Offline for a few days
I'll be away for several days. Hope to see you back here soon.
The intersection of politics, faith, pop culture, and other surprises.
Christian Convert Vanishes After Release - Yahoo! News: "An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity quickly vanished Tuesday after he was released from prison, apparently out of fear for his life with Muslim clerics still demanding his death."
A scary story from ajc.com: "Undercover federal investigators say they were able to drive into the United States from Canada and Mexico last year with enough radioactive material in the trunks of their rented cars to build two so-called dirty bombs.
Unfathomable Zealotry--Richard Cohen's latest WaPo column: "What strikes me about the threat to execute Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted to Christianity, is not that Afghanistan remains deeply medieval and not even remotely the democracy that George W. Bush would like it to be, but that with the exception of the (largely) Christian West, the rest of the world has been mostly silent. The Americans have protested, the Brits have protested, the Vatican has protested and so (I assume) have some others. But if there has been a holler of protest from anywhere in the Muslim world, it has not reached my ears. That is appalling.
Street Prophets reports on a new UCC/Media Matters effort: "A recent study completed by Media Matters concludes what we have long known to be true: the networks favor the right-wing extremists.
Reuters AlertNet - This can't be good news: "Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Islamist Alliance bloc demanded on Monday that U.S. forces return control of security to the Iraqi government after what it called 'cold-blooded' killings by troops of unarmed people in a mosque.
God is Still Speaking: The Ad the Networks Don't Want You to See The United Church of Christ has another courageous spot that you might never see on TV.
Born at the Crest of the Empire: Mike has some links to Tom Tancredo's latest idiocies, and adds this warning to which I say "amen": "I'm probably going to be writing alot about the immigration debate this week because racism drives me apeshit crazy, and the Republicans pushing immigration as a campaign issue litter their appeal with racist language."
Bush Was Set on Path to War, Memo by British Adviser Says - New York Times: "In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, as the United States and Britain pressed for a second United Nations resolution condemning Iraq, President Bush's public ultimatum to Saddam Hussein was blunt: Disarm or face war.
TIME.com: Republicans on the Run: "The midterm contests in a President's second term are almost always treacherous, but this time around, Republicans thought it would be different. The 2006 elections, coming on top of their gains in 2002 and 2004, would make history and perhaps even cement a g.o.p. majority in Congress for a generation. George W. Bush's credibility on national security and the states' aggressive gerrymandering, they believed, had turned the vast majority of districts into fortresses for incumbents. But that's not turning out to be the case. In recent weeks, a startling realization has begun to take hold: if the elections were held today, top strategists of both parties say privately, the Republicans would probably lose the 15 seats they need to keep control of the House of Representatives and could come within a seat or two of losing the Senate as well. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who masterminded the 1994 elections that brought Republicans to power on promises of revolutionizing the way Washington is run, told Time that his party has so bungled the job of governing that the best campaign slogan for Democrats today could be boiled down to just two words: 'Had enough?'"
Cynthia Tucker in the AJC - ajc.com: "Military recruits are pulled largely from the nation's working class --- from those whose prospects are less than stellar, from high school graduates who know they have little chance of affording college tuition, from young parents whose civilian jobs don't come with health insurance. Enlisted men and women tend to come from households earning between $32,000 and $33,500, according to a 1999 Defense Department study. (The median American income is $43,300.)
My Way News - Immigration Rallies Draw Thousands Nationwide: "Thousands of people across the country protested Friday against legislation cracking down on illegal immigrants, with demonstrators in such cities as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Atlanta staging school walkouts, marches and work stoppages.
Think Progress: "Given Matthews’ stinging salvos against the Bush administration, we were anxious to see how White House Communications Director Nicolle Wallace would respond tonight on Hardball."
The Raw Story | Delta Force founder: Bush may have started World War III: "Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?
Daily Kos: Joe Wilson expresses a few thoughts about the administration: "Ambassador Joe Wilson spoke at Florida State University Monday night and pulled no punches, to put it lightly. Wilson pounded the shit out of the Neoconservatives, George W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Khalilzad, Condoleeza Rice, and the rest of the gang and, quite frankly, surprised me with the extent he allowed his anger and frustration to play out to a live audience. Nobody was spared.....not BushCo, not Ken Mehlman, not Ann Coulter, not David Dreier.....he took the entire Bush Cult movement to the woodshed.
