How angry did Bob Dole get over Scott McClellan’s new, dishy memoir of his days in the White House? Dole forgot to use the third person, that’s how angry.
The 1st time in history?
How angry did Bob Dole get over Scott McClellan’s new, dishy memoir of his days in the White House? Dole forgot to use the third person, that’s how angry.
Chi Mak, who worked for a US company with several Navy contracts, was convicted last May of trying to export intelligence about silent submarines in a plot that involved four members of his family. (Emphasis added)
A judge has ruled the state must turn over e-mails to a man who wants to see messages sent between his wife and a male co-worker at a state office.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd granted Stephen Malmer's open-records request Monday after the state Attorney General's Office said the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet had violated the law by refusing to the release the e-mails.
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And move them out...
U.S. deserters lose bid for Canada refugee status | Reuters.ca
Two Americans who deserted the U.S. Army to protest against the war in Iraq lost their bid for refugee status in Canada on Thursday, and the Canadian government made it clear they were no longer welcome. The Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear appeals from the two men, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, over decisions by immigration authorities -- backed in two subsequent court rulings -- that they were not refugees in need of protection. Opposing the war on the belief that it was illegal and immoral, the two deserted when they learned their units would be deployed to Iraq, and came to Canada.But, too bad, so sad, they can't stay. How's Leavenworth sound?
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Canada's watching you:
As Canadian security agencies scrambled to arrest an alleged Russian spy this month, President Vladimir Putin landed by helicopter atop the new $400-million headquarters for one of his country's intelligence agencies.
Inspecting the palatial building northwest of Moscow, he reportedly paused to fire a few pistols in the built-in firing range, before proudly pronouncing it “the best-equipped complex that any intelligence agency in any country has.”
Halfway around the world in Montreal's Trudeau Airport, authorities were keeping a lookout for an ostensible Canadian citizen by the name of Paul William Hampel. He had been flagged as an “illegal” and a serious threat to national security.
His arrest, based on information gathered by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, amounts to a clear message from Ottawa to Russia and other spying nations: We're watching you and we know what you're doing.
I think I speak for everyone when I say, "People are spying on Canada?"
One of the most common complaints that I hear about traffic light cameras is that they are supposedly a privacy violation. I've never understood that. How can you posibly have a reasonable expectation of privacy on a city street? Afterall, if the city had put a cop on the corner, there would be nothing wrong with that. I suspect that these people's real problem is that the camera doesn't make judgments and can't be reasoned with.
My only real problem is that the camera can't tell the police who was driving the car. They simply see the license plate and look up who owns the vehicle.
However, I wasn't thinking of this issue:
A SOUTH Australian man has been flooded by NSW traffic fines after hundreds of alleged traffic fine evaders claimed he had been driving their car at the time.
NSW Police yesterday said they were investigating after nearly 240 people, seeking to escape traffic and parking fines, falsely claimed one of two people were driving their vehicle at the time of the alleged offence.
Police said they had found the man's name on at least 140 statutory declarations sworn by drivers between the end of 2002 and May last year, The Australian reported today.
Good luck dude.
... that the main reason this story about a protest of the recent Mexican Presidential election interested me was that the protester pictured looks more like a professional wrestler. For some reason leftists seem to think costumes get their point across better.
I wonder if they had any giant puppets.
*** Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson! Tax lingo ahead! ***
I was reading my tax updates today and came across this:(subscription site)
Other groups, however, like the National Taxpayer Union, are pushing for a vote sooner rather than later. Earlier today they circulated a memo to their members asking them to contact their respective senators and “demand” they support full repeal of the estate tax. They listed numerous reasons why such action should be taken.
“It discourages saving and asset accumulation and encourages wasteful spending,” the group wrote. “It wastes the talent of able people, both those engaged in enforcing the tax and the even greater number engaged in devising arrangements to escape the tax. The death tax is unfair and immoral, but due to Senate inaction, it remains in effect. We need taxpayers to speak out now and to tell their senators that it is high time to kill the death tax once and for all! Please speak out today!”(Emphasis added)
Now, I happen to oppose the estate tax (despite the fact that it is a revenue generator for me), but I really don't understand where people are coming from when they state that the tax, not as it stands now, but in general, is immoral. I readily concede that current rates which hover around 50% for federal taxes alone could be immoral. (As they amount to state sanctioned theft.) However, I fail to see how the tax, as a concept, is any more immoral than any other tax.
Does anyone have any ideas?
For some reason when things are hectic at work, and consequently in need of more sleep, I tend to get so wired at night that sleep becomes almost impossible. I have no idea why this is. However, it does give an excuse to drink Mountain Dew the next day.
