mays4.jpg

(For the non-baseball fans in the audience, this may be the most amazing catch in history.  Willie Mays.  1954 World Series.  Game One.  Enough said.)

Thought we could all do with a tour around the news and the blogoverse.  And a bit of an update on the Libby stories in the news as well.

Carol Leonnig of the WaPo has a portrait of the sometimes oddly congenial interactions in the Prettyman Courthouse between members of the media and the folks testifying at the trial.  The Beltway is such a tiny little bubble, everyone seems to know everyone and all their business, and it's been colliding day in and day out during the course of this trial.  It's an interesting glimpse of the odd dynamic between the accused, the used and the amused. 

The WaPo also has an extraordinary glimpse into an aid worker's sojourn in Helmand province in Afghanistan.  It is brutally honest, but a needed glimpse into the limited resources available for reconstruction and development in the war torn nation — and how the Taliban and the drug lords are stepping into the money breach.  Just one segment:

A vehicle-borne suicide bomb detonates outside the provincial governor's office compound, about two blocks away. It's only a partial explosion, and the bomber survives the blast to be shot down as he gets out of the car. Several days later, we hear more blasts — the rest of the suicide mission's explosives. U.S. Special Forces forgot to tell anyone they were going to set them off. Our ribs shake from the impact, and a tense silence descends on the office.

* * *

I hold a dry opium pod, and it rattles like a baby's toy. Today I learned that women are planting poppy openly in front of their homes, trying to attract buyers. I'm told that some are widows who can't imagine another way to provide for their children. Others are virtual widows, their husbands lost to the haze of opium addiction.

I met today with F., the director of women's affairs for the province. Apparently she secretly educated hundreds of girls in her home during the Taliban era. The Helmand Women's Association is housed in a dank, dilapidated building. F. receives no salary and faces begging, pleading women every day. She feels helpless, and is grateful that we are here.

The increasing instability in Afghanistan is the result of a lot of factors, not the least of which is that, once again, the United States is failing to live up to its hollow promise of support.

– In case you missed Froomkin's Friday column, go back and take a peek.   He walks through the whole of Cheney's fingerprint, and it is an exceptionally well done summary of a lot of the trial points up to now in the Libby trial.  (And speaking of Froomkin, his Neiman piece that I highlighted yesterday is well worth a read if you missed it.)

Digby has some thoughts on Vice President Cheney.  (Hint:  Not particularly complimentary, unless you are a unilateral executive loving, power hungry jerk.)

The LATimes pokes some holes in the Libby defense, and asks whether Libby's credibility will be enough to save his behind.   Not if he's standing in Cheney's shadow, anyway.

– And in a shocking moment of candor, Rupert Murdoch admits to manipulating the media.  Yeah, I know.  Who could have known.  Ahem.

Scout Prime at First Draft illustrates how far apart reality can be between Washington, DC and London.  Lawyers, Guns and Money has more.

– In case you missed it yesterday, Jeralyn was on CNN's Reliable Sources talking about the Libby trial and its coverage.  She has a great update on motions filed this weekend in the trial as well.