Monday, November 28, 2005

A Stroll through Bloggger Lane

After reading that another journalist, Viveca Novak of Time has been summoned by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to come in for a little chat about what Karl Rove's counsel may or may not have discussed with her, I took a walk down cyberspace to learn the latest buzz.

As one might expect, progressives are ecstatic. Rove is still very much under the crosshairs of Fitzgerald; and sexiest men alive notwithstanding (especially for Plamegate junkies anyway), he is carefully, deftly and methodically plodding through reams of story streams to get to the bottom.

Fitzgerald told us: "When you decide whether or not to charge someone with a crime, you want to know as many facts as possible. You want to know what their motive is, you want to know their state of knowledge, you want to know their intent, yous want to know the facts. "

So now bloggers of the liberal persuasion are trying to reconstruct the puzzle with a new player in the mix.

And what sayeth conservative bloggers...?

As one might also expect, their elixir for every ailment is spin based on out and out venom and lies.

Here is a sample of the comestibles on their cyber tray, with the venom first:

What the hell is Fitzgerald fishing for now?

What's Fitzgerarld running for? (Hmm...the ghost of Tricky Dicky from 1974?)

Exactly who in the Justice Department renewed this clown's lease?

Now here's your tray of lies:

Another fishing expedition by Fitzpatrick.
Damn, it has been over two years, millions of taxpayer dollars and a second Grand Jury.
And one WEAK indictment.

He's still ignoring all the facts, some of which are pretty glaring...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Don’t throw Stones if you live in a Glass House

Two news articles by foreign wires caught my attention. The first article comes from the Associated Press in Iran where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against the U.S. for duplicity and hypocrisy.

In threatening to refer Iran to the U.N. for sanctions, the story reports Ahmadinejad fired back and called for Pres. Bush to be tried for war crimes.

Reminding the world that America was the one who used weapons of mass destruction “against innocent people,” possibly a reference to chemical weapons used against Fallujah insurgents in 2004, the Iranian president is resisting international pressure to dismantle Iranian nuclear programs.
"Who in the world are you to accuse Iran of suspicious nuclear armed activity?" Ahmadinejad said during a nationally televised ceremony marking the 36th anniversary of the establishment of Iran's volunteer paramilitary force.
Iran has steadfastly insisted their nuclear programs are for domestic energy needs; and the Iranian president in his speech sharply reminded his countrymen that it is the U.S. who has nuclear weapons as well as chemical weapons, to no consternation or interference from Western nations.

They say Iran has to stop its peaceful nuclear activity since there is a probability of diversion while we are sure that they are developing and testing (nuclear weapons) every day," Ahmadinejad said. "They speak as if they are the lords of the world."
Indeed, just do as we say and not as we do.

In another story, British news reports that an Iraqi leader has noted abuse is now ”worse than under Saddam.”

The Guardian Unlimited quotes Ayad Allawi, the country’s initial prime minister as saying that the Ministry of Interior is out of control, with “secret police [and] secret bunkers where people are being interrogated."
The Ministry of the Interior is at the heart of the matter,” he told the Guardian. “I am not blaming the minister [Bayan Jabr] himself, but the rank and file are behind the secret dungeons and some of the executions that are taking place.”
Oh Lord, forgive us for we did not know what we were doing when invaded Iraq.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Oops, so sorry but not really...

America will reach the unforgiving and tragic 1,000 milestone as it executes three prisoners this coming week. Lovitt of Virginia will be the latest victim.

Major newspapers this week are reporting on the soon-to-be shameful benchmark with gnashing of teeth, background and context; and the Washington Post came out against the execution for obvious reasons as you shall see below.

As a Virginian opposed to the death penalty, the only context I need is the case of Robin Lovitt. It perfectly mirrors the over-arching reason why the death penalty system is broken and the woeful practice must be stopped.

Mr. Lovitt was initially charged with killing the manager of Champion Billiards Sports Café in a Virginia suburb situated right outside the District on November 18, 1998. During the robbery, the victim, Clayton Chicks, was stabbed as the robber took off with $200.

