Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The environmental Pope? We can only hope so, and he follows through...

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all six or seven visitors to this blog.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Apparently sold some books in the Czech Republic. The store there even has this website.

Now that we know this, the publisher should sent us to Prague, I think, to keep the momentum going. Alas, probably not, though.
WSJ content to soon be free online...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pakistan has apparently hired everyone in Washington D.C. for their payroll after declaring martial law. An army of their lobbyists is already descending on Capitol Hall, as this blog post is being written.
This just in: Brent Wilkes found guilty on thirteen counts.
Charlie Kaiser has been off to a really strong start as Radar's new media critic....
The American League Golden Glove awards are just out. Some surprises: Adrian Beltre beat out both .Alex Rodriguez and Eric Chavez at 3B. And Orlando Cabrera of the Anaheim Angels or California Angels or whatever they are beat out Derek Jeter at SS.

(In an exclusive interview with this blog, baseball authority John A'mato explains that Jeter got off to a "rough start... because of the intense cold that blanketed the East Coast" at the start of the season and that Cabrera was "consistent throughout.")

I know I don't ordinarily write about baseball, but we are trying a new business model at this blog, to increase readers. We are grateful to the eleven unique visitors we now have, but we would like to try for more. On the other hand, we don't want to alienate our base... by getting into an entirely unexpected area. Aargh.
The New York Daily News reports that Bernard Kerik is going to be indicted.

Greg Sargent fact checks Guliani's recent comments to the AP about Kerik. Why didn't anyone else do this-- especially the AP-- after Guliani gave a preemptory interview to the AP about his former police chief just as Kerik stands to be indicted by federal authorities?
Watch this video. Mind boggling. Abusing small children on Medicaid-- for profit, or course. Why else?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Is the Huckabee Surge for Real? (Part 1)

Is the Huckabee surge for real?

This analysis is not bad: "Huckabee's populist economic message could also help give the GOP ticket a boost among once Republican-leaning but now disaffected voters in Ohio. Of course, there would be concern that his socially conservative positions could turn off moderate suburbanites."

One reason that Huckabee's campaign has been so successful so far, I think, is because he is in fact a masterful politician. He can appear on Bill Maher one day and bash Bush's foreign policy and even sound like a progressive when he talks about education or economic policy. Then, not long after, he will appear before a group of Christain evangelicals and speak to the right of everyone else on the stage on issues like school prayer and abortion-- without either of his two constituencies being that cognizant of what he said to the others.

But as he climbs in the polls, and receives greater press and blog scrutiny, his various constituencies are more likely to see what he says when he is not speaking directly to each of them. A case in point: Maher, a fan, and who has had Huckabee on his show more than once, appeared taken aback recently when a guest talked about Huckabee's recent comments suggesting that illegal immigration was related to legalized abortion. The downside to an ascending candidacy is that CNN and Youtube are paying attention.

Meanwhile, one thing is all but certain: This will almost certainly become an issue again for Huckabee-- another example as to how climbing in the polls leads to more intense scrutiny-- by the media, bloggers, and one's fellow candidates. One of the reasons that Fred Thompson did so well-- before he declared his candidacy on Leno- was that as long as he didn't enter the arena editors didn't want to send their reporters out to scrutinize his past until he was indeed a candidate.

Other than say, Sam Brownback, was any other Republican candidate doing opposition research on Huckabee. I think it is safe to assume that someone working for Rudy Guliani has done a Google search, and if they have, and found anything, call John Solomon at the Washington Post with the details.

(The scuttlebutt from the campaign trail is that Solomon is the go-to-guy for candidates with the goods on their competitors. Complaints from reporters at other newspapers are that editors at their own papers are less likely to print negative stuff on candidates without saying where it has come from, while Solomon can remain mum where the goods came from; and through Solomon, an ambitious operative has in the Washington Post one of the most powerful platforms an operative leak an allegation about a rival or amplify one already made.

(I think there is a good discussion that journalists and bloggers should have about the motives of their leakers should be more transparent to their readers. As far as I know, only Josh Marshall has even addressed this issue, while taking a shot at deconstructing Solomon.)

In any case, after discursing, this story has in recent days been read by more people than when it was originally posted and published in Nov. 2002.

Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias weighs in about this and other things.

And Susan Milligan in the Boston Globe gave many readers in neighboring New Hampshire their first exposure to the Dumond issue in this story.

First update: Oops. I forgot that I written a post-- at this very blog!-- (that was a self-deprecating reference to the fact that I have all of about eleven readers currently to this blog) about Huckabee and Dumond when the former governor was interviewed on Meet the Press and Tim Russert actually asked him some questions from my Arkansas Times story. (I pledge to my eleven readers that I will probably not link again to my own blog soon. That I did not remember my own blog posting probably indicates that anyone should consider it memorable-- except for the fact that former Governor Huckabee may have given misleading answers to some of Russert's questions.)

Second update: I should have remembered this as well. John Amato has the video of that appearance by Huckabee on Meet the Press. Personal thanks to Tim Russrt for asking the right and tough questions as well as to John for posting the video and advancing the story as well.

