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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hellzapoppin' 

Every October, during the traditional 36-hour news fast of Yom Zembladanashanah, we pray to God; drink Manhattans to commemorate the massacre of the indigenes by C. Columbus (the explorer-marauder, of course, not the writer-director -- who, we hasten to add, has never so much as laid a glove on an indigene, that we know of); repent our forgiveness of the sins for which we forgave our colleagues; and listen to the new Liz Phair album, if there happens to be one. Well, sir! -- this year we are frankly gobsmacked to report that, in a stunning reversal of the usual pattern, Liz Phair let us down and God came through. We ended our news fast tonight by visiting several of our favorite "aggregator" blogs, and discovered to our undisguised glee that one cannot swing one's dead cat by the tail without smacking the late furry puss into a burgeoning Republican scandal. To start with the best of the bunch --
The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.
We are quite sure that Mr. Bush would gladly give his veep to the feds if he thought it might preserve his overwhelming mandate just a little bit longer. As you surely recall, the last vice president forced out of office by criminal charges was another distinguished Republican, Spiro T. Agnew. To aficionados of 70's culture, Spiro T. Agnew is to nolo contendere as Jimmy "J.J." Walker is to Dyn-o-MIIIITE!!:
Agnew had always blamed Nixon for releasing the accusations of bribes and tax evasion in order to divert attention from the growing Watergate scandal that was engulfing Nixon's administration. As fate would have it, Nixon was forced from office but Agnew's earlier resignation and criminal charges ruined his hopes of becoming President.
We bring it up because we may see, thanks in large part to our distinguished colleague Lukery Land of Wot Is It Good 4, a similar dynamic at work in the current administration:
By a margin of 50% to 44%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he lied about the war in Iraq, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

The poll was conducted by
Ipsos Public Affairs, the highly-regarded non-partisan polling company. The poll interviewed 1,001 U.S. adults on October 6-9.

The poll found that 50% agreed with the statement:

"If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him."

44% disagreed, and 6% said they didn't know or declined to answer. The poll has a +/- 3.1% margin of error.

Among those who felt strongly either way, 39% strongly agreed, while 30% strongly disagreed.
Of the two names at the tippy-top of the '04 Republican ticket, Mr. Cheney will almost certainly be driven from office first, which means that the man nominated to replace him as vice president will most likely assume the presidency when Mr. Bush follows the glorious example of Richard M. Nixon by offering his resignation. Current speculation centers on White House tailor Georges de Paris (right), who is qualified for the veep slot by virtue of his close resemblance to the president's mother. White House executive pastry chef Roland Mesnier has expressed no interest in running the country, despite repeated entreaties.

Judgment call: in light of the above, is it really worth mentioning that Mr. Cheney's butt boy, I. Lewis Libby, reportedly omitted to tell the Plame grand jury the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about his trash talk with Judy Martyr -- um, Judy Miller? Why, hell yes, it is! we say. Consider it mentioned.

And having mounted our high horse, we must not neglect to point out that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has not been altogether forthcoming about his financial interests:
Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in blind trusts approved by the Senate.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict.

In that case, the HCA stock was accumulated by a family investment partnership started by the senator's late parents and later overseen by his brother, Thomas Frist. The brother served as president of the partnership's management company and as a top officer of HCA. Sen. Frist holds no position with the company . . . .

Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, said she doesn't believe the Senate trusts or the Tennessee trust insulated Frist from a conflict because the senator or his brother were advised of transactions and could influence decisions.
Meanwhile, the puppet government in Iraq appears to have bilked American taxpayers out of roughly one billion dollars (only fair, since we bilked them out of nine). Oh, and did we mention that the feddle gubmint has now determined that the terrorist threat to New York's subway system, announced last week to coincide with the President's speech, was nothing but horseshit?
Government sources said Tuesday information from an informant in Iraq about a terrorist plot involving New York's subway system was a hoax.

After various investigations, the sources said, officials determined the informant's tip was false.

New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly acknowledged the need to improve communications about intelligence information between federal and local law enforcement officials.

"I think we have got to get together with federal agencies, and they have a responsibility in Washington to speak with one voice to proactively put out information that's going to help localities," he said Tuesday.

Much of the information that led to the heightened security in New York "was gleaned from our initiative and our contacting federal authorities," he said.

"So, yeah, I think that there are lessons here to be learned. I think some congressional committees will, in fact, look into this whole matter and hopefully the system will be improved as a result," he added.
Have we told you how seldom we can say that we look forward to waking up tomorrow? Tonight, as we contemplate the new pleasures that may greet us with the dawning of the sun, we can truly say it: we look forward to waking up tomorrow.

Aaahhhhhh-hhhh-hh-h.

UPDATE: A legal strategy that might exempt Mr. Rove from having to testify about the President's involvement in Plamegate, suggested by our invariably straight-faced colleagues at the Swift Report:
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed do not think that President Bush and Mr. Rove should be allowed to marry, despite the fact that the two have been together for almost 30 years, since the two were set up by Mr. Bush's father, the first President Bush. But some 63% of respondents would like to see the long-time companions have the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, including health, wealth and sexual fulfillment.

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