parties. But, when has Bush ever done anything that was good for the majority of the American people and not just his base.

Alliance for justice

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More Plamegate Revolations

It appears that the White House did know Valerie Plame's name, and may have know that the information about her work was deemed to be sensitive and whould not be discussed. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a classified State Department memo that

...may be pivital in the CIA leak case made cleat that information identifying an agent and her role in her husband's intelligence-gathering mission was sensitive and shouldn't be shared... Investigators are trying to determine if the memo, dated June 10, 2003, was how White House officials learned that Valerie Wilson was an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency

The article goes on to state:

News that the memo was marked for its sensitivity emerged as President Bush yesterday appeared to backtrack from his 2004 pledge to finre any member of his staff involved in the leaking of the CIA agent's name... The Memo's details are significant because they will make it harder for officials who saw the document to claim that they didn't realize the identity of the CIA officer was a sensitive matter.

The article goes on to say that while the memo was classified, the level of classification is not yet known. In any event, the information was clearly not supposed to be shared with journalists.

Additionally, in an L.A. Times story today,Bush Again Vows to Act if Aides Are Guilty of Leaks, it may not matter that Bush is now trying to set the bar higher for the firing of Karl Rove. The fact that Rove initially lied to the FBI investigators may be a crime itself.

Although it is a violation of federal law to intentionally disclose the identity of a covert intelligence agent, Rove's position — that he learned Plame's identity through journalists — appears to undercut any prosecution of him for that offense, which requires that the accused have knowledge of the agent's protected status, legal experts said.

On Monday, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed a report in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine that, when first interviewed by the FBI about the leak, Rove did not mention a conversation he had about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in the days before Plame's name surfaced in the news media.

The source said Rove later mentioned the conversation to investigators, who did not appear to be aware of it when Rove made the revelation.

It is not known whether Rove initially mentioned a conversation he had with Novak days before Novak published his column unmasking Plame.

Failing to disclose material facts to investigators can, under some circumstances, be a violation of federal law.

The Buzz is On

With the rumor mill churning in full force this morning, there is speculation that Bush will name a Supreme Court nominee today or tomorrow in order to deflect attention from the Rove scandal. The buzz today is about a possible front runner from the 5th Circuit Court, Judge Edith Brown Clement. She has only sat on the bench since 2001, so liberals and conservatives alike will be pouring over the few opinions that she has penned.

Perhaps the person on the short list who confounds conservatives and liberals alike is Judge Edith Brown Clement of the 5th Circuit, who has been on the bench since 2001. To her benefit and detriment, she makes both conservatives and liberals uneasy because she has not written many notable opinions, especially in hot-button areas like abortion and religious freedom.

Two of the most noteworthy opinions written by Clement are in the area of criminal rights and law enforcement. In Traver v. City of Edna, she wrote for a unanimous panel that allowed the plaintiff to sue police officers for violating his due process rights when they slammed his head against a car door during his arrest. In Hearn v. Dretke, a habeas case that involved a death row inmate who claimed mental retardation, she found that he was entitled to a lawyer to help with the claim -- a conclusion, she noted in the opinion, she was forced to reach because of a Supreme Court ruling in 2002 that found executions of the mentally ill were unconstitutional.

If Judge Edith Jones' recent record is any indication, she would be more than willing to disagree with fellow Supreme Court justices on criminal issues -- and perhaps endear herself to law-and-order conservatives. Jones was recently slapped down by the Supreme Court for her decision as part of a three-judge panel that rejected claims by an African-American defendant who alleged the prosecution purposefully excluded blacks from the jury in his capital case in violation of Batson v. Kentucky.

I will withhold my judgment of her for the time being, but on first glance, she might be a decent candidate able to garner support from both sides of the isle. Additonally, she is a Tulane Law grad which means she is obviously brilliant. I will be glad if Bush does name another woman to fill the sport being vacated by retiring O'Connor.

Who Do Conservatives Want for the High Court?

