November 28, 2005

baby my head's full of wishes

wangechi mutu, adult female sexual organs, 2005

* The Washington Post says Michael Scanlon is the most dangerous person in DC right now. excerpt:

"In the dispassionate language of criminal law, the scandal of the rapacious duo of Jack Abramoff (Lobbyist A) and Michael Scanlon reached a new -- and for at least one member of Congress -- ominous level last week. Mr. Scanlon pleaded guilty on Monday to a conspiracy to bribe public officials and defraud his Indian tribal clients; he agreed to pay $19 million in restitution to the tribes -- the size of the kickbacks he gave to Mr. Abramoff -- and he faces up to five years in prison."

"With his promise to cooperate with prosecutors, Mr. Scanlon may also be the most dangerous man in Washington right now -- certainly to Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), identified in the information as Representative #1, and possibly to others as well."
"Washington players walk a blurry line between bribery and business as usual. If lobbyists lavish perks on, and write campaign checks for, powerful members of Congress, and those members then take actions that benefit the lobbyists' clients, that may be the ordinary, if distasteful, way Washington operates. But if the lobbyists' favors are conditioned on an understanding that legislative favors have been or will be performed, that would transform the transaction from quotidian to criminal.

"Mr. Ney's lawyer, Mark H. Tuohey, says it's the former that happened in the congressman's case. 'He was wined and dined the way lots of political people are, and he did some official acts, but there's no connection between the two,' Mr. Tuohey told The Post.

"The Justice Department sees the situation in a more sinister light: 'Corruption Scheme' is the heading given to the section of the charges involving Mr. Ney."

* Wolcott.excerpt:

"The thing I'm most struck by over the last few weeks is President Bush's shrinkage in stature. He cut an insignificant figure in China even before he went into his doofus shtick, and seems to be diminishing as the dark cloud of Cheney solidifies and casts Bush in shadow. It's hard to believe he was once the chalice of Peggy Noonan's hopes; Winston Churchill in a leather jockstrap, in the humid imaginations of warbloggers. You get the impression that underneath the show of resolve and irritable resentment, he feels sorry for himself, pouty about not being appreciated. Which may explain why Laura Bush seems to have hardened into a carapace at his side, reverting to the Pat Nixon role to withstand the buffeting winds swirling around her husband and his own stormy moods."

-- related: problems in the West Wing. excerpt:

"The problem for Bush, advisers admit, is that the ongoing leak probe reinforces allegations that the White House allegedly hyped prewar intelligence to justify a war most Americans no longer support.

"So far Team Bush doesn't know how to separate the two issues, and compounding its woes is the fact that aides aren't talking to each other as much as they once did.

"Gone from the schedule are weekly cholesterol-laden breakfasts at Rove's home where top Bush hands discussed strategy. Also missing are Sunday 'message meetings' with outside thinkers like GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman, campaign pollster Matthew Dowd and superlobbyist Ed Gillespie.

"A card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House recently encountered several senior presidential aides at a dinner and came away shaking his head at their 'no problems here' mentality.

"'There is just no introspection there at all,' he said in exasperation. 'It is everybody else's fault - the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They're still in denial.'"

* Video of what appears to be military contractors shooting at random vehicles in Iraq. According to Crooks and Liars, "the video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis."

* RIP, George Best.

* Time to kill? Try online scrabble. [via]


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