Friday, October 28, 2005

Ann Coulter on October 27:

COULTER: And as for Rove and Libby, I don't know. I don't understand why that would have any effect on the White House. He doesn't need Rove anymore. I feel sorry for Rove personally - I don't know what's going to happen. If he is indicted, I feel for him personally. It has nothing to do with Bush and the Republican Party. He doesn't need Rove again, and I never heard of Scooter Libby until 10 minutes ago.
So she's either stupider than she looks (She didn't know Scooter Libby? Bush doesn't need Rove?), or she's a liar. Or both.

To quote Hotline's Last Call: "Feeling left out perhaps, Marion Barry was indicted."

Libby Indictimified!
Rove not! (Yet?)


  • I love that CNN's "Libby Indicted" graphic is built around the picture of Libby on crutches. Not so scooty now, are you, Lewis?
  • It's also amusing that CNN was "now able to announce" Libby's resignation approximately ten minutes after John King announced, on CNN, that... Libby had resigned. "Situation Room," my ass.
  • There's a touch of anticlimax ("We waited twenty-four months for this?").
  • Rove's (and Cheney's, I suppose) non-indictment has got to be a big disappointment for those who were hoping to use this against the White House out in the red states. It's going to be a lot easier for the White House to separate itself from Scooter "Who?" Libby than it would have been for the White House to separate itself from Karl "The Architect" Rove. Damn you, Patrick Fitzgerald!
  • The last paragraph of the indictment press release: "The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." Pshaw.

  • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) on Rosa Parks:

    "Rosa Parks is not just a national hero, she is the embodiment of our social and human conscience and the spark that lit the flame of liberty and equality for African Americans and minority groups in this country and around the globe."
    I agree with Dodd that Parks represents far more than the sum of her personal heroics, and I believe that lying in honor is a fitting salute to a woman who so concretely embodies the ideals that Rosa Parks embodies. My only possible reservation is that I can't help but wonder if maybe five straight days of viewings (Saturday in Montgomery; Sunday and Monday in the Capitol; Monday through Wednesday in Detroit) will be harder on the family than necessary, and if the public's right to pay tribute to a national hero outweighs the family's right to grieve privately. That said, there seems to have been family-initiated discussion of lying in honor at the Lincoln Memorial, so perhaps my reservations are unfounded; if the family's okay with the extended public viewing, who am I to disagree?

    A little something to warm the cockles of Patrick Fitzgerald's heart:

    Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources.
    This comes out now? I guess the idea is to get it out of the way before the indictments come down, but Christ, talk about adding wood to a healthy fire.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    James Dobson's "inside information" seems to have been a little misleading.

    "I believe the president has made a wise decision in accepting Harriet Miers's withdrawal as a nominee to the Supreme Court," said Dobson, who had initially expressed support for the nominee. "Based on what we now know about Miss Miers, it appears that we would not have been able to support her candidacy."

    Ex-Sen. (and current priest) John Danforth, speaking at the Bill Clinton School of Public Service, denounces the evangelical right:

    "I think that the Republican Party fairly recently has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right," he said in an interview. "I don't think that this is a permanent condition, but I think this has happened, and that it's divisive for the country."

    He also said the evangelical Christian influence would be bad for the party in the long run.

    New dominant Bush strategy (in the absence of Harriet the Nominee): nominate Karl Rove. Indicting a White House adviser is one thing; indicting a Supreme Court nominee takes guts. Let's make sure this so-called "Patrick Fitzgerald" has the balls to really do a job.

    (And then, if Fitzgerald indicts Rove, withdraw the Rove nomination and nominate Fitzgerald himself. His integrity is unimpeachable!)

    Dominant Bush strategy #2: nominate a man of impeccable intelligence, of great moral fortitude, of unswerving Constitutional scholarship, whose nomination would at once quiet the evangelicals and prevent the Bush presidency from ever falling into difficulty again. That's right, folks... he's got to nominate himself.

    At the tail-end of the Times' Tuesday profile of Ben Bernanke, this nugget:

    Like Mr. Greenspan, [Bernanke] is a baseball fan, and an enthusiast about sports, sometimes disputing the methods used in the major leagues in calculating player statistics.
    Sabermetrics goes to Washington!

    I wouldn't have thought it possible, but I believe that I actually just lost a little more respect for John Tierney. (On my 1-to-10 scale of respect-having, Tierney has reached, like, -13.)

