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Friday, December 02, 2005

Why Nancy Johnson can lose to Murphy

Goldrick over at Daily Kos made some great points regarding the 5th district Congressional race and why Nancy Johnson should be worried.

From Daily Kos

Insightful Hartford Courant columnist Michelle Jacklin highlights Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson's (R-5th district) vulnerability and the strong fundraising start by her Democratic challenger Christopher Murphy.
Democrat Christopher Murphy, a second-term state senator from Cheshire, has quietly and methodically gone about the business of raising a quarter of a million dollars. It's more than any Johnson challenger has ever collected this early in a campaign and on a par with what Democrats in two higher-profile races - Joe Courtney in the 2nd District and Diane Farrell in the 4th - have in their treasuries.

Murphy will need all the funding he can get, because Johnson has been feeding mightily at the healthcare industry's trough. She received more than $1.2 mn from the healthcare industry last year and most of it still remains in her coffers. Johnson gained her place at the trough by dint of her chairing the Ways and Means Committee's subcommittee on health care.

Johnson was almost toppled in 1996 when she got mixed up in protecting Newt Gingrich.
Substitute DeLay for Gingrich and you've got a similar situation brewing. Also, the extremist agenda of President Bush and the GOP Congress hasn't resonated with Connecticut voters, even in the more conservative 5th, where Democrat John Kerry prevailed last year in traditional Republicans towns such as Canton and Simsbury and in Litchfield County.

Johnson is also vulnerable because she signed on to Bush's attempt to destroy Social Security through privatization early this year, although she is now attempting to slip away from the doomed plan.
Johnson is an architect of the new Medicare prescription drug program for seniors and the disabled, as confusing and cockamamie a program as ever was invented.

Chris Shays (CT R-4th district) is vlunerable for protecting Tom DeLay this year by voting to gut the Ethics Committee's power to launch a new ethics violation investigation. Nancy Johnson was chairman of the Ethics Committee in 1996 when she helped save Newt Gingrich.

It only takes the change of fifteen seats to retake the Congress; Connecticut has three seats to contribute!
Expect the races in Connecticut to be intense this election season.

Bomb threat closes courthouses across the state

Developing story

From the Hartford Courant
A bomb threat prompted police to evacuate the state's court buildings today, abruptly ending trials while sending judges, lawyers and people with routine court business into the streets.

Police and court officials wouldn't say how many of the state's 45 judicial court buildings were evacuated.

"All we know right now is there was a bomb threat," said Wayne Sandford, deputy homeland security commissioner. "We're trying to get information on it as we speak."

The telephone threat was made about 10 a.m. on a constituent phone line answered by a staff member in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office, gubernatorial spokesman David Dearborn said.

Local and state police bomb squads were notified about 11:30 a.m. that state police were requesting a sweep of state courthouses.

I'll post more info once I get more information.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Waterbury Alderman charged with drunk driving; involved in fatal hit and run

Where else but in Waterbury...

From WTNH (w/video)

A Waterbury alderman is charged in a hit-and-run that killed a 31-year-old woman. Michael D'Occhio is also accused of drunk driving.

The accident happened on Wednesday night on Lakewood Road in Waterbury. A car, driven by 29-year-old Democratic alderman D’Occhio, was traveling east on Lakewood and struck Jennifer Catalani who was crossing the street. She suffered severe head trauma and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

D'Occhio fled the scene; he then called the Waterbury police to say he was involved in an accident. Waterbury police detectives arrived at his home, interviewed D'Occhio, seized his car and arrested him. He’s charged with felony evading responsibility, second degree manslaughter, and driving under the influence.

Democrats show no love for Lieberman

Oh, it's tough to be Joe Lieberman these days. He definately not popular among liberals and his backstabbing op-ed piece has made him the darling among conservatives while angering most Democrats in Connecticut and across the nation.

While they might not come out and public criticize Lieberman publically, and can read between the lines and see that when it comes to the Democratic party, Lieberman is out in the cold.

From the Hartford Courant
Joe Lieberman stood virtually alone among Democrats Wednesday, his unyielding support for the administration's conduct of the Iraq war drawing warm praise from President Bush but no support from his own party.

