Politics: January 2004 Archives

So that's where she went! Ana Marie Cox is now editing the latest web site in the "Gawker media empire": Wonkette. It's described as

an online roundup of gossip from Washington DC and the US political arena.

Maybe it's what George magazine should have been. I can't believe I just wrote that.

In the Boston Globe, via Atrios:

Republican staff members of the US Senate Judiciary Commitee infiltrated opposition computer files for a year, monitoring secret strategy memos and periodically passing on copies to the media, Senate officials told The Globe.

From the spring of 2002 until at least April 2003, members of the GOP committee staff exploited a computer glitch that allowed them to access restricted Democratic communications without a password. Trolling through hundreds of memos, they were able to read talking points and accounts of private meetings discussing which judicial nominees Democrats would fight -- and with what tactics.

The office of Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle has already launched an investigation into how excerpts from 15 Democratic memos showed up in the pages of the conservative-leaning newspapers and were posted to a website last November.

With the help of forensic computer experts from General Dynamics and the US Secret Service, his office has interviewed about 120 people to date and seized more than half a dozen computers -- including four Judiciary servers, one server from the office of Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and several desktop hard drives.


Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs.

Citing "internal Senate sources," Novak's column described closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees.


Note that Robert "outing CIA agents" Novak is involved too.

Spread the word. This doesn't seem to be showing up on very many news websites yet.

If you only get one political/news email a day, make it the daily "Progress Report" from the Center for American Progress.

A sampler from today's mailing:

"In terms of the question what is there now, we know prior to our going in, that he spent time and effort acquiring mobile biological weapons labs." - Vice President Dick Cheney, NPR 1/22/04


"We have not yet been able to corroborate the existence of a mobile biological weapons production effort.
- Kay Report for the CIA, 10/2/03

The Bush regime doesn't even have to pretend to care about appearances any more. Americans don't seem to care.

From the LA Times:

Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.

But Scalia rejected that concern Friday, saying, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."

Federal law says "any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned." For nearly three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal whether he met with energy industry officials, including Kenneth L. Lay when he was chairman of Enron, while he was formulating the president's energy policy.

[via TalkLeft]


The latest from David Rees is now up.

Also, he'll be doing a short presentation tonight. It will mark the public debut of the new comic, "Adventures of Confessions of Saint Augustine Bear."

Cafe Barbes
376 9th Street
Park Slope, Brooklyn
(718) 965-9177
7:30 PM

Howard Fineman wants to remind readers that the "Judeo-Christian" phrase used by politicians isn't really very Judeo. This excerpt of an interview with Howard Dean is from Newsweek, not a religious publication. I'm, surprised he didn't ask, "How do reconcile that with having a Jewish wife and children?"


Q. Do you have a deadline for removing U.S. troops from Iraq?

A. Absolutely not. I think that would be a big mistake. To remove troops prematurely, Al Qaeda—which was not in Iraq, but is now—will set up shop in Iraq and present an enormous national-security danger.

Q. Do you see Jesus Christ as the son of God and believe in him as the route to salvation and eternal life?

A. I certainly see him as the son of God. I think whether I'm saved or not is not gonna be up to me.

Q. Do you have a favorite Bible passage or book or theologian?

A. I like the Book of Job.

Q. [Laughs] Does it strike you more personally after this campaign?

A. I'm feeling a little more Job-like recently.

Note that last line. Newsweek/MSNBC chooses to use a pull-quote that says:

'I'm Feeling Like Job'


UPDATED: I added a link to the interview, and added the question before the Jesus one to show that it seems like a non-sequitur to suddenly ask about his belief in Jesus.

Feel free to email the editors and Newsweek and ask them about the propriety of theological questions for presidential candidates.

A few juxtapositions, for your reading pleasure:

From the NY Times front page today (emphasis mine):

Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.

For months, administration officials have worked with conservative groups on the proposal, which would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain "healthy marriages."


The proposal is the type of relatively inexpensive but politically potent initiative that appeals to White House officials at a time when they are squeezed by growing federal budget deficits.


Dr. Horn said that federal money for marriage promotion would be available only to heterosexual couples. As a federal official, he said, he is bound by a 1996 statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for any program established by Congress. The law states, "The word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."

But Dr. Horn said: "I don't have any problem with the government providing support services to gay couples under other programs. If a gay couple had a child and they were poor, they might be eligible for food stamps or cash assistance."

Via TalkLeft, some excerpts from testimony in Neil Bush's divorce trial:

Bush: "I had sexual intercourse with perhaps three or four, I don't remember the exact number, women, at different times. In Thailand once, I have a pretty clear recollection that there was one time in Thailand and in Hong Kong."

Brown: "And you were married to Mrs. Bush?"

Bush: "Yes."

Brown: "Is that where you caught the venereal diseases?"

Bush: "No."

Brown: "Where did you catch those?"

Bush: "Diseases plural? I didn't catch..."

Brown: "Well, I'm sorry. How ... how many venereal diseases do you suffer from?"

Bush: "I've had one venereal disease."

Brown: "Which was?"

Bush: "Herpes."

Brown then interrogates Bush's about his various sex partners:

"Did you pay them for that sex?"

Bush: "No, I did not."

Brown: "Pick them up in a sushi house?"

Bush: "No. ... My recollection is, where I can recall, they came to my room."

Brown: "Do you know the name of that hotel? I may go to Thailand sometime."

FY 2002 Federal spending for the National Endowment for the Arts: $95,835,000.

Brad DeLong, Ph .D. is reading Suskind's The Price of Loyalty so you don't have to. Go check out his weblog. It's good to read commentary from a good economist on the book.

As Pandagon tells us, the National Review is selling a college guide written by morality maven Bill Bennett.

Buy it for those you love so that they know what schools NOT to attend.

I meant to do this earlier, but I have added The Blogging of the President: 2004 to my blog links page.

Matt Stoller, of To The Point -- he started blogging because of me! -- has a great interview with an American reporter in Iraq.

You know it's time to get nervous when Warren Buffett starts warning about our trade deficit and says

Through the spring of 2002, I had lived nearly 72 years without purchasing a foreign currency. Since then Berkshire has made significant investments in—and today holds—several currencies. I won't give you particulars; in fact, it is largely irrelevant which currencies they are. What does matter is the underlying point: To hold other currencies is to believe that the dollar will decline.

Both as an American and as an investor, I actually hope these commitments prove to be a mistake. Any profits Berkshire might make from currency trading would pale against the losses the company and our shareholders, in other aspects of their lives, would incur from a plunging dollar.

But as head of Berkshire Hathaway, I am in charge of investing its money in ways that make sense. And my reason for finally putting my money where my mouth has been so long is that our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country's "net worth," so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate.

In my latest Amnesty International magazine, there is a brief article about the fact that Patrick Stewart funds scholarships for students interested in working on human rights issues. For eight years he as funded about 20 students annually, with grants up to $1800. Cool.

This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from January 2004.

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