Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Things that are coming back
1. The "old politics" -- David Brooks laments the campaign John McCain hasn't run.
McCain started with grand ideas about breaking the mold of modern politics. He and Obama would tour the country together doing joint town meetings. He would pick a postpartisan running mate, like Joe Lieberman. He would make a dramatic promise, like vowing to serve for only one totally nonpolitical term. So far it hasn’t worked. Obama vetoed the town meeting idea. The issue is not closed, but G.O.P. leaders are resisting a cross-party pick like Lieberman.

McCain and his advisers have been compelled to adjust to the hostile environment around them. They have been compelled, at least in their telling, to abandon the campaign they had hoped to run. Now they are running a much more conventional race, the kind McCain himself used to ridicule.

The man who lampooned the Message of the Week is now relentlessly on message (as observers of his fine performance at Saddleback Church can attest). The man who hopes to inspire a new generation of Americans now attacks Obama daily. It is the only way he can get the networks to pay attention.

Some old McCain hands are dismayed. John Weaver, the former staff member who helped run the old McCain operation, argues that this campaign does not do justice to the man. The current advisers say they have no choice. They didn’t choose the circumstances of this race. Their job is to cope with them.

And the inescapable fact is: It is working. Everyone said McCain would be down by double digits at this point. He’s nearly even. Everyone said he’d be vastly outspent. That hasn’t happened. A long-shot candidacy now seems entirely plausible.

As the McCain’s campaign has become more conventional, his political prospects have soared. Both he and Obama had visions of upending the system. Maybe in office, one of them will still be able to do that. But at least on the campaign trail, the system is winning.

2. Hyper-inflation -- call it "that 70s show.."
Wholesale prices jumped in July at the fastest rate in more than a quarter century, furthering concern about a continued increase in inflation at a time when economic activity has ebbed.

New federal government data showed that the cost of materials used by businesses increased 1.2 percent in July and have risen 9.8 percent during the past 12 months. It was the largest yearly increase since 1981, as businesses absorbed sharp increases in energy and other commodity costs.

Today's report follows recent news that consumer prices are also rising faster than expected -- and faster than the Federal Reserve's generally accepted target rate of around 2 percent. Although wholesale inflation does not necessarily translate into higher consumer prices, it can be evidence of things to come.

3. The Taliban -- They're back, and attacking the French...
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan — Taliban insurgents mounted their most serious attacks in six years of fighting in Afghanistan over the last two days, including a coordinated assault by at least 10 suicide bombers against one of the largest American military bases in the country, and another by about 100 insurgents who killed 10 elite French paratroopers.

The attack on the French, in a district near Kabul, added to the sense of siege around the capital and was the deadliest single loss for foreign troops in a ground battle since the United States-led invasion chased the Taliban from power in 2001.

Taken together, the attacks were part of a sharp escalation in fighting as insurgents have seized a window of opportunity to press their campaign this summer — taking advantage of a wavering NATO commitment, an outgoing American administration, a flailing Afghan government and a Pakistani government in deep disarray that has given the militants freer rein across the border.

As a result, this year is on pace to be the deadliest in the Afghan war so far, as the insurgent attacks show rising zeal and sophistication. The insurgents are employing not only a growing number of suicide and roadside bombs, but are also waging increasingly well-organized and complex operations using multiple attackers with different types of weapons, NATO officials say. ...

4. The Russian bear -- complete with POWs...
Russia has dismissed a warning by Nato that normal relations are impossible while its troops remain inside Georgia.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Nato of bias and of trying to save the "criminal regime" in Tbilisi.
He insisted Moscow was not occupying Georgia and had no plans to annex the separatist region of South Ossetia.

Earlier, Nato demanded that Russia pull out its troops from Georgia as agreed in an EU-brokered ceasefire plan signed by both parties at the weekend.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in a phone call that the pull-out would be complete by 21-22 August, with the exception of some 500 troops, who will be installed in peacekeeping posts on either side of South Ossetia's border.

France later tabled a US-backed draft resolution at the UN Security Council, demanding full compliance with the ceasefire and calling on Moscow to withdraw its forces to the positions held before the conflict.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, rejected the text. He objected to language on Georgia's territorial integrity, saying South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not want to be part of Georgia.

Some Russian troops have been seen leaving Gori, the largest Georgian town close to the South Ossetia border.
But BBC correspondents on the ground say there are still Russian artillery positions in place. In addition, there are Russian checkpoints close to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

As for the POWs:
In an apparent goodwill gesture Russia exchanged 15 Georgian prisoners for five of its own troops at a Russian checkpoint in Igoeti, about 30km (18 miles) from Georgia's capital.

Georgian officials told the BBC's Helen Fawkes, who was at the scene, that two of the Russian prisoners were airmen who had been shot down by Georgian forces about two weeks ago.


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posted by JReid @ 9:49 PM  
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The morning read: welcome to Tehran
Hey, did you hear the one about the government-chartered mortgage giants who spent $200 million to buy influence in Washington? About 20 McCain advisers have...

