Monday, March 26, 2007

What Elizabeth Edwards Said

I didn't watch Sixty Minutes last night. I'd like to say there was some principle to that. (Someone told me she wasn't watching because she can't stand Katie Couric. Not that it would have mattered to CBS; my friend is in the wrong demo. But my reason was that I was having too much fun with my Apple TV. There I've said it.)

But here's what Elizabeth Edwards said:
"You know, you really have two choices here. I mean, either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday or you start dying. That seems to be your only two choices. If I had given up everything that my life was about – first of all, I'd let cancer win before it needed to. You know, maybe eventually it will win. But I'd let it win before I needed to.

And I'd just basically start dying. I don't want to do that. I want to live. And I want to do the work that I want next year to look like last year and... and the year after that and the year after that. And the only way to do that is to say I'm going to keep on with my life."

Mickeleh's Take: I'm sorry for the circumstance that compels Elizabeth Edwards to draw so soon on her enormous courage, strength, and wisdom. But it's a comfort to know that she has all three in such abundance. I've heard commentators throw the phrase "teaching moment" a lot since we learned of the return of her cancer. The phrase sounds awfully glib and pre-packaged. But Elizabeth Edwards taught me something in those remarks. I hope I can remember them in case of emergency.

By the way, for a perspective on Katie Couric from someone who did watch, see Taylor Marsh at HuffPo.

(Tag: )

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Attorneygate: A Slo-mo Saturday Night Massacre

When the Attorneygate story first broke, it looked to me like a slow-mo replay of a key event in the downfall of Richard Nixon, the "Saturday Night Massacre" as skewered by Herblock's cartoon with a one-word caption: "Mugging." (The cufflinks bear the initials, R.N.)

With Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox closing in, Nixon issued a simple order to his attorney general: fire Cox.

The A.G., Elliot Richardson, refused and resigned. Richardson's deputy, William Ruckelshaus did likewise.

At that point, the Solicitor General became acting Attorney General. And he carried out the order.

Who was that guy? Robert Bork, whose name became a verb when his nomination to the Supreme Court (by Reagan in 1987) was successfully challenged by the Senate.

See also: Oliver Willis: Somewhere, Richard Nixon is Thanking Bush for Making Him Look Good.

Times Scoop: White House vs Gonzales. It's starting

The Bush gang is not the the prime demographic for riding the bus. But they're starting to learn the routes. "Thrown under the bus" is fast becoming the operant phrase of the great unraveling. On Monday, the embattled A.G. (same initials for office and office-holder) tossed his own flunky, D. Kyle Sampson, under the bus for failing to make a clean getaway after replacing eight U.S. prosecutors with Rovian flunkies. "Mistakes were made here" said the A.G. without specifiying what and by whom.

According to Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Jeff Stolberg in the NY Times, some unnamed Republican insider confided, "“I really think there’s a serious estrangement between the White House and Alberto now."

From the White House perspective, there's no mistake in the firings.
  • Perfectly OK to fire Carol C. Lam who successfully prosecuted Randy Cunningham and was, surely on the trail of even more Republican malfeasance.
  • Perfectly OK to can Bud Cummings to make room for the Rove protege who managed the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice.
  • Perfectly OK to can David Iglesias who resisted pressure from Sen. Pete Domenici to embarrass the Democrats before the election.
  • Perfectly OK to can John McKay who wouldn't bow to pressure from a Republican operative to challenge the squeaker election of Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire with allegations of voter fraud. None of those were mistakes.
So what were the mistakes? Getting caught at it. As conveyed to the Times' reporters by another unnamed Republican: “I think Rove and Bolten believe there is the potential for erosion of the president’s credibility on this issue.”

Mickeleh's Take: What Credibility?

More on

(Tags: , , , , , )

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Administration Warns Scientists on Mentioning Polar Bears

For a giant carnivore, polar bears are awfully cute—cute enough to help sell Coke as a secular second banana to Santa. They're also cute enough to provide one of the most heartbreaking icons of the devastation of global warming—swimming to exhaustion and death as the distances between safe, solid patches of arctic ice continue to grow.

The plight of the exhausted polar bear swimming to death packs an emotional wallop that, weirdly, hits folks harder than the disruptions to the economic and cultural life of humans, or the starving of reindeer. There's a thesis in there -- or a fine column by a writer with more time and talent than I can bring to the issue.

