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Current Topic: Politics and Law

Bush: 'I do a lot of crying in this job'
Topic: Politics and Law 9:55 pm EDT, Sep  3, 2007

In researching the book, Draper interviewed President Bush six times. He includes some very intimate details about the president’s life. Bush is quoted as saying that “self-pity is the worst thing that can happen to a presidency.” But the president is quoted as saying First Lady Laura Bush reminds him that this was his choice, saying “she reminds me that I decided to do this."

Draper says President Bush also admits that he cries. “I've got God's shoulder to cry on. And I cry a lot. I do a lot of crying in this job. I'll bet I've shed more tears than you can count, as president," Bush told Draper.

Kind of fitting.. I'm pretty sure the word "tragic" will be used often when referring to this presidency.

Bush: 'I do a lot of crying in this job'

1982 Larry Craig denial
Topic: Politics and Law 5:59 pm EDT, Aug 29, 2007

When the congressional sex and drug scandal was going down in 82', Craig came out with a preemptive denial regarding any involvement. This video is an ABC News segment containing that denial. This and other information coming out is making it appear that it was well known for a long time that Craig was into this kinda thing. If the Ethics Committee is going to have a field day, it should focus on Congress' hear-no-evil see-no-evil problem more than Craig's bathroom antics..

1982 Larry Craig denial

Sen Larry Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom
Topic: Politics and Law 7:15 pm EDT, Aug 27, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

According to the incident report, Sgt. Dave Karsnia was working as a plainclothes officer on June 11 investigating civilian complaints regarding sexual activity in the men’s public restroom in which Craig was arrested.

Karsnia entered the bathroom at noon that day and about 13 minutes after taking a seat in a stall, he stated he could see “an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall.”

The man, who lingered in front of the stall for two minutes, was later identified as Craig.

“I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look down at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes,” the report states.

Craig then entered the stall next to Karsnia’s and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door.

“My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall,” Karsnia stated in his report. “From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me.”

“At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area,” the report states.

Craig then proceeded to swipe his hand under the stall divider several times, and Karsnia noted in his report that “I could ... see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.”

Karsnia then held his police identification down by the floor so that Craig could see it.

“With my left hand near the floor, I pointed towards the exit. Craig responded, ‘No!’ I again pointed towards the exit. Craig exited the stall with his roller bags without flushing the toilet. ... Craig said he would not go. I told Craig that he was under arrest, he had to go, and that I didn’t want to make a scene. Craig then left the restroom.”

Craig stated “that he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine,” the report states. Craig also told the arresting officer that he reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor.

“It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper,” the arresting officer said in the report.

Sen Larry Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom

Quotes About Gonzales' Resignation
Topic: Politics and Law 5:29 pm EDT, Aug 27, 2007

"I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days."—Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

So much for the devil we know...

Quotes About Gonzales' Resignation

Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits
Topic: Politics and Law 7:54 am EDT, Aug 19, 2007

Katie Hafner puts Virgil on the front page of the Sunday New York Times.

The site,, created by a computer science graduate student, cross-references an edited entry on Wikipedia with the owner of the computer network where the change originated, using the Internet protocol address of the editor’s network. The address information was already available on Wikipedia, but the new site makes it much easier to connect those numbers with the names of network owners.

WikiScanner is the work of Virgil Griffith, 24, a cognitive scientist who is a visiting researcher at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. Mr. Griffith, who spent two weeks this summer writing the software for the site, said he got interested in creating such a tool last year after hearing of members of Congress who were editing their own entries.

Mr. Griffith said he “was expecting a few people to get nailed pretty hard” after his service became public. “The yield, in terms of public relations disasters, is about what I expected.”

Mr. Griffith, who also likes to refer to himself as a “disruptive technologist,” said he was certain any more examples of self-interested editing would come out in the next few weeks, “because the data set is just so huge.”

I love seeing my friends in the news. Especially when it's not because someone is suing them.

Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits

Carville - How Karl Rove lost a generation of Republicans
Topic: Politics and Law 4:30 pm EDT, Aug 15, 2007

If the trends hold, the one thing that we can be sure of is that Mr Rove’s political grave will receive no lack of irrigation from future Republicans.

James Carville knows how to belt out a good line.

Carville - How Karl Rove lost a generation of Republicans

Internet Archive: Report to the Congress: Congressional Hearings Online
Topic: Politics and Law 8:19 pm EDT, Aug  4, 2007

By the end of the 110th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives could achieve the goal of providing broadcast-quality video of all hearings and the floor for download on the Internet.

This is an important and under-recognized victory for the openness of our democracy.

There is still more that needs to be done though. I feel it is also necessary to make searchable transcripts available of committee hearings in the same way as the rest of the congressional record.

Internet Archive: Report to the Congress: Congressional Hearings Online

FBI, IRS Search Home of Sen. Ted Stevens -
Topic: Politics and Law 4:36 am EDT, Jul 31, 2007

Federal agents searched the home of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens on Monday, focusing on records related to his relationship with an oil field services contractor jailed in a public corruption investigation, a law enforcement official said.

Stevens, 83, has been under a federal investigation for a 2000 renovation project more than doubling the size of his home in Girdwood that was overseen by Bill Allen, a contractor who has pleaded guilty to bribing Alaska state legislators.

Agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue Service started their search at the senator's home Monday afternoon, said Dave Heller, FBI assistant special agent. He said he could not comment on the nature of the investigation.

"I continue to believe this investigation should proceed to its conclusion without any appearance that I have attempted to influence its outcome," Stevens said. "The legal process should be allowed to proceed so that all the facts can be established and the truth determined."

FBI, IRS Search Home of Sen. Ted Stevens -

The Blotter: FBI Proposes Building Network of U.S. Informants
Topic: Politics and Law 8:32 pm EDT, Jul 25, 2007

The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities.

According to a recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI expects its informants to provide secrets about possible terrorists and foreign spies, although some may also be expected to aid with criminal investigations, in the tradition of law enforcement confidential informants. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The bureau has arranged to use elements of CIA training to teach FBI agents about "Source Targeting and Development," the report states. The courses will train FBI special agents on the "comprehensive tradecraft" needed to identify, recruit and manage these "confidential human sources." According to January testimony by FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole, the CIA has been working with the bureau on the course.

The bureau apparently mulled whether to adopt entire training courses from the CIA or from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which like the CIA recruits spies overseas. But the FBI ultimately determined "the courses offered by those agencies would not meet the needs of the FBI's unique law enforcement." The FBI report said it would also give agents "legal and policy" training, noting that its domestic intelligence efforts are "constitutionally sensitive."

"It's probably a good sign they are not adopting CIA recruitment techniques wholesale," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, an expert on classified programs. U.S. intelligence officers abroad can use bribery, extortion, and other patently illegal acts to corral sources into working for them, Aftergood noted. "You're not supposed to do that in the United States," he said.

This is disturbing..

The Blotter: FBI Proposes Building Network of U.S. Informants

Community Structure in the United States House of Representatives
Topic: Politics and Law 12:06 am EDT, Jul 21, 2007

We investigate the networks of committee and subcommittee assignments in the United States House of Representatives from the 101st--108th Congresses, with the committees connected by ``interlocks'' or common membership. We examine the community structure in these networks using several methods, revealing strong links between certain committees as well as an intrinsic hierarchical structure in the House as a whole. We identify structural changes, including additional hierarchical levels and higher modularity, resulting from the 1994 election, in which the Republican party earned majority status in the House for the first time in more than forty years. We also combine our network approach with analysis of roll call votes using singular value decomposition to uncover correlations between the political and organizational structure of House committees.

This is the Take Two on something that's been recommended before...

Community Structure in the United States House of Representatives

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