Forget all that talk about "appeasement" and the "Axis of evil..." The Guardian reports the Bush administration is preparing to establish an "interests section" in Iran, similar to the one we have in Cuba. The move is a half-step away from setting up an embassy, and comes on the heels of news the U.S. will send the third in command at the State Department to silently observe European talks with Tehran. Et tu, Bushie? In other news, the neocons will be wearing black today as a sign of mourning. Dick Cheney will be wearing an ankle monitor.

There are two ways to look at this news. Either GWB has turned his foreign policy over to Condi Rice, taking the portfolio away from Dick Cheney and his band of neocon nutjobs, in order to salvage some semblance of a legacy in the final months of his administration ... or, Bush hopes to undermine Barack Obama's foreign policy stances one by one, by preempting him on engagement with Iran, troop drawdowns in Iraq, etc. Either way, it will be interesting to see whether John McCain is swift enough to pick up the ball, or whether he will keep blustering on about staying in Iraq forever and ever and blowing Iran to hell.

Also in the Guardian, a new report says the U.S. ranks 42nd in life expectancy -- lower than any developed nation and on par with Croatia ... and Canada is taken to task for refusing to seek the repatriation of a 15-year-old kid the Bush administration has locked up in Gitmo, and who is seen pleading for help during a videotaped interrogation released this week. From the story:
Toronto-born Omar Khadr's US military lawyer called on Harper to "stand up and act like a prime minister of Canada" and demand the teenager's return.

... Khadr's military lawyer, Lieutenant Commander Bill Kuebler, along with his criticism of Harper, said yesterday that the military tribunals at Guantánamo "aren't designed to be fair" and designed "to produce convictions".

He said anyone who watched Khadr whimpering for his mother and still believed he had vowed to die fighting with a bunch of hardened al-Qaida terrorists is "crazy".

"The tape shows Omar Khadr not as a hardened terrorist but as a frightened boy."

"It just shows how unreliable anything that they extracted from this kid is would be at trial."

Khadr, who was shown in the video aged 16 and questioned after severe sleep deprivation, will have to remain at Guantánamo until he is prosecuted for war crimes in front of a special US military tribunal, later this year.

The liberal Canadian senator and ex-general Romeo Dallaire told Canada Television's (CTV) Newsnet programme that Khadr is a child solider and should be treated and given the same rehabilitation that Canada devotes to other child soldiers around the world.

"We're getting stabbed in the back," Dallaire told the cable channel. "We have worked for years to assist other nations in eradicating the use of children in conflict. But our own country doesn't even want to recognise that our own citizen (is a child soldier). No matter what his politics are, it's totally irrelevant.

Canada's conservative P.M., Stephen Harper, remains unmoved, and Canadian experts are casting doubt on chances for the boy to return to his home country. [Omar Khadr photo, showing him at age 15, from the Canadian Broadcasting Co.]

Meanwhile in the Middle East, Hezbollah supporters are gleeful at the return of five of their members to Beirut, along with the bodies of some 200 fighters, who were exchanged for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. In Israel, no celebration, just funerals for the two Israelis, whose capture led to Israel's disastrous 2006 war with Lebanon. In the Independent UK, Robert Fisk writes of Israel's folly, and Hezbollah's hubris. On the exchange, Hezbollah got:

Samir Kuntar – 28 years in an Israeli jail for the 1979 murder of an Israeli, his young daughter and a policeman. He arrived from Israel very much alive, clean shaven but sporting a neat moustache, overawed by the hundreds of Hizbollah supporters, a man used to solitary confinement who suddenly found himself idolised by a people he had not seen in almost three decades. His eyes moved around him, the eyes of a prisoner watching for trouble. He was Israel's longest-held Lebanese prisoner; Hizbollah's leader, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, had promised his release. And he had kept his word.

... But it was also a day of humiliation. Humiliation most of all for the Israelis. After launching their 2006 war to retrieve two of their captured soldiers, they killed more than a thousand Lebanese civilians, devastated Lebanon, lost 160 of their own – most of them soldiers – and ended up yesterday handing over 200 Arab corpses and five prisoners in return for the remains of the two missing soldiers and a box of body parts.

Read the whole thing. Trust me.

Back to the states, where the New York Times' Caucus blog reports Barack Obama raised $52 million in June (though Chuck Todd pooh-poohed the number this morning on "Morning Joe," saying Obama had better raise that amount since he's not taking public financing. Geez, the media is STILL sore about that?)

Meanwhile, the paper proper reports on how much Iraqis seem to like Obama, quoting one Iraqi general as saying the candidate is "very young, very active" and "we would be very happy if he was elected president." Look for the McCain camp to deride Obama as "the candidate of the Iraqi people" today ... before they have to dial back once the candidate remembers that Iraq is no longer in the Axis of Evil. The same story attempts to throw cold water on Obama's withdrawal plans, however, calling them "complicated" for Iraqis:

... mention Mr. Obama’s plan for withdrawing American soldiers, and the general stiffens.

“Very difficult,” he said, shaking his head. “Any army would love to work without any help, but let me be honest: for now, we don’t have that ability.”

