Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001

08:24:38 --- the following transmission came from American Airlines Flight 11:

AA 11: We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be okay. We are returning to the airport.

The controller only heard something unintelligible; he did not hear the specific words "we have some planes."

The next transmission came seconds later:

AA 11: Nobody move. Everything will be okay. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet.

08:37:52 --- Boston Center reaches NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector and notifies of possible hijack of American Airlines Flight 11

08:46 --- F-15 fighters are scrambled from Otis Air Force Base.

08:46:40 --- Hijacked AA 11 flies into the upper portion of the North Tower, cutting through floors 93 to 99. Eighty-one passengers and eleven crew are killed.

08:55 --- Before entering the classroom at E. Booker Elementary School, Bush spoke to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, who was at the White House.

There was no live coverage of the first attack on the Twin Towers. Rice recalled first telling the President it was a twin-engine aircraft-and then a commercial aircraft-that had struck the World Trade Center, adding "that's all we know right now, Mr. President.

09:00 --- FAA and airline officials began to comprehend that attackers were going after multiple aircraft.

Cheney said he was wondering "how the hell could a plane hit the World Trade Center" when he saw the second aircraft strike the South Tower on CNN.

09:03:11 --- Hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 hit 2 WTC (the South Tower) from the south, crashing through the 77th to 85th floors. Fifty-six passengers and nine crew members are killed.

Bush was watching a reading drill when, just after 9 a.m., United Flight 175 exploded into the second tower. [60 Minutes II]

09:05 --- Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispers to Bush: "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

09:05 and 9:10 --- American Airlines' nationwide ground stop was followed by a United Airlines ground stop. FAA controllers at Boston Center, which had tracked the first two hijackings, requested at 9:07 that Herndon Command Center "get messages to airborne aircraft to increase security for the cockpit."

When they learned a second plane had struck the World Trade Center, nearly everyone in the White House [said], they immediately knew it was not an accident. The Secret Service initiated a number of security enhancements around the White House complex.

09:05 to 09:10/09:12 --- The President remains in the classroom for another five to seven minutes, while the children continued reading. He then returned to a holding room shortly before 09:15.

09:17 --- The Federal Aviation Administration shuts down all New York City area airports. [CNN]

09:21 --- The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey orders all bridges and tunnels in the New York area closed. [CNN}

09:30 --- President Bush, speaking in Sarasota, Florida, says the country has suffered an "apparent terrorist attack." [CNN/Salon]

09:34 --- NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector is notified that American Airlines Flight 77 was lost. Then, minutes later, NEADS was told that an unknown plane was 6 miles southwest of the White House. Only then did the already scrambled airplanes start moving directly toward Washington, D.C.

09:37 --- The west wall of the Pentagon is hit by hijacked American Airlines Flight 77. Fifty-eight passengers and six crew were killed.

09:40 --- The FAA halts all flight operations at U.S. airports, the first time in U.S. history that air traffic nationwide has been halted. [CNN]

09:45 --- The White House evacuates. [CNN]

09:57 --- The passenger assault begins on United Flight 93. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."

09:57 --- Air Force One thundered down the runway, blasting smoke and dust in a full-thrust take off. [ 60 Minutes II]

09:58:59 --- the South Tower collapses in ten seconds.

10:02:23 --- The United 93 passengers continued their assault, a hijacker is heard saying, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" (meaning to crash the plane into the ground)

10:03:11 --- Flight 93 crashes in field in Shanksville, PA. Thirty-seven passengers and seven crew are killed.

10:18 --- The Vice President was logged calling the President for a two-minute conversation that obtained the confirmation. On Air Force One, the President's press secretary was taking notes; Ari Fleischer recorded that at 10:20, the President told him that he had authorized a shootdown of aircraft if necessary, [*Although documentary evidence of this is dicey]

10:28:25 --- The North Tower collapses.

2,603 people were killed in New York City in the planes, towers and on the ground. 125 people were killed at the Pentagon. As many as 200 more people may have died due to exposure to toxins created by the Twine Tower debris.

[All information culled from the 911 Commission unless otherwise noted.]

Friday, May 25, 2007

Gonzo Update

Day 21 28 35 49 (see below) of FAUX NEWS Embargo of the Gonzales Story.

So last week, we all got treated to a cute story by former DAG James Comey about how then White House Counsel Gonzales and COS Andy Card tried to strong-arm (See 5/15/07 posting)a barely conscious AG Ashcroft into signing an order Ashcroft already said was illegal and unconstitutional. (Atlantic Constitution, May 22 2007)

So far the only White House response so far has been, "Ummm, we didn't know that we shouldn't have gone to Ashcroft since DAG Comey was the Acting Attorney General." (Newsweek, May 28, 2007)

Update: 33 year old Pat Robertson law school graduate and king maker, Monica Goodling (GOP version 2.0) has been testifying before the House Judiciary Committee (HJC) these past two days. here are some highlights.

Highlight: Monica (GOP version 2.0)say AG Gonzales is a liar.

This is how Monica (GOP Version 2.) described Gonzales's Obstruction of Justice:

One March 14th or 15th, a week after the HJC requested that Monica (GOP Version 2.) testify before the committee, she and Gonzales meet in his office. She asked to be transfer and he said he would think about it. Then he started telling Goodling what he remembered about the firing process.
He just said that he thought that everybody that was on the list was on the list for a performance-related reason. He proceeded to say, 'Let me tell you what I can remember,' and he laid out for me his general recollection of some of the process regarding the replacement of U.S. attorneys.
He then asked her if she had "any reaction" to his memory. " Her reaction? Discomfort.
I remember thinking at that point that this was something that we were all going to have to talk about, and I didn’t know that it was — I just — I didn’t know that it was maybe appropriate for us to talk about that at that point.
Recall that AG Gonzales testified twice before the Senate

On April 19th he said not spoken with "witnesses" to the U.S. attorneys scandal because he did not want to give the appearance of influencing their testimony.

"I'm here to provide what I know, what I recall as to the truth in order to help the Congress help to complete the record. ...But there are clearly some things that I don't know about what happened, and it's frustrating to me, as head of the department, to know that -- to not know that still today. But I haven't done -- I haven't talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven't wanted to interfere with this investigation and department investigations.

And on May 10th:
I have not gone back and spoken directly with Mr. [Kyle] Sampson and others who were involved in this process. .. In order to protect the integrity of this investigation and of the investigation of the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of Inspector General -- I am a fact witness, they are fact witnesses, and in order to preserve the integrity of those investigations, I have not asked these specific questions.
Through a spokesman, Gonzales explains this meeting:
The statements made by the attorney general during this meeting were intended only to comfort her in a very difficult period of her life.
As pointed out by Jon Stewart, who comforts someone by recalling events that are the subject of an investigation?

