The Draft

Arguably the most important weekend for football fans savethe Superbowl, the draft was this weekend. While my gut instinct is to draft linmen in rounds 1-3, no mater what, the Steeelrs always draft the best player possible. It seems this time, they decided to make some bold moves and took Santonio Holmes. My only concern about him is hish height, as I like having big targets, but it sure looks like this guy is the real deal.

The Steelers also picked up Anthony Smith and Willie Reid. That means two things:

1.) I will spend the next two years accidentally calling people Santhony or Antonio.
2.) We will b e drafting linemen today.








Saturday Thread

Would you describe Republican government as more of a disaster from a deontological or a consequentialist perspective? Discuss.

BTW, apologies for tardy beer blogging. Friday was unexpectedly ridiculous and I am still catching up.








Hookergate Heats Up

Overnight we have learned quite a lot more about the “hospitality suites” that defense contractor MZM, Inc. maintained for Randy “Duke” Cunningham and an unknown number of other libidinous lawmakers.

First, via Josh Marshall’s new muckraking operation it appears that Mitchell Wade operated his sex ring for over 15 years. That stretches back into the Democratic Congressional era so no doubt the list of people who will soon have a serious chat with their wives (and their lawyers) includes lawmakers from both parties.

Several of Wilkes’ former employees and business associates say he used the hospitality suites over the past 15 years to curry favor with lawmakers as well as officials with the CIA, where both Wilkes and Wade sought contracts.

Wilkes hosted parties for lawmakers and periodic poker games that included CIA officials as well as members of the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Cunningham, who sat on both committees, was a frequent guest, according to some of the participants in the poker games.

Next, CIA Chief Porter Goss may have some explaining to do:

I’ve learned from a highly-connected source that those under intense scrutiny by the FBI are current and former lawmakers on Defense and Intelligence comittees — including one person who now holds a powerful intelligence post. [emphasis added]

Porter Goss inexplicably chose Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, a close friend and business associate of MZM’s Brent Wilkes, as his #3 man in CIA with a porfolio including appropriations. That seems like quite a boon for a firm whose niche consisted of inappropriately influencing lawmakers towards awarding it black defense- and intelligence-related contracts. Where did Goss meet Foggo? The shortest path between the two passes through MZM’s Watergate bacchanialiae.








“It’s Just a Flesh Wound…”

Looks like the Discovery Institute fools are still at it:

The Discovery Institute is finding some good in the December ruling by a federal judge that intelligent design could not be taught in a Pennsylvania school district.

“The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) sued to keep a few students in Pennsylvania from hearing about intelligent design, and as a result, they made sure everyone in the world heard about it,” said Stephen Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, which produces studies and reports about intelligent design.

Publicity wasn’t the only benefit of U.S. District Judge John Jones’ ruling. The decision five months ago is helping this Seattle think tank refine the way it promotes intelligent design as a challenge to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Bruce Chapman, founder of the institute which is the country’s primary supporter of intelligent design, said Jones’ ruling, which equated intelligent design with biblically based creationism, has been misread.

“We have problems on both sides,” he said. “There is no doubt that many conservative and liberals alike – if they have not studied the matter – mix up the science issue with religion.”

Putting aside the fact that if ANYONE is trying to mix religion and science, it is the folks pushing a view that an ‘intelligent designer’ created everything, I find it personally amusing that they consider this a PR ‘win.’ This Seattle Times piece shows a much more chagrined Chapman:

“Dover is a disaster in a sense, as a public-relations matter,” said Bruce Chapman, a former Seattle city councilman and founder of the Discovery Institute, the country’s primary supporter of intelligent design. “It has given a rhetorical weapon to the Darwinists to say a judge has settled this,” he said.

It ain’t over till it’s over, right, Bruce? This also startled me:

Leading conservative commentators — including talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh and syndicated columnist Cal Thomas — say the judge’s decision shows that intelligent design is a failed strategy in the effort to bring religion into the public schools.

“Let’s make no mistake,” Limbaugh said on his radio show. “The people pushing intelligent design believe in the biblical version of creation. Intelligent design is a way, I think, to sneak it into the curriculum and make it less offensive to the liberals.”

