Friday, February 03, 2006

(Late) Morning copy 02.03.2006

Red Sea tragedy

Potentially a thousand deaths in a ferry sinking, CNN.

The Republican Party

An upset for the choice of majority leader, as John Boehner of Ohio beats out Roy Blunt of Missouri.

The Hill:
His win signals a shift in the Republican conference and ushers in the first major change in the leadership since former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) retired at the end of the 107th Congress.

Thursday's vote was a rejection of the current leadership – if not Blunt himself – and comes after a campaign that unearthed major discontent within the conference. For the time being, it also ends the era dominated by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who helped mentor Blunt and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.).
Jim VandeHei and Shailagh Murray, of the Washington Post, write about the GOP conclave:
Boehner's come-from-behind victory after two ballots in a closed-door vote on Capitol Hill yesterday was partly a triumph of maneuver -- the kind of deft insider intrigue on which leadership races always hinge. But it was also influenced decisively by outside events, as Boehner tapped into members' election-year anxieties about the GOP's scandal-scuffed leadership.

What Blunt presumed would be his greatest asset -- his links to the current leadership's system of power and favors -- turned out to be a liability. The day's surprise conclusion also positions Boehner as the most likely next speaker of the House, in the event that Hastert steps down after one more election and Republicans retain control of the House.
Dana Milbank, also in the Washington Post:
In choosing John Boehner to be their new majority leader, House Republicans rejected a member of Tom DeLay's leadership team and resurrected a fallen Newt Gingrich lieutenant.
Some quotes of note...

Chicago Tribune:
"The desire for new leadership was the order of the day," said Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), as he emerged from the closed-door caucus in which Republicans selected Boehner (pronounced BAY-ner).

Explaining the sentiment against Blunt, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said, "Some people thought: Meet my new boss, same as my old boss."
The Boston Globe:
''Blunt's a good man, but he couldn't overcome the relationship to DeLay," said Representative Joel Hefley, a Colorado Republican who was dismissed as House ethics chairman after his committee formally admonished DeLay in 2004. ''While people wouldn't challenge DeLay -- [they] were afraid to do that -- [Boehner's election] shows that they're trying to get as far away from him as we can."
My favorite paragraph...

The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Boehner (pronounced BAY-ner), a personable, chain-smoking dealmaker, declared himself humbled by the outcome. Draping an arm around Blunt, he said: "What you're going to see us do is rededicate ourselves to dealing with issues - big issues - that the American people expect us to deal with."
Bloomberg News (headline): "Republicans Campaign Against `Borrow-and-Spend' Republicans"


Bloomberg News:
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations nuclear watchdog delayed a meeting expected to send Iran to the Security Council over its nuclear program to allow diplomats time for further negotiations.

Diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna will meet at 5 p.m. local time, after further talks on Iran, the IAEA said in an electronic message that was confirmed by an official.
The Baltimore Sun:
VIENNA, Austria // Iran formally informed the International Atomic Energy Agency yesterday that it will stop all "voluntary" nuclear cooperation with the agency if, as expected, the agency's 35-country board refers Iran's nuclear activities to the United Nations Security Council.
The Guardian:
The UN's chief nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, is calling on Iran to freeze nuclear fuel production for up to 10 years as a way of defusing the escalating confrontation between Iran and the west.
The Boston Globe (really LA Times):
TOKYO -- The intensifying crisis over Iran's nuclear activity has thrown a nasty diplomatic curve at Japan, where a big thirst for oil has collided with its self-image as the world's conscience against the spread of nuclear weapons.

A.P. via the Inquirer:
KABUL, Afghanistan - Al-Qaeda operatives are coming from Iraq to fight in the insurgency in Afghanistan, a provincial governor said yesterday after interrogating an Iraqi caught entering the country illegally.

Meanwhile, police said a suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up at an army checkpoint in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing five Afghans, three of them soldiers.

