Monday, October 24, 2005

Other items

With a decision expected this week on possible indictments in the C.I.A. leak case, allies of the White House suggested Sunday that they intended to pursue a strategy of attacking any criminal charges as a disagreement over legal technicalities or the product of an overzealous prosecutor.
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, is expected to announce by the end of the week whether he will seek indictments against White House officials in a decision that is likely to be a defining moment of President Bush's second term. The case has put many in the White House on edge.
Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., who is Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, have been advised that they are in serious legal jeopardy. Other officials could also face charges in connection with the disclosure of the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer in 2003.
On Sunday, Republicans appeared to be preparing to blunt the impact of any charges. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, speaking on the NBC news program "Meet the Press," compared the leak investigation with the case of Martha Stewart and her stock sale, "where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime."

The above is from Richard W. Stephenson and David Johnston's "Republicans Testing Ways to Blunt Leak Charges" in this morning's New York Times.

As Billie notes, KBH knows a thing or two about investigations (she was probed by Ronnie Earl in times past) so "the toxic fumes from her polyester ensemble must have gotten to her" (I didn't see her outfit, I don't watch the Chat & Chews, but KBH is a graduate of the Mary Matalin School of Charm, so I can't just imagine how bad it was). Billie also wonders what our latter day Dylan will have to say today. Oh Billie, haven't we all given up on him by now? Haven't we?

Kara e-mails to note Christopher Drew and John Schwartz's "Engineers Point to Flaws in Flood Walls' Design as Probable Cause of Collapse:"

When the Army Corps of Engineers started to design a flood wall on the 17th Street Canal here in the early 1980's, deep probes found what geologists viewed as a potentially weak layer of peat soil about 15 feet below sea level in the area where the wall collapsed during Hurricane Katrina.
Yet in building the wall, corps officials acknowledge, they did not drive the steel pilings - the main anchors for the structure - any deeper than 17 feet.
Several outside engineers who have examined the designs say the decision not to hammer the pilings deeper and into firmer ground left the support for the flood wall dangerously dependent on soil that could easily have given way under the immense pressure from floodwaters.
And members of a team of experts from the National Science Foundation say it now seems that this simple failure probably led to the collapse of the walls on both the 17th Street and London Avenue canals, which flooded many residential neighborhoods and surrounded the Superdome with several feet of water.

Carl e-mails to note Alexander Cockburn's "When Divas Collide: Maureen Dowd v. Judy Miller" (CounterPunch):

"Entanglement" is a curiously suggestive word, given the notoriously rich and varied texture of Judy Miller's sexual resumé whose imagined contours have been the sport of newsrooms and hotel bars around the world. Certainly Miller took it that way, writing in response, "As for your reference to my 'entanglement' with Mr. Libby, I had no personal, social, or other relationship with him except as a source." Welcome to The Times as Pay-Per-View Reality TV.
Keller's sniveling "internal" memo throwing Miller over the side, which he obviously knew would be forwarded to Howard Kurtz ten seconds after he hit the SEND key, seems to me to be entirely disgusting. The Times nailed Miller's colors to its mast many years ago. There are decades' worth of her atrocious mendacities in its archives, and decades' worth of accurate refutations of her news stories ignored by Times' editors.
Miller's game was the Times' game. They were witting co-conspirators. When Miller co-wrote (with Stephen Engelberg and William Broad)
Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, the Times was happy to print her stories in the paper designed to push the book up into Bestseller status, in a staggering conflict of interest that earned the paper plenty of money. This, remember, was when Miller was sent that mysterious envelope of white powder that turned out not to be anthrax spores, which gave the book yet another boost.
It's way too late in the game for Times editors to start whining that Judy misled them. They printed her rubbish because they were disposed to believe it, and for Keller to turn on her now in an "internal" memo designed for public consumption is cowardly and despicable. The gentlemanly thing for Keller to do would to keep a stiff upper lip, let Dowd and the reporters toss Miller on their horns and, if circumstances warrant, fall upon his sword, accompanied in this act by the publisher, unless the Times' shareholders shoot him first for presiding over the 53 per cent drop in profits this year.
I never cared much for the whole Plame scandal, mostly on the aesthetic grounds that outing Plame as a CIA agent seemed such a moronic way for the White House to try to discredit Joe Wilson, also because outing CIA agents is an act for which--for radicals at least--applause should be the default setting. But in that odd way that scandals acquire critical mass by dint of larger social and political discontent, the Plame scandal is severely wounding the Bush regime and the New York Times and we certainly applaud that.
And with the Times now publicly dismembering itself the scandal has at last become fun. Not as much fun as the Lewinsky scandal of course, but what scandal will ever match those magic years?
By way of a coda: My favorite among Judy's amours has always been the British consular official in Tripoli whom Judy had once made the plaything of an idle hour, or of the need for some document or fragment of information. The British journalist David Blundy, later killed in Central America, was in the cellar of the British consulate in Tripoli during the US bombing raid in Reagan-time, designed to kill Qadaffi. Also present was Judy's conquest, the consular official. The wretched man had never got over Judy and as the bombs crashed down and the building trembled on its foundations, he took ever heavier swigs from a bottle of Scotch and moaned in his broad Scottish accent, "She's a terrr-ible, terrrr-ible woman, but I love her (CRASH) She's a terrrr." (CRASH, etc)

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