Monday, October 31, 2005

SCOTUS Nominee

President Bush has nominated 3rd Circuit Appeals Court Judge Samuel Alito for the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Well, at least it's a real judge this time. Don't think there will be much complaining from conservatives about this guy. From CNN:

Legal experts consider the 55-year-old Alito so ideologically similar to Justice Antonin Scalia that he has earned the nickname "Scalito."
In 1991, in one of his more well-known decisions, he was the only dissenting voice in a 3rd Circuit ruling striking down a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands if they planned to get an abortion.
He also wrote the opinion in 1999 in a case that said a Christmas display on city property did not violate separation of church and state doctrines because it included a large plastic Santa Claus as well as religious symbols.
The wingnut's choice?
Let the battle begin.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Relevant Quote From Harry

On the day after Fitzmas, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada reminds us of what it is all about. From NYT.

"This case is bigger than the leak of highly classified information." ... "It is about how the Bush White House manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to bolster its case for the war in Iraq, and to discredit anyone who dared to challenge the president.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Waiting ... Waiting ...

Sitting here waiting for the indictments to come down. The NYT says Libby is likely to be hit (for making false statements to the grand jury), Rove won't be charged today but will remain under investigation, and that Fitz may extend the term of the grand jury (though no sign of that in WaPo, which informs that Libby is lawyer hunting and Rove is assembling a public relations team just in case).

As if there weren't enough drama to go around, the NYT adds this:
As rumors coursed through the capital, Mr. Fitzgerald gave no public signal of how he intended to proceed, further intensifying the anxiety that has gripped the White House and left partisans on both sides of the political aisle holding their breath.
Man, I could use a drink. Anyone else? George?

UPDATE: Press conference with Fitzgerald scheduled for 2 p.m.
Details to be posted on the special prosecutor's Web site at noon.

UPDATE 2: Libby indicted. Courtesy of the Times:
The five-count indictment accuses Libby of lying about how and when he learned about CIA official Valerie Plane's identity in 2003 and then told reporters about it. The information was classified.
The typo in Plame's name is courtesy of the NYT, too.

Curl up somewhere comfy and read the indictment.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

Supreme Court justice nominee Harriet Miers pulls out. Guess it had something to do with having zero support. Read about it at the New York Times site.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Inappropriate Use?

The White House, apparently ruffled at the relentless political satire offered by The Onion, has asked the paper to stop using the presidential seal on its Web site.

"When any official sign or seal is being used inappropriately the party is notified," [said White House spokesman Trent Duffy]. "You cannot pick and choose where to enforce that rule. It's important that the seal or any White House insignia not be used inappropriately," he said.
GIP cannot understand this request. The White House has been using the seal inappropriately for FIVE YEARS.

UPDATE: The Onion's apparent response to the White House. Prepare yourself. Thanks Steve Gilliard.

Another Reason to Hate Wal-Mart

Not only did Wal-Mart donate $5000 to Tom DeLay two days after he was indicted, the company is now seeking to maximize profits by holding down health care and benefits costs. Among other strategies, an internal memo obtained by Wal-Mart Watch suggests discouraging anyone with health problems from working at the stores. This story in the New York Times outlines some of the thinking. From the article:

In the memorandum, M. Susan Chambers, Wal-Mart's executive vice president for benefits, also recommends reducing 401(k) contributions and wooing younger, and presumably healthier, workers by offering education benefits. The memo voices concern that workers with seven years' seniority earn more than workers with one year's seniority, but are no more productive.
To discourage unhealthy job applicants, Ms. Chambers suggests that Wal-Mart arrange for "all jobs to include some physical activity (e.g., all cashiers do some cart-gathering)."

This is how much the store thinks of its "associates." Meanwhile: Smile! Always Low Prices!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000

The U.S. military death toll for the war in Iraq has reached 2000.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chinatown Shuffle

A few shots from below Canal Street.


Pantheon.


Selling water to tourists. Only $2 a bottle!


Rove and Libby? DeLay and Frist? Bush and Cheney?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Three Unrelated Photographs

A few pics for a rainy Saturday.


Cacti outside a flower shop on 6th Ave.


Detail of nataraj.


My intellectual cat.

Feeling Safer?

