Wednesday, October 26, 2005 the city on the streets where once was pity...

Today may signal the beginning of the end for the the cabal running the White House. Thought CREEP was bad, just wait until the veil drops on this crowd.

From the Washington Post:
The prosecutor in the CIA leak case was preparing to outline possible charges before the federal grand jury as early as today, even as the FBI conducted last-minute interviews in the high-profile investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

With Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Washington yesterday, lawyers in the case and some White House officials braced for at least one indictment when the grand jury meets today. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, is said by several people in the case to be a main focus, but not the only one.

In a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday night interviewed at least two people in her D.C. neighborhood. The agents were attempting to determine whether the neighbors knew that Plame worked for the CIA before she was unmasked with the help of senior Bush administration officials. Two neighbors said they told the FBI they had been surprised to learn she was a CIA operative.

The FBI interviews suggested the prosecutor wanted to show that Plame's status was covert, and that there was damage from the revelation that she worked at the CIA.

Underscoring the uncertainty surrounding the probe, two Republican officials said Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, the president's top strategist, is not sure whether he will face indictment as the case winds down. Rove was said to be awaiting word from Fitzgerald, even as prosecutors questioned at least one former Rove associate about Rove's contacts with reporters before Plame's name was disclosed. The White House expects indictments to come today, according to a senior administration official.

The news of the eleventh-hour moves came on the same day that Cheney himself was implicated in the chain of events that led to Plame's being exposed. In a report in the New York Times that the White House pointedly did not dispute, Fitzgerald was said to have notes taken by Libby showing that he learned about Plame from the vice president a month before she was identified by columnist Robert D. Novak.

There is no indication Cheney did anything illegal or improper, but the report was the first to indicate that he was aware of Plame well before she became a household name.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

...send lawyers, guns & money, the shit has hit the fan...

From Reuters via
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff first learned about the CIA officer at the center of a leak investigation in a conversation with Cheney weeks before her identity became public in July 2003, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Notes of the conversation between chief of staff Lewis Libby and Cheney on June 12, 2003, put a spotlight on the vice president's possible role in the leak. The account also appears to run counter to Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he first learned about the CIA officer, Valerie Plame, from reporters.

Patrick Fitzgerald, the federal prosecutor investigating the leak of Plame's identity, is said by lawyers involved in the case to be considering bringing charges against Libby for making false statements and possibly obstruction of justice.

Another possible target for indictment is Karl Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser. Fitzgerald's announcement is expected later this week.

Plame's identity was leaked to the media after her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence on Iraq. Wilson based the criticism in part on a CIA-sponsored mission he made to Africa in 2002 to check out an intelligence report that Iraq sought uranium from Niger.

Cheney's office had sought more information about the uranium deal, prompting the CIA to dispatch Wilson.

Eager to distance the vice president from Wilson's mission and findings, Cheney's office began looking into Wilson's background in May or June of 2003, after details of his mission began to appear in the press but well before he came out publicly in July 2003 with his criticisms, people close to the investigation said.

Libby's notes indicate that Cheney got his information about Plame from George Tenet, who was then the CIA director, according to the Times, which attributed its report to lawyers involved in the case.

According to the Times, the notes do not show that Cheney knew the name of Wilson's wife. But they do show that Cheney did know and told Libby that she was employed by the CIA and that she may have helped arrange her husband's trip.

Monday, October 24, 2005

... I knew I could use a Bloody Mary, so I stumbled next door to the bar...

The current administration at its finest. Should anyone be surprised that corners were cut and everyone looked the other way? Can't impede business from completing substandard work. Now if we could just hold the designers, builders and inspectors liable for the FORSEEABLE damage.

From the Washington Post:
Within a space of 15 hours on Aug. 29, three massive, concrete floodwalls in separate parts of the city suddenly fractured and burst under the weight of surging waters from Hurricane Katrina. The breaches unleashed a wall of water that swept entire buildings from their foundations and transformed what might have been a routine hurricane into the costliest storm in U.S. history.

