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Boy, it’s a crazy news day today.

– MSNBC is reporting that Ken Lay has been found dead of a heart attack.  More details as they come out on this.  The legal reporter with whom they are speaking just compared Lay to the characters in Bonfire of the Vanities.  Crooks and Liars has a link to a Texas station and the news.

Jesus General has an appalling — and I mean APPALLING — look at some asanine "expose the ACLU plaintiff" campaign.  (Because, you know, privacy is so important to wingnuts and all.  *rolls eyes to the heavens*)  And I just want to say for the record that the "Christian" pastor who participated in harassing the Jewish family in this particular story should be reported to his ministry’s oversight offices, because that is conduct unbecoming a man or woman of the cloth.  Period.  For shame! 

And adults yelling at a young boy who was already feeling persecuted for his beliefs — who are these people, that they are so unfeeling and so ready to cheer on each others’ meanness that they cannot, for one compassionate moment, stop to think about the boy’s feelings?  I’d ask WWJD, but these people would have no clue whatsoever.  The Bible is more than just a book that you beat people about the head with — try reading it and absorbing it’s message instead of just thumping your chest and talking about how much better you are than others.  Adults congratulating each other for verbally abusing a little boy.  FOR SHAME!  (And yes, this sort of ganging up on the minority in the room thing pisses me off…can you tell?)

– Iraq’s Prime Minister is calling for an independent investigation into the rape/slaying of an Iraqi teenager (aged 14/15, according to some reports) and her family at the hands of a US soldier.  And, according to the AP (via NYTimes), he is calling for the Iraqi government to reconsider the immunity deal made for US soldiers in Iraq:

”We believe that the immunity given to members of coalition forces encouraged them to commit such crimes in cold blood (and) that makes it necessary to review it,” al-Maliki told reporters during a visit to Kuwait.

He called for either an independent Iraqi investigation a joint investigation with coalition forces into the March 12 rape and murder of an Iraqi girl. Her mother, father and sister were also killed in the attack at their home in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad.

Former Army Pfc. Steve D. Green was charged with rape and four counts of murder Monday in federal court in Charlotte, N.C. At least four other U.S. soldiers still in Iraq are under investigation.

”We are going to demand an independent Iraqi investigation or at least a joint investigation between us and the multinational forces,” al-Maliki said.

– The CIA has closed down its Alec Station unit which was charged with hunting down Osama Bin Laden. Apparently, the unit was closed down late last year, but the information is just now being told to the public.  Has there been Congressional oversight on this?  Who the hell knows, since both the House and Senate Intel chairmen have been Bush Administration rubber stamps.  The NCTC took over intel issues from the CTC when Negroponte took the helm — but the CIA, until this point, had on the ground ops, coordinating with the DoD, as far as anyone has known.  All that swagger over the "dead or alive" photo op, and we just up and walk away when we supposedly have Bin Laden cornered in the mountainous region of the Pakistani/Afghan border?  Something is up…and I’ll be damned if I can figure out what the strategy is behind this, other than Bin Laden isn’t much of a priority for the Bushies these days.  (All hat, no cattle…)

John Yoo = big whiner.

"What the court is doing is attempting to suppress creative thinking," said Professor Yoo, who now teaches law at the University of California, Berkeley. "The court has just declared that it’s going to be very intrusive in the war on terror. They’re saying, ‘We’re going to treat this more like the way we supervise the criminal justice system.’ "

It’s called judicial review, the rule of law and balance of powers. You might want to look into it, seeing how you teach at a law school and all…of course, had you followed the legal precedents instead of writing memoranda that colored so far outside the lines that sane lawyers thought you had gone mad, perhaps the Court wouldn’t have smacked you on the ass so hard.  I’m just sayin’.  (You might also want to look up "legal precedent."  I’d start with the Youngstown case, were I you.)

– As someone with a dear friend on his way to Iraq as I type, articles like this on Ramadi are beyond frustrating and infuriating.  Asking our soldiers to continually play whack-a-mole is not leadership, nor is it a competent foreign or military policy.  Donald Rumsfeld still has a job…why, exactly?

– Speaking of people who still have jobs, still waiting for an answer as to whether or not Rove has a valid security clearance and whether any internal investigation was done per the protocols required when a high level clearance holder speaks to a non-authorized person (say Matt Coooper or Bob Novak, just for kicks) about classified information without prior authorization in violation of their SF-312 requirements…just wondering.

Japan has called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council today to deal with the North Korean launch of missiles in "tests" yesterday.  I heard an interview with Bolton earlier where he was all keen on the Security Council.  Funny how he’s all happy to play by the rules sometimes, and then say "screw them" at other times, isn’t it?  Here’s a thought, for a change how about we try competent diplomatic initiatives wherein we get the whole of the Security Council to back concensus pressure against the provocative actions by North Korea?  (Oh wait, I forgot, this is John Bolton and the Bush Administration…I’ll anticipate reports of pouting, a Bolton tantrum, and him storming back across the street to the US mission any moment now because he didn’t get his way entirely…maybe they’ve been taking lessons in concensus building from Joe Lieberman.)

– Still no clear winner in Mexico.  Anyone else get that Groundhog Day deja vu feeling?

– Thus far, once again, the only corporate media coverage of Murray’s huge slice of intrepid reporter pie is from Dan Froomkin, whose column once again rocks today.  (We covered it here and here yesterday.  And EW has a great take as well here.)

– Anyone else get that Soviet May Day parade feeling from yesterday’s location for the Bush speech at Fort Bragg?  Lots of symbolism, but where’s the honesty and the substance?

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(Jason Reed/Reuters — July 4, 2006, NC, USA)

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(May Day — 1947 — Moscow, USSR.)