Third update: Columnist Scott Leigh of the Boston Globe believes that the Huckabee surge is for real: "A recent Rausmassen survey has [Huckabee] tied for second with Fred Thompson in Iow, with neither far behind."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A new story out tonight. Since nobody else seems to be linking to it....

(I wanted to make a joke here about: what is blogging for except for self promotion? But since beginning this modest blog, I have come to respect the people who do them-- and the worst offenders of bloggers using their blogs for self promotion are professional MSM journalists who blog. I should name names.... )

Update: Actually, there have since been a few links to that story here and there.

Second update: Another story. Been working hard lately.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Book Party

Book Party....

Tomorrow evening, Thursday, Jeff Lomanoco and myself-- and our publisher-- are hosting a party to celebrate the publication of our book, the U.S. v. I. Lewis Libby.

It is Thursday evening, from 6 P.M. to 9 P.M., at the Knew Gallery in Georgetown, which is located at 1639 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. The phone number of the gallery is 202-338-4558.

Jeff and myself, as well as our publisher, are better at editing and publishing books than hosting parties. With none of us being very tech-savy at all, we sent out invitations as PDF attachments and via Evite, not understanding spam filters sent our invitations directly to your spam boxes. For most of those who think you were not invited, you indeed, were. (At least in most cases-- some of you actually weren't-- but those are few in number.)

There is also an after-party of sorts, for friends who could not come until late, and because so many people are finding out about our party at such late notice. (By after-party we mean drinking beer or going out to a late dinner, not going to some club and hanging out with some sports celebrities or something. Gawd, the proprietor of this particular blog is so damn boring. (*sadness*)

To all our friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances, we look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Congratulations to Lake Braddock High School Class of 2007!

More specifically, this blog congratulates David and Jennifer, my nephew and niece respectively. (If I misspelled anything, my other nephew Daniel says "Good enough"-- we have cake to eat.)

This blogger is taking the rest of the day off to celebrate.

(Not that I blog that often anyways. *apologies*)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A lengthy post late tonight about how Paul Wolfowitz's girl friend somehow-- on loan by the World Bank to the State Department-- has now become the highest paid Department employee. I am definitely going to be writing more about this.

Here is the lede to the post:

Employees of the World Bank have been "expressing concern, dismay, and outrage" regarding favoritism shown by the bank and the Bush administration towards the one-time girlfriend of World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, according to an internal memo circulated within the bank by the World Bank Group Association, which represents the rights of the bank's 13,000 employees.

Among other things, the April 3 memo alleges that Shaha Riza, Wolfowitz's romantic interest was given a "promotion [that] clearly does not conform" to bank procedures. Moreover, the memo alleges, she was then given a raise "more than double the amount allowed" by the bank's rules.

A copy of the memorandum was leaked to myself and other journalists Wednesday evening as World Bank employees have become more outspoken in their criticism of Wolfowitz's tenure as president of the bank.

Wolfowitz, who as Deputy Secretary of Defense was considered an architect of the U.S. war with Iraq, disclosed to bank board members that he had a romantic relationship with a senior bank communications officer, Shaha Riza, shortly after he was nominated to head the World Bank. Bank regulations disallow bank employees from supervising spouses or romantic partners, but Wolfowitz reportedly attempted to circumvent the rules so he would be able to continue to work with Riza. Informed by the bank's ethics officers that that would not be allowable, the problem appeared solved when Riza was detailed to work at the State Department's public diplomacy office in September 2005--even though her salary was still to be paid by the World Bank.

To read the post in its entirtey, click here.

And John Cassidy has this profile of Wolfowitz out this week in the New Yorker.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A book.

Philip, my editor, has some background on the subject. He previously edited Joe Wilson's book. After that, he edited Tyler Drumheller's book. So he really knows this terrain. I'll be doing the book with Jeff Lomonaco, a friend who is a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

Wonkette has the full story. But what's with the photograph accompanying the post? One of the people in the picture is celebrity Hollywood/celebrity lawyer Mark Garagos. I don't know who the other person is... Scott Petersen? If anyone knows, email me at murraywaas@gmail.com.

I know that by promoting my own book in my own blog makes this a vanity blog of sorts. But aren't most blogs vanity blogs?

In terms of full disclosure, I should admit it is not really an "instant" book. Jeff and myself did, however, begin the book at 11:34 A.M this morning and finish it at 11:42 A.M., before we watched the verdict on CNN, and then leisurely retired for a lunch of mixed greens, venison, and red wine. Other than the venison, the luncheon was entirely vegan and politically correct in every other aspect.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Jeralyn has the text of the jury notes to the judge regarding the jury's "reasonable doubt" issues, and her own observations as to what she thinks it all means. Additionally, here is what Christy has to say.

Meanwhile, here is the NYT story on the jury notes.

And finally, Stan Brand on what he thinks is going to happen after a verdict.
Libby trial development: This just in from the court:

"The Libby jury delivered two notes containing questions when they were excused today. Both twill be available on the public docket later today. Court will convene at 9 a.m. on Monday March 5 to address the notes."

