May 24th, 2007

Gonzales Responds: "Statements Made...Were Intended Only To Comfort Her In A Very Difficult Period"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/gonzales-responds-state_n_49209.html

A former top Justice Department aide testified on Wednesday that she had "crossed the line" in considering the political beliefs of applicants for nonpartisan legal jobs and suggested that earlier testimony by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and another top official about the dismissals of federal prosecutors may have been flawed.

Monica M. Goodling, the former Justice official, told a House panel that she regretted favoring applicants with Republican credentials for lower level prosecutor jobs or prestigious postings at Justice headquarters, actions that could violate federal employment laws.

White House Establishes "Rapid Response" Team To Counter Internet Blogs

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/white-house-establishes-_n_49210.html

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Wednesday that Republican conservatives working to block an immigration bill risk endorsing a "silent amnesty" by insisting on deportations that are "not going to happen."...

...The Homeland Security secretary said he canceled an overseas trip to help. In addition, the president is expected to stump for the bill next week and a "rapid response" team is countering critics, not only in the conventional media but, for the first time, on Internet blogs, said White House communications director Kevin Sullivan. The president's press secretary, Tony Snow, already has debated talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and TV commentator Lou Dobbs, both critics of the bill.

Read entire story here.

Pressure Builds On Democrats To Vote Against Iraq Bill That Excludes Timetables

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/pressure-builds-on-democr_n_49216.html

Democratic presidential contenders on Capitol Hill will cast critical votes on the Iraq war this week, when lawmakers decide on a $120 billion bill to keep military operations afloat through September. The House planned to vote Thursday with the Senate to follow suit by week's end.

The legislation does not set the deadline for U.S. troop withdrawals many Democrats wanted. Unable to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to override one presidential veto because of such a deadline -- or the threat of another -- Democratic leaders announced Tuesday they would proceed to provide money for the war anyway because they wanted to support the troops.

Bush To Hold News Conference On Iraq Violence

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/bush-to-hold-news-confere_n_49215.html

President Bush forced Congress to back down from deadlines for troop withdrawals from Iraq. On Thursday, he scheduled a news conference to talk about the unpopular war and the relentless violence.
The president also faced questions about tensions with Iran, a congressional battle over legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration system, and the future of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Obama Has Own Iowa Memo

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/obama-has-own-iowa-memo_n_49218.html

ABC News' Jonathan Greenberger Reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., wasn't the only Democratic presidential candidate with a memo out today about the odds of success in the Hawkeye State.

The campaign of rival Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., spent today distributing a memo in Iowa examining recent polling data there and concluding that Obama is fast "emerging as the most formidable general election candidate."

N.J. Governor Releases Seat Belt Ad: "...I Should Be Dead"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/nj-governor-releases-se_n_49220.html

"I'm New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead." So begins Corzine's public service announcement promoting seat belt use, which is being released Thursday. The governor was seriously injured in an April 12 car crash in which he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Corzine worked with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration on the message, which was released to coincide with Memorial Day weekend travel.

White House Considers Scandal-Plagued Frist For World Bank President

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/white-house-considers-sca_n_49227.html

The White House is starting to draw up a list of potential nominees to lead the World Bank, and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a heart surgeon who has traveled widely in Africa, is getting especially close scrutiny for the job.

Also receiving long looks are Treasury Deputy Secretary Robert Kimmitt and Robert Zoellick, the former U.S. trade representative now working at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to individuals familiar with White House deliberations.

NJ Governor Releases Seat Belt Ad: "...I Should Be Dead"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/nj-governor-releases-seat_n_49220.html

"I'm New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, and I should be dead." So begins Corzine's public service announcement promoting seat belt use, which is being released Thursday. The governor was seriously injured in an April 12 car crash in which he wasn't wearing a seat belt.

Corzine worked with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration on the message, which was released to coincide with Memorial Day weekend travel.

Bush 'Surge' Fails To Prevent Rise In Iraq Killings

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/bush-surge-fails-to-pre_n_49231.html

More than three months into a U.S.-Iraqi security offensive designed to curtail sectarian violence in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, Health Ministry statistics show that such killings are rising again.

From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.

President To Reporter: "They Are A Threat To Your Children, David"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/president-to-reporter-t_n_49238.html

President Bush told NBC reporter David Gregory at a Rose Garden news conference today that terrorists are a "threat to your children, David." The President's reaction came after Gregory asked him why he should be considered a credible source on terror intelligence.

Read more about the press conference here.

Watch the video from CNN:

Former CBS Reporter Wounded In Iraq Shows Couric Shrapnel From Her Body

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/former-cbs-reporter-wound_n_49247.html

As the daughter of a World War II veteran, Kimberly Dozier always had a special feeling about Memorial Day.

Her father was wounded during the assault on Iwo Jima, and was one of only two survivors in his 73-man unit. So when the CBS correspondent arrived in Baghdad for another tour of duty shortly before Memorial Day last year, she wanted to chronicle how American troops were spending the day.

Gonzales No-Confidence Vote Introduced On Senate Floor

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/gonzales-noconfidence-vo_n_49252.html

President Bush said Thursday he would address any wrongdoing uncovered by congressional or other investigations related to the firings of eight federal prosecutors, but added that new allegations have not swayed his support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"If there's wrongdoing, it will be taken care of," Bush told reporters at a Rose Garden news conference. Congress and the Justice Department are conducting separate probes into the firings, which Democrats say were improperly political.

