Thursday, July 28, 2005

Minamyer Disses Vet, Loses

The folks at Kos are onto an attempt by Navy Captain Eric Minamyer to question the combat service of Paul Hackett, the first Iraqi vet to run for Congress.

On July 24, 2005 Eric Minamyer wrote this:
I understand that Hackett did not participate in combat at all. It is still dangerous over there as I can personally attest. Let's just not act as though we led marines in combat if we did not, okay.

Today we find out he was wrong:
I therefore correct my earlier incorrect opinion that he was not in combat, which was based solely on a lack of a reply.

Got that? It's Mr. Hackett's fault that Mr. Minamyer made a false assertion. Now Mr. Minamyer is claiming "Asking questions is not smearing anyone," but I don't see a question in his remarks about Mr. Hackett's combat experience.

Bush's Finger of Hostility

BradBlog has posted a link to a Tonight Show clip which seems to show the President flipping off the press corp. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan refused to comment during today's press briefing, implying that Jay Leno was "misportraying" the finger waving as something it wasn't. But when asked again if the President was waving the "finger of hostility", Mr. McClellan, after admitting he hadn't seen the video, refused to "dignify" the question with an answer.

UPDATE: The White House is now saying it is the President's thumb we see in the video. As much as I'd love to disagree, I took a careful look at the video and it's quite possible that we're seeing the Prez giving a thumb's up. This is particularly noticeable in the couple of frames where he's bringing down his hand, twisting it counter-clockwise. I hope I'm wrong, as it would be much more fun.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Turd Blossoms and Monkey Poo

Time for a pop quiz!

Which comic strip deserves to be pulled or edited by newspaper editors?

This Karl Rove "Turd Blossom" strip from Doonesbury?


This Howard Dean "Monkey Poo" strip from Prickly City?

That's right, the correct answer is neither.

Jessica: ABC Hides Iraq's Bad News

Jessica Simpson is reportedly upset about "missing footage" shot in Iraq while she was there with her husband. She expressed surprise that her variety special on Disney's ABC Network didn't include video the couple took showing very bad conditions. "It was unbelievable. They didn't show a lot of what really went on with the enemy attacks and the shelling."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A War or a Struggle

If the White House says we're in a struggle, instead of a war, does that mean we get our rights back? Remember there are powers in a war which aren't available during a struggle.

Roberts. Is He or Isn't He?

Is Judge Roberts a member of the Federalist Society? Some say yes, others say we may never know. It does seem he's had some involvement over the years.

Week 3: It's Novak Time!!

It seems Bob Novak, the guy who actually outed Valerie Plame, may have decided it's time to come out. If this post as FishBowl DC is true, there are 85 people out there who can get some serious face time with Mr. Novak, and it'll only cost about $600. It's a limited time offer, so hurry.

In the meantime, he's starting to give some non-answers (as in "I can't tell anything I ever talked to Karl Rove about...") to his employer. It's not much, but it's the beginning of Novak Time. Prepare to be spun like you've never been spun. I can't wait to hear how he strengthened our National Security.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Loyal Foil Goyal

Long before Mr. Gannon lobbed softballs (!) to Scott McClellan, journalist have been pointing out how the White House goes to Raghubir Goyal when the questioning gets tough. This has become especially true during the recent revelations regarding the Plame case. Even NPR dared the Wrath of the Right-Wing by airing a story by Mr. Goyal. Here's an except from today's press briefing.

Notice the hard hitting approach and crystal-clear questioning:


Q Scott, lately we have been in the news. My short comment is part of my question. First of all, I am really thankful to the President for inviting me to the grand State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India last week; it was great.

Q I wasn't there --

MR. McCLELLAN: There are other opportunities.

Q But my -- one of my comment is that, again, I said before that I am really thankful to this press corps, White House press corps, that you have been so supporting and helpful and also very kind and nice to me for those years -- 15 or for also 25 years here at the White House, ever since President Clinton.

MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate that. Let's get to your question, because I do want to try to meet this meeting with --

Q You're a nice guy. (Laughter.)

MR. McCLELLAN: -- or make it to this meeting.