From ajc.com: "Sorrow and dignity: Georgia-based Marine reservists in the war zone treat the remains of U.S. troops as if they were family."
Georgia joins a slew of other states allowing people to carry guns and protect themselves if they feel they are threatened... from ajc.com: "Georgians would be free to shoot muggers, carjackers and other attackers without fear of being prosecuted or sued under a National Rifle Association-backed bill that won final legislative approval Friday.
AMERICAblog: John links to the story: "Bush added an addendum (which he legally can't do) when signing the Patriot Act this time around, saying that he doesn't have to obey its language requiring him to keep Congress informed.
My Way News - U.S. Hiring Hong Kong Co. to Scan Nukes: "In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere.
Daily Kos: Domenech Isn't the Problem. The Problems Are Conservatives and The Washington Post. Here's a good update regarding the racist, plagiarist, new conservative blogger at Wapo.com.
Crooks and Liars has some interesting video with Family Research Council's Tony Perkins: "Perkins: 'Their constitiution and the wording of giving deference to Sharia law is very similar to what is in the Iraqi constitution....The resolve of the American people will not long stand if they know that they are giving their sons and daughters to die for just changing the names of regimes.'"
Born at the Crest of the Empire: The New Judy Miller, Brian Ross?: "I'm not saying it outright, because I don't think the evidence is concrete, but I'm just making a suggestion that this might be something to watch.
Daily Kos: Washington Post's New Conservative Voice a Plagiarist: It's Now a Blood Bath: "This Washington Post thing is rapidly becoming a blood bath. We've moved on from Domenech's funeral-day assertion that Coretta Scott King was a communist, or his comparison of the Supreme Court to the Klu Klux Klan. Those are small things. Now it's getting bad."
Chron.com | Katrina funds earmarked to pay for Neil Bush's software program: "Former first lady Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with specific instructions that the money be spent with an educational software company owned by her son Neil."
White House Briefing -- News on President George W Bush and the Bush Administration: "Newsweek's Howard Fineman suggests that with the current 'global war on terror' script bombing, White House image makers are tuning a new script in which the president reprises his role as an American hero by declaring war on faint-hearted Democrats and the unpatriotic media.
AMERICAblog: John points out Arianna's take on Bush's non-answer in Cleveland about the end-times theology that marks much of his administration, and adds his own: "Bush was asked yesterday about whether he believed we were in the end of times, the Biblical period that marks the appearance of the Rapture (i.e., good people rise to heaven, bad people stay on earth). The audience broke into pretty loud laughter, clearly mocking the question, and Bush smirked and hemmed and hawed, clearly uncomfortable."
Bob Cesca has a great review of the Helen Thomas/Bush brouhaha: "In case you've just recently picked up on the president's incompetence as a leader and decision-maker, then ahoy! Welcome aboard! We missed you back in November 2004, but we're glad to have you now.
Crooks and Liars has the video from this morning's Today: "NBC covered the many complaints from the right wing noise machine (Laura Ingaham) in their efforts to blame the media for the failures of the Bush administration in Iraq. Richard Engel files a report on what it's like to be a reporter in Iraq on The 'TODAY SHOW,' this morning."
Think Progress: Bush Ignored Concerns About Afghan Constitution, Praised It For Protecting “Freedom of Religion”: "In Afghanistan, a man named Abdul Rahman has been put on trial for converting to Christianity. For his crime, he could be put to death. The incident, which has caused an international uproar, has its roots in the Afghan constitution.
The Toronto Star reports on a fascinating study of 100 kids over the past 20 years--the whiny ones become conservative: "In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.
The Sin of Racism: A Call to Covenant
USNews.com: Nation & World: Newspaper sues for documents in NSA wiretap case: "The company that publishes the Oregonian newspaper in Portland has filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Oregon to unseal documents in a pending case that alleges the Bush administration illegally intercepted international phone conversations between the codirector of an Islamic charity and his two lawyers in the United States.
Washingtonpost.com: Grants Flow To Bush Allies On Social Issues: "Under the auspices of its religion-based initiatives and other federal programs, the administration has funneled at least $157 million in grants to organizations run by political and ideological allies, according to federal grant documents and interviews.
