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Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Extremely Rare Movie Review: Murderball

I don't often recommend movies but a couple of months ago I saw Murderball at a film festival and I haven't seen anything else this year that can touch it. It's one of those documentaries you think must've been scripted because life just doesn't play out that dramatically and cinematically, but in this case it did and some cameras were on hand to catch it.

Back up a minute. Before they showed Murderball, they ran this blankly awful "award winning" Polish film about these superstitious Catholics who drag the deformed, the retarded and the dying through the rain hundreds of miles on some pathetic quest to this statue of the Virgin Mary in France hoping for a miracle. The whole thing was a disgusting pity festival, and all I could think about was the fact that if I was developmentally challenged I would've been lightening rod pissed at the indignity of the whole exercise. I kept turning to MTV Melinda and miming gag motions (I'm not necessarily the person you want to sit next to in a crowded theater).

Man do they hand out awards for some shit in Poland.

Anyway, Murderball could have been conceived as the complete antithesis of that Polish dreck. Though the subjects of the film are quadriplegic, they are people who despite whatever physical limitations they may encounter have totally said "yes" to life, and there is no pity asked for and none given.

Wheelchair rugby is the game they play, and it is not a sport for sissies. They are amazing, world class athletes who get righteously angry when people think they play for the Special Olympics. "We're not doing this for hugs," one of them retorts. They all have hot girlfriends and really full lives, and if there was one point in the film I wanted to cry it was when one of the guys goes to visit a kid who used to race motocross who had recently become a quadriplegic. They strapped him into a custom made rugby chair and you could see in the kid's eyes that it was the first time it occurred to him that his life wasn't over.

The movie is really funny, extremely cinematic and deeply human. Now that it's opened I'm gonna go see it again. I really can't stay too much good stuff about it, but I hope it's enough to get your ass into a theater seat because you won't be sorry.

To quote a great man, you can thank me later.


Breaking Out the Heavy Artillery

Of course I could always get my information from the 101st Fighting Keyboardists who claim to know CIA minutae like Jonah knows pizza, but I was nonetheless anxious to hear what a bunch of veteran CIA officers had to say on the topic of the Plame outing. If you didn't catch the Waxman hearings yesterday on Covert Intelligence Officers on CSPAN, it was a barn burner.

A lot of focus on Larry Johnson, who was brilliant, but I really appreciated the testimony of former CIA Case Officer James Marcinkowski, who was seriously fucking pissed and dripping with the kind of sarcasm and acrimony that always makes me want to grab the poodles and do the Lambada:
Each time there is a perceived political “success” in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere “paper-pusher,” or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the “degree” of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities. Those who would advocate the “I’m ok, you’re ok” politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Nonresponsibility means we don’t care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States. There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.
I really don't think this particular point can be repeated often enough -- career CIA guys feel angry, betrayed and endangered by what happened. Every time the well manicured Rovian defense squad wants to talk about Joe Wilson, make them tell the one about how the CIA guys who actually go out there and put their lives on the line are all a bunch of liberal crybabies. Doesn't really play so well in the living rooms of middle America.

You'll have to excuse me, Lucy wants to hear the Ketchup Song.


Friday, July 22, 2005

In Memory of Those Who Were Forced to Pretend They Cared About Hetch Hetchy

I guess it's Bay Guardian alumni week. For three years I was the lowliest person at the Guardian, the teenager whose job it was to write about punk rock concerts in between articles on how to find the best pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay and follow up whatever brain aneurysm awakened Bruce Brugmann that morning. Paul Krassner and David Johnston were on the other end of the food chain. And while David Johnston is following the Adventures of Turd Blossom for the NYT, Krassner has an article on Scientology in this week's NY Press:
In 1971, I announced in an ad the features that would be included in the 13th-anniversary issue of The Realist. Among them, "The Rise of Sirhan Sirhan in the Scientology Hierarchy." The Church of Scientology proceeded to sue me for libel; they wanted $750,000 for those nine words, the title of an article that I had not yet written.

What's relevant here is the paranoid mindset of Scientology, as revealed in this excerpt from their complaint:

"...Defendants have conspired between themselves and with other established religions, medical and political organizations and persons presently unknown to plaintiff. By subtle covert and pernicious techniques involving unscrupulous manipulation of all public communication media, defendants and their co-conspirators have conspired to deny plaintiff its right to exercise religious beliefs on an equal basis with the established religious organizations of this country."

