9.30.2005

The Powerline Boys Talk to Marvin Kalb

Powerline has a post about a reader email sent to Marvin Kalb. Kalb regularly hosts discussions about public policy and the media that broadcast on C-SPAN.

Kalb is no doubt a bright man, but you can observe from his email that he holds back judgement despite the fact that incredible evidence exists about the falsity of the documents used by Dan Rather and 60 Minutes II. Frankly, I expect more from a Harvard Lecturer in Public Policy

9.27.2005

Second Issue of COD's "Courier" Features Workers Party Chat

I grabbed a copy of the September 23rd edition of the COD student newspaper "The Courier". On the cover is a report from the first meeting of the year held by the "Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy" club. The featured guest was a member of the Workers Party. Well, at least that is what the Courier reports. However, if you go to the Workers Party website you can clearly see that the guest, Michael Thorburn, is one of the Workers Party leadership.

You can read the Courier article here[PDF].

What is interesting about the SDFP club at COD is that I saw their booth at COD on the first day of school. It was being manned by two members of the faculty. It apparently had no student volunteers. I figured they would at least have some members from last year, assuming the club is entering its second year. However, if you browse around the Workers Party website you'll find updates in their newsletter from a group called the "Youth & Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy".

Is the SFDP club at COD a creation of the Workers Party in Chicago?

The Courier reports that a lot of the students that attended the first SFDP meeting departed early. They were upset that the guest speaker was not answering their questions. There's a reason Michael Thorburn wouldn't answer questions. His political party has an expressed belief that "The speaking tour is an important part of the YSDFP program of bringing anti-imperialist politics to the center of student life."

9.24.2005

Former DSCC Staffer Hires Top Dollar Defense Attorney

Katie Barge is the former director of research for the DSCC. The Washington Post, quoting sources familiar with the investigation, tell us that Katie Barge is one of the two former staffers that resigned from the committee as a result of the illegal acquisition of Virginia Lt. Gov Michael Steele's credit report.

On September 21, the Post reported an interesting tidbit.
Bill Lawler, an attorney representing Barge, said she had brought the matter to her superiors' attention. "She resigned because she didn't want this episode to negatively reflect on the committee," Lawler said.

Bill Lawler is William Lawler III. He is an attorney at Vinson & Elkins LLP. The V&E bio notes his legal experience.
Represented Governor of New Jersey in broad public corruption, bribery and false statements investigation

That governor would be former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. The Bergen Record -- a Jersey paper -- columnist Mike Kelly wrote about McGreevey's troubles on September 28, 2004. He notes that Lawler is a well known white collar criminal defense attorney. Although...
Lawler doesn't come cheap. He charges $420 an hour.

Lawler must be a great attorney. His firm, Vinson & Elkins, also represented former Senator Robert Torricelli of the investigation into the Senator's fundraising methods. V&E seems to do a lot of work for New Jersey Democrats.

Before Senator Schumer was elected as chairman of the DSCC, another New Jersey Senator, Jon Corzine, was heading the organization. Senator Corzine is now running for governoer of the State of New Jersey.

Katie Barge has held a research position for the Edwards Campaign, a supervisory role of research at Media Matters, and in late Februray of this year she was named as Director of Research for the DSCC. I'm not very familiar with the compensation package for a political researcher, but does it fall in the range to afford a $420 an hour defense attorney?

Who would recommend Katie Barge hire William Lawler III to represent her legal interests?

9.18.2005

Jefferson Staffer Subpoenaed

A staffer for Congressman William Jefferson was subpoenaed by a grand jury convened by the Northern District of Virginia. The staffer had to inform the House of Represenatives according to House rules.

September 16, 2005 - Jefferson staffer says she was subpoenaed

9.16.2005

Collection of Times-Picayune Stories about Congressman William Jefferson

August 4, 2005 - FBI raids Jefferson's car, homes, treasurer
August 7, 2005 - Jefferson left in political limbo by raids
August 10, 2005 - Jefferson may face grand jury
August 11, 2005 - Jefferson raids lead to plenty of guessing
August 13, 2005 - Probe seems to target Africa dealings
August 16, 2005 - Tech firm CEO is probe figure
August 16, 2005 - What's a smart pol doing in a fix like this?
August 21, 2005 - Jefferson raids may signal return of the sting
August 25, 2005 - Jefferson probe focus is Nigeria telecom deal
August 27, 2005 - Feds raided home of Nigerian official

Here is a quick refresh of the Jefferson story.

