Monday, January 16, 2006

Other Items

Representative Bob Ney of Ohio said on Sunday that he would relinquish his chairmanship of the House Administration Committee, making him the second Republican tied to the Jack Abramoff scandal to abandon a leadership post.
Mr. Ney, who has been identified as the unnamed lawmaker accused in court documents of doing favors for Mr. Abramoff in return for contributions and other benefits, said he had done nothing improper but did not want to become a liability to his fellow Republicans.

The above, noted by Lynda, is from Carl Hulse's "Ohio Congressman Linked to Scandal Gives Up Post" in this morning's New York Times.

Dominick notes Stephanie Strom's "Group Seeks I.R.S. Inquiry of Two Ohio Churches:"

A group of religious leaders has sent a complaint to the Internal Revenue Service requesting an investigation of two large churches in Ohio that they say are improperly campaigning on behalf of a conservative Republican running for governor.
In their complaint, the clergy members contend that the two Columbus-area churches, Fairfield Christian Church and the World Harvest Church, which were widely credited with getting out the Ohio vote for President Bush in 2004, have allowed their facilities to be used by Republican organizations, promoted the candidate, J. Kenneth Blackwell, among their members and otherwise violated prohibitions on political activity by tax-exempt groups.
They are asking the I.R.S. to examine whether the churches' tax exemptions should be revoked and are requesting that Mark W. Everson, the federal tax commissioner, seek an injunction to stop what they consider improper activities.
[. . .]
Thirty-one clergy members representing a variety of Christian and Jewish denominations signed the complaint, which was shown to the news media on Sunday. Rabbi Harold J. Berman said he had signed because he was concerned that the line between church and state was becoming blurred. "I think government is clearly impaired when churches get too actively involved in government," he said, "and I think religion gets impaired when government acts in religious affairs."

Larry Rhoter's "What Is Missing in This Woman's Victory? Coattails" on Michelle Bachelet:

Ms. Bachelet, a single mother who has juggled her career and the demands of raising three children ever since she entered government service little more than a decade ago, is the first woman in the region to win an election without an assist from the coattails of a more famous spouse.
Though doubts had been expressed about whether Chilean men would be willing to vote for a woman, Ms. Bachelet's margin of victory exceeded that of her predecessor and mentor, Ricardo Lagos, six years ago. He won narrowly, with 51.2 percent of the vote, and by an overall difference much smaller than the half million votes that separated Ms. Bachelet and Mr. Pinera.

Douglas Jehl's "Specter Vows a Close Look at Spy Program" recaps Arlen Specter's statements on ABC's This Week. Bully Boy acted in good faith, blah, blah, blah, we won't give him a blank check, blah, blah, blah, no one's talking impeachment. If impeachment is off the table (the strongest measure the Congress has) and Specter knows Bully Boy acted in good faith, exactly what sort of check is being handed other than a blank one? He's limited options before the hearings have even started and he's vouching for Bully Boy's motives before they've been examined. So exactly what is the point of the hearings?

We'll note Danny Schechter's "AFTER ALITO: WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT NOW?" (BuzzFlash):

New York, January 15: "It was a good week for Republicans," chuckled the New York Times house conservative David Books with a s-hit eating grin as he welcomed the likely confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito Jr. Friday night on the PBS News Hour. His "liberal" debating partner Mark Shields was there to agree in yet another PBS program cleaving to the right while giving the appearance of being in the center.
The Judge handled himself well, said Brooks. He was not the angry ideologue pictured by the Democrats.
Shields agreed expressing admiration for his "judicial temperament."
And so, in media outlet after media outlet, another Administration-supporting consensus was reached, in part, because of they way media framed the story.
They had bought and sold the pre-hearing hype that this would be the ultimate ideological "showdown" like some final round of Wrestle Mania. When Alito was left standing after what was falsely pictured as his race through a gauntlet, he was proclaimed a winner.
The Democrats were predictable, baiting Alito, and trying to use comments he made in the 1980's as well as his dense judicial record against him. Like many Generals, they were fighting the last war-the one against Court nominee Robert Bork who took on his attackers but whose arrogance and argumentative approach did him in.
Significantly, when Bork himself was asked to comment on Alito's well-choreographed but evasive performance, he said, "The object nowadays is to get confirmed. People will say pretty much -- or avoid saying pretty much in order to get confirmed."
Didn't the Democrats realize that the Republicans would anticipate their knee-jerk approach, and then neutralize its dated and poorly executed confrontation strategy? Why weren't they on alert for dirty tricks like the phony crying spell by Alito's wife publicized by the very firm that promoted the Swift Boat veterans who smeared John Kerry?

Democracy Now! today (thanks to Rod who passed on the topic):

* To celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Day, we bring you two of his major speeches: "Beyond Vietnam" at Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967 and "I Have Been to the Mountain Top" in Memphis on April 3, 1968.

WBAI listeners are getting a tribute to MLK that will go on through midnight (check my math, it's a 21 hour tribute and it began at three a.m. this morning). You can use the DN! link to listen, watch or read the program or you can use the Pacifica link to find another station that may be playing it. (KPFA airs it at the same time WBAI listeners are used to hearing it. I don't mean if it's ___ there, subtract 3 hours to listen. The time you would normally listen on WBAI, you can hear it on KPFA.) And what of Law & Disorder, wonders Rachel who catches it Mondays on WBAI. If they are doing a new program today, you can check the Law & Disorder website and it will be available later. (If they're not, who can blame them? It was an exhausting week and I'm going back to bed as soon as this post.)

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