I published their complaint in The Realist and told my attorney, James Wolpman (now an OSHA judge), that I wanted to fight the lawsuit in court on a First Amendment basis.

But when Scientology learned that (a) The Realist had no assets, and (b) that I was in the habit of publishing satirical articles, they offered to settle for $5,000. I turned 'em down. Then they offered to drop the suit altogether if I would publish an article by Chick Corea, a jazz pianist and member of Scientology. I explained that this was not how I made my editorial decisions, and again I refused to settle. They dropped the suit.
Truth or satire? Fuck if I know. But it sure makes Tom Cruise look like a dipshit for following them around like a lemming.


Spin Jockeys

David Johnston's article in the NYT today points to a possible conspiracy between Rove and Libby (among others) on the Plame case, and lets us know that Ari Fleisher may have a delicate part of his anatomy in a vise. But the restatement in every paragraph of "people who have been briefed on the case" rises to the level of the absurd.

Jeralyn has a helpful post on how to decrypt this crap from a lawyer's perspective:
If someone says they reviewed a grand jury transcript of anyone's testimony, it's a leak from someone now or formerly on Fitzgerald's team.

If someone says they are familiar with, or were briefed on the testimony (but doesn't mention seeing reading the transcript) it's probably the defense or allied Republican lawyers trying to help their "Administration official" friends.

It's only a 6(e) violation for a Government attorney or someone associated with one (including their investigators and agents) to disclose matters occurring before the grand jury. Witnesses before the grand jury and their attorneys are not under a secrecy rule. Transcripts of grand jury proceedings are not available to witness' lawyers before the investigation is over and an Indictment has been returned by the grand jury.

However, lawyers always debrief their clients after they testify and take notes as to what the client remembers being asked and remembers answering, and hope their clients are not mistaken or forgetting something. Defense lawyers are not allowed inside the federal grand jury room. They sit outside, and the clients are allowed to come out and talk to them during questioning if they have a question based on something the prosecutor has asked them. Lawyers can advise their client regarding the question, but they are not in the room to actually hear it. The client can come out as many times as is necessary.

When a client is in the grand jury room answering questions for several hours, it is doubtful they will remember every question asked and exactly how they answered, particularly if the prosecutor asks the same question numerous different ways.
I'm seriously hoping that as time goes on and it becomes apparent that many reporters have been lied to and manipulated by people in the Administration hoping to hide their spin as news, that those news organizations who are calling for Judy Miller to be released will also recognize their obligation to burn those sources and expose those who lied to them out of respect for the principle of journalistic privilege that they hold so dear after it has been so blatantly abused. Nothing else is going to prevent people from picking up the phone and trying to fob of one outrageous lie after another because they know they will never be held accountable for it.

Reporters at Time are now claiming they can't get anyone to talk to them. If they're suffering from a dearth of people who will lie to them, drop me a line, they are not exactly in short supply in Hollywood.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Getting Awfully Tough to Defend Rove

The faithful are getting hinky. From the Ace of Spades:
Still, even if Plame's cover was so thin, so transparent, and so ineffectual that they donwgraded this "secret" to the non-secret "Secret" level, that would still mean the information is classified (barely, but still classified), and that anyone disclosing it, knowing that it was classified (or who reasonably could be said to have ought to have known) would be in violation of the law.

Maybe not the IIPA, which is the law most have focused on, but a more general law about disseminating classified information.

To be honest, I've sort of thought Karl Rove would be pinned on this since Lawrence O'Donnell first hyped it. No particular reason, except my general belief that most rumors are true, or nearly true.

While the right should continue to insist the left prove its claims, and patrol them for going beyond what the evidence actually says, it may be time to consider the possibility that Rove will be caught dirty on this one, and may have to be cut loose at some point.

And, you know, condemned for breaking the law.
Is common sense breaking out like a rash in the land of Wingnuttia? Noooooo.....
I'll give Valerie Plame one thing-- she knows her tradecraft. She and her husband peddled lies and arranged it so that the only way to expose them was to break the law.
Right. The fiendishly treacherous Valerie Plame, who has said jack shit to date because the CIA will not allow her to speak or address the matter in any way, is the one responsible for assigning a deliberately ambiguous and manipulatively under-specific designation of "top secret" to the INR memo knowing full well that mom dad and apple pie lovin' patriot Karl Rove would be honor bound to swipe it from Ari Fleisher during recess on Air Force One and scribble her name on the walls of the White House can for the good of the nation.

