Syndicate content
Updated: 2 hours 36 min ago

Appeals court refuses to delay Libby’s prison term.

Mon, 2007-07-02 10:05

A U.S. appeals court ruled today that Scooter Libby “cannot delay serving his 2 1/2-year prison sentence while he appeals his perjury conviction,” ruling that he has not shown that his appeal “raises a substantial question.” A federal judge ruled last month that Libby must report to prison in six to eight weeks.

UPDATE: Christy Hardin Smith at Firedoglake has the judge’s order.

Wolfowitz begins new job at AEI.

Mon, 2007-07-02 09:27

Today, ousted World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz starts his new job as a “visiting scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute. AEI’s press release notes that Wolfowitz has become “known for his advocacy of reform and political openness.”

Army tournament features chainsaw massacre video game.

Mon, 2007-07-02 08:53

The Army Gaming Championships, set to begin on July 4, allows people to compete for a $200,000 prize pool. But participants must be willing to be contacted by Army recruiters, providing the military with “another avenue to reach tech-savvy recruits.” Raw Story reports on one of the disturbing games encouraged by the Army:

The official Web site for the Army Gaming Championship also encourages Gears of War players to perform a move known as the “curb stomp,” which involves characters in the game crushing an opponent’s skull with their boot. […]

The “curb stomp” was inspired by the 1998 Edward Norton movie American History X, in which Norton plays a neo-Nazi skinhead who turns against his racist ways in prison. In the movie’s most violent scene, Norton “curb stomps” a black man who was trying to steal his car. Norton opens the man’s mouth and forces him to bite down on a curb before stomping on his neck, breaking it.

Gears of War is rated M, meaning it is inappropriate for children under age 17, and Web site Double Viking rated it the fourth-most-violent video game ever made, calling the game’s gore “as graphic as it comes.”

Louise Eaton, a media and web specialist with the Army, also noted, “That is where the kids are. It’s a venue where we can tell the Army’s story.” Video Games, especially the Pentagon-produced America’s Army, provide “an experience in the simulation world of what the Army’s like.”


Mon, 2007-07-02 08:22

“Police say eight people were killed and seven wounded in an explosion at ancient temple site in Yemen’s northeast province of Mareb,” CBS News reports.

‘Morning Joe’ to permanently replace Imus.

Mon, 2007-07-02 08:13

MSNBC and Joe Scarborough are “finalizing the details for ‘Morning Joe’ to permanently take over the 6-to-9 morning slot,” formerly occupied by controversial radio talk show host Don Imus. CBS Radio, “which syndicated Imus until his April firing,” is also in talks to syndicate “Morning Joe” to some of its stations.

Wilson: Proponents Of Libby Pardon Are ‘Accessories To An Ongoing Crime’

Mon, 2007-07-02 07:17

In a recent interview with “In The Know TV,” a public affairs television show broadcast in the DC area, Joe Wilson — the husband of former CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame — spoke out about the potential pardoning of Scooter Libby.

Wilson argued, “Considering that this is an obstruction of justice case, and considering that the prosecutor has said repeatedly that there remains a cloud over the Vice President, it seems to me that those who are arguing for pardon are in fact accessories to an ongoing crime.” He said that until the cloud over Cheney is lifted, the ultimate crime cannot be said to have been punished.

Wilson also argued that Bush should recuse himself from any involvement with the Libby scandal. “The idea that the President would not recuse himself given the superior-subordinate relationship he had with Mr. Libby — and considering that it would be the first time that you would consider a pardon in a criminal investigation that involves perhaps the Office of the President, certainly the Office of the Vice President — would be totally inappropriate,” he said. Watch it:

var flvwilsonpardon32024014459 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvwilsonpardon32024014459', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvwilsonpardon32024014459.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvwilsonpardon32024014459.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvwilsonpardon32024014459.write('flvwilsonpardon32024014459');

When asked his reaction to the fact that the White House has shown so much compassion for the Libby family without offering a public apology to his own family, Wilson said, “I would have thought that their parents would have raised them better.” He added, “I’ve actually learned not to expect anything from this crowd other than bad behavior.”

Bloomberg reports, “A quick pardon for Libby would go against Justice Department guidelines, which recommend that a supplicant wait five years after conviction or release from confinement before seeking a pardon.”

Europeans see U.S. as biggest world threat.

