Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Morning copy 10.18.2005


Voting irregularities (provinces with 90 percet "Yes" votes) will lead to an election audit. New York Times:

Some of the provinces, the official said, reported that 99 percent of the ballots counted were cast in favor of the constitution.

It is difficult to imagine why any Shiite or Kurdish political leaders would resort to fraud. Together the two groups make up about 80 percent of Iraq's population.

None of the provinces cited for a closer look had Sunni majorities, the official said, although there were reports of similarly lopsided votes against the constitution in some Sunni areas.

Juan Cole:

The provinces affected seem largely to be in the hands of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and it seems to me possible that SCIRI ballot counters may have been overly enthusiastic about the constitution. Personally, I think this phenomenon is a harbinger of things to come in the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

George F. Will talks Weimar Republic once again:

Perhaps. But from 1929 through 1933 the turnout in German elections was especially high, because so were the stakes. In Germany's turmoil the issues included which mobs would control the streets and which groups would be persecuted. In Iraq's turmoil the issues include, or are thought by many Iraqis to include, the same things.

The Bush administration deserves praise for overseeing the drafting and ratification of Iraq's constitution, another hurdle in the administration's transformative war to remake a region. But the administration should refrain from further strained analogies between Iraq today and America at its constitutional founding.

Hitch also does not like arguments by analogy though, and for good reason.

Hitch in Slate on media coverage, religion and ethnicity:

Actually, we are already hearing rehearsals of this stupidity. Discussing the possibility of cross-border tussles to deal with Syria's wretched, spiteful sabotage of the new Iraq, the New York Times kept tight hold of its only historical analogy and announced—in a news story, not a sidebar—that this was Cambodia all over again. And so it might just possibly be, if we were fighting the Vietcong in Iraq and if Assad were the cynical but neutralist Prince Sihanouk.


The Seattle Times carries this Dallas Morning News Story: "Miers expressed belief in constitutional right to privacy, Specter says".

But the real story is much more jumbled...

Her position on the topic appeared to gain some clarity when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., emerged from a nearly two-hour meeting with her, saying she told him she believes the Constitution includes a right to privacy.

He said in particular that she supported the Supreme Court's decisions in Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird, two cases that established a right of privacy for married and unmarried couples to use contraception.

The right to privacy enshrined in those cases was the foundation for the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a woman's right to end a pregnancy. Since then, legal discussions of privacy rights often serve as a proxy for the constitutionality of a right to abortion.

Last night, White House officials said Specter had misunderstood Miers; a short time later, Specter's spokesman issued a statement saying that the senator had misunderstood the nominee and that she had not taken a position on a constitutional right to privacy.

CNN has a great early morning advance of this story. Miers is even more of an enigma wrapped in riddle sprinkled with "WTF?":

Reacting to Specter's statements about his conversations with Miers on Griswold, Jan LaRue, chief counsel for the conservative group Concerned Women for America, said she was puzzled because Specter has a reputation for being precise about constitutional law.

"It sounds like he's being gracious. I mean, how could he get that wrong? It sounds funny to me," said LaRue, whose group has raised sharp questions about the Miers nomination. "That's artfully worded, isn't it?

Miller and Valerie Flame

Howard Kurtz on why it is so important:

But all of that still doesn't explain the intensity of emotion among those following every wrinkle of this unfolding investigation.

Then it hit me. It's the war, of course. We're re-fighting the war through this case.

After all, Mr. Valerie Flame, Joe Wilson, was accusing the White House of exaggerating the evidence for Iraq having WMDs--based on his CIA-approved fact-finding mission to Niger--when those "senior administration officials" went after his wife.

That is true. But, all things political are jacked up right now; we've been in a campaign mode since 2003.

The Chicago Tribune editorial page is not kind to the Grey Lady:

But the two Times articles leave little doubt that Miller and her editors were guilty of ill-serving their readers--and the search for truth. Maybe that's why, when asked what she regretted most about how the Times handled this episode, managing editor Jill Abramson offered a stinging reply: "The entire thing."

A few more links

DeLay rejected a plea deal, Washington Post.

Chief of Staff Andrew Card is the focus of this New York Times story:

Repeatedly, Mr. Card brushed aside any suggestion that he played an important role in deciding the president's agenda or defining the substance of his presidency. "I don't want to say this - I plead with you not to see this as false humility, because I'm trying not to do that. But my job is not about me," he said. "It's my job to facilitate the president's ability to get the best out of his staff."

Yet it is the staff that has been so problematic in the second term. It took Michael D. Brown weeks to resign as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. In the meantime, Mr. Card rushed back from his vacation home in Poland, Me., to try, unsuccessfully, to contain the damage.

The Janjaweed have turned on the Sudanese government, New York Times.


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