I live in Oklahoma. Based on the polling data I've seen, I would guess that if Fox News aired a video of George Bush signing a deal with Satan and Rush Limbaugh announced that Bush was really the reincarnation of Hitler Bush would still win by 8 points or so. The consequence of this is that the only time I've seen a presidential campaign ad since the Democratic primary was when I went to Boston a couple of weeks or so. So there is a benefit of living in a state where people vote in lock-step. (Well, not really. In other races Oklahomans tend to vote with their hand out.
That reminds me, the Democratic candidate for Senate, Brad Carson, has run a few ads that basically boiled down to, "Yes, there's a D by my name, but I promise not to vote like that!" Another interesting point is the ad in which Carson's wife says she's not sure which is worse; was it Tom Coburn calling her husband evil, or calling him liberal.
I haven't seen the context of the evil thing, but based on what I've heard I strongly suspect it was taken out context. I've seen other quotes in other ads that I know for certain were out of context. As for the liberal part, Carson has earned a life time rating of 42 from the American Conservative Union. That sounds liberal to me, although not strongly so. Coburns claim that Carson is "more liberal" than Ted Kenedy, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton is there for totally absurd.
How do you lose a presidential candidate?
One of Vladimir V. Putin's challengers in next month's presidential election is missing, and the police and security services announced today that they had begun a search for him.
Ivan P. Rybkin, a former Parliament speaker and national security adviser under Boris N. Yeltsin, has not been seen or heard from since Thursday evening, raising fears among his family and campaign aides that something dire had happened to him.
"We are trying not to let such ideas come to mind," said Aleksandr V. Tukayev, a campaign official and the deputy chairman of Mr. Rybkin's party, Liberal Russia, "but it is hard not to think about it."
Russia's politics have grown increasingly dark, which isn't a good sign. Apparently 2 other prominent members of Rybkin's party have been murdered and he has now vanished.
Further, probably the only thing keeping Putin himself from coming under suspicion is that Rybkin was polling lower than any other candidate.
I'm not optimistic about the future of democracy in Russia.
At least a little bit.
President Bush will propose a $2.3 trillion budget on Monday that backs away from some of the major spending and tax initiatives he supported in prior years, administration officials say.
Constrained by big budget deficits and political realities, the officials said they would retreat on some of their own ideas and oppose others favored by Republicans in Congress.
Mr. Bush will try instead to lock in some of his prior victories, by pressing Congress for a permanent extension of most of the tax cuts adopted in the last three years that were set to expire over the next seven years. He says the tax cuts foster economic growth, which helps create jobs. But many Democrats say the tax cuts are fiscally reckless and widen the gap between rich and poor.
What about specifics?
Administration officials said Mr. Bush would not insist on his earlier proposal to overhaul Medicaid, would not push for a big expansion of retirement savings accounts and would not back tax incentives for energy production that he supported last year.
In addition, they said, Mr. Bush will oppose extending a temporary tax break that greatly accelerates the rate at which businesses can depreciate new equipment. The tax provision was enacted in 2002 to stimulate the economy and manufacturers want to retain it. At the same time, the White House is gearing up to oppose Republican plans in Congress for highway spending that far exceed what Mr. Bush wants.
Hmm, it seems to me that he's giving up more tax cuts than spending increases. Although I must say that I can't really complain about losing the depreciation benefit the article speaks of. This is what the code calls a "special allowance" and what practitioners usually call "bonus depreciation." During 2004 this will allow businesses to deduct in excess of 50% of the cost of new equipment, and some buildings, in the first years. This is a sweet deal and I've got one client who's going to pay close to $200,000 less in taxes than he otherwise would have. This is obviously good for business, but it's hard to justify on an ongoing basis. Our tax system is supposed to measure income and the "special allowance" has about as much to do with the company's actual income as does the color of the CEO's car.
This is a small favor to be sure, but it's the first sign of fiscal restraint Bush has shown in a long time. It's a start. (I hope.)
— Liberal activist and comedian Al Franken helped eject a boisterous heckler from a crowded Howard Dean rally at the Palace Theatre Monday, the theater’s manager said yesterday.
The heckler began yelling from the rear of the theater while the Democratic Presidential hopeful was taking questions from the audience, theater manager Peter Ramsey said.
Two members of Dean’s security team immediately moved in on the man, who shoved and elbowed them, Ramsey said.
“He was screaming. He was out of control,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said he went over to help calm the situation and also got elbowed and pushed.
“All of a sudden, I looked to my right, and Al Franken was grabbing onto this man’s back,” Ramsey said.
“He (Franken) gave him a hefty Patriots block. He should be a Patriot,” Ramsey said.
Keep reading. The story as Ramsey tells it is truly bizarre. It is also nothing at all liked the NY Post report I linked to yesterday. As Ramsey tells the story, Franken actually comes out sounding pretty good. (Although his freedom of speech remarks are still totally off base.)
Curiously, in this version Franken apparently helped trying to restrain this protestor after the guy elbowed him in the face and knocked off his glasses while fighting with security guards. That makes it sound like it had very little to do with protecting free speech (as Franken claimed) and everything to do with helping to contain a public menace.
