Sid's Fishbowl
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Friday, May 05, 2006

Nixon had Watergate.

Clinton had a sex scandal.

Bush has a sex scandal that is intimately (heh) connected to the Watergate. And to top it off, it involves corruption in the defense industry and deep in the black-ops side of the CIA.

Sorry, Tricky Dick. You thought you had a safe spot as the most scandal-ridden president ever? Step aside, boy.

CIA chief Porter Goss resigns. Unexpectedly. No reason given, although we can guess.

The best report of all comes from the government sponsored Voice of America News:

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Porter Goss, has resigned.
Announcing the move Friday, President Bush thanked the spy chief for what he called his integrity and for running the agency during a period of transition. The president did not name a successor.

The President thanked him “for what he called his integrity.”


Professor Michael Froomkin is righteously (and rightfully) horrified:

I was quite struck by two features of this AP article, Rumsfeld Is Confronted by Antiwar Protesters, on Rumsfeld's encounter with Ray McGovern.

Consider the first three paragraphs:

ATLANTA, May 4 -- Antiwar protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday, and one man, a former CIA analyst, accused him in a question-and-answer session of lying about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

"Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" asked Ray McGovern, the former analyst.

"I did not lie," shot back Rumsfeld, who waved off security guards ready to remove McGovern from the hall at the Southern Center for International Studies.

First, note that neither here nor elsewhere in the article does the reporter note that McGovern read Rumsfeld his own statement. The result is to suggest the trading of accusations, not the allegation of a fact and the failure to respond to it.

Second, and most shocking of all, the reporter seems utterly unfazed by the idea that asking a tough question in a public meeting might suffice as grounds to have security wrestle McGovern away. Only Rumsfeld's indulgence, he 'waved off security guards' saved him.

How have we come to this?

Is it a sign of progress that voices expressing opposition are able to actually get into the building during one of these stage-managed events? And did you notice the chorus of boos from the audience in response to pointed and legitimate questions? And why hasn’t any reporter asked these questions in the past three years? 

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A commenter at BAGnewsNotes explains why the audience at last weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner didn’t laugh:

Colbert was like Andy Kaufman…

Of course! The brilliance of Kaufman was often lost on his audiences, who didn’t know quite what they were seeing and often didn’t know whether to laugh. Andy was usually looking well past his audience. So was Colbert. In this case, he was playing to a TV audience and those guests in the room might as well have had targets painted on them.

By the way, I wonder if Bill Kristol still wants to take credit for the speech and the video?

From Southwest Florida’s News-Press:

Southwest Florida pawn shops have become stop-offs for some residents looking for a few extra bucks to fill their gas tanks.

With most unleaded regular fuel prices hovering around $3 a gallon, pawn shops are being hit up for cash to offset the high costs. Pawn shops are one of the few places where people can get money as fast as gas prices are rising.

“The last person in here pawned some jewelry to fill the gas tank,” said Robert Nykiel, owner of Bob’s Best Jewelry & Pawn, 1341 Del Prado Blvd. in Cape Coral, who reported steady business Wednesday. “They say ‘I need gas money until payday.’”

They’re also pawning stuff to pay real estate taxes.

But the economy is doing just fine.

I watched Bush deliver a speech on taxes yesterday. Fortunately, I was at the gym and the sound was down, so I didn’t have to listen to that demented chortle. Anyway, Andrew Tobias has the antidote this morning:

[F]or the last quarter century, at least, it’s Democrats who’ve had some vague notion about how to manage money. Our National Debt was $1 trillion the year Reagan took office and will be $10 trillion the day Bush leaves (unless he uses emergency powers to extend his term). Of that incremental $9 trillion, $8 trillion will have been racked up under just three presidents: Reagan, Bush, and Bush. The interest we must pay on that debt every year, even at today’s relatively low rates, already is equivalent to 40% of all the personal incomes taxes Americans pay – and will almost surely be even higher by the time Bush goes. That’s the financial box Republican leadership has put us – and our children – in, and it’s going to be very tough to get out. So let’s be clear: the modern Republican Party is very good about managing money in the sense of funneling ever more of it into fewer and fewer hands. But beyond that, they have significantly weakened our country, and our children’s country. It is a tragedy.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You probably think that your elected member of Congress is there to make sure that you and your neighbors are properly represented when the Federal government formulates laws and carries out policy.

Oh, you are such a sap. At least if your representative is a high-ranking Republican.

This interview with Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) is an eye-opener:

How much money did you receive directly from Abramoff and through his other sources?

Jason, the truth of the matter is, I've never looked independently to see what we've got. I just take whatever they put in the newspaper. I don't know independently. I think Abramoff and his wife gave my campaign committee $4,000. His associates and clients collectively, I'm reading figures like $140,000. It's whatever you've seen. I haven't gone back through my own campaign committee reports to see what it is.

How come?

Because it really is of no concern to me. The money was legitimately received and you know, maybe, I don't know if I can go back and find that I got $129,000 versus $140,000. I don't know that it makes much difference anyways to the story. All I know is that I try to raise as much money as possible. Because that's my job as a Republican leader.


We never quit fundraising. Even if it was just me from my own campaign committee. You can never quit fundraising. To raise the million dollars that you feel you need, you just have to be doing it all the time. Then you add on top of those, I'm a Republican leader, and basically have to come up with roughly another million dollars over the two-year period, to help keep us in the majority and defend weak seats, and attack seats held by the other party that we think we can get.

That's your obligation as the House Republican Conference Secretary over a two-year period?

You have to define obligation. But I've always tried to raise a lot of money to this leadership PAC and give a lot of that away to just help our other members. But in terms of an obligation I was just informed before I left (D.C) that I have to raise $100,000 for one of the two main NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) fundraisers we have in a year. This is a House dinner in March. I always get like a $150,000 assignment for the President's dinner, which is in June, normally. And in the election year I'm expected to write them a check from my campaign committee for a quarter million dollars.

Then I have to give them, just as a member, I have to give dues, $15,00 [sic] a year or something like that. So I have to add all that up, and you add the money I raise for the leadership PAC, most of which is given away, I think that's probably going to approach a million over the two-year cycle. You're elected as a representative, but it doesn't mention in the Constitution that there's other responsibilities that go along with it. Even though there are such responsibilities.

All that annoying lawmaking sure gets in the way of fundraising, doesn’t it?