In Bush's address on the progress of the war, the president described those who have called for withdrawal timetables - including 38 of the Senate's 44 Democrats - as "sincerely wrong."

Then he cited Lieberman.

"As Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would `discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists. It will confuse the Iraqi people.'

"Sen. Lieberman is right," the president said at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Not according to Democrats, who lined up at the Capitol and around the country to sharply criticize Bush's approach - and, in some cases, Lieberman's avid support.

"The war in Iraq has all the characteristics of Joe-momentum," said Tom Matzzie, Washington director of MoveOn.org, a liberal, Democratic-leaning activist group, recalling a slogan the senator used unsuccessfully during his 2004 presidential campaign.

"Just like he didn't realize his presidential ambitions were in trouble," Matzzie said, "he doesn't understand the war in Iraq isn't going anywhere."

Democratic Chairman Howard Dean, a 2004 Lieberman rival for the nomination, refused to discuss the senator, but he made it clear he found Bush's remarks lacking.

"The president failed to give an honest assessment of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq," Dean said. "Instead he released 35 pages of rhetoric and gave a speech full of slogans, but no clear plan."

In Connecticut, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd's comments were similar to those of Dean.

"I'm glad that the president has finally admitted to some of the problems over there," the Connecticut Democrat said. "But he continues, regretfully, to dodge, weave and evade all of the most important questions."

[...]

Lieberman's isolation within his own party became evident quickly Wednesday. Shortly after the president's address, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., told reporters the speech was "more generalities than specifics." Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., charged that "the president's not dealing with a certain kind of reality that's important to the lives of our troops."

In the House, Minority Leader Nancy D. Pelosi, D-Calif., called the speech "a commitment to the status quo - a status quo that is not working," and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., a war backer in 2002, called the speech too vague.

No elected official would criticize Lieberman; he is still a respected figure within his party, someone who is a reliable vote on most issues of importance to Democrats. But Matzzie, whose organization claims more than 50,000 Connecticut members, said Wednesday that if his members ask, his group would back a Democratic challenger to Lieberman.

Matzzie was in New Haven last month, and found "the No. 1 question people asked me was, `What are we going to do about Joe Lieberman?'"

Top Democratic officials in the state have not criticized the senator publicly, though many concede privately that they are concerned about how the senator's views will muddle the party's message.

Lieberman moderate stance keeps him popular with Republicans and Democrats alike in Connecticut but the war in Iraq is a very sensitive issue and Lieberman should be wise to watch his step if another Democrat pops up and challenges him for the senate seat because his Republican friends won't be able to vote for him in a primary you can bet that every liberal group will be gunning to take him down (you can see the MoveOn.org ads hitting the airwaves now).

NY Times: Bush more out of touch than Nixon

Oh my! The NY Times really let President Bush have it with their latest editorial.

This is such a good editorial that I couldn't resist posting it.

From the NY Times

We've seen it before: an embattled president so swathed in his inner circle that he completely loses touch with the public and wanders around among small knots of people who agree with him. There was Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's, Richard Nixon in the 1970's, and George H. W. Bush in the 1990's. Now it's his son's turn.

It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is going just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his course, and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe enough to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced of Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed to be reassured that he recognized the reality of the war.

Instead, Mr. Bush traveled 32 miles from the White House to the Naval Academy and spoke to yet another of the well-behaved, uniformed audiences that have screened him from the rest of America lately. If you do not happen to be a midshipman, you'd have to have been watching cable news at midmorning on a weekday to catch him.

The address was accompanied by a voluminous handout entitled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq," which the White House grandly calls the newly declassified version of the plan that has been driving the war. If there was something secret about that plan, we can't figure out what it was. The document, and Mr. Bush's speech, were almost entirely a rehash of the same tired argument that everything's going just fine. Mr. Bush also offered the usual false choice between sticking to his policy and beating a hasty and cowardly retreat.