There will almost certainly be news reports-- and more importantly at Firedoglake-- about the notes. At that time, I'll update and link to the stories and post. (On the other hand, I have to go out and get a hair cut, so those who want it sooner should just click on Firedoglake later, or check out the NYT website.)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This may be nepotism or favoritism of sorts (although it's not like I recommended anyone for a junket to Niger or anything-- have to have a Plame reference in every post so as not to alienate my readers who only want to read about the Libby trial), but I recommend that everyone who reads this blog-- all six of you, and on some days as many as seven or eight-- vote for this particular blog for the Travvies award, an award for the best travel blogs. The blog has already been named as a finalist. (It is always an honor to just be nominated by the Academy!) Even if she doesn't win, maybe some more of you will come by her blog.

Meanwhile, congratulations to this blog for winning an award as Best D.C. blog. (I first came upon this blog... well never mind for now.) He/she should also win for best acceptance speech/blog post:

"We won this together. The journey of a thousand miles began with your single click. I thank my grandmother, my mother, my brothers back home, my brothers who are here with me now, and my aunt who's back at the hotel. And Jennifer Holliday and Velvet -- thank you, Jennifer Holliday and Velvet.

"I never gave up the dream of becoming Best DC Blog. When told I couldn't do it, I just pushed harder. But without all of you, I couldn't have have achieved any of this."

I personally voted for Thong Speed. The name of that particular blog alone had me at hello.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The jurors have gone home for another night without reaching a verdict.
Libby trial: Apparently, Fitzgerald wanted to add an alternate juror to the jury and start all over, while the defense argued that the deliberations should continue with the eleven jurors left. Judge Walton sided with the defense.

According to this report:

"Walton agreed with the defense's request that the jury will continue deliberating with 11 members, rejecting Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's request that the judge call back one of two alternates and start deliberations over. The jury had been deliberating since Wednesday afternoon.

"`I just don't think it would be appropriate to throw away those 2 ½ days of deliberations," he said. "I don't have anything to suggest that this jury is anything but conscientious and can continue.'"

Libby: A juror has been excused because she apparently was accidentally exposed to a news report about the trial. Details here.

As best that I can determine, the judge has decided to allow the eleven remaining jurors to decide the case, instead of starting all over, with an alternative juror joining them. That's significant because the jury's deliberations are not going to continue interrupted-- rather than having to begin "anew"-- to borrowl a phrase from Scooter Libby.

Why did Fitzgerald and Wells agree to go with eleven? Speculation from Jane. NRO has these ideas.

Update: NYT story just posted.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

ABC News: "Is Cheney Next?"
Libby trial: The jury has been dismissed for the day without reaching a verdict, according to the presiding judge's clerk.
No verdict after first full day of deliberations.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The best post-closing argument/trial analysis this morning: Dan Froomkin, "The Cloud Over Cheney".
Deliberations begin.
Among other things, Fitzgerald disclosed in his closing yesterday that Libby spoke to Vice President Cheney about his testimony despite being asked not to by prosecutors. In my National Journal story Monday I wrote the first detailed account of Libby's conversations with Cheney about what Libby was going to tell investigators. Almost angry, Fitzgerald told the jury: "He's not supposed to be talking to other people... the only person he told is the Vice Pesident."

The only reporter covering the case today to notice this, as best that I can determine, was Josh Gerstein, whose daily reporting on the case for the New York Sun rivals and often times better than the larger papers which have two or three reporters covering the trial. Here's his story today.

Also from Josh's story:

"Broadening his attack on the White House, Mr. Fitzgerald took a shot at President Bush, indirectly criticizing him for not firing officials implicated in the leaks about the CIA officer, Valerie Plame. The prosecutor noted that in 2003 the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, said Mr. Bush would immediately dismiss anyone involved in leaking Ms. Plame's identity.

"'Any sane person would think, based on what McClellan said in October 2003, that any person involved in this would be fired," Mr. Fitzgerald said.

"The prosecutor's clear implication was that Mr. Bush failed to keep his word. Mr. Bush's top political aide, Karl Rove, is still working at the White House despite having served as a source for two press accounts about Ms. Plame. A State Department official who leaked Ms. Plame's identity at least twice, Richard Armitage, resigned at the end of 2004. Mr. Libby, who quit after being indicted, has conceded discussing the CIA staffer with a Time magazine reporter, Matthew Cooper."
It's with the jury now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The NYT's take on the Libby trial, on the eve of closing arguments.

This sums up the essence of the story:

"[A] close reading of the testimony and evidence in the case is more revelatory, bringing into bolder relief a portrait of a vice president with free rein to operate inside the White House as he saw fit in order to debunk the charges of a critic of the war in Iraq.

"The evidence in the trial shows Vice President Dick Cheney and Mr. Libby, his former chief of staff, countermanding and even occasionally misleading colleagues at the highest levels of Mr. Bush’s inner circle as the two pursued their own goal of clearing the vice president’s name in connection with flawed intelligence used in the case for war."
Still no sense of irony or self-knowledge (part 2 of probably many)-- Nancy Grace on CNN with exclusive details of Anna Nicole Smith's embalming. Including how the remains are refrigerated. And then a rant as to how everyone is exploiting the poor woman for their own ends. In this parallel media universe or just parallel universe, there is no war in Iraq, no global warming, no Scooter Libby trial: the eyes of the world and Nancy Grace are focused on a Florida courtroom where various people are going to fight over custody of Anna Nicole Smith's child and Anna Nicole Smith's remains... and Nancy Grace will have the full story... and we will know everything.. and as we watch we will know less and less until we will know nothing.