It must be nice to be free from the constraints of rational thought. Kind of like going intellectually braless.


On the Be Careful What You Wish For Front

China finally agreed to unpeg their currency. From Barry Ritholtz:
[T]oday's actions are the net result of the United States consuming far more goods or services than it produces. Because of that, the Chinese have accumulated nearly a trillion dollars of US Treasuries. That makes them a de facto player in setting our interest rate policy and impacting our economy.

The brunt of the de-pegging on the U.S. economy will not likely be felt for some time to come. But war-gaming the various scenarios of this new development, we can see that many dangers are apparent. If we play out this scenario to its logical conclusion, we are led to some unsettling possibilities:

    1) As we have been writing for quite some time now, the Real Estate Complex has been the most robust segment of the U.S. economy. If the Chinese can succeed (where the Fed failed) in raising U.S. long rates, the strongest part of the US economy is at risk. While we know real estate had to slow eventually, the question is how fast will it occur, and how dramatically.

   2) US Consumers have grown reliant on ultra low interest rates and ultra cheap Chinese goods. The de-pegging will cause incremental increases in costs, while raising rates. This will negatively impact Wal-Mart, the largest importer of Chinese manufactured products, as well as other Chinese goods resellers.

    3) Some theorists have worried about US reaction in the event of a Chinese attack on Taiwan. In an unlikely – but possible – scenario, the Chinese can, at will, and without ever firing a shot, inflict as much economic damage on the U.S. as if we were at war. Armed conflict becomes unnecessary when countries can net impact their competitors as if they were at war.

    4) The United States Dollar is the default currency of the world. That gives an unprecedented amount of flexibility to US policy makers. Is the de-pegging the beginning of the end for this global currency structure? It’s too soon to tell. But we wonder how this might play out elsewhere.

What now becomes significant is the basket of currencies to which the yuan will become ever more pegged. A likely composition will reflect a basket of currencies in proportion to China’s external trade.

According to the Bank of NY, there are 10 currencies that make up almost 90% of China’s overseas trade: the U.S., Japan, Hong Kong, EU, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan.

China’s top ten trade partners (in Dollars):
The European Union (18.5%)
Japan (18%)
United States (17.5%)
Hong Kong (11%)
ASEAN nations (11%)
South Korea (9.5%)
Taiwan (8.5%)
Russia (2%)
Australia (2%)
Canada (1.5%).

Source: Bank of NY
It makes some intuitive sense for the PBOC to replace their US Treasury holdings with an equivalent amount of Sovereign Treasuries of the currency basket (Hey, that’s what I would do).

The ultimate impact of today’s events will depend upon how quickly and how much the PBOC decide to sell off some of their US Treasuries. Unlike the Fed, the Chinese Central Bankers do not believe in much in the way of transparency. Their plans have been somewhat uncertain.

What is not uncertain, however, is that our Current Account Deficit has granted a degree of control and authority to another sovereign nation over our own economy. The net results of that may be determined over the coming decade . . .
The US had threatened to name China as a currency manipulator in the next Treasury Department report. And it looks like Malaysia is ready to follow China's lead. One commenter noted, "as US has become increasingly erratic and unreliable on the world stage (one-party politics, destabilizing military projection, Fortress America economics) the rest of the world will seek to immunize their systems."

Update: Krugman in the NYT: "[I]t could be the start of a process that will turn the world economy upside down - or, more accurately, right side up. That is, the free ride China has been giving America, in which the world's richest economy has been getting cheap loans from a country that is dynamic but still quite poor, may be coming to an end."


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Going Down?

So much for partisan politics:
One was a drunk. Some were laughed at as ''goofballs.'' One was declared the best-qualified candidate for a job on the city payroll -- even though he was dead.

All of them were recommended for city jobs or hired because they were politically connected and helped to get out the vote on Election Day, according to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

''That's the world we want to end,'' Fitzgerald said Monday in announcing charges against two members of Mayor Richard M. Daley's administration accused of illegally doling out patronage jobs.