Even in this version, it doesn't appear that the protestor was doing anything wrong until the security guards came for him. However, this event was in a private theater (another fact that the Post left out) which means that Dean's guards had every right to kick him out even if his only offense was yelling at Dean.
I suppose it's entirely possilbe that tommorrow we'll get another version of events that would cast Franken in a bad light again, but there's quite a bit of detail in this version that just doesn't sound like you'd think to throw in if you were just making it up.
I find it very odd that this story by Ramsey makes Franken sound like a hero while the way Franken told it to the Post made him sound like a raving lunatic. What happened? Maybe Franken was trying to make himself sound tough and cool and it just came out wrong. Maybe the Post left out some of Franken's version. I really don't know how to account for the discrepancy.
Meanwhile, it appears I (and plenty of others) owe Franken an apology for accusing him of assault and battery. I stand by every thing I said. If the facts were as the Post reported them (which was all the data I had) then Franken's actions would be indefensible. However, based on new evidence it appears that the Post report left much to be desired. If all Franken did was help security guards retain a protestor who'd gotten violent, then he did exactly the right thing and is to be commended.
Although if he gets in a scrape like this again he should probably let someone else tell the story.
Update: I note that the Kansas City Star's report sounds a lot like the Post report.
There are some details that were in the Post's report that I missed. I didn't miss them in the Star. They make things harder to understand still. Both the Post and the Star say that Franken put the guy in a bear hug from behind and slammed him to the ground. Franken himself said, ""I got down low and took his legs out." I'm having trouble seeing how those two descriptions in the same story can possible jive. Taking a guys legs out usually means hitting them in the legs in such a way that they fall, not picking them up and slamming them to the ground. And none of that explains why neither the Post nor the Star mention the two security guards of the fact that the guy had already hit the theater manager.
Meanwhile, this CNN report sounds a lot closer to the theater manager's version. It also describes a similar event at a Lieberman rally (sans Franken) as well as LaRouche heckler's at a John Kerry event. (Which is really odd when you consider that the LaRouche guys at the Dean event reportedly said that only LaRouche and Kerry were "telling the truth."
I'm beginning to wonder not just what happened, but if any one knows what happened. Then again, it may not much matter what really happened. The story now appears to have a life of it's own as satirsts have begun to unload.
On a final note, maybe, I have a semi-unrelated thought. Franken claims he's not a Dean supporter, so what exactly was he doing there? Did he show up to not support Dean. How many celibrities show up at the political rallies of people they're not supporting? Wouldn't his mere presence there be taken as an endorsement?
And why are LaRouchies so crazy? Is it genetic, or something in the water?
Another update: OK, so I wasn't done. GOPUSA has this quote from Tim Russert:
Interestingly, one of the witnesses of the brutality shown by Franken was NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.
"One of the Lyndon LaRouche guys got up and started screaming and yelling," Russert stated on the Don Imus radio show on Tuesday. "The press guy for Dean tried to grab onto him and remove him, and he couldn't do it."
Russert said he was thoroughly surprised by what he saw next.
"All of a sudden, Al Franken jumped out of the media gallery, ran down and grabbed this guy on the leg and started wrestling him to the ground," Russert recalled. "It was unbelievable. He was really into it."
They also report that the police were called, but declined to arrest Franken.
Russert makes no mention of security guards or the attack on the theater manager, instead he mentions "the press guy for Dean" trying to restrain the guy. The stories I mentioned before don't mention the police being called.
Granted, this last report is from a source with axe to grind, but that doesn't mean they're not telling the truth. (And I seriously doubt they'd make up the Russert quotes as that's just to easy to check. Please, no wheels within wheels arguments here. If I'm wrong, prove it to me.)
This version does explain why Franken was there. It says he was in the media gallery. Although that would imply he was there to report on the rally and I wasn't aware that he'd been hired as a reporter. (Commentator yes, but reporter?)
Eduard Shevardnadze has resigned:
TBILISI, Georgia - Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, under increasing pressure for weeks over fraud in parliamentary elections, resigned Sunday, opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili said.
The Interfax news agency meanwhile quoted Shevardnadze as confirming the resignation, saying "I consider that it is necessary to do this."
News of the reported resignation sparked roars and cheers and excited dancing among the tens of thousands of opposition supporters gathered outside the parliament building, which the opposition seized a day earlier, forcing Shevardnadze to flee the building as he attempted to open the first session of the new parliament elected in the widely denounced Nov. 2 voting.
"The president has accomplished a courageous act," Saakashvili said in remarks shown on Georgian television. "By his resignation, he avoided spilling blood in the country ... History will judge him kindly."
