October 21, 2005

“Come here, Andy, I need you!”

Not quite Alexander Graham Bell’s plea for Watson, making telephone fame.

Instead, it’s W. telling Chief of Staff Andy Card to cancel a Rhode Island GOP fundraiser and get his ass down to Camp David ASAP.

The question isn’t whether the shit will hit the fan, but how much.

Yes, W. can have a dry drunk’s anger, but at the same time, this is the president who has gone longer in his term than any other without vetoing a bill.

But, beyond that, given the non-directional, un-Roveian White House staff response to Plamegate in the last couple of days, just how much does W. really know, even at this point?

If rumors are true that Cheney secretly despises him, and Rove’s been playing the Cheney side of the street, George What? Bush may still be very clueless.

Pay me if I’m going to be part of your marketing

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is doing an aggressive marketing campaign this year. As part of this, the DSO is taping Thursday night patrons for video messages to send out to its e-mail database.

I have several thoughts on this.

1. How about giving me a little turkee?

2. As I think the DSO playlist definitely is too conservative this year, you might not want me on one of those videos, anyway.

3. Ditto for any comment I might have about Andrew Litton.

Fitz about ready to blow?

Valerie Plame leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has an official website. Time for indictments?

One minor tech/Internet complaint: Couldn't Fitz have gotten somebody techie in DOJ to set up an RSS/XML feed?

Bush “environmentalism” spreads to the Foreign Service

Seems our diplomats in London refuse to pay downtown roadway congestion charges. I’m sure there’s some perfectly good reason for this in BushCo’s eyes.

BushCo’s Top 10 comments about inner-London traffic congestion:
10. Congestion doesn’t really exist.
9. Congestion is caused by nature.
8. Did you hear about our Clean Trafficways program? It relaxes laws so people can pollute more and make it look like skies might get clearer some day.
7. Have you thought about privatizing this?
6. If you drilled for oil under Buckingham Palace this really wouldn’t be a problem.
5. Everybody knows congestion charges can’t be part of a national traffic control program.
4. If your lapdog Prime Minister would use good old American dollars, so we don’t have to translate your foreign money, we might consider this.
3. Condi said you were comping us on this.
2. You guys drive on the wrong side of the road. That’s why it’s congested. And …
1. We’re studying this on the Internets.

October 20, 2005

Pardon power and lawsuit power

Over at TPM Café, the Bush pardon power in the Plame case, if indictments from Patrick Fitzgerald is high enough, are under discussion.

It would be a tragedy and an ignoble sliming, at the least.

But, that then removes the handcuffs from Plame and Wilson on the lawsuit power.

Can a President be sued for acts committed while in office? Well, we’d find out soon enough.

Scooter Libby’s plausible deniability?

As many news stories have reported, in his July 8, 2003 meeting between New York Times reporter stenographer Judith Miller and Vice President Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, accounts differ on just what Libby said about Valerie Plame.

Libby claims he said nothing about where she worked. Miller says Libby said she was with the CIA, but on the analyst side, not the operative side.

Did they not get their different stories straight? Or was this a deliberate agreement to obfuscate?

Tom DeLay turns chicken

The disgraced, or disgraceful, former? House Majority Leader was too chicken to face the media for his official booking on money-laundering charges.

Here’s the money grafs:
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself in today at a Harris County sheriff's facility, where he was photographed, fingerprinted, taken before a judge and released on a $10,000 bond.

Accompanied by his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, the former speaker of the house arrived shortly after noon at the county bonding office at 49 San Jacinto to surrender on state conspiracy and money laundering charges, said sheriff's Lt. John Martin.

He was free before 1 p.m., Martin said.

Although the indictment was issued in Travis County and DeLay's home county is Fort Bend, Martin said state law allows defendants to surrender in any county, and DeLay received no special treatment.

"Now Ronnie Earle has the mugshot he wanted,'' DeGuerin said, referring to the Travis County district attorney, a Democrat, who sought the indictments.

"I wanted to avoid the circus,'' DeGuerin added. "That's what Ronnie wanted. He wanted a perp walk, and we did not want to do it.''

No, Dick — that’s what a lot of us wanted! How dare you disappoint us. But, if we’re lucky, somebody will leak a surreptitious photo to The Smoking Gun.

Oh, well. We did get an official mugshot.

John Hannah not the only one singing to Fitz

John Hannah’s getting some company, according to
I don’t know how many people besides me e-mailed the News, but the paper did run Raw Story.

Another Cheney aide, David Wurmser, is reportedly also rolling over and playing dead for Plame leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

Wurmser, like Hannah, is connected to John Bolton as well as Cheney. Wurmser is Cheney’s Middle East advisor and, at the time of the leak, was an assistant to then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton.

As Raw Story notes, Wurmser also sat in on meetings of the White House Iraq Group and had connections to neoconservatives, including writing a policy paper for then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Deuteronomy says, “The testimony of two or three witnesses is required for putting a person to death; no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.”

Now, we’re not talking about putting anybody to death. But it appears Fitzgerald has his two witnesses.

October 19, 2005

Bill Frist says, “Thank me very much!”