The allegations sent shock waves through City Hall, already reeling from charges that trucking companies obtained city business in exchange for bribes and campaign donations.

The new charges strike at the heart of political power in Chicago -- the patronage system under which thousands of precinct workers who get out the vote are rewarded with jobs on the city payroll.

Those charged bring the scandal closer than ever to Daley, who has been mayor for the past 16 years and whose own father, Mayor Richard J. Daley, oversaw a political machine that dispensed patronage with ruthless efficiency.
That's Patrick Fitzgerald at his day job, which is still US Attorney in Chicago, busting the corruption-laden machine surrounding Democrat Richard Daley. Thinking back to how Daley cut the legs out from underneath Dick Durbin when he told the truth about torture, I really can't think of anyone in the Democratic Party I would like to see dismantled more at this moment in time. (I know, I know, wait until the SCOTUS confirmation hearings begin, I'm sure Joe Biden will start with his Goober Pyle towel-snapping "good buddy" bullshit and I'll soon change my tune.)

Anyway, when the smear campaign against Fitzgerald starts -- and you know it's going to be the mother of all smear campaigns -- just remember, it ain't about politics, it's about assholes.


A Pause Before Rolling Over

I know we are in the minority here. But just to make myself feel better:
Bitch. Ph.D.: SCOTUS nominee Roberts: Nope, not acceptable....Time to fight.

Amanda a Pandagon: On the abortion issue, I want everyone to memorize these words--"criminalize ordinary women." Something like 1 in 3 women will have one in their lifetime. Abortion is exceedingly common. Selling out women who obtain them for political gain is not only wrong, but it is politically stupid. Anti-abortion laws turn every woman into a potential criminal. Rinse and repeat until people get how extreme that position is. For some stupid reason that I can't understand, people can get behind the jailing of teenage girls who have sex. But they won't feel that way when it's 40-year-old soccer moms.

Matt at Roberts is an in-your-face nominee. He vigorously opposes one of our core principles: that women should have the right to control what happens inside their own bodies. That Roberts doesn’t drag his knuckles on the ground can’t possibly mitigate the danger he poses to a right we hold sacrosanct.

Pinko Feminist Hellcat: So George Bush has nominated John G. Roberts to be Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement. And he's not too conservative, which in this political climate means he still thinks that voting is okay for land-owning White men.

The Volokh Conspiracy: Indeed, Roberts was blocked when the first President Bush tried to appoint Roberts. As the Alliance for Justice puts it:
President George H.W. Bush nominated Mr. Roberts to the D.C. Circuit, but he was considered by some on the Senate Judiciary Committee to be too extreme in his views, and his nomination lapsed. He was nominated by President George W. Bush to the same seat in May 2001.
Feministe: I’m terrified. This is so troublesome. Please contact your federal representatives. Now. This is an activist judge.

Feministing: Well Bush certainly didn’t pull any punches. John Robertsnomination not only serves as a convenient distraction to the Rove madness, but is also a great big “fuck you” to all the folks that thought Bush was leaning towards a moderate nominee....So pretty please take some fucking action and put a stop to this nightmare nominee.

Liberal Oasis: Roberts’ judicial career is short and his judicial writings thin. Not good enough for a lifetime Supreme Court appointment.

Mahablog: Roberts is a pleasant-looking white guy who wears suits well. Smoke does not billow out of his ears, nor does he have horns and a forked tail. Some leftie bloggers are saying the nomination could have been worse. Yeah, like ebola is worse than cholera.

Lindsay at Majikthise: Democrats have to shake off Bush's manufactured sense of entitlement. The first step is to identify John Roberts' values and qualifications. Are they consistent with the values of the Democratic party? In a word, no.

Maurinsky at Laughingwild: If he gets on the court, which is likely, we shouldn't be surprised to see not just an end to legal abortion in the U.S., but an end to legal contraception and affirmative action. Bad news for American women and American minorities.

Scott Lemieux: I continue to believe that any justice Bush could plausibly nominate--which obviously includes Roberts--should be filibustered, simply because this would force the use of the nuclear option, which would destroy the filibuster in the long term, which would obviously be good for progressive politics on in the long-term. In addition, I would like to note that the next person who can offer evidence that being labeled "obstructionist" has any significant political effects will be the first. Yes, Virginia, Joe Klein and other Beltway hacks do not, in fact, reflect the concerns of ordinary voters.
You know, these quotes were a damn sight harder to put together than they should have been. The road to hell is paved with liberal "reasonableness." I'm a firm believer in the Disraeli theory that it is the job of an opposition party to oppose.

