A propos of reports that a terror attack against the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan was recently thwarted, William Langewiesche's revealing (and somber) piece in this month's Vanity Fair offers some insights into why embassies are security disasters: in June 1985 [a State Department] panel issued a report that called predictably for the wholesale and radical fortification of roughly half of the 262 U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas.
The New York Times today briefly attempts to clarify the murky issue of Blackwater's immunity deal with the State Department. According to the Times, Blackwater was offered a special type of immunity called a Garrity Warning, typically offered to law enforcement officials who may have done something illegal.
In case you still haven't found a costume, here are some politically themed ones. (Who knew you could go as Colin Powell?) --Keelin McDonell
Is Chris Dodd's presidential campaign about to meet its demise? He has no upcoming campaign events scheduled, according to his website. --Keelin McDonell
Perennial marginal presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich once saw a UFO, according to, uh, Shirley MacLaine. (I guess they're friends?) In an upcoming book, MacLaine reveals that the Ohio congressman's extraterrestrial sighting happened when he was visiting her: Dennis found his encounter extremely moving. The smell of roses drew him out to my balcony where, when he looked up, he saw a gigantic triangular craft, silent, and observing him. It hovered, soundless, for 10 minutes or so, and sped away with a speed he couldn't comprehend.
Chris Dodd, 2007: As you know, Governor Schwarzenegger has had to ask other states for help because so many of California's National Guard, who provide critical support to the citizens while you are fighting the fires, were deployed to Iraq. In a Dodd Administration, never again will our houses be on fire because our troops are taking fire in Iraq. John Kerry, 2004: And we shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them down in the United States of America. --Keelin McDonell
Edgar Allen Gregory and his wife, Vonna Jo, were distressed. It was December 1999, and the couple, owners of the Tennessee-based carnival company United Shows of America, had applied for a presidential pardon nearly a year and a half earlier in the hopes that President Clinton would wipe out their 1982 bank fraud convictions. But the Gregorys couldn't get the president's attention. So they went to someone who could--First Lady Hillary Clinton's kid brother, Tony Rodham.
Edgar Allen Gregory and his wife, Vonna Jo, were distressed. It wasDecember 1999, and the couple, owners of the Tennessee-basedcarnival company United Shows of America, had applied for apresidential pardon nearly a year and a half earlier in the hopesthat President Clinton would wipe out their 1982 bank fraudconvictions. But the Gregorys couldn't get the president'sattention. So they went to someone who could--First Lady HillaryClinton's kid brother, Tony Rodham.
In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received an anonymous tip that a luxury apartment near the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., housed a private and possibly illegal collection of tribal art. People who had visited the apartment whispered that its walls showcased hundreds of artifacts, including many containing what appeared to be plumage from rare or endangered birds. There was no way to know for sure, since the collection's owner had forgone plaques and scholarly labels and arranged the items to complement his d?cor.
In 2000, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received an anonymoustip that a luxury apartment near the Dupont Circle neighborhood ofWashington, D.C., housed a private and possibly illegal collectionof tribal art. People who had visited the apartment whispered thatits walls showcased hundreds of artifacts, including manycontaining what appeared to be plumage from rare or endangeredbirds. There was no way to know for sure, since the collection'sowner had forgone plaques and scholarly labels and arranged theitems to complement his decor.