The Atlantic has a chilling piece on just how good the NSA is doing soaking up just about every electronic communication in America, including this one presumably: "NSA personnel, the customs inspectors of the information superhighway, have the ultimate goal of intercepting and reviewing every syllable and murmur zapping into, out of, or through the United States. They are close to achieving it. More than a dozen years ago, an NSA director gave an indication of the agency’s capability. “Just one intelligence-collection system,” said Admiral William O. Studeman, referring to a listening post such as Sugar Grove, “can generate a million inputs per half hour.” Today, with the secret cooperation of much of the telecommunications industry, massive dishes vacuuming the airwaves, and electronic “packet sniffers,” software that monitors network traffic, diverting e-mail and other data from fiber-optic cables, the NSA’s hourly take is in the tens of millions of communications. One transatlantic fiber-optic cable alone has the capacity to handle close to 10 million simultaneous calls. While most communications flow through the NSA’s electronic net unheard and unread, those messages associated with persons on the agency’s watch lists—whether guilty or innocent—get kicked out for review.
Think Progress has the truth behind Bush's statement about not wanting to go to war in Iraq: "Bush appears to be the only person left who believes his own myth that he went to war with Iraq as a last resort. The evidence is overwhelming to the contrary."
TIME.com Heartbreaking story -- One Morning in Haditha: "According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed over the past 10 weeks, the civilians who died in Haditha on Nov. 19 were killed not by a roadside bomb but by the Marines themselves, who went on a rampage in the village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children. Human-rights activists say that if the accusations are true, the incident ranks as the worst case of deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. service members since the war began."
Born at the Crest of the Empire: More evidence of cooked intel: "NBC has a pretty big scoop on Iraq prewar intel. Apparently, the CIA had contact with Naji Sabri, an Iraqi so high in Saddam's power structure that he gave the rebuttal at the UN to Colin Powell's lies for war.
Guardian Unlimited has a report on Anglican Archbishop Williams' latest remarks (now if only he'd do the right thing with gay rights): "The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has stepped into the controversy between religious fundamentalists and scientists by saying that he does not believe that creationism - the Bible-based account of the origins of the world - should be taught in schools.
Crooks and Liars has some video from last night's Countdown: "Today in his speech in Cleveland:
Crooks and Liars has some video of Russ Feingold's appearance on Charlie Rose... here's just one bit: "How can we be afraid at this point, of standing up to a president who has clearly mismanaged this Iraq war, who clearly made one of the largest blunders in American foreign policy history? How can it be that this party wants to stand back and allow this kind of thing to happen? And then add to that the idea that the president has clearly broken the law --- and a number of Republican senators have effectively admitted that, by saying 'you know, we need this program so let's make it legal,'- so they are admitting it's illegal. "
Old Forecasts Come Back to Haunt Bush: "Three years of upbeat White House assessments about Iraq that turned out to be premature, incomplete or plain wrong are complicating President Bush's efforts to restore public faith in the military operation and his presidency, according to pollsters and Republican lawmakers and strategists.
USNews.com: The White House says spying on terrorism suspects without court approval is OK. What about physical searches?: "In the dark days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a small group of lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department began meeting to debate a number of novel legal strategies to help prevent another attack. Soon after, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to begin conducting electronic eavesdropping on terrorism suspects in the United States, including American citizens, without court approval. Meeting in the FBI's state-of-the-art command center in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the lawyers talked with senior FBI officials about using the same legal authority to conduct physical searches of homes and businesses of terrorism suspects--also without court approval, one current and one former government official tell U.S. News. 'There was a fair amount of discussion at Justice on the warrantless physical search issue,' says a former senior FBI official. 'Discussions about--if [the searches] happened--where would the information go, and would it taint cases.'
Print Story: Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches on Yahoo! News: "'Some look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude that the war is lost and not worth another dime or another day,' President Bush said recently.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Iraq in civil war, says former PM: "Iraq is in the middle of civil war, the country's former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has told the BBC.
AllAroundPhilly: "Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide are signaling they may delve deeply at his criminal trial into infighting among the White House, the CIA and the State Department over pre-Iraq war intelligence failures.
