Still Waiting


Well, I'm glad I spent yesterday talking people into coming into Prettyman Courthouse. Because now I have people to hang out with this afternoon, while I'm waiting. Pach is back (he came, I think, to glue down my FDL sign so no cable networks steal our seat again). And my blogmate Kagro X came in, too. So we may be bored, but at least we're bored in good company. Of course anyone who comes has to stay, of course, just on the off chance the jury finishes today.

Unless I completely missed it, the Defense did not eat in the cafeteria today. So I have no idea whether Libby paid for Wells' hamburger today or not. Or whether Libby ate anything more than pretzils. What are we supposed to report on if they don't come eat in the cafeteria.

People have been sneaking outside to enjoy the balmy temperatures (downright hot, this MI girl says!). Spring–and cabin–fever, I guess. 

Everyone in the media room is all still wondering WTF the jury note means. I still think that if they had this confusion for the Cooper charge, but not the Russert charge, it's a good sign. But then, we're all (more…)

The kind of people we would normally shun

Speaking of internet comments (see below) they really do bring out the best in people, particulalrly when given the opportunity to address the story of poor black child who died because of an untreated tooth:

This article starts off with the premise that a lack of insurance prevented his monther from taking him to a dentist. That is an absolutely false premise. Dentists dont require patients to have insurance they simply require them to pay for the services that are rendered. Where is the childs father? Why doesnt the mother have any income? Why does the mother even have children that she cant afford to take care of? As usual, the Washington Post tells only part of the story. Yes, this is a sad story, but dont blame the government.


Come on, $80?? Dont pay the cable for a month or two. Sell some bling. Get a job.


If the mother was that concerned, im sure she could have put her hands on $80.00, or she could have gone to 1 of many dental schools, they would hav ebeen glad to pull the boys tooth, or teeth, just a lack of education,parenting,and really caring is the (more…)

Just The Facts…


Joe Conason has a doozy of an op-ed in the NYObserver.  And he calls Vice President Cheney out for being the king of duplicity:

Seeking to intimidate the Congressional leaders last week, he recited the misleading old formula conflating war in Iraq with the struggle against Al Qaeda. His theories on that subject have been blown up with the same force and frequency as those daily explosions on Baghdad’s streets. Only a few days ago, the Pentagon Inspector General issued a devastating report describing how Mr. Cheney’s agents in the Defense Department distorted intelligence to “prove” the mythical linkage between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

Moreover, every credible analysis of the Iraq insurgency estimates that only a tiny fraction of the fighters are linked to Al Qaeda in any significant way. While the jihadist movement is growing, Mr. bin Laden and his lieutenants can profit from our mistakes without leaving their strongholds thousands of miles away.

But Mr. Cheney cares nothing for those facts. As the official who most vehemently assured us of the certain existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he remains immune to the kind of embarrassment that would have required an honorable man (more…)

Don't get cozy with Cosi: NY store threatens to pull marriage equality exhibit

In New Rochelle, NY, a traveling photo album exhibit called “This Family Wants to Come Together,” part of a state-wide project of personal images that features families  — meant to educate people about marriage equality — was to make a stop at Cosi Restaurant (the 77 Quaker Ridge Road store).

Sponsored by the Empire State Pride Agenda and The Loft, it was supposed to be in the restaurant for a month. Once word got out to the fundies, the whole action alert machine went into effect and Cosi corporate’s getting cold feet. Jeremy of Good As You has the scoop and he’s not a happy camper. He has an action item:

So how long has New Rochelle’s Cosi branch committed to display the exhibit?  One month.  But how long will they actually display the exhibit?  Well, we have just received word from our friends at the Empire State Pride Agenda that Cosi’s corporate bosses have ordered the display to be taken down after they received “a flood of emails” in complaint!  And due to the e-grievances, we’ve been told that the chain will unceremoniously pull the exhibit right away (if they haven’t already)!