Q What I'm saying, Scott, that why do you have problems that I should ask the same questions that everybody asked, because when the Prime Minister of India is here, I should not ask the same questions everybody is asking. I did the same thing during President Clinton. Why should I ask about Monica Lewinsky when Prime Minister of India --

MR. McCLELLAN: People in this room have the right to ask whatever questions -- have the right to ask whatever questions they want.

Q What I'm saying is really that it was a grand -- beyond red carpet -- what India Globe said that Prime Minister of India got from the President and from the United States and also grand -- renewed of new friendship and new relations between the United States and India.

What my question is that from this -- from that grand dinner and red carpet -- beyond red carpet welcome, where we do go and also because I have not seen much in other paper. Like, I didn't come for the last two days, and I didn't see any question on the Prime Minister of India in town, rather than other question. So where -- what President --

MR. McCLELLAN: The two leaders had a very good visit. The President appreciated the call from Prime Minister Singh after he had returned to India expressing his deep appreciation for the hospitality that the President and Mrs. Bush showed.

We were able to move forward on some important priorities. That was all listed in the joint statement that we put out, and I appreciate your interest in those important issues.

Let me keep going. Let me keep going. Bill. I need to keep going.

The AP's Subtle Slant

Read the second paragraph of this AP story about Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll's ill-advised appearance at a soldier's funeral.
Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll went to the July 19 funeral of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, passed out her business card and made a remark about the state government being against the war, family members said.

Two things about the story immediately caught my eye. First, why no context regarding the business card? Was it just a single card? Who was it given to? Maybe the family asked her for it. We don't know because no details are given. As it is, the story presents this as if she were doing "business" there. Maybe she was, or maybe she wasn't. We don't know because the report is incomplete.

Second, and more troubling, was the characterization that Lt. Gov. Knoll "made a remark about the state government being against the war", when in fact her remark was "It's not the business of state government to support the war, but our state supports the men and women who are fighting this war". Far from saying the state government is against the war, she said the state supported the men and women fighting the war even if it was not the business of the state to support the war itself.

The AP did cover itself by claiming that "family members" made the charges. But no effort was made by the reporter to clarify or correct these claims, leaving the casual reader with a false impression of what was said.

UPDATE: While this story from The Pittsburgh Channel mentions that the family claimed multiple business cards were distributed, it also reports that Pennsylvania's Gov. Rendell repeated Ms. Knoll's assertion "that the state does not have a position on the war, and it supports the men and women who are fighting", though it doesn't say if the family believes the Governor's remarks were also "against the war".

Lt. Gov. Knoll reportedly left a phone message offering her apology before issuing a written apology where she explains that she often attends the funeral of soldiers killed overseas, and offers her business card so the family can contact her if they need any help.

UPDATE 2: Michelle Pilecki at the HuffPost has weighed in, correctly asking "Was the incomplete, undersourced story really worth rushing into print on Saturday?" It also seems the "family member" who sourced the story to the AP is a Republican activist in Pennsylvania. This wasn't mentioned in the original story when using this person's characterization of the Lt. Governor's remarks.

Week 3: Fitzgerald Feeling the Pressure?

Today's Wall Street Journal has a piece entitled "CIA-Leak Probe May Cause Bush Long-Term Worry" which discusses the possible political problems an extended investigation into the Plame case might mean for the President and his staff. It seems that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is starting to feel some pressure to wrap things up before the election season begins to heat up.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Week 2: Why Gonzales Was Skipped

A lot of people were surprised when President Bush rushed the announcement of his choice to fill the upcoming Supreme Court vacancy. They were even more surprised that Mr. Bush skipped over attorney General Alberto Gonzales in favor of the very white John Roberts.

Now there are stories coming out about Gozalez involvement in the Plame case. His 12 hour delay in officially notifying the White House may be a problem if reports of his informal conversation with Andrew Card turn out to be true. How many documents were able to be destroyed? We may never know.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Week 2: The Other Shoe Cometh

Lawrence O'Donnell, who never seems to miss an opportunity to remind us that he "broke the story that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source", makes a good point in his blog entry today. Not only have we only heard one kind of spin from Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, concerning the issue, but by the time we hear from the Special Prosecutor, the spin will be old news. Been there, done that. It will be interesting to see how the press reacts when it get this new news regarding what may have happened.