... There was, as Mr. Obama prepared to visit here, excitement over a man who is the anti-Bush in almost every way: a Democrat who opposed a war that many Iraqis feel devastated their nation. And many in the political elite recognize that Mr. Obama shares their hope for a more rapid withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

But his support for troop withdrawal cuts both ways, reflecting a deep internal quandary in Iraq: for many middle-class Iraqis, affection for Mr. Obama is tempered by worry that his proposal could lead to chaos in a nation already devastated by war. Many Iraqis also acknowledge that security gains in recent months were achieved partly by the buildup of American troops, which Mr. Obama opposed and his presumptive Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, supported.

“In no way do I favor the occupation of my country,” said Abu Ibrahim, a Western-educated businessman in Baghdad, “but there is a moral obligation on the Americans at this point.”

Like many Iraqis, Mr. Ibrahim sees Mr. Obama favorably, describing him as “much more humane than Bush or McCain.”

“He seems like a nice guy,” Mr. Ibrahim said. But he hoped that Mr. Obama’s statements about a relatively fast pullout were mere campaign talk.

“It’s a very big assumption that just because he wants to pull troops out, he’ll be able to do it,” he said. “The American strategy in the region requires troops to remain in Iraq for a long time.”

Why do I not quite trust the Times not to put neocon words into Iraqis mouths? Maybe it's just me ... and Judy Miller... Meanwhile, the paper also reports on the phalanx of media stars and actual anchor people who will chase Barack around the Middle East and Europe when he travels there, as opposed to the "in other news" treatment that McCain's overseas trip received.

The WaPo has three interesting stories today: one on the slowing global economy, and how it's helping the little guys outpace the giant economies of rich, Western nations, like ours. Why?

The U.S. economy and financial system are more closely linked to those in other wealthy nations, particularly in Europe, where rising inflation and the weak dollar are adding to growing trouble. The United States and Europe have "similar economies and share the potential problems of industrialized nations in terms of property price fluctuations and financials," said Simon Johnson, chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. "And they find themselves sharing variable degrees of vulnerability."

As global wealth has shifted during the past decade, emerging markets have become not only increasingly stable but they have also been claiming a larger portion of the world's riches than ever before. If Californians are rushing to withdraw money from banks there, the situation in Kenya is just the opposite: People are flocking to banks to open accounts. The Nairobi exchange, which lists mostly Kenyan companies and a handful of multinational firms, posted 10 percent gains in the three months ended in June as local and foreign investors flocked to the initial public offering of the cellphone giant Safaricom.


The WaPo also tries to even out the mortgage crisis exposure of the two presidential candidates, attempting to make former Obama advisers and of all things, Clinton advisers, the equivalent of John McCain's bevy of current lobbyist pals and campaign shot callers who are steeped in Freddie and Fannie lobbying cash. So much for the liberal media.

And the paper reports that the Obama campaign is creating a heavy presence in Virginia, suggesting they are serious about winning the state.

The Los Angeles Times reports on newly minted FBI investigatee Indymac's latest problem: rival banks are refusing to accept its cashier's checks, adding a new headache for depositors who have been lining up to get their money.

And the paper reports that a stunning 1 in 4 California high school students -- and 1 in 3 Los Angeles high schoolers, dropped out of school since the fall of 2006. Wow. The head count was made possible by a new ID system in the state that was meant to track students leaving one school and enrolling at another. Unfortunately, the second part of that equation didn't happen 25-33% of the time.

Soaring oil prices are making Russia, Venezuela and Iran bolder, and more defiant of the U.S. .. surprise, surprise...

The most viewed stories at LAT? Andy Dick's dumb ass arrested on drug and sexual battery charges, ya think??? ... and bargain homes in Cali as prices deflate.

And last but not least ... who had the highest number of job losses this year? Florida! Sorry, Charlie!


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posted by JReid @ 8:45 AM  
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The morning read
Good morning, North Korea! So what's in the papers?

The Axis of Evil is down to one member this morning, as George W. Bush rushes North Korea out the door (more on that in this post.)

Also in the Post, something for the bitter gun clingers: the Supreme Court will rule on the D.C. gun ban today. (Politico's Ben Smith says the Obama camp is bracing for the ruling, too, and getting their politics in order.)

On the Hill, a GOP Senator holds up housing reform, demanding that Democrats put more money into renewable energy! ... is it just me, or is that kind of counterintuitive... this guy must be in one hell of a tight re-election race...

And the paper covers the White House's attempts to silence the EPA on automobile emissions. The Post is a couple of days behind the New York Times, which on Monday covered the case of the unopened email.

Staying with the Times, when it comes to unity talks, it's just Barack, Hillary and their lawyers...

The Times also covers the Supco, with the editorial board mounted a defense for yesterday's death penalty/child rape ruling, and the news side covering the SupCo's decision to slash the damage awards in the Exxon Valdez case.

On a local level, the Times reports that officials in the Bronx are looking to have every single citizen tested for H.I.V.

