May 25th, 2007

Democrats Vow Fight Over Iraq Has Just Begun

Democrats may have lost the first round with President Bush on ending the war in Iraq since taking over Congress in January, but they say their fight has just begun.

In the months ahead, lawmakers will vote repeatedly on whether U.S. troops should stay and whether Bush has the authority to continue the war. The Democratic strategy is intended to ratchet up pressure on the president, as well as on moderate Republicans who have grown tired of defending Bush administration policy in a deeply unpopular war.

GOP Rep. Boehner Cries During Iraq Debate: "...I Came Here To Do Something"

House debate on the new Iraq spending bill is bringing out a range of emotions from some congressmen, including House Minority Leader John Boehner.

"I didn't come here to be a congressman -- I came here to do something," the Ohio Republican said as he choked up with tears in his eyes on the House floor. "And I think at the top of our list is providing for the safety and security of the American people. That's at the top of our list. After 3,000 of our fellow citizens died at the hands of these terrorists, when are we going to stand up and take them on? When are we going to defeat them?"

Clinton Campaign Nervously Awaits Release Of Two Tell-All Books

Two new books on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York offer fresh and often critical portraits of the Democratic presidential candidate that depict a tortured relationship with her husband and her past and challenge the image she has presented on the campaign trail.

The Hillary Clinton who emerges from the pages of the books comes across as a complicated, sometimes compromised figure who tolerated Bill Clinton's brazen infidelity, pursued her policy and political goals with methodical drive, and occasionally skirted along the edge of the truth along the way. The books portray her as alternately brilliant and controlling, ambitious and victimized.

US Men In Their 30s Worse Off Financially Than Their Father's Generation

American men in their 30s today are worse off than their fathers' generation, a reversal from just a decade ago, when sons generally were better off than their fathers, a new study finds.

The study, the first in a series on economic mobility undertaken by several prominent think tanks, also says the typical American family's income has lagged far behind productivity growth since 2000, a departure from most of the post-World War II period.

GOP Rep Boehner Curses Over Immigration Bill

This morning, Hotline's blog reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner told a closed gathering of GOP "rapid responders" last night that the Senate immigration bill is a "piece of @#$%." Said Boehner, according to two attendees: "I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about ... this piece of @#$% bill."

North Korea Fires Test Missiles

North Korea fired several short-range guided missiles Friday into the sea that separates it from Japan in an apparent test launch, South Korean officials and media reports said.

Analysts and media reports said the North's test was in response to South Korea's launch of its first destroyer equipped with high-tech Aegis radar technology on Friday. South Korea is now one of only five countries armed with the technology, which will make it easier to track and shoot down North Korean aircraft and missiles.

Springfields Across Ameria Vie For "Simpsons" Premiere

Forget Lincoln. Illinois' state capital, renowned for its ties to Honest Abe and other less-honest politicians, now wants to be known as the home of Homer Simpson.

Like many things these days, this has to do with dough -- or, in this case, perhaps, D'oh!

"The Simpsons," the television cartoon satire that inspired cult-like loyalty among millions of viewers worldwide over its 18 years, is set in a never clearly defined but incredibly dysfunctional place called Springfield. That has led to a raging debate about which of the more than 30 U.S. towns named Springfield is the model.

Actor And Potential '08 Candidate Thompson: "We're Living In A Nation Beset By Suicidal Maniacs"

Character actor and former Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson's next role is as president -- he's playing Ulysses S. Grant in the HBO film "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee."

But Thompson last night did not end speculation about his possible run for the White House...

..."We're living in a nation beset by suicidal maniacs," Thompson said, launching into criticism of the immigration bill.

Cleric Al Sadr Appears Before Thousands Of Supporters To Demand US Leave Iraq

Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr appeared in public for the first time in months on Friday, delivering a fiery anti-American sermon to thousands of followers and demanding U.S. troops leave

It was not immediately clear why he chose to return now to his base in the Shiite holy city of Najaf from Iran. His speech had new nationalist overtones, calling on Sunnis to join with him in the fight against the U.S. presence. He also criticized the government's inability to provide reliable services to its people.

Study Shows Fox Covers Iraq Less Than CNN, MSNBC

Looking more closely at the cable universe itself--among the three channels as well as across day parts--PEJ found distinct differences between the three channels, far more than discerned between the three commercial network channels or newspapers.

As an example, we found that coverage of the three biggest stories of the quarter--Iraq policy debate, the 2008 campaign and Anna Nicole Smith differed greatly across the three channels and day parts.

Bush Yesterday: "If They Were To Say, Leave, We Would Leave"

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You say you want nothing short of victory, that leaving Iraq would be catastrophic; you once again mentioned al Qaeda. Does that mean that you are willing to leave American troops there, no matter what the Iraqi government does? I know this is a question we've asked before, but you can begin it with a "yes" or "no."

