MSNBC’s David Schuster: “It’s now been 26 days since Rove testified to the grand jury for the 5th time. Defense lawyers say prosecutors remain focused on Rove’s claim of a bad memory regarding a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Rove’s legal team and former prosecutors tracking the investigation expect Patrick Fitzgerald to announce a decision at any time. … The CIA leak grand jury is scheduled to meet again this Wednesday.”
“The U.S. military is already gearing up for this outcome [long-term 'containment' of violence], but not for ‘victory’ any longer. It is consolidating to several ‘superbases‘ in hopes that its continued presence will prevent Iraq from succumbing to full-flown civil war and turning into a failed state.”
President Bush was asked this morning whether he will watch Al Gore’s new movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. “Doubt it,” the president answered. He went on to argue that we need to “set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects.”
Two important points need to be made:
1. Bush casts his answer in terms of a debate that exists on whether greenhouse gases are caused by human activity. In fact, as ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, there is no scientific debate on this issue. Not a single peer-reviewed study conducted between 1993 and 2003 challenged the consensus that the earth’s temperature is rising due to human activity.
2. Bush cannot solve the problem of global warming if he does not understand its root cause. By “setting aside” the issue of why the globe is warming, Bush wants to also sidestep the need for his administration to begin efforts to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, as he once pledged to do.
Full transcript below: Read more
ThinkProgress contacted Gore’s representatives, who unequivocally confirmed that Al Gore and his associates walked from the Majestic Hotel to the screening at Cannes. Further, Paramount has committed to making the entire tour promoting the film carbon neutral.
UPDATE: At 3:38 PM EST on May 22, about an hour after this post, Drudge yanked the smear on Gore from his site. The report that was removed contained no links or attribution to any source.
UPDATE II: Reuters reports that Gore was seen using a car at another time during the Cannes film festival. This story was first linked by Drudge on May 25. It does not substantiate Drudge’s original, May 22, report. In fact, it specifically says Gore and his associates walked to the screening.
UPDATE III: Click HERE for ThinkProgress’ complete coverage of Al Gore and An Inconvenient Truth.
“Personal data, including Social Security numbers of 26.5 million U.S. veterans, was stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee this month after he took the information home without authorization. … The theft of stolen information comes as the department has come under criticism for shoddy accounting practices and for falling short on the needs of veterans.”
UPDATE: The data theft appears to impact all military veterans.
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) was a regular at Jack Abramoff’s skybox at sporting events and guided his aides and family members to lucrative consulting jobs. But evidently those perks weren’t enough. Since he entered office in 1991, he has tried to boost lawmakers’ compensation and benefits. Doolittle argued members of Congress should have:
– “a corps of staff to assist the members, to perform routine tasks such as rides to airports, pickups, deliveries, etc;”
– “an additional automobile” to use around the nation’s capital; and
– government-funded moving expenses when they relocate to Washington, DC.
Doolittle’s spokesman, Dan Blackenburg, tried to justify the congressman’s efforts:
“He thinks that Members of the House, the staff and all federal employees should have the same benefits that all Americans are insured with,” Blankenburg said, pointing out that federal employees, for example, currently don’t receive a dental or vision benefit.
Doolittle needs to get out of Abramoff’s skybox and talk to some real Americans. 41 percent of the American middle-class didn’t even have basic health insurance for part or all of 2005 and only 29 percent of companies now offer dental and vision benefits. (Statistics on how many Americans have a personal “corps of staff” to “perform routine tasks” were unavailable.)
Doolittle and his spokesman also need to check his federal health insurance program. While most plans don’t offer vision and dental benefits, some do. (New enhanced dental and vision benefits will also be offered to federal employees in the fall.)
The London Times and Raw Story report that a phased withdrawal from Iraq is beginning. “It will be described as a ‘transition’ to Iraqi security forces taking control of the country rather than a withdrawal to avoid it looking as though the allies are being forced out by rising levels of attacks on their forces.”
This morning, Jack Murtha appeared on CBS’ The Early Show to talk about the Iraq war. Murtha offered a sobering assessment:
[T]here’s not only no progress, it’s worse than it was prewar. this thing has been mishandled so badly. The American people needed to hear. we’re spending $450 billion on this war by the end of the year, $9 billion a month, and so we need to change course.
The facts appear to back Murtha up. Here’s a summary of key indicators, drawn from the Brookings Institute’s Iraq Index, using the most recent data available:
|Crude oil production||2.5 million barrels||2.14 million barrels [Apr. 2006]|
|Electricity||3,958 Megawatts||3,600 Megawatts [Apr. 2006]|
|People with access to potable water||12.9 million||8.25 million [Nov. 2005]|
|People with access to sewer system||6 million||5 million [Nov. 2005]|
Full transcript: Read more
– Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on President Bush
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales yesterday suggested that journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information. “There are some statutes on the book which, if you read the language carefully, would seem to indicate that that is a possibility,” Gonzales said.
The former top procurement officer in the White House Office of Management and Budget, David Safavian, goes on trial this week to face charges, evidenced by a string of e-mails, that “he concealed [Jack] Abramoff’s interest in government business when seeking permission to accept airfare for a Scotland golf trip from the lobbyist in 2002. Safavian is also accused of obstructing inquiries into the matter.”
“There is no official Category 6 for hurricanes, but scientists say they’re pondering whether there should be as evidence mounts that hurricanes around the world have sharply worsened over the past 30 years “” and all but a handful of hurricane experts now agree this worsening bears the fingerprints of man-made global warming.”
A Virginia businesswoman whom Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) allegedly tried to scam was an FBI informant. Under investigation for bribery, Jefferson was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from the informant whose conversations with the lawmaker were also recorded.
People who hire undocumented workers are “21st century slave masters…just as immoral as the 19th century slave masters we had to fight a civil war to get rid of,” said House immigration point-person Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) yesterday. Conservative bloggers blasted the analogy as “dangerous,” “insane moral equivalence,” and “dumb.” Read more