AMERICAblog: John shows how the editorial board for the Post uses a proven falsehood to encourage war with Iran: "At this point, the errors are so massive and so ongoing that this is no longer just sloppy journalism.
In Iraq -- where American soldiers are dying from Iranian-supplied roadside bombs...
Rallies Mark Third Anniversary of Iraq War on Yahoo! News: "Thousands of anti-war protesters marched in Australia, Turkey and Asian countries at the start of global demonstrations Saturday, as campaigners marked the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq with a demand that coalition troops pull out.
Daily Kos: Feingold Approval Rating Jumps 30 Points to 52%!: "Gee, look what happened while all those courageous Democratic Senators were wringing their hands and wetting their pants about censuring Dubya. Hidden in the recent Rasmussen survey was the fact that Senator Feingold's approval rating among Democrats jumped 30 points to 52% on this issue."
Crooks and Liars has the video of a conversation with Keith and Jonathan Turley about a breaking US News story about the efforts of the administration to shred Constitutional rights: "It's horrific, because what that would constitute is to effectively remove the 4th Amendment from the U.S. Constitution and the fact that it was so quick as a suggestion shows the inclinations, unfortunately, of this administration. It treats the Constitution as some legal technicality instead of the thing were trying to fight to protect. Notably, the U.S. News & World Report story says the FBI officals, or some of them apparently, objected... [W]e're seeing a lot of people in the administration with the courage to say 'Hold it, this is not what we're supposed to be about. If we're fighting a war, it's a war of self definition and if we start to take whole amendments out of the Constitution in the name of the war on terror-we have to wonder what's left at the end, except victory.'"
TIME.com has their take on the big PR brouhaha of last week in Iraq. I'm shocked. I happened to catch CNN the other day when the major assault was launched and it was BREAKING NEWS and all this excitement. It was all smoke and mirrors. It accomplished nothing except wasting even more taxpayer dollars, but thankfully no lives: "Contrary to what many many television networks erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ('Air Assault' is a military term that refers specifically to transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no airstrikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an operation that some skeptical military analysts described as little more than a photo op. What’s more, there were no shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said the U.S. and Iraqi commanders."
AMERICAblog: Chris Albritton on the latest Iraq attack: "“Operation Swarmer” is really a media show. It was designed to show off the new Iraqi Army — although there was no enemy for them to fight. Every American official I’ve heard has emphasized the role of the Iraqi forces just days before the third anniversary of the start of the war. That said, one Iraqi role the military will start highlighting in the next few days, I imagine, is that of Iraqi intelligence. It was intel from the Iraqi military intelligence and interior ministry that the U.S. says prompted this Potemkin operation. And it will be the Iraqi intel that provides the cover for American military commanders to throw up their hands and say, “well, we thought bad guys were there.”
Daily Kos: Kos points to an unintentionally funny quote: "From Newsweek's Periscope:
'Right now, I wouldn't vote Democratic if Jesus Christ was running.' Judy Deats, a Texas Republican, who is standing by Rep. Tom DeLay in his re-election bid despite the fact that his association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff has made him vulnerable to political opposition for the first time in more than 20 years
American Research Group has poll results showing tight numbers, but more adults and voters favoring a Senate resolution censuring George Bush for illegal wiretaps. So the GOP brouhaha about how out of touch Russ Feingold is is malarkey.
E. J. Dionne on the frightened Dems in the wake of Russ Feingold--here's the bottom line: "Turning a minority into a majority requires both passion and discipline. Bringing the two together requires effective leadership. Does anybody out there know how to play this game?"
Daily Kos: Bush Disapproval Map: What More Do The Democrats Want? Delaware Dem has an animated map that's worth looking at. And pondering.
The Raw Story | Congressman writes White House: Did President knowingly sign law that didn't pass?: "Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives.
AMERICAblog: John vents the frustration a lot of us are feeling lately: "The lesson, my friends...is that no matter what you do, Rush Limbaugh is going to crow about it, Ken Mehlman is going to do a mass-mailing about it, and the American Family Association will launch a boycott over it.
Bush to Restate Terror Strategy: "President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.
Think Progress EXCLUSIVE: Matthews Received $35K In Speaking Fees From Interest Group, In Violation Of NBC Policy: "ThinkProgress has learned that NBC anchor Chris Matthews has received tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for delivering speeches to corporate interest groups. Matthews’s speaking engagements appear to be in direct violation of NBC’s policy prohibiting its employees from accepting such fees."
