If you want to follow the story about the fired U.S. attorneys, Josh Marshall and Paul Kiel are the people to see. But Slate's Dahlia Lithwick raises a crucial question: "Who changed the Patriot Act to make it easier to replace U.S. attorneys without oversight, and how did it happen with nobody looking?" It turns out that the Judiciary Committee's chief counsel, Michael O'Neill, may or may not have slipped in the provision at the request of the Justice Department.
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.
Barack Obama announced a few weeks ago that he would join (my old friend and comrade) Rep. John Lewis on the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to mark the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, when the state police beat the hell out of peaceful civil right demonstrators... and bashed the skull of Lewis, then head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
In case anyone's playing catch-up on the story, Paul Kiel has a good overview of the U.S. attorneys who were fired by the Bush administration, ostensibly for political reasons. McClatchy just reported that last October, Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson had pressured U.S. attorney David Iglesias to "speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator." He said no, and now he's gone.
Josh Marshall gets at the significance of the lead story in the New York Times today. In 1994, North Korea agreed to lock up a bunch of radioactive fuel rods (which could be processed into plutonium) as part of the Agreed Framework. In 2002, the Bush administration decided to scuttle the agreement, claiming that North Korea had a secret program to enrich uranium, and started making vague threats about regime change. So North Korea took those rods out of storage and processed them into plutonium--and suddenly had the capacity to build a number of bombs in short order.
Howie Kurtz's Media Notes today describes the reaction of blog readers of The Huffington Post to the attempt on Dick Cheney's life: The comments appeared on the Huffington Post, which, to its credit, took them down. But some were preserved by Michelle Malkin, and I reproduce them here: "You can't kill pure evil. Like an exorcism you have to drive a stake through it." "If at first you don't succeed . . . " "Better luck next time!" "Dr. Evil escapes again . . .
Eli Lake is a good reporter, but his latest opinion piece in The New York Sun is seriously misguided. Lake is angry that liberal politicians and writers are voicing apologies for having supported the Iraq war: What the apologists are asking for, if only by default, is a return to the amorality of detente and Realpolitik. Again, Iraq demonstrates this.
As if you needed any more reasons to dislike Pat Riley . . . from the Reuters account of the Miami Heat's visit to the White House: Riley gave Bush a jersey and then told the audience: "I voted for the man. If you don't vote you don't count." Addressing reporters later, Riley denied that he had injected politics into the ceremony. "I'm pro-American, pro-democracy, I'm pro-government," the coach said. "I follow my boss.
On November 11, two men in green uniforms arrived at the home of Abakar Yussuf, then ordered his wife outside. "When she came out, they shot her in the back and she fell to the ground and died," Yussuf told Amnesty International. "They then took her by her feet and pulled her back into the house and set fire to it. ... When I returned to find my wife's body, all that was left were her bones." Four days later, in the same Chadian village, attackers threw Abdoulaye Khamis's 80-year-old brother into a hut they had set on fire. "I ran back ... and tried to save my brother," Khamis explained.
A new book about Nixon and China is out, and sure enough glowing words of praise for the former President and his debonair national security advisor are all over the newspapers. Orville Schell's review in The Washington Post is probably the most annoying of the bunch. This passage in particular caught my eye: So only a realist could go to China. A more sentimental or moralistic diplomat might well have been thrown off course by the thought of dealing with a Leninist dictatorship that had afflicted its people with almost every imaginable indignity in the name of Marxist revolution.