NY Times Public Editor Thinks Out Loud

A bottom-line question: Does a corrections policy not enforced damage The Times's credibility more than having no policy at all?
Byron Calame is writing about Paul Krugman's Op/Ed columns.

Reuters' Poor Taste



This photo was shot by photographer Rick Wilking. Rick is a former White House staff photographer that knows the President well. He spoke to David Goldenberg, of Gelf Magazine, about this photo and his recent visit to New Orleans to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Wilking proclaims innocence. He's right. He took the snapshot from a distance and didn't have a clue as to what the note actually said. He sent the image to Reuters and they touched up the photo to reveal the contents of the note. Then Reuters placed the shot on their wire service.

Poynter Online has the Reuters admisssion.

9.14.2005

Larry David Tries to 'Curb Global Warming'

"I was conscious of who I could possibly ask out, that's what I was conscious of," he said. "And I was there during Vietnam. If every student was like me in college, we'd still be in Vietnam."

Larry David talking to talking to the AP.

9.13.2005

Come Again?

Did she just say what I think she said?
"My opinion is, the judge should be lynched.''

That is Carol Westfall, Executive Director of the Akron Women's Medical Group quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal.

The judge is the first female judge to serve in the Southern District of Ohio. I take it the US Marshalls should be arriving any day now at the Akron Women's Clinic to serve Carol Westfall with criminal charges.

9.08.2005

Will MoveOn.org Heed Their Own Advice?

MoveOn.org Political Action(can you tell the difference between MoveOn.org Political Action, MoveOn.org Civic Action, MoveOn.org Political Action Committee?) held a protest today outside the White House. The subject of the protest was the President.

Byron York offers this report from the scene.

NY Times Runs Same Story Two Ways

The NY Times owns the International Herald Tribune. IHT is a paper designed for American Ex-Pats that live in Western Europe. The local ABC affiliate in Houston has a report of the two different versions of the same story that the NY Times published in the NY Times and the IHT.

The Times explains.
Late Tuesday, a spokesperson for the New York Times told us the two online versions can differ because of different deadlines, but that, "The two versions are not substantially different. The thesis is the same: that Houston is benefiting from the situation in New Orleans."

The statement that appears in IHT and not in the NY Times?
"No one would accuse this city of being timid in the scramble to profit from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."

Is a mad scramble the same thing as a thoughtful gesture?

Dotty Lynch's Political Reporting

Is it wrong if every time I read a political column from CBS News Senior Political Editor Dotty Lynch I think of her Democrat Party Connections?

AHH! What the?

Dotty Lynch in fantasy world
Dotty Lynch in person

Reflections of a German Ex-Pat in the US

This past Labor Day I attended a nice barbeque in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The food was great and the conversation was pleasant. One woman I met was a German ex-patriate living in the United States. She had few nice things to say about the United States.

Specifically, the politics of the US was very alarming to her. From her observation of political literature, television and reporting, she developed a disdain for President Bush and the War on Terrorism. I took the opportunity to ask her how the US compares to Germany in this way. She was very forthcoming about the modern wonder that is Germany.

Everything is better in Germany she tells me. I ask if she is looking forward to moving back to Germany. Then, the revelation...
I'm never moving back to Germany.

I thought that perhaps I was a bit sauced. However, I looked at the person next to me and they had the exact same face of puzzlement. She spoke of the fear of the "age 60" crisis. The German national healthcare program is very weighted against people over the age of 60. Once you hit the age of doom, the German state considers you a non-contributor and relegates you to the waiting lines for service that they appear to have resurrected from the old East Germany.

9.07.2005

More Jamie Gorelick Links

I'm still reading Peter Lance's terrific book "Cover Up". At the end of chapter 6 Lance asks.
In short, why would the FBI's assistant director in charge of the New York office order the TWA 800 investigation to be terminated? WHat could James Kallstrom have possible learned in that August 22, 1996, Washington meeting with FBI director Louis Freeh, attorney general Janet Reno, and deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick that ultimately led him to call the man who was running the TWA 800 probe at Calverton and tell him to "shut it down"?

