Monday, April 25, 2005

Arianna Huffington's new blogging move, DeLay, Bolton, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Venezuela

We'll start the discussion on this morning's New York Times with this:

Arianna Huffington, the columnist and onetime candidate for governor of California, is about to move blogging from the realm of the anonymous individual to the realm of the celebrity collective.
She has lined up more than 250 of what she calls "the most creative minds" in the country to write a group blog that will range over topics from politics and entertainment to sports and religion. It is essentially a nonstop virtual talk show that will be part of a Web site that will also serve up breaking news around the clock. It is to be introduced May 9.

[. . .]
Ms. Huffington's effort - to be called the Huffington Post ( - will also seek to ferret out potentially juicy items and give them legs. In fact, she has hired away Mr. Drudge's right-hand Web whiz, Andrew Breitbart, who used to be her researcher.
But unlike the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post will be interactive, offering news as well as commentary from famous people and allowing the masses to comment too, although not always directly with the celebs. Notables will oversee certain sections, with Gary Hart, the former Colorado senator, for example, taking the lead on national security issues. R. O. Blechman, the magazine illustrator, has designed the site. All material will be free and available on archives.

That's from Katharine Q. Seelye's (or "Kit Seelye" when blogging during the debates) "A Boldface Name Invites Others to Blog With Her."

Billie e-mails to note Carl Hulse and Philip Shenon's "Credit Receipts for DeLay Trip Raise Concerns:"

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that it had obtained travel receipts showing that Mr. Abramoff's personal credit card had been used to pay $6,938 for Mr. DeLay's airfare to and from Britain, suggesting a possible violation of House ethics rules, which bar lobbyists from paying for a lawmaker's travels. It had been previously disclosed that Mr. Abramoff had paid part of Mr. DeLay's hotel bill. Mr. DeLay's lawyer denied impropriety.
Democrats said the latest disclosures about Mr. DeLay's travel were another illustration of why the Republican majority should undo rules at the center of the feud that has paralyzed the ethics committee and left it unable to look into the activities of the majority leader or any other House member.
"These latest revelations," said Stacey Bernards, a spokeswoman for Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, "add to what every day is increasingly clear - that Republican leaders must return to the bipartisan rules and allow the ethics committee to organize so that all of these allegations can be dealt with appropriately and in a nonpartisan manner."

We'll note Douglas Jehl's "G.O.P. Senator Casts Doubt on U.N. Nominee:"

In contrast to optimistic statements from the White House, a top Republican senator said Sunday that John R. Bolton's prospects of winning Senate confirmation as ambassador to the United Nations were "too close to call."
The doubts expressed by the Republican, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who spoke on the CNN program "Late Edition," came as Democratic critics sharpened attacks aimed at portraying Mr. Bolton as someone who sought to politicize intelligence judgments. Four of 10 Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have expressed concern about Mr. Bolton, on a panel where one Republican vote against him could keep the nomination from reaching the Senate floor.

[. . .]
The issue is "not whether he's a nice guy or not," Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said of Mr. Bolton, in an appearance on "This Week." Mr. Biden added, "This is about whether or not you try to alter intelligence data, alter what intelligence data says, or intimidate experts in the intelligence community to say something different than you want said."
Mr. Biden and Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, in a separate television appearance, called renewed attention to Mr. Bolton's repeated efforts in 2002 to seek the transfer of intelligence officials with whom he had clashed over his attempts to make public a hard-line view of Cuba and its possible attempts to acquire biological weapons.

Whose next on our war with the world? Judging by David E. Sanger's "White House May Go to U.N. Over North Korean Shipments," North Korea may have just leap frogged over Iran.

Lynda e-mails to note Ginger Thompson's "Mexico City Mayor's Supporters Speak With Quiet March:"

A capital typically clogged with traffic was thronged Sunday by hundreds of thousands of people who marched into the main plaza to protest a government effort against Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that threatens to force him out of next year's presidential elections.
The police estimated that more than one million people participated in the march. Aides to the mayor estimated that there were 750,000 people. Several political observers described it as the biggest in the country's recent history.
After two weeks of heated political discourse and confusing legal maneuvers, the march was not the first to denounce the government's campaign against the mayor. But it was a dramatic illustration of seemingly growing support for Mr. Lopez Obrador and disappointment in President Vicente Fox.

Francisco e-mails to note the Reuter's article entitled "Venezuela Ends Military Ties and Evicts Some U.S. Officers:"

Venezuela is ending military operations and exchanges with the United States, President Hugo Chávez said Sunday, and he ordered out American instructors who he said had been trying to foment unrest in the barracks against him.
The end of military cooperation amounted to a further downgrading of ties between Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, and its main oil customer, the United States.
Warning of what he called a possible American invasion of Venezuela, Mr. Chávez said a female United States naval officer and some American journalists were temporarily detained recently in separate incidents for photographing a Venezuelan Army base and an oil refinery.

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