Lovitt steadfastly avows he was not the killer, even though he confessed he grabbed the money. He says he was in the bathroom and when he came out and saw the carnage, he took the cash and ran to a nearby cousin's house.

The scissors used in the stabbing were later found “between the pool hall” and the cousin’s house, the Washington Post reports. At the time, DNA on the scissors was inconclusive and failed to tie Lovitt to the crime.

But with testimony from a jailhouse informant “and an eyewitness who said he was ‘80 percent’ certain" he was the killer, Lovitt was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

The evidence against Lovitt was strong, right...?

Well, on May 21, 2001, some deputy county clerk, deciding to make space in the evidence room, ordered Lovitt's stuff to be deep-sixed, and then some idiot judge signed the order.

So, poof, the evidence for Lovitt, including the tell-tale pair of scissors, were gone!

Enter Ken Starr, famous for his role in the Clinton impeachment, as Lovitt’s advocate.

“To this day,” Starr told the Post, “there has not been an adequate explanation as to why both the law and policy were violated in the destruction.” Virginia law requires “the preservation of biological evidence.”

Officials proclaim the error was not willful and the courts have said since it was not in “bad faith,” Lovitt has no cause for action. No intended harm, no foul; just a little tough luck for Mr. Lovitt, that's all.

"That's just wrong that someone can face death where there are safeguards in place and those were known and violated," Starr said in an interview, his voice gathering emotion. "That's just wrong."

With three executions this week and the 1,000 mark, Lovitt's story has picked up media steam and buzz.

Let us hope Gov. Mark Warner has the good judgment to listen to the former federal judge and U.S. solicitor under both Reagan and Bush.

Stop the execution of Robin Lovitt and stave off the chance of killing yet another innocent prisoner in Virginia. Listen to the former judge.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Holy Breaking News Virginians...

Praise the Lord and Hallelujah. The Roanoke Times reported yesterday that prayers from abolitionists across the land may soon be answered.

It involves DNA in a California laboratory that could exonerate a man who professed his innocence to his grave.

Just about everyone in the abolition movement thought the DNA in the case of Roger Coleman had the best chance of being tested after Tim Kaine was duly sworn in as governor, especially since the current governor has been publicly mum on the subject.

A story in the Roanoke paper now reports Gov. Mark Mark Warner may order the DNA to be tested during his term after all.

Edward Blake, the forensic scientist who has the Coleman DNA in a freezer, initially wanted testing to be done in California; there is but a dribble available and he feared the evidence might be destroyed, as apparently has happened in Virginia "in other death penalty cases" such as the evidence of Robin Lovitt, scheduled to be executed in Virginia in eight short days.

"[I]n the interest of seeing the issue resolved." Blake ultimately agreed to allow for DNA to be tested in Virginia; thus moving "the process...forward."

Jack Payden-Travers of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and a dedicated abolitionist is quoted as saying,

"With Warner being mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, ordering the tests in Coleman's case could play well to voters in states where the death penalty does not carry as much support as in Virginia." The testing of Coleman's DNA has been politically problematic, especially in Buchanan County where the murder took place. After all, an innocent man may have been executed as a result of court proceeding in their jurisdiction.

Centurion Ministries, "a New Jersey organization that investigated Coleman's case and believes he was innocent," asked Buchanan Circuit Court and Virginia's Highest Court to allow new DNA testing. At the time of Coleman's execution, testing was in its infancy.

Four newspapers, including the Washington Post joined the suit. But the Courts rejected their motion.

After a legal tussle with then attorney general Jerry Kilgore (and recent losing Republican governor candidate) about who should safeguard the evidence, Kilgore lost his motion to force the laboratory to release the DNA to his office. Centurion then swiftly asked Warner to order a new test.

For Payden-Travers, any action by Warner in the past could have created a backlash from opposing stakeholders (the law and order crowd, prosecuting attorneys and sympathetic judges) towards Centurion, the four news organizations, death penalty activists, and the govenor for odering the testing.

Not surprisingly, Warner avoided any gnashing of teeth and overhyped media during his tenure as governor by doing nothing; but with his term now ending, public backlash is not as big a concern. He can now address the issue once and for all.