Crooks and Liars has a video clip from one of my FAVORITE TV shows... which I had to miss last night (and now I'm really sorry I did): "emailer CS: 'James Spader's character gives such a fiery and passionate speech about the lies, mistruths and unethical behavior of this Administration that it made me jump from the couch and yell triumphantly at my TV. Covered everything from lies on WMD, to torture, Abu Ghirab, Guantanamo, and, most importantly, illegal wiretapping.'"
AMERICAblog: John in DC: "The top Republican radio show host, Rush Limbaugh, who his listened to and revered by millions of Republicans, said that what took place at Abu Ghraib was nothing more than a fraternity prank, and commended the work at Abu Ghraib as 'brilliant.'
MiamiHerald.com | 03/13/2006 | Don't assume Obama will be a modern savior: "Say what you will about the Republican Party and its leader, our regrettable president, but give them credit for this much: They know what they believe and they know how to package it in the simplest, most attractive way: traditional values; fighting terrorism; tax relief.
The story from ajc.com: "A watchdog group has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate two nonprofit groups operated by anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, alleging that Norquist improperly funneled Indian tribe money to Ralph Reed during anti-gambling campaigns in Alabama.
The Feingold Resolution and the Sound of Silence: "Many of Feingold's Democratic colleagues agree that Bush abused his authority with the NSA spying program. And they know liberal Democratic activists are eager to see Bush censured, or worse. But they also know Feingold's maneuver could cost them seats in GOP states.
MoveOn.org Political Action: President Bush Must be Censured for Breaking the Law. MoveOn has a petition that is worth signing.
NYT: Mike Wallace, at 88, retiring: "After serving as a correspondent on '60 Minutes' since its inception in September 1968, Mr. Wallace said today that he had decided to retire this spring, at the end of the current television season. He said that the move had come at his initiative, and that 'CBS is not pushing me.'
Bumpersticker seen yesterday: "At least in Vietnam, Bush had an exit strategy!"
Conservative Groups to Boycott Ford - Los Angeles Times: "Nineteen conservative groups said Monday that they would reinstate a boycott of Ford Motor Co., contending that the automaker reneged on an agreement to stop supporting gay rights organizations.
Daily Kos: British Envoy on US in Iraq: Thirteen Words Say It All: "'No leadership, no strategy, no coordination, no structure and inaccessible to ordinary Iraqis.'
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "Comic-book creator Stan Lee told SCI FI Wire that his newest company, Pow! Entertainment, is developing TV and film projects featuring an entirely new slate of comic characters in 2006.
AMERICAblog graciously brings us a nugget from Paul Krugman's latest: "So here's what you need to know about John McCain.
The Blog | George Clooney: I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It! | The Huffington Post: "I am a liberal. And I make no apologies for it. Hell, I'm proud of it.
AMERICAblog: Joe in DC points to a WaPo piece about how burned out and tired everybody at the White House is: "Seriously, the fact that the Washington Post gives credence to this 'they're tired' story line is actually almost unbelievable. Apparently, we've entrusted the country to a bunch of sleep deprived whiners. Now, doesn't that help you sleep at night?"
Leonard Pitts has become one of my all time fave columnitss (especially now that I can't read Frank Rich!). Here's the opening of his column titled "Quoting Bible to attack gays is hypocritical": "An open letter to Donna Reddick:
Sandra Day O'Connor Warns Of "Beginnings" Of Dictatorship... Slams Tom DeLay, Sen. John Cornyn... | The Huffington Post: "NPR's Nina Totenberg aired an amazing story this morning about a talk that just-resigned Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor gave at Georgetown University. The first woman to serve on the High Court wouldn't allow her actual words to be broadcast, and that's a shame, because -- based on Totenberg's report -- every American needs to hear what she said. The Reagan appointee who became a moderate and an American icon -- Bush v. Gore notwithstanding -- all but named names in thinly veiled attacks on former House majority leader Tom DeLay and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, and ended with a stunning warning.
AP Story: Bush's Approval Rating Falls to New Low: "More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of President Bush's performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.
