Friday, August 19, 2005

Ahoy there, me hearties! 

My conservative friend Medium Jim asked me when I was going to post something on this Able Danger controversy. The way that story continues to curve up and around, I'm inclined to stay the hell away from it.

Cernig has a liberal take.

Captain Feathersword has a conservative one.

Read one or both, then synthesize or dismiss at your leisure. If y'all want to generate a lively discussion about this in the comments, be my guest. If not, submit something funny or interesting. As for me, I'm seacresting this one out.

And, yes, Captain Feathersword is a Wiggles reference. In terms of gravitas, I rate him about equal to Cap'n Ed.

On a side note, I must say that I'm most impressed by the Wiggles' commitment to recycling. Sure, everyone loves their catchy songs and funny skits, but what they've done with those old Star Trek uniforms is of the highest merit.

Four hot potatoes
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Dead Blog Walking 

Early on, yesterday, Greg alerted me to this Democratic strategy memo that had fallen into the hands of Moon Griffon (the "Rush Limbaugh" of LA). Basically, it's a plan for a Democratic internet response to the "relentless daily message-peddling by GOP surrogates operating in the traditional mainstream media, on talk radio, and through a collection of web sites on the Internet."

The "plan", so to speak, is a political blog.

I can't summarize how tedious and tentative this memo is, as it outlines the proposed Democratic internet gameplan, and some of the foreseen complications. (Making the site officially unofficial is one of the concerns.) After reading the memo, I think they should consider naming the plan "Dead Blog Walking", because the smell of death-by-committee/split-the-difference-groupthink is all over this thing. For example, they won't even call it a "blog".

What we're talking about could be more accurately described as a web log, or "blog," but since Andrew doesn't like that term we'll use "web site" instead.

Great freakin' start, guys! You think "blog" is too hip and weird for Louisianans? Is that it? Ok, why not just call it "Digital Truth Portal of the Godhead", how about that? Is that better? Will that work for ya? And is the memo referring to Andrew Konechusky, director of the LA Dems, or to someone else? I want to know which Andrew can't handle the word "blog", especially in light of the following "Rule":

There are a couple key points to this operation, Bob, and No. 1 is that we all should be absolutely clear that entertainment is what engages people and keeps them coming back to the site. People don't want to be harangued; they don't want to be preached at. They want to be entertained, and if you can make them laugh or even chuckle, all the better.

Entertaining the reader -- and us -- is Rule One.

Jeezm, they wanna be funny and yet they're too tight-assed about the word "blog"?! Yeah, this is gonna be a huge success! I'd set the over/under on the actual laughs intentionally generated from this "web site" at about 4. (I'm not talking per day, either. This o/u is for the entire life of blog the "web site". For reference purposes, I will note that YRHT's o/u for total laughs was 43, which it happily surpassed in it's 58th week. )

But then, in one scintillating paragraph/sentence, a bold internet vision is presented!

At some point we also would open a comments section.

Now that's the spirit! Like I always say: If you're gonna dare to dream.... you should dream big! I remember the day I summoned the courage to open a comments section. I still get goosebumps when I remember that final, momentous click which set the whole thing in motion....

Oh yes, the memo furnishes more details about the project. And they are no less painful:

I suggest the Working Group, at least in the beginning, include representatives from the political operations of the governor, the senior U.S. Senator, the lieutenant governor, the state party, maybe the state Treasurer and/or Attorney General, and possibly someone either representing or familiar with the workings of the Legislature.

This group would conference once a week at a specific and regular time of day to discuss the issues and situations to be addressed on the site that week....

Could I sit in on this weekly brainstorm? I'll even bring the coffee and beignets. Please, may I? The whole arrangement sounds positively magical, if you think about it. And since Rule #1 dictates that the authors of the "web site" entertain themselves, well, I bet this will be one raucous, slaphappy "Working Group"!! It certainly doesn't sound like the sort of place where political comedy goes to die. No, not at all.

More memo strategery, if ya can handle it:
On the geek side of this deal, I think at first we should go small, cheap and easy. A ready-made solution, something like Movable Type or Blogger, is pretty much all of those things. Should the site become popular and traffic exceed the limits of the first solution, we could always move to something larger, at which point the site could well become financially self-sustaining.