Update: People for the American Way have a write up on some of her decisions. While I don't know all of the facts, the cases they picked do not seem to be terribly atrocious as to shock my senses of good jurisprudence.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Christians Under Attack

But this time, it is by other Christians who are seeking revenge against the United Church of Christ, who publicly endorsed same sex marriage last month. While it would be easy to launch into a diatribe expressing the obvious implications of this cowardly act, I won't. Instead, I will let it be a warning to all of you who feel that there should be a stronger link between church and state. If people are willing to do this illegally in the night, imagine what politicians would do to restrict your faith and church, given the legal weight of the law. What ever your faith (Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon) there is something about it that the other Christian sects don't like.

Is this a hate crime?

One week ago, this Augusta County church was vandalized and set afire - five days after the national church's General Synod voted in Atlanta to endorse gay marriage.

By Laurence Hammack
The Roanoke Times

MIDDLEBROOK - A layer of soot still coats the sanctuary. The white ceiling is stained dark gray by smoke. Anti-gay graffiti remains spray-painted on the brick walls of St. John's Reformed United Church of Christ.

One week ago, this Augusta County church was vandalized and set afire in what some are calling a hate crime. The blaze was set last Saturday - five days after the national church's General Synod voted in Atlanta to endorse gay marriage.

Although a link between the UCC vote and the vandalism has not been established, the foot-high words written in black spray paint on the church's wall suggest such a motive: "SINNER. GAYS LOVER. UCC SINERS. LESB HELL."

The words pain the Rev. Dorcas Lohr each time she walks past them to her office in the back of the church.


William White, a Roanoke landlord who has been an outspoken voice in other national issues involving minorities, issued a statement of his own.

White, who said he was recently appointed leader of the area's National Socialist Movement unit, said he does not condone what happened at St. John's. But, he added, he understands why such incidents happen.

"There is no question that those allegedly 'Christian' faiths who pollute their doctrines with anti-social, hateful, Jewish ideas, such as the endorsement and spread of homosexual marriages, make themselves targets for violence," White said.

H/T Faerietales

Evolution, Bush Style

September 29, 2003:

McClellan: "If anyone in this administration was involved in it [the improper disclosure of an undercover CIA operative's identity], they would no longer be in this administration."

September 30, 2003"

Bush: "If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."


Bush: "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

H/T Kos

Let the Weaseling Begin

Today Bush has changed his rhetoric to distance his once hard line claim that the leaker/leakers would not be serving in his administration.

President Bush said Monday that if anyone on his staff committed a crime in the CIA-leak case, that person will "no longer work in my administration." At the same time, Bush yet again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter.

This is a long way from when he said he would fire anyone involved in the incident. This means that even if Rove is indicted, he will keep his job. I guess the ethics of the matter mean nothing to the president.

Bush Vows to Fire Anyone Convicted of Leak

On Sunday, Matt Cooper confirmed the Karl Rove was his informant that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA and WMD issues.

"Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the 'agency' - by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred he obviously meant the C.I.A. and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that that she worked on W.M.D. (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife."

Additionally, according to Cooper's comments, Rove probably knew that the information was classified:

"The notes, and my subsequent e-mails, go on to indicate that Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings," Mr. Cooper wrote.

Rove also ended the converstion by saying, "I've already said too much." Hmmmm....

Reporter Says He First Learned of C.I.A. Operative From Rove

Friday, July 15, 2005

Frist Trying to Squeak By With Senate Bill 397

Bill Frist is trying to sneak the Leave No Gun Dealer Behind law. The bill would create immunity for gun makers and dealers from law suit, even if they are grossly negligent in distributing their product.

To prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.

If you are a gun owner and believe that the best way to stop gun violence is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, then you should oppose this bill.

Here is how it works. A straw man (bad guy #1) goes into a gun dealer and buys 3 or 4 guns a week and then takes them out to the street and resells them to Mr. Criminal who can't buy a gun legally. Mr. Gun dealer makes a tidy profit from the sales, so says nothing. Mr. Gun maker makes a tidy profit from the sales, so does nothing.