On the critical question of the progress of the Iraqi military, the president was particularly optimistic, and misleading. He said, for instance, that Iraqi security forces control major areas, including the northern and southern provinces and cities like Najaf. That's true if you believe a nation can be built out of a change of clothing: these forces are based on party and sectarian militias that have controlled many of these same areas since the fall of Saddam Hussein but now wear Iraqi Army uniforms. In other regions, the most powerful Iraqi security forces are rogue militias that refuse to disarm and have on occasion turned their guns against American troops, like Moktada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

Mr. Bush's vision of the next big step is equally troubling: training Iraqi forces well enough to free American forces for more of the bloody and ineffective search-and-destroy sweeps that accomplish little beyond alienating the populace.

What Americans wanted to hear was a genuine counterinsurgency plan, perhaps like one proposed by Andrew F. Krepinevich Jr., a leading writer on military strategy: find the most secure areas with capable Iraqi forces. Embed American trainers with those forces and make the region safe enough to spend money on reconstruction, thus making friends and draining the insurgency. Then slowly expand those zones and withdraw American forces.

Americans have been clamoring for believable goals in Iraq, but Mr. Bush stuck to his notion of staying until "total victory." His strategy document defines that as an Iraq that "has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency"; is "peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure"; and is a partner in the war on terror, an integral part of the international community, and "an engine for regional economic growth and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region."

That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on the wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going very badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and he was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more.
Ouch, no wonder conservatives hate "the paper of record."

REFORM BILL PASSES

I never thought I'd see that day...

From The Hartford Courant
The state legislature approved what advocates billed as the most sweeping reforms of campaign finance laws in the country early Thursday, including restrictions on campaign contributions and a new publicly funded election system.

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell promised to sign the bill into law.

But that doesn't mean the end to the campaign finance reform debate in Connecticut. After much discussion about loopholes in the legislation, lawmakers promised to return during the regular session in February to make further changes.

"Frankly, the stars are aligned with this legislation," said Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport, co-chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee. "It's our opportunity to take advantage of this moment, to pass this legislation, to build a foundation and then make changes."

The changes take effect on Dec. 31, 2006, after the next gubernatorial and legislative races.

Both the Senate and the House debated the bill for about seven hours in separate sessions. The bill passed the Senate 27-8 and the House 82-65. The House vote came after several amendments were defeated.

Advocates of the legislation called it a model for the nation, banning contributions from lobbyists and state contractors, ending campaign advertisement booklets and creating a voluntary, public financing system that affects all state races. But many Republicans argued the bill would not reduce the influence of special interests.

"This bill before us ... does things that no other state in this union has done," said Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, co-chairman of the Government Administration and Elections Committee.

Rell called the bill "truly historic" and said she was looking forward to signing it. She had been pushing lawmakers to pass a bill after they failed to reach a deal during the regular legislative session earlier this year.

"The people of Connecticut want these reforms. They want to remove the corrosive, corrupting influence of special interest money in our elections, and we can finally reward them with this landmark legislation," Rell said.
The people of Connecticut have been begging for for this bill for as long as I can recall. Personally, I don't think it goes far enough as I like to see an end to special interest groups and lobbyists buying off lawmakers (Ernest Newtown rings a bell).

But many Republican legislators claimed the legislation was a sham and could lead to even more special interest influence on Connecticut's elections. They pointed to provisions that allow legislative leaders, state parties and unions to foot the bill for candidates' in-kind services, including polling and consultants.

Others claimed the public financing system can be manipulated by candidates, and the money would be doled out with few restrictions. Many Republicans are particularly angry about using public funds to pay for political campaigns.

Even some Democrats criticized the bill. Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, who voted for it, said the legislation stifled free speech rights of lobbyists and predicted a court challenge. And in the House, a Democrat-proposed amendment that would have stripped the public financing provision died on a 79-66 vote.
Whatever the case, something is better than nothing and I'm just happy that something passed. As always Genghis over at CT Local Politics has been on top of this issue and brings up some great points in his post and is worth a read.

