Monday, March 19, 2007


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The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Senator Insists Bush Aides Testify Publicly


WASHINGTON, March 18 - The Democratic senator leading the inquiry into thedismissal of federal prosecutors insisted Sunday that Karl Rove and othertop aides to President Bush must testify publicly and under oath, setting upa confrontation between Congress and the White House, which has said it isunlikely to agree to such a demand.

Some Republicans have suggested that Mr. Rove testify privately, if only totamp down the political uproar over the inquiry, which centers on whetherthe White House allowed politics to interfere with law enforcement.

But Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee, seemed to rule out such a move on Sunday. He said hiscommittee would vote Thursday on whether to issue subpoenas for Mr. Rove aswell as Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and William K.Kelley, the deputy White House counsel.

"I do not believe in this 'We'll have a private briefing for you where we'lltell you everything,' and they don't," Mr. Leahy said on "This Week" on ABC,adding: "I want testimony under oath. I am sick and tired of gettinghalf-truths on this."

Lawmakers in both parties agree that the fate of Attorney General Alberto R.Gonzales may rest on what happens this week, as the White House and Congresscome to blows - or find a compromise - over the testimony lawmakers aredemanding. With Mr. Bush at Camp David, the White House counsel, Fred F.Fielding, spent the weekend in Washington weighing whether to allow Mr. Roveand the others to talk and, if so, under what conditions.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Mar. 19, 2007
Presidential candidate bungles speech in Miami

People chuckled when presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon raised inMichigan and elected in Massachusetts, bungled the names of Cuban-Americanpoliticians during a recent speech in Miami.

But when he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro's trademark speech-endingslogan -- Patria o muerte, venceremos! -- with a free Cuba, listeners didn'tlaugh. They winced.

Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase -- in English, ''Fatherlandor death, we shall overcome'' -- for decades.

''Clearly, that's something he was ill-advised on or didn't do his homeworkon,'' said Hialeah City Council President Esteban Bovo. ``When you get cutewith slogans, you get yourself into a trap.''

Romney's fumble demonstrates the potential snags for state and nationalpoliticians trying to navigate the Cuban-American community of SouthFlorida.


The LA Times,0,3745192,print.story?coll=la-home-commentary

Why aren't the Bush daughters in Iraq?
The president's family has set an appallingly bad example for wartimesacrifice.

By Kitty Kelley
KITTY KELLEY, who wrote "The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty," isworking on a biography of Oprah Winfrey.
March 19, 2007

WHEN I WAS a little girl in a convent school, the nuns impressed on me thepower of setting a good example. These beloved teachers are no longer aroundto instruct the president and his family, so I recommend that the Busheslearn from Mark Twain, who said: "Always do right. This will gratify somepeople and astonish the rest."

My suggestion comes after the White House announcement earlier this monththat Jenna Bush, one of the president's twin daughters, is writing a book onher all-expenses-paid trip to Panama, where she worked for a few weeks as anintern for UNICEF. Jenna Bush is quoted as saying she will donate herearnings from her book to UNICEF, a commendable gesture, considering herfather's net worth of $20 million. But while the 25-year-old makes therounds of TV talk shows this fall in a White House limousine, dozens of hercontemporaries will be arriving home from Iraq in wooden boxes. In Britain,Prince Harry is insisting on going off to Iraq - even as his country isreducing its troop commitment.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt showed how the power of good example could also bepowerfully good politics. When he led the country to sacrifice in World WarII, his children enlisted and his wife traveled to military bases to counseland comfort the families of soldiers. Newsreels showed the president's foursons fighting with the Marines in the Pacific, flying with the Army AirForces in North Africa and landing with the Navy at Normandy. Soon otherpublic figures followed suit - movie stars (James Stewart and Clark Gable)enlisted and sports heroes (Joe DiMaggio and Hank Greenberg) went off towar.

The contrast between FDR's good example during wartime and that of George W.Bush is stark and sad. The Bush family rallies to the political campaigns ofits scions and spends months on the road raising money and shaking hands toput their men into public office. In fact, the public image of theircohesive family - the pearl-choked matriarch surrounded by progeny andspringer spaniels - helped cinch more than one presidency for the Bushes.Yet now, when its legacy is most in peril, the family seems to besquandering its good will on a mess of celebridreck.

