Muqtada al-Sadr’s ministers leave the Maliki government, saying they tried and failed to get Maliki to demand a timetable for American withdrawal from Iraq. No doubt someone on the right will spin this as a positive development for the USA since it now affords us the chance of a Sadrist-free government in Baghdad and may give them a chance to restart a 2004-style two-front war in Baghdad. I’m not optimistic.
“The House Judiciary Committee wants to interview U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Rachel Paulose, a former assistant to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, … and others based on an initial round of interviews and on a review of documents released by the Justice Department.” Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) “said in the letter that the interviews would be voluntary. A spokeswoman for Paulose could not be reached for comment after regular business hours Monday.” Background on Paulose HERE.
UPDATE: Politico has details on all eight officials Conyers wants to interview.
American Progress Senior Fellow and former Reagan Pentagon official Lawrence Korb just returned from Iraq. His report:
I had an interesting discussion with an Iraqi official who is close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He made several intriguing observations. First, in their video conferences, Maliki and Bush do not really communicate. The official also noted that in his discussions with visiting members of Congress there is really not much dialogue, with both sides giving canned presentations. Second, the U.S. military and State Department do not really work well together and General George Casey would complain to Iraqis about the former U.S. Ambassador to iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad. Third, the insurgency got started when the Americans failed to take control after the overthrow and the Iraqis realized that the American military was not invincible–that is, its soldiers were human beings who displayed the full range of emotions, including fear. Fourth, do not believe anyone who tells you that the situation is getting better.
EPA chief Steven Johnson “said Monday the growth of greenhouse gases by less than 1 percent in 2005 shows the administration’s program to address global warming ‘is delivering real results.’ … ‘Things have come to a pretty sad state of affairs when the EPA tries to spin increased greenhouse gas emissions as a victory,’ said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, an environmental advocacy group.” More from O’Donnell HERE.
“Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ assertion that he was not involved in identifying the eight U.S. attorneys who were asked to resign last year is at odds with a recently released internal Department of Justice e-mail, ABC News has learned. That e-mail said that Gonzales supported firing one federal prosecutor six months before she was asked to leave.” (Via Atrios)
“A Washington Post-ABC News poll of 1,141 adults, conducted April 12-15, found that 58 percent trusted the Democrats in Congress to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq, compared to 33 percent who trusted Bush.”
UPDATE: Kevin Drum notes this graph from the Post story:
The president has taken advantage of the congressional spring recess to pound Democrats over their legislation, which would impose benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet, set strict rules for resting, equipping and training combat troops, and set a 2008 date for the final withdrawal of U.S. troops. Despite those efforts, Bush has actually lost a little ground to Democrats, who were trusted by 54 percent to set Iraq policy in February.
Drum says, “This reminds me of the Social Security fiasco: every time Bush opened his mouth on the subject, polls moved in the opposite direction. Now the same thing is happening with Iraq. If he had any brains, he’d just shut up and try to ride it out. His mouth is his own worst enemy.”
The series of IPCC reports are, without a doubt, some of the most highly anticipated reports of 2007. An obvious sign? Within two weeks of one report’s release, papers are already covering a leak from the next.
The IPCC Working Group III’s focus is on mitigation, meaning a fair number of policy implications can be derived from its conclusions. So, here’s a hint for America’s auto industry: the UN report is calling for urgent action on road pollution.
In the United States, there are 483 passenger cars per 1000 people (EarthTrends). The world average is about 100, and few countries outnumber our car count (Australia, for example, had 492 in 1996).
Overall, U.S. auto emissions account for seven percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions, a huge part of Massachusett’s case against the EPA in the Supreme Court, and knowing such a significant source of the problem informs where policies are most productive. In a few words, renewable fuels such as E85, plug-in hybrids, and more stringent CAFE standards.
World energy use by transportation is expected to grow by two percent each year, but as California has demonstrated with its electricity consumption, it is possible to flatline the curve. Not to mention, both climate security and national security interests call for it.
The Senate Judiciary Committee postponed Tuesday’s questioning of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on the firings of eight federal prosecutors, saying the proceedings would be inappropriate in light of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy made the decision Monday to postpone the long-awaited hearing that has been considered Gonzales’ last chance to quiet a controversy that has prompted calls in both parties for his resignation.
Leahy said the hearing had been rescheduled for Thursday. He said he made the decision after conferring with Gonzales and the committee’s senior Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. ”All three of us agree,” he said.
”I’m sure that he will want to be dealing with the matters of the shooting,” Leahy said of Gonzales.
has won a 2007 Pulitzer Prize for revealing how President Bush had “quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office” through the use of presidential signing statements. A full list of the prize winners is HERE.
UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald has much more.
This has got to be one of the most egregious cases of digging yourself deeper that I’ve ever heard of. Tommy Thompson is speaking to a Jewish group and says:
“I’m in the private sector and for the first time in my life I’m earning money,” Republican hopeful and former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson said Monday. “You know that’s sort of part of the Jewish tradition.”
Okay, bad move. But one could imagine a recovery. But not like this:
After being made aware that his remarks were problematic, Thompson returned to the podium and told the several hundred activists assembled, “I just want to clarify something because I didn’t in any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things.
“What I was referring to ladies and gentlemen is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion and the Jewish people. You have been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that and if anybody took what I said wrong, I apologize. I may have mischaracterized it. You are very successful. I applaud you for that.
But it actually gets worse:
During the speech, Thompson also called himself the governor of the first state to buy “Jewish bonds” — presumably meaning Israel Bonds — and said his friend who persuaded him to buy the bonds was also a big supporter of the “Jewish Defense League” — probably meaning the Anti-Defamation League, not the militant group.
The JDL is something of a terrorist organization, for the record. See also Shmuel Rosner’s thoughts.
UPDATE: For the record, I’m much more inclined to put Thompson into the “morons” file than the “hates Jews” one, unless there’s some kind of longer record out there.
UPDATE II: Spencer Ackerman picks up the damn phone.