The Los Angeles Times reveals more bad news for the GOP from its poll with Bloomberg. According to the poll, 75% of Americans blame President Bush for the lousy economic times:
Nine percent of respondents said the country's economic condition had improved since Bush became president, compared with 75% who said conditions had worsened. Among Republicans, 42% said the country was worse off, while 26% said it was about the same, and 22% thought economic conditions had improved.

Phillip Thies, a registered Republican and clothing-store owner in Cedar, Mich., who was one of those polled, said the president was doing an able job through the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but "right after that, it was steadily, steadily downhill."

"There has been a lack of leadership and a lack of timeliness of leadership, of not being conscious of the magnitude of the problems," Thies said of Bush in a follow-up interview. "He's always a day late and a dollar short."

And McCain wants to continue Bush's policies? Not smart, John. Not smart.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press has a sort of pathetic story about President Bush and his McCain-sized crowd of 300 fans, who helped him raise a whopping $500,000 for Republican candidates -- a lot of money, to be sure, but rather puny for a sitting president, don't you think?

And leave it to the Miami Herald to come up with a story that tracks the nexxus of anthrax, the National Enquirer, and Elvis.

Across the pond, the Guardian reports on Nelson Mandela's criticism of Mugabe (Bill Clinton is in the U.K. attending Mandela's birthday party...) and Mugabe's push-back. And if you think race relations are sticky here in the U.S., check out this story about a BBC executive's big complaint: "too many black faces on TV." Seriously.

And the Independent doesn't disappoint with three intriguing stories on its website:

First, the U.S. isn't the only place where the defense industry has invaded government. In the UK, the paper tells of the arms dealer who used what amounts to a ringer, to gain access to MPs.

The paper also reports on Palestine's richest man, and his drive to see a state for his people before he dies.

And last, but not least, the perils of affirmative action, UK style.

Okay, before I go, here's a quick round of "questions I personally don't need the answer to, but will have to endure hearing on cable news":

1. Is Bill Clinton still mad at Barack Obama?
2. Why did Don Imus say something inflammatory again?
3. Will the netroots stay mad at Barack? (The answer is either "no," or "yes, but they'll vote for him in huge numbers anyway.")


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posted by JReid @ 8:48 AM  
Thursday, February 21, 2008
More news that will be overwhelmed by John McCain's scandal story
The Navy reports a direct hit on that wayward satellite. Hellooooo, Star Wars missile defense! CNN has the Pentagon video.

Great Britain admits that it participated in the secret "rendition" of terror suspects, with the current foreign secretary, David Milliband, correcting the lies misstatements of his predecessor, future Dubya vacation buddy Jack Straw.

The Guardian has two other stories on the Bushification of Britain: one on the government bugging its own MPs, and another on how Tony Blair's Labour Party scrubbed any mention of Israel's open secret of a nuclear arsenal, or criticisms of that country's security policies, from a now discredited 2002 dossier on Iraq's supposed WMD.

The WaPo reports on U.S. payments to Pakistan -- about $6 billion worth over the last six years -- that have apparently gone down the Dubya hole.

Over to the Times (it's not just about John McCain's love life anymore...) the word for the day is: stagflation.

Apparently, race matters less in Southern politics these days.

And yet, a red state is still a red state: Most Texans would still prefer John McCain to Barack Obama ... even though most of those polled by CNN oppose the very war Mack would extend for 100 years ... unless of course, someone even more conservative, and even more likely to give them more Bush policies (which they also disfavor) runs as a third party candidate. What's wrong with these people?

Finally, in a very sad story, the sister of the late, great boxing legend Joe Louis is found frozen to death after apparently wandering away from her assisted living center near Detroit.

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posted by JReid @ 10:33 AM  
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Quick take headlines: shootin' and spyin'
An FBI inquiry finds that Bush and Condi's private army in Iraq killed 14 of 17 civilians without cause in September.

The nation's new attorney general gets something right, finally giving up the security clearances needed for the Justice Department to investigate his predecessor's -- and those he was lacky to -- domestic surveillance. We await word on whether the Dems will cave on immunity for the telcos that helped out with the government's giant information shovel.

The WaPo has an interesting -- if a bit "duh" -- article on oil as a geopolitical weapon.

Bush's GOP lackeys on the Hill (I make the distinction to separate them from the Democrat and Independent lackeys on the Hill) demand that the Dems retract their Iraq war cost report putting the cost at $1.5 billion. After all, that report might turn Americans against the war ... HA!!!

Good news for the Clinton campaign: NY Guv Elliot Spitzer drops his licenses for illeal immigrants plan.

A new Pew Poll finds Black America more pessimistic than at any time in the last 20 years.

And Kanye West's mother's death following plastic surgery is sad ... and should sober people up about how dangerous plastic surgery can be. Earth to ladies: it's not your mother's Botox brunch. Meanwhile, Kanye issues a statement. ... and the doctor who says he refused to operate on Donda West says she ignored medical advice and that doing so may have led to her death.

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posted by JReid @ 9:14 AM  
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The verbal hit list, take one
Dan Rather to CBS: "Take a $70 million lawsuit in your backside!"

Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama, regarding Barack's failure to get on the bus to Jena: "turn in your Black card!"

U.S. officials say "hell now, you won't go" ... to Ground Zero, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad...

Americans to Congress: "we hate you" (and your little president, too...)

The Pope to Condi Rice: "I'll get back to you on that meeting..." not... sorry but I've got to give this bit to you:
Pope Benedict XVI refused to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in August, saying he was on holiday, an Italian newspaper reported Wednesday.
Rice "made it known to the Vatican that she absolutely had to meet the pope" to boost her diplomatic "credit" ahead of a trip to the Middle East, the Corriere della Sera daily reported without citing its sources.

She was hoping to meet the pontiff at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo at the beginning of August, it said.

"'The pope is on holiday' was the official response," the paper said.

It said the reply "illustrated the divergence of view" between the Vatican and the White House about the "initiatives of the Bush administration in the Middle East."
Oh, Condi, you pathetic little dear ... at least you can pick up some fabulous shoes while in Italy...

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posted by JReid @ 8:18 PM  
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The goody bag
The DC Madam (Deborah Jeane Palfrey) finally posts her little black book online. And the first juicy name to pop up is... David Vitter, Republican Senator from Louisiana! Here's what he had to say about it on Monday:
“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter said in a statement released by his office.

“Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling,'' he added. "Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there -- with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.”
Some interesting facts about Mr. Vitter:
Vitter, 46, then became Louisiana’s first Republican senator since the end of Reconstruction and has built a reputation as a solid conservative, opposing abortion rights, same-sex marriage and gun control. Last month, he took a leading role in efforts to kill the comprehensive immigration overhaul bill.

A Harvard graduate and former Rhodes Scholar, he was elected to the House in 1999, filling the seat vacated by Rep. Bob Livingston, who was headed toward the House speakership in 1998 when he was forced to reveal his marital infidelities.

In 2000, Vitter was included in a Newhouse News Service story about the strain of congressional careers on families.

His wife, Wendy, was asked by the Newhouse reporter: If her husband were as unfaithful as Livingston or former President Bill Clinton, would she be as forgiving as Hillary Rodham Clinton?

“I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary,” Wendy Vitter told Newhouse News. “If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”

“I think fear is a very good motivating factor in a marriage,” she added. “Don’t put fear down.”
Ouch! And how is the Vitter marriage going, anyway?
Vitter briefly considered a run for governor, but bowed out in May 2002, citing strains on his marriage. He announced that he and his wife had entered counseling.

"This wasn't in response to any dramatic issue or event, but to the cumulative stress from working in a high-pressure job, living in two cities, building a house, raising four young kids including a newborn, having our campaign activities based at home and traveling the state considering running for governor,” Vitter said in the 2002 statement.

A week after the announcement, Vitter was forced to publicly address allegations that he had visited a New Orleans bordello, according to the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. He denied the charge, calling it “a rumor and attack campaign” led by enemies to destroy his character and name.

In the run-up to his Senate campaign in 2004, Vitter was confronted again, this time on a talk radio show. And once again, he called the allegations, circulated by political opponents, “absolutely and completely untrue.”
Or not.

Read the DC Madam's black book for yourself here (assuming the link is back up...)

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posted by JReid @ 7:21 AM  
Monday, July 09, 2007
Quick take headlines: to Panama and beyond!
Supporters of Manuel Noriega are anticipating his possible release from a Miami prison in September ... but all I want to know is whether or not he was a CIA informant...

Hearing alert! The Senate judiciary committee plans to call Patrick Fitzgerald to testify in their investigation of Libby commutationgate.

Inside the neoconservative mind: Bill Kristol likes George W. Bush more when he's Machiavellian. And he loves it when the president goes to the tired Clinton well for cover for his own disgraceful actions. Kristol's explanation of the timing of Bush's Libby rescue: he did it because the Clintons were in Iowa, and he wanted to distract the media into talking about them, and about Bill's pardons. And Kristol says, that's a good thing...

I can't think of a more horrible crime. A gang of teenaged hoodlums ambush and gang rape a woman -- a mom -- and then force her 12-year-old son to join in, at gunpoint. The two out of about 10 masked, gun-wielding monsters that Palm Beach, Florida police have caught? They're aged 16, and 14. Yep. 14. Unbegoddamnedlievable. Meanwhile, the father of one of the teens, who apparently come from the requisite screwed up backgrounds, is standing by his boy. Yeah. Figures. Blah blah blah... send them to jail for life...

Meanwhile, violence in Baghdad hits a new high ... or a new low... 100 dead in a single suicide bombing this weekend.

On the campaign front, Nixon stooge Fred Thompson comes down to bore the young people of South Florida... I wonder how the young consevatives will feel about Freddie's past lobbying in favor of abortion rights...?

Rudy gets jeered over his anti-flat tax stance ...

And Barack Obama's campaign has its own private Watergate break-in.

...and on airplane, somewhere high above Studio City, it's Clay Aiken, you little bitch...