But theory aside, Roberts only seems "reasonable" because the political climate has gotten so unreasonable. You don't want to fight him based on pro-choice? Fine. Base it on environmentalism, on human rights, on keeping the power of the executive branch in check, on not handing out a lifetime appointment to the most powerful court in the land like it was bag of party favors. But please, please don't make the mistake of thinking that by not fighting this nomination that it is possible to somehow stockpile political momentum that can be saved for the next fight. The GOP seizes every opportunity they can, no matter how small or stupid, to state their case loud and long whenever they can grab the microphone. And they never got a goddamn thing by being "reasonable."

As Bill Clinton famously once said, "When people are insecure, they'd rather have someone strong and wrong, rather than weak and right." It's time for the Democrats to prove they are strong and capable of leading this country. And there's not going to be a "better day" to do that.

Time to fight.


Bob "Could've Been Worse" Roberts

The Bush administration was elected by the Supreme Court, and now it is trying to elect a member of its campaign team to the Supreme Court in order to deflect attention away from ethics violations by the head of its campaign team, Karl Rove. This is partisan hackery at its best. The Bush administration has decided to treat the Supreme Court as an ambassadorship.
Jeff Toobin, via Digby:
The president's first two nominations to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia curcuit --- generally regarded as the stepping-stone to the Supreme Court --- went to Miguel Estrada and John G Roberts Jr., who had played important behind-the scenes roles in the Florida litigation.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council:
The president is a man of his word. He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done.
Jo Fish, Democratic Veteran:
Look for Justice French Fry to rule in cases where Veterans coming back from Iraq who try and make claims against the government or VA for inadequate care or other matters to be summarily rebuffed. Roberts is a company man, for the company that offers the most. And right now, that's his Federalist Society pals.
Elizabeth Cavendish, TPM Cafe:
President Bush’s choice of John Roberts for Sandra Day O’Connor’s seat left me feeling a little sick and more than a little concerned about the fate of women’s reproductive rights.  A little sick because Justice O’Connor was and is a pathbreaking woman in the law – not someone who always marched to the beat of the leading women’s organizations, but a woman who, in the crunch, saved the central core of the right to choose, and in other opinions advanced the cause of women’s equality.  By contrast, John Roberts has argued in a brief not directly concerning legal abortion that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and has argued elsewhere that Roe is not grounded in the Constitution.   
George from I'm Not One To Blog But:
On NPR this morning a spokesnut for Operation Rescue called him a great choice. That same story mentioned that Roberts' wife, Jane Sullivan Roberts, is a lawyer involved with the anti-abortion group Feminists for Life. (I guess the test-polling for the group name Test Tubes for Jesus didn't go over too big.)
Well, the wingnuts must dance happily tonight. They got their way and the number of women in the Supreme Court dropped by fifty percent.
Sam Rosenfeld:
Brit Hume of FOX News captured the moment well last night when, turning from congressional correspondent Brian Wilson to White House reporter Carl Cameron, he chuckled with surprise at Bush's decision to name a white male -- "just like all of us." They all got a nice laugh out of that.
Cheers to all the male "liberal" (*cough* *choke*) bloggers I've been reading this morning who say fighting Roberts is not worth it, let's save our ammo for battles that "really matter."

Please do clue us gals in on exactly what the definition of "really matters" is. We'll be powdering our noses in the little girl's room in the meantime.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Would You Like Fries With That, Mr. Rove?

I was over at Ezra Klein's yesterday and the discussion was about what kind of Supreme Court nominee was going to get foisted into the news to usurp all the Treasongate headlines. And I made the comment that if Gonzales had ever realistically been a candidate those days were gone, because nothing less than a fire breathing, hard line anti-abortion fascist was going to kick up enough dust to take the spot light off Turd Blossom for a while.

Can I tell you how much I'm loving it that Supreme Court nominees are being chosen and announced based on how they suit Karl Rove's headline demands?