Highlight: Monica (GOP version 2.0) says DAG McNulty lied to the Senate.

"During her testimony today, Monica Goodling pointed the finger squarely at Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, saying that he had not been ‘fully candid’ in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his knowledge of White House involvement in the U.S. attorney firings (McNulty had earlier pointed the finger at Sampson and Goodling for not informing him of the White House’s role).” McNulty released a statement this afternoon, saying Goodling is wrong:
I testified truthfully at the Feb. 6, 2007, hearing based on what I knew at that time. Ms. Goodling’s characterization of my testimony is wrong and not supported by the extensive record of documents and testimony already provided to Congress.
Highlight: After Monica's (GOP version 2.0) testimony, we still don't know who put the USA names on the list or why they were fired.

“I was not the primary White House contact for purposes of the development or approval of the US Attorney replacement plan.”

So far, Gonzales, McNulty, Sampson, or Goodling can not explain how the USAs made the list (or didn't) or why they were put on the list.
“It is curious that yet another senior Justice Department official claims to have limited involvement in compiling the list that led to the firings of several well-performing federal prosecutors. What we have heard today seems to reinforce the mounting evidence that the White House was pulling the strings on this project to target certain prosecutors in different parts of the country. Sen Pat Leahy (D-Vt)
Highlight: Monica (GOP version 2.0) says she violated Civil Service laws.

Monica (GOP version 2.0) “repeatedly declined to estimate how many times she had considered political affiliations in career hiring decisions.: “I don’t think that I could have done it more than 50 times, but I don’t know,” she said. She “further admitted that she ‘occasionally‘ researched career applicants’ political affiliations and checked their political donations.”

Recall, she received this power via a secret memo signed by Gonzales back in March 2006..

Update: "The Justice Department has broadened an internal investigation into whether Monica Goodling and other department aides “improperly took into account political considerations in hiring employees.” The new issue? Whether Goodling used her admittedly illegal selection process to hire 49 immigration judges. (NYT, May 25th, 2007)

Update: Well, it's too long and complicated but if your interested, Google 'caging" and "Griffin" to find out why Rove's friend Tim Griffin was going to by-pass Senate approval. Also, why is he still a USA? His term (120 days) is up.

Addendum: FAUX News has ignored all of this for over a month but on May 16th, Greta V. finally dusted off her bar card and did a little piece on Comey's testimony regarding the late night antics of Gonzales and Card.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Gonzo Update

Day 21 28 35 of FAUX NEWS Embargo of the Gonzales Story.

Yesterday, AG Gonzlaes testified before the House Judiciary Committee. Like his previous testimony, AG Gonzales did his best Sgt. Schultz impersonation. As Joe Conason for Salon wrote:
What the six-hour hearing established most clearly is that most Republicans remain united behind Gonzales despite the clear evidence of his incompetence, dishonesty and contempt for Congress as an institution. Unlike their counterparts in the Senate, none of the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee even posed a sharp question to him, let alone urged his resignation. Instead they acted in partisan lockstep, expressing sympathy for the poor attorney general's ordeal, pretending that there is no scandal and no stonewall, and insisting that the investigation should end.
So despite the events of the last week (and last few weeks), AG Gonzales still can't answer the most simple of question, not to mention questions of a more probing nature. For example:

Update: Mr. Gonzales, why are you only hiring pro-Republicans in the DOJ?

CNN: Congressional investigators are looking into new allegations a top official at the Justice Department illegally hired career lawyers based on their political affiliations. Investigators are focusing on Bradley Schlozman, a former top official in the department's Civil Rights Division, who recently returned to Washington after serving as interim U.S. attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. Richard Ugelow, a former Justice lawyer, said the department has been hiring "people who have certain political persuasion and only a certain political persuasion" in recent years."That's not healthy for enforcement of the nation's civil rights laws," said Ugelow, who now teaches law at Washington's American University.

According to the Boston Globe, "Half of the 14 career lawyers hired under Schlozman were members of the conservative Federalist Society or the Republican National Lawyers Association, up from none among the eight career hires in the previous two years, according to a review of resumes. The average US News & World Report ranking of the law school attended by new career lawyers plunged from 15 to 65."

"Critics said candidates were being hired more for their political views than legal credentials. David Becker , a former voting rights division trial attorney, said that Schlozman's hiring of politically driven conservatives to protect minority voting rights created a "wolf guarding the henhouse situation."

Bradley Schlozman is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Tuesday, May 15.

Update: Mr. Gonazles, you turned over power in a secret memo to Monica Goodling (Along with Kyle Sampson) to hire and fire DOJ employees, was that so she would only hire Pro-Republicans?

Newsweek: Two government officials (not ID'd when talking about an ongoing probe) told NEWSWEEK the inquiry began after Jeff Taylor, the interim U.S. attorney in D.C., complained that [Monica] Goodling tried to block the hiring of a prosecutor in his office for being a "liberal Democratic type."

Update: Mr. Gonzales, is the reason that in the secret memo you chose Monica, the White Liaison, was to allow Karl Rove direct say in who would be hired and fired?

According to the National Journal, "The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. "

Update: Mr. Gonzales, was former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves the Ninth USA to be purged?

Former Missouri USA Todd Graves fired and quickly replaced by Bradley Schlozman in March 2006. Schlozman had no prosecutorial experience and bypassed Senate confirmation.

"Bradley Schlozman moved aggressively where Graves had not, announcing felony indictments of four workers for a liberal activist group (ACORN) on voter registration fraud charges less than a week before the 2006 election.

Critics said Schlozman violated a department policy to wait until after an election to bring voter fraud indictments if the case could affect the outcome, either by becoming a campaign issue or by scaring legitimate voters into staying home.

A 1995 Justice election crime manual says "federal prosecutors . . . should be extremely careful not to conduct overt investigations during the preelection period" to avoid "chilling legitimate voting and campaign activities" and causing "the investigation itself to become a campaign issue."

"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . .All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

Interesting because, "Only weeks before last year’s pivotal midterm elections, the White House (Karl Rove) urged the Justice Department to pursue voter-fraud allegations against Democrats in three battleground states, a high-ranking Justice official has told congressional investigators."

Update: Mr. Gonzlaes, was former U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Thomas Heffelfinger the tenth USA to be purged?

