The FBI secretly taped telephone calls between Alaska oil contractor Bill Allen and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) as part of a “public corruption sting.” The new revelation suggests that “the Justice Department was eyeing Stevens long before June, when the Republican senator first publicly acknowledged he was under scrutiny.”
A federal grand jury in Washington D.C. has issued a subpoena for the House payroll records of Ed Buckham, former chief of staff to ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX). The subpoena “is the first formal notification that Buckham is the focus of a federal corruption probe by the Justice Department.” Buckham is not the first ex-DeLay staffer to receive a subpoena recently:
In recent months, a number of ex-DeLay staffers have been subpoenaed – or voluntarily came in for questioning – by the Justice Dept. to discuss the day-to-day operations of DeLay’s office, including the role Buckham played once he left DeLay’s staff, according to several sources familiar with the investigation.
A Kansas military cemetery “has run out of space after the burial of another casualty of the Iraq war.” “We are full,” said a spokeswoman for the Fort Riley U.S. Army post. “Fort Riley can bury bodies on top of other bodies if family members want to share a plot,” said the spokesperson.
At the 2007 State of the Union address, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) infamously gripped onto President Bush’s shoulder until he gave her “a kiss and an embrace.” Yesterday, Bachmann boasted to a MN radio station that at the scene of the recent bridge collapse, Bush tried to “embrace” and “kiss” her once again:
The President and I enjoy a great relationship. When he and I were back visiting the collapsed bridge, he reached over because he wanted to give me a kiss when we were down at the site, and I had pulled back and he said, “What? You don’t want to embrace?” And I said, “The people of Minnesota love you Mr. President, but I think one kiss was enough.”
Audio at Wonkette.
On August 2, Roll Call issued a breaking news report, warning of a suspected terror threat against the U.S. Capitol:
Capitol Police officials have stepped up the department’s security presence on Capitol Hill in response to intelligence indicating the increased possibility of an al-Qaida terrorist attack on Congress sometime between now and Sept. 11.
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) ratcheted up the rhetoric, “ominously” advising that “Congress needed to pass changes to terrorist surveillance laws before leaving for the August recess and warned that otherwise ‘the disaster could be on our doorstep.’”
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), speaking at a FISA event yesterday organized by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, stated that the terror claims were “part of a well-orchestrated campaign” by the administration to politicize the FISA debate. She referred to the efforts as part of the “Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue.” Harman asserted that the intelligence agencies “knew” the terror claims propagated by conservative lawmakers were false:
That specific intelligence claim, it turned out, was bogus; the intelligence agencies knew that –apparently had communicated to Congress or to relevant people that it was bogus, the source was unreliable. But that communication wasn’t in any published form until the day that the Senate passed the amendments to FISA.
It’s still unclear exactly how much the vote was influenced by these events, but at a minimum it demonstrates that the politicization of terror and safety has sunk to a new low on the decency scale.
Raw Story has more.
— Dave de Give
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The real upshot of the Democratic health care policy debate — everyone basically agrees.
What triggered the Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) about 55 million years ago, which saw the fastest period of warming documented in Earth’s geological history? The PETM is associated with a rapid rise in greenhouse gases, particularly methane — but the big question is where did the methane come from?
The most common answer has been the ocean (methane hydrates) but new research in Nature, (subs. req’d) casts doubt on the ocean theory, finding chemical evidence instead that the methane came from terrestrial sources, bogs, which were themselves stimulated by rising temperatures — an amplifying feedback. The lead author says:
“A lot of temperate and polar wetlands are going to be wetter, and of course warmer as well [because of current climate change]. That implies a switch to more anaerobic conditions which are more likely to release methane. That’s what’s predicted, and that would be a positive feedback – and we have evidence now that this is what happened.”
Indeed, research from last year found “thawing Siberian bogs are releasing more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously believed.” Why should we care about the source of the PETM?
In an interview with the El Paso Times last month, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell claimed that “Americans are going to die” because of the “public” debate on warrantless wiretapping. During his testimony today before the House Intelligence Committee, McConnell reiterated his morbid claim in an exchange with Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA):
ESHOO: After the act passed, you claimed that because of the congressional and public debate over changes to FISA, quote, Some Americans are going to die.
MCCONNELL: Yes, ma’am, that’s right.
ESHOO: Do you really believe that because we have a public debate in the Congress of the United States about surveillance, about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that Americans are going to die?
MCCONNELL: Yes, ma’am, I do.
ESHOO: And did Americans…
MCCONNELL: They will.
ESHOO: … die because of our debate?
MCCONNELL: They will, and the reason is…
ESHOO: I think you need to explain that, not just to us, obviously. The cameras are up. That’s a heavy statement.
MCCONNELL: The intelligence business is conducted in secret. It’s conducted in secret for a reason.
Americans United for Change launched this ad today, criticizing Rep. John Boehner’s (R-OH) recent remarks that the U.S. troop casualties would be a “small price to pay” to stay in Iraq over the long-term. Watch the ad:
In a recent interview with Fox News, Boehner “dissembled so ostentatiously about his initial comments that even Fox News couldn’t help but call him on it.”
Today, the Reid-Feingold legislation, which would have cut off funds for combat in Iraq by June 2008, was rejected 28-70, “32 short of the 60 needed to cut off a GOP filibuster.” In May, the Reid-Feingold legislation failed by a 29-67 vote.