Oh yes, and the plight of the polar bear is also the subject of a suit by environmental groups seeking to have it listed as an endangered species.

So, naturally, the Bush administration is finally doing something about global warming: The Fish and Wildlife Service is telling scientists not to mention the polar bears. According to Andrew C. Revkin in NYT, if the polar bears are officially listed as endangered it might force action on restricting greenhouse gases.

Americablog has the memo.
“Please be advised that all foreign travel requests (SF 1175 requests) and any future travel requests involving or potentially involving climate change, sea ice and/or polar bears will also require a memorandum from the regional director to the director indicating who’ll be the official spokesman on the trip and the one responding to questions on these issues, particularly polar bears.”
More on

Mickeleh's Take: It serves those ungodly polar bears right for letting Coke recruit them into the secular war on Christmas.

(Tags: , , ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

NYT: McCain, Giuliani, Romney condemn Coulter's Remarks

Adam Nagourney reports that three of the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have put some distance between themselves and the remarks made by Coulter at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The Edwards campaign is asking supporters to sending him "Coulter Cash." Their goal: raising $100,000.

McCain (through a spokesperson): "... wildly inappropriate..."
Giuiliani: "... "completely inappropriate... "
Romney (through a spokesperson): "... an offensive remark..."

Even more encouraging, many conservative voices at are chiming in to condemn the remarks. Most of them are pragmatic condemnations ("this isn't helping the cause") rather than moral outrage. But it's a start.

Mickeleh's Take: Coulter has been skating on thin ice for years. It's time she fell through.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Coulter Pulls Yucks from CPAC by Calling Edwards a ""

It's called finding the level of the room. A weak comic working bluer and bluer until finally the laughs start coming. Ann Coulter found the level of the Conservative Political Action Conference with this line:
“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”
Before Coulter took the podium Mitt Romney, whose strongest qualification is a square chin that makes Chris Matthews weak in the knees, said this:
“I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!”
Video of both is up on Think Progress.

That Coulter makes a living from unholy hate speech, is an overplayed dog-bites-man bit of non news. What's essential to take from this event is that she makes said living from a depraved audience that applauds, approves, and draws energy from her antics.

Mickeleh's Take
: That Coulter would extend her string of hate-speech for laughs is to be expected. That the conservative base eats it up is to be remembered. That Romney is pandering to this crowd is to no avail. That C-SPAN broadcast this and that Memeorandumis abuzz with it is to flip on the kitchen lights see see the cockroach infestation in our home.

Dick Cheney Brings Us "An Inadvertent Truth"

Here in the last throes of the Cheney vice presidency we're getting some unexpected treats:

First, a game of good-cop-bad-cop where Cheney plays good cop and casts the Democrats as bad cop. Yes, the Democrats, relentlessly ridiculed as softies by Cheney, Rove, and the Wurlitzer, are now cast as the tough cops.
"Cheney's message to military ruler Pervez Musharraf: Bush and I may still love you guys, but those uptight Democrats in Congress are going to kick your ass unless you get serious about stopping Al Qaeda."
Second, an official White House news release in which an unnamed "senior administration official" pierces his own veil of secrecy by speaking in the first person:
"I've seen some press reporting says, 'Cheney went in to beat up on them, threaten them.' That's not the way I work."
And now, a new wrinkle on justifying the war in Iraq. A defense of the war crowned with a nugget of actual, if inadvertent, truth. Tim Grieve plucked this gem out of Cheney's address to CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee):
"In these circumstances, it's worth reminding ourselves that, like it or not, the enemy we face in the war on terror has made Iraq the primary front in that war. To use a popular phrase, this is an 'inconvenient truth.'"
Droll as ever, that Cheney. Cheney new line is a twist on an old favorite: We're fighting them in Iraq so we don't have to fight them in Afghanistan. But the inadvertant truth of Cheney's remark is this: The enemy of our success in the war on terror is an ideologically blinded administration that has poured resources into making Iraq a distracting front in that war, while allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to regroup, train, and prepare their surge in Afghanistan.

Before the towers fell, Bush was handed the famed daily brief, "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." He ignored it. Fast forward to now: I wonder what bin Laden is determined to do these days. According Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA bin Laden unit (1993-1996), "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US with Nuclear Weapon." Alternet has video of Schuer's interview with Keith Olbermann.

Mickeleh's Take: The direct cost of the Iraq war in lives, dollars, and honor is enormous. The opportunity cost may be even higher.