Wednesday Open Thread

There are other things going on in the world besides the fired prosecutors. With all the Gonzales news yesterday, I forgot to do the Tuesday open thread. So here it is one day late.

All topics welcome. Keep it civil, and don't forget urls have to be in html format because the long ones skew the site. Use the link button at the top of the comment box or follow the instructions at the bottom of the comment page.

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    What can gag a hooker? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Sailor on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:13:39 PM EST
    Bush's DoJ: Feds Seek To Gag D.C. Madam

    (H/T to Bill Arnett)

    Funny story (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:20:01 PM EST
    I have been sorta following that. It seems that the maadam had some important government clients. Since her assets were frozen she was goint to sell her client list.

    Someone pulled some strings to get the discovery  documents sealed, coincidentially that includes her list of clients.


    I was watching Gonzo while eating lunch (none / 0) (#5)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:38:03 PM EST
    yesterday, and CNN's crawl across the bottom of the screen said her phone records had made it "to a media organization without money changing hands".

    Whatever that means.

    Here's their article.

    I'd speculated (and the article appears to confirm) she may have made an additional copy (beyond the ones seized by the gov't and then turned over in discovery), stored 'em elsewhere and then did/concluded the deal to media-ize them while the gag order motion is pending.  As I read the gag order motion, it only sought to limit her use of "materials provided by the government" to the purposes of her defense.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if the government asked only for that, and even if they got it, if she had retained identical copies elsewhere and the government hadn't found them, well, the gag order wouldn't apply, would it?

    Also, while the government seeks to "prevent the intimidation of any witness" through the gag order, are we expected to believe they will in fact be calling one or more of the escort service's clients as witnesses to prove that, yes, indeedy, they got what they paid for?

    15,000 client phone numbers in a high-end demographic has got to be pretty valuable....


    But (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:58:57 PM EST
    If the  names and contact info were considered 'content' rather than the pieces of paper which they were written on,  wouldn't that bar any copies floating around from being sold. Not to mention wouldn't she have had to deliver copies of the list if that was requested for discovery?

    Heh, I could see why she would need to access copies of the lists to call defense witnesses.  

    Somehow I imagine that the case will settle or the Patriot act will be invoked. What if terrorists got hold of that list....? American secrets could start flowing.


    And (none / 0) (#8)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:00:23 PM EST
    I wonder if Jeff Gannon/Guckert was in her employ?

    Election fraud | Firing Prosecutors (none / 0) (#3)
    by ElectionCountdown on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:29:13 PM EST
    It is interesting that the reason given for firing some of the prosecutors was that they did not actively prosecute possible voter fraud cases.  Democrats have been complaining for years that Bush et al were looking the other way.


    Since it is open, (none / 0) (#4)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:35:56 PM EST

    Here is an interesting link to how to rate a lost weekend.


    please put your links in html format (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:18:05 PM EST
    or your comment is subject to deletion, long links skew the site

    Sorry (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 04:04:32 PM EST

    What is too long?  The link seems to work fine.  How should a link be posted to make it shortenough to be up to snuff?

    Here's some help (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:17:11 PM EST
    I don't what or why, but it screws something uo.

    Click here for HTML info


    thanx! (none / 0) (#35)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 09:39:26 PM EST
    Rudy Thuggiani says: (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 12:48:12 PM EST
    ``Mayor Giuliani has been clear and consistent -- Hugo Chavez is no friend of the United States,'' campaign spokeswoman Katie Levinson said in the statement.

    But, even that isn't enough to stop Rudy from being a name partner in a law firm, Bracewell and Giuliani, which, uh, lobbies for Venezuelean-owned Citgo in Texas.

    Money (not love), it seems, does indeed conquer all.  

    pakistan lawyers strike (none / 0) (#9)
    by jmt on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:13:36 PM EST
    Today's New York Times (pA10) reports demonstrations across Pakistan by lawyers protesting the house arrest of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry by President Musharraf, who also suspended him from the court.
    Choudhry has come under fire from Musharraf for his investigation into hundreds of people who have disappeared after being detained by the Pakistani security services and because he reversed the government's earlier decision to sell its state-owned steel mills.

    According to DAWN, the English language newspaper of Pakistan, two private television stations have been closed by the government because they showed police clubbing demonstrating lawyers.  http://dawn.com/2007/03/13/top3.htm

    Munir A. Malik, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, held a press conference announcing that the Courts had been shut down by the attorneys of Pakistan, and stating an intent that Pakistani attorneys en masse would represent Chaudhry, although the government has insisted that a disciplinary hearing would be closed to the press, the public and Pakistani's attorneys.  Malik announced that Pakastan's lawyers would lay siege to the site where the Supreme Judicial Council would hold its secret hearings into Musharraf's charges against Chaudhry, and is believed to have gone underground to avoid arrest before the demonstration at the SJC can be held. http://dawn.com/2007/03/13/top1.htm

    At a time when the independence of our own judiciary is under attack, we should support the Pakistani lawyers, who are literally fighting in the streets to maintain the integrity of the judicial branch, and stave off over-reaching by the Musharraf and the military.  We should insist that the State Department denounce this usurpation of judicial authority, and that Congress consider conditioning aid and support to the Musharraf regime on its respect for the independence of the judiciary.