On the same day that Murray Waas claims that Rove's audacious lies before the grand jury probably outstrip anything we've been told to date, we have our white, male, Bush-friendly fascist:
He was part of the unanimous three-judge panel that last week put President Bush's military tribunals in the war on terror back on track, clearing the way for the Pentagon to resume trials for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He also joined in a decision last year to throw out a $959 million judgment for U.S. prisoners of war who say they were tortured by the Iraqi military during the 1991 Gulf War, ruling that Congress never authorized such lawsuits against foreign governments.

Roberts issued a dissent in a case involving the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act. The liberal group People for the American Way said Roberts' dissent indicated he may be ready to join the ranks of right-wing conservative judges who seek to limit severely congressional authority to protect the environment.

Roberts also issued a dissent in a decision against the Bush administration's efforts to keep secret records of Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force. Roberts was in the minority when the court voted 5-3 to deny the Bush administration's request for a rehearing.
Plan on spending the rest of the week ramping up to argue that "extraordinary circumstances" apply and according to the deal, the Senate Democrats are entitled to filibuster.

But if they're counting on the fact that our tunnel vision is so complete we can't focus on more than one thing at a time, let me assure everyone that I absolutely have the ability to double bitch.

Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch.


Time to Wipe That Smug Smile Off Your Face, Little Man

Emily Lyons, the nurse who was maimed and blinded in one eye in the New Woman All Woman abortion clinic blast, on cowardly little bomber Eric Rudolph:
Lyons said she had been waiting 7 1/2 years for the chance to speak to Rudolph face to face, and "the main purpose was to see him and let him know he failed."

"I hope I used the word failure enough that he knows it," she told reporters after the hearing.

In her statement at the hearing, she sarcastically thanked Rudolph for leaving behind an extensive trail of clues and sneered at him for taking a plea bargain that spared his life.

"A hole the size of a fist was torn in my abdomen and large sections of my intestines were removed, but I have more guts in my broken little finger than you have in your body," she said.

"The joint in my middle finger had to be fused, and it is indeed an injury I have longed to show you."

Lyons ended her statement by winking at Rudolph, as he had done in court when he pleaded guilty to the attacks April 13.
Rudolph doesn't give a flying fuck about blastulae, or snowflake embryos, or fetuses, or the right to anyone's life. What he really hates are strong women, and his fondest wish is to dispatch someone like Lyons back to the middle ages. And anybody who can't figure that out is either functionally retarded or writing for America's Best Blog.

She winked at him. Fuckin' A.

(via RJ Eskow)


Monday, July 18, 2005

You'd Think One Hack in the Family Would Be Enough

Beltway bore Andrea Mitchell on why Treasongate is now headline news:
Third, Rove is now fair game because he now has to answer to Peter Fitzgerald, the independent counsel investigating who first outed Valerie Plame, the CIA officer married to former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson.
Why Rove must answer to the former senator from the state of Illinois and how he suddenly became the special prosecutor in the case is obviously for lesser minds to muddle.

We lowly bloggers can only sit back and watch in awe as we regard these peerless professionals practicing their craft.

| love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath...

Keller on Miller:
"It has definitely dawned on her that this is really in jail -- it is certainly no summer camp," Times Executive Editor Bill Keller told E&P Monday. "The food has not agreed with her and we have been trying to impress on her that she needs to eat. We have been hammering that in."
Grab the barf bags, folks. It's gonna be a bumpy ride.


So Where'd the Rats Go?

I was reading this article recently about boxers who are good enough to put on a show but not good enough to win a title, whose job it is to basically climb into the ring and get beaten senseless. That's the image that kept sticking with me when I watched Republicans defending Rove on Press the Meat and other talking heads shows yesterday.

Unlike the online pundits who are free to sit around licking each other's asses and repeating the GOP's "nothing to see here, move on" invocation (isn't that what they say at the scene of a bloody, gruesome traffic accident?) elected officials will have to live with what they say now the next time they want to, you know, get elected, and since no one with a modicum of sense can predict at this point how the whole thing will go down (and that certainly leaves out this bunch, whose conclusion that "the most miniscule 'scandal' in history keeps getting smaller and smaller" sadly leaves one to conclude that they must be functionally retarded), most major Republicans are staying away from this one like it was covered in flesh eating virus.

