I'm concerned about Government Exhibit 702 in the Scooter Libby trial. The page has been almost entirely blacked out, but toward the top left beneath all that nonsense about Joe and Valerie, if you can parse the handwriting, is this note: "Tom Cruise & Penelope Cruz at his office." I smell a Scientologist conspiracy. --Sacha Zimmerman

Republicans eat their own over Iraq: One GOP lawmaker, who declined to be named, said it is "starting to get really ugly" among Republicans when they try to talk about Iraq and the wisdom of the new Bush policy. This lawmaker said when a Republican stands up who has doubts on Iraq, he's immediately "beaten down" by other Republicans who believe that any deviation from the White House position is intolerable. Said another Republican with concerns about Bush's new strategy: "It's as if we are stabbing the party in the back, and we are only trying to do what we think is right." --Michael Crowley

Conservatives And The Gop

by Jacob T. Levy Via Michael Crowley at The Plank, I see this article from the Politico on conservative dissatisfaction with the Republican presidential nominees. No mention is made of what I assume to be the simplest hypothesis here: Conservatives know that the fate of the Republican nominee in 2008 rises or falls entirely on the next eighteen months in Iraq, and are pretty sure that the results won't be pretty, so they're despairing of the absence of any electoral savior who could possibly keep the White House.

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Never Stop Running

by Michael Kazin Even our best political journalists seem to know little American political history. Take their common claim that, unlike in the more sensible past, we are now assaulted by a presidential campaign that begins long before election year. As The New York Times recently reported (Jan.

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Who Needs Experts?

The biggest problem in Washington, of course, is that President Bush's crack team of political appointees doesn't have enough power. Luckily, help is on the way: In an executive order published last week in the Federal Register, Mr. Bush said that each agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries.

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All those people who are worried about the White House's unwillingness to take global warming seriously clearly haven't heard about the new plan yet: The US government wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming, the Guardian has learned.

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Bad Date

The New York Times's story today on the Libby trial makes the Libby-Fleischer lunch seem a bit like a date where person number one wants to get to know person number two. Unfortunately, person two just wants to "get down to business": Mr. Fleischer's day on the stand provided a riveting moment because of the detailed description of the conversation, which he said occurred in his last week at the White House and was the only time Mr. Libby had ever asked him to lunch.Mr. Fleischer said that after casual talk about his new career and the fact that he and Mr.

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Mr. Universe

For years, Republicans have attacked advocates of universal health insurance as "socialists." But what are they going to call Arnold Schwarzenegger? Last Monday, the Republican governor announced that he wants to bring universal coverage to California—just as another Republican governor, Mitt Romney, recently did for Massachusetts.

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Have Faith

From 2007, Richard Bushman denies that Mormons are uniquely predisposed to faith-based governance.

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Franklin B. Thacker Jr. lives in a trailer a few miles outside Appalachia, a worn-out mountain town in the southwest corner of Virginia. Thacker, who is 40, isn’t much for going out. He broke his neck ten years ago in a mining accident, and he spends his days living "bed to the couch." But, one day in January 2005, Thacker got himself a bulletproof vest. Not just any bulletproof vest, but a combat-model flak jacket—"eight times thicker" than the standard-issue police vest.

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