Friday, March 04, 2005

Things to note in this morning's New York Times

Is the CIA about to be shut down?

In this morning's New York Times, there's an article by Elisabeth Bumiller entitled "Bush Offers Reassurance to C.I.A. Over Role of Intelligence Chief." The CIA is strong, it is vital, blah blah blah. Now when the Bully Boy makes a speech like that at a business, it's usually right before the business has massive lay offs.

The Bully Boy vows the CIA is still vital. Of course, he also vows that we're hot on the trail of Osama bin Laden. As Janeane Garofalo (among others) has pointed out, with the Bully Boy nose diving in the polls (were this American Idol, he would have been sent home already), it appears it's time to trot out the scare tactics again. Suddenly bin Laden is on the prowl again!

Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. Maybe he should have been caught long ago? Maybe we should have been provided with the clear and overwhelming evidence long ago? Remember that? When Afghanistan said, "Show us some evidence and we'll turn him over," we said, "No, take our word for it! We've got evidence! We've got plenty of evidence! Hand him over, then we'll show you our evidence!" Having bombed the hell out of Afghanistan and now moved on to Iraq, are we ever going to see all that evidence? Or is the Bully Boy still pouting that Afghanistan had the temerity to insist on being shown proof?

We hear bin Laden's important, that Bully Boy doesn't spend much time thinking about him . . .
Bully Boy's kind of fair weather on bin Laden. And if there is another attack here (as the Bully Boy is rumbling about), he might want to consider the fact that he won't get the easy pass he got before. He said "wanted dead or alive" when he apparently meant "if I still give a damn." Which he apparently didn't.

Edmund L. Andrews' "Fed's Chief Gives Consumption Tax Cautious Backing" takes the time to inform us that our Lord, Alan Greenspan can apparently still walk on water. False gods are all the rage in these days of the Bully Boy. And you have to suffer from a sort of blind faith to report on Greenspan's latest crap (consumption tax) without noting the long advocacy of this by Greenspan. (Hint, what exactly do you think he and Ayn Rand used to chat about on those long weekends?) It's a flat tax. But the Times is just so enthralled with Greenspan's ability to turn the economy into sh*t, that they apparently can't do any work to inform themselves of this long held goal of Greenspan's. While other nation's papers are highly critical of Greenspan, the news section of the Times is still playing teeny bopper.

"Ooooh! Consumption tax!" coos the paper of record (by the way, Okrent forgot to tell you that the pharse "paper of record" was in fact popularized by the paper when he ranted and raved about the slogan not being anything the Times had ever put forward -- no surprise, Okrent was wrong on that too). Wide-eyed wonder really doesn't suit the Times. Yet still the gush.

Jodi Wilgoren continues her strong streak of late with "Man in Plot to Kill Judge Says Slayings Are 'Heinous.'" Trevor feels that we're overpraising Wilgoren. I can understand his reservations and concerns. But we'll turn into Tiger Beat with full page pix of Wilgoren and flattering copy if she continues to do real reporting. In my opinion, she's earning the praise she's receiving.

From her article:

Two members of Congress called on Thursday for increased financing to protect federal judges and their families. Judge Lefkow had an extra security detail during Mr. Hale's trial last year, but it was disbanded after a couple of weeks.
"This is an urgent homeland security matter," Representative Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat whose district includes part of Chicago, wrote in a letter to President Bush, saying the $485.9 million allotted for judicial protection in his proposed budget was insufficient. "Federal judges all over the country are in need of protection from terrorism, both foreign and domestic."
Senator Richard J. Durbin, the Illinois Democrat who nominated Judge Lefkow in 2000, said in a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, "These cruel and cold-blooded killings are attacks not only on two innocent individuals, but on our criminal justice system as well."

Salman Masood also has a strong article. It's entitled "Village Gang-Rape Sentences Are Upset by Court in Pakistan." From the article:

Five men sentenced to death in 2002 for their role in a gang rape that was approved by a council in a remote Pakistani village had their convictions overturned Thursday. A sixth man convicted in the case, which set off worldwide outrage, had his death sentence commuted to life in prison, lawyers in the case said.
The circumstances of the rape, in June 2002 in Meerwala, in southern Punjab Province, brought demands for justice, and the government moved fast to bring the case to trial.
According to the prosecution, the Meerwala council ordered the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, then 30, as punishment for the alleged illicit sexual relations of her brother Shakoor with a woman from the rival Mastoi tribe.
It was later revealed that he had been molested by Mastoi men who tried to conceal it by accusing him of illicit relations with a Mastoi woman. The Mastoi demanded revenge. That was delivered when the council approved the rape of Ms. Mukhtar.

Lloyd wants to draw everyone's attention to Edward Wong's "American Jails in Iraq Are Bursting With Detainees." From that article, Lloyd highlights these sections:

The military swept up many Iraqis before the Jan. 30 elections in an attempt to curb violence and halted all releases before the vote. Other detainees have been captured in ambitious recent offensives across the Sunni Triangle, from Samarra to Falluja to the Euphrates River valley south of Baghdad.
[. . .]

As of this week, the military is holding at least 8,900 detainees in the three major prisons, 1,000 more than in late January. Here in Abu Ghraib, where eight American soldiers were charged last year with abusing detainees, 3,160 people are being kept, well above the 2,500 level considered ideal, said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the detainee system. The largest center, Camp Bucca in the south, has at least 5,640 detainees.
[. . .]

"We're very close to capacity now," Colonel Johnson said.
The surging numbers of prisoners pose important challenges for the military. The Abu Ghraib scandal revealed that the military was using poorly trained interrogators even as more detainees were swept into prison in the fall of 2003.
The military must hire enough effective interrogators and military intelligence officers to process detainees quickly, said Bruce Hoffman, an analyst at the RAND Corporation who has worked in Iraq with American policy makers. Otherwise, innocent people will languish in the prisons, a fertile recruiting ground for the insurgents, and could take up arms when they are freed.

Ben wants us to pay attention to Garndiner Harris' "Drug Makers Are Still Giving Gifts to Doctors, F.D.A. Official Says:"

Three years after the drug industry said it would stop showering doctors with expensive gifts, a top federal drug official told a Senate panel on Thursday that such marketing efforts continued.
The official, Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting deputy commissioner for operations of the Food and Drug Administration, said during a break in the hearing that drug companies still invited doctors on cruises and to resorts in exotic places, all free.

And Marcia wants us to note Eric Schmitt's "Army Officials Voice Concern Over Shortfall in Recruitment:"

The Army is so short of new recruits that for first time in nearly five years it failed in February to fill its monthly quota of volunteers sent to boot camp. Army officials called it the latest ominous sign of the Iraq war's impact on the military's ability to enlist fresh troops.
"We're very concerned about it," Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday when asked about recruiting shortfalls in the active-duty Army and Army Reserve. "When people ask you what you worry about the most, I say there's just two words: people and money."