Why should a gun dealer who is selling guns to straw men and the dealer knows these guns are just being resold to criminals be free from penalty. If this law is passed, it will only make it more likely that guns will end up in the hands of the wrong people because there is no incentive for the gun dealer to ask questions about why someone may need to purchase 50 guns per year. This law would also protect a gun dealer who sells multiple .50 calibur rifles to terrorists who use it against us. Mr. Gun dealer gets to sit back and laugh as he watches his new big screen TV.

If a liquor store is selling vodka to someone they know is turning right around and selling it too kids, is that ok? What if that kid drinks himself to death or kills a family of 4 in a drunk driving accident? Its the kids fault and no one elses, right?

Debunking GOP Bunk on Rove

The GOP is in full spin mode trying to misinform the general public about Joe Wilson and Karl Rove's role in outing a CIA operative.

First, to the claim that Joe Wilson claimed it was Dick Cheney who sent him. This claim is completely false. From CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER

BLITZER: Is that true?

WILSON: Well, look, it's absolutely true that neither the vice president nor Dr. Rice nor even George Tenet knew that I was traveling to Niger.

What they did, what the office of the vice president did, and, in fact, I believe now from Mr. Libby's statement, it was probably the vice president himself...

BLITZER: Scooter Libby is the chief of staff for the vice president.

WILSON: Scooter Libby.

They asked essentially that we follow up on this report -- that the agency follow up on the report. So it was a question that went to the CIA briefer from the Office of the Vice President. The CIA, at the operational level, made a determination that the best way to answer this serious question was to send somebody out there who knew something about both the uranium business and those Niger officials that were in office at the time these reported documents were executed.

This is the quote from Wilson's Op-Ed in the NYT July 6, 2003 What I Didn't Find in Africa

In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990's. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office.

No where in either statement does Wilson claim he was sent by Dick Cheney. And here is the memo from the 2004 CIA operational level memo that discusses the rationale behind sending Wilson to check out the issue. The memo confirms that not only Dick Cheney's office, but also Rice's office asked the CIA to make inquiries into the alleged 'yellowcake' purchases:

officials from the CIA's DO Counterpoliferation Division (CPD) told Committee staff that in response to questions from the Vice President's Office and the Department of State and Defense on the alleged Iraq-Niger uranium deal, CPD officials discussed ways to obtain additional information [next sentenced is blacked out].

The report also confirms that Joe Wilson had traveled to Niger on a prior trip on behalf of the CIA and that It was not Valerie Plame's decision to send Mr. Wilson.

Now, for the assertion that Karl Rove is not a criminal because Valerie Plame was not under cover, this was also debunked last night. David Gregory of NBC news confirmed that government officials say that Valerie Plame was indeed "operating under official cover" at the time of her outing.

And for the whole Clintonesque what is the definition of "is" thing the Republicans are trying to play with the "name" game. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act never says that you must identify the agent by name, only disclose information that would identify the agent.

It is just more GOP bunk.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Its the Cover Up Stupid

Whether or not Karl Rove committed a crime, the White House definitely had been trying to cover up the fact that Rove discussed Joe Wilson's wife with Matt Cooper. I don't believe Bush had any involvement in the initial leak, but presumably, Rove told Bush that he was involved in the leak a long time ago. If Rove had done nothing wrong and the president really, really wanted to get to the bottom of this, why did it take contempt charges and one journalist sitting in jail for this information to come out.

Maybe, what Rove did was not illegal. That is yet to been determined. It is the fact that not only did not disclose the information, they actively lied to the American people. Hiding the information is bad enough, but McClellan specifically said that Rove had absolutely no involvement. In an interview with the FBI, Rove admitted to circulating information about Valerie Plame to journalists, but only after Bob Novak ran his story. The e-mails handed over by Time, and Matt Miller have confirmed that Rove's discussions with journalists occurred prior to Novak's column. Apparently, Rove lied to the FBI, also.

McClellan and the President had ample opportunity to release this information... but wait... that would have been before the elections.

Scott McClellan's October 7, 2003 Press Briefing

Q Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers. Is that what happened? Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them? What was the question you asked?

