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Archive for March 5th, 2007


The sudden resignation of a top government official involved in the sacking of US attorneys has raised eyebrows in Congress. The chairperson of a congressional subcommittee investigating the situation said that the official’s sudden exit from government service showed that “the wheels seem to be coming off” the administration’s defense of its actions.

The Associated Press today reported the resignation of Michael A. Battle as Director of the Executive Office for US Attorneys. According to the AP report, Battle “had personally informed the ousted U.S. attorneys of their removal” but was reportedly not involved in the decision-making leading to the firings.

He had, AP reported, “notified U.S. attorneys of his decision in January and had informed the department last summer that he wished to pursue opportunities in the private sector.” A DOJ spokesperson told the AP that “His departure is not connected to the U.S. attorney controversy whatsoever.”

Battle’s resignation raised the suspicions of Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee who are investigating the firing of US Attorneys by the Bush White House.

“The wheels seem to be coming off the Bush Administration’s increasingly hollow defense of its decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), the Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

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Did Libby’s Lawyers Botch His Case?


The jury’s been locked away for eight days now, popping their heads out to make unsuccessful requests for dictionaries and even losing one of their number to the gaping jaws of “media exposure.” In the meantime, CNN reports that presiding judge Reggie Walton has released a memorandum opinion clarifying for the record that he feels the defense has acted to mislead both himself and prosecutors. Specifically, he charges the Libby lawyers with fostering the idea that their client would take the stand during months of closed-door court hearings, and notes that this presumption figured strongly into his decisions to admit or deny classified material throughout the trial. The judge also suggests that Libby’s team could have upped its chances of acquittal had it called Vice President Dick Cheney to the stand.

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Newt Blames The Victims of Katrina


(Newt Gingrich, speaking at CPAC) blamed the residents of New Orleans’ 9th Ward for a “failure of citizenship,” by being “so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane.”

And he called for a “deep investigation” into this “failure of citizenship.”

Here’s the full quote:

How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn’t get out of the way of a hurricane. (emphasis original)

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BAGHDAD, Monday, March 5 — Iraqi special forces and British troops stormed the offices of an Iraqi government intelligence agency in the southern city of Basra on Sunday, and British officials said they discovered about 30 prisoners, some showing signs of torture.

The raid appeared to catch Iraq’s central government by surprise and raised new questions about the rule of law in the Shiite-dominated south, where less than two weeks ago Britain announced plans for a significant reduction in its forces because of improved stability.

News of the Basra raid, with its resonant themes of torture and sectarian-driven conflict, coincided with the next stage of the intensified security plan here in Baghdad, where more than 1,100 American and Iraqi soldiers moved into Sadr City, a stronghold of Iraq’s largest Shiite militia. The soldiers met no resistance in what the Americans called the plan’s biggest test yet.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite, condemned the raid in Basra. He publicly said nothing about the evidence of torture.

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Lawmakers: Reforms Needed at Walter Reed


WASHINGTON — The flagship U.S. hospital for injured soldiers is in need of serious reforms, lawmakers said Monday as they began to delve into charges of poor living conditions and bureaucratic delays in treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

“This is absolutely the wrong way to treat our troops, and serious reforms need to happen… immediately,” said Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass.

He questioned whether problems at the facility are “just another horrific consequence” of inadequate planning that went into war in Iraq; a problem created by contracting out work there to private business, or some other cause.

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The sudden resignation of a top government official involved in the sacking of US attorneys has raised eyebrows in Congress. The chairperson of a congressional subcommittee investigating the situation said that the official’s sudden exit from government service showed that “the wheels seem to be coming off” the administration’s defense of its actions.

The Associated Press today reported the resignation of Michael A. Battle as Director of the Executive Office for US Attorneys. According to the AP report, Battle “had personally informed the ousted U.S. attorneys of their removal” but was reportedly not involved in the decision-making leading to the firings.

He had, AP reported, “notified U.S. attorneys of his decision in January and had informed the department last summer that he wished to pursue opportunities in the private sector.” A DOJ spokesperson told the AP that “His departure is not connected to the U.S. attorney controversy whatsoever.”

Battle’s resignation raised the suspicions of Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee who are investigating the firing of US Attorneys by the Bush White House.

“The wheels seem to be coming off the Bush Administration’s increasingly hollow defense of its decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys,” said Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA), the Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

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Dow, Nasdaq Head Toward Lower Opening


NEW YORK — Wall Street appeared headed for a lower opening Monday as stock markets around the world suffered further selloffs.

The overseas pullback, in which Japan’s Nikkei stock average saw its biggest one-day drop since June as the yen hit a three-month high against the dollar, resembled the selling that triggered the recent unease in world markets last Tuesday.

Investors could find some relief from comments attributed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson by Japan’s finance minister, Koji Omi. Neither Omi nor Paulson, who began a three-nation Asian tour in Tokyo on Monday, were concerned by the fluctuations in regional stock markets, Omi told reporters in Tokyo. Both men contend the market mechanism was functioning well, Omi said.

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