Mon, 2007-07-02 06:50

A new Financial Times poll finds “that 32 percent of respondents in five European countries regard the US as a bigger threat than any other state,” followed up by China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea:

Also, “the youngest US respondents share the Europeans’ view that theirs is the biggest threat, with 35 per cent of American 16- to 24-year-olds identifying it as the chief danger to stability.”

ThinkFast: July 2, 2007

Mon, 2007-07-02 06:01

“At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers.” Unbeknownst “even to many on his staff,” Bush has summoned “leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House” to discuss questions like, “Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

Days before the 40th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act on July 4, a new study shows that agencies “often take months or even years to respond to requests for information.” The State Department is the worst offender, with 10 requests over 15 years old. Agencies are supposed to respond within 20 days.

Battle stress may cause combat-hardened Marines with clean records to get into trouble after they return home,” new Marine Corps research shows. “The Marines have a plan to help these troops but not the resources to implement it, said a leading mental health expert with the Corps.”

“Air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban and the U.S.-led operation should cut them back,” said Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission. “In the latest incident involving civilian fatalities, Afghan officials said on the weekend that 45 civilians were killed in an air strike in the south of the country.”

Four U.S. soldiers and a Marine were killed in attacks in Baghdad and Iraq’s western Anbar province, the military said Monday,” bringing the total number of U.S. fatalities to 3,582. (more…)

Moore’s ‘SiCKO’ passes fact-check test.

Sun, 2007-07-01 14:26

CNN investigated the health care statistics Michael Moore cites in his new movie and finds them to be “mostly right.” “As we dug deep to uncover the numbers, we found surprisingly few inaccuracies in the film. In fact, most pundits or health-care experts we spoke to spent more time on errors of omission rather than disputing the actual claims in the film.” Click here to find a showing near you.

UPDATE: In an email to supporters, Michael Moore writes, “The studio tells me that we are on track to have the second largest opening weekend for a documentary in the history of the movies! (’Fahrenheit 9/11′ was first.) Many theaters have been selling out. The Bush administration’s investigation of this movie is certainly not keeping people away.”

Bush anchored at sea.

Sun, 2007-07-01 13:45

The AP writes: “President Bush’s presidency is stuck in low gear. On Sunday, his fishing boat was stuck on stop.”

The Secret Service bailed Bush out of a jam when his boat anchor got wedged in rocks along the Atlantic Coast.

Relaxing before his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president went fishing with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and daughter, Barbara.

They dropped the anchor to fish less than 100 feet from shore at Biddleford, Maine, but when they decided to leave, they couldn’t, according to an Associated Press photographer who took pictures of the incident.

Leahy threatens court action.

Sun, 2007-07-01 11:30

“The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday he was ready to go to court if the White House resisted subpoenas for information on the firing of federal prosecutors. ‘If they don’t cooperate, yes I’ll go that far,’ said Sen. Patrick Leahy.” Crooks and Liars has the video.

Candidate to replace Iglesias pushed for his ouster.

Sun, 2007-07-01 10:30

Patrick Rogers, a former general counsel to the New Mexico Republican Party and a candidate to replace fired New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, “pressured” Iglesias “several times to bring voter fraud prosecutions where little evidence existed” before the 2006 mid-term elections. Rogers, who was secretary of the nonprofit American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund at the time, was, according to Iglesias, “obsessed . . . convinced there was massive voter fraud going on in this state, and I needed to do something to stop it.”

Klein: Shopkeepers In McCain’s Baghdad Market Are All Supporters Of Al-Sadr

Sun, 2007-07-01 09:20

In April, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made a heavily-publicized trip to Baghdad as part of an effort to prove that Americans were “not getting the full picture” of what was going on Iraq. During the trip, McCain was escorted through a Baghdad market with 100 soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters, and 2 Apache gunships.

On NBC’s Chris Matthews Show this morning, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein described his own recent trip to the same market.

“I took the John McCain Shorga market walk in Baghdad three or four days ago,” said Klein. “And I talked to the shop keepers, and you know what? All the shopkeepers there are supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr.” Watch it:

var flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446.write('flvkleinmarkmcc32024014446');

Al-Sadr, whose role in Iraq McCain has misunderstood in the past, has repeatedly called on Iraqis to attack American soldiers. The most recent National Intelligence Estimate for Iraq described him as one of the “very effective accelerators” of Iraq’s civil war. The fact that ordinary shopkeepers in Iraq are strongly supportive of Sadr’s efforts underscores the widespread resistance to the U.S. military presence.

McCain will be in Iraq again on Monday, though his shopping plans are unknown.

Digg It!