THE PRESIDENT: We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It's their government's choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

Rosie's Chief Writer Allegedly Caught Drawing Moustaches On Photos Of Elisabeth

Rosie O'Donnell left "The View" with a bang, not a whimper, following her on-air smackdown with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Wednesday.

Yesterday, Rosie's chief writer, Janette Barber, was allegedly escorted from the building after she was caught drawing moustaches on photographs of Hasselbeck that hang in the "View" studios.

DOJ Investigation Widens After Goodling Admits Considering Attorney's Politics

The Justice Department has broadened an internal investigation into whether aides to Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales improperly took into account political considerations in hiring employees, officials familiar with the probe said Thursday.

The expanded inquiry, conducted by the department's inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, comes after testimony Wednesday by former Gonzales aide Monica M. Goodling.

DOJ Widens Internal Investigation After Goodling's Testimony

The Justice Department has broadened an internal investigation into whether aides to Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales improperly took into account political considerations in hiring employees, officials familiar with the probe said Thursday.

The expanded inquiry, conducted by the department's inspector general and its Office of Professional Responsibility, comes after testimony Wednesday by former Gonzales aide Monica M. Goodling.

McCain Returns To Senate After Missing 46 Votes

These days, it's a rare moment when John McCain shows up for a vote in the Senate. But he makes no apologies for attending to his presidential ambitions -- not even to his leaders, who may be wondering whether the Arizona Republican is going to be around for key votes during the 110th Congress.

Asked whether he's made any promises to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on that score, McCain wasn't particularly forthcoming.

"I have assured the leadership I will do everything I can," he said. "I ran for president once before in 2000, and I basically did what I could, and I'm doing what I can."

Documents: Bush Warned About Problems Now Faced In Iraq

U.S. intelligence analysts predicted, in two papers widely circulated before the 2003 Iraq invasion, that al-Qaida would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations and that Iran would try to shape the post-Saddam era.

The top analysts in government also said that establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a long, turbulent challenge.

Rosie Leaves "The View" Three Weeks Early

ABC has just announced that Rosie O'Donnell will not be back on "The View."

Brian Frons, President of ABC Daytime, issued the following statement:
"We had hoped that Rosie would be with us until the end of her contract three weeks from now, but Rosie has informed us that she would like an early leave. Therefore, we part ways, thank her for her tremendous contribution to 'The View' and wish her well."

Reagan On Giuliani: "I Think He's Crazy"

It appears the Gipper has injected himself into the presidential race from the grave. I picked up a copy of the newly released Reagan Diaries and found the following in an entry from Tuesday, June 14, 1988 :

Jim Kelly NSC came in to report Philippine legis. is giving us trouble on renewing our mil. bases there. And Giuliani (U.S. Attorney) is talking of drawing up an indictment against Marcos. I think he's crazy.

My Husband Does Not Have A Temper

Cindy McCain wants to dispel a misconception about her husband's famous temper. The way she sees it, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is misunderstood.

"[People] misunderstand passion and call it temper," McCain told in an exclusive interview. "He is passionate, and a very patriotic man. When he sees his country or the president -- of either party -- maligned, he takes it personally. It is not temper."

Prosecutors: Libby Deserves Up To Three Years

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has shown no remorse for corrupting the legal system and deserves to spend 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the
CIA leak investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and an assistant to President Bush, is the highest-ranking White House official convicted since the Iran-Contra affair two decades ago.

US Prosecutors: Libby Should Get Up To 3 Years

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has shown no remorse for corrupting the legal system and deserves to spend 2 1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the
CIA leak investigation, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Friday.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and an assistant to President Bush, is the highest-ranking White House official convicted since the Iran-Contra affair two decades ago.

MoveOn: New Iraq Bill Has "Obstructed The Will Of The American People" has slammed moderate Democrats as well as Republicans for scrapping withdrawal timelines on funding for the Iraq war.

"Republicans, joined by some Democrats, once again endorsed President Bush's policy of failure in Iraq and obstructed the will of the American people," Eli Pariser, executive director of Political Action, said in a statement Wednesday following the controversial vote in the U.S. House of Representatives that evening.

Firing Scandal Discourages Applicants Away From US Attorney Jobs

The Bush administration's decision to fire nine U.S. attorneys last year has created a new problem for the White House: The controversy appears to be discouraging applications for some of the 22 prosecutor posts that President Bush needs to fill.

Of the nation's 93 U.S. attorneys, 22 are serving without Senate confirmation as interim or acting prosecutors. They represent districts in Alaska, Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, West Virginia and Washington.

Man Caught With Mistress After Waving Down Camera Crew

A man who took his mistress to the beach made the mistake of waving to a film crew on a helicopter covering Italy's bicycle race and was discovered by his wife.

