Friday, August 31, 2007

 

Open Thread

Feel free to take more than a Day to Labor at your threads.

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Hail & Farewell

Going...
Happy trails to Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who announced his retirement today. The only possible upside for Republicans that this news might create is that it deprives Hillary Clinton of her strongest running mate: Former VA governor Mark Warner (no relation) is likely to run for the now-open seat, instead of being a vice presidential candidate. He's the odds-on favorite as of this writing.

Going...
Meanwhile, prayers for good health to White House Press Secretary Tony Snow who is leaving the job to continue his battle against cancer and spend more time with his family.

GONE?
Sen. Craig to make an announcement Saturday.

UPDATE: GONE!! Craig will indeed make it official tomorrow.

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Explaining AGAG's Departure

So, why did Alberto Gonzales stun the world with his abrupt departure a few days ago?

Perhaps, it was because he had been made aware that he was being investigated by the DOJ's own inspector general:
Justice Department investigators are examining the truthfulness of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony to Congress on the firings of federal prosecutors and domestic wiretapping.

The effort, disclosed in a letter released on Thursday, is a sign that political controversy over Gonzales' conduct will continue well beyond his resignation announced this week.

"The current attorney general is leaving, but these questions remain," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who sought
the examination.
Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said in a letter released by Leahy that concerns over the truthfulness of Gonzales' testimony to the committee on July 24 and other times would be covered as part of probes already under way.

"We believe that through those investigations and other ... reviews we will be able to assess most of the issues that you raise," Fine said.

What is most eyebrow-raising is that the IG wasn't even responding to Leahy's inquiry -- so much for this being just a partisan hunt: The office was already probing Gonzales.

Great. The attorney general flies the coop -- one step ahead of the law.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

 

Feed The Tree

We've been doing a little tinkering with the site feed here at RT, so if you receive this through an RSS feed or a news aggregator, you might want to update your settings.

Click on the appropriate link at the bottom of the left-hand column.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

 

Larry Craig's British Cousin



Hat tip to David Kurtz at Talking Points Memo.

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The Wars Come Home

At least their secondary effects do.

Cops in the DC metropolitan area start running low on ammo:
To varying degrees, officials in Montgomery, Loudoun and Anne Arundel counties said, they have begun rationing or making other adjustments to accommodate delivery schedules that have changed markedly since the military campaigns began in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Before the war, lag time from order to delivery was three to four months; now it's six months to a year," said James Gutshall, property supervisor for the Loudoun Sheriff's Office. "I purchased as much as I could this year because I was worried it would be a problem."

Montgomery police began limiting the amount of ammunition available to officers on the practice range a little more than year ago, said Lucille Baur, a county police spokeswoman. The number of cases a group of officers can use in a training session has been cut from 10 to three.

Gene Voegtlin, legislative counsel for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), said dozens of chiefs at a meeting of the organization two weeks ago agreed that scarcity of ammunition is a widespread problem. He said rifle ammunition, which is used by the military and many police agencies, was a particular concern.

"It mostly has to with delays where it's impacting training more than anything else," Voegtlin said. "The chiefs are doing what they can to adjust to it."

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

 

Open Thread (Buffalo Stance Edition)

No, I'm not talking about Neneh Cherry.

I'm in D.C. this afternoon at the National Press Club on a Brookings Institution-hosted panel discussing the latest Census Bureau-released poverty figures.

Mayor Bloomberg will be speaking about New York's anti-poverty initiatives.

Anyway, chat amongst yourselves. Goodness knows, there's much to talk about these days.

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Not To Be Judgmental...

...but honestly -- straight, gay or whatever, the only people who should be caught having sex in public restrooms are celebrities (or wannabes), high on coke and looking for a mention in Page Six.

Otherwise...ick.

UPDATE: Drudge's headlines...listed here only for their pun-ishing sensibility:

BROKEBACK BATHROOM: SENATOR BUSTED IN AIRPORT SEX STING...
CRAIG'S LIST: TERROR IN THE TOILETS...
His Own Private Idaho...

But the best bad pun goes to one of Ed Morrissey's commenters at Captain's Quarters:


Posted by watchingthenews August 27, 2007 7:20 PM

Just another example of GOP stall tactics.


This has got to be one of the weirdest summers on record.

UPDATE: A different take on the Craig episode, offered by one of Josh Marshall's readers and fill-in blogger. Gives fair-minded folk something to think about.

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"Made In China"

I admit that I'm conflicted.

A friend sent along this story over who should sculpt a monument for Martin Luther King, Jr. on the Washington Mall.

When my friend described the situation, my initial thought -- before reading the story -- was one thing: "Well, what's the big deal -- the French gave us the Statue of Liberty. Who cares that the sculptor of a statue of Martin Luther King is Chinese. I also remembered that King was heavily influenced by an Asian political figure -- Gandh and his philosophy of non-violence."

That said, after reading the story, my reaction was,"Hhmm....a statue of MLK on the Mall, that is essentially 'made in China.' I dunno, that strikes me as 'wrong', somehow."

I don't think the sculptor necessarily has to be black, but the idea of him being a Chinese national -- at a time when the Chinese are already buying up a healthy chunk of American real estate (and Treasury notes) bothers me.

So, tell me, am I being unnecessarily nativist -- or are certain aspects of America's cultural heritage appropriately off-limits to certain other nations/cultures?

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Monday, August 27, 2007

 

Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead

Well, it took a ridiculously long time, but "Fredo" finally packs it in. The "Perils of Pauline" tenure of AGAG comes to a close -- U.S. attorneys firings fiasco, the John Ashcroft hospital arm-twisting, the latest charges perjury, etc.