Idol Ratings Down From Last Year On Final Night

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/idol-ratings-down-from-la_n_49249.html

An estimated 29.5 million Americans tuned in for the season's final "American Idol" with Jordin Sparks winning the prize -- a sharp drop from last year's finale, according to preliminary ratings from Nielsen Media Research.

Last year, 36.4 million people watched Taylor Hicks win. And even though Hicks was featured singing during Wednesday's two hour-plus episode, that represents a 19 percent decrease.

Microsoft Offices Install "Amnesty Bins" To Urge Employees To Ditch iPods

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/microsoft-offices-install_n_49255.html

Microsoft is receving some unusual attention for a decoration in its corporate offices. A user of Flickr recently uploaded a photo of the company's "iPod Amnesty Bin," found in the Zune headquarters, apparently encouraging employees to abandon Apple's media player in favor of Microsoft's competitor. The bin has drawn the ire of voices such as Macworld UK, which suggests that it is emblematic of "child-like and unrealistic behavior," a view aided by the lack of iPods in the Flickr image. The Zune has not sold as well as expected; it has in fact sapped the profits of Microsoft's entertainment division, which is in otherwise healthy shape thanks to the Xbox 360 console.

Bird Poops On The President During Rose Garden Press Conference

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/bird-poops-on-the-preside_n_49258.html

An outdoor news conference in perfect spring weather, with birds chirping loudly in the magnolia trees, is not without its hazards.

As President Bush took a question Thursday in the White House Rose Garden about scandals involving his Attorney General, he remarked, "I've got confidence in Al Gonzales doin' the job."

Simultaneously, a sparrow flew overhead and left a splash on the President's sleeve, which Bush tried several times to wipe off.

Deputy White House Press Secretary promptly put the incident through the proper spin cycle, telling ABC News, "It was his lucky day...everyone knows that's a sign of good luck."

Houses Passes Iraq Funding Bill Without Withdrawal Timeline

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/houses-passes-iraq-fundin_n_49281.html

Bowing to President Bush, the Democratic-controlled House reluctantly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war on Thursday, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.

The 280-142 vote sent the bill to the Senate for final passage, expected later Thursday night.

"The Iraqi government needs to show real progress in return for America's continued support and sacrifice," said Bush, and he warned that August could prove to be a bloody month for U.S. troops in Baghdad's murderous neighborhoods.

Bush: I Predict More Iraq Violence

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/bush-i-predict-more-iraq_n_49282.html

U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday predicted a bloody summer in Iraq for U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians, saying he expected insurgents and al Qaeda to step up attacks to try to influence the U.S. debate over how long to stay in Iraq.

Despite the deployment of tens of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi troops in a major U.S.-led security crackdown, attacks have continued unabated.

Clinton Aide Doubles As PR Rep For Coal Company

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/clinton-aide-doubles-as-p_n_49288.html

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed on Feb. 27 more research funds for new energy technology, including ``clean'' coal systems. The next day, Mark Penn, her top campaign strategist, had a different take on coal.

In an internal blog at his other job, as chief executive officer of public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, Penn wrote of how Burson worked ``behind the scenes'' for TXU Corp., a Texas company seeking to build power plants fueled by pulverized coal, which some environmentalists say would be major polluters.

Romney: I'm Not Intolerant Of Homosexuals

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/romney-im-not-intoleran_n_49295.html

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that his opposition to same-sex marriage should not be interpreted as intolerance of gays, who served in his administration when he was Massachusetts governor.

In a brief interview with The Associated Press, Romney elaborated on comments he made during a campaign event dubbed "Ask Mitt Anything" in which an audience member questioned whether pastors should preach that homosexuality is a sin. Romney said the government shouldn't tell pastors what they can say.

Obama And Clinton Vote No

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/obama-and-clinton-vote-no_n_49299.html

Bowing toPresident Bush, the Democratic-controlled Congress grudgingly approved fresh billions for the Iraq war Thursday night, minus the troop withdrawal timeline that drew his earlier veto.

"The Iraqi government needs to show real progress in return for America's continued support and sacrifice," said the commander in chief, and he warned that August could prove to be a bloody month for U.S. troops in Baghdad's murderous neighborhoods.

The Senate's 80-14 vote to send the legislation to the president came less than two hours after the House gave its approval on a margin of 280-142. In both cases, Republicans supplied the bulk of the support, an oddity in an era of Democratic control.

"Grey's" Actor Washington's PSA Airs: "Words Have Power"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/greys-actor-washington_n_49306.html

"Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington, making amends for his use of an anti-gay slur, cautions in a public service announcement that "words have power" to hurt or heal.
Washington's filmed message, which was to begin airing Thursday night during reruns of his ABC show, stemmed from a January meeting with officials from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, GLSEN, and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, GLAAD.

House Votes To Reveal Role Between Lobbyists And Congress

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/24/house-votes-to-reveal-rol_n_49307.html

The House voted Thursday to drag into public view the role that registered lobbyists play in soliciting and collecting contributions for political campaigns, exposing for the first time one of the most effective ways that influence-seekers ingratiate themselves with lawmakers and presidents.

The measure goes to the heart of how Washington does business by uncovering a hidden practice that sprang up as an unintended consequence of restrictions imposed by campaign finance laws. Because those laws cap individual contributions, now $2,300 per campaign, candidates have been turning to well-connected lobbyists to bundle stacks of checks to make up the millions they need to run their campaigns.