Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the plot thickens

OK, so I've been procrastinating on putting up pictures of the event. I had a bunch uploaded to a hosting web site, but couldn't get blogger to load them; I think I have to lower the resolution of the images. Which sucks cause I was going to slap 20 or 30 pix up here.

Anyway, so I hear the news has gotten pretty dramatic lately (Sep 08 has been genuinely nuts, hasn't it? I'm glad it's over).

To recap, here's September in a nutshell:

  • McCain picks Dan Quayle somebody named Sarah Palin to be VP

  • They have a debate which was basically a draw....

  • ....which is remarkable cause it was unremarkable when Sen. Black Guy proved he could hold his own in a debate with Senator POW

  • McCain blurted out that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong"

  • Then a bunch of banks exploded....

  • ....which made the whole economy explode....

  • ....which made McCain declare that the economy was in so much danger he had to suspend his campaign (which he didn't) to work on a bailout bill....

  • ....which promptly failed in the House....

  • ....causing a huge drop in the stock market.

And then today the Dow made up most of that. I dunno about anybody else but I plain don't understand why anybody would ever fuck with the stock market.

Q: What's the difference between a casino and the stock market?
A: The casino is regulated! (rimshot)

* * * * *

And then Biden and Palin are going to debate on Thursday. The entire world (especially Tina Fey) is waiting with breathless anticipation to see what pearls of wisdom and nuggets of reg'lar folksy charm she'll bring to the debate.

Biden is facing a major Florida State vs. Div III One-Stoplight Tech dilemma....there's no upside at all in winning, but if you lose, oh brother....

* * * * *

OK....so the real reason I wanted to post was because I saw this article on Kit Bond being linked to the firing of Todd Graves.

If you remember, there has been no shortage of controversy over the firings of several US Attorneys. It is undisputed that the President has the authority to fire US Attorneys, but which Attorneys got fired apparently was due to political influence. This is one of several different Bush-era scandals that will be an indelible part of the man's lasting legacy; and like many of those, this one hasn't had anything like a full accounting of just what the hell happened. This week however, lost in the hubbub over the presidential campaign and the Wall St. Circus there was a report from the DOJ Inspector General's office, and it apparently is quite a doozy.

Graves was the last U.S. attorney to be counted among those fired through the work of Kyle Sampson, chief of staff to Alberto Gonzales and Michael Battle, director of the Executive Office of the United States Attorney. His case differed from the others in many ways -- he was fired in January 2006, almost 11 months earlier than the other removed attorneys, and the circumstances around his dismissal were unclear.

But according to the report, Graves' removal was a result of multiple calls and emails from Bonds' legal counsel Jack Bartling, to members of White House Counsel -- who "kicked over" the complaints to the Justice Department.

Bond's problems with Graves' began in late fall of 2004. Bond's office had been having problems with another Missouri Congressman -- Rep. Sam Graves (R), U.S. Attorney Graves' brother. Between October and December 2004, a staffer from Bond's office reportedly called former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves to ask for his help in convincing his brother to fire his chief of staff. When Graves refused to intervene, the staffer told him "they could no longer protect [his] job," and hung up, according to the report.

Shortly after, in February 2005, Bartling began placing calls to the White House Counsel's office about Graves, pushing for a replacement. By the fall of 2005, the complaints had been passed to the Justice Department. In December, Bartling reached out again to Michael Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, who had interviewed Bartling when he had been applying for a position in that department.

In a call shortly before Graves' firing, Bartling asked Elston to, "'keep his ear to the ground' to ensure that the Senator's role in requesting White House action on
Graves was not being disseminated within the Department," and make sure that Bonds name was never linked to Graves' ouster, the report states.

I don't think there's any appropriate response to this except what the fuck?!?

What's bizarre is that Bond is relatively moderate issues-wise compared to most of his Republican colleagues, and Sam Graves is definitely a conservative. Makes you wonder just what the hell it was that caused a problem between Bond's staff and Sam Graves' staff. (I downloaded the PDF of the IG's report to see if there's more information in there, but it's ~400 pages long, so I haven't exactly dove right in....)

If this gets any attention at all, it'll be blockbuster news in Missouri. Thought it was too interesting not to share, especially since the entire economy is being sucked into a huge black hole and nobody's paying attention to anything else.

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