"Velvet Revolution" appears to have been more than just words. In matter of 3 weeks the opposition was able to force Shevardnadze's resignation without firing a shot. I'm still not sure what to make of their political objectives, but their insistence on doing this nonviolently has got to be commended. Likewise, the opposition leaders made perfectly clear that they didn't want a personal vendetta against Shevardnadze and now that he's resigned they seem to be very gracious about it.
It remains to be seen whether this will be good for Georgia or not, but the fact that very little violence was done and very little property was destroyed gives them a good head start.
At the end of this story, I saw some new details (at least new to me):
Pro-government lawmakers were thrown out of parliament -- and Shevardnadze was hustled out of the chamber by bodyguards. "I will not resign," he vowed outside the building as he boarded a vehicle and was driven off, escorted by troops in riot gear.
He later went on national television, surrounded by uniformed officers of the internal security forces and declaring a 30-day state of emergency. "Order will be restored and the criminals will be punished," he vowed.
While the interior minister -- who is in charge of police -- vowed loyalty, there were signs of dissent elsewhere in the security services.
Georgia's top security official, Tedo Dzhaparidze, acknowledged Friday that the election had been fraudulent and said he favored a new parliamentary vote.
On Saturday night, independent Rustavi-2 television broadcast a statement from a military commander who said he would not obey if ordered to move against protesters.
It's looking more and more like there really is going to be a farily bloodless revolution.
Tory membership numbers have started rising dramatically since Michael Howard was elected party leader.
Since Michael Howard took over the Conservative Party 17 days ago, 6,000 members have been recruited, party officials said yesterday. The surge in membership was the biggest since the early days of Margaret Thatcher's government, they claimed.
Liam Fox, the party's joint chairman, said: "We are beginning to experience the kind of increase in membership we haven't seen since the early 1980s. People are saying that at last there is an alternative party that has got its act together."
Tory membership had fallen by more than 20,000 to about 300,000 under Iain Duncan Smith. The influx, some of whom are former members, comes as Labour's membership is believed to have slumped from a peak of more than 400,000 in 1997 to below 280,000, close to where it stood when Tony Blair became leader with the promise to create a mass party.
Now as long as the Conservatives remember that they're supposed to be, well, conservative we might be seeing the dawning of a brighter day across the pond.
The Georgian government has accused the opposition of an, "armed coup d'etat." However none of the reports I've seen have mentioned the protestors being armed and their hasn't been any real violence. In fact, many of the opposition leaders have made a big deal about their seizure being bloodless.
The claim of armed violence seems to be nothing more than crass propoganda. I'm becoming more suspicious of the Georgian govermnet all the time. That's probably not good news for the government as I want to believe they're in the right, but that's becoming harder all the time.
Update - In a realted story, opposition leader Nino Burdzhanadze has urged her followers to protect the physical safety of President Shevardnadze. Does that sound like an armed coup?
Turkey's Prime Minister says four of the recent Islamokazes were Turkish citizens:
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Four suicide bombers who killed more than 50 people in Istanbul over the past week were Turkish citizens, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan says, as some in Turkey turned their anger on the United States.
Speaking at the funeral of two police officers killed in attacks on Thursday, Erdogan said it was a matter of shame for Turkey that its own citizens were responsible.
Erdogan also reaffirmed Turkey's belief that the bombers had links with foreign groups.
Groups linked to al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for two attacks on synagogues last Saturday that killed 25 people and two further bombings on the British consulate and HSBC bank on Thursday in which at least 27 people died.
That Turkish citizens were willing to blow up their fellow Turks is bad enough. The rest of the story reveals an even bigger problem. (And yeah, it's from the Reuters "news service", but that means its slanted not fictional. The fact that there are Turks thinking like this is a problem.
Several thousand Turks gathered in Istanbul on Saturday and other cities to protest against the bombs and what some said was the underlying cause of the attacks -- the United States and NATO member Turkey's close links with the world's only superpower.
"People think what's happened in Istanbul was a result of America's policies in the world," said one demonstrator in Ankara who asked not to be named. He said it was dangerous for Turkey to be close to the United States, whose invasion of neighbouring Iraq was deeply opposed by most Turks.
A placard carried by a demonstrator in Istanbul read "We know who the murderers are" under pictures of U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
That's right, radical Islamic terrorists carry out suicide bombings on Turkish soil, but whose to blame? Why Bush and Blair of course! Those meanies made al Qaeda mad and they just couldn't help themselves; the only possible reaction was to blow up innocent Turks.
Not only does play right into al Qaeda's hands, but it strikes me as a peculiar type of bigotry. You usually see this type of bigotry flowing from Western Leftists, but it's especially disturbing to see Muslims endorsing the idea about themselves.
Here's what I'm talking about, when people blame Bush and Blair's policies for terrorist groups carried out my extremist Muslim groups, their is a line of thinking that is implicit in these accusations:
1. The foreign policy of Britain and the US embarrasses/angers/humiliates Islamic radicals.
2. The radicals are only capable of one type of reaction: killing people.
3. Ergo, the bombings that followed were an entirely predicable reaction to the foreign policy decisions of Bush and Blair.