Wow, what a great message that’s gonna send!  ::eye roll, head shake::

So what can you do?  Well, you can WRITE TO COSI CORPORATE right now and tell them that you do not appreciate this capitulation!  Clearly this “flood of emails” had to have come from one of the large “pro-family” groups on the national scene (We’re looking into it).  We’d be willing to bet that many of these complaints didn’t even come from New Rochelle residents, but rather from members of our opposition who caught wind of the story when it hit the Internet this weekend, and who proceeded to send out one of their “action alerts” to their mailing lists (again, if anyone knows anything, please let us know). In order to combat that sort of response, we need every one of our supporters to click the link above and send the eatery’s overlords a message. We need you, your friends, your family, and your WHOEVER to let them know what’s up!  Let them know that you will not stand for this sort of capitulation.  Let them know that supporting our lives and loves is the right choice.  Let them know that bias is a nasty, bunk-ass crap log!   Let them know that Subway also knows how to make sandwiches!  Just let them know something!




(Photo by REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst via Yahoo.  From left to right: Government Attorney Peter Zeidenberg, FBI Agent Deborah Bond, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, and Government Attorney Kathleen Kedian.) 

For those joining us a little late this morning, the jury note was a question that was asked and answered by the jury themselves.  It dealt with Count III, which is a Cooper count.  Jane talked about it here, and Jeralyn has copies of both jury notes here and here.  The jury is continuing to deliberate.  And we continue to wait for a verdict.

While we have all spent a whole lot of time scrutinizing every aspect of the Traitorgate investigation, and the subsequent indictment and trial of I. Lewis Libby, there are aspects of the case that deserve a bit of wider discussion.  And I'd like to bring a couple to everyone's attention — before we hear anything about a verdict.  Thought it might be a nice way to pass a little time.

First, the members of Pat Fitzgerald's investigative and trial team.  Because I have gotten so many questions about my impressions of all of them when I've been in DC, I thought I'd bring a little glimpse to all of you today through a vignette article from Legal Times reporter Sarah Kelly from way back in October of 2005.   From the article:

One convinced a jury to convict a deadly crew of drug dealers that plagued Washington, D.C., for more than a decade. Another helped nab two of the highest-profile spies in recent years. There's the lawyer who took on a Chicago mobster and won, and the young prosecutor who helped disband a ring of exotic animal poachers in the Midwest.

Then there's Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor from Chicago who has led these and a handful of other attorneys in a massive investigation to determine who in the White House leaked the name of a covert Central Intelligence Agency operative to the media….

Peter Zeidenberg, a Justice Department prosecutor with the public integrity section, brings to Fitzgerald's team experience in high-profile cases involving public officials. Despite a recent failure to convict David Rosen — the former campaign finance director for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who is accused of lying to the Federal Election Commission — his résumé includes a number of wins in other public corruption cases.

Locally, he's widely known as the prosecutor who, in the longest criminal trial in D.C. history, brought down the infamous K Street Crew, a gang of marijuana dealers known for killing witnesses. (more…)

The Question, Part III


Note from the jury:

We would like clarification on the charge as stated under Count 3 specifically:

Page 74 of the jury instructions, "Count three of the indictment alleges that Mr. Libby falsely told the FBI on October 14 or November 26, 2003, that during a conversation with M. Cooper of Time Magazine on July 12, 2003, Mr. Libby told Mr. Cooper that reporters were telling the administration that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA but that Mr. Libby did not know of this was true.  (i.e., is the charge that the statement was made or about theh content of the statement itself)

Judge's note at the bottom — I am not exactly certain what you are asking me. Can you please clarify your question? 

Second note from jury:

After further discussion, we are clear on what we need to do.  No further clarification needed.  Thank you.  We apologize. 

After the second note came back, the Libby team was clustered around some piece of paper (I assume the note) chuckling.  They showed it to Fitz, and nobody seemed to alarmed one way or the other.

emptywheel here.

Here's my take on this. First, if (more…)

The Question, Part Two


Well, you guys have been chatty this morning. I'm on a second thread and we're just getting started. How am I supposed to conserve battery at this clip?

For those just tuning in, Jane is dressed in some fancy shoes today, but the jury is dressed in jeans. We're waiting for some kind of sealed matter to finish up so we can get into the court room. Best as I understand, everyone and their mother is standing in the hallway outside of Walton's court room, waiting, waiting, waiting. 

Okay, we're finally in the court room now. Bonamici is wearing her red jacket again.

We're waiting on the jury, I think. Okay, here goes.

Walton: I've received the parties proposal as to what I should say to the jury. I have some questions in my mind as to what the jury is asking me. I'm going to send a note back to the jury indicating I am not certain what they're asking, can you clarify what you're asking.