Heffelfinger abruptly resigned in February 2006 of last year, one month after he'd appeared on a draft of Kyle Sampson's list of U.S. attorneys to be fired. He was replaced by 33 year-old Federalist Society member and former senior aide in the Justice Department, Rachel Paulose.

As I wrote on April 6th, four of Rachel Paulose's top staff voluntarily demoted themselves, fed up with her, who, after just months on the job, has earned a reputation for quoting Bible verses and dressing down underlings.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gonzo Update

Day 21 28 of FAUX NEWS Embargo of the Gonzales Story.

Who made the decision to fire the USA's and why? According to AG Gonzales, not he and he's not sure why. The same is true for Michael Battle, the former Director of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, Kyle Sampson, and William E. Moschella, the principal associate deputy attorney general, who have all told Congress that they did not put any names on the list.

So, how likely is it that the White House directed these firings as an attempt to stack not only the USA's but the entirety of the DOJ with "loyal Bushies"? I think to answer lies in the first four updates.

Update: The National Journal reported this week that AG Gonzales signed a secret order giving his Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson and the DOJ's White House liaison "authority over the hiring and firing of most non-civil-service employees of the Justice Department." That liaison later turned out to be 33 year old Pat Robertson Law School graduate and King maker, Monica Goodling.

Under the authority of this delegation, any proposed appointments or removals of personnel who are 'inferior officers' within the meaning of [the] Excepting Clause of the Constitution shall be presented to the Attorney General... and each appointment or removal shall be made in the name of the Attorney General --- March 1, 2006
This order was not only hidden from the public --- as it was specifically to be keep from the Federal Register --- but it was also hidden from most of the DOJ brass as it was being drafted.

This secret order was not turned over to either the Senate or House as part of their records requests.

Why would the White House liaison be involved not only in the hiring and firing of DOJ personnel but also as an integral part of making up the "purge lost" along with Kyle Sampson?
Answer: The existence of the order suggests that a broad effort was under way by the White House to place politically and ideologically loyal appointees throughout the Justice Department, not just at the U.S.-attorney level.

Update: After "allegations from an anonymous group of Justice employees that most of those cut from the application lists had worked for Democrats or liberal causes and that Michael Elston, chief of staff for Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty, removed people for spurious reasons that included "inappropriate information about them on the Internet." (i.e they Googled applicants' names to see if they what political ties they had.)

Of course, if true, this would be illegal.

So, the DOJ is now is "removing political appointees from the hiring process for rookie lawyers and summer interns." As "outlined in an internal memo distributed Thursday, (April 26th) returns control of the Attorney General's Honors Program and the Summer Law Intern Program to career lawyers in the department after four years during which political appointees directed the process."

Update: The Office of Special Counsel is investigating Karl Rove and others for violations of the Hatch Act. Monica Goodling, and her efforts to stack the DOJ with "loyal Bushies" is one of those "others.

What is the Hatch Act? Simply it prohibits politicking on government time or using government resources. Scott J. Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel, announced that he is investigating three areas: "whether Bush administration personnel violated civil statutes by inserting GOP electoral politics into Cabinet agency meetings, firing at least one U.S. Attorney, and discussing some of the activities in private e-mails that are missing."

For the last several weeks, a little covered House committee investigation has been going on concerning Hatch Act violations over a January meeting where General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Lurita Doan asked those present at a GSA briefing to consider how the GSA could help Republican candidates in the next round of elections. Karl Roves' deputy, J. Scott Jennings, ran that January meeting.

The White House has since admitted to holding about 20 briefings throughout 2006 and 2007 for federal agency employees to discuss the electability of Republican candidates.

Update: In written accounts submitted to the House Judiciary Committee, some of the fired USA's stated that they were threatened by Michael Elston, chief of staff for Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty that if they did not resign quietly, they would be smeared. McNulty later testified that the USA's were fired for "performance" reasons.

"I believe that Elston was offering me a quid pro quo agreement: my silence in exchange for the Attorney General's." --- former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton
You can read their entire responses at the House's website.

Update: Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified Thursday before the Senate. Here are some highlights:

Kyle Sampson seems to have intentionally ignored all of Comey's recommendations as to who were the weak U.S. attorneys -- and kept Comey, the #2 at the DoJ, ignorant that Sampson and the White House were targeting certain U.S. attorneys with the goal of firing them.
--- With the exception of USA Kevin Ryan, Comey found no performance problems with any of the fired USAs: "My experience with those [fired] Attorneys was very positive. The names that I have read in the newspaper have not been consistent with my experience."

--- Comey “ had heard rumors" that Justice Department White House Liaison Monica Goodling was using political criteria in making personnel decisions among non-political, career staff.

Today's chance of a Gonzales departure: 77 percent

Morales' PI Pleds Guilty

Former criminal defense investigator accused of forging statements from jurors, witnesses and others in death penalty cases pleaded guilty to four charges Monday and accepted a five-year prison sentence.

Kathleen Culhane, 40, said outside a Sacramento courtroom that she filed incorrect documents on behalf of five condemned inmates because she believes that capital punishment is wrong.

"I believe that the death penalty is illegal," she said. "It is barbaric and an atrocity. Any acts I committed are out of a firm belief against the state killing these people."

Culhane, who had worked on death penalty appeals since 1999, will likely go to prison in August when she is formally sentenced.

A prosecutor said Culhane's feelings on capital punishment were irrelevant and said filing false documents is "about as serious as it gets."

"It doesn't matter whether you're for or against the death penalty, you have to play by the rules," said Michael Farrell, senior assistant attorney general in state Attorney General Jerry Brown's office.

Culhane was charged in February with 45 criminal charges involving 23 declarations she filed with courts and the governor's office from 2002 to 2006. In the plea bargain with Brown's office, she admitted to one count of perjury, two counts of forgery and one count of filing a false document. Authorities say Culhane made up stories and forged the signatures of witnesses and jurors to benefit clients' appeals.

The first allegations against her came to light in February 2006 when lawyers for Death Row inmate Michael Morales of Stockton withdrew declarations from five jurors and a witness supporting his petition for clemency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The statements quoted the witness as saying police had browbeaten her into testifying falsely against Morales, and quoted the jurors as saying they favored clemency or would not object to it. An attorney general's investigator said all of them denied signing the documents or ever being contacted by anyone working on Morales' behalf.

Morales lost his bid for clemency from the governor but later won a stay of execution from a federal judge in a lawsuit over the state's lethal injection procedures. That case is ongoing.

