“As of Friday, 206 unidentified bodies had been found on Baghdad’s streets, compared with 176 during the first eight days of May.”
“In his June 6 column, Politico chief political columnist Roger Simon declared former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the winner of the June 5 Republican presidential debate,” in part because he is “[s]trong, clear, gives good soundbite, and has shoulders you could land a 737 on.” Simon has previously described Romney as having “chiseled-out-of-granite features, a full, dark head of hair going a distinguished gray at the temples, and a barrel chest.”
I’m a fundamentally impractical person, so I think Brad DeLong’s impractical health care sketch sounds pretty awesome.
On May 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee made at least its ninth formal request for documents related to President Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program. Committee chiefs Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) gave Alberto Gonzales until June 5 to provide answers. He sent nothing. Leahy said today that the Justice Dept. stonewalling was “unacceptable and shows, yet again, its disdain for any kind of constitutional oversight of its activities.” (More on the NSA program in today’s Progress Report.)
Read Leahy’s full statement: Read more
Fair enough. “Yglesias” is a regional variant (specifically from Galicia) spelling of the common Spanish surname “Iglesias” and should be pronounced just as you would “Enrique Iglesias.” In my case, I say it as a pretty heavily Anglicized ee-glay-see-as. One interesting thing about the contemporary United States, however, is that a very large proportion of the population is capable of pronouncing it in a much more authentically Spanish way, but the actual bearer of the name is not.
In his Senate testimony Tuesday, DoJ official Bradley Schlozman said at least nine times that he had “acted at the direction” of the Department’s Public Integrity Section when he controversially strayed from Department policy and brought indictments against a voter registration group a week before the 2006 mid-term election. Now, Schlozman may be seeking to revise that assertion, claiming “that he consulted with the section and was given guidance, not direction.”
A dozen mostly libertarian and conservative legal scholars, including rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, submitted an amicus brief to Scooter Libby trial Judge Reggie Walton “arguing that that there are serious constitutional questions about the legal authority” of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Emptywheel highlights this bitingly sarcastic response from Judge Walton:
It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics’ willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.
How is one supposed to pronounce the name of Chinese NBA prospect Yi Jianliang? In my experience, Chinese words are rarely as straightforward as they seem. Yao Ming’s monicker seems to have been cleverly designed to be easy on the Western reader’s tongue, but the future holds difficult dipthongs. Assigned to: The Atlantic‘s man in China, James Fallows himsef, whose cover story is on newstands now, leaving him no excuse to avoid important hoops-related issues.
For six years, the Bush White House enjoyed a free ride from Congress during an era of one-party rule. Shortly after the Democrats took control over the House and Senate after the 2006 midterm elections, the White House began bracing itself for increased oversight. But back in January, the White House originally believed that its legal staff would not necessarily have to be expanded to deal with a new Congress:
Bush is moving quickly to fill vacancies within his stable of lawyers, though White House officials say there are no plans to drastically expand the legal staff to deal with a flood of oversight. “No, at this point, no,” Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, said recently. “We’ll have to see what happens.” Snow rebutted the notion that Bush is casting about for legal advice in the wake of his party’s loss of control of the Congress. “We don’t have a war room set up where we’re … dialing the 800 numbers of law firms,” he said. [...]
People familiar with the counsel’s office caution against reading too much into the new additions, saying that Bush has yet to go on a hiring spree akin to President Bill Clinton’s when he faced impeachment.
Times have changed. A mere six months later, the White House has found itself consumed by scandals of its own making. From the partisan purge of U.S. attorneys to the “lost” Rove emails to potentially illegal partisan briefings at federal agencies, the White House has subjected itself to intense scrutiny from congressional investigators due to its careless disregard for the law.
As a result, the White House has been forced to expand its legal staff to levels it had not anticipated:
[White House counsel Fred] Fielding has so far created five new positions for lawyers, and filled another handful of existing slots. He has expanded the size of the White House counsel’s office to 22 lawyers — about the size of former President Bill Clinton’s White House team handling his second-term investigations and policy challenges. [...]
“The workload and the need for additional attorneys is generated by Congress,” said Joel Kaplan, Bush’s deputy chief of staff for policy. “Fred is looking for the right mix and skill sets to deal with the particular challenges that come from divided government and from the Congress being in the hands of the other party. The counsel’s office is dealing with really an avalanche of requests.”
The presence of more lawyers, however, does not erase past wrongdoing.
Facing multiple investigations and an impending report recommending he be punished for violating the whistle-blower protection law, Commerce Department Inspector General Johnnie E. Frazier resigned yesterday. Frazier is “the subject of three separate government investigations into allegations that he misspent his budget and retaliated against employees who raised concerns about his actions.” His resignation is effective June 29.