Update: Thanks to my friend Jeff. The spell check on my computer doesn't work. So I called him to ask whether "parallel" has one "l" or two. And he told me three. That really clears things up.
Do any of these people have any sense of irony or self-knowledge?....On CNN, some unidentified talking head just said of Britney Spears that "We tend to consume these celebrities until there is nothing left of them," as he was consuming Britney Spears until there was nothing left of her. Then the correspondent reporting the story questioned whether the news media was giving the story too much attention, as she was... giving the story more attention. Oops, I guess I was just giving the story more attention, too. Well, at least I have some self-knowledge about it!
I know I should be covering the Britney Spears head shaving story. A psychologist on CNN just said that Spears was suffering from post-partum depression and dissociation-- and all without apparently ever clinically seeing the clebrity client!

For those interested in the Libby trial, I have a new story online this afernoon at the National Journal.

Here is the top of the story:

In the fall of 2003, as a federal criminal probe was just getting underway to determine who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame to the media, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the-then chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, sought out Cheney to explain to his boss his side of the story.

The explanation that Libby offered Cheney that day was virtually identical to one that Libby later told the FBI and testified to before a federal grand jury: Libby said he had only passed along to reporters unsubstantiated gossip about Plame that he had heard from NBC bureau chief Tim Russert.

The grand jury concluded that the account was a cover story to conceal the role of Libby and other White House officials in leaking information about Plame to the press, and indicted him on five felony counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice.

At the time that Libby offered his explanation to Cheney, the vice president already had reason to know that Libby's account to him was untrue, according to sources familiar with still-secret grand jury testimony and evidence in the CIA leak probe, as well as testimony made public during Libby's trial over the past three weeks in federal court.

Yet, according to Libby's own grand jury testimony, which was made public during his trial in federal court, Cheney did nothing to discourage Libby from telling that story to the FBI and the federal grand jury. Moreover, Cheney encouraged then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan to publicly defend Libby, according to other testimony and evidence made public during Libby's trial.

To read the entire story, click here. It's free to read.

Update: For those who don't want to read the whole story, John A'mato boils it all down to one long paragraph, and explains to people what the story really is about.
Already, talk of a pardon.

Bush's response: "I am not going to talk about it."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Libby trial: This single paragraph in Neil Lewis' NYT story sums it all up:

Prosecutors have built a detailed case to support their charges, presenting several plausible witnesses whose testimony conflicts with Mr. Libby’s sworn statements. Still, the prosecution has the burden of convincing the jurors of Mr. Libby’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, an imprecise concept that makes the outcome of most complicated criminal trials unpredictable.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Libby trial: The defense rests... but not before the presiding judge becomes quite angry at defense counsel.

Early tomorrow afternoon: I have a new story in the National Journal. It is long, more than 5,000 words long, and some, although not very much about the trial. Thanks to my editor, Bob Gettlin,and his patience. If this post is so short, it is because I don't have hardly any energy left to write another word.

In the meantime, the Times profiles Jane (Hamsher).

It wasn't the NY Post or Daily News that had the best headline from the trial, but Jane...

The jurors speak.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Novak on the stand.

I wish someone would ask him about his Sept. 29, 2003 conversation with Rove.
Libby trial: Finally... Walter Pincus discloses who his source was who told him that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, has allegedly sent him on his mission to Niger, and also suggested that he was sent because of nepotism: Ari Fleischer.

That explains more why Fleischer only agreed to testify with a grant of prosecutorial immunity, both before the federal grand jury and trial. It is surprising that this information did not come up during Fleischer's own lengthy testimony.

It's interesting as to why neither the defense or prosecution brought this out when Fleischer testified. It would seem to help the prosecution's case, one would presume, because Fleischer learned the information from Libby, thus seeming to corroborate Fleischer's testimony that he learned about Plame from Libby.

Update: The Washington Post now has a long story posted online regarding Pincus' testimony.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Today at trial: They're probably going to flash up on the big screens in the court room Tim Russert's own words and try and trip him up. Libby's lawyers, that is.
Cheney might not be called as a witness after all?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tomorrow morning at the Libby trial: The jury gets to hear audio tapes of Scooter Libby testifying before the grand jury, before the tapes are then released to the public.

For those who want an advance preview, I recommend this story, aptly titled: "The CIA Leak Probe: Inside the Grand Jury." (I know, I know that is my own story, but it is the only story around that extensively examines what Libby has previously told the grand jury.)

Jane Hamsher's first day at the trial and her first post! Check out the video of Jane and Swopa by PoliticsTV as well.