    But no one deserves to go to jail for leaking information to reporters without criminal intent. The special prosecutor was assigned to look for serious crimes, not to uncover evidence that bureaucrats blame other bureaucrats when things go wrong.
    "No one deserves to go to jail for leaking information to reporters without criminal intent"? No, I don't think that's quite true, my oddly photographed friend. If this whole to-do concerned the leak of some political strategy memo, I'd probably agree. But protected information is a whole 'nother ball of wax. There's a higher standard, and the burden's on the leaker to make sure that standard is met. (Tierney has clearly not been paying attention to Ripped-from-the-Headlines West Wing.)

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    Isn't this the rough equivalent of driving to the courthouse drunk to contest a DUI?

    Rep. Tom DeLay has notified House officials that he failed to disclose all contributions to his legal defense fund as required by congressional rules.

    Washed-up Tom Daschle fights to regain significance by implicitly promising a surprise at Iowa's November 5 Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Quoth an email from Daschle impresario Steve Hildebrand:

    "The Iowa JJ Dinner keynote address has typically been given by a major presidential candidate. This is a truly important event and one that I encourage you to attend in support of Tom."
    "Hint, hint."

    John Kerry saves Christmas:

    Sen. John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. should bring home 20,000 troops from Iraq over the Christmas holiday if the December elections are successful, and he urged further pullouts as power is handed over to Iraqi officials.
    I'm not completely convinced that a troop pullout is a good idea at the moment (though neither am I convinced that it is not; see Sunday's NYT article about Ramadi), but I have to admit that the idea of bringing them home in time for a jolly bit of caroling is karmically attractive. So many Tiny Tims!

    Unintentionally amusing headline from ESPN:

    "Panthers need OT, but extend Pens' winless run."
    "Panthers need OT." Pittsburgh hockey has reached a new low. No longer is the question, "Can a given team beat the Penguins?" The question is now, "Can a given team beat the Penguins without relying on the crutch that is overtime?"

    Hotline's On Call points to Steven Clemons's Washinton Note, which reports:

    1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.
    2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.
    3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow [Wednesday].
    4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

    Al Gore cracks wise at the University of Michigan:

    At the start of his talk, the audio-visual display didn't work, so he smiled at a technician and quipped: "Brownie, you're doing a hell of a job."
    This is good for two reasons: first, I like to see Al Gore being likable; and second, I like to see the University of Michigan being the butt of jokes.

    Kay Bailey Hutchison 0, Alec Baldwin 1.

    Sen. Hutchison backed off the "perjury technicality" talk this afternoon, probably as a result of all the heat she was feeling from that cagey Alec Baldwin. Way to go, Original Jack Ryan!

    (Excellent secondary link: the Washington Post compares Hutchison on Miers this past Sunday to Hutchison on Clinton in 1999.)

    The Washington Post profiles Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, who would appear to fall somewhere on that wacky continuum between "quaintly attached to the customs with which he was raised" and "nuttier than a squirrel's cheeks in winter." Engrossing read.

    Tina Brown, who I don't particularly like, makes a funny point (quoted by the Philly Inquirer's Amy Rosenberg):

    "The bleakest detail of Miers' resume is that her decision to accept Jesus Christ as her savior took place at the office."

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    A sad milestone for the Bush administration: Arnold Schwarzengovernor proves himself to be more comfortable fielding questions than the president is:

    But on Monday, Schwarzenegger - for the first time ever in his relatively short political career - took the stage to face dozens of unscripted questions from an audience not screened by his staff. The governor, in a primetime show televised on KTVU Channel 2, demonstrated his salesmanship and carefully sidestepped tough questions.

    Sen. Tom Daschle (D-Nowhere) is apparently still worth interviewing. His explanation for Bush's success:

    "George Bush, for reasons not entirely clear to me, is a very likeable person with the electorate."

    Say what you will about Ann Coulter; at least she's consistent. (-ly crazy.)

    Newspaper columnist Ann Coulter confessed that she's "not a big fan of the First Amendment" during an Oct. 20 speech in Florida, according to a[n] Oct. 21 story in the Independent Florida Alligator.

    The article also noted that Coulter "criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment. 'They're always accusing us of repressing their speech,' she said. 'I say let's do it. Let's repress them.'"

