Wednesday, April 06, 2005

This morning's Times

Let's start by noting Douglas Jehl's "White House Has Tightly Restricted Oversight of C.I.A. Detentions" in this morning's New York Times. From that article:

The White House is maintaining extraordinary restrictions on information about the detention of high-level terror suspects, permitting only a small number of members of Congress to be briefed on how and where the prisoners are being held and interrogated, senior government officials say.
Some Democratic members of Congress say the restrictions are impeding effective oversight of the secret program, which is run by the Central Intelligence Agency and is believed to involve the detention of about three dozen senior Qaeda leaders at secret sites around the world.
By law, the White House is required to notify the House and Senate Intelligence Committees of all intelligence-gathering activities. But the White House has taken the stance that the secret detention program is too sensitive to be described to any members other than the top Republican and Democrat on each panel.
The issue is expected to be discussed at a hearing scheduled for Thursday, at which Porter J. Goss, the director of central intelligence, is to testify in closed session before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The detention program remains so highly classified that the members of Congress would discuss the restrictions that surround it only in the most general of terms.

Not a good day to be Tom DeLay. Inside the paper, you learn (Carl Hulse's "Frist Isn't Following Republicans on Criticism of Judges") Frist is stepping away from DeLay over the issue of examing federal judges who " chose not to intervene in Ms. Schiavo's case after Congress had passed an emergency law that let them do so. " On the front page, Philip Shenon's "Political Groups Paid Two Relatives of House Leader" informs you of the perks of being a DeLay:

The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.
Most of the payments to his wife, Christine A. DeLay, and his only child, Dani DeLay Ferro, were described in the disclosure forms as "fund-raising fees," "campaign management" or "payroll," with no additional details about how they earned the money. The payments appear to reflect what Mr. DeLay's aides say is the central role played by the majority leader's wife and daughter in his political career.
[. . .]
"It's DeLay Inc. " said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a research group that has closely monitored Mr. DeLay and his campaign fund-raising and expenditures. "If it's not illegal, it certainly is inappropriate for members of Congress to use their positions to enrich their families."
Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics and a former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission, said that "questions are raised anytime a politician puts close family members on the payroll."

Brad e-mails to call our attention to Seth Mydans' "In Tsunami Area, Relief Is Very Slow in Coming:"

There is little sign in Aceh of the billions of dollars in donations from governments, aid organizations, civic groups and individual people who reached out to help from around the world.
"The only thing we've gotten is small packets of food and supplies," said Samsur Bahri, 54, a shopkeeper who lost his home and now lives with nine people in a small room. "Where the money is, we don't know. It's just meetings, meetings, meetings."

Trina e-mails to note Alan Cowell's "Blair Calls Election for May 5 as His Party Slips in Polls:"

The announcement coincided with a wave of opinion surveys suggesting that Mr. Blair's Labor Party was losing ground to the opposition Conservatives. On Tuesday, Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, urged Britons to choose "a better way" because Mr. Blair's government had "lost the plot."

Eli e-mails to note Sam Dillon's "Connecticut to Sue U.S. Over Cost of School Testing Law:"

The State of Connecticut will sue the federal government over President Bush's signature education law, arguing that it forces Connecticut to spend millions on new tests without providing sufficient additional aid, the state's attorney general announced yesterday.

Krista notes that Matthew L. Wald has an article entitled "Disagreement Over Data on Waste Site" in this morning's paper but feels the issue was covered better in yesterday's Headlines on Democracy Now! and asks that we highlight that. From Democracy Now!:

Emails Showed Yucca Mountain Scientists Made Up Data
Newly released emails show that government scientists working on the proposed nuclear waste dump site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada knowingly fabricated records in order to help the project move forward. In one email a scientist admitted "I've made up the dates and names... I will be happy to make up more stuff." In another message the scientist wrote: "In the end I keep track of 2 sets of files, the ones that will keep QA happy and the ones that were actually used." QA apparently refers to "quality assurance." The emails were written in 1999 and 2000 - during the Clinton administration. Yucca Mountain is the proposed site of an underground repository to hold some 77,000 tons of nuclear waste and used reactor fuel from commercial nuclear power plants. The project has been met by widespread fears that the plan to bury the nuclear waste is too risky.

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