Culhane worked as an investigator for the state-funded Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco and later in private practice. As an investigator, Culhane's job was to locate and interview witnesses and jurors who participated in death penalty cases, and obtain signed declarations favorable to the inmates' legal defense and pleas for clemency.

The center withdrew about 100 declarations she submitted and cooperated with prosecutors.

In addition to Morales, the condemned inmates Culhane worked for and submitted false documents for are Vicente Figueroa Benavides, Christian Monterroso, Jose Guerra and Richard Clark, according to Farrell.

Farrell said attorneys for the condemned inmates are redoing Culhane's work, which will add considerable time to the appeals process.

Culhane's attorney, Stuart Hanlon, called the five-year sentence -- she could get out in 2 years and 8 months if she behaves in prison and earns good-time credits -- a "very stiff consequence."

Hanlon noted that Culhane has always worked to help others, spending seven years in El Salvador helping war refugees before beginning her work on death penalty cases.

"She has taken responsibility for what she did," he said.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Gonzo Update

Day 21 of FAUX NEWS Embargo of the Gonzales Story.

The House Judiciary Committee voted this week to grant "use" immunity to 33 year old Pat Robertson Law School graduate and King maker, Monica Goodling. The vote was 32-6, with 17 Republicans voting, "Yea!" The 6 "Nay" votes were all Republicans. (Washington Post, April 26, 2007)

Why vote a "No" to immunity?

"Immunity can very easily be the get-out-of-jail card for someone who's committed a crime." --- Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.)

That is an accurate statement but I thought the Republican Talking Point here was that USAs serve at the pleasure of the President and that no crime occurred.

Maybe the Wisconsin Congressman is a little sensitive about uncovering the reason why "his" USA, Steven M. Biskupic, was on the purge list and then suddenly, was not. (McClatchy, April 14th, 2007.)

Update: It's being reported that Rep Rick Renzi, (R-Ariz) might resign today after the FBI raided his wife's business last week as part of an investigation into a land swap deal. (Phoenix Business Journal, April 27, 2007)

Wait, who is the USA of Arizona? That's right, they don't have one since Paul Charlton was fired on December 7th, 2007.

Why was Charlton fired? That right, his boss doesn't remember. Maybe this will help:

Congressman Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican, was locked in a close re-election battle last fall when the local United States attorney, Paul Charlton, was investigating him for corruption. The investigation appears to have been slowed before Election Day, Mr. Renzi retained his seat, and Mr. Charlton ended up out of a job — one of eight prosecutors purged by the White House and the Justice Department.

Mr. Renzi was fighting for his political life when the local press reported that he was facing indictment for a suspect land deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, federal investigators met unexpected resistance from the Justice Department in getting approval to proceed and, perhaps as a result, the investigation was pushed past the election.

Mr. Renzi’s top aide, Brian Murray, admitted this week that when reports surfaced that his boss was being investigated, he had called Mr. Charlton’s office asking for information. Mr. Charlton’s office did the right thing, according to Mr. Murray’s account: it refused to comment. Weeks later, Mr. Charlton was fired. (NYT, April 26, 2007)

Sound familiar? That's because this is the third fired USA to report similar conduct:

The former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, David C. Iglesias, has told Congress he felt pressured to speed up an indictment of Democrats during phone calls last October from Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R-N.M.). And former U.S. attorney John McKay of Seattle has said he was called by the chief of staff to Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) about a preliminary inquiry into voter fraud in Washington state. (Washington Post, April 26, 2007)
Update: Speaking of Arizona, Sen. John McCain became the latest in a growing number of Republicans to call for Gonzales to resign.
"I am very disappointed in his performance. I think loyalty to the president should enter into his calculations. ... I think that out of loyalty to the president that [resigning] would probably be the best thing that he could do." ( CNN's Larry King, April 26, 2007)
Update: "You're Doing a Heckuv a Job Brownie."

President Bush, while not watching any of the Gonzales' five hour testimony, nevertheless expressed confidence in him.

And, while Gonzales claimed not to recall 60 times or more,

Bush thought his answers, although he didn't hear them, were very honest.
The Attorney General went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer, honestly answer, in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job. (Press Conference, April 23, 2007)

Today's chance of a Gonzales departure:
76 percent

Friday, April 20, 2007

How's Your Week Going Mr. President

Judging by his speech on Thursday, not too well.

1) Bush in Ohio to Talk About Terrorism

"My attitude is, if they're still writing about (number) one, 43 doesn't need to worry about it. ..." A good marriage is really good after serving together in Washington, D.C. ... "Politics comes and goes, but your principles don't. And everybody wants to be loved _ not everybody. ... You never heard anybody say, `I want to be despised, I'm running for office. ... The best thing about my family is my wife. She is a great first lady. I know that sounds not very objective, but that's how I feel. And she's also patient. Putting up with me requires a lot of patience. ... There are jobs Americans aren't doing. ... If you've got a chicken factory, a chicken-plucking factory, or whatever you call them, you know what I'm talking about. ... There are some similarities, of course" between Iraq and Vietnam. ... Death is terrible. ... I've been in politics long enough to know that polls just go poof at times."

2) Mass Carnage on the 18th of April.

32 students at Virgina Tech were shot to death by a loner with some major mental problems. The only good thing is that he shot his own face off. Unfortunately, it was two hours too late.

Also on the 18th,

At least 130 172 183 230 people, including women and children, were killed today in a spate of bombings in Baghdad, making it the single bloodiest day since US troops increased their numbers in the city.

The U.S. announced three more troop deaths - two soldiers killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb north of the capital, and another soldier killed the same day in a small arms fire attack in southwest Baghdad. These latest American deaths bring the total to 3,315 since March of 2003.

3) FBI Raid Two Republican Congressmen

Rep. John T. Doolittle's (R-CA) home was raided by the FBI . He was removed from the from the Appropriations Committee the next day.

That would be the same appropriations seat which he used to help steer $37 million to Brent Wilkes (who's accused of bribing Duke Cunningham), and another $400,000 to Jack Abramoff's client, the government of the Marianas Islands.

Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz) had his wife's business raided by the FBI. Renzi has since stepped down from the Intelligence Committee.

You can get all the information you need on FAUX NEWS tonight. Just kidding . They haven't covered this and never will.

4) Rosemary Woods Ain't Got Nothing on Us.