Wells: As long as the record is clear that it's the position of the defense that we think the note is clear. We would ask your honor not to send the note. (more…)

The Question


Good morning. The discussion of the question has been postponed to 9:45. Just heard Jeffress tell some folks that it's not an exciting question. But we'll liveblog it from here in any case.

Team Libby just got to the courthouse. 

In other news, I forgot my power cord today. Luckily, I've got a big old battery that will take me to lunch time. You know, I'm supposed to be the one working with a full brain, Jane's supposed to be the one who is distracted. But I guess Jane will be taking care of me today (up until the point when I throw her off of her computer to blog on!). And finally–Pach–we got our seat back.

Gay Oklahoma student sues over taunting, assaults in school

And to think, fundies want to prevent the passage of anti-bullying legislation, and usually seek to exempt religious schools — as if abuse like this should be tolerated against any child. (365gay)

A gay teenager who claims school officials in Grove failed to provide him with a safe environment, resulting in an assault by another student, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Nineteen-year-old Michale Bullis claims in the suit that between 2002 and 2005 he was routinely subjected to “name-calling and threats of physical harm and death.”

The lawsuit alleges that he was frequently taunted, other students touched and stroked him in a mocking way and his genitals were grabbed.

Even worse, this National Honor Society student asked school administrators to do something about the abuse; nothing happened and in another attack, he received a busted lip, several cracked teeth and was knocked unconscious. After that, his parents removed him from the hellhole of bigotry and placed him in an alt school.

Here’s another account of the harassment:

School teacher Dennis Millican was supervising students at the time of the incident. Buillis’ lawsuit contends that Millican not only failed to protect Bullis during the attack, but didn’t offer any aid afterward either.

…The students threw wadded paper goods, candy bar wrappers and erasers at Bullis and shouted abusive, sexually related epithets in addition to threats as he walked to class. Someone threw a pencil at Bullis and, according to the lawsuit, the lead stuck in his forehead, breaking beneath the skin.

School officials did nothing, Bullis contends, to stop the inappropriate actions that included unwanted backrubs accompanied by inappropriate stroking of the plaintiff’s neck and throat, blowing in his ear and grabbing his genitals.


Know Your Enemy


(Photo credit for this heartbreaking shot to Damir Sagolij/Reuters — CHS)

NOTE: Yesterday afternoon, the Judge in the Libby trial received a note from the Jury (likely a question, but we're not sure), and that matter will be taken up some time this morning. Jane and Marcy will be at the courthouse by about 9:30 a.m. EST, and they will post word from there when they know. So while we're all waiting . . .

Tuesday's Boston Globe ran a front page article, "Uneasy start to Baghdad plan," that reports on how the current plan to pacify the Iraqi capital is going. As you'll see from the link, the subtitle is "Identifying insurgents proves difficult," and to prove the point, half way through the article, we find this stunning quote from a US soldier involved in the Baghdad operations:

I don't know who I'm fighting most of the time.

He was not kidding. To understand how serious this problem is, consider just the news we've seen in the last few days. The Administration is telling us that Iranians are supplying money, weapons and training to unnamed people in Iraq, and those weapons are being used to kill Americans. So Iranians are the enemy, right? Well, no, and the Secretary of Defense, who's next to the top in the chain of command, has just assured the American people that we are not planning a war against Iran. Moreover, anyone with any sense who has thought about this at all is warning that starting a war with Iran would be a huge strategic blunder that could inflame the entire Middle East and create uncontrollable conditions that would endanger US troops in Iraq. So we shouldn't be carelessly antagonizing the Iranians, okay? Except we are. Sy Hersh's The New Yorker article, which is starting to resemble The Iliad in its ability to spawn further stories ("feeding off the crumbs from Homer's table"), says this:

The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.” The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who “get scooped up and released in a short time,” after they have been interrogated.

As Hersh reports, it seems the Administration has recognized, but not admitted to the public, that it made a huge blunder in invading Iraq and dismantling its Sunni-based but non-sectarian government and army, because that allowed the fundamentalist Shia regime in Iran to gain too much influence in Shia-dominated Iraq and throughout the region. This has alarmed our Sunni friends in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. To curtail that Shia/Iranian influence, US policy has shifted to support anyone who might check the Iranian influence. So a good soldier should be asking: which groups in Iraq are allied with the Iranians and which are independent or opposed? (more…)