The president tells us Iraq is a "noble" war, but his wife, his children andhis nieces and nephews are not listening. None has enlisted in the armedservices, and none seems to be paying attention to the sacrifices ofmilitary families. Until Jenna's trip to Panama, the presidential daughtersperformed community service only when mandated by a court after they werecited for underage drinking. Since then they have surfaced in public duringlavish presidential trips with their parents, bar-hopping outings inGeorgetown and champagne-popping art openings in New York.


The CBS News

How Much Does 4 Years Of War Cost?

March 18, 2006

(AP) In four years, the United States has spent close to $500 billion on thewar in Iraq - more than the total for the Korean War and nearly as much as12 years in Vietnam, adjusting for inflation. The ultimate cost could reach$1 trillion or more.

A lot of money? No question.

But even though the war has turned out to be much more expensive than Bushadministration officials predicted on the eve of the March 2003 invasion, itis relatively affordable - at least in historical terms.

Iraq eats up less than 1 percent of the nation's gross domestic product,compared with as much as 14 percent for Vietnam and 9 percent for Korea.

"I think it's hard to argue it's not affordable," said Steven M. Kosiak,director of budget studies at the Center for Strategic and BudgetaryAssessments, a defense think tank in Washington, D.C.


The LA Times,1,5910194,print.story?coll=la-news-a_section

Slavery apologies debated across U.S.
As the movement to express regret grows, some say the measures would becathartic, others call them useless.

By Jenny Jarvie
Times Staff Writer

March 19, 2007

ATLANTA - More than 140 years after slavery was abolished, Congress and agrowing number of elected officials in states and cities are wrestling withwhether to formally apologize.

The movement began in the former Confederate capital, Richmond, Va., withstate legislators last month unanimously passing a resolution expressing"profound regret" over Virginia's role in slavery and the Jim Crow era.

Now, lawmakers in Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Missouri,Massachusetts and Vermont are considering similar measures that wouldexpress regret, apologize or create commemorative days.

The wave of contrition has spread to cities too. In Macon, Ga., the mayorissued an executive order last month apologizing for the city's role inslavery. And in the former slave port of Annapolis, Md., the City Councilhas proposed an apology for "perpetual pain, distrust and bitterness" causedto African Americans.

On the federal level, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) has introduced a Houseresolution for a national apology.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007

Proposals for Mental Health Parity Pit a Father's Pragmatism Against a Son'sPassion

WASHINGTON, March 18 - It's Kennedy versus Kennedy as two members ofCongress from the same family face off over competing versions oflegislation that would require many health insurance companies and employersto provide more generous benefits to people with mental illness.

Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island and chiefsponsor of the House bill, has criticized as inadequate the Senate billintroduced by his father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat ofMassachusetts. Representative Kennedy is trying to mobilize mental healthadvocates to lobby for what he describes as "the stronger of the two bills,the House bill."

Both bills seek to end discrimination against people with mental disordersby requiring insurers and employers to provide equivalent coverage, orparity, for mental and physical illnesses.

That would be a huge change. For decades, insurers have charged higherco-payments and set stricter limits on coverage of mental health services.For example, insurers often refuse to cover more than 20 visits a year to apsychotherapist. And a patient may have to pay 20 percent of the cost forvisiting a cancer specialist, but 40 percent or more for a mental healthspecialist.

The differences between the Kennedys' bills reflect different views aboutwhat is possible and what is politically feasible.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
The Medicaid Documentation Mess

Exaggerated fears that illegal immigrants are fraudulently receivingMedicaid health benefits have led to a crackdown that is preventing tens ofthousands of American citizens from obtaining legitimate coverage. Congress,whose mindless actions led to this travesty, needs to fix this injustice.

The problem was triggered by last year's Deficit Reduction Act, whichcontained provisions requiring applicants for Medicaid, a health insuranceprogram for the poor, to show proof of their citizenship and identity whenthey apply for or seek to renew coverage. That may not seem unreasonablesince eligibility is generally limited to American citizens and certainqualified aliens. But previously most states had simply asked applicants todeclare in writing - under penalty of perjury - that they were citizens orqualified immigrants.