4. Therefore, Bush and Blair caused the attacks. (Just as surely as if they'd ordered them.)
It's as if the people making these arguments believe that Islamic extremists lack free will; people talk as if the Islamists are a force of nature rather than living, breathing people who have the ability to choose their reactions. As a result people talk about Bush and Blair's decision to fight the terrorists in the same way you'd expect to hear people talk about villains who blew up a dam knowing that the resulting flood would destroy towns down stream. Just like you wouldn't blame the river for the resulting deaths, those making these arguments refuse to blame the terrorists.
This is a deeply disturbing way of thinking, especially when Islamic nations begin thinking it about themselves.
Protestors in Georgia have stormed Parliament:
Opposition supporters broke into Georgia's Parliament on Saturday, scuffling with officials and forcing President Eduard Shevardnadze to flee the chamber as thousands of protesters outside demanded his resignation.
Opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili led hundreds of his supporters as they shoved their way into the chamber, overturning desks and chairs and leaping onto the podium, just after the president officially convened the body.
While I can't say for sure, the protestors appear to have legitimate concerns regarding the elections. Be that as it may, political turmoil in Georgia is bad for everyone as there's quite a bit of evidence that terrorists have been taking shelter their. The Georgians have been doing their best to fight them, but this isn't helping. If Shevardnaze's people did fix their election, I hope he does get run out of the country on a rail. However, this needs to be handled peacefully (for the Georgian's sake) and quickly (for everyone's sake).
This is somewhat interesting:
BRITAIN'S internal security service MI5 sought in 2001 to plant eavesdropping devices inside the walls of a London embassy belonging to one of its main allies, The Sunday Times newspaper in Britain reported.
In a front-page report, the newspaper said that under the Official Secrets Act it could not identify the country targeted, and could only say that it was "one of Britain's allies in the war on terror".
But it said that a former MI5 agent, given the code name Notation, had alerted the embassy to the spying operation.
"For four months from September 2001, MI5 infiltrated the embassy, stole codes used by embassy staff for sending secret messages and planned to plant listening devices and remove documents," The Sunday Times said.
Of course, all that's been released is that the nation at issue is an "ally" in the war on terror. Considering that the British and American governments routinely use that phrase to describe countries that are actually relatively hostile to us, this could be almost anyone. If they're talking about Pakistan or "Saudi" Arabia, then I sure hope they've been trying to bug their embassy.
... but come on!
Gary Coleman, who when pressed by Sean Hannity was unable to name the Secretary of State or the Vice President, has been hired by All Comedy Radio to be a political analyst.
BTW, Coleman's explanation for his staggering inability to name key government officials was that he doesn't "pay much attention to politics."
Now I'll grant that a comedic political analysts doesn't have to be a political whiz, but if you've been hired to make jokes about people, wouldn't it help to know who they are?
Oh, someone's going to have some fun with this. Hey, why not me.
Convicted felons running for alderman in Chicago are nothing new, but political experts can't recall any convicted sex offenders running for Congress.
"Offhand, I don't know of any," said Ian Stirton, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission. "I don't think it would be particularly [something] you would want to emphasize in your campaign literature."
I'd say not.
Probably not, but it is one of the campaign issues facing former Rep. Mel Reynolds.
The South Side Democrat announced Tuesday he will try to reclaim the congressional seat that he gave up in 1995 after he was convicted of sexual misconduct, child pornography and obstruction of justice relating to an affair he had with a campaign volunteer who was a minor. The seat is now held by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
A Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate, Reynolds was also convicted of federal charges of bank fraud and lying to the FEC about misuse of campaign funds.
All that and he's out and ready to challenge the Shakedown King'sTM son? Hey, how did he get out of prison this soon, anyway?
He served five years in prison before President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence as he left the White House in 2001.
Oh. Yeah, that would explain it. In fact, I seem to remember that one.
Doesn't he think that being a registered sex offender might hurt his chances?
"Well, so what?" Reynolds said. "And what would you like me to do about that? That is a requirement of the law. What is that going to do to me? How does that affect my life?"
Well, I would think it would affect him a great deal, but what do I know? For all I know this might even help his chances, although I doubt it.
Hey, come to think of it, how did he get that pardon anyway?
Jackson and his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, both wrote letters urging Clinton to grant Reynolds clemency. The senior Jackson also hired Reynolds as a consultant to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition after Reynolds' release. State Sen. James Meeks, an ally of the Jacksons, also hired Reynolds to work at Meeks' huge Salem Baptist Church.
So the Jacksons got him released and made he sure he got job, but now Reynolds is going to try to get the younger Jacksons job. Doesn't that seem a bit cold?
But Reynolds insists he is not biting the hands that fed him.
