Feb. 19th, 2003

sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
via Atrios, I'm pretty sure, but I had to do some work and I clicked through this about two hours ago: (edit: yep, and now LeanLeft has it too)

Threats by Republicans to cut the General Accounting Office (GAO) budget influenced its decision to abandon a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, The Hill has learned.

Sources familiar with high-level discussions at the GAO said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, met with GAO Comptroller General David Walker earlier this year and “unambiguously” pressured him to drop the suit or face cuts in his $440 million budget.

Walker yesterday acknowledged meeting Stevens, but denied the senator threatened to cut funding for the investigative agency. However, he confirmed that such threats were made, although he said they came from a lawmaker not “in a position to deliver” on them and did not occur recently. %09

The decision to drop the lawsuit has raised concerns that Congress’s all-purpose auditor has sacrificed its traditional role as an independent arm of Congress.

“ I met with Stevens in his capacity of president pro tempore,” the comptroller said: “In the conversation with Sen. Stevens there was no assertion or inference [of funding cuts]. He didn’t even raise the issue of appropriations.”

Walker did say, however, that several lawmakers have threatened in the past year to cut agency funding if it persisted with the controversial lawsuit. He also said the budget threat was among a number of factors that tipped his Feb. 7 decision to halt litigation.


...

By not appealing this ruling, House Democrats argue, GAO will not be able to pursue sensitive information in the future without permission from the majority party.

...

Walker said that while Republican control of Congress and the White House makes GAO investigations more complicated, it wouldn’t affect his judgment. If the GAO is unable to obtain information from the executive branch, Walker said he would ask the appropriate committee of jurisdiction for a subpoena.



We got that? He can investigate the Republicans without permission from the Republicans because if he needs to investigate the Republicans, he can ask for a subpoena from the Republicans.


Walker, a former aide to President Reagan who took office in November 1998, is serving a 15-year term.


Shame - most of Reagan's administration are done serving their terms by now.

Perhaps they don't parole accountants.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
Like Two Flamingos in a Fruit Fight

One of the most beautiful things in life is watching two people you utterly despise duke it out in public. Lately, there has been much discussion of the Likudnik proclivities of W's foreign policy team. Not surprisingly, the uber-Zionist zealots at The New Republic have their panties in a twist that anyone would even dare point this out. As a result, TNR's Lawrence Kaplan quickly dished out a characteristically shrill smear job on domestic critics of the looming war in Iraq by resorting to the (you guessed it!) anti-Semitism card. End of story, right? Not so fast! In response to Kaplan's predictable thuggery, Slate published a stinging riposte from none other than...Mickey Kaus! Will wonders ever cease?

...



Darn you, Yuval Rubinstein.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
Why this woman doesn't have a blog eludes me, it really does.

She should.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
I slay me.

via LiveJournal's [livejournal.com profile] stupidnews

Carrots, Celery Strike a Chord in London
Tue February 18, 2003 10:49 AM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Mozart will be turning in his grave this week when a Viennese orchestra descends on London to make a meal out of playing the carrot.

The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra says it will cook up a storm with its carrot flutes, leek violins, celery bongos and aubergine cymbals.

Supported by the occasional use of kitchen utensils such as spoons and food processors, the orchestra has been a hit in its hometown Vienna.

The inspiration for veggie music came from listening to the sound of vegetables being chopped.
Before each performance, the band tours local markets to find fresh vegetables of just the right caliber and quality.

The gurkophone is one of their classics, made from a hollowed cucumber, a pepper and a carrot.
Once the instruments are worn out, the musicians, and a conductor who doubles as cook, toss each one into a stewpot to make soup -- to be enjoyed by the audience after the concert.

The orchestra is due to play at the Purcell Room at London's South Bank arts complex Tuesday and Wednesday. A taste of their music is on Web Site www.gemueseorchester.org.
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

A voice of dissent takes on a voice of action: Peace activist Bianca Jagger debates the showdown with Iraq with Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute.


Tomorrow: Henry Kissinger and RuPaul debate monetary policy.

(what the hell is a voice of action, anyway?)
sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
the Washington Post interviews the writer of the worst novel ever published in the english language (says him. I read a mystery once where it took the disbarred lawyer/chef detective three hundred pages to figure out why all those people at the artisanal bread convention were tripping. Have you ever heard of ergot? she asked the forensic chemist. I'll look it up, he said).

I am on the phone with Robert Burrows, author of the recently published political novel Great American

Parade. This book has sold only 400 copies nationwide, and Burrows seems flabbergasted to be hearing from me. The most prestigious newspaper to have shown any interest so far is the Daily Student at Indiana University.

I tell Burrows that if he is willing to submit to an interview, I am willing to review his book at length in The Washington Post. The only catch, I said, is that I am going to say that it is, in my professional judgment, the worst novel ever published in the English language.

Silence.

"My review will reach 2 million people," I said.

"Okay," he said.

I have said this before, and I'll say it again. I really love my job.

Burrows, a keen-witted 79, is a retired University of Wisconsin English professor. He published the book himself, printing 2,000 copies, scattershotting them out to America's media in the hope that positive reviews would turn it into a big seller.

Me: Why did you think that anyone would want to read a novel whose central point is that the Bush tax cuts are imprudent fiscal policy? Do you think that E.L. Doctorow would write a book like that?

Burrows: Frankly, other people wondered about this, too. My wife asked me that. So did Warren Buffett, when I asked him for a blurb. He wrote a nice letter back on the bottom of my letter, saying he didn't think a novel was a proper vehicle for my ideas...

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