UPDATE:
The Connecticut story is gaining naitonal attention and dominates the blogs. Guess blogger Nick Nyhart of the very popular TPMCafe.com picks up on the story.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Lieberman wrong about the Iraq press

If you need more proof to show you just how out of touch Joe Lieberman is when it comes to Iraq, just read this quote from his op-ed piece
Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them. Most encouraging has been the behavior of the Sunni community, which, when disappointed by the proposed constitution, registered to vote and went to the polls instead of taking up arms and going to the streets.

Last week, I was thrilled to see a vigorous political campaign, and a large number of independent television stations and newspapers covering it.


No wonder Joe Lieberman loves the Iraqi press, the Bush administration is writing all the stories.
As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

Oh, I pray for just one Democrat to challenge Lieberman in the primary.

Lieberman looked like a complete fool on Imus this morning

If you missed Joe Lieberman on Imus this morning, you missed a simply insane interview in which Lieberman proved to everyone that he is completely out of touch with reality.

Even Imus, who is a big fan of Lieberman, called him on his silliness.
Imus: "You're the only person I talked to who thinks things are going well there..."

I was unable to record the interview but Crooks and Liars has the video. It's a must see.
If you just want to hear the audio, Imus' radio station WFAN has posted the interview here

I'll post more of the transcript later.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Campaign Finance Reform to become a reality?

From Democracy for Connecticut
Yesterday the Democratic State Senate and House Leaders announced a compromise plan to make Connecticut the leading state in the nation for clean elections. They plan to bring this to a vote tomorrow, and they need our help in convincing reluctant members to vote for this historic legislation.

The plan, which takes effect after the 2006 elections, bans all contributions from lobbyists and contractors, sharply limits PAC contributions to campaigns, and provides generous funding to candidates who "opt in" and can also meet tough local fundraising thresholds.

The plan is not perfect, but it is strongly supported by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group (CCAG). All three groups joined Democratic legislative leaders in Hartford yesterday in praising the agreement and calling for its enactment.

I don't know if this is going to pass but hopefully the Democrats and Republicans can reach a compromise and pass some type of reform.

Gehghis Conn over at Connecticut Local Politics has been all over this issue and I'm sure he'll post his two cents soon.

Lieberman spin debunked

Seems like Think Progress beat me to the punch in debunking President Bush's best friend Joe Lieberman's shameless op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal.

I'll still take a swipe at Joe later today as his commentary is a COMPLETE joke but Think Progress hit it out of the park today with this point...the Iraqis WANT us out of their country.
Writing this morning in the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) claims Iraqi leaders want a commitment that U.S. troops will stay until whenever “the Iraqi military is capable of security the country”:

And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

The leaders of Iraq’s duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America’s commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this.

The Iraqi leaders, however, have said publicly that they want the United States to set a firm timetable for withdrawal immediately. From the AP, 11/22/05:

Leaders of Iraq’s sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq’s opposition had a “legitimate right'’ of resistance.


The real position of the Iraqi leadership is they want a definitive timetable for withdrawal from the U.S. The question is whether Joe Lieberman will ever understand this.


According to Atrios, journalist are even mocking the Senator as he delivers the White House spin.
Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on Morning Sedition this morning:

I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.
David Siorta sums things up pretty well with his word of advice to Liberman.

Here's a good idea Senator Lieberman: keep your trap shut unless you are actually willing to be honest about the situation. Otherwise, you continue making a complete fool out of yourself.
Amen brother.

Newsflash: Bush to unveil "National Stategy to for Victory in Iraq" tomorrow morning

Bush and the silly neo-cons should of thought about this BEFORE the taking us into this senseless war.

Simply amazing.

Lieberman in full media mode today

Joememtum is in full force today.

Joe Lieberman is all over the media promoting his op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal about why we should stay the course in Iraq.

We have video clips of Lieberman on today's American Morning on CNN which we will post later as well as comment on his misleading op-ed piece that has conservatives jumping for joy.

UPDATE: If you don't have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal Online, you can read Joe Lieberman's op-ed by clicking here

Torture and the shame of the United States

Douglas A. Johnson, the executive director of the Center for Victims of Torture based in Minneapolis, writes in the Star Tribune (hat tip to Crooks and Liars):

The accumulation of evidence about our own government's descent into torture and ill treatment paints a stark picture: a global network of secret detention cells, torture and deaths of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, and worldwide networks to support a policy known as rendition, where the United States sends detainees to countries that torture.