    Sure, she doesn't like the First Amendment, but she's got no problem with the Seventh, does she? ("Amendment VII. Congress shall make no law infringing on the right of mentally unbalanced political pundits to consume their own young - which we, the Framers, find to be reprehensible, but who are we to judge? - nor shall Congress seek to abridge said pundits' wingspan or talon-sharpness.")

    Rep. Patrick McHenry waxes inspirational about the House of Representatives:

    "This place is a much more sophisticated junior high school," 30-year-old Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said recently in an interview. "There are the nice guys that everybody likes, the jocks, the geeks, the bullies - they're all here. It's a representative democracy."
    At a White House lunch for new members, President Bush teased McHenry about his boyish appearance despite his prematurely graying hair. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., a former high school wrestling coach, put him in a playful headlock after a conference of House Republicans.
    "A playful headlock"? Hastert's like 8'4", 630 lbs. I mean him no offense, but let's be honest: there's no such thing as a "playful" headlock from a man that size.

    Matt Cooper (The Anti-Judy-Miller?) plans to write "a comedy" about the Valerie Plame affair.

    George Allen goes on Meet the Press with the apparent express intention of pissing off the White House:

    SEN. ALLEN: The president said [Miers] was the best qualified and somebody asked me, "Do you think she is?" I said, "No. I would have somebody else."

    [And later...]

    MR. RUSSERT: But if Mr. Rove - if Mr. Rove and/or Mr. Libby is indicted, should they step down?
    SEN. ALLEN: That'll be - I think they will step down if they're indicted.
    MR. RUSSERT: And they should?
    SEN. ALLEN: Yes, I do think that's appropriate....

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Jack Straw journeys to Alabama. Poor bastard.

    British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw joined Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a weekend tour of her home state to promote understanding of the Anglo-American alliance, but Alabamans struggled to name him.

    "You're the English guy," Joyce Delahoussaye said as she shook hands with the foreign minister of America's closest ally. "I've seen you on TV, and they said you were from England."

    "He's Mr. England," she said, introducing Straw to her son, Randy, as the two diplomats met displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina in Pelham.

    At a ceremony to unveil statues in Birmingham, speakers variously called the visitor Mr. Shaw and Mr. Snow.

    In the middle of a disheartening article about U.S. military progress in Ramadi, a marine captain goes Big Lebowski:

    "Some days you're the windshield," he said, "some days you're the bug."

    Sportscenter. Plenty of people will tell you that it's not what it used to be, and that's probably true. Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Craig Kilborn: the mid-nineties were kind to ESPN. But I still watch Sportscenter whenever I get the chance, and I want it noted in the record that I still find it to be pretty good. Even the less-than-stellar anchors (Stuart Scott, Linda Cohn) can be counted on to get off a decent joke or two amidst the schlock, and the elite (John Anderson, Scott Van Pelt, Mellow Neil Everett [as distinguished from Intense Neil Everett, who can be a bit much]) reliably make me chuckle five or ten times a show. Long story short: Sportscenter is still worth watching. But I seem to be burying the lead, because the real motivation for this post is to air a complaint.

    Here’s my beef: on days when there are a lot of games to cover (which is pretty much a given at this time of year), Sportscenter's producers frequently let the Top Ten fall by the wayside. And that’s just wrong. At this point, the Top Ten is almost as much of an institution as the show itself. It’s a terrible let-down to devote an entire hour to Sportscenter and still have to go to bed without the wrap-up-the-day feeling that comes with those ten nifty plays. Where else will I get to see Mike Lowell pulling the hidden-ball trick on unsuspecting rookies? Speedy college teams pulling quadruple reverses that lead to eighty-yard touchdowns? D-II basketball players dunking over other D-II basketball players? Soccer players scoring goals with their heads? Hell, hockey players scoring goals with their heads? And anything at all to do with hurling? And let’s not forget those wacky animals! I don't watch Good Morning America (which ought to have a comma in its title, but doesn’t), so Sportscenter’s Top Ten is the only place I ever get to see water-skiing squirrels or large dogs involving themselves in feats of derring-do.

    So let’s get it together, Sportscenter. I don’t care about the Coors Light Six-Pack, or the Budweiser Hot Seat, or the Miller Genuine Draft Sponsored Segment. I want to see high schoolers throwing the ball into the endzone from their own 15. Show me the highlights!

    Follow-Up (October 31, 2005): In honor of Halloween, Sportscenter just ran the Top Ten Trick Plays. I am sated.