"There is a big group coming from Iraq," Nimroz Gov. Ghulam Dusthaqir Azad said. "They're linked to al-Qaeda and fought against U.S. forces in Iraq. They have been ordered to come here. Many are suicide attackers."
The Christian Science Monitor (similar story):
"The Taliban have been doing a lot of guerrilla attacks in the last year, but they didn't get any credit for that; it didn't create enough instability," says Mullah Abdul Salam Rocketi, a former Taliban commander who threw his support behind the Karzai government last year after being released from Afghan prison. "Now, with the suicide attacks, they have added a lot of instability and nervousness and anxiety to the people and the government, and now their name is bigger than it was before."

"But to me, it just shows the Taliban's weakness," says Mullah Rocketi, who earned his nickname during the Russian war for his ability to shoot down helicopters with rockets. "They couldn't do frontal assault. They couldn't do guerrilla attacks. All they can do is suicide attacks, and kill more of their own people."
ABC News headline for an A.P. story: "Bush Request Would Push War Total to $440B"

Bush's State of the Union

A.P. via ABC News:
At a 3M Corp. plant outside Minneapolis, Bush said the United States needs to embrace technological innovation and emphasize math and science education. That was a theme of his State of the Union address and one he intended to promote Friday in Albuquerque, N.M., and Dallas.

"Congress needs to understand that nations like China and India and Japan and Korea and Canada all offer tax incentives that are permanent," Bush said about the tax credit that expired Dec. 31.
The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 — President Bush supports the development of ethanol, wind power and other forms of renewable energy. So does Congress. But their goals differ in ways that compete for research dollars and are costing some government researchers their jobs.

About one research dollar in every five appropriated by Congress for the development of renewable energy sources is for a specific project inserted directly into the budget on behalf of a member of the House or Senate, and directed to a contractor or a university in the lawmaker's state or district. When ordered to pay for such pet projects, known as earmarks, the Energy Department reduces spending on similar projects at its own laboratories.

As a result, scores of staff members at the department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Golden, Colo., and at contractors that the lab supports are losing their jobs. Some people on Capitol Hill acknowledge that layoffs, which are to begin in a few days, seem strange, coming after Mr. Bush's proposal in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that the government spend 22 percent more on renewable energy.
NSA Spying

The Baltimore Sun:
Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV angrily accused the White House of obscuring the NSA program with "political smoke" and "selective release" of information. The administration's reluctance to provide details to Congress is "an ongoing, festering sore that is going to continue until it is resolved," the West Virginia Democrat warned.
The Boston Globe:
Yesterday, during a rare open hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Jay Rockefeller IV of West Virginia described the domestic surveillance program as the largest undertaking in the NSA's 54-year history. Rockefeller, the committee's ranking Democrat, is one of four members of Congress who regularly received briefings about the program. He also accused the Bush administration of ''selectively" declassifying information about the program, but offered no details.

''The intelligence community has become a public relations arm of the White House in recent weeks," he said. ''The selective declassification of intelligence information -- which has undoubtedly occurred in recent weeks -- in support of the administration's defense of the NSA program hearkens back to the troubling runup to the war in Iraq."
Michael Chertoff and blame

The Chicago Tribune:
"I'm kind of amazed you can write a report in which you reach your conclusions before you actually speak to the people who were involved in the decision-making process," Chertoff told reporters in his first public response to an analysis by the Government Accountability Office. "It's kind of jumping to conclusions before the facts were gathered."

The GAO report concluded that Chertoff and the White House failed to take decisive action after the hurricane struck, causing devastating damage to New Orleans and portions of the Gulf Coast. The cost of the disaster is still being assessed, but the Bush administration announced Thursday that it would seek $18 billion more for Gulf Coast hurricane relief, bringing the federal commitment to more than $100 billion.


Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Regarding the Red Sea ferry, the ship appears to be rather top heavy. At the most, I'd give her a 30 ft. draft, tops. That means the topside superstructure was taller, and it was probably highly susceptical to capsizing in rough seas.

Regarding the Iran affair: How would you handle it?

10:43 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

bassizzzt, your analysis on the ship appears to be right on -- capsizing with a too quick about face.

as for iran, i'm going to try and put something together this week. i'm pretty clueless on this one though, as a lot of what i see is a negative.

11:48 AM  

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