Lieberman Uses Foiled British Terror Plot To Push For Greater U.S. Domestic Spying

Sun, 2007-07-01 08:22

Appearing on ABC’s This Week, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) used the foiled terror attempts in London to call for greater domestic spying here in the United States. Lieberman said, “I hope these terrorist attacks in London wake us up here in America to stop the petty partisan fighting going on about…electronic surveillance,” in apparent reference to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subpoenas for documents related to Bush’s NSA warrantless wiretapping program.

Lieberman claimed, “We’re at a partisan gridlock over the question of whether the American government can listen into conversations or follow email trails of non-American citizens.” This is false; the NSA spying program covered the surveillance of American citizens. The “gridlock” exists over whether the administration will cooperate with Congress by explaining why it feels current law is inadequate and why President Bush decided to ignore the law in authorizing a spying program that almost led to mass resignations at the Department of Justice.

Liebermen went further in his calls for greater domestic spying. “The Brits have got something smart going. … They have have cameras all over London. … I think it’s just common sense to do that here much more widely.” Watch it:

var flvliebermanspying32024014447 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=', 'em-flvliebermanspying32024014447', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvliebermanspying32024014447.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvliebermanspying32024014447.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvliebermanspying32024014447.write('flvliebermanspying32024014447');

In the same interview, Lieberman said of the situation in Iraq, “The surge is working.” He refused to say whether he would back a withdrawal if Gen. Petraeus reports in September that progress is not being made.

Also, Lieberman reaffirmed his previous statements that Democratic candidates do not have “strong and muscular” approaches to foreign policy. Today, he said, “I would say that Democratic candidates, in the larger questions of American security, have been disappointing.”

UPDATE: In Aug. 2006, Lieberman seized on a terror plot in Britain to criticize Ned Lamont’s opposition to the war in Iraq.

UPDATE II: Atrios recalls Lieberman’s claim that a “complete withdrawal is possible by late 2007 or early 2008.”

Digg It!

‘Best Supreme Court term ever’ for big business.

Sun, 2007-07-01 08:21

The New York Times reports today, “The court’s overall approach to business cases left many in the business community gleeful. ‘It’s our best Supreme Court term ever,’ said Robin S. Conrad, executive vice president of the National Chamber Litigation Center, which handles Supreme Court cases for the United States Chamber of Commerce.”

Putin arrives for Kennebunkport retreat.

Sun, 2007-07-01 07:25

“President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet for two days at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, ME., a first for any foreign leader.”

The Russian leader gets two presidents in one visit: Bush’s dad, former President George H.W. Bush, owns the home and is playing low-key host to the meetings. Putin also will be feted with spectacular views, sparkling New England summertime weather, lobster at nearly every meal, and possibly a striper fishing excursion on the elder Bush’s speedboat.

Al Gore writes in today’s NY Times.

Sun, 2007-07-01 06:08

Next Saturday’s Live Earth concerts on all seven continents around the globe “will ask for the attention of humankind to begin a three-year campaign to make everyone aware of how we can solve the climate crisis.” In conjunction with the concerts, individuals are being are being asked to make some commitments to reduce carbon emissions and to help “shape and drive government action.” Gore writes:

To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth. […]

Our children have a right to hold us to a higher standard when their future — indeed, the future of all human civilization — is hanging in the balance. They deserve better than a government that censors the best scientific evidence and harasses honest scientists who try to warn us about looming catastrophe. They deserve better than politicians who sit on their hands and do nothing to confront the greatest challenge that humankind has ever faced — even as the danger bears down on us.

Read the full op-ed here.

Australia planning Iraq troop withdrawal.

Sat, 2007-06-30 20:01

Australian Prime Minister John Howard, a strong ally of President Bush, is “secretly planning to begin withdrawing” the 1,500 Australian troops from Iraq by February 2008.

Britain’s terror alert level raised to ‘critical.’

Sat, 2007-06-30 14:24

One day after London police uncovered a “double car-bombing plot,” “two men slammed a Jeep S.U.V. that caught fire into the departure doors at Glasgow Airport as thousands of people awaited flights on the first day of school summer vacations.” Britain’s security alert level has also been raised to critical — “the highest possible level, indicating terrorist attacks are imminent.”

77 percent:

Sat, 2007-06-30 11:02

Number of Americans who believe the Iraq war is going badly, according to a new CBS News poll. The disapproval level is a new high, “up from 66 percent just two months ago. Nearly half, 47 percent, say it’s going very badly.”