Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Morning copy 10.25.2005

Rosa Parks 1913 - 2005

In the Washington Post:

"Rosa was a true giant of the civil rights movement," said U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), in whose office Parks worked for more than 20 years. "There are very few people who can say their actions and conduct changed the face of the nation, and Rosa Parks is one of those individuals."

In the New York Times:

Her act of civil disobedience, what seems a simple gesture of defiance so many years later, was in fact a dangerous, even reckless move in 1950's Alabama. In refusing to move, she risked legal sanction and perhaps even physical harm, but she also set into motion something far beyond the control of the city authorities. Mrs. Parks clarified for people far beyond Montgomery the cruelty and humiliation inherent in the laws and customs of segregation.

CIA leak investigation

Triple byline of Johnston, Stevenson and Jehl in the New York Times' report of damaging notes and testimony in the case:

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.

Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post casts the CIA leak probe as part of a wider schism between foreign policy realists and the Bush Doctrine stalwarts. The former have made some notable noise of late.

Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus in the Washington Post study the early returns on the Joseph Wilson debate:

Wilson's central assertion -- disputing President Bush's 2003 State of the Union claim that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Niger -- has been validated by postwar weapons inspections. And his charge that the administration exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq has proved potent.

At the same time, Wilson's publicity efforts -- and his work for Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign -- have complicated his efforts to portray himself as a whistle-blower and a husband angry about the treatment of his wife. The Vanity Fair photos, in particular, hurt Plame's reputation inside the CIA; both Wilson and Plame have said they now regret doing the photo shoot.

Political lesson of the day: don't do Vanity Fair photo shoots, or any photo shoots, if you want to be taken seriously about a matter as grave as national security.

Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei explore on page 1 of the Washington Post how the Bush team plans to handle this difficult week:

Bush advisers are taking clues from the playbooks of former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom weathered second-term scandals.

The White House strategy will unfold over the next several days, starting with yesterday's announcement of a new Federal Reserve Board chairman and continuing today with a presidential speech on Iraq at Bolling Air Force Base. Anticipating a barrage of criticism when the death toll hits 2,000, Bush will try to put the sacrifice in perspective by portraying the Iraq war as the best way to keep terrorists from striking the United States again, the official said. He will make the same case in another speech Friday in Norfolk.

All-seeing Bill Frist

The New York Times editorial today:

There is more at stake than whether Mr. Frist violated securities law through insider trading or whether the advantageous timing was merely coincidental. Mr. Frist must answer to the American people for the fact that his statements before the sale were, at the very least, misleading.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the trustees of Mr. Frist's so-called blind trusts have written to him 15 times since 2001 describing sales and contributions to the trusts. While legal, those notifications make clear that "blind trust" is a red herring of a term for politicians to hide behind.

Bill Frist and hospital legislation also in the New York Times:

A review of Mr. Frist's legislative activities shows that while he has taken pains to keep HCA at a distance during his 11 years on Capitol Hill, he has also been deeply involved in legislation affecting his family's business. As far back as 1995, his first year in the Senate, Mr. Frist supported a budget bill that increased Medicare reimbursements to for-profit hospitals like those owned by HCA, which derives more than one third of its inpatient revenue from Medicare.

Ben Bernanke's fed nomination

Nell Henderson and Paul Blustein of the Washington Post provide the anecdotal lede of the day:

Something was amiss in the Oval Office. Ben S. Bernanke, President Bush's new chief economic adviser, had arrived to brief the president last summer wearing a charcoal suit, black shoes and -- gasp -- tan socks.

The socks prompted Bush to reach out and tug at Bernanke's trouser leg, playfully chiding him that he was not holding up the White House's sartorial standards. But Bernanke recovered quickly from his wardrobe malfunction. At another Oval Office gathering the next day, the president cracked up when a group of administration officials including Vice President Cheney showed up wearing tan socks that Bernanke had provided, a participant at both meetings recalled.

Harriet Miers

Republicans and Democrats (note that bipartisanship) have asked for documents related to Miers' time in the White House, New York Times:

"It's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Mr. Bush told reporters after a cabinet meeting, referring to the presidential right of executive privilege. "People can learn about Harriet Miers through hearings. But we are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office and say: 'Mr. President, here's my advice to you. Here's what I think is important.' "

In recent days, two Republican senators, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have publicly called on the White House to release the documents.

Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the committee, also requested the documents in a letter to Ms. Miers last week that asked her for fuller answers to a Senate questionnaire.

Those are four big names.

Conservatives have created two websites to increase "grass roots" opposition to the Miers' nomination, Washington Post:

The campaign marks a dramatic escalation in the battle over her nomination that has fractured Bush's conservative base. While right-leaning columnists and publications, including George Will and the National Review, have called for her withdrawal, the new efforts are the first direct attempts at turning grass-roots conservatives against Miers.

"This kind of activity is unusual," said a Republican lawyer working with the White House to support Miers. "It's hard to know what the impact is yet. Some of that probably depends on what is happening outside the Beltway."

Yes, David Frum was involved.


The draft constitution has passed, Xinhua got it on Google News earlier than CNN...

Ninveveh province, the third Sunni-dominated province, voted no to the US-backed charter with only 55 percent, falling short of a needed two thirds to beat the draft, said the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq.

Under Iraq's interim constitution, if two thirds of the voters in any three of Iraq's 18 provinces say no, the charter will be vetoed and parliament dissolved.

Another two Sunni-dominated provinces, Anbar and Salahudin, voted no to the constitution with 96 percent and 81 percent, respectively.

Two U.S. Marines were killed on Friday, CNN reports this results in the 2,000th fatality in Iraq.

Paul Hackett is running for Senator from Ohio, Los Angeles Times.


New York Times:

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 24 - The United States and France said Monday that they would push for Security Council action to demand that Syria end its obstruction of the United Nations investigation into the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri.

Jeffrey Fleishman in the Los Angeles Times:

Assad is solidifying support at home by projecting a defiant stance toward a U.S.-led campaign for possible international sanctions. His government also is quietly looking to negotiate an end to the crisis, which could mean altering its policies in the region and succumbing to Washington's demands that Damascus stop the flow of insurgents into neighboring Iraq, according to Syrian political analysts and opposition figures.

The Assad regime is on delicate political terrain, the analysts say. It must not appear to bow to the West but at the same time it can't afford to be further isolated and burdened with sanctions. The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet today to discuss possible action against Syria and persuading Assad to provide more information for the investigation into the truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 other people in February.

Detainee abuse

In the Washington Post:

The Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody.

The proposal, which two sources said Vice President Cheney handed last Thursday to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the company of CIA Director Porter J. Goss, states that the measure barring inhumane treatment shall not apply to counterterrorism operations conducted abroad or to operations conducted by "an element of the United States government" other than the Defense Department.

Did he just pick a fight with McCain?

New York Times:

Mr. McCain rejected the proposed exemption, which stated that the measure "shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defense and are consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party, if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack."

Spokesmen for Mr. McCain, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Goss all declined to comment on the matter Monday, citing the confidentiality of the talks.

Enterprise zones

Compassionate conservative economics analyzed in the Los Angeles Times:

Despite the creation of hundreds of local, state and federal enterprise zones that have bestowed billions of dollars in tax benefits on thousands of qualifying businesses over the last two decades, nobody has been able to demonstrate conclusively that the incentives actually work.

DeLay's leadership status

In the Hill:

With the case against DeLay now before the courts, the timing of a decision has become almost as crucial as the decision itself as some members of the House Republican Conference consider a leadership race to replace him - temporarily or otherwise.

"If [the case] goes past January, you'll get increasing pressure from within Republican ranks for a leadership race," said one House Republican who had given money to DeLay's legal defense fund but wished not to be named.

How the Dems got their groove back

The momentus debate in the Hill:

House Democratic leaders are holding a closed-door meeting with members of their caucus this afternoon to discuss a new slogan for the 2006 midterm elections: "Together, We Can Do Better" or "Together, America Can Do Better," according to Democratic sources.

Oh, heavens, what creativity. Here we come, 2006!!!1


Do you know what day it is?


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

"How the Dems got their groove back"

Or better yet, if they really want it, they should can Liberalism. It is dead, as well as the "leaders" that lead it. This is why Clinton was the first Liberal president in twelve years and why there will be another twelve (or more) years before you see a Democrat make it into office.

Maybe then, the Dems can be a real challenge to the Republicans.

9:21 AM  

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