Of course not.
Oh, if this wasn't entertaining enough, read the rest. There is much more.
You may have noticed some bloggers touting Dean on their own sites and leaving comments hyping him on other blogs. It turns out a lot of them were paid.
Dean has done other things to maximize his online fundraising punch, like reinvesting money into expanding donor lists and paying “bloggers” or professional Internet surfers to keep the enthusiasm up on his website.
Now, I'm not saying there's anything unethical about that. However it does cast things in a different light; it means that what appeared to be a grass roots effort probably wasn't.
(Link via BushBlog)
Correction: I had interpreted this story to mean that Dean was paying bloggers other than those on his own webpage. It hadn't even occurred to me that the author meant anything else.
Since then I have seen several people state that they believed that only those bloggers on Dean's page were being referenced here and that appears to be the correct interpretation.
All of that means that this post is pretty much worthless. Sorry.
An electronic bugging device was found Tuesday morning in the office of Philadelphia Mayor John Street, a spokeswoman for the mayor said.
The device, discovered during a routine security sweep by Philadelphia police, is now being investigated by the FBI, according to Barbara Grant, the mayor's director of communications.
FBI Special Agent Linda Vizi said the bureau "will take appropriate action."
Here's the odd part though:
Street told reporters he doesn't know why the device was placed in his office, or who put it there.
"I wouldn't want anybody in this city to conclude in any way, shape or form that this mayor has been involved or is involved in anything that's under investigation by anybody," Street said.
"Although I don't know what's going on here, the question that ultimately will get raised in the minds of some people is 'Who is investigating the mayor's office?'"
"In response to that question I want to assure the people of this city that this mayor is not being investigated. I have done nothing wrong," he added.
Street seems to think that the first thing that will pop into people's head upon hearing that his office has been bugged is, "Someone's investigating the mayor. I wonder what law he's broken."
In fact, I suspect that what most people will think is, "Somebody's spying on the mayor."
I find it very odd that he's so concerned that people will think he's being investigated by law enforcement. Maybe he's projecting.
He's also broken campaign finance laws pretty fast:
Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark may have violated federal election laws by discussing his presidential campaign during recent paid appearances, according to campaign finance experts.
Clark, a newcomer to presidential politics, touted his candidacy during paid appearances at DePauw University in Indiana and other campuses after he entered the presidential race on Sept. 17. Under the laws governing the financing of presidential campaigns, candidates cannot be paid by corporations, labor unions, individuals or even universities for campaign-related events. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) considers such paid political appearances akin to a financial contribution to a candidate.
To be fair, this was probably an honest mistake. On the other hand, he's supposed to have people on his staff who know this stuff.
That reminds me: My boss was former Congressman Wes Watkins campaign treasurer for his few campaigns. He used to joke that when the FEC discovers a serious violation in a Congressman's campaign finances they slap the Congressman on the wrist and say, "Bad Congressman." Then they send the treasurer to prison for 10 years.
Given the Left's hatred of Ashcroft, I"m surprised more hasn't been made of this:
A federal judge will soon decide whether to order U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft to face criminal contempt charges for allegedly violating a gag order in the Detroit terror case.
Lawyers for three men charged with providing material support to terrorists asked U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen to hold Ashcroft in contempt after he publicly praised a government informant, Youssef Hmimssa.
"His testimony has been of value, of substantial value," Ashcroft said at an April 17 speech in Washington. "Such cooperation is a critical tool for our war on terrorism."
If Ashcroft were held in contempt, he would be only the second U.S. attorney general in history to be cited by a judge.
A decision to order Ashcroft to appear in Detroit to face contempt charges would fuel a legal drama that would be fodder for Democratic critics and spark intense media coverage, legal experts said.
It could result in the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate and seek Justice Department documents such as the e-mails of officials who worked on Ashcroft's April 17 speech. The special prosecutor might interview potential witnesses, including a federal appeals court judge, experts said.
"It would be a circus. But we've had circuses before," said Richard Friedman, a law professor at the University of Michigan. (Link via How Appealing)
Violating a gag order? What were they thinking?
... about reforming the UN.
Stressing on the need for fundamental reform of the United Nations to meet new multiple challenges including terrorism, poverty, disease and climate change, Secretary General Kofi Annan has appealed to lawmakers around the world to press their governments to advance the interests of the entire planet.
"The time has long since arrived to look hard at the institutions of the United Nations -- and, if necessary, to make radical reforms," Annan told the 109th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva in a message delivered by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director General of the UN office.
"A central challenge is to enhance their authority by making them both open to more voices and more effective in taking action," Annan said.
[sarcasm]Yeah, more power to the UN is just what we need. [/sarcasm]
(Some readers seem to have trouble picking up on my sarcasm, so I'm going to try to remember to throw in these sarcasm tags more often.)
In a word: No.