MR. McCLELLAN: Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C., at a time like this, there are a lot of rumors and innuendo. There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made. And that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals. They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you, and that's exactly what I did.

Q So you're saying -- you're saying categorically those three individuals were not the leakers or did not authorize the leaks; is that what you're saying?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct. I've spoken with them.
Q -- you asked these individuals. Did the President ask you to ask those individuals whether they were the leaker?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President made it very clear that we should cooperate fully with the Department of Justice. And in that, keeping with that direction, I am making sure that we are doing that, from my standpoint. And I think part of cooperating fully is looking into these unsubstantiated accusations that were made to make it clear to everybody that those individuals were not involved.
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, keep in mind that there has been no information brought to our attention, beyond what's in the media reports. to suggest that there was White House involvement.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, we talked a little bit about this earlier today in this room, as well. Obviously, it is difficult to find out who anonymous sources are. We all know that that oftentimes doesn't happen. But the President was saying that we will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this.

And, do I need to add...

MR. McCLELLAN: ...No one wants to get to the bottom of this matter more than the President of the United States. If someone leaked classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Rick Santorum - For President?

I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone that I am no fan of Senator Rick Santorum, the number 3 ranking Republican and extreme social conservative. He is bad enough in the Senate, but god help us if he ever wangled his way into the Oval Office.

My first problem with Santorum is that (along with Tom Delay) he doesn't believe that there is a right to privacy and that the government can legislate morality.

It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution,... The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. [1]

He also links liberalism to the pedophilia that occurred in the Catholic Church in Boston.

AP interviewer: Speaking of liberalism, there was a story in The Washington Post about six months ago, they'd pulled something off the Web, some article that you wrote blaming, according to The Washington Post, blaming in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?

SANTORUM: You have the problem within the church. Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this "right to privacy," then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say, there is no deviant as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual, then don't be surprised what you get. [1]

Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston's ''liberalism" with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city's ''sexual license" and ''sexual freedom" nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.[2]

Now, how he links the priest abusing underage boys to liberalism is beyond me. First, the crisis happened across the country, indiscriminate of political makeup. It happened in conservative areas as well as liberal areas. If the political makeup of a parish is the determining factor in whether a priest abused children, then conservatism is equally culpable.

Second, I would have never linked the Catholic Church to liberalism.

Third, liberalism shows no linkage to the rates of children sexual abuse. in fact, the data shows the exact opposite. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, the rate of sexual abuse is higher in conservative states that it is in the traditionally liberal states [3][4].

For instance, according to 2002 data:
Alabama had 2353 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 1,110,914, that made a rate of 2.12 children abused for every 1000 children.

Massachusetts had 1195 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 1,482,956, that made a rate of .80 children abused for every 1000 children.

Pennsylvania (Rick's home state) but voted Democrat in the last election, had 2746 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 2,854,389, that made a rate of .96 children abused for every 1000 children.

Arkansas had 2390 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 681,975, that made a rate of 3.51 children abused for every 1000 children.

Connecticut had 557 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 837,946, that made a rate of .66 children abused for every 1000 children.

Texas had 7513 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 6,147,775, that made a rate of 1.16 children abused for every 1000 children.

New York had 3189 reported cases of sexual abuse. With a child population of 4,576,823, that made a rate of .69 children abused for every 1000 children.

As we can see, states that are tolerant of the "deviant homosexual lifestyle" actually have lower reported rates of sexual abuse.

Santorum continues his rambling by linking liberalism to other sexual behavior

Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.[1]

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but polygamy is mainly a religious practice. Whether it is traditional Mormons, Muslims, or other smaller sect Christian and Non-Christian groups, it tends to be the more conservative groups who practice this. I am not sure if anyone could consider Utah "liberal." Now, as for adultery, Massachusetts has the 2nd lowest divorce rate in the nation after Washington DC. [5]

Washington DC 2.4
Massachusetts 2.5
Pennsylvania 3.1
Connecticut 3.3
New York 3.4
Texas 3.9
Alabama 5.4
Arkansas 6.2

In fact, across the board, with the exception of Georgia and North Dakota, blue states have lower rates of divorce than red states. I have no idea why these divorces happened, but if adultery is a portion of them, then, again, Santorum has no argument.