From the looks of it, I don't think they'll need to worry about excessive traffic.

Seriously, are there any Progressive bloggers eager to link to this clustermuck?

Update: Has the proposed blogger "Working Group" been made aware of all the risks involved?
Update #2: Here's the First two 'graphs from the T-P story:

Gov. Kathleen Blanco's administration fell into a spotlight of criticism this week after the leak of a confidential memo that calls for the creation of an anonymous, anti-Republican Web site secretly controlled by a cadre of Blanco and Democratic Party officials.

But Bob Mann, Blanco's communications director, who received the advice from a media-savvy friend, said Friday the administration is not interested in pursuing the idea.
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Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Tiger, Tiger, burning bright" 

Last week I made a snide remark about boring SEC mascots like "Tigers" and "Bulldogs". Jeffrey reminded me that even seemingly banal names often have an interesting history behind them. In the case of LSU, that is true. (Auburn, on the other hand, lamely sources their nickname to a line from an Oliver Goldsmith poem: "where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey...". Yawn. William Blake would've been a much cooler choice.)

Given this, I read the following story from Tiger Weekly with an elevated level of interest (via the DP):

LSU's mascot, the Tiger, evolved from a New Orleans-based volunteer army company named the Tiger Rifles. Dating back to the 1830s, the snarling tiger logo gained recognition from the famous Washington Artillery of New Orleans during the Civil War. The first president of LSU after the war, Major David French Boyd, chose the Tiger to represent LSU because of the reputation of both the Tiger Rifles and Washington Artillery.

Ok. So my grandfather passed on last year at the ripe age of 99. (His older brother just died a couple weeks ago. He was 104.) Anyways, grandad was a history junkie who became intensely interested in his family's history. He traced his family tree back to the Mennonites who fled religious oppression in what is now Switzerland during the mid-1700's, and resettled in Lancaster county, PA, where my grandfather grew up.

Well, at least, most of his family settled there. Unbeknownst to my grandfather at the time, there was another branch of the Eshleman clan who settled in New Orleans. One day about twenty years ago, during one of his visits to Gettysburg, my grandfather came upon this monument-- a Confederate monument with the name "Eshleman" on it! This was a rather shocking discovery to grandad, because he thought all the Eshlemans had come through Maryland and found sanctuary in the farmlands of Pennsylvannia. That day, my grandfather learned that a certain Confederate Captain Benjamin Franklin Eshleman was perhaps the most noteworthy person in his extended family tree, because he ordered the preliminary artillery shots which preceeded Pickett's Charge.

Several years ago, when my grandfather learned I was living in New Orleans, he wanted me to do some research on the family tree. That is, on the Southern, Confederate branch he'd never known about. Suffice it to say, I met some extremely helpful Eshlemans here in New Orleans, and one of them had a veritable treasure trove of organized geneaological data, which I copied and sent home to my grandfather. Through me, Grandad traded some materials with his "cousins" here in N.O., and was delighted to learn all about this newfound family history. (Personally, I'm not a geneaology buff. I belong to the "choose your own ancestors" school of thought; but I'm enormously thankful that I was able to perform a meaningful favor for my old grandfather during his final years.)

Getting back to LSU: What's interesting is that Cap'n Benjamin Franklin Eshleman, Louisiana native, commanded the famous Washington Artillery (LA), 4th Company during the battle of Gettysburg. Thus, I'm connected, distantly, to the very source of the LSU Tiger mascot which I recently mocked.

Aw well, you learn something new every day.

Here's a couple snippets from Eshleman's battlefield reports, which I simply had to excerpt for the digital record:

Gettysburg (PA):

Owing to the excessive heat, dry weather, and dust, the march was a severe one, but the endurance of the men and animals proved equal to the task, and my command arrived at Gettysburg in good fighting condition.
During the morning, the enemy threw forward heavy lines of skirmishers, endeavoring to gain the ravine and cover of the woods in my front. My guns, with those of Captain Taylor, opened upon them moderately with evident effect. The enemy's batteries replied, but I paid little attention to them, seldom answering their fire at their batteries, in order to save my ammunition for the grand attack.

