In The News…
(Libyan desert dune photo, via patrickw1. I know that the photo has nothing whatsoever to do with this post, but I loved the evocative mystery of the lone figure climbing the vast dune, and thought you guys might enjoy the beauty of this as well.)
Thought a news round-up would be useful for everyone today. It's been a busy weekend, and there are a number of things worth reading today:
— For starters, MSNBC is giving Stephanie Miller a few days on air in the Don Imus Memorial Replacement Slot — she'll be guesting Monday through Wednesday morning. As Taylor says, this is "[g]reat news, so mark your calendars and also tell MSNBC they did good."
— Cafe Politico has a dose of reality for the Bush Administration. Well worth a reminder that reality can be useful.
— Sucks for Bill Kristol when a military wife brings up reality as a call-in on Washington Journal in this C&L-hosted clip. Note how Kristol sticks to his own personal "I haven't been to Iraq, but I know how you should be feeling anyway." routine. And note how the caller is not buying it, thank you very much.
— Be prepared for serious disgust reading this from the WaPo:
As the winds and water of Hurricane Katrina were receding, presidential confidante Karen Hughes sent a cable from her State Department office to U.S. ambassadors worldwide.
Titled "Echo-Chamber Message" — a public relations term for talking points designed to be repeated again and again — the Sept. 7, 2005, directive was unmistakable: Assure the scores of countries that had pledged or donated aid at the height of the disaster that their largesse had provided Americans "practical help and moral support" and "highlight the concrete benefits hurricane victims are receiving."
Many of the U.S. diplomats who received the message, however, were beginning to witness a more embarrassing reality. They knew the U.S. government was turning down many allies' offers of manpower, supplies and expertise worth untold millions of dollars. Eventually the United States also would fail to collect most of the unprecedented outpouring of international cash assistance for Katrina's victims….
More than 10,000 pages of cables, telegraphs and e-mails from U.S. diplomats around the globe — released piecemeal since last fall under the Freedom of Information Act — provide a fuller account of problems that, at times, mystified generous allies and left U.S. representatives at a loss for an explanation. The documents were obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a public interest group, which provided them to The Washington Post.
In one exchange, State Department officials anguished over whether to tell Italy that its shipments of medicine, gauze and other medical supplies spoiled in the elements for weeks after Katrina's landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, and were destroyed. "Tell them we blew it," one disgusted official wrote. But she hedged: "The flip side is just to dispose of it and not come clean. I could be persuaded."
Huge H/T to CREW for getting this information and releasing it publicly. The Bush State Department and Department of Homeland Security: profiles in craptastic ineptitude or deliberate idiocy? You choose. CREW has even more here.
— I'm with Digby and Amato on this one: Rush Limbaugh, jumped so many sharks, it's shocking the man still has a contract, but the latest asinine attack on Barack Obama in some sort of Jim Crow-inspired minstrel show "song" is truly scraping the bottom of the gutter.
— Digby also links up a great post from Rick Perlstein on the GOP history in working against the voting rights act. As readers will no doubt recall, a coalition of Southern GOP representatives most recently tried to hold up the Voting Rights Act renewal last year while they still had control of Congress. Classy.
— Anonymous Liberal updates his post from yesterday on the Goodling "delete" e-mail:
This post is getting a lot of traffic, so let me take a moment to clarify a few things, because I don't want people reading more into this post than the facts warrant. First, from the context of the email, it seems likely that Goodling's primary purpose in asking people to "delete prior versions" of the documents was to make sure everyone was on the same page and not working off of outdated materials. In other words, I don't think she was motivated by a desire to destroy documents that Congress might want for their investigation. That said, as an attorney, she should have known better than to make such a request. If there is any kind of litigation or investigation underway or even contemplated, you don't instruct people to delete documents. It doesn't matter if that's your normal practice and you're just trying to keep people from getting confused; it just looks bad, and it can get you and your organization in a lot of trouble. Goodling is not some low-level administrator. She was a senior legal counsel at the Justice Department.
That Goodling would make such a request despite the budding Congressional inquiry into the matter is, at best, indicative of carelessness and sloppy practices.
It is sloppy legal practice — but more than that, it is something that now needs to be investigated fully. Because, quite honestly, where I would normally give someone the benefit of the doubt that their intention was simply to get everyone "on the same page" as AL suggests, this crew has been so dishonest in their public information manipulation that I am not willing to give an inch until I see each and every subsequent, built-upon draft of public talking points or other paper trail materials that may or may not have been deleted for a perfectly legitimate purpose — or not. They can reap what they have so dishonestly sown — for they have failed to be forthright, open or completely honest about much of anything, and the acceptance of responsibility standard by which you generally judge someone coming fully clean is altogether nonexistent. More sunshine — show us what you were deleting, each and every page, and then we'll talk about benefit of the doubt.
— The US is currently holding 82 people at Guantanimo who have been cleared because we cannot figure out where we can safely send them now that we picked them up incorrectly and whisked them away to Gitmo for years. No further comment required.
— Larry Johnson and several other ex-CIA folks have a few thoughts for George Tenet. Tenet will be interviewed this evening on 60 Minutes, for those who are interested. Larry was interviewed about the book on Keith Olbermann, and has the video up for viewing.
— Well, those no-bid crony contracts have worked out rather well, haven't they?
In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.
The United States has previously admitted, sometimes under pressure from federal inspectors, that some of its reconstruction projects have been abandoned, delayed or poorly constructed. But this is the first time inspectors have found that projects officially declared a success — in some cases, as little as six months before the latest inspections — were no longer working properly.
Not so much. Even more sunshine needed here, please.
What's catching your eye in the news today? Or on the blogs?