Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Other Items

In an interview Monday night, Richard Cullen, Mr. DeLay's principal criminal defense lawyer, said that his client had been pondering a withdrawal from the race for some time and that "it had nothing to do with any criminal investigation."
"The decision had absolutely nothing to do with the investigation," Mr. Cullen said. "It was a very personal decision and a political one."

The above gives you a sense of the way Carl Hulse covers the news that Tom DeLay is supposed to be leaving the House (announcement supposed to be made later today) in this morning's New York Times ("DeLay Is Quitting Race and House, Officials Report"). Texas community members are very excited by the news (practically singing "Ding dong the wicked witch is dead" in this morning's e-mails). So we'll note two more highlights on this.

Martha notes that the Washington Post has two articles on this. From Jonathan Weisman and Chris Cillizza's "DeLay to Resign From Congress: Associates Say Reelection Fears, Not Criminal Probe, Led to Republican's Decision:"

The decision came three days after Tony C. Rudy, his former deputy chief of staff, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and corruption charges, telling federal prosecutors of a criminal enterprise being run out of DeLay's leadership offices. Rudy's plea agreement did not implicate DeLay in any illegal activities, but by placing the influence-buying efforts of disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff directly in DeLay's operation, the former aide may have made an already difficult reelection bid all but out of reach.
DeLay, who will turn 59 on Saturday, did not say precisely when he would step down, but under Texas law he must either die, be convicted of a felony, or move out of his district to be removed from the November ballot. DeLay told Time magazine that he is likely to change his official residence from Sugar Land, Tex., to Alexandria by the end of May. He said he informed President Bush of his decision yesterday afternoon.

The second article Martha notes is R. Jeffrey Smith's "Federal Probe Has Edged Closer to Texan: Two Ex-Aides Convicted, Another Also Named in Lobbying Investigation:"

The pending resignation of former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), once one of the most powerful lawmakers in Washington, comes amid a federal criminal investigation that already has reached into his inner circle of longtime advisers.
DeLay faces a trial later this year on money-laundering charges in Texas that stems from an October 2005 indictment related to corporate contributions to state elections in 2001 and 2002. Since then, two former aides and one of his most prominent contributors have pleaded guilty in a separate federal probe to crimes including conspiracy; wire, tax and mail fraud; and corruption of public officials.

The picture appeared to darken further last week with the guilty plea of Tony C. Rudy, DeLay's former deputy chief of staff. Edwin A. Buckham, the lawmaker's former chief of staff and his closest political and spiritual adviser, was described in court documents filed in the case as someone who collaborated with Rudy, Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and former DeLay aide Michael Scanlon. They arranged payments, trips and favors that the department's investigators charged were part of an illegal conspiracy, according to the documents.

Ruth called about an issue a few people have written her about. When attempting to listen to WBAI (live) yesterday, some got an error message. Ruth had no idea because she usually listens via radio to WBAI (Tracey's the one who pointed out to her grandmother that they could pick up the station fairly well, in parts of Ruth's house, over the airwaves despite living a distance from NYC*). It may be a case of a large number of people listening online. Whatever the reason, WBAI does archive their programs. Eddie wrote Ruth that he listened to Law and Disorder via the archives when he wasn't able to listen live. We now have WBAI, KPFA and KPFT (as well as a link for each of their archives) added to the permalinks on the left. Those three were added because they also provide archived broadcasts. (I believe all three do so rather quickly.) So you can listen live or you can go to the archives if that's not possible or if you're not able to listen to something live. In addition, please note that KPFA provides several streaming options. And let me repeat that those three were given individual links because they provide archived broadcasts. In addition, we added The Bat Segundo Show. I still haven't listened (not an insult, just no time). That was due to one of our couples with a member who is visually impaired. If there's a program that any visually impaired member enjoys, pass it on and we will put it on the permalinks. On audio links, we'll always give added weight to the views of visually impaired members. We have two Wakeup Call sites because the show has a new site, by the way. (That was added last week, Monday, I think.)

(*Ruth's comment in her most recent report, about the change in seasons and the signal being weaker, had to do with the fact that she lived out of the normal listening range of WBAI.)

(By the way, Mike provided a summary of this week's Law and Disorder yesterday.)

DeLay's apparently stepping down, now if only the Dems could get their act together. Lloyd notes Matthew Rothschild's "Feingold, John Dean: Bush Scarier than Nixon" (This Just In, The Progressive):

Republicans made a bad mistake if they thought by holding a hearing on censure they could embarrass critics of the President.
For when the Senate Judiciary Committee met on March 31 to explore Senator Feingold’s censure bill, the Wisconsin Senator scored point after point.
First, in his opening statement, he boxed Senator Arlen Specter into a corner. Specter has been pooh-poohing censure and has boasted of introducing a bill that he says will correct some of the problems he sees in Bush's handling of the NSA spying.
But Feingold noted that Bush's claim of Presidential authority would render Specter’s bill meaningless.
"If the President has the inherent authority to authorize whatever surveillance he thinks is necessary, then he surely will ignore your law, just as he has ignored FISA on many occasions," Feingold said.
Under such a circumstance, "nothing that we can legislate, no matter how carefully crafted, is worth a hill of beans."
Or as John Dean of Watergate fame added: Even as Bush would be signing Specter's law, "Dick Cheney will be drafting a signing statement that will gut the law."

Mia noted that Rothschild was interviewed by Andrea Lewis on yesterday's The Morning Show about this topic.

Rachel asked if we could note this event that's today "even though it's been on the site twice." No problem. We like Goodman and the topic is a worthwhile one (as NOW notes "Peace is a feminist issue). So if you're in NYC today or you know someone who is, please pass this on:

* Amy Goodman in New York, NY:
Tue, Apr 4
*TIME: 12:15 PM
Women War and Peace (class)
Brooklyn College
The Event is Free and Open to the Public
For more information:
Please Call Barbara Winslow at:718-951-5476 or 212-844-9447
Brooklyn CollegeStudent Union
Gold RoomReception is at 12:15
Event starts at 1:30

And please remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! today.

Lastly, Julia notes this from NOW:

March for Peace, Justice & Democracy Launches April 4 in New York City
On April 4 a coalition of progressive groups will start the countdown to a mass action in New York City. The March for Peace, Justice and Democracy will take place on April 29 in midtown Manhattan, uniting leaders and activists from labor, peace, environmental, women's, civil rights, veterans, youth/student and other social justice and community-based movements.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

[Jess note: Illustration added at Wally's request -- C.I. okayed it -- to note Delay's news. Illustration by Isaiah, from his The World Today Just Nuts.]