Early in the day my attention was called by Captain Richardson to a 3-inch rifled gun (that had been abandoned by the enemy the previous day) standing between the lines, about 300 yards in advance of our line of skirmishers. The horses had all been killed, and lay harnessed to the piece. William Forrest and Jim Brown (drivers), of Captain Richardson's company, immediately volunteered and earnestly requested permission to bring it off. Having given them directions how to proceed, I allowed them to do so, and the piece was drawn off under a heavy fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. Several shots struck the carriages, but the men and horses were unharmed. The limber contained about 50 rounds of ammunition, and the gun was immediately placed in position by Captain Richardson.
Between 1 and 2 p.m. you ordered me to give the signal for opening along the entire line. Two guns in quick succession were fired from Captain Miller's battery, and were immediately followed by all the battalions along the line opening simultaneously upon the enemy behind his works. The enemy answered vigorously, and a most terrific artillery duel ensued. Notwithstanding a most galling fire from the enemy's artillery from behind his works, and an enfilade fire from the mountain on my right, my men stood bravely to their work, and by their steady and judicious firing caused immense slaughter to the enemy.
My officers, non-commissioned officers, and men, by their good judgment, intrepidity, and zealous conduct on the field, fully sustained the proud reputation already won on so many bloody fields.

Williamsport (MD):

On reaching Cashtown, I placed my battalion in the column of wagons, distributing it in sections, at intervals of about a mile. A drenching rain, which continued during the afternoon and night, made the roads very heavy, and my men and horses suffered much from the forced march, having made the whole distance from Gettysburg to Williamsport without halting to feed, and only once to water.

About 5 p.m. the enemy made his appearance in force with cavalry and artillery on the Boonsborough road, and soon afterward on the Hagerstown road. Dismounting his cavalry, he threw forward heavy lines of skirmishers, and placed a battery on each side of the Boons-borough road. Captains Miller and Norcom opened on him, but the range was found too great for their Napoleon guns. Captains Moore's and Hart's batteries engaged their right battery, but soon exhausted their short supply of ammunition, and had to withdraw.
Seeing our only salvation was to make a bold and determined attack, I immediately advanced Captain Miller's battery about 600 yards, ordering the line of skirmishers forward with him. The enemy deployed his skirmishers to the right, and soon got possession of a house and commanding position immediately on the right of Captain Miller's position, from whence he was annoying Miller very much. I directed Captain Norcom, who had advanced his Napoleon gun, to shell the house, and at the same time ordered our skirmishers on my right to advance and drive the enemy back. This was executed at once, and we afterward held the position.

Lieutenant Battles during this time engaged the enemy farther to the right with his howitzer, checking his advance on a farm road, and Captains Squires and Richardson, on the left of the center, handsomely beating back his advancing column over the Hagerstown road.

Having assumed command of all the artillery, and the unerring and destructive fire of my guns under Captains Miller and Norcom having signally repulsed the enemy in their front, my attention and presence was directed to the left, where Captains Squires and Richardson were gallantly battling with the enemy in this unequal contest. As soon as Hart and Moore had retired, Captain Richardson sent his two Napoleons, under Lieut. Samuel Hawes, to hold that part of the line. Hawes fought the enemy under a most galling fire, in which he lost in killed and wounded 12 men on one piece.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the officers, non-commissioned officers, and men of my battalion for the zeal and devotion manifested on this occasion. They had just undergone a most fatiguing march of two days and two nights, without sleep, food, or rest. Nevertheless, on the approach of the enemy they sprang with alacrity to their guns, and, by their assiduity and courage and noble defense of our wounded men and transportation, and of Williamsport, have again placed the service and their commanding officer under lasting obligations.
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Reclaim the Game 

This week ESPN is running its coverage of the World Series of Poker circuit championship in New Orleans. The tournament was taped back in May, but I had not followed the results so it was all news to me. I'm pleased to report that two LSU grads beat out the Texans and pros, and battled amongst themselves for the ring. Summary here.

Poker was introduced to America through New Orleans, and I think local cardplayers here should endeavour to make a name for themselves on the lucrative, worldwide poker stage. Don't let those Texans have all the fun!

Speaking of which: avoid taking poker tips from this guy. He doesn't know when to fold'em.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Not the locus of a new revolution" 

Regarding the Sheehan protest, I pretty much agree with Mr. Peters' post on the matter, and also recommend the links he provides. You should go read that first, if you haven't done so.