So, with all of this said, with the rates of sexual abuse and divorce higher in conservative states (along with poverty), maybe Santorum should be looking to emulate the liberals more than condemn them.

1- Sen. Rick Santorum's comments on homosexuality in an AP interview

2 - Santorum resolute on Boston rebuke

3 - NADS State Profiles

4 - U.S. Department of Health and Human Service

5 - Marriage and divorce rates by state

Cooper Confirms Karl Rove was the Leaker

Well, lets see if the President will have any comment now?

Matthew Cooper Testifies, Details to Come
By E&P Staff

Published: July 13, 2005 3:15 PM ET

NEW YORK Time's magazine's Matt Cooper today testified to a grand jury that White House aide Karl Rove was a source for a story about a CIA operative that has investigators deciding whether any laws were broken by the leak of the agent's identity.

After more than two hours inside the building, Cooper told reporters he would give them details of his grand jury testimony -- in a future article for Time magazine. "I'm not going to scoop myself today," Cooper, a White House correspondent for the news weekly, said outside the U.S. District Court Wednesday afternoon, according to a report at the Fox News web site.

Fox reports:

"Cooper spoke after a two-and-a-half hour appearance before the grand jury investigating the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity. Last week, Cooper escaped a citation for contempt of court when he told the judge his source had waived confidentiality, freeing him to testify before the grand jury.

"'Today I testified and agreed to testify solely because of a waiver I received from my source,' Cooper said outside the courthouse. 'Once a journalist makes a commitment of confidentiality to a source, only the source can end that commitment.'

"Cooper said he hoped his testimony would speed up the grand jury's investigation, which would allow The New York Times' Judith Miller to be released from jail.

"He confirmed that his source on the leak was Deputy Chief of Staff Rove, one of President Bush's most trusted advisers and the man credited with Bush's four consecutive campaign victories.

(Full Story)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Leads - New Arrests

We will not give in. Posted by Picasa

This is the latest news on the London bombings from the BBC.

Police lift the lid on bomb gang

Thats Her Over There

Karl Rove points out Valerie Plame to Matt Cooper at the annual White House Saddie Hawkins dance. Posted by Picasa

Rove's History Keeps Getting Stranger

According to an article in Salon, this will not be the first time Rove has been fired for leaking information to Bob Novak (assuming Bush is a man of his word and fires Rove).

Karl Rove was little known outside Texas political circles, he was fired from George H.W. Bush's 1992 reelection campaign for leaking information to syndicated columnist Robert Novak. According to newspaper reports at the time, Rove was terminated for passing information to Novak from a meeting of the president's chief advisors. Rove denied he was the leaker.

Full Story - All eyes on Turd Blossom

H/T blue bus

Dance McClellan, Dance

This is a definite case of schadenfreude for me. I love to see McClellan squirm at the podium as he has to eat this words that Karl Rove had absolutely no involvement in outing Valerie Plame. It is like the old west were ruffians shoot and a persons feet and yell, "dance Scott, dance! Ye-ha!"

Well it’s sad — I mean they’re putting their commitment to politics above their commitment to doing what’s right for the country... - Karl Rove June 22, 2005


Briefing by Scott McClellan, July 11, 2005
Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, FULL STREAMING VIDEO, James S. Brady Briefing Room 1:06 P.M. EDT

MR. McCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone. I want to begin with a statement by the President:

...And with that, I will be glad to go to your questions. Terry.