Now they must submit specified documents, such as birth certificates andpassports, which many have difficulty tracking down or paying for. The Bushadministration added to the difficulties by requiring people to submitoriginal documents or copies certified by the issuing agency, not simplyother copies they might have at hand.

The more stringent documentation was the brainchild of two Republicancongressmen from Georgia. Never mind that there was little evidence thatillegal immigrants were defrauding the program. Now the fruits of thatpolicy are becoming visible. As Robert Pear recently wrote in The Times, atleast seven states have reported declines in Medicaid enrollments and tracedthem to the new requirements. It is hard to be sure how many illegalimmigrants were screened out, but state officials think the number is small.Florida believes that nearly all of the people it has excluded for failureto produce documents are American citizens.

The most appalling impact falls on infants born to illegal immigrants whose
deliveries were paid for by Medicaid. They are American citizens under the
14th Amendment simply by virtue of being born here and used to be covered
automatically for a year. Now they must wait until their skittish parents
obtain a birth certificate before they can get vital infant care that should
begin at birth.

Congress needs to move quickly to fix this problem. At a minimum, every poorinfant born here ought to be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. Congressalso needs to simplify the Medicaid application process instead of making itmore onerous. That would be fairer to qualified applicants and could helpreduce the ranks of the uninsured.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Editorial Observer

It Wasn't Just a Bad Idea. It May Have Been Against the Law.

The Bush administration has done a terrible job of explaining its decisionto fire eight United States attorneys. Story after story has proved to beuntrue: that the prosecutors who were fired were poor performers; that theWhite House was not involved in the purge. But the administration has beenstrangely successful in pushing its message that the scandal is at worst apolitical misdeed, not a criminal matter.

It is true, as the White House keeps saying, that United States attorneysserve "at the pleasure of the president," which means he can dismiss themwhenever he wants. But if the attorneys were fired to interfere with a validprosecution, or to punish them for not misusing their offices, that may wellhave been illegal.

In law schools, it is common to give an exam called the "issue spotter," inwhich students are given a set of facts and asked to identify all the legalissues and possible crimes. The facts about the purge are still emerging.But based on what is known - and with some help from Congressional staffmembers and Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University - it wasnot hard to spot that White House and Justice Department officials, andmembers of Congress, may have violated 18 U.S.C. §§ 1501-1520, the federalobstruction of justice statute.

Some crimes that a special prosecutor might one day look at:

1. Misrepresentations to Congress. The relevant provision, 18 U.S.C. § 1505,is very broad. It is illegal to lie to Congress, and also to "impede" it ingetting information. Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty indicated toCongress that the White House's involvement in firing the United Statesattorneys was minimal, something that Justice Department e-mail messagessuggest to be untrue.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

A One-Man Civil War

CALL me crazy, but I wasn't expecting the crowd at the recent ConservativePolitical Action Conference here to devote its most passionate boos toSenator John McCain of Arizona, a conservative himself and the Republicanestablishment's choice for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Butboo it did.

The right's ambivalence, even antagonism, toward the McCain candidacy isstunning. And it is responsible for all the talk these days of a loomingconservative crisis.

Last week's New York Times/CBS News poll of Republicans seemed to portray aparty in disarray. Most Republicans are social conservatives, yet the pollfound they embraced Rudolph Giuliani, the pro-choice former mayor of NewYork, over Senator McCain, who is pro-life. Most Republicans are hawks whosupport President Bush's new counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, but thepoll also found that they want a candidate in 2008 who will demonstrate aflexibility in policymaking that this notoriously stubborn White Houselacked for the first three and a half years of the war. And almosttwo-thirds of respondents want more choices for president.

It's Mr. McCain's transformation from insurgent to semi-favorite son thathas unsettled the Republican Party and conservative movement. In past years,the Republicans nominated the man who had patiently waited his "turn":Ronald Reagan in 1980, George H. W. Bush in 1988, Bob Dole in 1996. The manwho ought to benefit from the machine this time around is Senator McCain,whose insurgent campaign against George W. Bush came close to winning thenomination eight years ago. And sure enough, large portions of the partyestablishment have embraced him.