One of his links is to a post at the conservative blog A Small Victory. Here's one quote that caught my eye:

...the left [has] glommed onto Sheehan's grief as if it were some magic potion that would miraculously make all their dreams of getting Bush out of the White House come true. She's their panacea, the be-all and end-all of publicity stunts, an icon ready made for media and the furthering of agendas. Sheehan is the savior of the anti-war cause. The only problem with being a savior is the likelihood that you'll end up dying on the cross they nailed you to.

Now, beyond the overheated rhetoric, I think there's a point of substance there. It's shocking how well those on the Left can quickly organize around a Sheehan, or a Downing Street Memo, and yet... for what? It seems as if there's no sense of grand strategy or endgame in these political maneuvers. I suggest taking a page from the other side's playbook and develop an easily understood argument that can be encapsulated in a phrase or two and repeated ad infinitum. For example, your average Joe doesn't know or care about "Downing Street". And if it takes fifteen minutes to explain a British memo about Bush's determination to fix intel on Iraq around a predetermined policy to invade, well, Buckwheat, you've already lost the political game. The left should stick to short points which resonate with moderates and put the other side on the defensive. (Luckily, I suspect the Plamegate scandal is shaping up in a way that will be invulnerable to even the most hapless framing by the Dems.)

Why do you think, whenever LA's coastal erosion issue arises, I keep harping on the $100 million Bush requested for restoring Iraqi wetlands? That's the frame, because it provides a winning political context for any further argument. And when the game is fixed in your favor, you need to play it at any possible opportunity.

Here's a simpler example: Say a dim moderate voter is watching you argue with a wingnut. Wingnut says: "freedom isn't free". Your response shouldn't begin, "Well first I think we should harken back to Rousseau's famous quote... blah blah blah... Downing Street explanation blah blah." The dim moderate has tuned out long ago, and will only retain the wingnut's simplistic statement.

Take two: same situation. Wingnut says: "freedom isn't free." Your response: "freedom isn't dumb, either". Dim moderate chuckles, and starts thinking about Bushco's stupidity rather than simple feel-good truisms.

Somerby understands this point about winning frames-- perhaps better than anyone. Here are some of his recent thoughts, which I'll quote at length:

What did that phrase from the memo really mean? It's hard to tell, and we don't have a tape of what "C" really told Tony Blair. But if you know how to read a book [Woodward's
Plan of Attack], it's easy to see that the Bush Admin was "fixing the intelligence" soon after that memo. And by the way, it wasn't just the nukes that were being "fixed." On September 26, 2002, Bush restated his "new unequivocal charge" about WMD-- the one he'd adopted, for the first time, two weeks after the Downing Street memo. And when the great war leader spoke, he pimped another phony tale, too. Treat yourself to a mordant chuckle as Woodward gives Tenet's reaction:

WOODWARD (page 189): Repeating the new unequivocal charge about Iraq's WMD programs he had adopted three weeks earlier, Bush said, "The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. The Iraqi regime is building the facilities necessary to make more." Ratcheting up another notch, he added, "And according to the British government, the Iraqi regime could launch a biological or chemical attack in as little as 45 minutes after the order were given."

Tenet and the CIA had warned the British not to make that allegation, which was based on a questionable source, and almost certainly referred to battlefield weapons-- not ones that Iraq could launch at neighboring countries, let alone American cities. Tenet referred privately to this as the "they-can-attack-in-45-minutes-shit."

So according to Woodward, Bush was soon out there talking "shit" about this other scary matter! By the way, where was Bush's National Security Adviser while all this lunacy was occurring? Oh yeah! She was also out there talking "shit" too, about those scary aluminum tubes. None of this is any big mystery. You just have to read Woodward's book.

These are some of the simple facts about the Bush Admin's "fixing of intel." Liberals who want the truth to be known should be reciting these points almost constantly; instead, they've spent their time in the past six weeks staring at the Downing Street memo, trying to mind-read its pithy constructions. But then, liberals and Democrats have constantly failed to make a good case about this theme-- about the way the Bush Admin went out there and faked the intelligence. At this time, your liberal and Democratic elites are almost impossibly inept when it comes to framing messages. And this unfortunate trait has been on display when it comes to the faking of intel.