A Fulsome Editorial

The folks at Media Matters point out that the editors at the Washington Times should look up definitions themselves before criticising others for not doing the same thing. In their July 22 editorial supporting the Supreme Court nomination of John G. Roberts, Jr., the moonies editors lambasted Senator Schummer for not "looking up" the meaning of the word fulsom. If they had looked up the word themselves, the Times editors would have noticed the Senator's use was both correct and appropriate.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mitchell Manhandled

If you didn't see the spectacle in Sudan, you missed what seems to be a very nasty example of dealing with scoundrels. The affection shown by the people was in marked contrast to the way reporters and others were physically roughed up by the Sudanese government. I will be interested in seeing if the rather weak apology is enough, and if any agreements come from this.

Week 2: Oh by the way...

You may have missed these stories, since vital news about Brad Pitt, and the Aruba teen reward knocked them off the tube news.

Note 1: It turns out Valerie Plame's identity may have been marked as SECRET in a memo the Washington Post reports is central to the CIA leak investigation.

Note 2: It's also being reported that the testimony of Karl Rove and Scooter Libby may differ significantly from reporters who have testified in the Plame case. This may be important since false statements made during the course of an investigation might lead to charges being brought against those who made them.

Week 2: CNN Drinks the Kool-Aid

Well, it's been less than 48 hours since John G. Roberts Jr. was named as the next candidate for the Supreme Court, and I couldn't help but notice that CNN's politics page is devoid of any mention of Karl Rove. I guess the President's little diversionary tactic worked. That said, I couldn't help but notice CNN does have a link to Robert Novak.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

U.S. Sharing Nuclear Tech

The U.S. has agreed to share nuclear technology with India, even though that country hasn't signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Good thing there is no threat of nuclear war in that region.

Week 2: Hey, Look Over Here!!!

It seems I'm not the only one wondering why the President chose this moment to nominate John G. Roberts Jr. as the next Supreme Court Justice. Could it be new evidence regarding the Plame case? Or maybe it's how "Many Doubt White House Cooperation in CIA Leak Probe".

I've already heard NPR refer to the Rove Issue as if it were behind us. It will be interesting to see if the media can juggle more than a single ball at once.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Week 2: Bush Changes Stance

As controversy surrounding Karl Rove enters its second week, it shows no signs up letting up, despite the RNC talking points to the contrary. Matt Cooper was the big kahuna over the weekend, with everybody else parsing, or commenting on what he said.

Today, President Bush changed his stand and said he'll only fire anyone who has "committed a crime". As has been pointed out elsewhere, this is quite different than what was said previously.

Tancredo: Bomb Mecca if Attacked

One of the most important things I noticed after the recent bombings in London was how all the politicians and officials went out of their way to stress that this wasn't an Islamic attack, but an attack by murderers falsly cloaking themselves in Islam. I had hoped that the Brits could set an example for us here in the U.S.

Silly Me.

The AP is reporting that Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo suggested that a proper response to a nuclear attack would be to "take out their holy sites". The interviewer then asked "You're talking about bombing Mecca," and the Congressman replied "Yeah".

Even after the interview, when his spin doctors were busy spinning, the Congressman still didn't seem to know the difference between Islam, and its followers, and the terrorists which we are supposed to be fighting.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Day 5: No Golden Ring

Today we had the President literally flicking off questions as if "Swatting away an insect". Some are wondering if Scott should leave before Karl.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Day 4: Still Double Super Secret

The White House Press Corp aren't letting up on Scott McClellan regarding the previous (apparently false) statements he's made regarding Karl Rove's involvement in the Plame case. Mike McCurry has more sympathy than many for poor Scott. Harry actually knows why this is happening. And now, some elephants are getting nervous.

It's The War, Stupid

Some days I thank God for Daniel Schorr. Yesterday was one of those days. He reminds us the Plame Case isn't about Mr. Rove, or Mr. Wilson, or Ms. Miller, or Misters Cooper or Novak, or even Ms. Plame.

It's about justifying a war.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

No Rove, Day 3

Well, Scott McClellan is getting a lot of practice at refusing to comment on an ongoing investigation which he's commented on many times before.