Karl Rove's emails can't be found along with Five Million Other E-mails. Rove said he accidentally deleted them ... four years worth. That shouldn't be a problem since he only used his Republican National Committee (RNC) account for 95% of all e-mails he wrote. [National Journal]

Why use the White House E-mail, Bush doesn't:

“I tend not to email or — not only tend not to email, I don’t email, because of the different record requests that can happen to a president. I don’t want to receive emails because, you know, there’s no telling what somebody’s email may — it would show up as, you know, a part of some kind of a story, and I wouldn’t be able to say, `Well, I didn’t read the email.’ `But I sent it to your address, how can you say you didn’t?’ So, in other words, I’m very cautious about emailing.” CNBC, October 23, 2006
Over Fifty White House staffers used RNC email accounts. Some missing emails involved not only the Gonzales 8 but also Plame and Ambramoff.

See, you need to use separate email accounts to conduct campaigning (Hatch Act) but official government business must be conducted on official servers or be saved (Presidential Records Act.)

5) Gonzo on the Hot seat

The week started out well enough for Gonzales with The American Freedom Agenda, a group of powerful conservatives, calling for Gonzales to resign.
He has brought the rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm. He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice. ... In sum, Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country.
Then, on the eve of his testimony, Gonzales leaked his statement. 25 pages long and best he could come up with was: "To my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign."

His testimony on Thursday didn't go much better. After 47 plus "I don't recalls," and "I don't remember," and at least one "I don't recall remembering," we know three things (which is two more than Gonzales):

1) Gonzales doesn't know who put together the purge list or why any USA was on that list.
2) He knows that he made the decision to fire the USA's but doesn't know why or when.
3) What he does know is whoever made up the list and whatever reason's were used, it was all very proper.

This stellar performance caused Committee member Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), to immediatel asking for Gonzlaes resignation. "I believe that you ought to suffer the consequences. ... The best way to put this behind us is your resignation."

Today's Chance of Resignation: 93%
(From Slate)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Gonzo Update

So on the eve of his testimony, Gonzales leaked his statement. I'd link the 25 page statement but there are no specifics or details in it and only half of it covers the resignations so I won't bother. But here's a gem for you to remember: "To my knowledge, I did not make decisions about who should or should not be asked to resign."

emails can't be found along with Five Million Other E-mails. 50 WH Staffer's used RNC email accounts and some missing emails involved not only the Gonzales 8 but also Plame

UPDATE: Did Bush and Sen. Pete lie about a conversation that they said
they never had?

"I specifically remember one time I went up to the Senate and senators were talking about the U.S. attorneys. I don't remember specific names being mentioned, but I did say to Al last year -- you're right, last fall -- I said, have you heard complaints about AGs, I have -- I mean, U.S. attorneys, excuse me -- and he said, I have. But I never brought up a specific case nor gave him specific instructions." --- President Bush, March 14th, 2007
To recap, neither The Attorney General or The President had anything to do with the firings.

UPDATE: During the March 29 hearing,
Kyle Sampson testified that, "I personally did not ... [O]n December 7th, I did not have in mind any replacements for any of the seven who were asked to resign."

But, prior to December 7th he did have
four replacements in mind (and writing.)

See? There's no lie contradiction there, is there?

UPDATE: "67 percent in a
ABC News/Washington Post poll think the prosecutors were fired mainly for political reasons. , not on the basis of their performance. [But] 45 percent of Americans overall, think Gonzales should lose his job, while 39 percent think he should remain."

So basically, the majority think he's a liar but not that he should lose his job.

UPDATE: And list continues to grow. The American Freedom Agenda call for Gonzales to resign.

Dear Mr. President and Attorney General:
We, the undersigned co-founders of the American Freedom Agenda, urge the Attorney General to submit his resignation and the President to accept.
Mr. Gonzales has presided over an unprecedented crippling of the Constitution's time-honored checks and balances. He has brought the rule of law into disrepute, and debased honesty as the coin of the realm. He has engendered the suspicion that partisan politics trumps evenhanded law enforcement in the Department of Justice. ... In sum, Attorney General Gonzales has proven an unsuitable steward of the law and should resign for the good of the country.
Bruce Fein, Chairman Richard Viguerie David Keene Bob Barr John Whitehead

UPDATE: (For Brook) Before he successfully prosecuted a democrat (which was immediately overturned, see last update), the Wisconsin US Attorney was on the "purge list." And then, he wasn't.
(From Slate)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Gonzales Update

Update: Gonzales cramming for his test and he can't keep his stories straight.

Update: Faith-based Justice. Pat Robertson's law school is recruiting ground for Jeustice.

Update: Wisconsin federal case is getting attention:

"We are concerned whether or not politics may have played a role in a case brought by Stephen Biskupic, the United States Attorney based in Milwaukee, against Georgia Thompson, formerly an official in the administration of Wisconsin’s Democratic governor. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was reportedly so troubled by the insufficiency of the evidence against Ms. Thompson that it made the unusual decision to issue an order reversing Ms. Thompson’s conviction and releasing her from custody immediately after oral arguments in her appeal." --- Senate Judiciary Committee

Today's Chance of a Gonzales Departure: 83 percent

[from Slate]

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Firing of the Pearl Habor 8

An acquaintance of mine recently asked about the Congressional Hearings being conducted over the firings of ,

Daniel Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada
David Iglesias , U.S. attorney for New Mexico
John McKay , U.S. attorney for Western Washington
Margaret Chiara, U.S. attorney for Western Michigan
Daniel Bogden, U.S. attorney for Nevada
Paul Charlton, U.S. attorney for Arizona
H.E. "Bud" Cummins III, U.S. attorney for Eastern Arkansas (1st to be fired)
Carol Lam, U.S. attorney for Southern California (San Diego)
Kevin Ryan , U.S. attorney for Northern California

or, because 7 were fired on December 7th, as I like to call them, the Pearl Harbor 8 (or the PH8.).

He asked, "Why is this such a big deal?"

So, in effort to educate him, as well as anticipate the distortions from the likes of Rush and Hannity, I answered him this.

First, The Office of the Attorney General gave false and misleading reasons to the public why the the PH8 were fired. Because of these false statements, the normally silent US Attorneys spoke up. Before the statements, the PH8 had tendered their resignations in silence.

Second, Office of the Attorney General gave false and misleading reasons to Congress why the the PH8 were fired.

Lying and misleading Congress is a crime. While it is not common for people to be prosecuted for this, people have. For example, Oliver North was convicted of, among other charges, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry. (That conviction was over turned on a technicality; what is usually referred to as a call a Kastigar or "Chinese Wall" violation.)

It was because of this that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson was asked to resign this week.