Q Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

Q Scott, if I could -- if I could point out, contradictory to that statement, on September 29th, 2003, while the investigation was ongoing, you clearly commented on it. You were the first one who said, if anybody from the White House was involved, they would be fired. And then on June 10th of 2004, at Sea Island Plantation, in the midst of this investigation is when the President made his comment that, yes, he would fire anybody from the White House who was involved. So why have you commented on this during the process of the investigation in the past, but now you've suddenly drawn a curtain around it under the statement of, "We're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation"?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, John, I appreciate the question. I know you want to get to the bottom of this. No one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. And I think the way to be most helpful is to not get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation. That's something that the people overseeing the investigation have expressed a preference that we follow. And that's why we're continuing to follow that approach and that policy.
Now, I remember very well what was previously said. And at some point, I will be glad to talk about it, but not until after the investigation is complete.

Q So could I just ask, when did you change your mind to say that it was okay to comment during the course of an investigation before, but now it's not?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think maybe you missed what I was saying in reference to Terry's question at the beginning. There came a point when the investigation got underway when those overseeing the investigation asked that it would be their -- or said that it would be their preference that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing. I think that's the way to be most helpful to help them advance the investigation and get to the bottom of it.

Q Scott, can I ask you this; did Karl Rove commit a crime?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, this is a question relating to an ongoing investigation, and you have my response related to the investigation. And I don't think you should read anything into it other than we're going to continue not to comment on it while it's ongoing.

Q Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003 when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliott Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, "I've gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this" -- do you stand by that statement?

MR. McCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation we're not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time, as well.

Q Scott, I mean, just -- I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you're going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You've got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?

MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation --

Q Why are you choosing when it's appropriate and when it's inappropriate?

MR. McCLELLAN: If you'll let me finish --

Q No, you're not finishing -- you're not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson's wife. So don't you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

Q Do you think people will accept that, what you're saying today?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I've responded to the question.

Go ahead, Terry.

Q Well, you're in a bad spot here, Scott, because after the investigation began, after the criminal investigation was underway, you said -- October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby, as I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this." From that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began. Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not a correct characterization Terry, and I think you are well aware of that. We know each other very well, and it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation. And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this, because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the President of the United States. I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point, I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I'm just not going to do that.

Q Do you recall when you were asked --

Q Wait, wait -- so you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore, and since then, you haven't?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation, and I'm just not going to respond any further.

Q When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you peg down a date?

MR. McCLELLAN: Back at that time period.

Q Well, then the President commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MR. McCLELLAN: John, I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

Go ahead, Dave.

Q We are going to keep asking them. When did the President learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with the President -- with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife and the decision to send --

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.

Q When did the President learn that Karl Rove had --

MR. McCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions, Dick.

Go ahead.

Q After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the President's word that anybody who was involved would be let go?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

Q And a follow-up. Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove's lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it's ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

Q Scott, there's a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action --

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Goyal.

Q Can I finish, please?

MR. McCLELLAN: You can come -- I'll come back to you in a minute. Go ahead, Goyal.

Hold Bush to His Word and Fire Karl Rove

Last year, Bush pledged to fire anyone who had any role in outing Valerie Plame. Well, that anyone includes Karl Rove. Now is his opportunity to true to his word and fire Karl Rove.

Bush replied "yes" when asked in June 2004 if he would fire anyone who leaked the agent's name.

Oct. 10, 2003, the White House specifically said that Karl Rove had absolutely no involvement in the matter.

In 2003, McClellan said it was "a ridiculous suggestion" that Rove was involved. "I've made it very clear, he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was," he said. He also said that any culprit in the White House should be fired "at a minimum."

If what Karl did was no big deal, why did it take almost two years of investigation for this to be brought forth?

But, of course, the Bush spin machine is already at work, trying to "massage" the truth. They are claiming that Rove did no wrong since he did not actually give Time reporter Matt Cooper Valerie's name... Big whoop. If you say, "by the way, there is this woman who is working on WMD matters over at the CIA and she is married to Joe Wilson," I think almost any person in America with access to Goggle could have figured out that that person married to Joe Wilson was Valerie Plame.

You can not get around the fact that he broke the law and betrayed his nation for political retribution. Just because he did not say her actual name does not mean he is not culpable in this. If we allow him to get away with this, it will only lead to more of this Nixonian kind of crap. A clear message needs to be sent - personal political retribution will not trump our national security.