The newspaper notes that even if Warner orders the analysis, results will unavailable until after he leaves office. Thus, elected-Gov. Tim Kaine will have to be the point man in guiding the ensuing dialogue. Kaine personally opposes the death penalty but promised voters he would uphold the laws.

Payden-Travers feels it's a win-win situation for Warner.

He comes off smelling like a rose because he can say: "I have let the truth be known...But he doesn't have to deal with the political fallout of the innocence ofsomeone who has been executed."
For the last four years, Payden-Travers doggedly tracked Warner during his numerous radio townhall meetings. And in their most recent radio exchange on the topic, The Roanoke Times reports Payden-Travers said that "Warner all but promised that he would order the testing." The activist also said Warner told him, "It's just a matter of working out the procedures."

So for all those years of frustration, here's a toast to the movement, even though 997 prisoners have been executed, and by next week, the death tally will reach the 1,000 milestone with Lovitt.

Let us give thanks on this day of Thanksgiving for recent elections and events, which have been auspicious for opponents of the ultimate punishment.

On this special day of hope, a Bible verse popularalized during the 1960s seems appropriate. Peace and joy!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
To everything there is a season
And a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace

Who is the real Deep Throat in Plamegate...?

After reading a post in Needlenose about his likely candidate for mysterious senior official as quoted in a September 2003 Washington Post story, evidence does seem to point to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In one of the earliest articles about the CIA outing, the Post had written:

[A]senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife...Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

So as Needlenose explains,

[P]ut yourself in the position of Colin Powell on Air Force One during that fateful week in July 2003. Several months earlier, almost alone in trying to slow the neocon rush to war, you convinced Dubya to make one last run at getting approval from the United Nations -- and for your efforts, you got stuck rewarded with the big UN address to make the case for invading Iraq.


In short, you got punked. But it's July 2003, and you haven't complained yet -- technically, at least, you're still a team player.


Then you're minding your own business on the long flight back to the U.S., and you overhear Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett returning a batch of calls to reporters ... and they're repeating the same information about Wilson's wife that was marked as classified in the memo Dick Armitage faxed you. You look at the memo in disbelief as you hear the calls, one after another, and you start getting angry.

Did Fleischer and Bartlett learn what they were leaking from your memo? If so, despite your long track record of loyal service and your personal devotion to cultivating an image of intellectual and moral responsibility, you -- the oh-so-respected Colin Powell -- have just been punked again. Again.

Needlenose's theory certainly makes sense. Especially when coupled with this August 2004 article by Newsweek. They reported,

There's no indication Powell is a subject of the probe; the deparment official said the secretary never talked to Novak about the Plame matter. Still, sources say the decision to question Powell shows the thoroughness with which Fitzgerald is conducting the probe--and that knowledge about Plame was circulated at the highest levels in the administration."
Now granted, when Newsweek refers to "sources," they could well be talking just about anyone; but its close proximity to "sourced department official" leads one to conclude they are related.

And the Newsweek department official, together with Post senior administration official, seem to point to a source, who at minimum did little favor in talking to the media.

As Needlenose notes when concluding it was Powell, who had supreme interest in screwing the administration in early fall 2003...?

And This is the #1 Conservative Blog Site...?

Rarely, if ever, do I travel to the dark "site." But seeing as to how Instapundit has the number one conservative blog address on the Internet, I said why not?

Well folks, here's a bit of doggerel that should answer that question. In explaining Rep. Murtha's recent call for withdrawal for Iraq, Glenn Reynolds writes, "DONALD SENSING has thoughts on the Democrats' strategy:

So, knowing that the plan was to redeploy troops beginning next year, the Democrats decided to get in front of the wave: Demand the troops be sent home NOW and then when the Pentagon announces the plan to redeploy, take credit for it.
Gosh, what a brilliant a strategy! But just one small observation. Couldn't the president, vice president or his Republican cronies in Congress have easily debunked the Democratic game plan last week by simply stating the obvious....?