Rush Limbaugh, making sense.



Bush on Immigration

This is an interesting nugget:

President Bush generally favors plans to give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at U.S. citizenship without leaving the country, but does not want to be more publicly supportive because of opposition among conservative House Republicans, according to senators who attended a recent White House meeting.

Several officials familiar with the meeting also said Democrats protested radio commercials that blamed them for Republican-written legislation that passed the House and would make illegal immigrants vulnerable to felony charges.

When this administration is finally over, and historians look back, it will be interesting to look at Bush’s writings and find out what he actually belived in, and what he just went along with out of pure political calculus. I have never thought of Bush as a hater, racist, gay-basher, etc., and it will probably turn out that my instincts are correct. I am also not naive enough to think that this is the first President to ever allow political considerations to sway his behavior. It just seems that with Bush, that seems to be the case a helluva lot more than I would like.








Illicit Sex

Some of you may feel disappointed that scandals in the modern Republican era have mostly involved corrupting the levers of government for profit and partisan gain. Where’s the sex? You almost miss the days when reputable papers ran red with tales of Bill Clinton, Bob Packwood and Newt Gingrich crossing swords. Ken Starr’s angry 500-page coda practically came with a brown paper wrapper. There’s something cold about a party that transgresses for profit/partisan gain, and never for sex.

It appears that Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the most awe-inspiringly corrupt politician in recent memory, and his equally-audacious defense-contracting partner-in-crime Mitchell Wade have ended our long, sad drought of illicit government sex. From today’s WSJ:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn’t clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.

…Meanwhile, prosecutors are looking at whether they can make corruption cases against other lawmakers based on Mr. Wilkes’s campaign contributions to them. But lawyers expert in campaign-finance and criminal law say such cases are far more difficult to prove than those involving outright bribery. The government must show a direct “quid pro quo” that a lawmaker has taken action on a particular bill solely because of a campaign contribution.

Proof of the prostitution scheme, on the other hand, could provide potentially damaging evidence that Mr. Wilkes had taken illegal steps in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the investigation said.

I doubt that MZM, Inc. kept an entire suite of “hospitality rooms” at the Watergate Hotel exclusively for Duke Cunningham. If this story breaks further somebody will have some ‘splaining to do to their “family values” constituency.

BTW, of course it had to be the Watergate.








We Have To Stop Meeting Like This

Patrick Fitzgerald will meet today with his grand jury investigating the Plame story, and he is bringing a friend:

WASHINGTON – Top White House aide Karl Rove arrived at the federal courthouse Wednesday for his fifth grand jury appearance in the Valerie Plame affair.

…Earlier Wednesday, Rove consulted with his private lawyers in preparation of his afternoon grand jry appearance. People familiar with the case, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, said Rove was to answer questions about evidence that has emerged since his last grand jury appearance last fall.

That new evidence includes information that Rove’s attorney had conversations with Time magazine reporter Viveca Novak during a critical time in the case.

Months before Rove acknowledged speaking to Cooper about the CIA status of Plame, Novak told Rove’s lawyer the White House aide might have disclosed Plame’s CIA work to Cooper.

Fitzgerald has told Rove’s legal team recently that he has not made any decision on whether to charge the presidential aide and Rove hasn’t received a target notification that would indicate he is likely to be indicted, the people said.

His grand jury appearance comes a week after Rove, the architect of Bush’s election victories, gave up his policy duties at the White House as part of an administration remake to return him to a fulltime focus on politics.

Consensus opinion at the moment holds that Rove gave up his policy portfolio so that he would be a step or two away from the oval office when feds come to take him away, but that is only because I have not read many reactions from the right. Tom Maguire will doubtlessly weigh in soon about how this helps the White House.

In general I refuse to get very excited about the Plame story because anybody who does eventually go down will spend a year and a half appealing the verdict and then walk off with a presidential pardon. In the following ten or twelve years Lewis Libby and whomever else will collect ideological welfare checks from some partisan thinktank, and then when a suitable number of news cycles have come and gone they will find a happy home Elliot AbrahamsAbrams-style in some future administration. Being disgraced is not much of an impediment for people who do not feel shame.