But there's a problem. While Mr. McCain and the conservative activists whocompose the Republican grassroots share many positions - pro-war, pro-life,against waste in government and for low taxes - a significant portion ofthose grassroots just ... doesn't ... like him.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Proposals for Mental Health Parity Pit a Father's Pragmatism Against a Son'sPassion

WASHINGTON, March 18 - It's Kennedy versus Kennedy as two members ofCongress from the same family face off over competing versions oflegislation that would require many health insurance companies and employersto provide more generous benefits to people with mental illness.

Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island and chiefsponsor of the House bill, has criticized as inadequate the Senate billintroduced by his father, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat ofMassachusetts. Representative Kennedy is trying to mobilize mental healthadvocates to lobby for what he describes as "the stronger of the two bills,the House bill."

Both bills seek to end discrimination against people with mental disordersby requiring insurers and employers to provide equivalent coverage, orparity, for mental and physical illnesses.

That would be a huge change. For decades, insurers have charged higherco-payments and set stricter limits on coverage of mental health services.For example, insurers often refuse to cover more than 20 visits a year to apsychotherapist. And a patient may have to pay 20 percent of the cost forvisiting a cancer specialist, but 40 percent or more for a mental healthspecialist.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Death of a Marine

Jeffrey Lucey was 18 when he signed up for the Marine Reserves in December1999. His parents, Kevin and Joyce Lucey of Belchertown, Mass., were nothappy. They had hoped their son would go to college.

Jeffrey himself was ambivalent.

"The recruiter was a very smooth talker and very, very persistent," Ms.Lucey told me in a call from Orlando, Fla., where she was on vacation withher husband and their two grown daughters last week. The conversation wasdifficult. Ms. Lucey would talk for a while, and then her husband would geton the phone.

"We see him everywhere," Ms. Lucey said. "Every little dark-haired boy yousee, it looks like Jeff. If we see a parent reprimanding a child, it's likeyou want to go up and say, 'Oh, don't do that, because you don't know howlong you're going to have him.' "

The war in Iraq began four years ago today. Fans at sporting events aroundthe U.S. greeted the war and its early "shock and awe" bombing campaign withchants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

Jeffrey Lucey, who turned 22 the day before the war began, had a differentperspective. He had no illusions about the glory or glamour of warfare. Hisunit had been activated and he was part of the first wave of troops to headinto the combat zone.


The New York Times

March 19, 2007
A New Sorrow for Afghanistan: AIDS Joins List

KABUL, Afghanistan, March 13 - Sitting and eating quietly on his father'slap, the 18-month-old was oblivious to the infection in his veins.

But his father, a burly farmer, knew only too well. It was the same one thatkilled his wife four months ago, leaving him alone with four children. Theman started to cry.

"When my wife died, I thought, well, it is from God, but at least I havehim," he said. "Then I learned he is sick, too. I asked if there is medicineand the doctors said no. They said, 'Just trust in God.' "

Cloistered by two decades of war and then the strict Islamic rule of theTaliban, Afghanistan was long shielded from the ravages of the AIDSpandemic. Not anymore.

H.I.V. and AIDS have quietly arrived in this land of a thousand calamities.They remain almost completely underground, shrouded in ignorance and stigmaas the government struggles with the help of American and NATO forces torebuild the country in the face of a new offensive by Taliban insurgents.


The Washington Post

Egypt Shuts Door on Dissent As U.S. Officials Back Away

By Anthony Shadid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 19, 2007; A01

CAIRO -- On June 20, 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped ontothe arabesque campus of the American University in Cairo, built around aformer pasha's palace, and delivered a call to action that overturneddecades of American policy in the Arab world.

"For 60 years," she said, "my country, the United States, pursued stabilityat the expense of democracy in this region, here in the Middle East, and weachieved neither. Now we are taking a different course. We are supportingthe democratic aspirations of all people." For five paragraphs of herspeech, diplomatic niceties made way for a series of declarative "musts"directed at Egypt's government: It must give its citizens the freedom tochoose, Egyptian elections must be free, opposition groups must be free toassemble and participate. The Egyptian government, Rice said, "must put itsfaith in its own people."

