Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claims that “military leaders” he’s talked to about the ban on gay servicemembers say, “‘Generally, overall, it’s working.’ … And right now we’ve got the best military we’ve ever had – the most professional, best trained, equipped and the bravest. And so I think it’s logical to leave this issue alone. I really do.” Currently, the U.S. Army’s readiness for war “has eroded to levels not witnessed by our country in decades,” and since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell went into effect, the Pentagon has dismissed more than 11,000 servicemembers, many in key specialty skills such as training in Arabic.
Army Secretary Francis Harvey resigned last week after the neglect and squalor at Walter Reed military hospital was exposed by the Washington Post.
Harvey not only oversaw these conditions, but chose to place Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley — who had been personally aware for years about the problems and apparently done nothing — back in control of the hospital. That decision was reversed days later by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
Despite the terms of his resignation, Harvey today was given a celebratory farewell ceremony at the large Conmy Hall in Virginia, pictured below. ThinkProgress obtained a media advisory promoting the event, which states that Army chief of staff Peter Schoomaker would be hosting the “farewell ceremony in honor” of Harvey.
In the text of his “Message to the Army,” Harvey says, “I am leaving your ranks saddened,” but claims that the “well-being” of “Soldiers and their families” has “always been my highest priority.”
Significant progress has also been made in force and business transformation, modernization, leader development, and the well-being of Soldiers and their families – your well-being has always been my highest priority.
The press advisory notes, “The Secretary of the Army will not conduct a media availability before or after the ceremony.”
Your tax dollars at work. (And how long until the Medal of Freedom?)
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and the Nevada Democratic Party announced today that they are backing out of a Fox News-sponsored presidential debate in August following Fox President Roger Ailes’s recent remarks comparing Democratic Senator Barack Obama to al Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Fox News did not answer calls seeking reaction to the decision.”
UPDATE: Markos on the winners, the losers, and what comes next.
UPDATE II: Fox News
responds attacks: “We have not received official word from the Nevada State Democratic Party disclosing a change in debate plans. Rumors are being circulated and if true, news organizations will want to think twice before getting involved in the Nevada Democratic Caucus which appears to be controlled by radical fringe out-of-state interest groups, not the Nevada Democratic Party.”
UPDATE III: Reaction from MoveOn, Robert Greenwald, Matt Stoller and others is HERE.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress interviewed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and asked her about Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) efforts to expressly prohibit President Bush from taking “unilateral military action in Iran without the express consent of the Congress.”
Clinton expressed her support for the position, saying, “I think that the President should not assume that he has any authority to do anything with respect to Iran.” Clinton said that Bush “needs to come to the Congress, and neither the resolution regarding Afghanistan or Iraq give him authority to take offensive action.” Watch it:
Center for American Progress fellow Ruy Teixeira has noted that the public’s views could not be clearer on Iran: make diplomacy, not war. Despite the Bush administration’s attempts to ratchet up tensions with Iran, a majority of Americans (57 percent) have consistently expressed the view that Iran is a threat that can be contained with diplomacy. Another 20 percent don’t see Iran as a threat to the U.S. at the current time. Support for military action has fallen recently, registering only 15 percent.
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The House Judiciary Committee today requested documents from the White House related to the Bush administration’s purge of eight U.S. attorneys. “The committee is also seeking to interview at least one current official in the White House’s counsel’s office, William Kelley, Deputy Counsel to the President, and former White House counsel Harriet Miers.” Read the letter from Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) HERE.
Hawkish pro-Israel lawmakers are pushing to strike a provision slated for the war spending bill that would, with some exceptions, require the president to seek congressional approval before using military force in Iran.
The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee also is working to keep the language out, said an aide to a pro-Israel lawmaker.
Don’t tell Jonah Goldberg!
At a press conference today, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III responded to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report that found “pervasive errors in the FBI’s use” of National Security Letters to obtain the personal information of U.S. citizens. “How could this happen?” Mueller asked rhetorically. “Who is to be held accountable? And the answer to that is, I am to be held accountable.” However, Mueller “dismissed the idea of offering to resign, saying there has been ‘no discussion of that.’“
Chris Broussard offers his top ten NBA nicknames. It’s Insider content, so I’ll summarize:
- Doctor J
- Magic Johnson
- Air Jordan
- Earl the Pearl Monroe
- Human Highlight Film
- Pistol Pete
- Sir Charles
- King James
- Hakeem the Dream
- The Reign Man (apparently, this is Shawn Kemp)
Honorable mention goes to The Matrix, The Answer, Half Man / Half Amazing, The Admiral, Muggsy (Bogues), Diesel, and Clyde (Walt Frazier). This list seems somewhat confused to me. Air Jordan was a fantastic player, but a totally forgettable nickname. If, for example, that was the nickname of the fourth-best shooting guard of the mid-1990s would anyone think it noteworthy today? Frankly, I doubt it. Ironically, I think the Jordan derivative “Air Canada” for Vince Carter is both better than Jordan’s nickname and better than Half Man / Half Amazing. Somehow, my favorite current NBA nickname — The Truth — has gone missing from this list. Human Highlight Film (I’d thought this was reel) is actually a downright bad nickname. It’s too long and, really, you’d feel like an idiot actually saying it — ‘Nique deserves better than that.
It seems to me that Texas NBA fans need to get better at devising nicknames. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, and Josh Howard are all laboring away without a single cool nickname among them.
Yesterday at the House Armed Services Committee hearing on veterans care, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) attempted to stand out from the rest of Congress and argue that the conditions in Building 18 weren’t that bad. Instead of criticizing the cockroach infestation, he said, “I was glad to know that those cockroaches were belly up. It suggested to me that at least someone was spraying for them.”
He also tried to blame the soldiers for the conditions, stating, “And, of course, if you leave food around in a motel room or a dorm room at a college, you’re going to get some mice show up at some point in time.” Watch it:
Gingrey further blamed the media — specifically the Washington Post — for the fallout, saying he was “shocked” that Army Secretary Francis Harvey and Walter Reed commander Gen. George Weightmann were fired. “[A]sk the Washington Post whose head should roll, I think [President Bush] probably would be…the only satisfaction.” He then added, “[L]et’s try to take some of the politics aside and some of the rhetoric, and try to solve the problem.”
(HT: TP reader PC)
Transcript: Read more