Following up on the Fredo issue discussed below, Ezra Klein does seem correct to suggest that the codename “CURVEBALL” alone should have hinted that the person in question was less-than-reliable.
After Vice President Cheney’s office refused to follow a presidential order on classification procedures, National Archives official J. William Leonard asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to have the Office of Legal Counsel help solve the impasse. Justice Dept. officials said last week that the matter has been “under review” for five months. But it appears that’s not the case:
[O]n June 4, an OLC lawyer denied a Freedom of Information Act request about the Cheney dispute asserting that OLC had “no documents” on the matter… Steve Aftergood, the Federation of American Scientists researcher who filed the request, said he found the denial letter “puzzling and inexplicable” — especially since Leonard had copied OLC chief Steve Bradbury on his original letter to Gonzales. The FOIA response has piqued the interest of congressional investigators, who note Bradbury is the same official in charge of vetting all document requests from Congress about the U.S. attorneys flap. Asked about the apparent discrepancy, Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the OLC response “was and remains accurate” because Leonard’s letter had generated no “substantive work product.”
House oversight chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) now says he will investigate Gonzales’ handling of the issue.
There’s a ton to chew over in The Washington Post brilliant exposé of Dick Cheney’s methods, but on a different note this was the first time I’d read that George W. Bush’s nickname for the Attorney-General of the United States is “Fredo.” Shouldn’t this, alone, have been grounds for blocking his confirmation? Do Senators not get these pop culture allusions? Bush was clearly trying to warn us.
I thought I might run a spot-check as to whether or not Dick Cheney’s claim to be immune to legislative oversight on the grounds that his office isn’t really part of the executive branch was genuinely as crazy as it appeared to be. Surfed over to the old Volokh Conspiracy and the answer is . . . yes! Orin Kerr agrees that this is absurd.
I’m thrilled to see Sara on The Washington Post‘s op-ed page, but it’s worth saying something here about the cynicism. Matthews is an education reporter for the Post and for Newsweek (which published the index) and which are both part of the same company. They’ve been publishing his list for years. And Sara and her now-former boss Andrew Rotherham have been offering their criticisms for quite some time.
In short, this isn’t some new controversy that just dawned upon the relevant editors, who ought to consider trying to make up their minds. If the Mead/Rotherham critique is correct, they should stop publishing the index. If the Mead/Rotherham critique is wrong, they should stop publishing the critique. Meanwhile, Sara and Andy are both far too polite to point out that the same corporation that insists on ranking high schools based purely on the number of AP and IB tests their students take also happens to own the country’s major purvey of standardized test preparation services.
John Hollinger takes a look at the free agent class of 2008 and gives us something to worry about:
By the way, if you’re noticing a lot of Spurs on this list, it’s because they only have three players under contract after next season — Parker, Ginobili and (once he extends) Duncan. In other words, the dynasty could potentially add somebody like Brand or Marion midstream. Fans of the 29 other teams just spit up in their mouths reading that.
Conveniently, Brand seems to be recovering his covering “incredibly underrated” status after his performance slipped a little bit last season after his outstanding performance during the previous campaign. I don’t belong to any fantasy sports leagues, but normally they have some kind of veto provision to let stuff like this happen, right?
The good news, I guess, is that if Brand played on the Spurs, Tim Duncan would need to admit that he’s a center.
Earlier this week, Newsday reported that former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani quit the Iraq Study Group after co-chairman James Baker offered “him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit.” Giuliani had failed to show up for a single meeting during the two months he was a member of the commission.
In response to the story, Giuliani said he left the group because he “didn’t want the group’s work to become a political football” for his nascent presidential campaign, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.
On Meet The Press this morning, host Tim Russert offered more evidence that politics was not an issue in Giuliani’s decision to leave the ISG. “Several commission members have said to me that presidential politics never entered the discussion,” said Russert. “It was all about Giuliani’s schedule and commitments versus showing up for the Iraq Study Group.” Watch it:
As PBS’s Gwen Ifil pointed out, the important work of the Iraq Study Group should have come before any political considerations. “Even if it were his presidential ambitions,” said Ifill. “Is that really a good answer that you were so political that you rather focus on politics than focus on the nation’s security?”
Transcript: Read more
Neil MacFarquhar has an excellent report in The New York Times about the extraordinary scope of the current crackdown in Iran, which extends beyond the high-profile arrests I’d heard about to a wide-ranging assault on improperly dressed people (“150,000 people — a number far larger than usual — were detained in the annual spring sweep against any clothing considered not Islamic”) and a more forceful assertion of press censorship.
The point seems to be to try to shore up the regime’s political position in the wake of serious economic problems — they’re on the verge of needing to institute gasoline rationing — and, one supposes, to try to elide the fact that these problems are being worsened by the government’s attitude toward the nuclear weapons issue. It’s all very bad news for Iranians, but sort of suggests to me that the sort of policy the Bush administration has been pursuing in terms of sanctions may well bear fruit if it’s continued for a bit and put on course for possible future intensification.
Even from abroad, you can see the United Kingdom’s internal gears cranking, investigating global warming solutions and mapping out their strategy.
London’s mayor has recently announced a climate change plan to encourage residents (7.5 million of them) and local businesses to choose green options for power generation and use. The scale of the city and the committment, which is to cut emissions 60% in the next two decades, is an unprecedented combination.
Similarly, the UK government has circulated a Draft Climate Change Bill and is open to suggestions for the next six months. The bill is agressive and unique in that it calls for short-, medium-, and long-term targets. Ultimately, the UK aims to cut its emissions by 60% by 2050. In order to monitor its progress, the country proposes budget periods of 5 years each that are established for the successive fifteen years. Their technique is meant to give emitters flexibility within 5-year increments but a clear idea of the future allowances.
All of this in the context of a new EU pledge to generate 20% of its power from green sources and to cut emissions by at least 20% below 1990 levels (30% if others join). Of course there is still a lot left to be discussed and decided – but are we behind or what?