Thursday, October 27, 2005

Other Items

The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak inquiry met for more than three hours with the federal grand jury on Wednesday and later talked privately with the district judge in the case as the White House waited out another day in the expectation of possible indictments.
After the grand jury session, the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, discussed the case for about 45 minutes in the chambers of Judge Thomas F. Hogan, the chief judge of the district court who has presided over the leak case, said the judge's administrative assistant, Sheldon L. Snook.

The above is from David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson's "Grand Jurors Hear Counsel on Leak Case" in this morning's New York Times.

Maria e-mails to note Gardiner Harris' "Ex-Head of F.D.A. or Wife Sold Stock in Regulated Area:"

Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, or his wife sold shares in companies regulated by the agency in 2004, according to financial disclosure forms.
The sales may have played a role in Dr. Crawford's sudden resignation from the agency last month after only two months as its leader.
The latest disclosure form, signed by Dr. Crawford on June 28, shows that he or his wife sold shares in 2004 in companies including the Sysco Corporation, a large food supplier; Kimberly-Clark and Teleflex Inc., which have medical-products divisions; PepsiCo Inc. and Wendy's International, which sell food products; Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which includes pharmacies; and Embrex, an agriculture biotechnology company where Dr. Crawford was once a board member.
The value of the sales varied from $1,001 to $100,000, according to the form.

Brady e-mails to note Douglas Jehl's "Spy Agencies Told to Bolster 'The Growth of Democracy':"

A new strategy document issued Wednesday by the Bush administration ranks efforts to "bolster the growth of democracy" among the three top missions for American intelligence agencies.
John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, said the rankings were intended to align the work of intelligence agencies with the administration's broader national security goals. The top two "mission objectives" are efforts to counter terrorism and weapons proliferation.
At a briefing, Mr. Negroponte said he did not believe that the priorities reflected a significant change from those in place before the overhaul of intelligence agencies and the establishment of his post six months ago. But another senior intelligence official, speaking at the same briefing, said the emphasis reflected an acknowledgment that American agencies needed to do "a better job" in understanding the role played by "soft power."

Brady wonders who expects Negroponte to promote democracy anywhere? Good question. We'll also note that, apparently, nothing says "open democracy" like clandestine spying.

Rachel notes that "stay the course" only applies to destruction, not to helping the people of America. She steers us to Carl Hulse's "Bush Says 'Push the Envelope' on Cutbacks:"

President Bush urged Congress on Wednesday to "push the envelope" on spending cuts to help pay for hurricane relief while the administration backtracked on a ruling covering storm reconstruction that had come under steady attack from unions, Democrats and some Republicans.
[. . .]
In a speech to the Economic Club of Washington on Wednesday, Mr. Bush encouraged lawmakers to impose across-the-board spending cuts. He said the House and Senate were "making progress toward cuts that will show the American people we're capable of being wise about the money and, at the same time, meet our priorities."
Setting up a politically charged floor fight next week, the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday approved by a party-line vote a package with $39 billion in spending reductions and revenue increases. The package includes a plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and a $10 billion cut for Medicare and Medicaid. Republicans say the changes are needed to help pay for disaster aid and slow the growth of government. Democrats are uniformly opposed, saying that the cuts are harsh and that they will in some cases fall hardest on those displaced by the storms.

"Doubts Raised on Saudi Vow for More Oil" sounds interesting but the byline is Jeff Gerth. Why is Gerth still with the paper? Gene Lyons outlined all that was wrong (a long list) with Gerth's reporting (or "reporting") on Whitewater. That's not even getting into the area of Wen Ho Lee.
Mike made an interesting point yesterday and reporters do need to be held accountable for their false reports. Why does the Times continue to employ him? How many stories do you get wrong from careless reporting (which is being very generous) before you get canned? (At the Times you can get away with almost anything.) So note that Gerth is still employed by the paper.

Turning to a real reporter, Kyle e-mails to note Dahr Jamail's "Mr. Bring 'em On" (Iraq Dispatches):

Yesterday while speaking to a group of military wives in Washington, Mr.Bush said, "This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve."
Of course this speech of pre-emptive consolation to the news of the 2,000th death was not in vain, as the announcement came but a few hours after his speech at the air force base.
I wonder how many of those military wives recall what Mr. Bush said 1,794 dead US soldiers ago when he proudly announced, "Bring ‘em on" back on July 2, 2003?
Of course Mr. Bush went off yesterday about spreading freedom and laying foundations for peace as the bombs continue to drop in Iraq. He even went so far as to claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the head of the Iraqi resistance.
"Each loss of life is heartbreaking," he told the wives.
But how would he know? A person who was a deserter during Vietnam and who would never allow his daughters to serve in Iraq, how could he know? So now we continue the death march towards the 3,000 mark, with the announcement of another dead US soldier bringing the official tally to 2,001. With 159,000 US soldiers in Iraq now (remember when it was 138,000?) the tally will only continue to grow.
Yet the number of dead US soldiers still pales in comparison to the number of Iraqis dying, including Iraqi police and soldiers.
Even today two Iraqi policemen (IP) were killed in Ramadi when their police station was attacked, while in the "model city" of Fallujah, three IP's were killed by a roadside bomb.
Also today, four gagged and bound bodies of three Iraqis wearing army uniforms and one of a contractor working with a US company were found with gunshots in their heads and chests.

Lynda e-mails to note Juan Gonzalez's "Her Act of Courage Changed a Nation" (Common Dreams):

Parks refused to move.
In a soft, calm voice, she told the driver she wasn't in the white section and wasn't moving. Blake told her the white section was wherever he said it was. When she refused one more warning, Blake had her arrested.
Parks, of course, was no ordinary woman. At the time, she was the secretary of the local NAACP chapter and a teacher and mother figure to scores of black children at the Trinity Lutheran Church. A product of Montgomery's working-class neighborhoods, she always carried herself in such a dignified manner that she was respected even among Montgomery's wealthiest blacks.

Gonzalez is, of course, the co-host (with Amy Goodman) of Democracy Now!

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