Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Catching up...

I’ve been out sick for the last couple of days...
Lot of interesting news stories have come out during that time:

High Court Faults EPA Inaction on Emissions

The Supreme Court rebuked the Bush administration yesterday for refusing to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, siding with environmentalists in the court's first examination of the phenomenon of global warming.
The court ruled 5 to 4 that the Environmental Protection Agency violated the Clean Air Act by improperly declining to regulate new-vehicle emissions standards to control the pollutants that scientists say contribute to global warming.
"EPA has offered no reasoned explanation for its refusal to decide whether greenhouse gases cause or contribute to climate change," Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority. The agency "identifies nothing suggesting that Congress meant to curtail EPA's power to treat greenhouse gases as air pollutants," the opinion continued.
The Natural Resources Defense Council said in a statement that the ruling "repudiates the Bush administration's do-nothing policy on global warming," undermining the government's refusal to view carbon dioxide as an air pollutant subject to EPA regulation.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Anthony Kennedy stepping into the pivotal swing role once occupied by Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s nice to think that even after Bush got two of his horrible picks onto the Supreme Court, we can still get good decisions like this one through.

Prosecutor Posts Go To Bush Insiders

About one-third of the nearly four dozen U.S. attorney's jobs that have changed hands since President Bush began his second term have been filled by the White House and the Justice Department with trusted administration insiders.
The people chosen as chief federal prosecutors on a temporary or permanent basis since early 2005 include 10 senior aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, according to an analysis of government records. Several came from the White House or other government agencies. Some lacked experience as prosecutors or had no connection to the districts in which they were sent to work, the records and biographical information show....
No other administration in contemporary times has had such a clear pattern of filling chief prosecutors' jobs with its own staff members, said experts on U.S. attorney's offices. Those experts said the emphasis in appointments traditionally has been on local roots and deference to home-state senators, whose support has been crucial to win confirmation of the nominees.
The pattern from Bush's second term suggests that the dismissals were half of a two-pronged approach: While getting rid of prosecutors who did not adhere closely to administration priorities, such as rigorous pursuit of immigration violations and GOP allegations of voter fraud, White House and Justice officials have seeded federal prosecutors' offices with people on whom they can depend to carry out the administration's agenda.

The Bush administration has clearly abused their power when it comes to selecting U.S. Attorneys. If the law is such that the U.S. attorneys “serve at the privilege of the president” then I think after this administration that law needs to be changed. Every new president can pick their own people for the U.S. Attorney slots (with Senate approval), but after they are in place the administration needs to back off and let them do their jobs. This nonsense about ranking the attorneys based on their fealty to the Bush administration’s political agenda is unconscionable and should not be tolerated. If we need a new law to keep this kind of abuse from happening in the future then so be it.

How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War

Dozens of interviews with current and former intelligence officials and policymakers in the United States, Britain, France and Italy show that the Bush administration disregarded key information available at the time showing that the Iraq-Niger claim was highly questionable.
In February 2002, the CIA received the verbatim text of one of the documents, filled with errors easily identifiable through a simple Internet search, the interviews show. Many low- and mid-level intelligence officials were already skeptical that Iraq was in pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The interviews also showed that France, berated by the Bush administration for opposing the Iraq war, honored a U.S. intelligence request to investigate the uranium claim. It determined that its former colony had not sold uranium to Iraq.
Burba, who had no special expertise in Africa or nuclear technology, was able to quickly unravel the fraud. Yet the claims clung to life within the Bush administration for months, eventually finding their way into the State of the Union address.

I still want to know who created the phony document and why.

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