Did the Bush Admin fake the intel in the wake of the Downing Street memo?
Of course they did; they began to scare us silly about Saddam's nukes, grossly misstating the intel to do it. But this is not what liberals say when they discuss this theme on TV, where voters might actually learn from their work.
We can't explain why our current lib/Dem elites are so intellectually lazy. It has now been several years, but they keep repeating this hopeless meme-- and going down in flames when they do. The conversation is hopeless but constant. Here is the way it works:

LIBERAL/DEMOCRAT: Bush lied when he said there were WMD!

MODERATOR: But Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Dean all said the same thing.

LIBERAL/DEMOCRAT: Yes, but what I really hate is when Bush or Powell said [move on to different complaint]...
Exactly. Forget DSM and the "famous" 16 words (unless you can find the author of the forged memo upon which it was based); instead, why doesn't everyone know about Bush's claim (made on a pres. radio address, I believe) that Hussein could launch a WMD attack in 45 minutes! I sure as hell know that Clinton/Gore/Kerry/Dean never tried to sell us on that hysteria, which CIA Director (and Medal of Freedom awardee) Tenet described as "shit". Nor did they try to sell us on the model airplanes misting anthrax, nor the mushroom clouds, nor the aluminum tubes.... Why didn't Bush have to apologize and retract this false, shitty "45-minute"claim?

The publicity surrounding Ms. Sheehan's grief and protest goes for naught if liberals can't make an anti-war case that resonates with the rest of America. Merely saying "Bush lied" does not a case make.

Another note: Bush's incendiary "Bring'em on" comment (among others) is eternal political gold, and quite literally cannot be over-emphasized.

This (+1) could prove handy, as well.
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Are you ready for some inflated pigskin? 

How'd I miss this item from last year?

INDIANAPOLIS -- It sounds like a left-handed compliment, but Peyton Manning might be the best "amphibious" quarterback in the NFL.

Manning, who threw four touchdown passes Monday to power the Indianapolis Colts past the Minnesota Vikings, 31-28, set up the game-winning field goal with a play that required the hands of a magician. On third and five, with a defender in his face, he improvised by throwing a left-handed shovel pass for the first down.

Not since his days at Isidore Newman High had he thrown a pass with his left hand.

"My high school coach used to tell me, 'You've got to be amphibious when you're sprinting to the left,' " Manning said with a smile. "I'd say, 'You mean ambidextrous.' [He'd say], 'Nah, nah, amphibious.' That was his expression."

Whaddya expect for a lousy $13k/year tuition, anyway?

... I kid my friends at Newman... I kid...honest... *gulp*.... please don't blacklist my daughter!

Being amphibious must be helpful, though, when one is avoiding threatening aquamarine mammals with spewing blowholes... not that any in particular come to mind.

Luckily the Saints' QB, Aaron Brooks-- UVA grad, anthropology major, and tireless literacy advocate-- chooses his words carefully.

Nothing like a 20,000 dropoff in season ticket sales to bring a grumpus owner back to the bargaining table with Queen Bee.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Internal Combustion 

GWB (5/16/05):

Americans are concerned about high prices at the pump, and they're really concerned as they start making their travel plans, and I understand that. I wish I could just wave a magic wand and lower the price at the pump; I'd do that. That's not how it works. You see, the high prices we face today have been decades in the making.

Not really. Other than the early 80's spike, Real gas prices trended downwards for eight decades prior to their recent rise.

Price of Unleaded circa 1988 (back when autos averaged 22.1 mpg versus the 21.0 they average today):


The Houston Chronicle (via Blondesense) interviews our business leaders for their perspective:

"I love these prices. The higher, the better," said Frank Gafke, of Galveston, a senior service leader for Halliburton on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Gafke said Halliburton's profits - and his savings account - had increased markedly since fuel prices began rising. He predicted that prices soon will reach $3 per gallon for automobile drivers, as well as for recreational boaters.

Amazing "prediction", Frank.

Crude is at $66 per barrel and Congress' Energy Bill gives the oil boys $2.6 billion worth of incentives to look for more black gold?!? Well, "howdy-do" to that.

And by all means, let's shelve ideas like these (NYT via Robot Invasion):

The Bush administration is expected to abandon a proposal to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummer H2's and other huge sport utility vehicles, auto industry and other officials say.