Allen Brill at The Right Christians is criticizing "Christian Hawks" for their response, or lack of response, in regard to the whole Plame affair. Among his criticisms, was this:
Catholic blogger Chris Burgwald writes a lot at Veritas about the alleged negative skewing of media coverage of Iraq, but as of Wednesday morning, there was not a word discussing the Plame scandal. 1
Protestant Mark Byron attacks Paul Krugman's blistering tone about Bush corruption in today's New York Times, but avoids mentioning the most recent accusations made against the administration.
This is a criticism that I have never liked. I can understand critiquing people because of what they said, but griping because they said nothing at all? That has always seemed totally bizarre to me. It's hardly a type of argument that is used exclusively on one side of the aisle, but it's certainly one I've heard from a lot of people about this Plame issue.
Let me just make some points here.
1. We are still very early on in this issue and, Brill's opinion of Novak's statements aside, there still isn't any actual evidence that a law has been broken. 2. Even if a crime has been committed, there isn't any evidence of who did it. 3. Not even professional opinion writers are required to opine about everything. Criticizing people for writing about a story this early in the cycle seems, well, ridiculous. No conclusion can be drawn about someone not writing about something. Maybe they just don't have an opinion. Maybe they don't think it's a big deal. Maybe they're still weighing the evidence. 4. There is even less obligation for a blogger to write about a story. Bloggers, with few exceptions, write pretty much for their own benefit. Telling bloggers that they have some sort of requirement to write about something just because you think an issue is important doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me, although it seems happen quite a bit.
Was that enough of a rant?
1Burgwald has now weighed in as a response to Brill's post.
Update - If you want a better discussion of this topic, check out Eugene Volokh.
Fox News is running a story about complaints that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is too weak to of a leader.
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans have failed to play "hardball" with Democrats over the filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominations and other issues, say critics, some of whom suggest Majority Leader Bill Frist (search) doesn't have what it takes to get the job done.
“I think Bill Frist is too weak — it may be that he is a little green as a leader — he’s not a street fighter, and that’s what the Republicans need in regards to the Democratic filibuster, a street fighter,” said Phil Kent, author and former president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation (search).
“Whatever was done or not done is because the leadership decided not to do it,” said former Georgia Republican Rep. Bob Barr, on the loss of U.S. Circuit Court nominee Miguel Estrada (search), who withdrew Sept. 4 after several months of Democratic filibuster.
I"m definitely not happy about the Republicans' lack of spine, especially in the judicial nomination realm. However, I think it's far too early to blame all the problems on Frist's leadership style.
Besides, he couldn't possibly be worse than Trent Lott.
I just saw this in the VOA:
Burma's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi spent her first day since May 30 out of formal government custody, recuperating at home from surgery and under new house arrest restrictions. Both Western and Asian governments are calling on Burma's military government to take the next step and release her unconditionally.
The United States and Britain called for the 58-year-old opposition leader to be released from house arrest immediately, and expressed concern for the whereabouts of other detained members of her political party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD.
Indonesia and Thailand, fellow members with Burma in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, called Aung San Suu Kyi's move to house arrest a positive step, but also said it was not enough.
Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow said he expects further "progress and positive developments."
"Well of course our position is the same with all the ASEAN countries. We have a position on this that we would like to see the lifting of all the restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi as soon as possible. We see this recent development as a step in that direction," he said.
Indonesia's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Marty Natalegawa, was quoted as calling the move "not insignificant," but he expressed the hope that Aung San Suu Kyi would be released fully before the ASEAN summit, which is set to open on the Indonesian island of Bali on October 7.
I'm not holding my breath.
... I guess.
Instead of holding her in an undisclosed location, the government of Burman will place Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest when she's released from the hospital.
YANGON, Burma -- Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be kept under house arrest following her release from a hospital where she underwent surgery, her personal physician said Friday.
Suu Kyi, 58, underwent what was described as a major three-hour operation Sept. 19. Her doctor, Tin Myo Win, has declined to specify the nature of the surgery, but other doctors have said it was a gynecological procedure.
"She will go home today ... at night," Tin Myo Win told diplomats and reporters outside the Asia Royal Cardiac and Medical Center.
The doctor said that while the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner would return to her lakeside villa in the Burma capital, she would be kept under house arrest.
Now if they'll just let her go, stop persecuting people, and hold free elections, we might be able to say we're getting somewhere.
More Arafat news:
ISRAEL would not deal with anyone who did Yasser Arafat's bidding, the government said today, pointing out there could be no further progress in the peace process until the Palestinians took on militant groups.
An official statement released after the weekly cabinet meeting said ministers had decided that "Israel will not cooperate with those who do Arafat's bidding".
"All Palestinian governments must adopt a policy which disavows terror, unifies the security forces under one body not controlled by Arafat, advances security and diplomatic reforms and demonstrates independence from Arafat."
