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Archive for March, 2006

Condi’s Moment of Clarity.

I am quite certain there are going to be dissertations written about the mistakes of the Bush administration.” Madam Secretary, you said it.

Lake Effect.

As spotted in the new Money magazine (p. 100), my sister Gillian and her longtime boyfriend Ethan are featured in ABT‘s ad campaign for their upcoming Spring season at the Met — Tickets are on sale now.

Flip you for real.

“Leave it to Justice Antonin Scalia to trigger a nationwide debate about the hermeneutics of chin flips.” From an “empaneled jury” of Sopranos actors to Justice Scalia’s uncharacteristic appeal to foreign precedent, Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick muses on the sideshow surrounding the Justice’s recent Sicilian kiss-off.

Topic of Cancer.

“‘We know the president broke the law,’ Leahy said. ‘Now we need to know why.'” With the Dems — except for Feingold and Leahy — AWOL yet again, the Senate Judiciary Committee debates Feingold’s censure resolution and hears testimony from former Nixon counsel John Dean, who is back before Congress for the first time since Watergate. Said Feingold at one point: “If you want the words ‘bad faith’ in [the censure resolution], let’s put them right in, because that’s exactly what we have here…The lawbreaking is shocking in itself, but the defiant way that the president has persisted in defending his actions with specious legal arguments and misleading statements is part of what led me to conclude that censure is a necessary step.” Said the rest of the committee Dems (Kennedy, Biden, Kohl, Feinstein, Schumer, Durbin): Nothing.

Put Rudy in.

Another crack emerges in the DeLay-Abramoff Ring: The Feds flip Tony Rudy, a former top flunky of Boss DeLay’s, which is particularly bad news for the former “Mayor of Capitol Hill,” Bob Ney. “According to papers filed today, Rudy will provide key corroborating information regarding the case prosecutors are building against [Ney], who was taken by Abramoff on a lavish trip to Scotland in 2002.Update: The Post profiles Rudy. “‘How did Abramoff and Rudy meet, through JDate? No, they met through DeLay,’ Frank said.

Kellogg, Brown, and Loot.

A new report by Rep. Henry Waxman discloses some of Halliburton/KBR’s billing shadiness in Iraq. “In one case, the government’s contracting officials reported that KBR attempted to inflate its cost estimates by paying a supplier more than it was due. In another, KBR cut its cost estimates in half after it was pressed on its true expenses. In a third, KBR billed for work performed by the Iraqi oil ministry.

Ye have made it a den of thieves.

‘I believe the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ,’ Scarborough said, introducing DeLay yesterday.” The WP‘s Dana Milbank reports in as the right-wing “War on Christians” crowd embrace Boss DeLay as a martyr.”When DeLay finished, the host reminded the politician: ‘God always does his best work right after a crucifixion.’Update: Salon‘s Michelle Goldberg has more.

Same Old Senate for Sale.

I don’t know,’ said Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio…’People are not really talking to me directly about lobbying. I think they’re concerned about some of the, quote, scandal, but I don’t have anybody come up to me and say there’s a lobbying problem. It doesn’t get that specific.‘” As such, one day after voting down an independent ethics office 67-30, the Senate passes a watered-down “lobbying reform” bill 90-8 that, for all intent and purposes. seems to be merely cosmetic. “The Senate measure toughens disclosure requirements for lobbyists and requires lawmakers to obtain advance approval for the private trips that were a central feature of the Abramoff scandal. But it does not rein in lawmakers’ use of corporate jets, and it fell far short of the sweeping changes, including a ban on privately financed travel, that some lawmakers advocated in January…’It’s very, very weak,’ said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.

Five Republicans and only three measly Democrats voted against the phantom reform bill: McCain, Feingold, Kerry, Graham, DeMint, Inhofe, and the “unlikely duo” of Obama and Coburn. (The West Virginia Dem delegation — Byrd and Rockefeller — abstained.) Still, “Mr. McCain predicted that there would be more indictments growing out of the investigation into political corruption, and said that such a development would lead Congress to revisit the issue again.

Five and Dime.

In very related news, Casino Jack and his associate Adam Kidan are sentenced to 5 years, 10 months in prison for their roles in the SunCruz casino case. “Although [Judge Paul] Huck opted for the minimum, Abramoff faces the prospect of at least a few additional years in prison when he is sentenced in a separate case in Washington, D.C. However, lawyers said, his overall sentence ultimately could be reduced depending on his cooperation with federal investigators.” In fact, Abramoff will remain out of jail for the time being so he can continue to work with the Feds on congressional corruption.

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