Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wednesday Mashup (1/5/11) - updates

  • What luck for the PA-08 U.S. Congressional district – it looks like Mikey Fitzpatrick is back on the job based on this item yesterday in the Bucks County Courier Times (ugh)…

    Fitzpatrick, who defeated two-term Democrat Patrick Murphy in November, avenging his loss to Murphy four years earlier, told the crowd his office in the Longworth House Office Building belongs to them.
    Of course, his voting record will probably belong to House Speaker John Boehner (you cannot imagine how galling it is for yours truly to type those words, but that’s the reality, my fellow prisoners)…

    "I want to deliver a message from the people of the 8th District," he said. "It will be your message."

    Fitzpatrick's town hall didn't have any rules. Questions didn't have to be submitted by audience members and read by a staffer. Rather it was a community conversation.
    More pointless partisan editorializing from Courier Times reporter Mikey's stenographer Gary Weckselblatt, no doubt trying to get in some last digs at former rep Patrick Murphy (this breaking story for Weckselblatt – Pottery Barn is hiring!).

    Also concerning PA-08 and Murphy, I was glad to see that he was hired as a partner with the law firm of Fox Rothschild, as noted here – not that I had any doubt that he would be rewarded for his hard work on behalf of our district (and all the best, of course).

    And this excerpt from the story was a bit heartwarming…

    While the former Army paratrooper has landed on his feet with a plum job following a tough campaign, he's not ruling out another run for political office.

    "My commitment to public service isn't over," he said, "but I'm excited to join Fox Rothschild and spend time with my family."
    Given what happened, I’m glad Murphy will be out of the spotlight for a little while and, I’m sure, earning more than he would in the public sector (to say nothing of having a better quality of life).

    But whenever you believe the time is right to rejoin the fight, Patrick, just give us the word. We’ll be there.

  • Update 1 1/6/11: A bit of an inauspicious start here, but I'll cut Mikey some slack for now...

    Update 2 1/6/11: OK, no more slack for Mikey; I didn't know our government featured a "President pro temporary" (here). Color me shocked!

    Update 1/8/11: By the way, when I said I would cut Fitzpatrick some slack, I meant that in the matter of a scheduling conflict between a fundraiser and his swearing-in ceremony. I did not mean that when it comes to his craven stupidity, along with Pete Sessions, in thinking that watching the swearing-in remotely and just putting up your hand while watching the screen passed for taking the oath of office - just wanted to be clear on that.

  • Also, it looks like Repug U.S. House Rep (and incoming chair of the House Homeland Security Committee) Peter King is having a pout over a New York Times editorial here (a little behind the news cycle on this one, I realize)…

    (King) ripped into The New York Times Tuesday for telling him in a weekend editorial to tone down his rhetoric.

    From King’s response, there is no indication he will do anything of the sort.

    “I’m absolutely delighted that The New York Times would attack me,” he said in an interview with The Hill. “I have nothing but contempt for them. They should be indicted under the Espionage Act. … The New York Times is just basically being a mouthpiece for political correctness.”

    King took aim at a Sunday editorial that criticized King's comments about the radicalization of Muslins. The editorial suggested such comments were beneath someone who will be chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.
    The Times editorial also made the interesting point that “(this) is all the more perplexing because Mr. King was one of the few Republicans to back the Clinton administration’s interventions in the Balkans to protect Muslims.”

    All so “pre-9/11” of the Times, I realize (removing my tongue from my cheek...and speaking of which and the whole matter of Muslim extremism, this tells us that, with typically idiotic bluster, King voted for implementing the 9/11 commission recommendations after criticizing Democrats for the bill, along with his partner in demagoguery, fellow Repug Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida).

    Also, if King decides to hold these hearings, I wonder if he’ll actually cite members of the Muslim community in this country who helped to foil terrorist plots, as Adam Serwer notes here?

  • Finally, I wanted to return to incoming House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa briefly once more based on this story yesterday (briefly is all I can tolerate him, to be honest – and again, I know the news cycle has pretty well churned through the fact that he has approached various business-related entities asking what they want him to propagandize about wax hysterical over waste taxpayer funds pursuing investigate)…

    One person knowledgeable about the matter tells POLITICO that Issa on Dec. 29 appears to have re-sent more than 75 letters to administration officials.