Third, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s recent press conference indicated that he was too busy to know what was going on:
"I accept responsibility for everything that happens here within this department, but when you have 110,000 people working in the department, obviously there are going to be decisions made that I am not aware of in real time."
This, on top of recent developments, would seem to indicate that. at best,Mr. Gonzales is unaware of high level decisions. At worst, Mr. Gonzales is lying.

This mismanagement and public mendacity has caused these public statements:
"It is ultimately the president's decision, but perhaps it would benefit this administration if the attorney general was replaced with someone with a more professional focus rather than personal loyalty." --- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.

"I think the president should replace him. ... I think the attorney general should be fired." ---Sen. John Sununu, R- New Hampshire
Fourth, US Attorneys are political but not partisan appointees normally confirmed by the Senate. The Patriot Act gave the AG the power to circumvent that confirmation process. Nonetheless, federal prosecutors are by and large apolitical. They, like all prosecutors, must adhere (by law) to a code of ethics that exceed that of regular lawyers. That code envisions an independent and fair process without regard to partisanship.

The fact that Harriet E. Miers and Mr. Sampson rated US Attorneys on "loyalty" to the President undermines the traditional need for independence. While it is perfectly legitimate for Clinton to redirect focus away from pornography prosecutions (which he did) or for Bush to direct focus on terrorism prosecutions (which he did), it would be improper to redirect focus away from or direct focus to a person or persons based on their political identification.

The fact that White House advisor Karl Rove and Counsel Harriet Meirs were involved in the decision-making process would indicate partisanship.

Fifth, US Attorney David Iglesias received complaints by two Republican Congresspeople over the speed at which he was investigating a state Democratic case. The complaint reached the head of the New Mexico GOP who then complained to Karl Rove. According to his testimony, Mr. Rove promised that, "He's gone."

Former Deputy AG James Comey under John Ashcroft said recently of Mr.Iglesias, "[He] was one of our finest and someone I had a lot of confidence in as deputy attorney general."

Sixth, in addition, U.S. Attorney John McKay says he was pressured by Republicans to bring voter fraud charges after the 2004 Washington governor’s race, which a Democrat, Christine Gregoire, won after two recounts. Republicans were trying to overturn an election result they did not like, but Mr. McKay refused to go along. “There was no evidence,” he said, “and I am not going to drag innocent people in front of a grand jury.”

Seventh, on the reverse side, US Attorney Carol Lam (San Diego) has just secured indictments against former 3rd in command of the CIA in the same defense bribery scandal that fell Randy "Duke" Cunnigham; her doing as well.

Also, Lam had announced that she had expanded that investigation to include Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA). Later that same day, Mr. Sampson wrote to White House Deputy Counsel William Kelley, "The real problem we have right now is Carol Lam,"

Eighth, it can be argued that the same mind set that gave us a horse judge to run FEMA and Ms. Meirs to sit on the Supreme Court is also the same that appointed Karl Rove's friend, J. Timothy Griffin, an attorney with limited criminal prosecutorial experience.

The sole reason, according to the of Paul J. McNulty, the deputy attorney general, testimony, for the firing of the Arkansas US Attorney Bud Cummins was to appoint Mr. Griffin. This is also evidenced by an email from Mr. Sampson “I’m not 100 percent sure that Tim was the guy on which to test drive this authority [of the Attorney General to appoint interim U.S. attorneys], but know that getting him appointed was important to Harriet, Karl, etc. "

Why The Reno/Clinton Firing's of 93 US Attorneys in 1993 are Irrelevant

Mr. Clinton's presidency began in 1993. As you probably already know, US Attorney's serve four year terms at the pleasure of the President. As you also know, it is customary for US Attorneys' to submit their resignations at the beginning of a new administration.

In March of 1993, AG Janet Reno, of whom I am no fan, was expediting the inevitable resignations of all 93 US Attorneys. The controversy over this at the time surrounded the speed at which the transition would happen but not that it's occurrence.

In addition, the US Attorney for D.C. was concerned that his replacement would not continue his good work involving the prosecution of Dan Rostenkowski. Fortunately, Mr. Clinton's appointment of Eric H. Holder Jr., continued the good work resulting in the and indictment of Mr. Rostenkowski on 17 counts of corruption. Rostenkowski eventually plead guilty and served 17 months in prison. Clinton pardoned him just before he left office.

The resignation of US Attorneys in 1993 offers little insight as to why 8 US Attorney's have been fired now, why Gonzales mislead the Congress, and why the White House was involved.

As an aside, in an email to Harriet Miers, Gonzales’s chief of staff Kyle Sampson (who resigned) wrote that: “In recent memory, during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, Presidents Reagan* and Clinton did not seek to remove and replace U.S. Attorneys to serve indefinitely under the holdover provision”

*On May 9, 1981, according to the Washington Post, the Reagan administration was well on its way to replacing all of the U.S. attorneys. Reagan kept most of the US Attorneys after he was elected to a second term.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

How's Your Week Going Mr. President?

5. Bush Sr. to Press: I did Not Grope That Real & Spectacular Ass.

Bush's dad had to go on television and deny that he groped Terri Hatcher's ass.

Obviously, Papa Bush is unaware that when you're over 80 years old, you pretty much can do what you damn well please; no apologies required.

4. Venezuela: "Gringo, Go Home!" Argentina: Gringo, Go Home! And send back Jenna!"

How is Bush loseing the hearts and minds of South Americans to Calypso fan and general Looney Tune Hugo Chavez, is beyond me.

--- Chavez is scheduled to speak to tens of thousands of anti-Bush protesters in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, and he'll do it with the blessing of Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. In fact, Kirchner's aides are helping to organize the rally.

--- As President Bush flew to San Paulo, Brazil, here Thursday on Air Force One, thousands of protesters shouting "Out, Bush!" marched down this city's main drag, Avenida Paulista. Hundreds of riot police flanked at least 6,000 demonstrators near the city's financial center, and the scent of tear gas hovered along the march route.

3. Walter Reed Scandal Big Enough that FAUX HAs to Cover it.

Here's a random sampling :

Disclosures of substandard conditions for wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center represent more than another case of Bush administration incompetence.

They show how its mishandling of the management and financing of the Iraq war has created a series of devastating side effects that go far beyond questions about its military and diplomatic policies in the Middle East.

Since President Bush sent U.S. troops to Iraq, his administration has constantly sought to minimize war costs, protect its tax cuts and avoid the government's looming long-term fiscal problems.