GOP Rep. King: Shoot The Journalists

On Tuesday night, Congressman Peter King, a Republican from New York, told MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that journalists should be shot because of their reporting of the Plame case.
"And Joe Wilson has no right to complain. And I think people like Tim Russert and the others, who gave this guy such a free ride and all the media, they're the ones to be shot, not Karl Rove."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Prez Confident of Everybody

When asked today if the President retains confidence in Karl Rove, Press Secretary McClellan had this to say, twice:
Any individual who works here at the White House has the President's confidence. They wouldn't be working here if they didn't have the President's confidence.
How's that for a ringing endorsement. Mr. Rove has the President's confidence, just like the dishwashers and groundskeepers have the President's confidence.

White House Still Not Talking

Even after yesterday's press-room debacle, Press Secretary Scott McClellan is still refusing to comment on Karl Rove and his involvement.

Remember, Mr. McClellan felt free to give untrue statements when he previously commented on the case. But now that some facts are coming out about Rove's involvement, the President and his men are refusing to answer the most simple questions, such as "Will the President keep his word?"

Harry Potter Zaps Free Speech

People who may have legitimately, if prematurely, purchased the latest Harry Potter book are prohibited from talking about it. I'm not exactly sure how things work up there in Canada, but I guess the four days gained of silence is worth the sacrifice of the nation's civil rights.

Will Bush Keep His Promise?

Some people are wondering.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Photographers Keep Getting Busted

There's a posting today over at telling the story of a photographer being handcuffed, "interrogated" and later visited (at 3am) by law enforcement asking more questions. It's not clear from the posting whether any photos were destroyed or even if the camera was returned.

Actually, there's scant information in the posting and its veracity is uncertain. But this kind of thing has been happening around the country for a while. NPR has covered it, and there's even a Flickr group about prohibited photo taking. It seems some cops will ignore certain rules when enforcing the law. To them, taking photographs is apparently a threat to our nation and its liberties.

White House Now Refuses to Talk

After years of commenting on the Valerie Plame case, usually to deny any involvement, the White House today began stonewalling in a BIG way! When asked today about Karl Rove's apparent involvment in the case, White House spokesman Scott McClellan repeatedly gave answers along the line of "Again, you're continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation and I'm just not going to respond to them".

Clearly miffed, the reporters pointed out numerous times during this investigation that the White House was willing to comment. When a reporter asked "When did you change your mind", McClellan's response was "There came a point, when the investigation got under way, when those overseeing the investigation asked that it would be — or said that it would be their preference that we not get into discussing it while it is ongoing." This of course lead to the inevitable question, and the inevitable reply:

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

MCCLELLAN: Back in that time period.

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

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

So there you go. It seems the press may be on to something. One wonders when it will come out.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Desperate Drudge

Matt Drudge is labeling an email from Charles Fazio as "desperate", apparently because it asks people attending his MoveOn house party to dress nice, "stay on message" and says "We will not accept a extremist nominee."
In a desperate bid to sanitize his house party and control how its attendees would be perceived by the POST, the MOVEON host emailed talking points to his guests. A copy of those talking points was obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

Why is staying on point and not accepting an extremist nominee considered extremist? Maybe because Matt's so willing to obfuscate the point on behalf of his party's extremist nominees. Or maybe he was mistaking it for a different desperate memo.

Friday, July 08, 2005

12 Years of Last Throes

Mr Trudeau has it about right. Unfortunately.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pinochet Loses Immunity

A Chilean court has voted 11-10 to strip former Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet of any immunity for his role in the deaths of over 100 dissidents in the 1970's.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Homeland Military

The Washington Post is reporting the Pentagon is going to share data local authorities, including "plans to team military intelligence analysts with civilian law enforcement". Oh boy, troops at home looking for bad guys!!

Screaming Over the 2004 Election

Robert Koehler is an editor and columnist for the Chicago Tribune Media Service. His recent article, "The silent scream of numbers" has caused quite a stir. First, his own employer refused to run the story. Then they apparently ran an editorial against the column they refused to run. Koehler is apparently a bit miffed. "Basically, they wrote a rebuttal column criticizing my point of view regarding something that never ran in their newspaper in the first place"