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posted by JReid @ 7:07 AM  
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Kristol and Kagan want more, and more, and more war!

Today is the two year anniversary of Dick Cheney's "last throes" canard... these days, he just wants to be left alone... (hold the Secret Service logs!)

Andrew Sullivan traces the origin of "enhanced interrogation techniques" ... to Nazi Germany... (and by the way, they don't even work.)

Five Britons have been kidnapped in Iraq. Meanwhile, our two troops are still missing. And the Memorial Day death toll for U.S. troops has been increased to 10. More on the Britons here.

By the way, May has now been the deadliest month for American troops in Iraq this year.

The Germans are getting nervous about continued involvement in the "war on terror."

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posted by JReid @ 9:56 AM  
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Quick take headlines: Wednesdays in the park with Dick
Dick Cheney goes to Baghdad ... shopping spree not included. Today's toll so far? Three more U.S. troops killed, more car bombings ... you know, stuff that proves the surge is working.

An air raid in Afghanistan is causing controversy.

An overturned, overcrowded boat loaded with Haitian migrants becomes an international incident. And the they said, they said over whether the boat was being towed, or being rammed, by the Turks and Caicos Navy and/or police, at the time it sunk sending 61 people to their deaths by sharks or drowning, has drawn in the U.S. Coast Guard. Will this incident impact the debate over Temporary Protected Status for Haitians in the U.S.? Probably not. But the conversation needs to be had.

Cult leader / civic angel Yahweh bin Yahweh has died of cancer at the age of 71. Probably my funniest co-worker, Edgar, just asked "how could God die of cancer?" Christopher Hitchens beware.

...and Barack Obama has a bit of a bad verbal day. It happens.

Over in La Republique Francaise, Nikolas Sarkozy fiddles while Paris burns. Or ... can't a brother get a vaycay?

By the way, have you done Bill Clinton's crossword? You should. Here it is...

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posted by JReid @ 9:19 AM  
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Quick take headlines: The Tuesday lineup
Somoe 35,000 troops get their orders: prepare to be deployed to Iraq.

Six people are arrested in an alleged plot to attack Fort Dix.

On the diplomatic front, George W. Bush probably won't getting any invites to vacation at Bal Moral...

Over to Florida: seal's travel.

Anna Nicole's Broward judge says, "sorry 'bout that weed!"

In politics, Rudy Giuliani begins to feel the tug of gravity.

... Fred Thompson begins to look a bit less conservative.

... vulnerable Pols may finally be beginning to see the danger ahead on Iraq. The result: George W. Bush may have a deadline on his hands after all. So what to do: Send Dick Cheney to the Middle East! Maybe he can become a dictator of his very own country and leave ours alone...

Paul Wolfowits hears the clock ticking, and sticks his fingers in his ears. But the scandal over his girlfriend could severely damage the World Bank.

On the flip side, the Clinton Foundation does good works, lowering the cost of AIDS drugs in the developing world.

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posted by JReid @ 12:06 PM  
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Tomorrow's headlines today
Barack Obama gets Secret Service protection, I'd guess because of death threats of the racist variety.

Astronaut Wally Schirra has died.

TIME Magazine names its most influential, and leaves Dubya off the list.

On the entertainment front, Isaiah Washington finds that nothing says your sorry like a nice PSA.

Meanwhile, there's no PSA that's going to save George W. Bush from the wrath of gay rights groups over his threatened veto of a just passed hate crimes bill. I've said this before, but I think Bush's supposed opposition to basic gay rights protections is phonied up Christian right pandering. This guy's a Methodist. I used to be a Methodist. Methodists are the most "live and let live" religion I've ever seen. They don't even sing strenuously. I seriously doubt they could work up the passion to dislike gays or anyone else.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez continues playing "alarm the Gringos" -- this time threatening to nationalize his country's banks.

Will France have its first woman president? Polls suggest not.

In news of the weird, rumor has it James Brown's so-called widow has a new sugar daddy: Don Magic Juan, pimp extraordinaire.

Even in death, Anna Nicole continues to influence the course of human events ... at least in the Bahamas...

And hey, Florida, what's that sea creature?


posted by JReid @ 6:28 PM  
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Quick take headlines
Baghdad's Green Zone, safe? Oh go on!

The D.A. in the Duke rape case has cleared the three lacrosse players and apologized to them. Now, particularly in the wake of the Imus imbroglio, many on the right are demanding apologies from the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and going after the accuser with guns blazing...
In a surprising development, a now not running for re-election Mark Nifong apologizes, too ...

Bring on the lawsuits...

Al Franken calls out CNN and asks, can we fire Glenn Beck, too?

Surprise! The Bush administration's obsession with voter fraud ... is a fraud...

Oh, and one American Idol note: "thank you, America. Thank you very, very much."

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posted by JReid @ 8:51 PM  
Saturday, April 07, 2007
While you were out
I took a couple days off blogging to deal with "other issues" (you just ponder that one for a minute... cause I'm not giving details...) Strangely enough, the political universe didn't shift that much since Wednesday :)

So what's new in the world as of today?