Why keep repeating the mantra of staying the course...? It's quite obvious that instead of Democratic machinations, it's the Republicans who are plodding and scheming for a way out. And once again, Republicans want to highjack Democratic Party ideas to survive the onslaught of anger from their irate constituents back home.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chickenhawk & Chickenschmidt

Just did a little digging and found out Jean Schmidt--the rookie congresswoman from Ohio who called Congressman John Murtha, former Marine and decorated war hero, a coward--has a daughter named Emilie.

An article right after her election this past summer quotes little Emilie was born in the late 1970s, ripe for war duty.

But...since there was no mention of her daughter in the military, nor during the campaign, I do have one teeny weeny question for Congresswoman Jean:

Why in the hell is your daughter not in the Marines Corps you so dearly love...? And why is precious Emilie not in Iraq, helping Bush stay his frigging course...?

Monday, November 21, 2005

One hundred and eighteen out of 997 executed were exonerated

This past weekened, the Houston Chronicle reported on the case of Ruben Cantu, a poor 17-year old with no prior record who was executed in Texas in 1991.

With nary physicial evidence and a questionable plea agreement from the alleged co-defendant, a 15-year old trying to avoid the hangman's noose himself, Cantu was fingered as the killer, and a San Antonio jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

Since then, Juan Moreno, his partner, recanted and said, "Cantu 'was innocent. It was a case of an innocent person being killed."

The Chronicle writes,

"Second thoughts presented with [such] statemen[t], as well as information from hundreds of pages of court and police documents gathered by the Chronicle that cast doubt on the case, key players in Cantu's death —including the judge, prosecutor, head juror and defense attorney — now acknowledge that his conviction seems to have been built on omissions and lies. "
The woeful tale is further chronicled in the paper. But suffice it to say, if out of 997 executed, 118 death row inmates have been exonerated, a little over 1 out of 10, the system is broken. And the Cantu case is just the tip of the iceberg.

The hang-them-first-and-ask-no-questions-later fun crowd wants to keep their gas chamber tanks filled to the brim with death row machines rolling!

Well, this article should give friend of state death squads pause; and DNA from Roger Coleman in Virginia, which hopefully will prove without a shadow of a doubt that innocents have been executed, should give an even stronger voice to opponents of this ultimate injustice.

Let us put a noble end to capital punishment and stop executing people who may or may not be guilty.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Gig and Jig were UP

After days without blogging, this is my mea culpa to readers.

Regarding the latest nugget in the goldmine of theories regarding Pulitzer Prize journalist Bob Woodward’s stark revelation that he knew who was leaking information about Wilson’s wife before any other “known” journalist, painstaking hours of reading story streams raise one theory above all others.

It is actually quite simple. Rove's attorney's tete-a-tete with Fitzgerald and Woodward's delayed angst and stunning disclosure are linked.

If you recall, just before Rove was about to be indicted in late October, his attorney gave the special counsel information that gave him "pause.” Roget’s dictionary defines “pause” as “to cease or suspend an action temporarily; to linger; tarry; or hesitate.”

Thus Rove obviously coughed up information that prompted Fitzgerald to temporarily suspend the indictment; and Rove used this new information not only to delay the imminent but possibly alter the ultimate story arc.

In light of Woodward revelation, emptywheel posits the perfect nugget to explain the latest twist in the ongoing drama and what Rove's attorneys banked in Fitzgerald’s vault.

It was news that Woodward had been the first journalist at "the beginning of the chain" in outing Valerie Wilson. Thus by the time Fitzgerald formally indicted Libby, someone else was already under his radar screen; and why Fitzgeald took special care in the indictment to say Libby was merely the "first official known" to have released information regarding Wilson to reporters.

And from here, it’s a straight line of possible scenarios, all leading to Woodward testifying and identifying a new Mr. X, someone even higher up the White House food chain than Rove.

Emptywheel notes,

“Something happened between October 28 and November 3 that caused Mr. X to come forward and then, in turn, for Woodward to testify. Perhaps Fitzgerald (in the
scenario that says Rove didn't say who leaked to Woodward) simply called Woodward and said, I know you received a leak, time to come in. Or maybe Woodward put two (all the leaks that he had a bombshell) and two (not Libby's indictment, but Rove's lack of indictment) together to realize Fitzgerald had him. Or maybe Fitzgerald called Mr. X (in the scenario that says Rove said who the leaker was) and said, "remember when we chatted in June 2004? Well, you seem to have forgotten something."
Ultimately, any new evidence from the Woodward bombshell will be shared with the newly christened grand jury.

