On The Situation Room yesterday, CNN financial analyst Ali Velshi broke down Bush’s mortgage plan. “Despite the fact that the White House says it’s going to help up to 1.2 million people,” Velshi said, “the best numbers we can get is 240,000 people who are going to be helped by this.” CNN noted that the rules attached to the plan cut out many homeowners who need help. “There’s still a lot of people who stand to lose their homes. That means a lot of people are saying this plan is a little too little and a little too late,” Velshi said. Watch it:
Sales of hybrid cars rose 82 percent from Nov. 2006 to Nov. 2007, with sales of the Toyota Prius up 109 percent. Since General Motors does not report its hybrid sales sepearately, the total figure of hybrids sold is likely even higher. Climate Progress attributes to sales increase to the rise of gasoline prices.
On the Senate floor today, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) railed against the Bush administration over the revelation that the CIA had destroyed videotapes in 2005 of agency officials using harsh interrogation tactics. Calling it a “cover-up,” Kennedy declared that “we haven’t seen anything like this since the eighteen and a half minute gap in the tapes of President Richard Nixon” and that the administration is “making a mockery of the rule of law.” Watch it:
Kennedy noted that news of the tape destruction came “the very same week that we learned that as many as ten million White House emails have not been preserved,” saying that “the pattern is unmistakable.”
UPDATE: Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Reps. Robert Scott, William Delahunt and Jerrold Nadler have sent letters to Central Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden and Attorney General Michael Mukasey requesting details about today’s reports that the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogation activities.
UPDATE II: Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ): “Next week, I plan to hold an oversight hearing in the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel with General Hayden to examine this matter in detail.”
In September, armchair Gen. Sean Hannity detailed on his Fox News show “what a U.S. strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would look like.” He called Iran a “ticking bomb.”
Armchair intellgence analyst Hannity is now refusing to accept the recent National Intelligence Estimate, which concludes that Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program. Interviewing John Bolton yesterday, Hannity argued that it “is not the case” the the administration overinflated the Iranian threat. “The headlines that we’re reading about the NIE are misleading,” he argued.
Hannity then claimed the 2005 NIE — which falsely concluded that Iran was “determined to develop nuclear weapons” — was “basically the same” as the 2007 NIE:
HANNITY: Because substantively you’re pointing out that the NIE report in 2005 and the one in 2007 are basically the same. And you say, moreover, the distinction between military and civilian programs is highly artificial. Explain why that’s the case.
In this NIE, the intelligence community makes clear that the new report is an “extensive reexamination of the issues in the May 2005 assessment.” It explicitly states, “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.” Some key differences between the two NIEs:
|2005 NIE||2007 NIE||“Assess with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons.”||“Judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.”|
|“Iran could produce enough fissile material for a weapon by the end of this decade.”||“[T]his is very unlikely.”|
Bolton never disputed Hannity’s false judgments. “They’re still doing it, building up an inventory” he maintained. Indeed, Iran is still enriching uranium for civilian purposes, as the NIE states, but it is unlikely to achieve nuclear capability until after 2015 “because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.”
The 2005 NIE’s conclusions “appeared to have been thinly sourced and were based on methods less rigorous than were ultimately required.” The 2007 NIE is “one of the most well-sourced” ever. Yet even this isn’t good enough for Hannity or Bolton.
Transcript: Read more
NBC has rejected a TV ad by the White House front group Freedom’s Watch “because it refers to the group’s Web site, which the network said was too political.” The ad thanks soldiers for their service but also contains a “welcoming message” that states: “For too long, conservatives have lacked a permanent political presence to do battle with the radical special interests groups and their left-wing allies in government.” “We have a policy that prohibits acceptance of advertising that deals with issues of public controversy,” said Alan Wurtzel of NBC.
Here on the CENTCOM website is Sgt. Sara Wood’s report on General Petraeus’ confirmation hearings, “Petraeus Supports Troop Increase in Confirmation Hearing,” January 23, 2007, American Forces Press Service:
“The objective will be to achieve sufficient security to provide the space and time for the Iraqi government to come to grips with the tough decisions its members must make to enable Iraq to move forward,” Petraeus said. “In short, it is not just that there will be additional forces in Baghdad; it is what they will do and how they will do it that is important.”
And it hasn’t happened.
Now Jay Rockefeller says he didn’t know the tapes were destroyed after all. He says he knew there were tapes, and he once wrote a letter asking to see the CIA Inspector General’s report on the tapes (but not, it seems, the tapes themselves) then got turned down, then did nothing.
On Fox News yesterday, Bill O’Reilly let loose on “far-left websites” like DailyKos, stating, “If you read these far-left websites, you’re a devil worshipper. You are.” O’Reilly’s ombudsman responded, “As a journalist, you know better than that.” O’Reilly shot back: “Satan is running the DailyKos. Yes, he is!”
At the end of the segment, O’Reilly said, “That was a little satire there…don’t get too upset about it.” But he then added, “I still think they are satanists.”
UPDATE: From Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World:
Rudy Giuliani’s latest ad is really one of the most breathtakingly dishonest things I’ve seen in quite some time. Here’s the text:
I remember back to the 1970s and the early 1980s. Iranian mullahs took American hostages, and they held the American hostages for 444 days. And they released the American hostages in one hour, and that should tell us a lot about these Islamic terrorists that we’re facing. The one hour in which they released them was the one hour in which Ronald Reagan was taking the oath of office as president of the United States. The best way you deal with dictators, the best way you deal with tyrants and terrorists, you stand up to them. You don’t back down. I’m Rudy Giuliani, and I approve this message.
That’s not what happened. At all. Rather, as the New York Times notes “the complex deal that led to their release was brokered by President Jimmy Carter’s administration. The hostages were released because the United States agreed to return nearly $8 billion in frozen assets to Iran, most of which Iran used to pay off foreign creditors.” This then laid the groundwork for the Reagan administration’s later policy of selling weapons to Iran in exchange for their assistance in getting hostages freed. This thing where Reagan’s steely determination scared the Iranians into backing down never happened.
ESPN.com’s John Hollinger playoff predictor seems like an uncommonly dumb feature. It starts by using his interesting but flawed PowerRankings formula and then “Based on those rankings, each day the computer plays out the remainder of the season 5,000 times to see the potential range of projected outcomes. The results reveal the most likely win-loss record for each team — and how likely it is for each team to make the playoffs, win the NBA title, win the lottery, and so on.”
All this serves to do, however, is exaggerate flaws in the original model by compounding them over and over again.