The proposal was among a number of potential strategies outlined by the administration in 2003 to overhaul mileage requirements for light trucks - sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and minivans. It had been seen by industry officials as likely to be adopted.

But the impact of the tougher requirements would have been borne almost solely by the increasingly troubled domestic auto industry, a [political?] concern for the administration.
The rules, the first major rewriting of fuel economy standards since they were created in the 1970's, will be released late this month. They are sure to renew vigorous debate about the nation's dependence on foreign oil, a matter underlined by rapidly rising oil and gas prices.
Because cars, S.U.V.'s and other light-duty vehicles account for 40 percent of the nation's oil use, changes in the regulatory system are always watched closely, more so in an era of increased concern over foreign oil imports, rising fuel prices and debate on the effects of global warming.

The broad outline of the Bush plan is almost certain to meet objections from environmentalists and those hoping for an aggressive approach to curbing dependence on foreign oil.
Larger sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks weighing more than 8,500 pounds when loaded, like many Hummers and Ford Excursions, have been exempt from the regulations. When the system was created, vehicles of that weight were generally used for commercial purposes, but now hundreds of thousands sold each year are intended for family use.

Automakers have had powerful incentives to produce such vehicles because they are exempt from fuel regulations, have had rich profit margins, and many consumers can claim tax breaks for them. The administration had suggested including larger S.U.V.'s in fuel economy regulations in a first wave of proposals in December 2003, but domestic automakers objected that such a move would harm their fragile bottom lines.
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I bless the gains down in Africa 

Congressman William Jefferson (LA-02)


Subpoenas and search warrants related to the Aug. 3 search of Jefferson's New Orleans and Washington homes indicated that federal investigators are examining business transactions, possibly involving Nigeria and one other African nation, according to a source who has seen the documents.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that a federal sting has been under way for almost a year, centered on the eight-term New Orleans Democrat, and that agents who raided his homes found a large sum of cash in a freezer.

The Post, quoting law enforcement officials, said the probe, now under the supervision of U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty in northern Virginia, centers on whether Jefferson took money to help a Virginia high-tech startup company.
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Monday, August 15, 2005

Do what now? 

Norbizness has an excellent, well-titled Iraq news digest. And here's the summation:

So we have a tripartite stalemate in a country without basic utilities, largely protected by unaccountable private security forces because the regular soldiers don't have appropriate body armor, racked by graft, fraud, and 70 daily attacks, all stemming from an unrealistic situation only recently, anonymously acknowledged by a bunch of timid Administration officials some thirty months later. I think that's what everyone signed up for, right?
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Slowly, we seem to be getting more and more answers about the Plamegate scandal. John Avarosis summarizes a recent report by Murray Waas, in case you missed it.

1. Why did then Atty-Gen John Ashcroft recuse himself?

Here's a selection from Waas' article:
Justice Department officials made the crucial decision in late 2003 to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame in large part because investigators had begun to specifically question the veracity of accounts provided to them by White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to senior law enforcement officials.

Several of the federal investigators were also deeply concerned that then attorney general John Ashcroft was personally briefed regarding the details of at least one FBI interview with Rove, despite Ashcroft's own longstanding personal and political ties to Rove... The same sources said Ashcroft was also told that investigators firmly believed that Rove had withheld important information from them during that FBI interview.

Then Avarosis writes: "Rove is such an arrogant bastard. He plays word games and semantics with political people and the press all the time. That doesn't work with the FBI. Actually, the FBI prosecutes people who lie to them." That's exactly it. Rove thinks he's smarter than everyone else, and he's tried to outgame the FBI. Luckily, a brilliant apolitical prosecutor is on the case. He can cut through der Karl's hubris and gamesmanship lightning quick.

2. Will Patrick Fitzgerald be removed from the investigation?

Waas says, "No worries", on his blog. Fitzie's bosses love him, the public respects him and no politician wants to oppose this latter-day "Eliot Ness". Unless the Bush administration wants to follow the ole Nixon Watergate script of firing the investigator (which ultimately failed) they're stuck with the relentless Fitzgerald. And he will dissect them like... frogs.

3. Who picked this guy anyway?

This is Somerby's question, and it remains a good one. Was he selected randomly, or is there some "embedded patriot" within the administration who deserves a huge amount of gratitude?
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