Archive for March 1st, 2007
Josh Marshall is all over this developing scandal. There’s a video at the link.
Iglesias not the only one with a story to tell?
Remember Bud Cummins. He was the US Attorney from the Eastern District of Arkansas who got canned so Karl Rove’s opposition research chief could take over the job. Look closely at what he just told the Associated Press …
Cummins, U.S. attorney for Arkansas’ Eastern District from 2001-2006, said Thursday that he and other fired attorneys had “politely declined” previous requests from the committee. He said he “didn’t have any desire to stir up the controversy any further.””If given the choice, I’d elect to stay home and mind my own business,” Cummins told The Associated Press. “Now that I’m under subpoena, I’ll go and give cooperative, truthful answers.”
When asked if officials in the Justice Department or White House had asked him to decline the earlier requests, Cummins said he had no comment.
Again, one of those ‘no comments’ that says plenty.
While this story has been unfolding, has the White House been leaning on these fired US attorneys not to come before Congress?
And what might they have said?
Consider what Sen. Schumer (D-NY) said on Wednesday on the floor of the senate. He said pretty clearly that his staff has talked to other fired US attorneys, beside Mr. Iglesias, and that they believe nefarious motives prompted their suspicions too …
And before going further, let’s be clear about one thing. I suspect many of the press lords haven’t awoken yet to the potential magnitude of this story. The Iglesias story could drag down a member of Congress. On its own though it’s a small matter. What makes it a big deal is that it’s the tell about what happened in San Diego.
If you were to guess how many ingredients are in a Twinkie, what would your answer be? 10? 15? 20? Keep in mind that a homemade cake can be made with as few as 6 ingredients.
A Twinkie is constructed of 39 ingredients. These chemicals, and the fascinating process which goes into procuring and combining them, are the focus of a new book entitled “Twinkie, Deconstructed“. From a review in Newsweek I learned the following:
*The Filling – primarily made of shortening (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and beef fat). Also contains Polysorbate 60, a gooey chemical derived from corn, palm oil, and petroleum that substitutes for cream and eggs at a fraction of the cost. Cellulose gum gives the creme a “creamy” feel. Artificial vanillin is made in petroleum plants, avoiding the labor needed to hand-pollinate real tropical orchids that produce real vanilla.
*The Cake – contains Lecithin, an emulsifier derived from soy. Not bad, except if you consider that lecithin is also used in paints to keep the pigments evenly spread. Diacetyl passes for butter, but has a much longer shelf-life than the real stuff which goes rancid. Cornstarch, okay. The golden color comes not from egg yolks, but rather from Yellow #5 and Red #40. As a preservative, Twinkies use sorbic acid, which… comes from petroleum.
All these chemicals reduce the cost of making a Twinkie, and extend its shelf life to 25 days. They allow the batter to be easily fed through tubes and industrial baking equipment. Each Twinkie contains 145 calories (before deep-frying), the equivalent of which I burned off today searching for missing charts and tearing the hair from my scalp.
The man pictured above is Mr. Louis Browning of Shelbyville, Indiana, who in 1941 as a little boy first started enjoying a daily Twinkie or two. He never stopped. Now retired from his job as a milkman, he’s downed more than 22,000 of the Polysorbate 60-containing treats, and even appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
I’m guessing that the health effects of eating this many Twinkies has not been studied thoroughly. I’m also guessing that not everyone shares the same constitution as Mr. Browning. But I am extrapolating from the ingredient list that our dependence on foreign oil might be reduced either by eating fewer Twinkies or by buying a hybrid car.
Josh Marshall has the latest, and he’s right: Domenici and Heather Wilson are in it up to their necks, but whom did they then approach to get Iglesias fired from his job as Federal prosecutor? I think their behavior, certainly unethical and against Senate and House rules, may be illegal. Here’s Josh:
McClatchy still running that ball down field …
Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico pressured the U.S. attorney in their state to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator, according to two people familiar with the contacts.The alleged involvement of the two Republican lawmakers raises questions about possible violations of House of Representatives and Senate ethics rules and could taint the criminal investigation into the award of an $82 million courthouse contract.
The two people with knowledge of the incident said Domenici and Wilson intervened in mid-October, when Wilson was in a competitive re-election campaign that she won by 875 votes out of nearly 211,000 cast.
Further down into the article we learn that Wilson called first. That was followed up by Domenici who … well, listen hear how Marisa Taylor of McClatchy puts it …
Domenici, who wasn’t up for re-election, called about a week and a half later and was more persistent than Wilson, the people said. When Iglesias said an indictment wouldn’t be handed down until at least December, the line went dead.
When I first heard about this latest development USA attorney, I could believe that Wilson pulled something like this. I’m not saying she strikes me, or struck me, as particularly unethical. And I’m not saying that someone like Pete Domenici — who must basically own the New Mexico Republican party — would be above it. But I’m surprised someone who’s served in the senate for 35 years or so wouldn’t know to put a little distance — an intermediary or two — between him and the US attorney he was trying to muscle under.
Anyway, I think at this point we basically know that Wilson and Domenici are the culprits. They tried to pressure Iglesias into issuing an indictment of a prominent local Democrat to help Wilson win reelection. And if you really don’t believe that Iglesias’s firing had anything to do with his not lending Wilson a prosecutorial helping hand last fall, well, then you’re probably one of those goofs who was still believing we’d find the WMD well into 2004.
Now we know Wilson and Domenici were the first links in the chain. Who they’d talk to? Walk it back.
Fred Kaplan (unsurprisingly) picks up on something I missed about our intelligence turnaround on North Korea’s uranium enrichment program:
Why are senior officials suddenly saying that North Korea might not have an enriched-uranium program? No new information has come to light on the issue. They are saying this for one reason: President Bush recently agreed to a nuclear deal with the North Koreans; the deal says nothing about enriched uranium (it requires them only to freeze their plutonium-bomb program); so, in order to stave off the flood of criticism from Bush’s conservative base, senior officials are saying that the enriched uranium was never a big deal to begin with.
….In October 2002, when Bush was looking for any excuse to back out of the Agreed Framework, senior officials said the evidence of enriched uranium was strong.
Now, four and a half years later, when Bush is looking for reasons to justify a deal that’s remarkably similar to the Agreed Framework (except it’s not quite as tight, and the North Koreans have since become a nuclear-armed nation), senior officials are saying the evidence of enriched uranium is weak.
The evidence has always been ambiguous. Before, they hyped it to justify what they wanted to do. Now, they’re downplaying it to justify what they’ve done.
Kaplan is pissed: “[This] shows that Bush and his people will say anything, no matter whether it’s true, in order to shore up a political point. It means that U.S. intelligence has become completely corrupted.” I’m not sure this is really news at this point, but he’s right that this is an unusually bald demonstration of the point.
You owe it to yourself, and your company will agree. I blogged earlier about a finding by a Swedish work physiologist who did a study that determined the minimum length for a truly restorative vacation is three weeks: the first week you’re still thinking about work and various projects; the second week you’re just tired and resting, with lots of sleep; and the third week you have regained energy and are keen to explore and learn about wherever you are. And at the end of that, you’re ready to go back to work.
What is all the nonsense about the “liberal media”? Barak Obama and John McCain make the same blunder: referring to the lives lost in the Iraq War as “wasted.” But the media’s response is very different.