Now we know why Bill Frist was cashing out HCA stock. It was to get an early start on the 2008 presidential election., Josh Marshall noted that Judith Miller and other embedded Times reporters in Iraq had a reporter overseeing them to make sure they followed SOP.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist paid $72,012 from his own pocket to his 2000 re-election campaign fund in August, two months after he was notified that trustees had sold millions of dollars of his stock in HCA Inc., the hospital chain founded by his father and brother.

That Aug. 30 payment was disclosed in Federal Election Commission filings last Friday. The documents also show the campaign fund on the same day paid off a $349,107 outstanding loan from U.S. Bank Corp.

Both transactions enabled the Tennessee Republican to close the Senate campaign fund in anticipation of his retirement from the Senate next year and a possible run for the White House in 2008.

Did he use any of that money to visit James Dobson, after his “slip” on stem cells?

Questions for the New York Times

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall noted that Judith Miller and other embedded Times reporters in Iraq had a reporter overseeing them to make sure they followed SOP.

I don't know this has been reported elsewhere, but what I would like to know

1. Who is/was this person?
2. Was he/she interviewed for the big Times story last week?
3. What's his/her off-the-record take on Miller and her sources?
4. Did this person ever get into a battle with Miller?

Why is Fitz still waiting?

Oct. 19, the Washington Post said Plame leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was not likely to take any action (as in, perhaps, issue indictments) until after this weekend.

What’s up?

Here’s my theory.

Do you suppose he's considering hauling somebody higher than Rove before the
grand jury? Wrestling over whether to indict Cheney himself or not?

Maybe that’s why Fitz supposedly is taking no action until next week? A
couple more grand jury visits for --- ?? Trying to decide just how high to
go with indictments, or the one person who “only” can get the unindicted
co-conspirator tag?

Where were Keliher and Price at UNT groundbreaking?

Was I the only person in the Dallas-area media at the Oct. 13 groundbreaking for the new University of North Texas — Dallas campus to notice this?

Both Dallas County Judge Margaret Keliher and County Commissioner John Wiley Price, in whose precinct the new university will be, were both absent. Now, Gov, Helmethair Perry was absent with excuse, at a funeral. Dallas Mayor Laura Miller was observing Yom Kipper.

But, neither Keliher nor Price had an excuse slip. Are they on the outs with Sen. Royce West, or what?

For that matter, where were the other three county commissioners — Cantrell, Dickey and Mayfield? The county was officially unrepresented.

Who does Fitz nab?

At the end of a previous post, I have a poll about whom special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might indict.

Well, I’ve moved it here, too.

And, I’d appreciate your comments on the “others” that you think might get it, or the unindicted co-conspirators.

Free polls from Pollhost.com
Who all will be indicted in Plamegate?

Karl Rove
Scooter Libby
Alberto Gonzales
There will be unindicted co-conspirators

Democrats vote against environment again

In a 13-9 vote, two Democrats on the Senate Energy Committee voted in favor of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Daniel Akaka of Hawaii also voted for drilling.
“Opening ANWR is sound public policy that would serve the country well many years into the future,” said Pete Domenici, the Republican chairman of the committee. The oil produced from the wildlife refuge “would provide some cushion” for U.S. supplies, he said.

Sure, Pete. Tell us how little oil is likely to actually be found there.

Meanwhile, as the story notes, the GOP is going to fold this into a budget bill so it can’t be filibustered.

Well, with Democrats like Landrieu and Akaka, do they need to worry?

Your utility bill: possible evidence for global warming

So says a University of New Mexico climatologist.
David Gutzler, a University of New Mexico climatologist, has been tracking temperature increases over the past 50 years.
His work includes showing how much people use heaters in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. Since the 1960s, his charts show a 10 percent increase in air conditioner use in Albuquerque and a 10 percent decrease in heating use, he said.

Sounds pretty straightforward to me. The one concern I would have from the scientific side is that people are getting more “cushy” and hence using their AC more in summer without a strong correlation to rising temperatures. The heating reduction in winter, likewise, could be in part an artifact of people using more firewood. I assume he’s controlled for that in some way, but the story doesn’t make it clear.

Behe busted on the witness stand

It’s not really creationism, you just need to add water and God!

Michael Behe, the not-so Socratic Gadfly of Intelligent Design, got cornered on the witness stand in the Dover school district intelligent design teaching suit Oct. 18. Just take a look at this whopper.
Behe personally believes the designer was God but said that belief was not part of his intelligent design theory.

A lawyer for the parents produced an article by Behe saying the theory of intelligent design would be undermined without the existence of God. Earlier in the day Behe denied intelligent design was equivalent to creationism.

Behe then tries to find wiggle room:
“Creationism is a theological concept but intelligent design is a scientific theory,” Behe said. “One can be a creationist without any physical evidence. That's 180 degrees different from intelligent design.”

In other words, “nothing in this hand, nothing in that hand. Watch me as I now remove God from the ‘God plus water!’ Folks, thanks for your applause, but that’s nothing. I learned that from the George and Harriett wink-wink, nudge-nudge school of Supreme Court candidates.”