Also, for anyone who wants to catch up on what happened today at the trial, here is David Corn's account that appeared in the Nation. Here also is Neil Lewis' account in the Times.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Libby trial, weekend edition:

Patrick Fitzgerald, that most secretive and discrete of federal prosecutors, did something very un-Patrick Fitzgerald-esque late last week, that went largely unnoticed except by an AP reporter and the Huffington Post:

Fitzgerald sought permission from the federal judge hearing the Libby case, Reggie Walton, to release audio tapes of LIbby's grand jury testimony to the media: to be broadcast, posted on the Internet, YouTube, or wherever else. That would surely change the dynamic of public attention to the case. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox would probably endlessly play portions of the tapes, and the public would be able to hear Libby's testimony first-hand.

Small portions of Libby being questioned before the grand jury by prosecutors have already been played inside the courtroom for jurors, the press, and public. And having heard them-- in the courtroom setting-- I would say that they are fairly dramatic. (Here is perhaps the most detailed report to date about what went on inside the grand jury room.)

Libby's attorneys have for the obvious reasons opposed this idea, and Judge Walton will probably rule on their motion probably sometime Monday morning.

I don't like to predict, even while blogging, but most legal experts doub that the grand jury tapes will be made public, and Walton's comments from the bench indicated that he has not been exactly enthralled with the idea of the tapes being played 24/7 on the cable networks and Internet. But Walton is an unpredictable jurist, and a careful stickler to case law, so perhaps it is best to just await his decision to find out what it might be.

In the meantime, below is the entire text of the Associated Press story about all of this:

WASHINGTON -- Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is fighting to keep his grand jury testimony about the leak of a CIA operative's name from being released and broadcast in the media.

Libby's grand jury testimony _ the sworn statements he gave to investigators about his conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney and journalists _ is at the heart of his perjury trial. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald plans to play hours of recordings of that testimony in court next week to bolster his case that Libby lied and obstructed the investigation.

Trial evidence is normally public and all exhibits in Libby's case have been made public so far. Even though Fitzgerald successfully fought to get Libby's full grand jury testimony admitted into evidence, Libby's attorneys say the audiotapes should not be released outside the courtroom.

Libby defense attorney William Jeffress, who successfully argued a Supreme Court case that kept the Watergate tapes from being released, said in court Thursday that grand jury tapes are never meant to be made public.

He said he knew of no case when such recordings have been released.

In the tapes, Libby discusses conversations he had regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame, the wife of a prominent Iraq war critic. Plame's identity was leaked to reporters in 2003.

Nobody was charged with the leak. Fitzgerald said Libby learned Plame's identity from Cheney and discussed it with journalists. Libby says he forgot about his conversation with Cheney and, when he heard about Plame from a reporter weeks later, it struck him as new information.

Fitzgerald says Libby concocted that story to protect himself from prosecution because repeating rumors from reporters is less serious than repeating sensitive information from Cheney.

If the tapes are released, they could be broadcast on television news programs, radio stations and the Internet. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said he worried that would sensationalize an already public trial.

Attorneys for The Associated Press and a dozen other news organizations said they would challenge any effort to seal the tapes. Court papers were to be filed Friday afternoon. Walton said he would consider the matter over the weekend.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today at the trial:

The most significant new information at the Libby trial today was Matthew Cooper's testimony regarding his July 11, 2003 conversation, with Karl Rove, during which Rove disclosed that Valerie Plame worked at the CIA. Cooper's testimony of that conversation sharply diverged from his account in Time two years ago. In his testimony today, Cooper described Rove as being more pro-active in disclosing details about Plame than previously.

According to his testimony today, when Cooper told Rove during their July 11, 2003 telephone call that he was writing about the Niger controversy, Rove tod him: "A number of things were going to be coming out about Mr. Wilson that would cast him in a different light." That included, Rove supposedly said, who had actually been responsible for sending Wilson on his mission to Niger in the first place.

Cooper then asked "who?", and Rove responded "like, his wife." Rove then said that Wilson's wife worked at the "agency" and more specifically, her work regarded "weapons of mass destruction." Then Rove told Cooper: "I've already said too much. I've got to go."

That was a much fuller-- and different account-- than the one that Cooper wrote in Time magazine shortly after he testified before the grand jury two years ago.

Here is what he wrote back then:

"As for Wilson's wife, I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which.

"Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the "agency"--by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that she worked on "WMD" (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife."

Why did Coooper leave out some of the most interesting details from his Time story? Only he knows, and I'll try and post anything he might have to say. One person who was at Time says it was a matter of just "bad reporting" and/or editing.

For the best account of what went on at the trial today, here is a video presentation by Marcy and Jeralyn-- with a far better and more complete account of today's proceedings that any "professional" reporter. No slight meant to anyone else covering the trial. One advantage they have over newspaper reporters or cable television folks is that they don't have to compress their stories into fourteen or nineteen or twenty-six inches. Second, they don't have to limit their video presenations to a minute or a minute and a half. But they also know the case better than most reporters who have covered the story (except for maybe one or two...)
Later today at the Libby trial: Matthew Cooper is the next witness up if the defense and prosecutors are done with Judith Miller. Expect Cooper to face an even tougher time on the stand than Miller.