    BBC Documentary and other GW news (none / 0) (#11)
    by Slado on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:27:23 PM EST
    Interesting documentary on the theory of Global Warming.    Kind of the reponse to "An Inconveinent Truth" if you will.

    Don't buy all of it but there are plenty of things in this that make someone re-think or evaluate their position.

    It's a real documentary so watch when you have an hour or so to spare.

    Also a leading prof has a different take.

    Global Warming Swindle

    Also while I hope this women is ok this is undeniably ironic

    Bad links (none / 0) (#12)
    by Slado on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:30:11 PM EST




    instead of having alberto gonzales resign, (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:42:31 PM EST
    couldn't he just be tied to a pole, on the mall in DC, and every american gets to walk by and punch him?

    since he's responsible for the abuse heaped on our constitution recently, it seems only fair.

    at least it will happen in broad daylight.

    Hey... (none / 0) (#18)
    by desertswine on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 02:37:44 PM EST
    I'll buy a ticket.

    Bernie Kerik finds more trouble. (none / 0) (#14)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 01:52:37 PM EST
    But, he passed on a plea deal with the feds, and then a reporter found out about it.

    Disgraced former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik borrowed a line from a popular game show after federal prosecutors made him a plea offer that would have required him to do time:

    No deal.

    "He rejected the plea deal because he paid his taxes and did nothing wrong," his attorney Ken Breen said last night.

    Breen declined to be more specific about the terms of the proposed deal, but a source familiar with the negotiations told the Daily News the terms called for Kerik to spend less than two years behind bars.

    WNBC TV in NYC first reported the story, here, stating:

    In exchange for his guilty plea, investigators were willing to end the federal criminal probe into Kerik's alleged wrongdoing which includes allegations of mortgage fraud, tax fraud, conspiracy to eavesdrop and making false statements on his application to become U.S. Homeland Security Secretary.

    I guess discussing (agreeing?) with then-soon-to-crash-in-flames Senate Candidate and County DA Pirro, on a tapped phone line, to bug the Pirro family boat so she could catch her cheatin' hubby in flagrante, well....  There are better ideas.

    The alleged charges appear to deal with:
     (a) fraud concerning his mortgage for the two apartments in (the Riverdale section of) NYC, which were renovated by the allegedly mobbed-up construction firm from Jersey - that mess was the subject of an earlier criminal plea he entered in state court, which got him no jail time;  
      (b)  not reporting on his income tax, as a gift, the use of some apartment in midtown Manhattan (as opposed to (1) the Riverdale apartment, which is in a nice part of the Bronx and (2) his commandeering a downtown apartment, immediately post 9/11, and his use of it with Judith Regan for purposes very other than those for which it had been lent to the City);  
      (c) L'affaire Pirro, which the tabloids covered in excruciating detail;  and
      (d) false statements on the HomeSec job app?  We haven't heard anything about that before.  Plumping his resume?  Even though Rudy was backing him - and that backing was enough to get W to put his name out there?  


    Is this W and Rover getting some payback for hanging them out on a limb with the failed nomination, or did W know go along with the fraud?  What did The Unit know, and when did he know it?

    We need answers!

    Plane diverted due to wire, magnet concealed in Iraqi's rectum

    This has been all over the news out here.

    My take is either the the guy is a nut, or he was testing "the system."

    Some have crowed that since we caught him the system works, however he had flown to LAX from Philly the day before, and if he really was trying to test the system, I'd bet he had the magnet in his butt for that flight as well and it went undetected.

    Magnet Therapy (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 02:27:18 PM EST
    Either he was undergoing magnet therapy or he was simply trying to attract a$$holes. Looks like he was successful, if only partially.

    Although none (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 02:37:35 PM EST
    of the news articles is as specific in this respect as we may wish, all of them say "magnet" (singular) while your reference says two magnets, and your article suggests one sit on them or hold them to the soles of your feet, not stuff 'em up your butt.

    Regardless, if indeed he was trying to cure flatulence by sticking this stuff up his butt, then I stand by my first thought that he's a nut.


    Is there a law.... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 02:59:31 PM EST
    against flying with a magnet in your keister?