    (Issa spokesman Kurt) Bardella acknowledged that Issa re-sent a host of unanswered missives recently. "This is something we've been working on since the election," he said. "Before we start something new, we want to get answers to the questions that have been ignored."

    This includes past letters to Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and White House Counsel Robert Bauer regarding reports by POLITICO and others about the use of official travel for political purposes. In his letter to Bauer, Issa notes he wrote last June to the heads of 21 federal departments and agencies "requesting documents and information about the extent to which White House political personnel have been involved with planning, directing, or coordinating the travel of department and agency officials to participate in official or political public events."

    Issa said that former Oversight and Investigations Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) did a similar probe of Bush administration officials in the prior Congress.
    (And speaking of Issa and Waxman, let’s not forget this charming moment either, OK?)

    Well, yes, Waxman did pursue the Bushies when he chaired the committee, including Deadeye Dick Cheney – as noted here…

    Henry Waxman (D-CA), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, (wrote) to Vice President Cheney demanding an explanation for his decision not to comply with executive orders (see 2003). Cheney’s office, like other executive branch entities, is required to annually report on the amount of documents it is classifying, and how those documents are being kept secure. The annual requests are made in pursuance of an executive order, last updated by President Bush in 2003. The order states that it applies to any “entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.” Cheney…justified the decision by saying that because the Vice President is also the president of the Senate, the vice president’s office is not strictly a part of the executive branch, and therefore is not subject to the president’s executive orders; he cites as evidence his Constitutional role as a tie breaker in the Senate. Waxman writes, “Your decision to exempt your office from the President’s order is problematic because it could place national security secrets at risk. It is also hard to understand given the history of security breaches involving officials in your office.” Waxman’s point is that, if Cheney’s office is not part of the executive branch, then it is not authorized to view many of the classified documents it routinely receives; therefore the viewing of these documents by Cheney and his officials constitutes a breach of security. Waxman writes, “I question both the legality and the wisdom of your actions. In May 2006, an official in your office [Leandro Aragoncillo] pled guilty to passing classified information to individuals in the Philippines [as part of a plot to overthrow President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo… Aragoncillo reportedly disclosed numerous secret and top secret documents to Philippine officials over several years while working in your office.… In March 2007, your former chief of staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, and false statements for denying his role in disclosing the identity of a covert CIA agent (see November 20, 2007). In July 2003, you reportedly instructed Mr. Libby to disclose information from a National lntelligence Estimate to Judith Miller, a former New York Times reporter. This record does not inspire confidence in how your office handles the nation’s most sensitive security information. Indeed, it would appear particularly irresponsible to give an office with your history of security breaches an exemption from the safeguards that apply to all other executive branch officials.… Your office may have the worst record in the executive branch for safeguarding classified information.” Waxman notes that Cheney’s office is notorious for declassifying information for purely political reasons, as in the Libby case. Waxman concludes, “Given this record, serious questions can be raised about both the legality and the advisability of exempting your office from the rules that apply to all other executive branch officials.” [CONGRESS COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM, 6/21/2007; NEW YORK TIMES, 6/22/2007] The next day, when asked what he believes about Cheney’s position, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will quip, “I always thought that he was president of this administration.” [COX NEWS SERVICE, 6/22/2007] Five days later, Waxman will say, “I know the vice president wants to operate with unprecedented secrecy, but this is absurd. This order is designed to keep classified information safe. His argument is really that he’s not part of the executive branch, so he doesn’t have to comply.… He doesn’t have classified information because of his legislative function. It’s because of his executive function.” [NEW YORK TIMES, 6/22/2007]
    Somehow, though, I seriously doubt that Issa, even if the evidence of similar illegality existed in the Obama Administration, would be up to the task of attempting to ferret it out (though I’m sure that will not prevent him from trying to do so).

    And speaking of the former veep, this New York Times story tells us of the latest medical technology that is keeping him alive (we learn that, due to the way his heart pump works, Cheney has no literal pulse that can be measured as yours or mine would be, but it ensures a continuous flow throughout his body instead; the story provides more details – and I’ll leave the snark up to you on that, dear reader...despite the fact that he’s an utterly despicable character, I don’t wish the misfortune for him that, as a consequence of his psychotic notions of governance, he inflicted on others).

    What a shame that his daughter would deprive others less well off of the advantage of state-of-the-art medical care enjoyed by her father, as noted here.
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