It's likely, although not entirely certain, that the prosecutor will call Tim Russert when he is done with Cooper.

Regarding Miller's testimony: NYT. Washington Post. Jeralyn. Pierre Thomas for ABC. Kurtz.

Anb TRex with this hilarious post on media narcissim. With so many of the nation's leading journalists and the leading bloggers sharing close quarters, I was happy to see this particular post. Reporters and bloggers are friendly and on a first-name basis with one another. This post shows that no-one is being co-opted; everyone (happily) still has an edge!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tomorrow morning at the Libby trial: Ari Fleischer will be testifying with a grant of immunity. He is likely to turn out to be the most important witness to date-- not in terms of whether the legal case against Libby is strong or not-- but rather in providing us with new information as to what went on inside the Whte House during the crucial time that Bush administration officials leaked to the press that Valerie Plame was a CIA officer.

Up until now, most of the trial testimony has centered around what went on within the OVP, or the Office of the Vice President, during that crucial period. Fleischer's testimony will illuminate us as to what went on in the rest of the West Wing, sometimes in concert, and sometimes indepedent of, whatever else was being done in the OVP to discredit Joe Wilson and deflect other allegations surfacing at the time that the Bush administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq.
Another defection from the Washington Post... This time, it is Michael Powell moving on to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, in tomorrow's Washington Post, Howie Kurtz pans the new enterprise of his former colleagues, Jim Van Den Hei, and John Harris. Kurtz says of The Politico: "It strikes me as solid and subbstantiative, but not knocking anyone's socks off." Ouch.

As to my own critics:

All right, all right I heard you: I apologize to any reader-- especially to this particular blogger and his friend-- for the use of the word "irregardless"-- in my Huckabee post earlier this day. Who would have thought anyone was even reading in the first place? The post has since been updated and changed, with the word "irrespective" used in the place of "irregardless." If that isn't correct, aargh.... If the blogger's friend who was so upset about my misuse of the word "irregardless"-- if it is even a word at all-- I urge him to do something constructive. He can be the proof reader/copy editor of this very blog.

Speaking of the accuracy and integrity of this blog, we received an inquiry/complaint some seven months ago regarding an old, old post regarding a leak investigation conducted by a federal prosecutor named Frank Tamen. After a thorough inquiry, we stand by the post, as to both its accuracy and fairness.
On Meet the Press this morning, Tim Russert asked former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee about my story in the Arkansas Times disclosing how Huckabee had pressured his state's parole board to parole a convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond, who not long after leaving prison, raped and murdered two women.

Among other things, Huckabee said my story was a "tabloid report."

He also defended his actions by saying that the members of the parole board that paroled Dumond had been appointed by his two Democratic predecessors, Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker.

What Huckabee didn't say was that irrespective as to who appointed the parole board, it was Huckabee, not Clinton or Tucker, who advocated, lobbied, and pressured the board to parole Dumond. (For the record, Clinton actually recused himself from any involvment in the matter, because of allegations that the rape victim, Ashley Stevens, was a distrant relative of Clinton's. And Tucker had reduced Dummond's sentence from life imprisonment to 39 1/2 years.)

Further, although indeed originally appointed by Clinton and Tucker, two of the parole board members who voted the way that Huckabee wanted them to-- including the chairman of the parole board-- were reappointed by Huckabee.

Huckabee also claimed this morning that when he spoke to the parole board in an executive session regarding Dumond,, he was only seeking that Dumond's case "be given a fair hearing," and that the board, not him, raised the issue with him.

The parole board members, as my story detailed, claim otherwise: they told me that it was Huckabee and not them who raised the issue with the board, and that he was a strong advocate of releasing Dumond from prison. More than one told me that they thought it inappropriate for a governor to advocate on behalf of a prisoner.

This morning, when asked who brought up Dumond when Huckabee met with the parole board, Huckabee claimed: "They brought it up with me." He then added: "The only thing I said was this: [They said to me[ `Did you think he ought to be paroled or something like this. And I simply said his case ought to get a serious look."

Contrary to such claims by the governor, during interviews for my Arkansas Times story, four parole board members disputed Huckabee's account as to what transpired between Huckabee and the board, saying that Huckabee was the one to bring up the subject, and he cleraly advocated for Dumond's parole. Three of those board members spoke for the record and at length for the story.

Board member Charles Chastain told me Huckabee told the board: "There is this one case I want to talk to you about." Huckabee then "commented that Wayne Dumond had received, from his perspective, a raw deal, that he was someone from the wrong side of the tracks ... and that he had received what he thought was too long a sentence for that type of crime."

Chastain said he then replied, "Governor, well that happens. When you rape a cheerleader in a small town like that, that’s what is going to happen."

The board's chairman, Leroy Brownlee, who was reappointed by Huckabee, and who worked closely with Huckabee's office to parole Dumond, has repeatedly declined to talk about the matter at all. But while refusing to say anything bad about Huckabee, Brownlee has also never backed Huckabee's version of events or said anything to contradict his fellow board members.