Lance is asking these questions after spending the previous 10 pages debunking the official explanation for remnants of RDX, PETN and nitroglycerine on TWA 800 as the poor handling of a canine unit at St. Louis International Airport. Kallstrom was the ADIC for the FBI for the TWA 800 investigation. His initial feeling was that TWA 800 was a criminal act of terrorism. After the Washington meeting his feeling changed dramatically.

Kallstrom was aware of the information that FBI informant Gregory Scarpa Jr. was gathering at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. Scarpa was receiving "kites" -- small notes slipped through holes between cells -- from Yousef that he would then transport to Yousef confidants also being held at MCC. The FBI had given Scarpa a small camera to photograph the kites. The kites were messages with information on how to smuggle explosives onto an airplane. They also included schematics for a small bomb with a casio watch timer with explicit instructions as to where on the plane to place the bomb.

The information was alarming to the FBI. So much so that they created a phony mob front company that Scarpa used to gain the confidence of Yousef. Kallstrom knew from Scarpa's information and from phone taps collected from Yousef's phone calls routed through the phony mob front company. He knew Yousef was trying to get a mistrial. Yousef was trying to spoil the jury in the middle of his trial. Yousef spoke of killing the judge and prosecutors in his trial. Yousef was doing everything he could to corrupt his trial.

Lance unravels the official story of the presence of explosives on TWA 800 through multiple interviews with Herman Burnett, the officer responsible for the canine unit at the STLAP. Burnett swears that he didn't spill or mishandle any explosive material during his sweep of a 747 to test his canine unit. He makes several claims.
"I was pushed in a lot of directions back then," Burnett said.
...
"The truth is that I honestly can't say which plane we did the test on that day, But my notes, and my memory at the time the FBI talked to me, told me that It had to be the other plane. The one at Gate 52. I just wouldn't have had the time to do the test and finish by the time the TWA 800 plane took off. The feeling is, that it was a whole different plane altogether."

Burnett's feeling is pretty accurate. The day the TWA 800 aircraft left the STLAP there were two identical 747's parked at concourse C. One 747 departed at 12:35PM. The other at 1:45PM. The explosives test conducted by Burnett requires an aircraft that has four hours to spare. Burnett finished his test at 12PM.

TWA has its own standards regarding flights. They require that flight attendents arrive 90 minutes before their flight to prepare the cabin. The aircraft at gate 52 was not the TWA 800 aircraft. If it was the TWA 800 aircraft then flight crew checked, cleaned and stocked the cabin, filled it with passengers and departed STLAP in just 35 minutes. Or, a more plausible explanation, is that the aircraft at gate 52 was the one that departed at 1:45PM, a whole 105 minutes after Burnett concluded his test.

Our question remains, what happenned at the Washington meeting? Wouldn't we love to see those minutes? Wouldn't they seem relevent to the 9/11 Commission? Janet Reno, James Kallstrom and Louis Freeh all testified before the 9/11 Commission. One person at the meeting did not; Jamie Gorelick.

9.05.2005

Bad News To Start The Week

AP reports that new parking meter technology will reset itself when the parked car pulls away from the curb.

Dicks!

via Fark.com

Louisiana State of Emergency

The September 3rd Washington Post reported that the Governor of Louisiana had not yet declared a state of emergency. That seemed odd considering the damage of the storm.

It turns out that the Post was wrong. They issued a correction. Governor Blanco did declare a state of emergency. She did it on August 26th.

The reporting was awfully sloppy considering you only had to hop over to the Louisiana Governor's page to check her press releases.

9.04.2005

People Looting, Ok. Police Looting?

The video tells the story.

New Orleans Teen Arrested For Saving People

This story is just outrageous. A resourceful teen commandeered a school bus as he saw chaos ensuing in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. He filled the bus with 100 people and drove 7 hours to the Astrodome. When he arrived he was arrested and the bus was not permitted to enter the temporary housing site.

This teenager deserves credit for taking matters into his own hands to save lives. He wasn't looting merchandise. He was taking transportation equipment that was abandoned in order to help people.