Thursday, November 03, 2005

Morning copy 11.03.2005

Senate's closed doors

Opinion Journal states that Harry Reid deceives himself and others if he believes that the administration was pushing inappropriately for a war with Iraq:

In short, everyone who has looked into the question of whether the Bush Administration lied about intelligence, distorted intelligence, or pressured intelligence agencies to produce assessments that would support a supposedly pre-baked decision to invade Iraq has come up with the same answer: No, no, no and no.

Everyone, that is, except Joseph Wilson IV.

I went to the National Review yesterday to try and see how the right reacted to this closed door tactic. I was a little surprised to see Joseph Wilson bashing there, and now this? Jonah Goldberg from NRO mentions Harry Reid three times and Joseph Wilson A DOZEN TIMES, in an opinion about Reid's tactics and prewar intelligence. What the heck is going on?

The Hill reports that Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas will...

A day after a partisan clash erupted in the upper chamber, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said he aims to complete the second phase of the panel’s investigation of the use of prewar intelligence by Nov. 14.

Rove's job

Washington Post: White House aides and GOP strategists question whether Karl Rove should remain in his complex role within the administration. Scott McClellan's previous denials that Rove was involved in the outing of Valerie Plame leads these sources to question if the White House can move forward with Rove involved.

"Karl does not have any real enemies in the White House, but there are a lot of people in the White House wondering how they can put this behind them if the cloud remains over Karl," said a GOP strategist who has discussed the issue with top White House officials. "You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there."

Scott McClellan

New York Times: McClellan's credibility is at issue, at least with the press.

The outlines of his most logical defense - that he was misled by Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove and was relying on their assurances in stating that they had not been involved - seem clear. But whether he can keep the problem from dogging him and the White House in the meantime remains less clear.

It is possible that any statements made by Mr. Libby to Mr. McClellan asserting that he was not involved would be of interest to the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who accused Mr. Libby of a pattern of obscuring his role in the matter. Mr. Fitzgerald could also be interested in any similar statements made by Mr. Rove to Mr. McClellan.

Samuel Alito

Washington Post: A set of Alito's opinions on varied issues of civil rights has attracted the attention of the opposition.

But the third judge, Samuel A. Alito Jr., disagreed, writing that the hotel had merely committed "minor inconsistencies" in its rules for filling jobs and that it would be wrong to allow "disgruntled employees to impose the costs of trial on employers who, although they have not acted with the intent to discriminate, may have treated their employees unfairly."

Alito's dissent prompted a rebuke from his normally congenial colleagues. The law that bans employment discrimination, the other two judges wrote, "would be eviscerated" if courts followed Alito's logic.

An interesting lede in this New York Times story:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissents slightly more often than the typical appeals court judge, and his dissenting opinions are almost always more conservative than the majority's.

If you have a lot of time, you can read from these dissents. If you have way too much free time, you can read all of the dissents.

One key dissent was discussed between the nominee and a crucial Democratic Senator, New York Times:

Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said that in a private meeting he had asked Judge Alito about his dissent in the appeals court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The majority opinion in the case struck down a law requiring a married woman to notify her husband before having an abortion. Judge Alito, in dissent, would have upheld that provision.

"He said he had spent more time worrying and working over that decision than over any other decision he made when he was a judge," Mr. Durbin said.

The Los Angeles Times:

If Alito ascends to the Supreme Court, it again may be due in part to the lasting influence of his late father, a researcher for the New Jersey Legislature who was known for his penetrating mind and exemplary work — but also for never discussing his personal politics.

Voting on this nominee

Washington Times: Gang of 14 Democrat Ben Nelson (Nebraska):

"At this point in time, I have a comfort level that I'm satisfied with," he told reporters after meeting with Judge Alito yesterday. "I'm anxious to see the rest of the hearing process work and the whole confirmation process unfold."

The Gang of 14 meets today. Was Nelson sending a signal while leaving room to breathe?

Chuck Hagel, GOP Senator from Nebraska, supports the nominee.

Susan Milligan in the Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON -- Centrist senators who may decide the fate of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. are showing a reluctance to permit a filibuster of the conservative nominee, enhancing Alito's chances of being confirmed to the high court despite heated opposition from liberal and abortion rights groups.


The Los Angeles Times has a story about Democrats putting the war and war policy into public debate:

"The mood has really shifted," said Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), who in August became the chamber's first member to call for a troop withdrawal. "We are in a whole different period."

It should be noted that most Democrats only began to press this debate when the poll numbers were conducive to their argument.

The Washington Times recaps the more vocal opposition but warns:

Michael O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution defense analyst who advises Democrats on national-security issues, said it was legitimate for the Democrats "to raise the broader context" of the special prosecutor's indictment in the CIA leak investigation. "But it remains dangerous for any opposition party to focus on scandals by the governing party. ... Reminding voters what Republicans may have done wrong will not reach the level of getting the Democrats into the game."

Iraq's government is asking for former junior officers (up to the rank of major, so not so junior) to join the new military, New York Times.

Defense is finally putting together an IED task force, Los Angeles Times.

Scott Peterson is back in the Christian Science Monitor:

In the totality of violence in Iraq today, the northern Iraq attacks and subsequent arrests might seem little more than a footnote. But the fact that these militants are Kurds highlights a little-known history of how Islamist ideology first came to northern Iraq - and how today it is helping bolster the ranks of the insurgency.

Katrina Kontroversy

The USA Today's lede on "Brownie":

WASHINGTON — E-mails sent as Hurricane Katrina raged reveal that FEMA's then-director, Michael Brown, discussed his clothing and his need for a dog sitter but left unanswered urgent messages.

Congressman Charlie Melancon of Louisiana's 3rd has the emails and his analysis.

Federal spending not accounted for, Washington Post.

Budget cuts

Washington Post:

House Republicans are pushing to cut tens of thousands of legal immigrants off food stamps, partially reversing President Bush's efforts to win Latino votes by restoring similar cuts made in the 1990s.

Home heating

The Washington Times:

The Bush administration clashed with Senate Republicans yesterday over proposals to use oil company profits to beef up heating assistance for low-income households this winter.

Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said the administration opposes a proposal by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley urging oil and gas companies to devote a portion of their nearly $100 billion profits in the latest quarter to families who need the money to pay heating bills.


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