The language was black-and-white, but America's relationship with Egypt --
ith President Hosni Mubarak and with the reform movement -- never is.

Nearly two years later, the legacy of Rice's words is intimately tied to thefate of Egypt's democracy movement, divided and withering under unrelentingrepression by a government that remains one of America's key allies in theregion. What began as a test of American mettle ended in failure to bringabout far-reaching change in a country that has received more per capitaU.S. aid than Europe did under the post-World War II Marshall Plan. In theeyes of activists and, at times, the government itself, that failure standsas a narrative of misperception about the people Americans sought to court,and of naivete about those the Americans wanted to reform.

In the end, they say, pragmatic priorities triumphed over promises.


The Washington Post

Israel Rebuffs Palestinian Unity Government

By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, March 19, 2007; A09

JERUSALEM, March 18 -- The Israeli cabinet voted Sunday to limit futuretalks with even moderate Palestinian officials to shared security andhumanitarian concerns, ruling out a formal peace process until the newPalestinian government recognizes Israel and renounces violence.

In officially rejecting the Palestinian unity government that was sworn inover the weekend, the cabinet also stated that "Israel expects theinternational community to maintain the policy it has taken over the pastyear of isolating the Palestinian government."

The vote was unanimous, with two cabinet members from the Labor Party,including the only Arab minister, abstaining.

"This is a government that does not accept the conditions of theinternational community and sees terror as a legitimate goal," Israeli PrimeMinister Ehud Olmert said.

The new Palestinian cabinet includes rival political parties and has pledgedto respect previous agreements that recognize Israel, unlike the previouscabinet in office since the radical Islamic movement Hamas took control ofthe government nearly a year ago.


The Washinton Post

Casualty of the War

By Ayub Nuri
Monday, March 19, 2007; A15

A few weeks before the war in Iraq began in 2003, I was overtaken by fear. Idid not fear the war but that George W. Bush might change his mind aboutoverthrowing the Iraqi regime. I was sad to see antiwar protesters in thestreets of Washington and London. "What do they know of our sufferings?" Isaid.

As an Iraqi, I had lived my life under bombardment. Conflict cost me myfamily and my childhood: I lost my grandmother and my right knee to rocketshrapnel when I was 4. But I saw salvation in this war.

Bush's 48-hour deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave the country ended myfears. It meant war was imminent. I was staying at a house just two milesfrom one of the front lines when I woke one morning to find that the triggerhad been pulled during the night.

During previous wars, I had hidden in basements with my family, but I wouldwitness this conflict as a journalist. I entered cities as they fell. I sawhungry and barefooted Iraqi soldiers walking on roadsides. They had thrownaway their weapons and uniforms. In Kirkuk, people were dancing in thestreets, waving banners that read "Thanks, Mr. Bush." I saw tears of joy intheir eyes.

In Tikrit, Hussein's hometown, the emotions were different. I saw severalyoung men at the city gates. They were angry and resentful of the Americans."Saddam is still our leader," they said. They vowed to take up arms quicklyand fight the Americans.


The Washinton Post

The Great Mideast Pretenders

By Jackson Diehl
Monday, March 19, 2007; A15

For years cynical statesmen have played a game of make-believe with theIsraeli-Palestinian conflict: From podiums in Europe or at the UnitedNations, they announce that their top priority henceforth will be promotinga "comprehensive settlement," brokered by the "international community."That Israelis and Palestinians may be nowhere near ready for such a dealdoesn't concern them. Their interest is not the actual Middle East butpolitical constituencies at home, or perhaps oil-rich Arab governments, forwhich the mere words "Palestinian state" are something of a talisman.

By now we've learned not to pay much attention when the prime minister ofSpain or the U.N. secretary general makes one of those declarations. Butthere's a new wrinkle in the make-believe gambit: It's been taken up, inseeming desperation, by a couple of people who nominally wield enormousinfluence in the region -- that is, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice andIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Since the beginning of the year, Rice has been proclaiming her commitment topromoting an Israeli-Palestinian "political horizon," which is her newlycoined synonym for a comprehensive settlement. She's promised to hauntJerusalem and Ramallah this year; she will be there again this week. Aidesdescribe her as poring over the "peace process" files of previousadministrations, in a dramatic reversal of the Bush administration's
previous hands-off policy.