At White House, a Day of Silence on Rove's Role in C.I.A. Leak

Bush Aide Deflects Questions On Rove

Update: This is the best editorial I have seen written on the subject yet.

The real Rove scandal

Monday, July 11, 2005

What I Did On Summer Vacation

Well, I am back from vacation. I had one request to know where I was. Well, dear reader, I was back home in Minnesooooooooota. My step mother's family (from North Dakota) has their get together every year on a lake in Park Rapids, MN. This year, I decided to join in.

Since I have been living in the "big City" so long, they thought they had better provide me some illumination for those dark Minnesota nights.

For those dark rural nights Posted by Picasa

We spent the week eating, water skiing, eating, fishing, eating, tubing, eating, and eating the fish we caught fishing. I also journeyed up to the headwaters of the Mississippi river which starts at lake Itasca (about 15 miles from where I was staying).

what I did on summer vacation Posted by Picasa

On one side is lake Itasca, and the other is the Mississippi river/stream.

Lake Itasca and the beginning of the Mississippi Posted by Picasa

Since my friend, Boomr, lives in New Orleans (the base of the Mississippi) and I didn't get him anything for his birthday, I decided to send him a belated present. It should be getting to you in about 90 days, Boomr.

My little gift to Boomr. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 01, 2005

I am on vacation for the next week. I will be back to bother you all soon enough. Have a safe and happy 4th.

Sandra Day O'Connor to Retire

Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement from the bench of the Supreme Court. I was afraid this was going to happen and it is very troubling news for liberals and moderates alike.

Previously, there was great talk about an imminent retirement announcement for Justice Renquist. Renquist stepping down and Bush being able to replace him would have done little to change the makeup of the court. Renquist is a staunch conservative who almost always voted in a conservative manner. Bush would undoubtedly nominate another conservative and the balance on the court would remain the same.

O'Connor's departure has many more implications. O'Connor was a staunch moderate and pragmatists. She was often the swing vote on the bench that would be the deciding factor between the liberal and conservative camps. Bush is now able to nominate a justice for her seat, and as we have seen in the past, Bush is adamant about naming only strict conservative justices.

With a staunch conservative sitting in O'Connor's seat, the balance of power would shift wholly change to the conservative camp. With partisanship growing more and more debilitating in the Congress, a moderate court is more important than ever.

O'Connor Steps Down from U.S. Supreme Court

July 1, 2005 — Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court, is resigning after nearly 24 years as an associate justice.

In a letter to President Bush, O'Connor, 75, said her resignation would take effect upon the confirmation of her successor.

"It has been a great privilege, indeed, to have served as a member of the court for 24 terms," she wrote. "I will leave it with enormous respect for the integrity of the court and its role under our constitutional structure."

In another statement, O'Connor said she looks forward to spending more time with her husband, who has Alzheimer's disease.

O'Connor's resignation could shift the vote on the court on key issues including abortion, affirmative action and the death penalty for the mentally retarded, analysts said, because O'Connor has cast deciding votes in recent cases on those and other issues.

Bush said this morning that he would have a nomination in place in time for a Senate vote and confirmation before the next Supreme Court term in the fall.

"America is proud of Justice O'Connor's destinguished service, and I'm proud to know her," Bush added.

Considered a conservative at the time of her nomination by President Reagan in July 1981, O'Connor's subtle shift to the center enhanced her influence on the court and solidified her position as one of the most powerful women of her time.

A Supreme Court justice since Sept. 25, 1981, O'Connor's influence has been felt on issues ranging from abortion and affirmative action, to sexual harassment and terrorism.

"She had a very aggressive view of the role of the courts as instruments of social justice and national policy," said Jeffrey Rosen of the George Washington University Law School. "She saw the court in general, and herself in particular, as the appropriate body to decide all these contested questions of national policy."

(Full Story)

Update: Maxed Out Moma doesn't think that there will be much change, and Objective justice looks at the current balance on the court.

Kelo Fallout

Maxed Out Mama has a good posting on the real world implications of the recent Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court ruling. I recommend clicking the link since this affects everyone of us.