The Office of the Vice President failed to report statistics regarding Cheney’s classification and declassification activity in 2005, defying an executive order requirement that he do so. The Office of the Vice President has declined to report such data since 2002.
Dan Bartlett, senior counselor to President Bush, appeared on CNN this evening and was asked where the President stood with regards to the FBI raid on Rep. William Jefferson’s office. Bartlett said it was important to pursue the investigation to wherever it may lead:
BARTLETT: The good thing is that all parties recognize it’s critically important that this investigation continue; that anytime that there’s any allegation of public corruption of a public official or a congressman, that we do everything we can to fully investigate this.
A very sound principle — one that unfortunately does not apply to President Bush. Here’s Bartlett on CNN, 1/29/06:
BLITZER: What’s wrong with the White House releasing the photographs of the president with Jack Abramoff?
BARTLETT: Because they’re not relevant to the investigation. And one thing that the president argued this past week is that there is an important investigation. Here is a man who has admitted guilt to some egregious conduct and behavior in the course of several years. It’s important that the prosecutors get to the bottom of that case and follow that case wherever it may take them. But the fact that the president has taken a picture or two or five or however many it may be at fundraisers or other events is not related to the investigation.
Remember, as the “decider,” Bush gets to decide what’s relevant to the investigation.
Researchers studying the nation’s high school dropout rates fight about the gaps in graduation rates between African-American and Latino students and white students, but ignore the huge gaps in achievement among graduates.
Nationally, African-American and Latino 17 year-olds in school perform at the same level as 13 year-old white high school students on the 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and math tests. So a high school diploma means a lot less for many these students than for white students because they are under-prepared for college:
Only 40.8 percent of African-American and 37.3 percent of Hispanic high school graduates enroll in college, whereas 47.4 percent of whites enroll.
Fewer than half of the African-American and Hispanic students enroll in college will actually graduate.
The crisis in today’s high schools are as much about poor preparation of high school graduates, especially of minority students, as dropout rates. Researchers and the media need to start looking at both issues more intensively.
Jonah Goldberg has a regular column in the LA Times. This week, he decided to use the space to attack Al Gore and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. The best he could come up with is this impressive piece of opposition research concerning Gore’s adolescent summer camp attendance:
Gore told Huffington that this was his second trip to Cannes. “The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists “” Sartre, Camus”¦. We were not allowed to speak anything but French!”… Though according to David Maraniss’ biography of Gore, the former vice president’s 15th summer was spent working on the family farm. [Ed note: Oh snap!] Remember those stories about how Al Sr. said, “A boy could never be president if he couldn’t plow with that damned hillside plow”? That was the same summer.
Goldberg continued this piercing line of attack on the National Review blog this afternoon:
As for Gore spending a summer at existentialist sleep-away camp in France, I’ve seen no evidence that this ever happened. I will gladly post any reliable evidence or testimony someone sends me saying he did.
This is a HUGE issue.
ThinkProgress is ready to devote our full efforts to uncovering the truth about this matter. All we ask is that, before we begin, Mr. Goldberg provide us with a comprehensive list of everything he ever did during the summer from age 6 through the age of 17. As your column demonstrated, we can’t take you at your word, so please provide documentary or testimonial evidence to substantiate each activity.
UPDATE II: Jonah Goldberg responds.
UPDATE III: Greg Sargent calls Gore’s representatives who confirm he did go to Cannes when he was 15.
On Feb. 16, 2006, President Bush requested $72.4 billion in supplemental funds for continuing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just over three months later, the current Do-Nothing Congress has yet to pass the bill, and is instead busy fighting over how much pork to keep.
Earlier this week, the conference committee that is negotiating a final bill announced that it would not complete the bill before Memorial Day. Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), the chief House negotiator, said, “We have communicated with the individual military services and while it is not preferable, they have informed us that they can tolerate a delay into June,” Lewis said. “I am confident that Congress will clear the measure quickly after the Memorial Day district work period.”
But Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, takes a different view from Lewis. Because the Congress has failed to act, he said the military will be forced slow down its supply operations for the troops. According to the Hill:
Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, said the Army will be forced to slow down some of its operations’ backbone because Congress decided to postpone the completion of the 2006 emergency supplemental until after the Memorial Day break.
“We have to pull all these levers to slow down,” Schoomaker said at a breakfast sponsored by The Hill. In order to stretch its funds until a new infusion of cash is available, the Army will have to slow down its logistics and supply operations among other things, he pointed out. ["¦]
He added that it is “ironic” the Army has to resort to such measures on the eve of Memorial Day.
Failing to pass legislation to fund the troops seems an appropriate Memorial Day message for a Congress that is on schedule to meet for the fewest days of any Congress since 1948.
But Kim Eisler, national editor of the Washingtonian magazine and friend of Abramoff, told Think Progress that “Jack considered Hastert a reliable ally for his clients.”
