Jul. 29th, 2003

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There's a catbird in our yard.

I don't know if you know about catbirds. They imitate the calls of other birds, sometimes one after the other.

This one is imitating a car alarm.
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Just in case you thought the Texas redistricting battle couldn't go any lower (the LtGov promised not to abandon the 2/3 rule and reneged, there are rumors of plans to lock the Democrats in the building to force a quorum, they're off again (to NM this time) and there's a lawsuit over whether the Governor has the right to send the marshalls after the Democrats if they're still in Texas, meaning that until it's settled Democrats have to leave their homes, families and jobs to flee the state if they want to avoid a quorum - as in all things Texas, your one-stop source is Off the Kuff), I am here to tell you that you have severely underestimated the determination of Mr. Delay and his minions:

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President Bush refused on Tuesday to declassify 28 pages of a congressional report on possible links between Saudi government officials and the Sept. 11 hijackers, saying that "would help the enemy" by revealing intelligence sources and methods.

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal called suggestions of such links "an outrage to any sense of fairness" and said his country had been "wrongfully and morbidly accused of complicity in the attacks."

"Twenty-eight blank pages are now considered substantial evidence to proclaim the guilt of a country that has been a true friend and partner of the United States for over 60 years," the foreign minister said.

The Saudis have complained that they cannot respond to a report they cannot see. But Bush made plain he has no intention of declassifying the material.

"I absolutely have no qualms at all, because there's an ongoing investigation into the 9-11 attacks, and we don't want to compromise that investigation," Bush said at a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Rose Garden...

So, anybody's guess:

the Saudis asked Bush to release the missing pages because they really really wanted America to read them and they're real upset that George Bush, who usually would put the twins onstage in smoked salmon g-strings with a german shepard if the Saudis asked nice enough, said no because there was an investigation going on,


this is a crock of shit.

Me, I'm torn.
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Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Lieberman criticized the Bush administration Tuesday for returning for prosecution a dozen Cubans accused of hijacking a boat in an attempt to reach Florida.

U.S. officials last week repatriated 15 Cubans who were intercepted at sea after a dozen allegedly hijacked a government boat and took three Cuban security guards hostage. The officials decided the case could not be effectively prosecuted in the United States.

Havana had offered assurances that the Cubans would not be executed but would face prosecution on armed robbery and kidnapping charges, with punishment not to exceed 10 years in prison.

"When they were sent back to Cuba, that was a setback for America's best values," Lieberman said during a South Florida campaign swing. "For the U.S. government to negotiate a jail sentence for these people with an oppressive regime, that we know do not have fair trials, is simply outrageous. No due process. No fair trials."


So the Coast Guard what, obeyed the law?

This is not a man who's all torn up about Guantanamo or military tribunals for US and british citizens.

Whoda thunk it? One of the most whorish statements from a candidate so far, and it came from a candidate for the Democratic nomination.

So he's basically a Republican. It still counts.
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A federal judge struck down a portion of California's recall law Tuesday in a ruling that will not stop the Oct. 7 election to remove Gov. Gray Davis but will change the way the balloting is done.

U.S. District Judge Barry Moskowitz said voters will be allowed to cast a ballot for a potential successor to Davis even if they do not vote on whether he should be removed from office.

Under the state law, voters could choose "yes" or "no" on whether Davis should be recalled. And only voters who cast a "yes" or a "no" could then choose a potential successor from a list on the same ballot.

Moskowitz shot down the portion of the law that said voters who did not answer the first question would not have their votes on the second question tallied. He sided with plaintiffs who said the voters should be allowed to choose their preferred successor to Davis even if they didn't make a decision on the recall...

...The California attorney general's office supported the law as written.

"Allowing voters to abstain on the recall question would allow those with only an indirect or remote interest in this crucial question to decide who will replace a recalled officer," said Deputy Attorney General Leslie R. Lopez.

I'm not at all clear on how it's possible that a citizen of California could have only an indirect or remote interest in who their governor is, particularly a year before a presidential election.
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Muslim militants arrested or killed in recent police raids were trained by al-Qaida in Afghanistan and possibly in the Saudi kingdom, the interior minister said in remarks published Tuesday.

The arrests of more than 200 al-Qaida suspects over the last two months -- and revelations that al-Qaida may have had training facilities in Saudi Arabia -- came after attempts by Saudi officials to play down the presence of the terror network in the kingdom.

"Most of them received their military training in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a small number perhaps were trained on farms and the like inside the country," Prince Nayef was quoted as telling the London-based pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

The terror network, led by the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, is accused in the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and the May 12 suicide bombings that killed Saudis and Westerners in Riyadh.

More than 200 suspects have been reported arrested and more than a dozen killed in police shootouts in 13 raids throughout the kingdom since the Riyadh attacks, which killed 25 people and nine attackers.


The U.S. Congress report said that one suspected facilitator of the Sept. 11 attacks believed to be still at large - Omar al-Bayoumi - paid many of the expenses of two hijackers and "had access to seemingly unlimited funding from Saudi Arabia."

Asked if Saudi authorities will turn al-Bayoumi over to the Americans, Nayef was quoted as telling Al-Hayat: "We have not extradited any Saudi (citizen) to any country or foreign entity before and we will not turn any Saudis in (now)."

Nayef did not specify whether al-Bayoumi was in Saudi custody.

ya know, it's really quite the coincidence that the Saudi government figured out where all these folks were as soon as they started blowing shit up at home.

I wonder if they're going to dock al-Bayoumi's allowance?
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