Palestinian prime minister-designate Ahmed Qurie, who is currently trying to gain approval for a new cabinet, has been warned by Israel that he will be judged as a "partner for peace" by his determination to take on hardline groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Israel is also wary of his relationship with Arafat, whom it has decided in principle "to remove", calling him an "absolute obstacle" to peace.
It's a start. (Maybe)
Things are not looking very good for Yasser Arafat:
JERUSALEM — Israel's vice prime minister said Sunday that killing Yasser Arafat (search) is an option being considered following a decision to "remove" the Palestinian leader.
"Killing (Arafat) is definitely one of the options," vice premier Ehud Olmert (search) told Israel Radio.
Israel's security Cabinet said last week it had decided to "remove" Arafat, but did not elaborate.
Olmert's statement echoed threats by other Israeli leaders who have said they are keeping options open as to whether the decision means Arafat will be expelled, further isolated at his West Bank compound or dealt with more harshly.
Threats are now coming against Arafat on a regular basis, and I think the Israeli government actually means it. They clearly haven't decided exactly what they're going to do, but they obviously want Arafat out of the picture. It goes without saying that the most permanent solution would be to kill him.
I'm extremely hesitant to support killing anyone, but in this case it may be necessary. I don't believe Arafat will stop fighting until he has literally driven all the Jews in Israel into the sea. That is his goal. As long as someone like this is leading the Palestinians, peace simply will not be an option. I've said before that there can be no peace as long as Arafat is alive, As a Christian, the idea of endorsing someone's execution comes very slowly, but in some cases killing one person can save the lives of hundreds, or even thousands. In those cases it may be necessary to kill the person.
If Israel does decide to kill Arafat, it can't stop there. They must be willing to keep going down this path once they start down it. They will have to make it perfectly clear to every Palestinian leader from now on that if they prosecute a war of terror against Israeli civilians, their own life will be forfeit. If the Israeli government is not willing to keep going down this path, there is really no purpose in starting down it in the first place.
Update - Jack Rich has a great post explaining some of the problems with Arafat.
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - The Santa Cruz City Council is considering becoming the first local government in the country to ask Congress to look into impeaching President Bush.
"It seems to us as lay people and elected officials that Bush has committed impeachable offenses," Vice Mayor Scott Kennedy said Tuesday.
Specifically, city leaders say Bush violated international treaties by going to war in Iraq, and that the president manipulated public fears to justify the war and undercut Constitutional rights.
I've never understood the whole idea of city councils taking votes like this. They don't have any authority to actually do anything in situations like this, so I can only conclude that it's a matter of grandstanding.
On another note, I'd like to point out that they don't list any specific impeachable offenses. Lest we forget, you can't impach the President for doing things you don't like. You have to have evidence of, "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." As far as I can tell, this resolution doesn't accuse the President of any of these things, and they certainly didn't make list any specific charges.
Because they can, of course.
Mark Steyn explains part of our problem:
President Clinton's new CD usefully clarifies his party's problem this election season: A significant chunk of the American people think the Democratic candidates feel the same way about the war on terror as Bill Clinton does about Peter's wolf and the New York Times does about Jessie's shark. And they reckon they know how that usually winds up. A couple of years back, a cougar killed a dog near the home of Frances Frost in Canmore, Alberta. Frost, an ''environmentalist dancer'' with impeccable pro-cougar credentials, objected strenuously to suggestions that the predator be tracked and put down. A month later, she was killed in broad daylight by a cougar who'd been methodically stalking her.
''I can't believe it happened,'' wailed a fellow environmentalist. But why not? Cougars prey on species they're not afraid of. So, if they've no reason to be afraid of man, they might as well eat him. He's a lot easier to catch than a deer or elk.
You can object that America's enemies in this war are not animals, though the suicide bomber seems to me not fully human, either. But nor are wild animals merely the creatures of their appetites. They're also astute calculators of risk. Aside from the boom in Islamic terrorism, the 1990s was also the worst decade ever for shark, bear, alligator and cougar attacks in North America. One can note that there are more of these creatures than ever before--the bear and cougar populations have exploded across the continent. But there's also the possibility that these animals have not just multiplied but evolved: They've lost their fear of man. Not so long ago, your average bear knew that if he happened upon a two-legged type, the chap would pull a rifle on him and he'd be spending eternity as a fireside rug. But these days it's just as likely that any human being he comes across is some pantywaist Bambi Boomer enviro-sentimentalist trying to get in touch with his inner self. And, if the guy wants to get in touch with his inner self so badly, why not just rip it out of his chest for him?
North American wildlife seems to have figured that out. Why be surprised that the wilder life in the toxic Saudi-funded madrassahs did as well? Each provocation, ''insufficient'' to rouse Bill Cohen, confirmed Osama's conviction that America was too soft and decadent for the fight. Two years on, the defeatist elites of our culture are still desperate to prove him right.