Thursday, December 08, 2005

Morning copy 12.08.2005

The war over the war in Iraq

Thomas DeFrank and Kenneth Bazinet in the New York Daily News report on rumors that Don Rumsfeld will step down from Secretary of Defense in early 2006:
A source close to the White House said Rumsfeld wanted out a year ago, after Bush's reelection, but neither he nor President Bush wanted his departure to appear to have been forced.
Yesterday, President George W. Bush delivered his latest speech in his campaign style push to restore confidence in the Iraq war and his administration.

Knight Ridder Newspapers, via the Denver Post, ledes that Bush's speech was "mildly upbeat" on Iraq economic progress. A graf of note: "Haider al-Fraijie, an economics professor at Baghdad's Mustansiriya University, offered a mixed assessment of Iraq's economy."

Julie Hirschfeld Davis, in the Baltimore Sun, notes the change in venue for this speech. Not only was this a speech for the policy analysts, but also: "The venue, a hotel ballroom, was a striking departure from most of Bush's other war addresses, which are usually delivered to cheering, uniform-clad military audiences."

The Washington Post reports on the two cities that Bush cited. "Nasty Mosul" and Najaf's militias:
The two important and politically charged cities showcase signs of progress for Iraq, as Bush described, but also security problems and other pressing difficulties for the U.S. mission and the new Iraqi government.
Craig Gordon, in Newsday, on the mix between security woes and reconstruction:
Several outside analysts also said Wednesday that Bush overstated the progress made by Iraq's economy. They said failures in the reconstruction program had severely set back U.S. efforts to secure Iraq, combat the insurgency and set the stage for U.S. forces to leave.
Martin Crut Singer, of the A.P. via ABC News, on economics and security:
"Until you can walk across the street without ducking, it will be hard to get the economy back," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.
Bush's speech. Rep. John Murtha's response.

A suicide bomber attacked a bus destined for a Shiite city in Iraq, killing about 30, A.P. via New York Times.

David Lightman, in the Hartford Courant, writes that the split in the Democratic party could harm their electoral bids in 2006 and 2008:
"The split has long-term negative consequences for the Democrats," said Washington Senate campaign analyst Jennifer Duffy.
The Associated Press reports that two brigades scheduled for deployment are about to be halted by the Pentagon. Is this an early step to reduce troop numbers?

A New York Times/CBS poll has Bush's approval rating back to 40 percent. His numbers remain troubling.

Katrina fatigue

Bloomberg News ledes with the lack of hurricane recovery statements by the president:
``The president can do better and should do better,'' said Republican Representative Charles ``Chip'' Pickering of Mississippi. ``The people of Mississippi and Louisiana need to know the administration is still with them.''
Budget and taxes

Jonathan Weisman, in the Washington Post, notes that Republican fiscal discipline in recent weeks will be outstripped by three tax cuts and a potential fourth cut.

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page writes that the 15 percent tax rate on dividends must be maintained for economic growth and so your returns from XOM and RDS are not sent to the government.

Robert Novak writes about the alteration in the Senate tax bill that would effectively raise taxes on U.S.' three Big Oil companies.

George Will has found a new entitlement: digital television.

Condoleeza Rice

Yesterday, Rice said it was not U.S. policy to allow government personnel to be cruel or inhumane in the treatment of captives. The New York Times writes that this does little to clear up the definitions the administration applies to these words, and the resulting tactics. Charlie Savage, of the Boston Globe -- which is owned by the Times, said that this could be a signal of U.S. policy change, or redefinition.

Rice will address this in more detail and other issues at a NATO meeting, A.P. via ABC News.

Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation

Fitzgerald addressed a grand jury in the investigation for the first time since late October, Washington Post.

Mark Warner

Popular Virginian Governor Mark Warner has been fundraising at a pace consistent with someone seeking the presidency, Washington Times.


Syrian President Bashar Assad hopes to head off U.N. sanctions by initiating talks with Israel, the Guardian.

Ann Coulter

The Hartford Courant's account of the hostile crowd that met Ann Coulter at UCONN.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

While Rice and government talk the talk, detainees will be getting released and the "horrible tales" of lions, wild dogs, dirty women's underwear on heads, and (oh, the horror of it all) PORK RIND EXPOSURE, will come out to a very gullible media and public.

8:56 AM  
Blogger zen said...

Have you heard the speculation about Rumsfeld being replaced by Lieberman. I say let him jump to a sinking ship if he so chooses.

Torture: It's almost refreshing to have Rice basically acknowledge that the US sends detaines to various, secret parts of the world for 'interrogation.' Places where the idea of torture is sure to happen. Wellalmost refreshing, it also illustrates how far the US credibility and moral high-ground has faltered.

How embarrassing is it that the US prisonor abuse is part of Saddam's defense?

5:37 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

zen, did you see the first paragraph of this morning update?

Joe Lieberman had a breakfast mano a mano with Rummy this morning.

8:02 PM  

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