Many thanks to Tim Russert for asking the right questions. And John A'mato has the video up of Russert grilling Huckabee about Dumond.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The most significant disclosure from the Libby trial today (in my mind) was that Vice President Cheney and others in the OVP thought that LIbby was being hung out to dry as a scapegoat for Karl Rove and others in the White House.

Cheney himself wrote a note in the fall of 2003-- quoted by Ted Wells, Libby's defense attorney-- in which Cheney dsif the following about Libby: "Not going to portect one staffer [Rove} & sacrifice the guy [Libby] who was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the imcompetence of others."

While this is going to be a major theme of the defense in the case, and might seem contrived at first glance, Cheney's note was written contemporaneous to the events and apparrently reflected an inherent division-- which I have written about in various National Journal stories-- between the OVP and the White House staff.

For what it is worth, for me, this was the most important disclosure from today's opening arguments.

To read what the NYT has to say about the trial today, click here.
Federal Courthouse, Washington D.C., at the Libby trial:

Despite the saturation media coverage of the trial today, one disclosure overlooked so far has been that former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer took the Fifth Amendment when originally called before the federal grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case.

Fleischer ultimately testified under a grant of immunity.

Fleischer, in turn, if statements by special prosecutor Fitzgerald and Wells are accurate, will be a major government witness against Libby.

Wells indicated today that he plans to sharply question Fleischer's testimony against his client. Among other things, Wells suggested that Fleischer's immunity deal suggested that Fleischer's testimony was suspect because he was given the deal in exchange for incriminating testimony against Libby. Libby and Fleischer might have been not too long ago at the pinacle of power. But now they are just two men squaring off each other in a a fedeal criminal court, each claiming that the other one is lying to save their own skins.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Local blogger makes good. Who would have thought? Our congrats to this blog's friend, Justin.

In other news, opening arguments in the Libby trial in the morning. Wow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Overdue library book returned after 42 years and eight months. To say anything more would be an injustice to the reporter who wrote the story, Amit Paley.

John A'mato with an update as to how Jane is doing.

Monday morning: Another day of jury selection in the Libby trial. At the very best, opening arguments will commence on Tuesday morning.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

From the NYT, what Sen. Jay Rockefeller, (D-W.Va.) the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has to say about the Bush administration's Iran policy:

“To be quite honest, I’m a little concerned that it’s Iraq again. This whole concept of moving against Iran is bizarre.”
Report from the ICU. An update on how Jane is doing.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ney sentenced to thirty months.
This extraordinary story in the LAT: the gist of which is that not only hasn't Barak Obama tied up support in the African-American community, he very likely never will. The story itsself is another example as to why Peter Wallsten is one of our great political reporters.

Here is his lede and a some key passages:

"As pastor of the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter, S.C., the Rev. James Blassingame feels pride at the thought of electing the country's first black president. But Blassingame, one of his state's most prominent black ministers, will not support Sen. Barack Obama's bid to achieve that historic goal.Instead, the minister will campaign for one of Obama's white rivals for the Democratic nomination, former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

"Obama, he said, is a `stranger" with a faraway home and little-known biography, whereas Edwards — `he's a homeboy.' Other black leaders are wary that the relatively untested senator from Illinois might prove weak in the general election.

"`Obama's ambition could bring all of black America down," said state Sen. Robert Ford of South Carolina. "If the Democrats lose control of Congress, we're going to go back and struggle and struggle and struggle'...

'Obama is the only top-tier African American seeking the nomination, but he will have to fight for black votes along with other candidates, some of whom have far stronger ties to black leaders than he does.

"Edwards, for example, is expected to have an advantage in his native state of South Carolina, and his pledges to fight poverty and bring troops home from Iraq are popular with black leaders.
"Clinton, the presumed Democratic front-runner, has decades-old ties with scores of black preachers and civil rights leaders who remain close to her husband, former President Clinton.

"A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg survey in December found that all three were popular among black voters, but that Clinton received the highest marks. Blassingame speaks fondly of Edwards, who, like the pastor, was born in Seneca, S.C. "I know where he came from, because I came from there," Blassingame said. "I can identify with him, and he can identify with us."

To read the whole thing, click here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"When Louis Farrahkan walked into the hearing, as this member told me, he asked Mr. Farraakhan to speak."-- journalist Ellen Rattner, asking federal Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle for leniency for disgraced former Congressman Bob Ney.

Paul Kiel has the text of the letter.
Still thinking of Jane and how she is doing. From John.
They still can't pick a jury.

Update: Here is the NYT account of today's attempt at jury selection. Marty Kaplan's take on this all.
Time, Inc. is turning Time, Sports Illustrated, and all of its other media properties into... blogs, and in the process laying off lots and lots of people off.

Who even knew that People had a Washington bureau in the first place?

It does seem tremendously unfair that somehow Joe Klein is the guy to keep his job, too.

Since this is a personal blog, after all, I should assess how this affects me personally.

I don't work for Time, Inc. Yay!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This person is probably not going to serve on the jury...

"I'm not sure I'd want to go duck hunting with him."-- a potential juror-- a former school teacher from North Carolina, when asked if they had any pre-conceived opinions about Vice President Dick Cheney.