According to media reports, the man was with his younger mistress on a beach in northern Italy when the helicopter passed overhead with a crew covering the Giro d'Italia cycling classic.

Partial Nudity Slips Into "Halo 2" For Vista

Halo 2 for Windows Vista is now expected to hit the stores sometime in the first week of June, approximately two weeks behind the revised May 22 schedule. The game was originally scheduled for release on May 8, but was delayed due to some technical problems, Microsoft said at the time.

The software giant attributes the most recent delay to an "obscure content error" found in the initial production of Halo 2's map editor. That error was partial nudity.

Scarborough Eyed For MSNBC Imus Replacement

MSNBC has tested several replacement anchors and formats for the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot since it dumped the Imus In The Morning simulcast on April 11. The network has tested other morning radio hosts, including ABC Radio's Larry Elder, liberal talk radio program The Stephanie Miller Show, and Philadelphia-based radio host Michael Smerconish.

In addition to Scarborough, Abrams has also given NBC News talent David Gregory, Jim Cramer and Tucker Carlson a crack at the morning slot.

UN Re-Holds Meeting After US Reads Wrong Statement

At the first session, Khalilzad, current president of the council, read out a hard-hitting statement denouncing aerial bombardment in the troubled Darfur region in a clear critique of the Sudanese government.

When the session ended, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was the first to point out that the statement was not the one that the council's 15 members had agreed, participants said.

Bernstein Book: Both Clintons Considered Divorce

The 640-page A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton also discloses how terrified she was about the prospect of being prosecuted over the alleged Whitewater financial scandal. Bernstein suggests that she has skirted along the edge of the truth at times.

He details the full extent of the Clintons' troubled relationship and says that Mr Clinton considered ditching his wife in 1989 in favour of Marilyn Jo Jenkins, a company executive. Ms Clinton, one of the frontrunners in the race for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential race, refused to accept a divorce.

Lobby Reform Bills Easily Pass The House

One of the two measures that passed would require lobbyists who solicit campaign contributions from multiple donors for one candidate -- a practice called "bundling" -- to disclose the source and amounts of those contributions. That bill sailed through 382-37.

The second creates a new electronic database for lobbyists and requires them to file quarterly reports about contacts with lawmakers. It also bars spouses from lobbying, and increases civil and criminal penalties for those violating ethics rules. That bill passed 396-22.

Faculty Join Students In Booing Ex-Bush Chief Of Staff At UMass Graduation

President Bush's former chief of staff Andrew Card was loudly booed by hundreds of students and faculty members as he rose to accept an honorary degree at the University of Massachusetts on Friday.

The boos and catcalls _ including those from faculty members who stood onstage with Card _ drowned out Provost Charlena Seymour's remarks as she awarded the honorary doctorate in public service. Protesters claim Card lied to the American people in the early days of the Iraq war and should not have been honored at the graduate student commencement.

McCain, Obama Trade Shots Over Iraq

In a fiery preview of a possible 2008 election match-up, US Senators Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) and John McCain (news, bio, voting record) traded political potshots over Iraq Friday, and Hillary Clinton also faced a Republican barrage.

A day after the US Congress sent President George W. Bush a new 100 billion dollar war budget, stripped of Democratic troop withdrawal dates, raw emotions over the war spiced up the already simmering 2008 White House race.

Growing Political Pressure Forcing White House To Consider Troops Cuts

Officials say proponents of reducing the troops and scaling back their mission next year appear to include Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. They have been joined by generals at the Pentagon and elsewhere who have long been skeptical that the Iraqi government would use the opportunity created by the troop increase to reach genuine political accommodations.

So far, the concepts are entirely a creation of Washington and have been developed without the involvement of the top commanders in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, both of whom have been enthusiastic supporters of the troop increase.

"Waste Of Corporate Assets": Shareholder Sues Over Clinton Consulting Gig

Gupta, whose big donations to the Democratic Party earned him a Lincoln Bedroom overnight when Bill Clinton was president, has emerged as a key benefactor of Clinton's post-presidency -- and Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential candidacy.

Gupta's generosity toward the Clintons has proven so controversial within his firm -- a major provider of database-processing services -- that it prompted a shareholder lawsuit complaining that hiring the former president was a "waste of corporate assets."

Latest "Pirates" Is Summer's Latest Record-Breaking Franchise

"At World's End" will be opening in a record 4,362 North American theatres, about 110 more than "Spider-Man 3" and about 200 more than DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.'s "Shrek the Third," which set an opening-weekend record last week for an animated film at $122 million. The figures come from Media by Numbers, a box office tracking firm.

Mark Zoradi, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures marketing and Distribution, said U.S. exit surveys "gave the film among the highest numbers in Disney's history and placed it well above comparable scores" for the first two "Pirates" films.