BBC NEWS reports on a letter in the Lancet: "More than 250 medical experts have signed a letter condemning the US for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
My Way News: "Bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company signaled surrender Thursday in its quest to take over operations at U.S. ports.
Suddenly, a Rebellion in the G.O.P. on a Signature Issue - New York Times: "After more than five years of allowing President Bush relatively free rein to set their course, Republicans in Congress are suddenly, if selectively, in rebellion, a mutiny all the more surprising since it centers on the party's signature issue of national security.
Think Progress has some choice quotes from the Vanity Fair Abramoff Interview: "Vanity Fair is set to publish an in-depth interview with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff sheds new light on his close relationships with top conservatives, including some not typically associated with the Abramoff scandals like Ken Mehlman and Newt Gingrich. Some choice quotes:
A diarist on DKos catches Ohio's Blackwell at a secret far-right group: "What is this group, and why is it so determined to avoid the public spotlight?
Born at the Crest of the Empire: What's wrong with the Dems.: "There's nothing going on today, and that's the Dem's problem. When there's a dead lull like this, they should be filling it with something. The political press gets bored on day's like this and would just love to jump on a juicy he said/she said.
Sheldon Drobny: Save Air America in Phoenix: "On March 1, 2006 our Air America Phoenix station was bought by a Christian Broadcasting company who immediately took us off the air. This was a 'dark' day for progressive talk radio in America. You have flooded us with emails pleading to get Air America back on the radio and asking how you can help."
Daily Kos: Proportionality, by Georgia10: "The Senate Intelligence Committee voted today not to investigate the crimes of President George W. Bush. Instead, it will create a subcommittee for 'oversight' of the illegal eavesdropping program. Senator Snowe was telling Americans as of Friday that yes, she would vote in favor of the Senator Rockefeller's proposal to conduct a full inquiry into the program. Today, she voted against it. Senator Rockefeller had this to say after the committee's vote:
U.S. Intelligence Chief doesn't have much to do, apparently: "On many a workday lunchtime, the nominal boss of U.S. intelligence, John D. Negroponte, can be found at a private club in downtown Washington, getting a massage, taking a swim, and having lunch, followed by a good cigar and a perusal of the daily papers in the club’s library.
I was going to say Matthews has a boner for him, but you know it's pronounced BAY-ner: "MSNBC’s Chris Matthews conducted a hard-hitting interview tonight with House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). The most aggressive line of questioning Boehner faced was over the hotly-debated question, “Is Hillary Clinton a socialist?” which Matthews asked three times. The segment concluded with Matthews declaring, “You can see this man’s greatness.”"
Mark Evanier has a good reflection on the Oscar telecast: "The reviews might make you think there were two separate Oscar telecasts last night. Some folks, like Tom Shales, saw the one 'hosted with a smug humorlessness by comic Jon Stewart, a sad and pale shadow of great hosts gone by.' Others, like Roger Ebert, saw the one where...well, here. I'll quote him in a separate paragraph since he's the one I think is closer to right...
HuffPo links to an LA Times piece on one of conservative Christianities leading cultural forces: "A devout Christian who calls himself the 'Painter of Light,' Kinkade trades heavily on his beliefs and says God has guided his brush -- and his life -- for the last 20 years.
Crooks and Liars has the video of David Gergen on CNN's Reliable Sources: "KURTZ: ... and that is the story on the front page of this morning's 'Washington Post' about White House effort to stem leaks. And it talks about the administration, the Bush administration, having launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. These involve federal employees being questioned on 'The New York Times' story about the national security wiretaps, on the 'Washington Post' story about secret CIA prisons, Valerie Plame, all of that.
Makes me dream of the possibility in the U.S....: "Thousands of opponents of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are holding a protest in Bangkok, vowing to stay in the streets until he steps down.
Daily Kos: DarkSyde on the British newspaper reports that US and UK troops will be out of Iraq in one year--which is very hard to believe: "Hard to say if this is accurate. But a complete bail out a year from now--a full blown cut and run stampede as opposed to a facade draw down timed for the upcoming midterms this November--is consistent with what several military experts on various cable news channels have opined for some time now; that the US can't sustain the troop levels and mix of specialties in Iraq for much longer. Not without a significant change in recruiting numbers or military commitments elsewhere. Or a draft.