Monday, July 10, 2006

News You Might Have Missed

In an effort to capture those stories that might have slipped by your attention over the week, we present for your consumption and edification, the following:

Plame-Gate - Remember this story? Although most of the MSM has let go of the story for the time being, at least Murray Waas at the National Journal hasn't. In a great article that should catch anyone unfamiliar with all of the details of this story up to date, he reports:
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq.... Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson....
Take a moment to catch up on this required reading.

The House continues to fall on top of the Bush Administration - People are familiar with Democratic charges that the President has broken the law in any number of ways during his Presidency. Now, Republicans and strong Bush supporters are beginning to see the reality of these charges, as well. On Sunday, The Washington Post reports that Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI-2) has accused the President of breaking the law by not providing Congress with the appropriate information, relative to domestic surveilance programs.

Hoekstra, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, writes:
I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed.... If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies.... The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play 'Twenty Questions' to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution.
Of course, this story was initially reported by The New York Times, so I guess it was probably a secret that we weren't supposed to know. It would be better for The New York Times to just reprint the Bush Administration press releases than to actually do any investigative reporting.

"Shutting down the Bin Laden unit squandered 10 years of expertise in the war on terror..." So says Michael Scheuer, in an interiew published in the Guardian Unlimited over the weekend. According to the article:
The man who led America's hunt for Osama bin Laden has said the CIA was wrong to disband the only unit devoted entirely to the terrorist leader's pursuit - just at a time when al-Qaida is reasserting its influence over global jihad.
The Administration continues to state the Bin Laden remains a high priority, but actions such as these clearly show the real story.

The state secrets that weren't secret - Joe Conason at Salon reports on the smear campaign against The New York Times, with regard to their reporting of terrorist funding investigations:
As with so many ugly accusations promoted by the likes of Coulter, Kristol and the Journal editorialists over the past decade, this furor is just another political hoax. Their professed outrage is a fraud, meant to intimidate mainstream journalists who have begun, at long last, to examine the misconduct of the Bush administration and the Republican congressional majority.
If you don't have all of the information regarding this issue, you owe it to yourself to read Conason's article, and see for yourself exactly how well-known and public this program actually was. Similar to gay marriage and flag burning, the New York Times is simply the latest target by which right-wing conservatives are hoping to bolster their chances in the November elections.

Gays at Globe told to marry or lose benefits - This story presents an interesting twist on the issue of gay marraige and civil unions, particularly in the state of Massachusetts. The Boston Herald reported over the weekend about a memo distributed to gay employees at The Boston Globe:
“An employee who currently covers a same-sex domestic partner as a dependent will have to marry his or her partner by Jan. 1 for the employee benefits coverage to continue at the employee rates...”
To be clear, the Boston Globe has long been a supporter of domestic partner benefits. However, since gay marriage has been legal since 2004, the paper now believes that gay couples must marry to continue to receive the same benefits they've received. The paper does not extend benefits to heterosexual domestic partners, and feared charges of discrimination. It will be interesting to follow this story, and to note how other large companies respond to this move by the Boston Globe.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 10:58 AM /


  • Blogger The Professor posted at 9:41 AM  
    Thanks for the inspiration. Thanks to you and the Herald, I finally decided to blog on why I support the taxation, er legalization of homosexual marriage (I refuse to call it "gay" marriage, since it can also be between lesbians... I learned SOMETHING in my Liberation Theology course at Western Maryland!)

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 9:53 AM  
    Glad to be a catalyst for inspiration. Here's what I've never understood about people opposing gay marriage. Most people (and I would defy anyone to show me an argument that's been based on another side of the argument) oppose gay marriage on the basis of morality.

    Here's the thing - heterosexual couples can travel to Las Vegas and get a drive-through marriage - legally. They can dress up like Elvis and be married - legally. They can go underwater and marry - legally. They can bungee-jump and marry - legally.

    What does any of THIS do to strengthen the commitment of marriage?

    If a CHURCH decides that they would be opposed to gay marriages within their church, due to religious beliefs, that's one thing.

    What' we're arguing, however, is a CIVIL recognition of marriage. Two people commited to one another who decide to share their lives together, and would have the right to go to the courthouse and be recognized as married - CIVILLY.

    I have yet to find ANYONE who can point to why that would be detrimental to the institution of marriage. Recognition by the state is not a recognition by ANY religious organization, and it would be up to each individual religious faith to decide that issue (let's hear it for the Episcopalian church!)

    I won't even go into the whole issue of divorce rates among heterosexual married couples or any of the other elements that destroy the institution of marriage.

    As far as I'm concerned, the people who oppose gay marriage are the same people who would have opposed inter-racial marriages, which were largely opposed for the same reasons. Those reasons ultimately were based on backward, ignorant thinking and not on sound judgement.

    So, I'm glad to see you supporting it, as well.

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 12:26 PM  
    You write: "I have yet to find ANYONE who can point to why that would be detrimental to the institution of marriage. Recognition by the state is not a recognition by ANY religious organization, and it would be up to each individual religious faith to decide that issue (let's hear it for the Episcopalian church!)"

    Well, perhaps I should leave this one for my brother to address, but I think you will find that the Episcopalians are far from united on this, and in fact the Anglican communion is strongly on the other side of this fence.

    One could make the argument that this is the same as the debate over inter-racial marriage, except in this case the Biblical injunctions are quite clear. You can now choose to discount those passages, or discount the Bible, but if one accepts the Bible as truth, one then comes smack up against the issue of doing what is "right."

    Hence, MY point. It's not my place to tell "non-Christians" how to behave. But I certainly would like them all to be paying the same marriage penalty that I have been for over 21 years.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 12:38 PM  
    I got your intial point, and you actually make the case for me.

    If all Episcopalians are either for/against gay marriage really is inmaterial, as that is a matter of the individual church/religious organization.

    The last time I checked, Rick Santorum was not an elected "religious authority" much as he may like to be.

    Any time you bring the Bible up with regard to this issue, you immediately shift the argument to that of a religious context, over which our government has no authority.

    SO, let gay marriage be outlawed by all the various denominations, Christian or otherwise.

    That still does not legitimate gay marriage being constitutionally banned by our government.

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