Embattled State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard submitted his resignation Friday, forced out for allegedly impeding ongoing criminal investigations into the construction of a new, $740 million U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and security firm Blackwater Worldwide.
A State Department official said that Krongard had become a political liability, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, through aides, asked him this week to leave. The official insisted on anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak about personnel matters.
An abrasive attorney who once reportedly referred to himself as an "equal-opportunity abuser," Krongard came under fire from his own investigators and from a congressional panel for allegedly blocking probes into serious claims of wrongdoing in Iraq.
Those allegations include contract fraud and shoddy workmanship in the troubled Baghdad embassy and arms smuggling by North Carolina-based Blackwater.
Krongard initially vowed to fight the accusations against him. But his position collapsed at a House of Representatives hearing last month when he was asked whether his brother, former top CIA official Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, had accepted a position on a Blackwater advisory board. Krongard first denounced what he said were "ugly rumors," then, after telephoning his brother, reversed himself.
The above is from Warren P. Strobel's "Embattled State Department inspector general resigns" (McClatchy Newspapers) and it's the end of the road for Cookie and Buzzy. For now anyway. But shed no tears, at least Iraq is 'safe,' right? No. In this morning's New York Times, Cara Buckley reports on two bombings yesterday:
Twenty-five people were killed Friday in the tumultuous Iraqi province of Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb near the headquarters of a local committee of former insurgents working with American forces and a car bomb exploded at a checkpoint in Baquba.
Fifteen people were killed and 20 wounded in the suicide attack in the town of Muqdadiya.
Actually 16 people dead, the toll rose by one after Buckley filed. Bombings greeted Bobby Gates' arrival in Iraq, bombings took place while he was in the country and bombings have continued. Despite his happy talk. CNN reports that 6 people are dead and fourteen wounded from a bombing today in northern Iraq.
RadioNation with Laura Flanders, Sunday on Air America Radio stations, on XM satellite radio and streaming online at 1:00 pm, the program focuses on:
This week on RadioNation: Lefty Male Pundits Heart Huckabee?
This week on RadioNation: A forum discussion on the vote in Venezuela: a defeat for Chavez or a victory for Chavista democracy? What will the NIE on Iran slow down faster: Bush/Cheney's rush to war -- or Hillary Clinton? KATHA POLLITT and the ARKANSAS TIMES' MAX BRANTLEY on lefty male pundits who love Mike Huckabee, and a RadioNation exclusive with a former Iraqi translator now seeking asylum in the states.
RadioNation is heard on Air America Radio Sundays at 1 pm EST and on XM satellite and non-commercial stations nationwide. It can also be heard via podcast. To bring RadioNation to a station near you, write to Peter@thenation.com.
Just Out: THE CONTENDERS (Seven Stories). FLANDERS, RIDGEWAY, GOLDSTEIN AND DAN SAVAGE on CLINTON, OBAMA et al.. BUY it or ORDER IT today.
For more information, go to LauraFlanders.com
If the love for Huckabee disgusts you, check out Rebecca from this week, Rebecca from last week and Cedric's "Conniff likes Huckabee, Huckabee likes rapists" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HUCKABEE LOVES THE RAPISTS!".
The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:
Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
and Ruth's Ruth's Report
Next a press release from the Illinois Green Party, "BOARD OF ELECTIONS CLEARS WAY FOR GREEN PRIMARY ON FEB. 5:"
In their meeting Thursday, the Illinois Board of Elections dismissed objections to all four Green Party candidates for president: Jared Ball of Washington D.C., Howie Hawkins of New York, Kent Mesplay of California and Cynthia McKinney of California.
The decision by the board sets the stage for the state's first ever contested Green Primary. "Because we will have four candidates on the ballot for the same office, and thus a contested primary, every voter in the state will have the chance to pull a Green ballot on Feb. 5," says Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the ILGP Government & Elections Committee.
The Illinois Green Party became an established political party in 2006, when gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney earned more than 10% of the vote. As an established party, Greens will participate in the Feb. 5 primary, name
committeepeople, and can slate candidates to fill vacancies on the ticket.
"Voters in Illinois went to the polls in 2006 and demanded more options, beyond the two party system," says David Black, Secretary of the Illinois Green Party. "And we've delivered a number of excellent candidates in races all over the state."
In addition to the state board's decisions, the Cook County Board of Elections also threw out objections to the candidacy of Jerome Pohlen, a journalist and library trustee from Berwyn seeking the Green nomination for 3rd Congressional District.
Not all of the objections filed last month had favorable outcomes to the Illinois Green Party. The board voted unanimously to remove Scott Summers, attorney and McHenry Community College trustee, from the primary ballot for 16th Congressional
District, despite hearing arguments that the Board used a different formula to calculate Green signature requirements than it used to calculate Republican and Democratic requirements.
"Had the board used the same formula, I would have had more than enough signatures to get on the ballot," says Summers. "I think the political parties should be treated equally under the law."
Summers says that he may file suit in the case or will seek to be slated by the party following the primary.
Objections are still pending against congressional candidate David Kalbfleisch (10th district), as well as other candidates for state, local and committeeperson offices.
Kayla was the first to note Margaret Kimberley's "AIDS, the Black Disease" (Black Agenda Report) this week and chose the excerpt:
The numbers continue to be appalling. The Centers for Disease Control have adjusted data which indicated that approximately 40,000 new infections take place every year. The new estimate is between 58,000 and 63,000. Currently HIV infection rates are rising among those black men who acknowledge having sex with other men. Black men comprise 44% of all male HIV infections in the United States while black women make up 64% of all female HIV infected individuals in this country.
The disproportionate numbers of black HIV sufferers explains succinctly why the subject is treated with far less urgency than it was 25 years ago. AIDS in America has become a black disease. Like any other issue that effects black people more than any other group, it suddenly becomes a non-issue, unworthy of news print or broadcast time. To make matters worse, because the spread of HIV is associated with sexual contact and intravenous drug use, too many black Americans prefer denial instead of serious discussion.
The anointed leadership are no better than anyone else at speaking frankly to save lives. The website of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA) provides a telling example of this awful phenomenon. The home page contains this odd disclaimer, which helps explain why HIV rates in black Americans continue to be too high:
"This site contains HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please exit this website."
Why is the NBLCA apologizing? One can infer that the "offensive" information is sexual in nature, but so what, HIV is a sexually transmitted disease. How can it be discussed without discussing sex? If the NBLCA can't discuss sex without reservation, they ought to put themselves out of business and make the failure complete. It is clear that gala fund raisers featuring well connected, celebrity board members haven't made much of an impact.
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