Tauscher: I’ve been ‘slimed’

The Washington Post reports that when Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, visited Iraq last weekend, she found Green Zone personnel had been prepped for her arrival with the distribution of a brief bio noting her statements against the war:

(Click to enlarge.)

It’s not entirely accurate.

The bio says Tauscher’s latest vote on Iraq was in favor of legislation requiring troop withdrawal to start within 120 days of the bill’s enactment. She did vote for that bill in July, but she also she voted this month for her own bill requiring that any regular Armed Forces member or unit deployed to Iraq must then have an equal period of time at home before being redeployed, and that no unit or member of a Reserve component including the National Guard be redeployed to Iraq within three years of their previous deployment.

But knowing that, of course, might’ve endeared Tauscher to some of the troops clutching those bios as she visited, she noted to the Post. “This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone.”


Chi-town beats Oak-town for Green gathering

Chicago has beaten out Oakland, Minneapolis and Detroit to host the 2008 convention of the Green Party of the United States.

The Green Party of Alameda County had put together a detailed proposal to host the convention either at the Marriott/Oakland Convention Center in downtown Oakland, or at Berkeley Community Theater. But Chicago’s proposal won out as delegates from state Green Parties and caucuses in the party’s National Committee completed their vote Wednesday, and so the Windy City will host the gathering next July 10-13.

“We were quite impressed with the presentations from all four cities, and we know Greens faced a hard choice,” said Ruth Weill, co-chair of the Green Party’s Annual National Meeting Committee. “We thank all of them and congratulate Chicago, and we look forward to seeing everyone — and the media too — in Chicago next summer.”

At least two California Greens have declared intent to run for president next year: Kent Mesplay, a San Diego air quality inspector who ran in the 2004 Green presidential primary and the 2006 Green U.S. Senate primary; and Paul Kangas, a San Francisco man who apparently believes that fasting can cure cancer and that George H.W. Bush assassinated President John F. Kennedy in 1963.


Listen to Larry Craig’s interrogation

Here’s the audio — via WCCO, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul — of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig‘s police interrogation following his arrest in June at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport; he pleaded guilty this month to disorderly conduct, but now says he regrets the plea and in fact did nothing wrong.

OK, a few things:

  • Who sees a random piece of toilet paper on the airport bathroom floor and decides to pick it up?
  • The Idaho Statesman notes a contradiction in Craig’s story. Craig revisited the Minneapolis airport 11 days after his arrest to complain about how he had been treated by police, and said he wanted information so his lawyer could speak to someone, according to a police report. But Craig said Monday that he did not seek legal counsel before deciding to plead guilty.
  • CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin notes that Craig now says he pleaded guilty under oath to a crime he didn’t commit, and that’s perjury — a crime more serious than that to which he pleaded guilty.
  • And isn’t it sad that in the United States of America circa 2007, an elected national lawmaker — even a Republican from Idaho — figures it’s better to be seen by the American public as a liar than as gay.
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    Concord councilman’s widow will seek seat

    Vikki Chavez, the widow of the late Concord Councilman Michael Chavez, has re-entered the competition to replace her husband on the City Council.

    Chavez had withdrawn her name and did not participate in Monday night’s public forum where the City Council questioned the applicants. Nineteen people signed up but only 17 participated after Chavez and another prospective councilmember dropped out.

    In Chavez’ letter to the city in which she asked to be reconsidered, she said she did not attend Monday night because it was her late husband’s birthday. Michael Chavez died suddenly on Aug. 4 of a heart attack.

    It’s unclear whether the City Council will permit Chavez to re-enter the field when they meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to select a replacement. (Click here to see the City Council agenda.) She didn’t participate in the council’s public forum and permitting her change her mind after the fact could open the council to charges of unfairness.

    But at least one advocate for open space within the future use of the Concord Naval Weapons Station clearly prefers Chavez.

    “We would definitely be interested if Vikki came back in,” said Kathy Gleason. “We were so happy to have Michael, a real person, one of us, on the council.”


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    GAO report paints grim Iraq picture

    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, told me yesterday that he believes the forthcoming Government Accountability Office report on political and military progress in Iraq will be “scathing.” Sure enough, the Washington Post reports today that the “strikingly negative” GAO draft — which will be sent in its final form to Congress next week for a hearing by Lantos’ committee — finds “Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress.”

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, today notes President Bush “is demanding tens of billions more dollars for the war in Iraq despite non-partisan conclusions, such as the draft GAO report and the recent National Intelligence Estimate, that the Iraqi government has failed to achieve required reforms.

    pelosi12-14-06.jpg“As in the past, President Bush stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the facts on the ground about the sectarian civil war in Iraq or the growing bipartisan opposition to his failed policies,” she said. “He insists that our soldiers sacrifice even more, and taxpayers spend billions more dollars for an Iraqi government incapable or unwilling to institute reforms required by the President himself.

    “With the President continuing to stay the course in Iraq, Republicans will have to decide whether they will continue to vote with him or join Democrats and the vast majority of Americans who are demanding a new direction in Iraq and refocusing America’s efforts on fighting the real threats of terrorism around the world.”

    BTW, I asked Lantos yesterday what he would say to the 80 or so protestors who took part in an antiwar vigil Tuesday night outside his district office at Fourth Street and El Camino Real in San Mateo, one of many of such vigils held across the nation that night, organized by MoveOn.org and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

    lantos.jpg“This is not an unfriendly presence, they are welcome, but I think it’s important for them to understand that members of Congress operate within the reality of the American government’s framework,” he replied.

    “Both Nancy (Pelosi) and I have basically supported the same general direction that they are asking for, namely a de-escalation in contrast to the administration’s policy of escalation,” Lantos said. “But the last piece of legislation on this subject that the Democratic leadership sent to the White House was vetoed by the president, and he has a sufficient number of Republicans to sustain his veto.”

    Given that, the only options are either to win over enough votes to override the veto or to replace the President, he said, “but camping in front of Nancy Pelosi’s house will not bring about a U.S. policy change” — a dig at the CodePink protesters who staked out Pelosi’s San Francisco home and district office in recent weeks.