After the poorly-read cue card performance of a shifty-eyed, cantankerous President Bush from the White House this morning, I thought we could use a laugh or two, and some actual substance.  So, here goes: 

– Thers posted the link to this "Atlas Juggs" video at Atrios' place, and it cracks me up.  What does it say when someone's idiosyncratic mannerisms and personal attachment to Captain Mustache are more important than the actual message?  It says "comedy gold," that's what.  Thought everyone could use a giggle as well.

– President Bush said this morning that "success would take months, not days or weeks."  Because, you know, four years worth of days, weeks and months hasn't been nearly enough for us to find those flowers and candy.  If you want some analysis, try Juan Cole.  Because working brains require more than nifty phrasing, no matter what Frank Luntz says – and I find a President who is honest with himself and his advisors to be a wonderful thing.  And I'm looking forward to us having one at some point in the future.  (Oh, and while we're at it.  Afghanistan?  Still dangerous — nothing like having your US Embassy convoy attacked to show just how far we have to go, eh?)  Can someone please ask George Bush if he defines "winning" as simply riding out both conflicts until he is out of office and no longer has to make the tough decisions?  (Of course, since he's running away from questions today, that's going to be a little tough.)

Steve Benen at Carpetbagger asks some good questions about the role that liberal blogs have been playing in moving accountability into the mainstream, through Libby case coverage and now the US Attorney firings as two notable examples.  But the question, as Digby puts it, is why the Beltway crowd still reflexively genuflects to the power rings in town instead of being skeptical of them still needs asking. 

I personally thought that the most amusing part of Ron Brownstein's whiny screed at bloggers at the Libby trial knowing more than his journalist pal was this:  why wasn't Brownstein horrified that "non-journalists"  (read:  average American citizens) knew more about the subject they were covering than his "professional, journalistic, paid-to-cover-the-story" colleagues?  Isn't there any sort of institutional pride in the man at all — because, from where I am sitting, reading through the copious legal documents in the case took a lot of time, but it also was invaluable for understanding the various nuances of the case…which is exactly what our readers wanted from us, and what I expected of myself to be able to adequately talk about the case.  I just don't see why any "professional" like Ron Brownstein would see that as a bad thing.  Unless, of course, having to actually DO the work makes the job less enjoyable for him.  (That would explain a lot.)

– Speaking of the US Attorney firings, the Muck has a piece today on the Golden Rule on this — how every time a "rationale' for firing one of the USAs is fronted by the Bush Administration, it keeps turning out that it happens to be something for which that USA was commended during their tenure.  (Which goes back to the "tell" that we were talking about the other day with Rove:  he accuses others consistently of doing the very thing that he, himself, is actually doing.  Something to keep an eye on, that's for sure.)

– Which leads to this article from McClatchey (who have been doing great digging on the USA firings, btw, via TPM, who have also been amazing on this issue):

Feinstein said Lam notified the Justice Department on May 10, 2006, that she planned to serve search warrants on Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, who'd resigned two days earlier as the No. 3 official at the CIA.

On May 11, 2006, Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales' chief of staff, sent an e-mail to deputy White House counsel William Kelley, asking Kelley to call to discuss "the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."…

On the same day last year as the Sampson e-mail, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Cunningham probe was being expanded to look at the actions of another California Republican, then-House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis.

Ouch. Especially considering that Mr. Sampson has apparently worked out a deal to testify this week before Congress. Get yer popcorn ready, kids, there may be some CYA finger-pointing fireworks before the week is out.  Especially in conjunction with this from the LATimes:

"This is one more chapter in the defense of Karl Rove," said one leading GOP figure who insisted on anonymity because he was speaking ill of the president's most powerful aide. "This isn't accountability, it's damage control, and it's protection for Karl."

Double ouch.

Taylor has a great post on some of the very serious, common sense reasons that questions about Iraq — LOTS of questions — need to be asked.  And while you are there, don't miss the discussion on women at war.

– Finally, via C&L, there is this from Vanity Fair.  I'll have more on this later, but I have to stop being disgusted first.  Anything that starts with a discussion with Frank Luntz puts me off my feed for at least a week, so you'll have to give me a little recovery time.