The best they could disinter for the occasion were Roy Blunt (?), who refused to defend Rove, and along with Lindsey Graham (who looked like his car had just stalled in the middle of a Lesbian Separatists parade) would only repeat the mantra "let's wait for the facts." Ken Mehlman, whose job it is to defend anyone with an "R" next to their name, agreed that he had "tremendous confidence in Pat Fitzgerald."

I'm betting the week-old weenies in my fridge are gonna have a longer shelf life than that one.

Meanwhile, Novakula is reporting that White House Chief of Staff Andy Card is fleeing the sinking ship being replaced by Enron Ed Gillespie. I don't blame Card. If I got dealt that kind of shitty hand I'd fold it, too.

(hat tip to Al Rogers)


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hot or Not?

Video of Patrick Fitzgerald in action

I dated a federal prosecutor once. They're kind of intense and the prerequisite for a relationship is the ability to be interested in whatever their deal is (his was Nigerian credit card rings), because they're pretty much incapable of holding a conversation about anything else. Which was okay, I thought Nigerian credit card rings were quite interesting, although I probably learned more about them than I really needed to know. I think he was always surprised that I ever followed what he was talking about, because with the blond hair and all I look like I'm probably kind of a dingbat.

Anyway, I think that even if I was a straight guy at this point I would have a bit of a man crush on Patrick Fitzgerald. I've never dated anyone with a personal style that was quite that conservative, but the man definitely looks like he could Get the Job Done. Know what I mean?

I'm thinking hot.


Liar Liar Pants on Fire

TruthOut has the entire (I believe) Matt Cooper Time Magazine article, and after reading it I have to say I'm feeling pretty good about Fitzgerald's chances of bagging a rare Turd Blossom this season.

Cooper says:
A surprising line of questioning had to do with, of all things, welfare reform. The prosecutor asked if I had ever called Mr. Rove about the topic of welfare reform. Just the day before my grand jury testimony Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, had told journalists that when I telephoned Rove that July, it was about welfare reform and that I suddenly switched topics to the Wilson matter. After my grand jury appearance, I did go back and review my e-mails from that week, and it seems as if I was, at the beginning of the week, hoping to publish an article in TIME on lessons of the 1996 welfare-reform law, but the article got put aside, as often happens when news overtakes story plans. My welfare-reform story ran as a short item two months later, and I was asked about it extensively. To me this suggested that Rove may have testified that we had talked about welfare reform, and indeed earlier in the week, I may have left a message with his office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can't find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don't recall doing so. (my emphasis)
Now, Luskin was obviously peddling whatever story he felt he could sell depending on what day of the week it was, and it sure ain't tough to make Byron York your bitch. But according to the memo "released" to the Associated Press yesterday, which ostensibly went to show that Karl was being a good boy and reporting in on his conversation with Cooper to the appropriate authorities (then-deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley on July 11, 2003), Rove himself said :
"Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," Rove wrote Hadley, who has since risen to the top job of national security adviser.

"When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out in front on this."
Which means that Rove was peddling the "welfare reform" lie from the start. That Luskin was also disseminating it as of last week means that Rove probably stuck to the story during his grand jury testimony. And although it boils down to Cooper's version vs. Rove's, it's a good indication Rove was probably playing fast and furious with the truth when he testified, and that the grand jury isn't too happy about it.

Ain't life grand.

(BTW, hat tip to Virginia at for graciously allowing me to use her photoshopped images of Rove.)


That's what he does. That's all he does. You can't stop him.

Probably my favorite post of the week. Billmon asks a veteran reporter friend about his editor's experience with Patrick Fitzgerald:
"Fitzgerald is a prosecution machine," the old editor said. "When he wants somebody, he goes after them with whatever he's got. If he can't make the case he started with, he'll figure out what you did do and hit you with that. He's relentless, and he doesn't give a flying fuck about the press or the First Amendment. He'd throw us all in jail if it would help him make his case."
I'm reminded of the scene in The Terminator, where Reese -- the hero who's come back from the future to protect Sarah Connors -- tells her:
"Listen. Understand. That Terminator is out there. It can't be reasoned with, it can't be bargained with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead."
Be afraid, Karl. Be very afraid.
I always go with the image of Rove wandering around in his jammies screaming "Out, damn'd spot!" myself, but the original Terminator is one of my all-time favorite films so it works for me too. With so much riding on Patrick Fitzgerald this point, I find this all very heartening.