Despite this bleak reality, I believe Americans share a common vision that the U.S. stands for human dignity, fairness and the rule of law. But the incongruence between our values and our government's actions is great, and clearly exemplified by the president's declaration that the U.S. does not torture while at the same time the vice president aggressively lobbies Congress to oppose legislation that would prevent torture.

...

Some in the administration argue that harsher tactics are needed. Indeed, popular culture promotes the idea that it is simply a matter of applying a little pressure to get information that will save lives. We know that to be false.

Torture is not a theoretical discussion at the Center for Victims of Torture. We know what torture is and we know its impact.

Torture does not work. We know from working with victims that torture is an ineffective way to gather information. Nearly all our clients, when subjected to torture, confessed to a crime they did not commit, gave up extraneous information, or supplied names of innocent friends or colleagues. This is a great source of shame for our clients, who tell us they would have said anything to get the pain to stop.

But don't take just our word for it. Experienced and well-trained interrogators within the military, the FBI and the police say that torture does not yield reliable information. Such extraneous information distracts, rather than supports, valid investigations. F. Andy Messing, a retired major in U.S. Special Forces and director of the National Defense Council, told Insight magazine, "Anybody with real combat experience understands that torture is counterproductive."

Not only is torture ineffective, but it is never used in isolated cases, as some would have us believe. ...

At the time the photos were taken at Abu Ghraib, the Red Cross estimated that at least 80 percent of those imprisoned should never have been arrested, but were there because it was easier to arrest persons than to let them go. They were all vulnerable to abuse not because of their guilt but because they were there.


...

There could not be a more critical time when American voices are needed. The Senate demonstrated that torture is not a partisan issue. All of us must contact our representatives and urge them to support the McCain amendment. In addition, we must tell our president we do not need to use torture or any form of cruelty to protect our security. We do need him to protect our values. If we do not, then we must accept responsibility for our government's shameful actions.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Lieberman is out of touch with reality

Can Joe Lieberman be any more shameless?

He stays in Iraq for two days and claims that there is real progress being made in that country. I wonder if the two Congressmen who were injured in Baghdad feel the same way as 'say it ain't so" Joe.

From The Hartford Courant


Sen. Joseph Lieberman, fresh from a two-day visit to Iraq over the Thanksgiving holiday, said today he was hopeful U.S. forces could begin a "significant" withdrawal by the end of next year or in 2007.

"The country is now in reach of going from Saddam Hussein to self-government and, I'd add, self-protection," Lieberman said in a conference call with reporters from his Washington home. "That would be a remarkable transformation ... I saw real progress there."

Lieberman, one of the most hawkish Democrats in the Senate, said the effectiveness of Iraqi security forces and the ability of a new Iraqi government to rule after the Dec. 15 elections are critical factors in determining when U.S. troops could come home. But if all goes well, he forsees a pullout beginning a year from now.

"If Iraqi forces continue to gain the confidence the American military sees there now ... We will be able to draw down our forces," he said.

Lieberman has visited Iraq four times in 17 months. He said there are signs life is returning to normal, including a profusion of cell phones and satellite TV dishes on rooftops.

"About two-thirds of the country is in really pretty good shape," he said, noting most attacks are in the so-called "Sunni Triangle" region. "Overall, I came back encouraged."

Lieberman said he hopes President Bush's speech Tuesday night will give a clearer picture to the American public of the progress being made in the war.

"It's time for some details," said Lieberman. "He's gotta describe some of the progress that I saw there. It's gotta be realistic."


Progress? Here's your progress report (remember, this is more than two years after our President claimed "Mission Accomplished"):

The Saddam Hussein trial is simply a joke.

There is less than 35,000 trained Iraqis ready to fight (if they don't runaway at the first insurgent attack) and the ones we trained are now being accused of kidnapping and killing Sunnis.

The present Iraqi government is facing allegations (which looks to be true) of running torture facilities.