Given that just about every other high-ranking official under him had also left, there was hardly anyone else left to help him turn out the lights.

CNN is reporting that Michael Chertoff is the White House pick as a replacement. Appropriately enough, this occurs on the 2nd anniversary of Katrina.

UPDATE: It looks like Paul Bedard of U.S. News' "Washington Whispers" column was the first to break the news of Gonzales' impending departure. Oh, and one would be remiss not to overlook Josh Marshall's universe of web-sites for the breaking of the U.S. attorney's story 18 months back, which first brought scrutiny on AGAG.

UPDATE II: Madscribe and I were thinking on the same lines this morning, thus resulting in two AGAG posts. MS graciously took down his contribution, but there's more than enough room for AGAG bashing around here, thus, here is the Madman of Ohio's view:

The prayers of some RT regulars have been answered. Another rat, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has jumped off the deck of the sinking ship Bush II. Start placing your bets on who will be nominated and how the Democrats will talk a good game and then give Bush whatever he wants, anyway ...
--Posted By Madscribe to
RAGGED THOTS at 8/27/2007, 08:32:00 AM

UPDATE III: For a supposed "non-scandal", there's quite a roster of DOJ employees who've been jumped ship.

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A "First" Lady of Tennis

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of her historic achievement, Althea Gibson is honored tonight at kickoff ceremonies for the U.S. Open. Gibson was also the first black woman to win Wimbledon and the French too.

Sunday's Daily News has a nice profile of the woman and her legacy (and also touches upon the sad latter days of her life.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

 

"W" "W" II

Doug Bandow analyzes Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy. He doesn't like it -- and makes a very strong argument why no one else should either. A taste:
Of course, to back up his policy of endless war, Giuliani wants an even larger military, ten new combat brigades for the U.S. Army at least, as well as more bombers and submarines. He explains:

"For 15 years, the de facto policy of both Republicans and Democrats has been to ask the U.S. military to do increasingly more with increasingly less. The idea of a post-Cold War 'peace dividend' was a serious mistake – the product of wishful thinking and the opposite of true realism. As a result of taking this dividend, our military is too small to meet its current commitments or shoulder the burden of any additional challenges that might arise. We must rebuild a military force that can deter aggression and meet the wide variety of present and future challenges. When America appears bogged down and unready to face aggressors, it invites conflict."

In an essay filled with silly nonsense, this statement stands out as being uniquely stupid. Between 1980 and 2000 the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Warsaw Pact disbanded, Maoism disappeared from China, the former Soviet republics and Eastern European satellites gravitated towards America and Europe, and Vietnam opened to the West. As a result, the United States found itself allied with every major industrialized state as well as many former communist countries while, as Colin Powell famously put it, America's enemies were down to Cuba and North Korea. In this new world, Giuliani believes that the U.S. shouldn't have reduced military spending even a little?

Today the U.S. accounts for half of the globe's military spending. Europe spends far more than Russia on defense. South Korea vastly overmatches the North. Japan can, and is starting, to do, far more to ensure East Asian security. Just how much would be enough to satisfy Giuliani? Two-thirds of the world's military outlays? Three-fourths? Or should we shoot for a nine-tenths, just to be sure?

Moreover, Giuliani doesn't bother to explain where the extra troops will come from to fill his expanded Army. That service has had particular recruiting difficulties and has had to lower its standards, including granting thousands of "moral waivers" for enlistees with felony convictions. Is he prepared to conscript American young people if they don't share his enthusiasm for fighting the many wars he expects to wage around the world?

The problem is not an insufficient military, but too many commitments. Why are U.S. troops still stationed in Germany, South Korea, Great Britain, Japan, and more? Giuliani doesn't say. Yet he wants the U.S. to guarantee the security of more nations. NATO, he argues, should include "any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of location." Ah, like Nepal, Thailand, Mongolia, Morocco, South Africa, Fiji, and Chile? Is there any country which Giuliani would not have us defend, if they met his standards? Maybe we could bring in India and Pakistan together, and protect each from the other. Why not invite China and Russia to join? Then we could rename the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the North Atlantic North Pacific Treaty Organization.

Further, the U.S. should engage in less nation-building in fewer hostile lands, not more. In effect, Giuliani wants an empire, though he doesn't use that word. But that's a natural step for someone who apparently thinks that running the world is essentially the same as running a city. Explains Giuliani: "I know from personal experience that when security is reliably established in a troubled part of a city, normal life rapidly reestablishes itself: shops open, people move back in, children start playing ball on the sidewalks again, and soon a decent and law-abiding community returns to life. The same is true in world affairs. Disorder in the world's bad neighborhoods tends to spread. Tolerating bad behavior breeds more bad behavior. But concerted action to uphold international standards will help peoples, economies, and states to thrive. Civil society can triumph over chaos if it is backed by determined action."

Does he really believe that fixing failed societies is so simple? If so, should the U.S. look forward to President Giuliani stationing American forces around the globe to bring order? Let's see: Iraq is the equivalent of Harlem; Venezuela looks like the south Bronx; Nepal is Queens; Kosovo fits the financial district; Burma matches Staten Island; Indonesia counts as Greenwich Village. Alas, improving policing within a city neighborhood is a little different than attempting to restructure a foreign society, transcending national, political, ethnic, religious, and historic differences. One must hope that Giuliani doesn't believe what he says, but merely is trying to turn his lack of foreign policy experience into an asset.

The whole piece makes for a great read.

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