Just so you know, here is one of the big payoffs from the war in Iraq. From the New York Times:

In Washington, U.S. intelligence officials said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, has expanded his terrorism campaign from Iraq to two dozen groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden's.
The U.S. officials said the threat to American interests from al-Zarqawi compared with that from bin Laden, to whom al-Zarqawi pledged his loyalty a year ago.
Sort of makes it all seem worthwhile, no?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Libby Was Gunning for Wilson

It may not be a stunning revelation, but this story in the L.A. Times details Scooter Libby's campaign to counter and discredit Joseph Wilson. A few lines follow:

Libby's anger over Wilson's 2003 charges has been known. But new interviews and documents obtained by The Times provide a more detailed view of the depth and duration of Libby's interest in Wilson. They also show that the vice president's office closely monitored news coverage.

On one occasion, the office prohibited a reporter from traveling with Cheney aboard Air Force Two, because the vice president's daughter said Cheney was unhappy with that newspaper's coverage.

Libby "would see something had appeared in the newspaper or on television and wanted to use the White House operation to counter it," one former official said.

After Wilson published a book criticizing the administration in April 2004, during the closely fought presidential campaign, Libby became consumed by passages that he believed were inaccurate or unfair to Cheney, former aides said. He ordered up a meticulous catalog of Wilson's claims and public statements going back to early 2003.

The result was a packet that included excerpts from press clips and television transcripts of Wilson's statements that were divided into categories, such as "political ties" or "WMD."
An attempt to scapegoat Libby? Or just detailing his role in the whole affair? Either way, ugly stuff.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hardwood Furniture?


Apparently a furniture shop in a mall in Japan. Right next to the "Munch Box" food court, I guess. From Engrish.com.

Victory for Gun Lobby

From the New York Times:

The Republican-controlled Congress delivered a long-sought victory to the gun industry today when the House of Representatives, with considerable Democratic support, voted to shield firearms manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has promised to sign it. ...
The bill, which is identical to one approved in July by the Senate, is aimed at ending a spate of lawsuits by individuals, states and municipalities seeking to hold gun manufacturers and dealers liable for crimes committed with weapons they sold.

Read the whole story.

Compare this with the June Supreme Court ruling that lets the recording industry and Hollywood hold makers of peer-to-peer file-sharing software responsible for copyright violations by users. The basis of this decision is that makers of P2P software promote the use of their product to infringe copyright laws. For what purpose do makers of guns promote their products? Why is it so important to protect the firearm industry? Downloading an MP3 never killed anyone.

Rep. DeLay is Booked in Texas


Yes. It doesn't say Rep. DeLay Reads Book in Texas, or Rep. DeLay Cooks Books in Texas, but Rep. DeLay is BOOKED in Texas. That's the MUG SHOT at right. From the article on CNN:

Rep. Tom DeLay turned himself in to the sheriff's office in his home county of Fort Bend, Texas, on Thursday for booking on state conspiracy and money-laundering charges.
Once inside, he was fingerprinted and his mug shot was taken. He was later released after posting a $10,000 bond, according to The Associated Press.

DeLay has accused Austin prosecutor Ronnie Earle, the Travis County district attorney, of launching a partisan vendetta against him. He showed his frustration Wednesday, telling CNN, "We all know what this is about. The quicker it's over the better."
There was no immediate official comment from the congressman's lawyers. But in a written statement, Earle's office said, "We believe that Congressman DeLay should be treated like everyone else."
Couldn't agree more.

Spineless?

Enjoying rare midweek day off ... So good to be able to peruse the news with a reasonably clear head. Awfully funny pic here. Screenshot of Katie and Bill O'Reilly from this morning's Today show. Apparently untouched. Seen first at Think Progress, but it's all over the place by now. Don't see how this could be a mistake.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Report From the Surface

Ventured outside today. Out onto the surface of this mysterious, alien world. The maneuver was unavoidable. Needed pancake mix. Within seconds I noticed that drops of water -- great, splashy globules -- were cascading down from the sky. Yes. Water. Falling out of the sky. What kind of a fucking planet is this anyway?

Endgame?

Saw Salman Rushdie on "Real Time with Bill Maher" last night. Topic of discussion: religion: atheist vs. believer, reality-based thinking vs. ? ... Rushdie (who sided firmly with the nonbelievers) commented that he had a feeling "God" was lashing out, destroying whole cities, and so on. Ominous. Over 1,000 dead so far in 7.6 magnitude quake in Pakistan. What is happening? Let's ask Clov.

CLOV: Something is taking its course.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Best Blog Ever!


I love this. I just love this ...

The blog of the #1 smartest President ever's #1 pick to be the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court! It's Harriet Miers' Blog.