Fred Thompson is getting serious about maybe, possibly running for president, while Rudy Giuliani is still catching softballs, even from the blog press... (Roger Simon of Politico apparently didn't find the time to ask the former New York mayor about his caustic relatioonship with firefighters, his cozy relationship with probable felon Bernie Kerik, his problems with "the race issue" in New York City, or his poor decisionmaking on security prior to 9/11 (who moved the logistics and communication nerve centers of the city into the WTC before the attacks? Why Rudy, of course! But don't hold your breath waiting for the media to ask him about it. They're too busy chasing stories about his Cruella de Ville wife and his bad management of his marriage to Donna Hanover ... SIDEBAR: I got it on good authority from a prominent person who knows Rudy very well that Donna doesn't just resent Rudy, she HATES him, and so does his son. The person I spoke with talked to Donna recently and got it straight from the jilted spouse's mouth. ... but I digress...)

John Edwards has pulled out of the Fox News debate to be put on by the Congressional Black Caucus. And now many are wondering, what the hell is the CBC doing partnering with the Faux News network anyway?

Clinton-hating TIME columnist Joe Klein calls Bush "unfit to lead" and the head of "one of this nation's worst administrations" but says talk of impeaching him is "a bit nutso..."

An Iranian diplomat freed -- quite coincidentally, I'm sure -- around the same time the Iranians freed 15 British military personnel is now claiming torture at the hands of the CIA...

Meanwhile, the now freed Royal Naval and Marine personnel are talking about their ordeal, including being blindfolded, tied up, and threatened with execution. The group explained that in their determination, "fighting back was not an option." Seems like a reasonable enough explanation to me, but then again, I've never worn the uniform.

And now for a completely different view, from Col. Jack Jacobs, who slams the Britons for clearly making their top priority "going home," rather than preserving their honor as military men and women... Whatever your opinion of the Royal Navy/Marines, I think it's clear that in the propaganda war between Iran and Great Britain, Iran won this one, just as Hezbollah beat Israel over their captured soldiers, and Hamas did the same (neither group has returned the Israelis, despite a reign of military horror by the Israeli military...) I feel badly for the Brits, they are young, and clearly they weren't in this for an ideological fight. I tend to wince at chickenhawk winger slaps at them, and brash statements about what the Limbaughs, Hannities and Savages of the world claim they would have done in their place (cower and beg are my best guesses). These guys did what they had to do to get home. But I can understand why a guy like Jack Jacobs -- a hero and Medal of Honor winner -- would feel the way he does.
Final note, it must really cheese off the Brits to recall stories such as this one:

June 13, 2004 - ... Last week, a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq rescued three Italian hostages - Salvatore Stefio, Umberto Cupertino and Maurizio Agliana - who since April 12 had been held captive by terrorists calling themselves the Green Brigade. When the Italians returned home, they said they had joked with one another to ease the tension and quell their fears. Although they told reporters they had not been physically abused, their lives were constantly threatened. Only after the rescue did the former hostages discover that their captors had murdered their friend, a fourth hostage Fabrizio Quattrocchi. Just before the terrorists shot and killed Quattrocchi, he tried to pull off his hood and yelled, "This is how an Italian dies." He was buried in his home city of Genoa on May 29. Dying with dignity - and honor - is brave.
But that said, if you were in the place of the 15, what would YOU have done? In all honesty??? And before you wingers get too giddy, let's also recall that there have been Americans in this situation, too, both military and civilian. And in some cases, they too have chosen to comply... It is a basic human instinct to want to live. When one can force oneself to deny that basic instinct, we either call it bravery, or stupidity (recall that suicide bombers also deny that instinct.) I don't personally fault these guys, because in their shoes, I really don't know what I would do.
Meanwhile, the WaPo's Kathleen Parker ponders Iran's humiliation of the West, and wonders why Britain and other Western powers, including the U.S. make our women so vulnerable to degradation and capture in the military.

Here's one I completely missed: Geraldo vs. O'Reilly, the grudge match... Scroll down and watch the video ... the REAL comedy here is the segway that the ladies of Good Morning America manage to makde after the Fox News scream-fest was over. Trust me, it's worth listening until the end...

Unemployed former U.N. Ambassador (sans Senate confirmation) John Bolton snaps at the Saudi King for criticizing his pet project in Iraq.

Bafflingly still employed U.S. vice president Dick Cheney continues to take up residence in LaLa Land over the issue of the late Saddam Hussein's supposed ties to al-Qaida, despite the rheems of evidence, from the intelligence services of his own government, that there were no such links. Of course, you can say just about anything to Rush Limbaugh ... what the hell does he know...

Don Imus has apologized for his "nappy headed hos" remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team. On his April 4 program, Imus, his executive producer Bernard McGuirk and sportscaster Sid Rosenberg got into a stupid discussion about the teams that delved into the supposed manishness of the Rutgers girls (apparently Rosenberg feels they favor the Toronto Raptors). It quickly devolved from there. Imus did not, however, take back the comments on the same program which called the Tennessee women "cute..."