The Iraqi oil is STILL not up to pre-war levels (which means that the oil is not funding the war).

The insurgents are killing scores of people every day (and less than 15 percent of those people for foreign).

The Bush administration is facing charges that it planned to bomb an Arab TV network last year.

etc...etc...etc.

People like Joe Lieberman really get under my skin. Maybe if he had a family member over in Iraq, he might have a different opinion on the so-called progress we're making.

Rove is still on the hotseat

Looks like FITZMAS day could come more than once a year.

From the RAWSTORY
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will present evidence to a second grand jury this week in his two year-old investigation into the outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson that could lead to a criminal indictment being handed up against Karl Rove, President Bush’s deputy chief of staff, attorneys close to the investigation say.

Rove has remained under intense scrutiny because of inconsistencies in his testimony to investigators and the grand jury. According to sources, Rove withheld crucial facts on three separate occasions and allegedly misled investigators about conversations he had with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.

The attorneys say that Rove’s former personal assistant, Susan B. Ralston -- who was also a special assistant to President Bush -- testified in August about why Cooper’s call to Rove was not logged. Ralston said it occurred because Cooper had phoned in through the White House switchboard and was then transferred to Rove’s office as opposed to calling Rove’s office directly. As Rove’s assistant, Ralston screened Rove’s calls.

But those close to the probe tell RAW STORY that Fitzgerald obtained documentary evidence showing that other unrelated calls transferred to Rove’s office by the switchboard were logged. He then called Ralston back to testify.

Earlier this month, attorneys say Fitzgerald received additional testimony from Ralston -- who said that Rove instructed her not to log a phone call Rove had with Cooper about Plame in July 2003.

Ralston also provided Fitzgerald with more information and “clarification” about several telephone calls Rove allegedly made to a few reporters, including syndicated columnist Robert Novak, the lawyers said.

If true, this is perhaps the most significant evidence Fitzgerald has obtained suggesting Rove deliberately sought to mislead investigators. Her testimony may help Fitzgerald prove that there were inconsistencies in Rove’s account of his role in the leak and assess why he withheld a crucial fact from the prosecutor: that he had spoken with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper as well as Novak about Plame and confirmed that she was an undercover CIA agent.

Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, maintains that his client did not intentionally withhold facts from the prosecutor or grand jury but simply forgot about his conversations with Cooper. But sources say Rove’s reasons for not being forthcoming have not convinced Fitzgerald that Rove had a momentary lapse.

At this point, it might be best if Rove makes a plea and resign. As long as this story continues to get press coverage, Bush's approval numbers will continue to drop.

The Duke goes down

Another corrput GOP Congressman bites the dust.
Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and tax charges, admitting taking $2.4 million in bribes in a case that grew from an investigation into the sale of his home to a wide-ranging conspiracy involving payments in cash, vacations and antiques.

Cunningham, 63, entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.

Cunningham answered "yes, Your Honor" when asked by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns if he had accepted bribes from someone in exchange for his performance of official duties.

Cunningham, an eight-term Republican congressman, announced in July that he wouldn't seek re-election next year. But it was not immediately clear whether he hoped to keep his seat for the remainder of the current term. He planned to address reporters at a news conference later in the morning.


UPDATE: The Duke resigns. Good ridance. Can't wait to see who's the next GOP congressman forced to resign due to corruption. The list is so long...

Rowland Portrait on display...and who cares

What happened to all of his friends?

Even his wife didn't come see the portrait installed.

From the Hartford Courant

There was no pomp and circumstance.

There wasn't even a ceremony.

And the guest of honor did not attend.

And so, on Wednesday, despite his dramatic fall, former Gov. John G. Rowland took his place in Connecticut history as his official portrait was hung in a museum at the state library.

The quiet affair took place shortly after 11 a.m. as several maintenance workers hoisted a large portrait of Rowland onto the wall with 71 other Connecticut governors at the library on Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

Unlike past unveilings, no family members, legislators or former governors gathered around to admire the brush strokes of an acclaimed portrait artist. When former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker's portrait was unveiled in 1996, at least four governors attended, including Rowland and William A. O'Neill.