Today, exactly eight weeks after the storm, all three breaches are looking less like acts of God and more like failures of engineering that could have been anticipated and very likely prevented.

Investigators in recent days have assembled evidence implicating design flaws in the failures of two floodwalls near Lake Pontchartrain that collapsed when weakened soils beneath them became saturated and began to slide. They also have confirmed that a little-used navigation canal helped amplify and intensify Katrina's initial surge, contributing to a third floodwall collapse on the east side of town. The walls and navigation canal were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for defending the city against hurricane-related flooding.

The preliminary findings -- based on physical evidence, Corps documents and hydrodynamic models run through a Louisiana State University supercomputer -- are the work of three teams of engineers and forensic experts conducting separate probes. The investigations are shedding light not only on the cause of the failures but also the scale of the rebuilding effort: The discovery of major flaws in the design of the city's levees and floodwalls could add billions of dollars to the cost of New Orleans' recovery.

Investigators already have rejected the initial explanation offered by Corps officials in the hurricane's aftermath that massive storm surges had overtopped and overwhelmed floodwalls on the 17th Street and London Avenue canals on the north side of town. The new findings for the first time point to a human role in all three of the major floodwall failures that left about 100,000 homes underwater and caused most of Louisiana's approximately 1,000 hurricane deaths.

Experts now believe that Katrina was no stronger than a Category 3 storm when it roared into New Orleans, and Congress had directed the Corps to protect the city from just such a hurricane.

"This was not the Big One -- not even close," said Hassan Mashriqui, a storm surge expert at LSU's Hurricane Center. He said that Katrina would have caused some modest flooding and wind damage regardless, but that human errors turned "a problem into a catastrophe."

If this is a blind trust...

Helen Keller had 20/20 vision.

From the Washington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.

Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as "totally blind," regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.

Since 2001, the trustees have written to Frist and the Senate 15 times detailing the sale of assets from or the contribution of assets to trusts of Frist and his family. The letters included notice of the addition of HCA shares worth $500,000 to $1 million in 2001 and HCA stock worth $750,000 to $1.5 million in 2002. The trust agreements require the trustees to inform Frist and the Senate whenever assets are added or sold.

The letters seem to undermine one of the major arguments the senator has used throughout his political career to rebut criticism of his ownership in HCA: that the stock was held in blind trusts beyond his control and that he had little idea of the extent of those holdings.

The extent of Frist's knowledge of the inner workings of his trusts and his family's health care company is related to a recently launched federal investigation of possible insider trading involving the liquidation this summer of Frist's HCA stock. Within weeks of Frist's decision to sell his holdings in June, HCA shares fell sharply because of a weak earnings report.

Friday, October 21, 2005

another joke...this time a little bit cleaner...

The President, First Lady and Dick Cheney were flying on Air Force One. George looked at Laura, chuckled and said, "You know, I could throw a $1,000.00 bill out of the window right now and make somebody very happy.

Laura shrugged her shoulders and replied "I could throw ten $100.00 bills out of the window and make ten people very happy."

Cheney added, "That being the case, I could throw one hundred $10.00 bills out of the window and make a hundred people very happy. "

Hearing their exchange, the pilot rolled his eyes and said to his co-pilot, "Such big-shots back there. Hell, I could throw all of them out of the window and make 56 million people very happy."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

an "aristocratic" appellate issue?

Just read it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

an absolute must read of a joke...

Harriet Miers = The Aristocrats???

Monday, October 10, 2005

Why climb the mountain? Because it's there.

So, fall has come to Wisconsin, and the weather has turned perfect for distance running once again. Temperatures in the mid-50s to low-60s, and just a light breeze. On Saturday I decided to run around Lake Monona, because I'd already run around Lake Wingra a few times, and I figured I'd add to my collection of lake loops.

Grand total of 14 miles door-to-door, and just over 2 hours to complete. After finishing this run, I decided that I needed a new goal to work for, and decided that I'm going to run the Mad City Marathon this coming Memorial Day weekend. As you may recall, I finished the Mad City Half Marathon back in May, and I think I'm quite ready to tackle the next big distance.