In this morning's New York Times, one story sure to catch attention is Douglas Jehl's "Bush Backs His U.N. Nominee, but Powell Warns of Volatility:"
But associates of Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, said he had expressed reservations about Mr. Bolton in conversations with at least two wavering Republican senators.
The associates said Mr. Powell, in private telephone conversations, had made clear his concerns about Mr. Bolton on several fronts, including his harsh treatment of subordinates.
[. . .]
Mr. Powell has not spoken publicly about the Bolton nomination. But his associates said he had told two Republican senators, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, that he had been troubled by the way Mr. Bolton had treated an intelligence analyst and others at the State Department who had disagreed with him.
Lynda e-mails David D. Kirkpatrick and Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders:"
As the Senate battle over judicial confirmations became increasingly entwined with religious themes, officials of several major Protestant denominations on Thursday accused the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, of violating the principles of his own Presbyterian church and urged him to drop out of a Sunday telecast that depicts Democrats as "against people of faith."
[. . .]
Religious groups, including the National Council of Churches and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, plan to conduct a conference call with journalists on Friday to criticize Senator Frist's participation in the telecast. The program is sponsored by Christian conservative organizations that want to build support for Dr. Frist's filibuster proposal.
Among those scheduled to speak in the conference call is the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, a top official of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., in which Dr. Frist is an active member.
"One of the hallmarks of our denomination is that we are an ecumenical church," Mr. Kirkpatrick said in an interview on Thursday. He also said, "Elected officials should not be portraying public policies as being for or against people of faith."
Ben e-mails to alert us to John Schwartz's "NASA Is Said to Loosen Risk Standards for Shuttle:"
NASA officials have loosened the standards for what constitutes an acceptable risk of damage from the kind of debris that led to the disintegration of the shuttle Columbia as it was returning from space two years ago, internal documents show.
The move has set off a debate within the agency about whether the changes are a reasonable reassessment of the hazards of flight or whether they jettison long-established rules to justify getting back to space quickly.
Experts who have seen the documents say they do not suggest that the shuttle Discovery - scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 22 - is unsafe, but a small but forceful minority say they worry that NASA is repeating a practice that contributed to the Columbia disaster: playing down risks to continue sending humans into space.
Keesha e-mails to note Scott Shane's "Negroponte Confirmed as Director of National Intelligence:"
The Senate confirmed John D. Negroponte on Thursday as the country's first director of national intelligence, with key senators urging him to assert his power quickly over the nation's 15 spy agencies, improve their sharing of information and upgrade their intelligence collection on terrorism and other threats.
The 98-to-2 vote was a strong endorsement for Mr. Negroponte, a 65-year-old longtime diplomat, as he seeks to lead the intelligence agencies out of a period of intense criticism for their failure to prevent the 2001 terrorist attacks and their inaccurate reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The only no votes came from two Democratic senators, Tom Harkin of Iowa and Ron Wyden of Oregon. Mr. Wyden said he opposed confirmation because he believed that Mr. Negroponte had played down human rights abuses when he served as ambassador to Honduras in the 1980's and that Mr. Negroponte had given evasive answers to questions at his confirmation hearing on April 12.
It was a strong endorsement for death squads as well, my opinion. Note that Tom Harkin and Ron Wyden stood strong.
Skip the Times trying to report on the helicopter brought down in Iraq (as usual, they rely on official sources to the detriment of the truth and their own image). Go instead to Patrick Cockburn's "Fresh bloodshed rocks Iraq as rebels set sights on Allawi"(from The
Iraq was engulfed in a fresh wave of violence when insurgents shot down a helicopter killing 11 people, and al-Qa'ida in Iraq claimed one of its suicide bombers had come close to assassinating the Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
The MI-8 commercial helicopter contracted to the US Defence Department was hit by a ground-to-air missile 25 miles north of Baghdad yesterday. All on board were killed: six Americans, two bodyguards from the Philippines and the three-man Bulgarian crew. On 30 January, nine RAF flight crew and a soldier died when a C-130 Hercules was downed, almost certainly by a ground-to-air missile, also north of Baghdad.
Al-Qa'ida in Iraq, which has no real connection with the al-Qa'ida of Osama bin Laden, claimed in an internet statement that a pick-up truck packed with TNT and mortar rounds rammed Mr Allawi's convoy close to the Green Zone in Baghdad. When his guards opened fire the bomber blew himself up, killing one policeman and wounding four.
It's Earth Day, remember? Let's note Andrew C. Revkin's "Climate Research Faulted Over Missing Components:"
The Bush administration's program to study climate change lacks a major component required by law, according to Congressional investigators. The program fails to include periodic assessments of how rising temperatures may affect people and the environment.
The investigators, from the Government Accountability Office, conclude in a report to be released today that none of the 21 studies of climate change that the administration plans to publish by September 2007 explicitly address the potential effects in eight areas specified by a 1990 law, the Global Change Research Act. The areas include agriculture, energy, water resources and biological diversity.
And let's give credit where it's due, Rachel Maddow stressed this story this morning on The Rachel Maddow Show. Remember, if the show is on too early for you, you can listen to it online at Air America Place. Also on this morning's show, you'll hear clips of Henry Hyde admitting that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was probably motivated by a need for 'payback' for the attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon.
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[Note: Post corrected, it was Henry Hyde, not Newt.]