Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Armitage revelation

My friend Mark Harden is dancing a little jig in the endzone to celebrate what he believes is the ignominious end of the CIA Leak scandal brought on by the revelation that Robert Novak’s primary source was Richard Armitage, a top aide to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Why this should make any difference is unclear to me, however. We know that Novak was not the first journalist to learn about Valerie Plame, just the first to actually go to press with it. We also know that Novak went to Karl Rove with this information to get confirmation before going to press.

Kevin Drum sums it up well here.

Armitage is hardly the end of the story. Whether his gossiping was innocent or not — about which I remain agnostic — the fact remains that several other people were also aggressively talking to multiple reporters about Plame's role at the same time. If Armitage really didn't have any malicious intent, it's a helluva coincidence that he happened to be gossiping about the exact same thing as a bunch of other people who did have malicious intent.

And David Corn makes clear why and how the White House campaign to discredit Ambassador Wilson set the ball to rollling in the first place.

The Armitage leak was not directly a part of the White House's fierce anti-Wilson crusade. But as Hubris notes, it was, in a way, linked to the White House effort, for Amitage had been sent a key memo about Wilson's trip that referred to his wife and her CIA connection, and this memo had been written, according to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, at the request of I. Lewis Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. Libby had asked for the memo because he was looking to protect his boss from the mounting criticism that Bush and Cheney had misrepresented the WMD intelligence to garner public support for the invasion of Iraq.

Finally, if the fact that Armitage was Novak’s primary source somehow makes everything OK with respect to the administration’s involvement in outing a covert CIA operative, why did Patrick Fitzgerald go forward with the investigation anyway? We also know that Novak went to Fitzgerald at the outset and told him who his sources were. So Fitzgerald has known all along that Armitage was Novak’s first source, and yet he pushed forward with the case and still indicted Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice. So the Armitage revelation changes nothing in that respect.
Also, if it was all no big deal, as Bush supporters are now claiming, why did Libby perjure himself before the grand jury?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bush hosting murdering, theiving dictator

Remember this the next time Bush talks about his support for freedom and democracy around the world:

This week President Bush will be rolling out the red carpet for Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic leader of Kazakhstan who is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for accepting millions of dollars in bribes.

Nazarbayev has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and profited from his post, according to the U.S. government. But he also sits atop massive oil reserves that have helped open doors in Washington.

Nazarbayev is the elected leader of Kazakhstan in the same way that Saddam Hussein was the elected leader of Iraq. He won his last “election” with more than 91 percent of the vote, but that’s not hard to do when you have outlawed the political opposition and when your political opponents keep winding up gunned down on the side of the road.

Canon Rock

I can’t believe this kid hasn’t been signed to a recording contract yet! Are the record company executives insane?
If the Baha Boys were able to make a mint with “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, then surely Jeong-Hyun Lim and the composer Jerry Chang should make a small fortune for this.
They should invite these two fellows to perform this piece during the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Chicks’ boost country music sales

I finally bought the Dixie Chick’s latest cd last week and was intrigued by this story about the last country radio station in L.A. shutting down:
Despite big sales, L.A. loses country radio

...the city lost its last country music channel when KZLA-FM (93.9), self-billed as "America's most listened-to country station," changed its format for the first time in 25 years - to a pop format focusing on beat-heavy R&B and dance tunes....

Ironically, KZLA's change comes at a time when country music is flourishing. While album sales of most musical genres have declined, country music has experienced one of its best years. During the first six months of 2006, U.S. sales of country albums increased by 17.7 percent to 36 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Best sellers from bands such as Rascal Flatts and the Dixie Chicks have driven those increases.

So if I am getting this straight, the Dixie Chicks are helping to boost country music sales at a time when country radio stations are suffering. The irony, of course is that many of these country radio stations refuse to play the Dixie Chicks despite their popularity because they are run by people who are unhappy with the Chicks’ political views. I guess it is just too much to expect that these stations would play the music that people want to hear. They would rather stick to their right-wing agenda even if it means that they will suffer financially.