Admirably, Libby who is known for having a fine sense of humor, and considering the circumstances of his day, was said to laugh as hard as anyone else present in the courtroom.

And the dude also once shared a cab with George Stephanoupolous. Did he tell you that too? No?!

Parental Discretion advised for this post.... Sorry for the bad language, but if I don't use the bad language, everyone will know what I meant to say anyway.

As things are turning out, it has been difficult to seat a jury in the Scooter Libby trial, not only because of the political bias of potential jurors, but rather because, as one observer of today's proceedings told me, "there are just one too many star fuckers in Washington D.C."

Check this out from a Washington Post story about jury selection posted earlier today:

"Another [potential juror], the former Post journalist, seemed to have a link to nearly every key player in the case. He had worked in the newspaper's Metro section, he said, where his editor was Woodward, a key defense witness. Until recently, he lived across an alley from Russert, a star witness for the prosecution. And he had gone to parties with The Post's Walter Pincus, another defense witness."

"He said he would understand if the lawyers believed he couldn't be impartial, but he promised he would use his reporter training to sort through the facts fairly.

"`If I were in your seats, I'd be skeptical,' he said.

"Then he noted that one of his best friends plays in an over-40 football league with Libby. And he has heard that Libby "has a great arm."

"Did he mention that he went to grade school with Maureen Dowd, he asked the judge? That would be the New York Times columnist who publicly savaged colleague Judith Miller after some of Miller's reporting on the Iraq war came to light around the time of the Plame investigation. Miller is a witness for the prosecution."

A friend who was present at the proceedings say that the charges of self-absorption and star fucking suggested in the Post story about their former colleague might be unfair because the potential juror was trying to be as responsive as possible to his questioners.

But someone should advise this guy that an evening with Walter Pincus is not exactly the wildest night out on the town. No offense meant to Walter Pincus (I think he is good natured enough to laugh at this post): To make my point, I point out that very few people, even at a Washington party, are going to actually have on their person the latest General Accounting Office report that they wrote about earlier that day.
Tonight my thoughts and prayers are with my friend Jane Hamsher. Her journalism is driven by a fierce determination for the truth. Her commentary takes no prisoners. And whether you want to consider her an editor over at Firedoglake or as someone who has created a blogging community, she is part of a group of people who create not only one of the most compelling blogs that is a must read to everybody on the left and right but also has become a gathering point for a group of people who care greatly for one another and have each others' backs. (How often does something like that exist in the traditional media?)

She is will be in Washington soon enough to cover the Libby trial and I am told that my duties are to walk her three dogs for her while she is working.
Here is a new column/post up at Huffington Post, following up on my latest National Journal story regarding the Libby trial. (That's the third time that I have linked to that story. Read it already!)

The last couple paragraphs of the post serve as a book end of sorts to the lede of the NJ piece:

"When Libby stood atop a pier in Norfolk, watching the commissioning of the U.S.S. Reagan on July 12, he almost certainly couldn't have the slightest clue that events later that exultant day would lead him to repeated trips to the dreary and windowless confines of a room in the federal courthouse where a federal grand jury would demand answers from about who said what to him about a woman named Valerie Plame and what he then said about her to others."

"There, Libby, on the instruction of his high priced legal counsel, told his side of the story as impassively as possible to twenty-three similarly expressionless grand jurors. In the end, they did not believe him, and charged him with five felonies."

Jeralyn boils it down and makes sense of it all.
If any of my friends have missed it, National Journal posted a long story of mine last Friday (so unbloggerlike of me to mention a story of mine that is now six days old!) about the Libby trial, entitled "Inside the Grand Jury Room". Here is the lede:

"Late in the morning of July 12, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney stood atop a pier at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia awaiting the commissioning of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, a ship 20 stories high that took eight years to construct. More than 15,000 people stood under clear skies to watch the pomp and ceremony. As she christened the carrier by breaking a bottle of champagne over its bow, Nancy Reagan told the crowd: "I only have one line. Man the ship and bring her alive."

'A Washington Post reporter recounted what happened next: "With those time-hallowed words, hundreds of crew members wearing dress whites ran aboard the 20-story Reagan and lined the flight deck while four fighter jets flew overhead and every crane, radar, whistle, and alarm aboard was turned on simultaneously."

"Cheney himself later took the podium, and as he spoke, the spirit of the crowd turned somber: `The Ronald Reagan sets sail in a world with new dangers,' he said, `The outcome is certain. There will be victory for the United States.'

"The moment of triumph would prove to be illusory. Americans had no idea that the war in Iraq, then not even four months old, would take a turn for the worse, that more than 3,000 American servicemen would die in the line of duty; that "liberated" Iraq would spiral down into sectarian violence; and that the war would not only divide the Iraqi nation but the American one as well.
On the flight back to Washington, Cheney huddled with two of his top aides -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, his then-chief of staff, and Catherine Martin, then assistant to the vice president for pubic affairs. According to federal court records, the three discussed how to counter and discredit the allegations made by a former U.S. ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, that the Bush administration had manipulated and distorted intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq."

To read the whole thing, if you already haven't (how could you have not already?), click here.