For those who skipped the Bully Boy's performance last night (for whatever reason), the New York Times has posted the transcript.
Rob e-mails to note Alan Cowell's "Blair, on Defensive, Releases a Secret Memo on Iraq War:"
Parts of the 13-page document, written by Lord Goldsmith, Britain's attorney general, on March 7, 2003, were made public Wednesday by the BBC and Channel 4, prompting a new furor about whether Mr. Blair misled the nation by depicting the war as unequivocally lawful.
The full document showed that while Lord Goldsmith said in public on March 17, 2003, that the imminent invasion of Iraq was unambiguously legal, the private advice he gave to Mr. Blair 10 days earlier showed far greater concerns about the legal consequences of going to war.
"There are a number of ways in which the opponents of military action might seek to bring a legal case, internationally or domestically, against the United Kingdom, members of the Government or U.K. military personnel," the document said, as it laid out the legal landscape. It concluded with a discussion of the level of force permitted by United Nations resolutions concerning Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. ["]
Krista notes Marlise Simmons' "Sudan Poses First Big Trial for World Criminal Court:"
Almost three years after the International Criminal Court opened over United States opposition, the United Nations Security Council asked it to investigate atrocities in Sudan and, in the process, placed the court squarely in the international spotlight. By any measure, the request was an important vote of confidence in the new tribunal.
[. . .]
On the conflict in Darfur in Western Sudan, however, where as many as 300,000 people have been killed and more than two million others displaced, the court is under pressure to act swiftly, not only in the hope of ending the bloodshed but also, some diplomats say, because it would allow the Security Council to postpone direct intervention and nonetheless appear to be taking action.
Darfur will put the court to its first major test, as it carves a legal path from accusation, through investigation and indictment, all the way to trial, verdict and punishment.
For those receiving Krista & Gina's "round-robin" each Friday, Krista notes this will again be a major topic and to check your inboxes this evening for it.
Cedric* e-mails to note Eduardo Porter's "Economy Hits Energy Prices, and the Brakes:"
The economy braked sharply in the first three months of the year, the government reported yesterday, expanding at its slowest pace in two years as rising energy prices spurred a burst of increased inflation and dragged down spending by businesses and consumers.
[. . .]
Investors in financial markets were taken aback by the unexpected sluggishness, sending stocks tumbling and pushing bond yields down as the new data cemented expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point at its meeting on Tuesday even as growth is decelerating.
[. . .]
Activity slowed across most of the economy, from consumer spending to government consumption, but the sharpest retreat was in corporate investment, which expanded at barely a third of the pace of its growth in the last three months of 2004.
[*I think I mispelled Cedric's name last night. If so, I'll correct it this evening. My apologies to Cedric.]
Lynda notes that while the Bully Boy was stammering and spinning last night, Congress was in session and advises people to read Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Congress Passes Budget With Cuts in Medicaid and in Taxes:"
The House and Senate broke a lengthy impasse over federal spending Thursday night, narrowly adopting a $2.56 trillion federal budget for 2006 that aims to trim the growth of Medicaid by $10 billion over five years, add $106 billion in tax cuts and clear the way for oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.
The back-to-back votes - 214 to 211 in the House and 52 to 47 in the Senate - ran mostly along party lines. As the roll was called in the Senate, shortly before midnight, Vice President Dick Cheney sat in the chamber, ready to cast his vote to break a tie, if necessary.
As Rachel Maddow noted on her show this morning, the Republicans have put drilling in Alaska into this economic bill.
Natalie notes Jodi Wilgoren's "In One Prison, Murder, Betrayal and High Prose:"
The two-and-a-half-hour production of Shakespeare's "King Lear" ran without intermission so that the audience of 100 inmates would not be idle in a big room. And, shortly after their curtain call on Tuesday night to a standing ovation, the actors lined up again, this time against the gymnasium wall, for one of the six daily head counts here at the Racine Correctional Institution.
"It's an opportunity for us to see something in ourselves that others don't see," Megale Taylor said of the play, adding that his role as the Fool had shown him "how much of a fool I've been in my life."
Dallas e-mails to note that the Times has an AP article online entitled "20 Are Killed in Attacks on Security Forces in Iraq:"
Insurgents carried out a series of attacks in Baghdad on Friday using car bombs and mortar rounds, killing at least 20 Iraqis and wounding more than 65, officials said. A car bomb killed another Iraqi soldier near the southern city of Basra.
The worst-hit area was a district of Baghdad where four suicide car bombs exploded, hitting Iraqi soldiers and police and Iraqi civilians on a Friday, the Muslim day of worship for most Iraqis.
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