2. Six of the Eight fired US Attorneys testify on Capitol Hill.

In back-to-back hearings in the Senate and House, former U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico and five other former prosecutors recounted specific instances in which some said they felt pressured by Republicans on corruption cases and one said a Justice Department official warned him to keep quiet or face retaliation.

But now in the face of further testimony in both chambers, the White House is backing down.

1. VP Cheney's Chief of Staff Convicted of 4 counts of Lying in Plame Leak.

On the heels of Libby's conviction, and conservative demands for Libby's pardon, comes hearings in Congress, where, among others, Valerie Plame will be testifying.

This shouldn't be a problem. All it it will show is that the outing of Plame was part of a systematic and widespread attempt to intimidate and discredit a critic of pre-war intelligence that the Administration was forced to admit was wrong. Cheney, Rove, Libby, Armitage, Fliescher, and other knew about it and participated in it. And either Bush knew about it and lied to the American public or he was lied to by these people.

By the way, when are you going to make good on your promise and fire Dick Cheney & Karl Rove?

" ... There are anonymous reports all the time in the media. The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration. --- White House Spokesman Scott McClelan, 9/23/03

"Q And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have [who leaked the agent's name]?

A : Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts." --- President G.W. Bush, June 10, 2004.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Update: One Year Later

A year after San Joaquin County prosecutors accused the investigator in the Morales case of falsifying 6 declarations, she's been charged with that and a whole lot more.

(For background, see my blog, Who Is Responsible for the Forged Morales Declarations?, of 2/17/06)

Fraud in death row cases is alleged

Los Angeles Times

February 22, 2007

State prosecutors on Wednesday charged a San Joaquin, Calif., private investigator with forging and falsifying documents to help four death row inmates in what authorities called one of the largest frauds on the justice system in California history.

The 17-page criminal complaint filed against Kathleen Culhane in Sacramento County Superior Court capped a one-year investigation triggered by suspicious declarations submitted by Culhane in the clemency bid of death row inmate Michael Morales.

In all, Culhane allegedly filed questionable declarations on behalf of 11 jurors, two witnesses, two court interpreters and one police officer while working as a private investigator for the state-funded Habeas Corpus Resource Center in San Francisco and in private practice between November 2002 and February 2006, Senior Assistant Atty. Gen. Mike Farrell said.

The documents were filed in the cases of death row inmates Morales; Vicente Figueroa Benavides, convicted by a Kern County jury of the 1991 murder, rape and sodomy of a 21-month-old; Christian Monterroso, convicted by an Orange County jury of the 1991 murders of Tarsem Singh and Ashokkumar Patel; and Jose Guerra, convicted by a Los Angeles County jury of the 1990 rape and murder of Kathleen Powell.

The case against Culhane began when San Joaquin prosecutors, in arguments submitted to Schwarzenegger, named her as the Morales investigator who "supposedly interviewed five of the six jurors" and discovered they had a change of heart.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

D'oh! I pulled a Haggard .

So, what's worse?

A. Getting arrested for public lewdness?

"Authorities allege that Latham asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex."

B. Getting arrested for public gay lewdness?

"Latham’s attorney [said] the Supreme Court ruled in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas that it was not illegal for consenting adults to engage in private homosexual acts."

C. Getting arrested for public gay lewdness when you're a minister?

"He has since resigned as pastor of the South Tulsa Baptist Church and stepped down from the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention"

D. Getting arrested for public gay lewdness when you're a minister who had spoken out against homosexuality?

"The Rev. Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their “sinful, destructive lifestyle” before his Jan. 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City."

E. Getting arrested public gay lewdness when you're a minister who had spoken out against homosexuality and having the ACLU argue on your side?

"The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma has filed a brief alleging that Latham’s arrest also violated his right to free speech."


Friday, February 16, 2007

Big plane, big load, big tits

Falling all over themselves over a false demand for a large plane, a crazy astronaut in diapers and Anna Nicole Smith, the press in general and FAUX in particular have decided these stories are unimportant.

Five News Stories FAUX will Not Cover.

1) 2) The Libby trial shows that, among other things, Vice President Dick Cheney was fixated on finding ways to debunk a former diplomat's claims that Bush misled the U.S. people in going to war going so far as to order Libby to leak "classified" material as well as Plame's identity.

A variety of White House officials, including Rove Libby, told over 1/2 dozen journalist of the CIA operatives' identity.

2) $12 billion sent to Iraq is unaccounted for as US ships 363 ton of cash ($4 billion) on wood pallets. - Reuters

In addition, $10 billion dollars has been lost to waste (i.e. fraud), and overcharges (i.e. fraud) by contractors. $2.7 billion dollars of the waste (i.e. fraud)is a attributable to VP Cheney's old pals, Halliburton. --- AP

3) Former No. 3 CIA boss Kyle Foggo and Duke Cunningham buddy/contractor Brent Wilkes have been indicted by a federal jury in San Diego for multiple federal crimes including conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering. --- NYT

4) The above indictment comes on the heels of the forced resignation of the US Attorney for San Diego. In fact, over 1/2 dozen United States Attorney's have been fired in a Alberto Gonzales power-grab.

5) The FBI is investigating whether Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons failed to properly report gifts or payments from a software company, eTreppid Technologies, that was awarded secret military contracts when he was in Congress.

We remember Gibbons, or not, from the "Five Election Stories FAUX Won't Cover," when he was accused of drunkenly group a waitress.

In a March 22, 2005, e-mail days before Trepp and his wife, Jale, embarked on the Caribbean cruise with Jim Gibbons and his wife, Dawn, a former Nevada state assemblywoman.

Jale: "Please don't forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn."
Trepp: "Don't you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mr. President, How's This Week Going?

So, two weeks ago, it was a bad week for you but, Mr. President, how's this week going?

1) SMU this.

1st, Bush is ranked the 5th Worst President in US History and now this:

A letter, dated December 16, from "Faculty, Administrators, & Staff" of the Perkins School of Theology to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, is now circulating not only on the SMU campus but also among a wider academic community, urging the board to "reconsider and to rescind SMU's pursuit of the presidential library."

2) FAUX & Friends Kill Highest Ranking Female Officer

Marine Maj. Megan McClung, a public affairs officer who became the highest-ranking woman killed in Iraq when she died two weeks ago, had been escorting Oliver North and a FOX News crew through Ramadi just moments before a roadside bomb took her life.

3) America: You Suck, Mission Not Even Close ot being Accomplished

Support for President Bush's management of the Iraq war has dropped to an all-time low even as his overall approval remains tepid but steady, according to a CNN poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday by Opinion Research Corp., found support for Bush's handling of the Iraq conflict has decreased to 28 percent from 34 percent in a poll taken October 13-15.