And yes, right about now someone really, really high up in the White House must be a very worried source.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Yipee, there is a God...and he's not a Republican

MSNBC just reported Kaine won!!!!

The good guy sometimes wins, after all.

Happy Days for Virginia

During the last few days, this blog has been remiss for not blogging. Too busy trying to elect Tim Kaine as the next governor in Virginia.

And to that end, anecdotal evidence from canvassing showed strong support for Kaine in the outer-outermost burbs of DC. In Fauquier County, where I live approximately 65 miles west of the nation's capital, Democratic and Independent voters indicated they planned to vote for Kaine as their next governor.

With that said, this post will assume (yeah, I know all about ass -u- me) that Kaine won. If this comes to pass, the seminal event, in my mind, was Kilgore's early October ad with images of Hitler. A huge overreach and mistake.

For the uninformed, Kilgore aired an ad with a grieving father decrying Tim Kaine for having the audacity of defending the person who had killed his son. Never mind that every man has the right of counsel before the law.

As polls later showed, voters were totally turned off.

Unfortunately for Kilgore, the ad came at the heels of the just aired debate where political guru Larry Sabato had asked candidates if they would promise to limit negative ads to no more than 50 percent of air time.

Immediately after the debate, Kilgore fired off his venal verbal fuselage. Kaine was then able to frame Kilgore as a meanie; and any Kilgore attack ad afterwards lost its potency; falling on mostly deaf ears. Just more of mean Jerry being his old nasty self again. You know that Jerry!

It didn't help Kilgore that Kaine was able to morph his death penalty assaults as attacks on his personal faith. And not just any faith, but his personal devout Catholic faith; the same one as the two recent Bush Supreme Court nominees.

Having listened to Kaine's message of hope on the stump, with his almost imperceptible Biblical references (who for the non-religious simply came across as heartfelt sincerity and honesty), Kaine is the real deal. A man of service, from his early 20s as a missionary to today.

And having found favor with the universe, karma, whatever, the timing of Kilgore's unfortunate ad, together with Kaine's rapid effective response, can only be attributed to good fortune, fate, or...dare we say it...? Divine intervention.

Friday, November 04, 2005

According to the New York Times, prosecutors have narrowed the scope of Rove's role in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame.

The crux of the case against Rove seems to be centered around a phone conversation between reporter Matthew Cooper of Time and Rove on July 11, 2003, which he had initially failed to disclose.

Around the same time, evidence shows Rove told Libby that he'd spoken with Robert Novak about Wilson's wife and the conservative pundit would soon write a story about Wilson's trip to Niger and how his wife, who worked at the CIA, was responsible for the trip.

The indictment also shows a swirl of activitity around that time. The following day, Libby flew on Air Force Two and talked with White House officials (Cheney and Cathie Martin) on how to handle the brewing problem. Without knowing dialogue content, it can be inferred that a response was devised, especially since on the very same Libby called both Cooper and Miller and disclosed Valerie Plame's status at the CIA.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

According to the New York Times, prosecutors have narrowed the scope of Rove's role in outing CIA agent Valerie Plame.

The crux of the case against Rove seems to be centered around a phone conversation between reporter Matthew Cooper of Time and Rove on July 11, 2003, which he had initially failed to disclose.

Around the same time, evidence shows Rove told Libby that he'd spoken with Robert Novak about Wilson's wife and the conservative pundit would soon write a story about Wilson's trip to Niger and its relationship to his wife work at the Agency.

The indictment also shows a swirl of activitity around that time. The following day, Libby flew on Air Force Two and talked with White House officials (Cheney and Cathie Martin) on how to handle the brewing problem. Without knowing dialogue content, it can be inferred that a response was devised, especially since on the very same Libby called both Cooper and Miller and disclosed Valerie Plame's status as at the CIA.

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