Abramoff evidently trusted Hastert enough to have him help one of his tribal clients in Louisiana, far from Hastert’s district in Illinois. The client, the Coushatta tribe, opposed a plan by the Jena Band tribe to open a competing casino in Louisiana. Abramoff successfully lobbied his congressional allies to write a June 10, 2003, letter to then Interior Secretary Gail Norton opposing the casino. Co-signers on the letter included Hastert and Reps. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Eric Cantor (R-VA), a group of people “who do not normally weigh in on Indian issues.”
Note that Abramoff held a fundraiser for the Speaker on June 3, a week before Hastert signed the letter. At that event — hosted at Abramoff’s restaurant — Abramoff’s firm and tribal clients gave at least $21,500 to Hastert’s PAC. Eisler also tells Think Progress that “the pictures of Bush that I saw at Jack’s house several months ago, many of them were taken at a Hastert fundraiser.”
It’s hard to imagine that the FBI could responsibly investigate Abramoff’s corrupt dealings without putting Hastert “in the mix.”
Last night on CNN’s Larry King Live, Donald Rumsfeld was asked about 27-year CIA veteran Ray McGovern, who recently told the Secretary of Defense he lied when he said he knew where the WMD were located in Iraq in March 2003. Rumsfeld refused to acknowledge his error and falsely claimed he was talking about “suspect sites.” Watch it:
Here’s what Rumsfeld said last night:
I said because they’ve just gotten in the southern part of the country and we know, I said something to that effect, that the suspect sites or sites were — meaning suspect sites were up in the area of Baghdad and north. That’s where the intelligence community said them. And we weren’t there yet. We hadn’t covered that piece of real estate.
In fact, Rumsfeld made no mention of “suspect sites” in his entire March 2003 interview on ABC’s This Week. He plainly stated, without qualification, that “we know where [the WMD] are.” Here’s a transcript:
STEPHANOPOULOS: [I]s it curious to you that given how much control U.S. and coalition forces now have in the country, they haven’t found any weapons of mass destruction?
RUMSFELD: Not at all. If you think — let me take that, both pieces — the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.
An article published on Tech Central Station is buzzing around the right-wing blogosphere as the definitive rebuttal to Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth. It’s written by Dr. Robert Balling, a climatology professor at Arizona State University who has received over $400,000 in funding from ExxonMobil, OPEC and the fossil fuels industry over the last decade.
In return, Dr. Balling has done whatever he could to cast doubts on the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. For example, in 1997 he was arguing “the planet has actually cooled over the past few decades.” His arguments have moderated somewhat since that time, but are no more accurate. You can find a full debunk of the misleading scientific arguments in Dr. Balling’s recent article – cleverly titled “Inconvenient Truths Indeed” – below.
(I recently debated Dr. Balling on many of these issues on the Jim Bohannon Show. You can listen to a portion of the debate.)
BALLING: “Gore discusses glacial and snowpack retreats atop Kenya’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, implying that human induced global warming is to blame. But Gore fails to mention that the snows of Kilimanjaro have been retreating for more than 100 years, largely due to declining atmospheric moisture, not global warming.”
THE FACTS: Dr. Balling is distorting the scientific data. The climate scientists at realclimate.org explain studies of Kilimanjaro “only support the role of precipitation in the initial stages of the retreat, up to the early 1900′s.” Moreover, “the Kilimanjaro glacier survived a 300 year African drought which occurred about 4000 years ago.” The most likely explanation for why it has almost completely disappeared this time is “anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change.”
The new White House domestic policy chief, Karl Zinsmeister, altered his own quotes and other text that appeared in a published profile of him, originally written by the Syracuse New Times but later amended and posted on the AEI website. The White House claims that the alterations were “corrections” due to “misattributions” by the reporter, an unlikely story given that Zinsmeister emailed the New Times reporter after the interview to thank him for his “fair and thoughtful treatment.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Sen. Rick Santorum’s residence: “He doesn’t live here anymore.” The paper sent a letter to Santorum’s supposed residence in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania in March, only to watch the letter bounce back “with a sticker from the U.S. Postal Service checked as ‘Not Deliverable As Addressed — Unable To Forward.’”
In an e-mail and robocall message, Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) attacks his opponent, Zack Space, as too liberal because he appeared on Rachel Maddow’s Air America show. Ney calls her a “cross-dressing lesbian” who “uses a different name when dressed ‘in drag.’”
Meanwhile, two of Ney’s top aides have been subpoenaed in the Jack Abramoff bribery investigation. Paul Vinovich, formerly Ney’s top aide with the House Administration Committee, and Will Heaton, Ney’s current chief of staff, both accompanied Abramoff, Ney, Ralph Reed, David Safavian, and Neil Volz on an Aug. 2002 golf trip aboard a private jet to Scotland.
ABC’s Brian Ross stands by his story that House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) is under FBI investigation. “I think our story is accurate. We’ve gone back to our sources, and they believe what we reported was accurate as they knew it.” George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s chief Washington correspondent, called the implications “potentially seismic.” Read more