Olmert, for his part, has suddenly begun suggesting an Israeli interest inthe Arab peace initiative, a plan originally put forward by Saudi Arabia in2002 that offers Israel normal relations with Arab states if it settles withthe Palestinians. Israel originally dismissed the initiative because itcalls for withdrawal to its 1967 borders and the return of Palestinianrefugees. Yet last week Olmert and his foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, weretalking about the "positive elements" in the plan as well as the potentialfor "negotiations with the Palestinians on its basis," as Olmert put it.

After meeting with Livni in Washington, Rice said, "I think very favorablyabout the idea" that the Arab League would re-endorse the initiative, as itis expected to do at a meeting in Riyadh at the end of the month.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Mar. 19, 2007
Confidentiality vow should not be easily surrendered

While the Scooter Libby conviction is still fragrant and the matter of thejournalists' conduct hasn't gone stale, it's time to raise a question Ihaven't seen addressed. That has to do with the permission the reporters gotfrom their confidential sources to go ahead and identify them toprosecutors.

To recap: The 10 reporters who presented much of the weightiest evidenceagainst Vice President Cheney's former top aide did so, by and large, inspite of agreements they had made with people whose statements they ended updisclosing. They had promised not to reveal the names of those sources, yetreveal them they did.

The reporters faced subpoenas meant to force them to tell what they knew andpossible jail time if they refused. (One, Judith Miller, then with The NewYork Times, spent nearly three months behind bars.) So they went back totheir sources to revisit those confidentiality agreements. And thesources -- notable among them Libby himself -- agreed to be identified andreleased the journalists from their promises.

And those releases, we're assured, made everything OK.

But did they?


USA Today

Our view on Election 2008: 'Super-Duper Tuesday' is no way to pick a

Instead of setting orderly schedule, the two major parties are punting.The process for choosing the 2008 presidential nominees is lookingincreasingly like a second-grade soccer game. Everyone wants the ball.Everyone wants to be first. Attempts at adult intervention are largelyfutile.

As usual, a handful of smaller states will lead off in January - Iowa andNew Hampshire in both parties, along with South Carolina and Nevada on theDemocratic side. Beyond that, it's a free-for-all.

Rather than try to impose an orderly schedule, the Democratic and Republicannational committees created a "window" that begins in February in whichstates can pick a day to hold a primary or caucus. Guess what? Virtuallyeveryone wants to go on the first Tuesday in February.

Led by the big kahuna, California, as many as two dozen states have moved,or are considering moving, their presidential nominating contests to Feb. 5.That's turning Super Tuesday into a de facto national primary - and makingthe already bad process for picking presidential nominees even worse:

*Competing simultaneously in nearly half the states requires huge amounts ofmoney, further disadvantaging dark-horse candidates who lack megabucks fromspecial-interest donors.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Mar. 19, 2007
Blind loyalty led Bush's team into big sinkhole

First, let me tell you what I'm not here to talk about.

I'm not here to talk about the role politics played in the sacking of eightU.S. attorneys. Or the fact that newly released e-mail exchanges and otherdocuments indicate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his deputies misledCongress when they said the White House had nothing to do with the decisionto fire those attorneys. Or the fact that Gonzales is facing bipartisancalls for his head from angry lawmakers.

All this I will leave to others. I want to talk about a word that jumped outat me in news reports about this latest Washington scandal.

The word: loyalty.

We learn that, in deciding which attorneys to retain and which to release,one factor that weighed prominently in Justice Department deliberations waswhether they ''exhibited loyalty'' to President Bush. The quote is from ane-mail sent by D. Kyle Sampson, then one of Gonzales' top aides. Sampson wasalso author of another note in which he suggested that the ``vast majorityof U.S. Attorneys, 80-85 percent, I would guess, are doing a great job, areloyal Bushies, etc., etc.''

It is this notion -- that being a ''loyal Bushie'' is a qualification forgetting or keeping a job -- that rankles. And if any of this sounds likedéjà vu all over again, that's only because you've been paying attention.Indeed, the revelations spilling out of Gonzales' office are distressinglyfamiliar.


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