And a record 70 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Bush's war management, up from 64 percent in the October poll.

Meanwhile, Bush's overall job approval was 36 percent -- down only 1 percentage point from the previous CNN poll to pose that question December 5-7. Sixty-two percent said they disapproved of his performance in office, up from 57 percent in the early December poll.

4) Last Throes? Violence Surges in Iraq

A Pentagon report, which covers the period from early August to early November, found an average of almost 960 attacks against Americans and Iraqis every week, the highest level recorded since the Pentagon began issuing the quarterly reports in 2005, with the biggest surge in attacks against American-led forces.

5) Joint Chiefs say Bush Has No Mission to Accomplish in Iraq

The Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Five Election Stories FAUX News (haven't) won't Cover.

Here are Five Election Stories FAUX News have not and will not cover:

1) Katherine "Mary Kay Anonymous" Harris (R-Flordia) is running for US Senate.

Once a FAUX favorite, she's oddly MIA. Maybe because over the last several months the wheels have come off her campaign wagon largely due to her unstable personality;

Perhaps the worst blow to Harris's campaign has been the stories that have emerged from former staffers. They describe a Jekyll-and-Hyde candidate who can be seductively charming at one moment and pitch a temper tantrum the next, throwing a cellphone at a wall or a sheaf of papers at a campaign manager. Former chief adviser Ed Rollins, who managed Ronald Reagan's reelection to the White House in 1984, said working for Harris was like "being in insanity camp." He likened her staff to dogs that have been kicked. Before he became the first of three campaign managers to quit, Jim Dornan programmed his cellphone to play the theme song from "The Exorcist" when Harris called.
But more importantly, Harris is neck deep in shit and that shit's name is Mitchell Wade.
Mitchell J. Wade admitted yesterday in federal court that he attempted to illegally influence Defense Department contracting officials and tried to curry favor with two House members, in addition to lavishing more than $1 million in cash, cars, a boat, antiques and other bribes on convicted Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.). Washington Post, 2/25/06
Harris is one of those members. So it came no surprise to her when trick or treaters came early.

Dan Berger and Ben McKay, who both worked for Harris in her first term and are now lobbyists in Washington, confirmed the interviews this week and said it was their understanding all congressional staff would likely be questioned. The two spoke separately to three investigators from the FBI and the Defense Department in Washington several weeks ago.

Federal authorities have subpoenaed records from Harris' U.S. Senate campaign office and have interviewed several former staffers, including senior campaign consultant Ed Rollins, campaign manager Jim Dornan and Mona Tate Yost, a congressional aide who later went to work for Wade.

2) Rep. Don "Wayne Brady" Sherwood (Pa.) is running for reelection to the House.

Is Don Sherwood gonna have to choke a bitch? Apparently the answer is yes and it will cost about
$500,000 to do it.

While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms.

The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.

A confidentiality clause requires Ore to forfeit some of the money if she talks publicly about the case, according to this person and two other people familiar with elements of the case.

Sherwood, a 65-year-old married father of three who is considered a family-values conservative, had one of the safest seats in Congress until Ore sued him in June 2005, alleging he physically abused her throughout their five-year affair

On a humorous note, Bush was stumping for Sherwood on (drum roll please) ... National Character Counts Week, 2006.

You may now begin to mourn irony.

3) Rep. Bob "New Meat" Ney (R-Ohio) was running for reelection to the House.

Ney isn't actively campaigning this year but despite his conviction for bribery he has yet to resign, unlike Mark Foley.
Rep Bob Ney, first member of Congress to confess to crimes involving corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has defied House leaders by refusing to step down for now, even though he is headed to prison early next year; his Congressional office is open for business; Ney has said he would resign within 'few weeks' but wants to remain in Congress for sake of his staff; Ney, despite criminal record, will be able to begin collecting Congressional pension when he turns 62
Sen Conrad Burns (R-Montana) will soon occupy this spot since he took $150,000 from Abramoff.

4) Jim "Stumblin', bumblin', rumblin'" Gibbons (R-Nev) is running for Governor.
District Attorney David Roger said in Las Vegas that authorities have reopened their investigation into a cocktail waitress' claim that a Republican congressman running for governor assaulted her in a parking garage after a night of drinking.

Roger said the case involving Rep. Jim Gibbons — which had been closed after the waitress, Chrissy Mazzeo, dropped her complaint — is under investigation again. Mazzeo, a Las Vegas Strip casino waitress, accused Gibbons, 61, of pushing her up against a wall Oct. 13 and propositioning her.

Mazzeo said police told her several times during their investigation that they would get custody of the surveillance videos, which Mazzeo urged them to do in one of her three 911 calls to police.

The next day, she said, police told her no tapes existed. At that point, she said she decided not to file charges against Gibbons because of his powerful status. Police halted their investigation.

But the mystery surrounding what occurred continued. The parking garage is owned and managed by Crescent Real Estate Equities. Despite intense media coverage over the next two weeks and repeated phone calls from the Sun and trips to the Crescent security office, the tapes were nowhere to be found and Crescent officials refused to comment.

Then, last weekend, law enforcement sources said Crescent did in fact have the tapes and had turned them over to Metro.

The timing of the discovery of the tapes and the circumstances by which their existence became public have raised a new round of questions - which none of the principals would answer on Monday.

Have the tapes been tampered with?: Rogich Communications Group, whose chief executive, Sig Rogich, is a campaign consultant to Gibbons, has been a lobbyist for Crescent Real Estate Equities. The Rogich-Crescent link is part of a web of connections among Rogich, Gibbons, Crescent and Jones Vargas, the law firm that represents Crescent. Also, Rogich Communications is a tenant of Crescent at Hughes Center

5) Rep. Ralph Arza (R-Fla) was running for reelection for the State House.

Yes, running until he left a drunken, obscenity laced voice mail on Representative Gus Barreiro’s machine. Not content to call his colleague a bitch, Arza decide to drop the big N-bomb.

Message #1: Hey, bitch. You're nothing but a bitch. You're a bitch. You're nothing but a bitch. God Bless you, bitch.
Message #2: Hey, bitch. You ain't nothing but a bitch. You ain't nothing but a bitch, brother, my nigger.
Oh, yeah, so he got some guy to follow up with a threaten phone call and now they both been charged witness tampering and retaliation.

Go here for audio-goodness. Miami-Herald -- Arza Voice Mail Messages