    I'm curious...if the guys immigration status wasn't in question, would the state have the right to hold him for mental evaluation?  I mean it wasn't a bomb or a weapon....why shouldn't he be allowed to travel with whatever he wants up his bum?


    Is there a law (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 03:13:47 PM EST
    Terror is in the eye of the beholder. If he passes his mental tests they will probably send him to gitmo.

    Good question (none / 0) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 03:38:04 PM EST
    I assume whatever law it is that allows the TSA to run a metal detector over you, x-ray your luggage and take stuff from you before you board also allows them to detain someone who attempts to conceal such stuff from the TSA?

    Also, is his immigration status not in question? I've read differing accounts...


    I believe it is.... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 04:03:03 PM EST
    the article you linked said he is being held for mental evaluation and to look into his immigration status...it did not mention whether he broke any law besides possibly being undocumented.    

    That kinda leads me to believe it is legal to have a magnet up your arse on a plane, or maybe its just shoddy reporting from abc since they give no other reason for his detainment.  

    Are magnets on the list of stuff you can't fly with?  I know nail-clippers and switch-blades are not allowed...not sure about magnets.  Unless magnets are on the list I see no reason the state can legally hold him, except for immigration charges.


    Dunno about (none / 0) (#25)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 04:09:38 PM EST
    Unless magnets are on the list I see no reason the state can legally hold him, except for immigration charges.
    the immigration status stuff.

    My guess, though, is that attempting to conceal stuff from the TSA - whether or not it's legal-on-a-plane stuff - is grounds for detention...


    But does holding... (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:13:55 PM EST
    an object rectally automatically imply an attempt to conceal?  

    Common sense says yes, but then again I've heard of stranger fetishes.  Or maybe he just ran out of room in his pockets:)

    All kidding aside, I get leery of weirdness, oddity, or eccentricity being cause for arrest...even in an airport.  By all means the authorities were correct to find out what the object is, but once they discover the object is harmless, I say you tell the guy to stop being a knucklehead and send him on his way.

    The immigration matter clouds the issue.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:22:06 PM EST
    he just forgot it was there? That would be eccentric. Yikes.

    Anyway, it'll be interesting to find out what the results of the investigation are and it seems reasonable to me in this case to at least do some investigation.


    Wonder if (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:26:26 PM EST
    There have been any diversions/arrests for concealing ben wa balls

    I've attempted.... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:36:41 PM EST
    to conceal cigarette lighters from the screeners (1 for 2 on my last round-trip), I wasn't investigated.

    Does bum vs pocket make that much difference?

    And I checked, no mention of magnets on the tsa list, as opposed to lighters.  



    kdog (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 08:07:25 AM EST
    They were given you the benefit of doubt because cigarette lighters are usual objects.

    Now, if you it stuffed up your rectum.... well puts a whole new meaning to "that flics my bic...."


    If you only knew..... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 08:46:29 AM EST
    there was something else on the "forbidden list" in my drawers:)

    How the x-ray missed that I don't know....I think the screeners either took pity on me or just didn't wanna be bothered.


    And ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:24:23 PM EST
    whats up with the mental evaluation?  Not saying he doesn't need one, but the state ordering one for a guy being detained on an immigration matter.

    Dunno (none / 0) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:46:35 PM EST
    Maybe there's more the story than we're aware of?

    I sure hope there is.... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 08:41:26 AM EST
    more to this story, or the state of liberty is in far worse shape than I thought.

    Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) (none / 0) (#21)
    by scribe on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 03:35:08 PM EST
    300 (none / 0) (#26)
    by Slado on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:03:47 PM EST
    Has anyone seen it?

    I had a buddy go and he said it was "Awesome!" but he is a "Braveheart", "Gladiator" war movie geek that would love anything that had heads, arms and legs being cut off.

    I want to see it too but I'm scared I won't like it because in the back of my mind I'll be saying to myself "this was all shot in front of a blue/green screen and none of it is real".    That is what I though about the last three Star Wars movies, Lord of the Rings and some of the Matrix stuff.    Something won't let me get into something that is so almost realistic but so obviously techy.

    I'm told this is different because it's so overwhelming you forget about it but I'm interested in other people's opionon.

    The Pentagon admits it's a civil war (none / 0) (#34)
    by Sailor on Wed Mar 14, 2007 at 05:53:38 PM EST
    Pentagon: Iraq in some ways in civil war

    Pentagon report said that last October through December was the most violent three-month period since 2003. Attacks and casualties suffered by coalition and Iraqi forces and civilians were higher than any other similar time span

    and they have the same stratagery for drawing down the troops as the Dems do:
    US devises Iraq 'Plan B' should surge fail

    The Pentagon has drawn up plans to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and shift to a training and advisory role if the current "surge" strategy in the country fails.