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posted by JReid @ 1:48 PM  
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Quick take headlines: Sadr, Sadr everywhere
The Washington Post foreign desk provides in-depth explication of the way militants like Moqtada al-Sadr actually win the battle for hearts and minds in Iraq.

The U.S. gets a guilty plea from Australian Qaida suspect David Hicks, who will likely be returned to his home country to serve his sentence. Why the quick capitulation by Hicks, who had been prepping for a fight? Time, and perhaps the Red Cross, will tell. My guess is the Howard government, already teetering under the weight of the "global war on terror" and the unpopularity of the Iraq war, brokered a deal. Aussie media take: Hicks pleaded out to escape "hell..."

Mitch McConnell, come on down! You're the next contestant on, "voters: fire this Bush-bot!"

The New York Times continues to carry water for the Bush administration on the war in Iraq, this time back-stoking the "Iran is arming the terra-rists" meme in a front page story.

Meanwhile, Tony Blair continues to fulminate, and do little else, on the subject of those captured sailors in Iran. Blair says Iran must follow international law or face unnamed consequences (a good, stern talking-to, maybe?)

There's more thieving uncovered in Miami-Dade.

And the Prince of Darkness calls Dubya Mr. Lonely.

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posted by JReid @ 9:31 AM  
Friday, March 23, 2007
Quick take headlines: the Friday follies
Obama may be distancing himelf from the Hillary 1984 ad guy, but he can't really be all that unhappy about the incredibly viral ad, which was both well done and effective at communicating the "don't be a drone, Hillary's not the only choice" message the Obama campaign is trying to convey. Oh, and don't worry about the ad guy, whose actual name is Philip de Vellis. The spot was so good, he'll definitely get another job. Madison Avenue, here he comes!

I don't care what they say, I still believe in The Politico! Their latest buzz: it's not just the Democrats who are relishing the impending Gonzalesgate rumble...

Things pre-schoolers shouldn't do: eat paste ... use the microwave without adult assistance ... use cocaine...

Best headline of the day: Ship jumper: Yup, I was drinking

A murder mystery gives new meaning to the phrase "that's not cricket..."

... and Crazy Mel is at it again...

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posted by JReid @ 11:09 AM  
Thursday, March 22, 2007
The punch-out hall of shame
Bad, drunk, off duty cop punches tiny bar-maid. And the bystanders? Well, they should probably be arrested too. Watch, and cringe... and then, of course, it get worse:
Shocking surveillance video shows off-duty Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate, 38, a 12-year veteran of the force, brutally beating a female bartender.

He punches and kicks her.

"He was drunk in a bar. She refused to serve him anymore so he went behind the bar and threw her around like a sack of potatoes," said Attorney Terry Ekl who represents the alleged victim.

The woman was working at Jessie's Shortstop Inn Tavern on the city's northwest side where the alleged assault happened.

Video shot by the tavern in February shows Abbate's attack on the woman, who is half his size, was so violent the bar itself shakes.

Bystanders looked on, but no one stepped in. No one helped the woman until she was back on her feet again.

"The Chicago Police Department made a unilateral decision that they were going to charge him only with a misdemeanor without telling the State's Attorney’s Office," said Ekl.

But prosecutors took over and filed felony aggravated battery charges.

"It's one of the most brutal and savage attacks that I have seen caught on tape," said David Navarro, a prosecutor in the case.

Prosecutors are investigating adding possible obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness charges.

"Another individual came in moments after the attack and attempted to offer the victim money in order for her not to prosecute the defendant," Navarro said. ...
It's not the crime, it's the cover-up. And of course, there's even more:
The February attack, caught on the Tavern's surveillance camera, was Abbatte's second assault of the evening, say prosecutors.

"The defendant had attacked another customer earlier that evening. He placed him in a headlock and punched that individual repeatedly,” Navarro said.

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posted by JReid @ 5:11 PM  
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The Thursday run-down: Obamarama
We had The Hotline's Mike Memoli on the Big radio show this morning, talking about the latest news in the Obama v. Faux News. Apparently, Obama ain't going for the okey doke.

Here's the latest news from the mercenary war in Iraq: four Blackwater contractors were killed execution-style this week by Sunni insurgents.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the curious tale of the missing Michael Vick tape...

Famed reporter Carl Bernstein calls George W. Bush more destructive to the U.S. than Richard Nixon.

If you're protesting the Iraq war in Austin, Texas, the Bush administration is watching you.

Meanwhile, the Prince of Darkness pronounces Mother's first 100 hours a crashing success! And says Team Bush is D.O.A.

A freshman Congresswoman tells Dubya: "you're just too good to be true ... can't keep my hands off of you..."

Throwback cases on both sides of the racial divide: eight Black men faces charges in the shooting death of a police officer and other assorted crimes while they were members of the Black Liberation Army in the early 1970s ... and a Mississippi man thought to have been dead, is alive and well and under indictment for the murder of two Black teens in 1964.

A continued breakdown of civilization in Sudan.

And the kicker for today: adventures in bad ass kids.

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posted by JReid @ 7:09 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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