Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Morning News Roundup (17 October)

BushCo's Wars
  • President Bush signs the “Military Commissions Act of 2006″ today in the Rose Garden, a bill will not grant detainees legal counsel. “Also, it specifically bars detainees from filing habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions in federal courts.” The new law sets the stage for what many analysts believe will be yet another historic showdown between the courts, the president, and Congress. [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki told President Bush on Monday that U.S. officials have been undermining his government, and sought reassurance that the administration was not preparing to abandon him.

    During a 15-minute morning phone call, Maliki said he was concerned that U.S. officials had openly suggested imposing a two-month deadline for him to gain control of militias and quell sectarian violence, said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow.

    Maliki said that calls for such a deadline, and proposals for a three-way partition of Iraq, "were undermining his government," Snow said. [LATimes]

Gays in the Temple
  • Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is blocking the confirmation of Bush-nominated Judge Janet Neff because she may have “once attended a commitment ceremony for a lesbian couple.” [ThinkProgress' ThinkFast]

  • While Brownback has issues with the prospects of tolerance for homosexuality in the judiciary, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins is raising questions about the way homosexuals seem to be infiltrating the executive branch, too. In his latest daily message to supporters, Perkins complains that, during the swearing-in ceremony for new Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recognized Dybul's "mother in law" as among the family members in attendance. The problem? The "mother in law" in question would be the mother of the Dybul's "homosexual partner."

    "The question arises, what guidelines do the State Department and White House follow?" Perkins asks. "Neither federal law (the Defense of Marriage Act) nor District of Columbia law recognizes a marriage between Dr. Dybul and his partner, and 'mother in law' is therefore both linguistically (and possibly legally) improper and morally provocative. Why did Secretary Rice deploy the term in the presence of the First Lady?" [Salon's War Room]

  • John Aravosis at Americablog, commenting on this article:
    As for Condi Rice, the article goes on to point out that the hate groups were profoundly offended that she treated the gay man with respect, and they were offended, apparently, that gay people were permitted to touch Bibles. (Which is ironic, because I'm offended that religious right pseudo-Christians are allowed to touch Bibles.)

Domestic Potpourri
  • The 5 stages of Republican scandal, via Talking Points Memo reader PT:
    1. “I have not been informed of any investigation or that I am a target”
    2. “I am cooperating fully, but this whole thing is a political ploy by the Democrats”
    3. “I’m SHOCKED by the mistakes made by my subordinates”
    4. “I’m deeply sorry for letting down my friends and family. I now recognize that I am an alcoholic. I will be entering rehab immediately, so I have no time for questions”
    5. “Can I serve my time at Eglin Federal Penitentiary (aka Club Fed)?”

Big Blue Marble
  • The United States is more responsible than North Korea itself for Pyongyang's nuclear test, according to a South Korean poll published. Forty-three percent of respondents picked the United States as most to blame, followed by 37.3 percent who chose the country which actually conducted the October 9 test.

    Some commentators here have questioned the Bush administration's commitment to diplomacy, including six-party disarmament talks, to end the North Korean nuclear crisis. The Korea Times, in an editorial, cited the autobiography of former US Secretary of States Colin Powell as saying the "US neocons' eventual goal is regime change in Pyongyang and the six-party meeting was just a pretence." [AFP via Yahoo!]

  • The flow of pugnacious but oddly phrased rhetoric from the North continues unabated.
    We will deliver merciless blows without hesitation to whoever tries to breach our sovereignty and right to survive under the excuse of carrying out the UN Security Council resolution." [Foreign Policy's Passport]

And one more thing... Radar selects the 10 dumbest Congressmen (from both left and right); some highlights:
6. Representative Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
"Mean" Jean Schmidt blazed her way into congressional history last year by using her first-ever floor speech to paint Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Marine Corps vet, as a coward, provoking a chorus of jeers and calls for her expulsion (for violating a longstanding rule against personal attacks from the floor.) Adding insult to injury, the Marine to whom she'd attributed the statement denied ever making it.

3. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
Inhofe is best known for his categorical claim that global warming is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people"—a rhetorical flourish he recently refined by likening climate change theories to Nazi propaganda. And here's the scary part: Those are the sentiments of our chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. It's a bit like making Lyndon LaRouche the American Ambassador to England.

1.Representative Katherine Harris (R-FL)
If dumb Congress members were the X-Men, Harris would be their Wolverine—a mutant possessing fearsome skills, the product of a demented government experiment gone horribly wrong.

[ posted with ecto ]


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