During the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing with FBI Director Robert Mueller today, Rep. Arthur Davis (D-AL) asked Mueller whether he retained notes of his March 2004 conversation with Ashcroft in the hospital. Mueller said he did take notes because the events were so “out of the ordinary.” Chairman John Conyers wrote to Mueller after the hearing requesting access to those notes. “I write now to formalize that request, and ask that you provide the Committee with copies of the notes to which you referred in your testimony,” Conyers said. The notes will likely provide further evidence that Alberto Gonzales misled Congress when he said those 2004 discussions were about “other intelligence activities.”
Last night on the Letterman Show, host David Letterman noted CNN’s Jack Cafferty voicing his anger on-air recently for having to report on Lindsay Lohan. Watch it:
I know you’ve all been eagerly waiting for this–don’t worry, I don’t have many more rules. I got sidetracked by last week’s offset hearing.
Offset projects should deliver climate benefits with high confidence — that’s a key reason trees make lousy offsets, especially non-urban, non-tropical trees. An even more dubious source of offsets is geo-engineering, which is “the intentional large scale manipulation of the global environment” to counteract the effects of global warming.
As John Holdren, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, noted in 2006, “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.”
The only reason for this rule is that a company, Planktos, wants to sell offset credits for carbon that is supposedly sequestered when iron is seeded in the ocean to create algae blooms. Seriously. (This is the same company that is selling trees as offsets to the Vatican.)
This is such a dubious idea that 18 leading experts from 13 countries, who comprise the Scientific Steering Committee of the Surface Ocean–Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS)–a leadin group studying the ocean-atmosphere system–went to the trouble of issuing a “Position Statement on Large-Scale Ocean Fertilisation” last month:
On his CNN Headline News show last night, Glenn Beck hosted Sam Antonio, a national spokesperson for the John Birch Society, to discuss various “conspiracy theories” about immigration and border security, including the idea that “the Mexican government” has “a hold on our enforcement of laws here in America.” Beck told Antonio that he used to think the Society members were “a bunch of nuts,” but that they are now “starting to make more and more sense” to him. Watch it:
As Salon’s Alex Koppelman notes, the group’s founder, Robert Welch, once accused Dwight Eisenhower of being “a dedicated conscious agent of the communist conspiracy.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed the John Birch Society as a group that “advocates or adheres to extreme antigovernment doctrines.”
Yesterday, Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes did a segment asking if the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first New York City public school “dedicated to the study of the Arabic language and culture,” is “a breeding ground for radicals.”
As Fox rolled footage of the 9/11 attacks, Sean Hannity asked if the New York Board of Education was “blurring the line between the separation of church and state” by using “tax dollars to fund an all Muslim school. ” After displaying banners with “Islam 101?” and “Funding Fatwa?,” Alan Colmes introduced the segment by saying, “Coming soon to a classroom near you, Al Qaeda!” Watch it:
In reality, the school is open to “students of all racial and ethnic background,” not just Muslims, and its curriculum is “not religion-based.” According to the New York Board of Education, the academy will offer “a standard college preparatory curriculum, with separate Arabic language instruction,” and special emphasis on the “the history and contributions of the Arab people.”
Hannity also suggested that instruction of reading and writing should precede lessons in Arabic culture and history. “Once we teach kids to read, write and math then we can expand out?” But like the more than 60 other dual-language New York public schools, which “focus on cultures as diverse as Creole and Chinese and Russian,” the Khalil Gibran International Academy will teach Arabic culture while simultaneously preparing students for the “rigorous New York State Regents Examinations.” As the National Association for Bilingual Education points out, “English-speaking students who learn a second language routinely do better in school and get better jobs.”
And if the above segment is any indication, then the school’s mission, to “embrace of New York City’s growing Arab population and of internationalism,” and dispel “the stereotypes” of Arab Americans, is all too relevant.
College students returning to school this fall “will be greeted by steep increases in one of the few items they have been able to buy cheap: birth control. For years, drug companies sold birth-control pills and other contraceptives to university health services at a big discount.” But due to the Deficit Reduction Act, signed by the President last year, drug companies now have a “disincentive” to offer the discounts to college students.
William Lind has an article in The American Conservative with a provocative proposal about Iraq that, I think, manages to highlight the extent to which a lot of the Iraq discussion has become misguided. Lind’s basic idea is that we should make some kind of accommodation with Iran, get our troops out of Iraq, and hope that Muqtada al-Sadr (or perhaps and equivalent populist, anti-American Shiite) takes the country over.
As it happens, I agree with Lind that this would be an okay outcome given the realistically possible options. One must see, though, that to many American observers “limiting Iranian influence in Iraq” is a top-tier priority. The way Lind sees it, our top priority is just that someone or other effectively control Iraq territory so that non-state actors (i.e., al-Qaeda) don’t run free. The point, though, is that you can’t talk about which plans will “work” for Iraq unless you talk about what it is we’re trying to accomplish in broader regional terms. The “check Iranian influence” theory is very, very popular in Washington and, I think, is most of what’s actually motivating the “residual forces” crowd. But the disagreement there is about broader strategic priorities and not about Iraq as such.
Defense Department photo by Master Sargent Jonathan Doti, U.S. Air Force
Here are the interactive graphics from a recent Washington Post article. The original article is here. An online chat about the article/graphics is here.
Speaking with the House Judiciary Committee today, FBI director Robert S. Mueller contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ sworn Senate testimony from Tuesday, confirming that the “terrorist surveillance program” run by the National Security Agency (NSA) was the subject of discussion during Gonzales’ controversial visit to former Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital bed. Gonzales had testified that it was about “other intelligence activities”. Watch it:
Mueller’s testimony is only the latest evidence suggesting that Gonzales perjured himself before Congress.
– On Tuesday, Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), who were briefed on the program at the March 2004 White House meeting, also confirmed that the NSA program was discussed.
– Yesterday, the AP revealed a four-page, May 2006 memo from then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte confirming that the NSA program was the subject of a March 2004 White House intelligence briefing for top congressional leaders that preceded the hospital visit.
Despite the evidence contradicting Gonzales’ statements to Congress, the White House is refusing to acknowledge the truth. Asked by reporters about the contradiction last night, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Gonzales “stands by his testimony.” Today, White House spokesperson Tony Snow said Gonzales “was speaking consistently.”
Earlier today, Senate Democrats called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Gonzales has perjured himself.
UPDATE: More at the Gavel.
Transcript: Read more
As part of his Fox Attacks series, Robert Greenwald has a new video compiling Fox News’ assault on the progressive blogosphere. The network’s hosts and guests have attacked bloggers as “radical Internet assassins,” “McCarthyism,” and “conspiracy-driven.” Watch it:
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